The Wedding Planner – Welcome Back, Jack!

The ConMan Returneth

Gary Cole is Jack Burton

Gary Cole’s Jack Burton, the lovable and semi-disreputable father of Jenny (aka, the future Mrs. Sarah Bartowski) is set to return for tonight’s episode, Chuck vs. The Wedding Planner. I for one, can’t wait to see him again.

As Ricky said to Lucy, “You got some ‘spainin’ to do.”

Jack doesn’t have to explain about himself. He is, as the song used to introduce him describes, a lone wolf, living largely by his wits and his instincts, and he’s pretty good at it. Yet, despite the need to travel light and alone, we know he took his young daughter as his partner in petty crime.

Yeah, when I was only 17,
I could hear the angels whispering
So I droned into the words and wandered aimlessly about
Until I heard my mother shouting through the fog
It turned out to be the howling of a dog
Or a wolf to be exact, the sound sent shivers down my back
But I was drawn into the pack and before long
They allowed me to join in and sing their song
So from the cliffs and highest hill, yeah
We would gladly get our fill
Howling endlessly and shrilly at the dawn
And I lost the taste for judging right from wrong
For my flesh had turned to fur, yeah
And my thoughts, they surely were
Turned to instinct and obedience to God.

Young Sarah was apparently part daughter, part student (of the art of the con) and part traveling companion as well as partner in crime. She learned a lot from him, like how to throw knives and pick locks. Because the details of her education often made it necessary to leave town quickly, she also learned to keep any roots to home and hearth very shallow, just like he did.

You can imagine what happened. Relationships? “She may have to leave ’em in five minutes. Or shoot ’em in the head.” The line came from Carina, but I don’t think the CIA taught Sarah that. Ultimately, it comes from Jack.

From only a few words and one episode we learned a lot about Sarah’s relationship with her dad. We also learned back in Season 2 that, through no fault of her own, Sarah had grown up missing something important. When Chuck appeared, all naive and innocent and totally loyal to his friends and family, Sarah began to reconsider what family meant and how it contrasted to the exciting, dangerous life she had led. I imagine she even began to wonder if her life had meaning. At the very least, when Chuck was around, something whispered in her ear and she started to listen.

Carina: I mean, this place is like… ‘if a yawn could yawn.’ How do you stand it?
Sarah: I’m good here.

Ah, the Siren’s call. But that’s Sarah. What about Jack? The Con-man doesn’t have to explain why he went down the road he did. He has to explain why he took his daughter with him. He needs to explain why his wife (however briefly that relationship lasted), Sarah’s mother, acquiesced to that. We don’t even know, as I type this, if she wanted it that way or not.

Now, I don’t think that Jack, for all his faults, is a bad man or even a terrible parent. In fact, he seems to have done a pretty good job raising Sarah alone, all things considered. He taught her skills, to know the score and a lot about life. He never hid the truth about himself from her.

You can wear your fur
like a river on fire
But you better be sure
if you’re makin’ God a liar
I’m a rattlesnake, Babe,
I’m like fuel on fire
So if you’re gonna’ get made,
Don’t be afraid of what you’ve learned

One way or another, when it came to people, Jack taught Sarah to trust her heart.

And in other episode news, let me quote from the official NBC promo. “Casey comes face to face with his past.” For “his past”, read – Kathleen! This should be good. You just know that Alex and Morgan will be all a-twitter about that. Well, maybe Mekenna and Josh will be a-twitter. 😉

So after you’ve watched Chuck vs. The Wedding Planner, tell us what you think! Did we learn anything more about Sarah’s upbringing or about her mother?

– joe


About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
This entry was posted in ChuckMeMondays, Reactions, Season 4. Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to The Wedding Planner – Welcome Back, Jack!

