The first paying job I ever had, the first where I had to get “permit papers” and have taxes deducted from my pay-check, was at age 14, stocking shelves and waiting on customers in a small-town pharmacy. I knew the owner pretty well. Nice guy. He liked to play catch with his kids, mowed the lawn on the weekends, liked music and generally was pretty easy going. But as a boss he could be a touch dictatorial. Demanding and strict was a nice way to put it. If the shelves or the goods were dusty, I knew I was in for an afternoon of drudgery. Of course, the shelves had to be stock (constantly!) – you can’t sell what isn’t there. Plus, it better be displayed nicely (or else). And heaven help me if a customer needed some attention for more than an appropriate interval. Really, it seemed like my work was constantly being scrutinized and judged to see if it was good enough.
Back in those days we had to count out change, and isn’t that a lost skill! Yes, I slipped up and had to face the wrath of a customer I had inadvertently short-changed. He got more than a little “surly”, I recall. Far from standing up for me, the owner made sure that I “made it right”; It was a rather painful lesson in customer relations. You’d think a 14 year old boy would be protected a little from such anger, but nooooo!
Oh yeah. The boss? He was my dad. And that store put food on our table, so yes, there was a bit on the line.
Much like Mary Elizabeth, he had to be a bit different “on the job”. In fact, I couldn’t help but think that I was having two different relationships with two different people.
It was very confusing, at first. Like everyone else, I found Mary Elizabeth Bartowski confusing, too.
Count her double-crosses in Chuck vs. The First Fight. Frost worked for the CIA, then double-crossed them by going over to Alexie Volkoff. That’s a fact. However, she may have double crossed him, not by working for MI-6 (she only double crossed Chuck and Sarah by telling them that), but by killing Marco. That too is a fact.
One of two things must be true. Frost has either been trying to save her family all along or has turned against Volkoff for yet another reason of which we have no knowledge. But there’s no denying that she’s turned against Volkoff. She apparently had to double cross Chuck and Ellie and Sarah to once again appear to be on Volkoff’s side. That is, she she had to unless she really turned traitor, and really set up Chuck and Sarah. Frost is a master of deception, after all.
But then, giving Sarah the means of their escape is either double-crossing Volkoff a second time (and triple-crossing the CIA, while really being on their side) or quadruple-crossing the CIA by really going with Volkoff, depending on how you count. Of course, she could be setting up Volkoff for the ol’ inverted back-flip double-or-nothing-cross… Sheesh!
Let’s start again and make this simpler. Mama loves her children, and would do almost anything to keep them un-involved and protect them, just like Stephen. Chuck may not understand why she’s acting the way she is, but my experience tells me that he understands she has her reasons.
Agent Frost knows everything about Charles Carmichael, which means she also knows keeping them un-involved is not possible. When on the job, Agent Frost is dealing with accomplished spy Charles Carmichael, the guy who took care of 10 of Volkoff’s men single handedly. The one that Vincent had heard about. He’s got quite a reputation, you see, and he’s not at all like the little boy she left twenty years ago. With Carmichael she can be terse and professional. Cold, even. In her judgement, a judgement informed by many years as a spy, her deceptions are the best way to handle the situation, whether or not she has turned, or not. Like my dad, Mama B. is quite capable of shooting Chuck in the chest after carefully verifying that he’s wearing a vest.
It sort of reminds me of Agent Walker shooting someone named Jack Burton in the shoulder, too.
Frost has been all about evaluating people – Stephen, Volkoff, Chuck, Ellie. Frost made her judgement about Sarah. Actually, she’s made several. We saw Agent Frost size up Agent Walker in Griffin Park. The verdict? Formidable, perhaps dangerous. But she had to wonder about the relationship her son had with “that woman.” Mary Elizabeth even attempted to intervene in the argument that Chuck and Sarah were having! Kids, kids! You need to stop this now!
Frost watched her son and his girlfriend work together flawlessly in unison in the bank. She saw both fights going on, and noticed that only one of them was at all difficult for the couple. Mama B. made a final judgement about Sarah, and we knew what it was the moment she whispered Protect him. to the girl. It wasn’t at all about Sarah’s prowess as a fighter, or about her skills as a spy. When Sarah decided to believe in Chuck even when she thought he was wrong, Mary Elizabeth decided to believe in Sarah.
It was never a question about protection. Morgan said early on that he and Ellie knew Sarah “…was only trying to protect” Chuck, and protecting someone when you can isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But it’s only part of a bigger picture. When Mary Elizabeth whispered to her, she was saying Welcome to the family, Sarah. Right or wrong, we all believe in each other.