The ConMan Returneth
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?