  1. sniderman says:

    Impressions as they happen:
    * Sarah showing what Chuck looks like when he flashes was hysterical.
    * And the fact that Chuck cannot “fake” what a flash looks like was equally funny.
    * “Huh. She lives with The Shnook.”
    * “I will expose myself to you and everyone else on this SuperShuttle.”
    * “Do you have any idea how much trouble you’re in?” “An inkling, yeah.”
    * Sarah and her “Joisey” accent.
    * “Hey! Cop Face! I think we have a job for you.”
    * Whoa. Was the father of the bride the Russian Guy from the commericals with the miniature giraffe?
    * Casey’s meet-up with Kathleen. Not awesome.
    * Jack’s speech. “Do one thing for her. Put the gun down.”
    * “John Casey. NSA.” And Kathleen was there. Awesome.
    * The piggy bank was damn near the nicest wrap-up ending to an episode of Chuck I can recall.
    * And it looks like Casey’s gonna have a happy ending too.

    I gotta say, this shot straight up the list to one of the best of the season. Incredible episode.

    • Gringo Chuck Fan says:

      Actually – I thought there was some tension between John and Kathleen… with a healthy dose of resentment.
      ” Looks like you got everything you ever wanted~” – is that not a euphemism for – ” YOU damned selfish ungrateful bastard… what about me…” ?

      • Tamara Burks says:

        She does have every reason to still be ticked off at him. After all by faking his death he did dump her and she mourned him.

        The one thing he can be forgiven for is abandoning Alex jr since he didn’t know about her.

  2. Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

    A quick review of CvTWP.

    ROFLMAO & Awwww.

  3. Tamara Burks says:

    play by play recap

    Ok, there’s a grandma, but on Jack’s side or her mother’s . Probably Jack’s.

    Looks like the possibility of Casey and Morgan opening a wedding planning business may not be a pipe dream after all.

    Once again , considering her history why is Sarah getting fooled again (in a different way than she was with Bryce and Plywood).

    Is she ever going to tell him about the wedding?

    Interesting that Casey gets ambushed by 2 people half his size.

    Also interesting that the woman who once accused Chuck of faking a flash now wants him to fake one.

    I think he’s now a little self concious about how he looks flashing because of her flash face.

    Uh oh , they’re in trouble now!

    Is Mama B in this one because I’d really like to see her and Jack meet? If she isn’t maybe Ellie can be the one to pry his secrets and Sarah’s out of him.

    Is he surprised she’s living with Chuck because of Chuck or because he knows about his daughter’s daddy issues?

    He’s playing the shell game with an infant. Strange man.

    Like I said , they are in SO much trouble. Maybe Daphne will learn to be careful who you con.

    They do seem to find bad guys in the strangest of ways.

    The Klugs have thier own shell game.

    Interesting that the men on this show do the most of the wedding planning.

    I hope nobody tries to eat that cake. Maybe they should have had Morgan bake one.

    The Romantics and Etta James. Great music.

    What’s Kathleen doing there?
    Ok, this is awkward. I wonder if she’s armed.

    Is that the guy from commercials with the rich Russian who has the tiny giraffe.

    The father has it!

    And cutting through styrofoam is a horrible sound.

    Morgan is a trouble magnaet.

    Methinks Jack has more than a few regrets himself.

    Ok Kathleen saw all that but he’s still going to have to explain himself. For instance make sure she knows that he didn’t know she was pregnant and he wasn’t the one who hung up on her (maybe tell her he broke the neck of the guy who did).

    Sarah was taught to be a con artist but utimately she’s the one who chose the unstable lifestyle . I hope her Grandmother was left a note saying where she went.

    Maybe he’ll at least show up at the wedding.

    He took her back to her Grandma but he kept the piggy bank. And then returned it complete with wedding money and original label.
    Like I said, strange man.

    I’m thinking that Sarah ended up on the road with Jack full time after her grandmother died and her mother was completely out of the picture.

    No Mama B or Ellie. Too bad , I would have loved to have seen that meeting. Obviously Ellie was at work.

  4. uplink2 says:

    I’m gonna call it now. Chuck VS The Wedding Planner is the Honeymooners of season 4!! It was as close to perfect an episode as I have seen in a very long time. Emotional, sweet, funny brilliant performance by Gary Cole and an ending I will watch countless times. Simply perfection!!

    • atcDave says:

      Agreed Uplink. I’m still a huge Phase 3 fan. But this is the kind of fun I wish they would do every week.

      • uplink2 says:

        Its interesting that it was written and directed by the same team that did Phase Three. Coincidence? I think not!

