Message in a Song (Part 3)

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these, and only the first time since becoming a member of the fab 4 (heh) but here goes. If you’ve missed the previous two, here’s “Message in a Song Part 1,” and “Message in a Song Part 2.” A bit of an experience in face-desk (is that an expression?) but an interesting read and listen nonetheless.

Today I’ll be examining two of Season 4’s best. I say best in that it’s a subjective point of view. These two aren’t necessarily the premiere songs of the season but ones I feel best exemplifies the tone and the message that season 4 has given and continues to give. Music in Chuck, both of the lyrical and score variety unveils a message, one that not just enhances a scene but tells its own, albeit, harmonic story. These two are no exception.

We start off with James Vincent McMorrow’s We Don’t Eat. A fantastic song, set during the season’s penultimate emotional scene, the SALLIE scene. It’s a song about regret, about faith, trust.

If this is redemption, why do I bother at all
There’s nothing to mention, and nothing has changed
Still I’d rather be working at something, than praying for the rain
So I wander on, till someone else is saved

In a season about “family” it brought back memories of a beloved man in PapaB and it did so while bridging the gap between Mary and Ellie. In a life of regret, Mary has only ever loved one man, “never once has any man I’ve met been able to love” and she’s lost him. They’ve all lost him. Volkoff certainly never knew how to love, what he offered was cold comfort at best, “you want the truth Alexei? Every minute I was with you as I was thinking of him!” But during this scene we’re given solace in PapaB’s memory and what was once a rift is healed, if for only a tearful moment between the women (Sarah included).

Redemption is one of the themes in all of Chuck and in this we’re given a glimpse into fickleness of fate. A storyline that builds onto the message of this song:

Two thousand years, I’ve been in that water
Two thousand years, sunk like a stone
Desperately reaching for nets
That the fishermen have thrown
Trying to find, a little bit of hope

One that remains true. MamaB was on a lifelong mission, unable to find a way out. Similarly Sarah was “nothing but a spy” before and without Chuck. They were both desperately seeking a little bit of hope and they’ve found it. Sarah found it through Chuck, and in turn she gave him more than his small-scale Buy More heroics existence. Together they’re given Mary a new lease on life, one where she can move from a life of regret onto a future, “I want to give this child everything I didn’t give you and Chuck.” Like Sarah.

For the fans it’s a message of regret and hope. One that continues on today in our strive to get a season 5 of Chuck.

Finally we have Clock Opera’s Belongings. Unfortunately this track is still yet to be released but as soon as it is, I recommend a purchase. It’s worth it.

The song plays during CAT Squad, just as Sarah asks her CAT mates to be bridesmaids. A title and a scene that in itself bespeaks a message: she finally belongs. Yet it’s so much more.

I’ll keep my belongings with me at all times
Until I can carry no more.
I’ll put all my papers and record in parts
I’ll store all my secrets in boxes and files
I’ll keep my belongings with me at all times
Until I can carry no more

We’re reminded of Suitcase and the lone picture in said suitcase that Sarah carries with her wherever she goes, to feel “home,” “safe.” Although she’s long since unpacked it speaks of the journey it has taken her to go from the agent that lived on a suitcase to the woman that:

Sometimes when I wonder about you leaving
The shape of the hole when you’re gone.
You give me something that I can believe in
You give me somewhere that I can belong.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Sarah Walker in Phase Three was rogue, unpredictable and empty. She needs Chuck and she didn’t care what she had to do to get him back. We’re reminded that with Chuck, she’s finally found that which she belongs:
“I love you Chuck, nothing’s ever going to change that. And if you ask me for real, then my answer, would be yes.”

And so from the agent, to the woman, to the wife:

Sometimes I crowd you and step on your toes
Sometimes I go out in yesterday’s clothes
But I show you a side that no one else knows
And hope that you’ll carry me on
Sometimes when I wonder about you leaving
The shape of the hole when you’re gone.
You give me something that I can believe in
You give me somewhere that I can belong.

Though she freaked out at the wedding preparations and the pressure from the family, for the first time in perhaps all of her life, she has a family, a love. She belongs. Her relationship with Ellie is yet another thing that accentuates her growth this season, and it’s a growth that is not necessarily independent of Chuck but yet all her own.

