And The Word Is ‘Satisfaction’
Chuck and Sarah each fought their own biggest opponents to date in Chuck vs. The Role Models. Naw. It wasn’t Craig & Laura Turner. That was apparent pretty quickly. And it wasn’t even each other as they began to contemplate the realities of making a life together. May that fight never come!
No, with only Chuck’s support, Sarah bravely faced a fierce opponent on her own. Sarah faced having a real home life, complete with an emotional reliance on somebody besides herself. And Chuck? The person who “…hated the loser he had been, who hated not knowing what he wanted to do with the rest of his life” faced his history, his ignorance and his naiveté. Both Chuck and Sarah struggled and battled mightily, fighting tooth and nail, looking straight into the teeth of their biggest fears until they lay nearly exhausted in bloody victory and…
Those particular battles were happily over almost before they had begun. Sarah wondered why she would consider moving in with Chuck – that is, allowing herself to depend on someone else for support – and defeated those fears with the power of a smile. Chuck saw his future, saw his own second-guessing, and took about two seconds to realize that, nope, he’s got it right this time. Ding-ding; fight over. Seldom in the annals of television have battles been won so decisively and with so much satisfaction, WWE excepted, possibly. Better yet, we saw this happen right in front of our eyes when Chuck and Sarah looked at each other and saw that without question, their partner would stand by what they had said before and be true to their natures. This is what they want. With each passing minute Chuck and Sarah are losing any fear that what they have found is an illusion or that they’re misleading themselves.
If that was self-evident to us, the audience, it may not have been to Chuck and Sarah. For weeks now, we’ve been shown that, despite everything that’s happened in two point five seasons, Chuck is still Sarah’s Chuck, caring, friends-and-family oriented, risk-avoiding, and a bit naive. And Sarah is still Sarah-who-can-do-anything, self-sufficient and professional enough to burn a mark when it is necessary. For good and for bad, those two people are still around. Can that Chuck actually believe the nerd gets the girl? Can that Sarah ever allow herself to really trust someone? Can they get past themselves and make this work?
Chuck: Maybe we’re going to end up like them – a couple of traitors.
Sarah: Do you really believe that?
In Chuck vs. The Role Models the answer was a loud “You bet this is gonna work!” No backsliding! I had so much fun watching this episode precisely because they were so decisive about it.
Oh, I loved that it was the ladies who held the guns on their dangerous opponents, until the gentlemen found the courage to talk everyone down. I love that for everyone it was the partner who came first and foremost, but only because they knew their partner could (still) be true to their natures. I love that it was Sarah who asked about integrity first when she asks if they could ever become traitors, and I loved it that it was (formally soft-spoken) Chuck who demandingly yelled “QUIET!!” to stop the Turner’s bickering and finger-pointing. Yes, we have Sarah thinking about right and wrong, and Chuck showing a commanding presence, even while they are being true to themselves. At the same time, Chuck is Sarah’s hero not only because he’s defused bombs with computer viruses, but because he also comes to the aid of ballerinas and their fathers. To Chuck, Sarah can still do anything, from picking locks and being “an army” to making breakfast and simply caring that he not be bunkered or separated from his family.
But more than anything, I love that Chuck and Sarah walk up to a gun and tiger wielding Otto with their arms comfortably around each other’s waist because that’s simply the way it is now. No questions asked, no angst involved and no second guessing. Loud “discussions” about the precise implementation of the 30-foot rule will happen, and don’t mean a thing. The old Chuck and Sarah have met the new Chuck and Sarah, and I do believe that they all get along well!
Sarah: I know how to use a gun better than you do!
Uh, pretty well, anyway.
[voice type=“Emily Litella”] A Mr. Chris Fedak of Fort Wayne N.J. writes “Where’s the fun in that?” [/voice]
The fun is in Morgan failing every spy-test miserably, and still passing wonderfully, and in him getting fired from “Underpants Etc!” The fun is in General Beckman ordering Casey to “make him – sparkle!” The fun is still about caring for the characters and their well being, and in realizing that now we care about Morgan’s future, and Casey’s past, and about Ellie and Devon every bit as much as we’ve cared about Chuck and Sarah.
In Chuck vs. The Role Models if all this were absent, we’d still find fun in Chuck and Sarah partnering the way they have. Well, at least, I would. Name your team; Nick and Nora, 86 and 99, Jonathan and Jennifer Hart. Chuck and Sarah as partners are easily as strong and engaging. Each team may have a characteristic that shines brighter, but now that we’ve begun to see the strength of Chuck and Sarah’s bond I can’t help but think that they are right up there in this pantheon.
[voice type=”Emily Litella”] Never Mind! [/voice]
Would You Please Sit Down? You’re Making Me Nervous!
From the moment Chuck grins “I’m really, really happy!” at a frustrated Morgan to the denouement showing Justin pulling out a trademark Ring smart-phone (not to mention the promos and previews we’ve seen) an amazing number of seeds have been planted. The drama was set in motion in Africa. Sarah Lancaster has already shown that she’s got the chops to carry the biggest tension baring moments on her shoulders; we got to see that again, and I want to see more! Devon showed a flash of “Mr. Super-fantastic-white-person”, and that portends good things. Yvonne Strahovski is wowing us with her comedic timing, but as soon as she says “I need him to be okay.”, I have a physical reaction! And was I so naive as to expect Christopher Lloyd to merely reprise “Doc. Brown” next week? Of course not. He’s much too accomplished an actor for that, even if he’s been often typecast as the quintessential mad-scientist. Add the return of Julia Ling as Anna and Scott Bakula as Stephen B. and you know what? I can’t wait for next Monday.
Dear God, It’s Us, Thirty Years Ago
But one thing happened that was even better then the promise of all the excitement we see coming. Calmly, quietly, near the end, Sarah takes a moment to explain herself to Chuck. She reminds him about her background to explain her initial reluctance to move in with him, and actually talks to him in a way that should be totally unremarkable.
Sarah: I’m sorry that I freaked out when you asked me to move in with you. You know how I grew up – I spent my life living in hotel rooms under fake names. I’ve been trained to survive a thousand different situations in the field, but nobody ever taught me how to have a normal life.
Chuck: Well, I hate to break it to you, but I don’t think we’re ever going to live a normal life.
Sarah: Well, I’d like to have something to fall back on when our spy life is over.
For them, this talk isn’t unremarkable; it’s better than that. It’s casual, comfortable and very, very satisfying.
PS: The music is Miike Snow; the song, which was played at the end of The Role Models is Sans Soleil. Once again, my thanks to Faith for the use of her space!