      • Gringo Chuck Fan says:

        Amazing what this little show can pull together when they stick closely to the ” LESS IS MORE” mantra… No goofy weapons, or characters falling into plot holes…
        Wonderful when the show does – what it does best…
        Great characters in a good story!
        Why does that sound so simple?

      • luckygirl says:

        I think Newman wrote Phase 3.

      • ArmySFC says:

        uplink could explain things. funny how that is. i hated phase 3 and only liked about 50% of this one. casey and kathleen parts were good. the con they ran was good. i could care less about sarahs past so i turned to the phil’s during those parts. morgan criticizing the color scheme was a real low point. devon and sarahs dad was done well. so i really like 50% and was indifferent to the rest. so all in all some really fun parts and some i could do with out.

      • atcDave says:

        Gee Uplink, close! Judkins and LeFranc wrote Honeymooners. Along with Newman they seem to be the current A-Team of writers.

        This obviously felt A LOT like DeLorean, the writers were clearly paying close attention to continuity and tone.
        Episodes that make me laugh like this are always my favorites; funny, I was about to say this also reminded me of Suitcase so I double checked credits and sure enough, same team.

      • Faith says:

        Luckygirl is correct, Newman wrote Phase Three. She also co-wrote the upcoming Last Details.

        Lejudkins wrote Push Mix.

        Anton Cropper did indeed direct both this episode and Phase Three.

  5. joe says:

    My quick impression: That was silly, and Sniderman already pointed out all the great, silly lines. I never gaffawed so much in my life! ;D
    Absolutely loved the scenes with Casey and Kathleen. He *is* a hero. Heartwarming.
    Sarah’s final scene was fantastic. Extra heartwarming.

    Lou’s gonna like this – I didn’t miss Jeff & Lester tonight.
    We met Sarah’s grandmother (I assume it was her maternal grandmother??? Maybe?) but we still know nothing about her mother.

    I sorry Jack won’t be giving Sarah away.

  6. atcDave says:

    Quick first impressions here. What a dynamite episode. I think I laughed from beginning to end, and big laughs too! Sniderman hit on some of the really great moments. But geeze there were even more than that.

    Loved the wayward wedding planner getting netted as she was “on to” Chuck and Sarah.

    Jack and Awesome. Great scene. I suppose the main point of it in the flow of the story was Jack learning about the pending wedding, but it was fascinating to me the way Devon was watching him and what he may have learned about Sarah in just a few minutes.

    We learned a little more about Sarah’s upbringing. Not sure how long grandma was in the picture, but it does explain a lot.

    Sarah high fiving Morgan made me smile too.

    I loved the disastrous attempted arrest of Daphne. Chuck was totally outmatched.

    There was so much good Sarah stuff in this episode. Showing Chuck how he looks when flashing was brilliantly funny. Sarah playing Daphne was perfect as well. And of course the last scene with the piggie bank. Has anyone else noticed Yvonne is a pretty good, and versatile actress!

    • joe says:

      I have a feeling that the scene with Jack and Awesome will be a lasting memory, Dave. Truly great scene.

      Oh my – I can’t believe that I didn’t miss Ellie tonight! I love Ellie! Awesome was *that* good.

  7. Katsumaro says:

    Super, duper, omgwtf amazing episode. ROFLMAO & D’awww.. indeed covers it. I can’t really say anything else that others haven’t said, so I’ll basically leave it out, and point out the ‘fake flash’ bit with Sarah showing him how he looks? Priceless. I remember a story on here where someone was talking about how Levi looks when he’s doing it and just laughed *so* hard when Sarah did it here. Just outstanding.

    The last montage was amazing though. Perfect music choice as always.

  8. Tamara Burks says:

    I think that line about conmen in the previouslies was from the movie Diggstown.

  9. First Timer says:

    I’m not has high as everyone else on the episode, but kudos to the writers for this one: They told a backstory about Jack and Sarah and still gave you NOTHING about Sarah’s mother. That is no easy task to accomplish. Threading a needle like that is craftsmanship.

    Also, kudos to the set dresser who placed a Baskin-Robbins cup in the front seat of the car next to the piggy bank. Rocky Road anyone? Wonderful attention to callback detail there.