I have to admit, my favorite line is, “but I show you a side that no one else knows,” because it’s true, so very heartwarmingly true. Since that very first day in the pilot, Sarah Walker showed a side that she may not even have known she had within her and we catch a glimpse of the woman that was not funny, but yet was utterly charmed.

For the fans this is a bit of a Carol Burnett touching the finger on the nose nod. By and large fans have hailed Sarah Walker as fan favorite. In this one song, in this one message we’re getting a bit of a nod in that she’s arrived, the real girl, she’s here and she’s here to stay. “You give me something that I can believe in,” and so we can.

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About Faith

Eternally faith-ful at least as it relates to my beloved Los Angeles Lakers. Yes that's where the username comes from. Other than that self-professed Chuckaholic, Laker blogger and part time internet addict. Ok, full time.
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12 Responses to Message in a Song (Part 3)

  1. Matt says:

    I always come away a little smarter from Faith’s posts, and I usually download one or more songs from iTunes. Apple should be giving you a kick-back Faith. I wish I had more to say about Chuck, but I simply love the show for what it is. I hope for a 5th season, but am happy for the four we have, and will be content if the geek finally marries the girl.

    • Faith says:

      Aww you’re so sweet (“gee thanks for making me feel like I’m eight” need not apply ;)). Just knowing you’ve enjoyed it is enough for me.

      I hope for a 5th season, but am happy for the four we have, and will be content if the geek finally marries the girl.

      Same for me. In fact it’s a dream come true (well you know what I mean).

      • Katsumaro says:

        Great work on this, Faith. =) As much as I love music, I love seeing the lyrics get explained by you.

  2. Ernie Davis says:

    Excellent choices for songs that deliver the message. We don’t eat has become a favorite of mine. Both the scene and the song. My only dissatisfaction with the music this season has been them using unreleased tracks! I want to hear the whole song, but like the one you mentioned, and “Move To The Mountains” they aren’t available yet. So frustrating.

    One other quibble, they FINALLY used “Peter Gunn Theme” but it was as a rap sample with absolutely no orchestration and far too brief.

    • uplink2 says:

      Great work again as usual Faith. I have really loved the music this season but agree with Ernie that I dislike that some of the best stuff is still unavailable for download.

      I agree that Sarah Walker is my favorite character and has been since I first started watching. So much of that is due to the brilliance that is Yvonne Strahovski but the writers and the music used to create this amazing character play a great part in that as well.

  3. MKEdeena says:

    I just recently found this blog, totally enjoying it. Like Matt said, I am smarter for having read your post. Music is a big part of my life, I’m constantly amazed at it’s ability to reach in and touch your heart. I am a total “Shipper” where Chuck is concerned and I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comments and interpretations. Thanks so much for sharing, I’ll continue to investigate this wonderful fan site.
    Melissa

    • Faith says:

      Welcome to the blog and thank you for the compliments :). Hopefully you’ll find in these pages the same things that we do, and that is something that enriches your Chuck experience. It’s a fantastic show that definitely deserves all the ink (metaphorical) we throw at it so I’m glad you’ve joined us to add a bit of your own!

      P.S. Shippers rule! :D. LOL.
      …waiting for Ernie to step in and call on my non-existent shipper shame 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        It’s true, Faith and a few others here are shameless shippers, but there is no shipper more shameless than Faith.

        See, it’s just no fun when you step on the punchline!

  4. amyabn says:

    Love it Faith, but you knew I would! Great use of lyrics. Hey, shameless shippers think alike!

  5. thinkling says:

    Thanks for a wonderful post, Faith. I especially liked Belongings.

    I have to admit, my favorite line is, “but I show you a side that no one else knows,” because it’s true, so very heartwarmingly true. Since that very first day in the pilot, Sarah Walker showed a side that she may not even have known she had within her and we catch a glimpse of the woman that was not funny, but yet was utterly charmed.

    You said it perfectly.

  6. joe says:

    You all know how I carry the music with me – especially Faith. We Don’t Eat is one of those tunes that will be in my heart for years. It never fails to take me back to that scene, and then to episodes in my own life. It’s that rich and that haunting.

    Man, I am so frustrated that so many of the tunes have not been available, seemingly not anywhere.

    On the positive side, I’ve noticed more than a couple of tunes that I first heard on Chuck being used for commercials. It’s good to see that the artists can get compensated for their amazing work.

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