No, He Isn’t
We know their stories now.
Like a child, Chuck let life roll over him, a lot. He got to Stanford, got way-laid big time by Bryce and Jill, but takes it like a man whipped puppy and proceeds to lick his wounds for five years in the Buy More. Then A Comet Appears. Chuck has to decide exactly how much he’s going to let things just happen to him and exactly how much wants to take charge of his life. Although his first reaction has always been to resist reaching out to grasp the things he wants, and although that’s not going to change, we’ve seen now that Chuck not limited by his first reaction any more. He’s grown up.
Sarah’s like that too. As a child, she was buffeted by things way beyond her control; her father and then the CIA in the form of Langstan Graham. Sarah’s a fighter though, and she reacts by becoming strong, hard as steel. She’s coated herself with it. A Comet Appears and Sarah finds out that there’s a few things that all her strength and skill can’t overcome; Chuck is one of those things. Her first reaction may always be to protect herself, but now we’ve seen that Sarah’s not limited by her first reaction any more than Chuck is. Together they can act impulsively and rashly, and then together they can change their mind.
It’s not just those two characters. Before he’s fully adult, Casey is shown things he cannot control either. His reaction is to put duty first, always first. Life doesn’t roll over him because there is no “him” to roll over. There is no lie, because there is no truth. There is only duty. If they get on the list at all, his desires come second. Casey is the ultimate spy, a machine, cold-school and his center is angry for good reason. A Comet Appears and that’s been changing slowly but surely. His first reaction may always be to shoot first and then say “Don’t move.”, but even Casey can deal in a new way with people in his life like Morgan, and more importantly (I think we’ll see), like Alex.
We know all this, and have talked about it before. Chuck and Sarah and Casey are fully empowered adults now, yes? They are in charge of their fates but only as much as any adult can be, and that’s imperfectly. Fate is throwing them as many curve-balls as it can. This is not unlike real-life, where difficulties and even tragedies happen to good people, and then are followed in all unfairness by more at the worst possible time. It happens, probably to all of us, to one extent or another.
The survivors all were situated by chance near the breaks—they saw a hole or crack, made an almost instantaneous decision, and jumped out.
We like to think that we control our destinies. And to a certain extent we do—but not to as large an extent as one might think or wish.
That’s real life. We get a chance to take the right fork or the left never knowing what’s around the bend. There is a chance to choose, but most of the time the choice is made blindly, with no guarantee that it’s the right one.
If there’s any one reason that I continue to be inspired by Chuck the show, it’s because despite being unbelievable and the unrealistic, it’s believably true about people and realistically true about life. That’s good storytelling. I see those people (I AM those people) and I experience the same friendships, loyalty, screw-ups and loves, if not quite so dramatically. I won’t lie, on occasion it’s been exactly that dramatically. The flaws and shortcomings seem to pale in comparison.
And when step out into the world tomorrow morning, I’ll remember that I’m not completely in charge either.
Also: One of our regular commenters (I’m not sure that this person wants to lose anonymity just yet) has a request. While working on Chapter 2 of an original Fan Fic, this person would be grateful if a few of you would serve as “beta testers” for the effort. If you’d like to take the time to offer a critique and suggestions and can do this in relatively short order, please let me know by e-mailing to jmj(dot)buckley(at)verizon(dot)net, and I’ll be more than happy to act as a go-between. Just provide your contact information.
Once again, my thanks to Faith for the space for music, which is, of course, A Comet Appears by The Shins.
One hand on this wily comet,
Take a drink just to give me some weight,
Some uber-man I’d make,
I’m barely a vapor