    • joe says:

      Ahhhh – good catch, FT. I’m like half a step behind the crowd here. I suspect this one will not end up my favorite of the season, but it has a great chance at being in the top three.

      I’m holding out hope that the season finale will be tops.

  10. uplink2 says:

    Seeing Sarah so happy that her dad came through for her and how much she meant to him was one of the sweetest moments I have ever seen on TV. A really special episode I can’t wait to rewatch again and again.

    • Gringo Chuck Fan says:

      It was a very touching moment – but I didn’t really like the way it was done. This show has never placed a premium or high priority on money ~ rather it tends to focus on relationships. I had really wished to see Jack Burton win his daughters affection and gratitude in some way other than with lots of $$$. Actually, the way the synopsis was written, I had hoped that they would be pulling a scam on Daphne to get all their money back. ~ just say’n
      BTW – when I heard that Yvonne would be using a new accent,
      secretly I was hoping to hear something like the Swedish Chef from the Muppets…. seriously – she could pull that off!

      • First Timer says:

        I don’t think the final scene was about the money. It was about a promise kept. Actually several promises kept: Jack said in the flashback the money in the piggy bank was hers. He honored that by never taking from it. Also, he made possible what she wanted: an adventure with the man she loved. (In this case, Chuck.)

        You could make the case, I suppose, that we didn’t see the money. They could have left it at the voiceover saying there’s enough in there to pay for the wedding. But given that the Jack character is a con man and the Sarah character doesn’t really trust him, you needed the “tell” of the money tumbling out to understand why Sarah’s love for her father is now redeemed.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        First Timer is right. It wasn’t about the money itself , it’s that he didn’t take from his daughter and actually gave to her even though the idea of his daughter settling down seems to confound him.

  11. Ernie Davis says:

    The more I watch Chuck, the more I come to respect and admire the writers who choose to work in Hollywood, TV in particular. Without violating previous cannon, the writers have managed to do three seemingly incompatible things.

    1) They have presented a plausible scenario where Sarah was both raised as a con-man’s daughter, yet had a family to be estranged from, yet left the mother a mystery.

    2) They have established Jack as a master of the short-con, and as Sarah’s mentor, made her a plausible victim of the long-con. “Once you know all the cons, you’ll never be a victim?” He never taught her about the cons that seem to invest in people. He never taught her that people who seem to invest time and energy into what you want might not be seeing the same investment you do.

    3) Jack is preserved as the good badguy. He can be there, in some ways, for his daughter, but still be a jerk.

    Dare I say genius?

    • joe says:

      Ooohhh! That’s so well put, Ernie. “The cons that seem to invest in people.” Great concept.

    • Faith says:

      They do a great job of straddling so many different lines. I thought the fact that we could sympathize and even love such an obviously bad father, and a con-man to boot is in itself an illustration of their strength as an entertaining medium.

    • Crumby says:

      I agree Jack is a really well written character. And Gary Cole and Yvonne played that father/daughter relationship so well!

  12. jason says:

    the pilot, delorean, honeymooners, phase 3, and yep now wedding planner – I no longer have a top three, it is a top five – interestingly, none of my fav’s were season enders. A long time ago a top business consultant came into a firm I worked for and gave us the term – HWIKIWISI – i.e. how will I know it when I see it? By the time sarah read the note with the piggy bank – I saw it, and I knew it!

  13. Rick Holy says:

    “Little girl” Sarah and her dad will always make for a nice story. It’s the “Daddy’s Little Girl” thing that who can resist? All in all, an excellent episode – and notice, with VERY LITTLE Buy More.

    Don’t know what the future of the show is going to be, but if it DOES come back, PLEASE just be done with the Buy More already – or use it AS LITTLE as was done with tonight’s episode. Yes I know it’s a “product placement” jewel, but you can find PLENTY of ways to do product placement without the Buy More.

    If worse comes to worse and it looks like we don’t get renewed, at least it looks like things are being wrapped up WELL.

    • Mess says:

      Couldn’t agree more about the Buy More, seriously the only fun Buy Moron is Big Mike.

