As I was listening to this song I’m brought back to Chuck…
10 episodes into the fourth season we’ve been exposed to just how much Chuck and Sarah love each other, just how much Mary Bartowski loves her children and the endlessly bizarre love that Volkoff apparently has for Mary. But perhaps most interesting is we’re given insight to just how much they are willing to risk for love.
Let’s start with the most bizarre first: Volkoff loves Frost. It’s somewhat upsetting to me because I dislike the cliché of close encounters leading to infatuation but it’s understandable and certainly something that I called very early on (toot!–tooting my own horn). I don’t like it mostly because in some ways it devalues what Chuck and Sarah have, but logically it really doesn’t. Anyways, moving on. Volkoff loves Frost so much that he’s willing to let loose of unfinished business (Carmichael), one that will surely be detrimental to his business because he loves her. Granted his love is sketchy, as Mary describes, “you don’t know how to love”—who doesn’t think he isn’t above forcing her to marry him to keep her family safe?—but for someone who is ruthless it’s as close to love as he can get. It’s also interesting to note that he now has something to hold over her, I think we’ll find that she was right all along to keep that from him.
Mary loves her children. You know this because she tries so hard to be truthful and genuine with them. It’s an important distinction that is easily overlooked. She hasn’t yet lied to her children; she’s stretched the truth several times, she’s withheld answers that we would all love to be privy to but you have to admire her dedication to be as truthful and as genuine with regards to her children as she could be. When asked by Ellie what happened to her during Leftovers, she answered with a truthful, albeit understated, “it’s complicated.” And even all the way back to First Fight you have to believe that even though we weren’t privy to their emotional conversation (I’m in tears just thinking about it!) that she chose instead to reminisce rather than explain to Ellie. She can’t tell them so she doesn’t, “to keep them safe” and she tries so hard to be honest anyway. She’s caught in a life she chose and have to live with. Interesting side note, Chuck brought up “there’s always a choice” when angry with his mother and I think that’s one of the themes of this season: the choices we make and what we have to live with. Sarah chose one path, MamaB the other but it’s never black and white.
Mary and Sarah have a kinship of some sorts because they both know full well the life each have led/have had to lead and the choices they have had to make. It was a very short scene but no less powerful one in Leftovers:
“I got lucky, I was assigned to you. Your mom was assigned to Volkoff.”
Think of that for a minute, the fates play a funny game sometimes and on the one hand Sarah found love and life, Mary all but lost hers. In fact she lost everything. Her children, her husband, most definitely her past (her children growing up, something she can never get back). All because of love, remember her “it all begun with a scientist whose code name was Orion, but his real name was Stephen J. Bartowski.” Every once in awhile we’re reminded that although the show is quirky, and often humorous, the stakes are pretty high, and certainly not ever black and white. She will never be a touchy-feely mom, notice she didn’t even hug Ellie or Awesome, something you would think a mother would do upon visiting for the first time in a really long time over thanksgiving but she’s a different kind of mom, one no less devoted to her children, “I wish that telling you that I did this all for you and Chuck made a difference, but I know it doesn’t.” She tries though, she tries so hard, even when it’s awkward, “do you want to talk about it?” She did hug Dalton in Leftovers and you have to believe that’s a role she had to play. In a lot of ways she’s a lot more like Sarah than I have ever imagined, fake is easy, real is hard. But where the similarities end is where it gets really interesting.
Sarah loves Chuck. If there ever was a question with regards to that it was washed away with the teeth that clung to her skin during Phase Three. That is assuming that Agent Walker unpacking and bucking every emotional wall she has ever had to build up throughout her life didn’t illustrate that enough. But what is she willing to risk for love? Everything. She’s willing to marry Chuck, she wants to marry him, that in itself is the epitome of true risk.
Upon first glance it seems as if all the saves and the treason she has been willing to commit for Chuck seems like her ultimate risk for love and it is. Knowing just how strongly she’s had to identify with her job, and how much that has given her purpose (and in turn gave him purpose as well), all very strong dissensions to her internal gauge of loyalty but since pilot’s “I might have to point my gun at you, don’t freak out,” it’s been Chuck and that’s it. Still that’s minuscule compared to the risk of her giving her entire self to Chuck; by entire self I mean, no walls, no holds barred, marriage and commitment. That’s huge.
We saw this coming of course, but it’s still a sight to see it come to true fruition. It wasn’t that long ago that all she could tell Chuck in Colonel was, “one mission at a time, Chuck,” which was after a very painful pregnant pause after Beefcake’s “but that’s still a lie, we’ll never really be together.” For Sarah love is a dream, one that comes with it the same traditional values that Chuck puts into it, namely marriage and family. Her fears in Fear of Death weren’t borne out of a lack of belief in him, or a lack of loyalty but losing that of which she gave the ultimate of who she is, which is everything. Chuck’s her home, her family and who wouldn’t fear losing that?
For Chuck what he’s willing to risk for love is two-fold. On the one hand we heard him say these words:
I do need her, I love her and I’d rather love Sarah than have the intersect.
A far cry from the Chuck who was willing to get the intersect back at all costs. Granted it was never an either/or for him, but considering what Morgan said, “you’re kind of a big Fish (Sarah) and for a regular guy without a super computer in his brain that’s pretty intimidating,” it certainly weighs on his subconscious. In essence giving up on the Intersect (and his dreams) is him laying it all out on the line for her to either reject him or love him. Which made her speech and her acceptance all the more powerful:
I’m here, I’m here. I came to rescue you. I’m right here Chuck…Chuck, I love you…I have so much I want to tell you. I found your proposal plan, you were going to do it on the beach in Malibu where we watched the sunrise after our first date. There were several race cars involved. Chuck I want to spend the rest of my life with you, I don’t care if you have the intersect or not.
Still, Chuck is a special guy. He’s one that loves his family. He’s a guy with a blindside to his Mom, whom through all of the years of pain and betrayal still wishes that he can trust her and love her. So Chuck is willing to risk it all for his mom, “I already do (trust you).” And I think we’ll find just how far he’s willing to go there. Getting Frost out of Volkoff’s clutches will set the tone for Chuck’s back 14 mission IMO.