(wow these titles are getting Ernie-esque 😛 JK Ernie!).
The mark of a good Chuck episode is one that embraces that which defines its spectrum of genres: dramedy, sci-fi, action. The mark of a great one is one that does this while infusing its trademark heart. Chuck vs. the Wedding Planner was great. Full of heart, sentimentality, humor, and a backstory to boot. It’s no surprise that most Sarah centered episodes bring with it Chuck’s finest because like Chuck, Sarah Walker has stolen our hearts. Wedding Planner is no different.
Gary Cole was once again fantastic. He simultaneously brings into the role the deviousness of Jack Burton’s chosen profession while balancing it with a father’s love. His puzzlement of Sarah still being in Burbank with the “Schnook,” worse, living with him was gold. Sarah may not have lived the life of adventure (more on this later) she dreamed of with her father, but she was her father’s daughter. One that shed covers and people as quickly as she shed names, accents and roles, not any longer. At least not completely. Chuck’s changed all that and with Chuck she’s found life’s ultimate adventure.
Jack Burton: I never thought my little girl would settle down. I thought you’d end up more like me. One adventure after another, never staying in one place too long. Isn’t that what you want?
Sarah: It was, I found a home here a good one, and I’m happy. I’m sorry Dad.
During that same scene, with Jack and Sarah dancing probably the only dance they would have in a wedding (per his statement), Chuck’s look of happiness for her to have that moment, to experience that which she probably never even really considered was beautiful.
“Fake it until you make it,” Sarah said during dinner with her father. It’s an interesting line if you consider the history of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. In the beginning what was a fake relationship was real to Sarah, but they were nevertheless just a fake couple, albeit with real emotions. Well today, they’ve made it. Sarah’s finally gotten what it is “she deserves,” Chuck. A man that sticks, one that stays, one that fulfills all the dreams that young Sarah yearned for: “a life of adventure” (a life of adventure was written in the piggybank). Life’s greatest adventure in fact, one that is done together. That which Jack Burton couldn’t and wouldn’t give her.
Speaking of the piggybank, an absolute stroke of genius. A full circle for the child and the man who may not have had a relationship based on truth, but one infused with love all the same. You may have started the episode laughing helplessly at the idea of Chuck exposing himself, of Daphne being netted, of Sarah flash faking (genius!) but you end the episode equally helpless but not with laughter, but with tears. Tears of a heart warmed, a heart made fuller with the realization that whatever kind of man Jack Burton was, he loved his daughter.
It was great to see the con-man’s daughter not be fooled by the father (funny that Chuck was fooled!) but it was even better seeing Sarah take comfort in Chuck. Jack Burton hasn’t changed, he comes and goes into her life on a whim, on a con, just like he did when she was a child, just like Delorean. Though this time, like in Delorean, she no longer had to find comfort from abandonment by teaching stuffed animals a con, she has Chuck. And he makes her happy, gives her a home and with him she can finally live life’s greatest adventure: love.
Casey’s back story was also very well done. Kathleen finally finding out was a welcome event, one made stronger by the manner at which they took care of business. The conversation towards the end, brought with it its own teary resolution, “you finally have everything you’ve ever wanted.” Not quite Kathleen.
All in all the episode was one of Chuck’s finest. Great work by the team of LeJudkins, illustrating their strength as storytellers and building from the foundation that which writers before them have established. This was the quintessential Chuck episode, and very well done. 4.5 pink piggy banks out of 5.