    • armysfc says:

      rick…while i may agree with not wanting to see the buy more again and its crew, the amount of products is why it’s still there. like tonight in the car they showed 1 tub of BR ice cream. with shots of the buy more they show many. take the TV wall, we may not be able to see the brands but if each one was a different brand that’s up to 15 or so at one time. that’s why it’s still there. lots of products in a short time.

  14. Faith says:

    I LOVED it.

  15. OldDarth says:

    What a major leg up an episode gets when the writers create a story that all hangs together.

    Fantastic episode!

  16. Big Kev says:

    Every week, I usually just come here to read the first line of comments, just to get a feel for whether the episode has been well received, but without spoiling myself too much. By the looks of it, I have a fantastic episode to look forward to tonight. Can’t wait!!

  17. Viridis says:

    Minor tweak for me in an otherwise brilliant episode, but when SuperShuttle paid for their “$15 less than taxi” product placement, did they know that it’s going to be implied that their shuttles tend to have con-men aboard?

  18. herder says:

    Wonderful episode, the whole “what do I look like while flashing” was brilliant on both sides, the look on their faces as Peralta’s picture appeared on every screen in Castle was great too. Effective flash backs, little Sarah’s hero worship of her father was heartbreaking. Unusual pairing in Jack and Awesome but it worked.

    I liked the puzzled look on Jack’s face as he looks through the window and sees the nerd stuff and realizes his daughter lives with the Schnook, then later his look while sitting on the game console, sort of what the heck is this stuff. The Jack and Sarah dance was sweet and it sort of explained what was behind the Sarah that was – her father’s influence or if you like her father’s child and the Sarah that is – Chuck’s influence or if you will she is becoming a Bartowski. Which leads to my one quibble of the episode, I wish they had shown why she is moving (choosing to move?)from Jack’s life to Chuck’s life. In Delorean he says he gambled ten million that Chuck loved her and that he would return the money, why not show something of why Sarah loves Chuck so that Jack could have his A-ha moment.

    Great ending unfortunately my recording kicked out just before the last set of commercials, I’ll have to record the Wednesday rebroadcast on space channel.

    • TomM says:

      I agree with your minor quibble regarding Sarah not explaining to Jack why she loves Chuck, but this is certainly not new. Her Cat Squad friends didn’t “get” her relationship with Chuck either and she never explained. To her credit, though, she has never wavered in her love for him even in the face of their skepticism. The only person we have seen from her past that would have embraced her relationship with Chuck is her grandmother.

      • jkl says:

        According to DR she was supposed to defend him in Cat Squad, or rather brag about him. Sadly that got cut.

      • atcDave says:

        Time is always the enemy on commercial television. I really wish, when the discs come, some of those deleted scenes would be re-edited back into the episode where they belong. Oh well…

      • ArmySFC says:

        dave…wouldn’t it be great if for all shows they put out the unedited for time episodes?

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah army, we see that with movies all the time. I’m guessing there just isn’t nearly as much money in TV show sales. But we’ve seen so many excellent scenes deleted from the show (Sarah’s talk with Casey from First Date being one of my favorites) it would be awesome to see them plugged back in.

    • Ernie Davis says:

      It would be a nice option on some special edition DVD to have the deleted scenes back, but the problem might be where to draw the line. I remember Fedak joking about one of the directors delivering a 90 minute directors cut! He was likely exaggerating a bit, but I’d watch it! Maybe we should petition WB to re-release old episodes with longer cuts either online or DVD/BR to raise money for Chuck?

      • atcDave says:

        That’s an intriguing idea Ernie, I know I’d buy it. And I’d happily watch a 90 minute director’s cut! That actually sounds like a dream come true. We know some of our plot holes and inconsistencies we complain about would be fixed by that. But they’d need to be careful, because some we’ve seen are clearly alternates that actually don’t flow with what aired (remember the pizza dinner scene that was cut from Break-Up? Beautiful and fun scene, but its clearly either/or with the way the episode actually started, they can’t do both).

  19. Crumby says:

    Also call back to DeLorean, Sarah said back then that she didn’t think Jack would be all that proud to know she was CIA. Looks like she was wrong! 🙂

  20. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Wedding Planner (4.21) | Chuck This

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