To the guests, it looks like your normal wedding. Beautiful church and flowers, picture-perfect attendants, handsome groom, stunning bride. Vows are exchanged and rings … OK the bread-tie thingies aren’t very normal, but to each his own. Everyone can easily imagine the week’s preparations and festivities leading up to that walk down the aisle. Fun times.
They have no idea what a long aisle it has been for this wedding party … or that their week’s preparations have been anything but normal. Who would believe that the bridesmaids were delayed, because the coup they were staging took longer than expected … or that the bride and groom had to break his mother out of a Columbian prison the day before the rehearsal dinner … or that just yesterday the radiant bride was radioactive, and the maid of honor and her husband were applying all their medical skills to keep her alive. No one would believe that earlier, while they still slept, the groom — this groom, Chuck Bartowski — parachuted in from Moscow with the antidote for his bride’s food radiation poisoning.
There are 9 people, though, who know the truth … that the aisle was long and uncertain, and that making it to the altar was a precious gift. For them, this moment — each expression and every word — is laden with meaning and emotion. As with most Bartowski events, there’s something more than meets the eye. There’s what touches the heart.
The Little Bearded Guy With the White Stole …
The groom’s best friend … Morgan. He’s been looking forward to being his best friend’s best man for a long time. Today he is Best friend, Priest, and Taxi man. Everybody knows how busy he’s been as best man: the bachelor party, rehearsal dinner preparations, the tuxes, the rings (aha), and any other stuff that comes up.
Other stuff. Like, today he’s in a beautiful church, participating with friends in a joyous occasion. But four days ago, he was in bleak Moscow vying with weapons dealers in a deadly game, taking a bullet in the process. Instead of giving a toast at the rehearsal dinner, he was spreading rumors of food poisoning to cover-up the assassination attempt on the bride. Instead of getting the bridesmaids to their hotel, he asked them to provide backup in a gun fight with the CIA. You know … other stuff … like that.
Morgan was at his best-friend/best-man best in Cliff Hanger, from the moment he joined the others at the hospital, “She’s gonna be fine, right?” until his final, “As–you–wish.” While MamaB, Chuck, and Casey run missions to get the antidote, Morgan stays with Sarah. Every time we see him, he is by her side … holding her hand, sitting hip to hip on the edge of her bed, resting his forearm on her leg, telling her Chuck stories. While doctors do everything for her medically, he does everything he can to tether her to life, until Chuck returns to save her. This is a more serious version of his staying awake to keep the plane aloft.
I loved his tale of Chuck chasing down bullies and demanding the return of Morgan’s pants, under threat of calling down the Intergalactic Firestorm Federation. Sarah loved it, too. Her giggle in the wedding bubbles up in fond acknowledgment of their private joke. Morgan has been there for Sarah whenever it counted (Phase 3, Balcony), and this is no exception. She is blessed to have inherited such a loyal friend. Whatever the guests may see in the weepy, bearded man with the white stole, there’s so much more than meets the eye.
Bridesmaids Don’t Pack Heat and Other Myths
Ah, the bride’s beautiful friends … Carina and Zondra. They look happy for their friend. The assumptions about their pre-wedding festivities are fairly common. (Well, except for Jeff and Lester’s, and we don’t want to know what their assumptions are … about anything.) A luncheon for old times sake or a day at the spa, cucumber facials and drinks with little umbrellas, laughter and girl talk. … Ha! Where the Cat Squad goes, trouble follows.
I loved the meet in the car. Casey withholds his sarcasm for Sarah’s sake, and Carina and Zondra meet Chuck’s mom … the mother of all spies, so to speak. No luncheon, but a mission for old times sake. Instead of cucumber facials and drinks with little umbrellas, they get hand-gun face-off’s and Russians with big parachutes … and machine guns (there had to be machine guns). No time for girl talk when there’s talk of arrest. And the best laughter belongs to the ones who laugh last … that would be Chuck and his spy friends. Oh, and I imagine their assessment of Chuck is now stratospheres above “doofus.” Mm-hmm! Sarah is one lucky lady. Their smiles at the wedding say it all.
Not so long ago, Sarah thought she wouldn’t have a friend at the party. Come to find out, she has friends and bridesmaids who would put their jobs and their lives on the line for her.
The Doctor of Honor and the Groomsman Doctor
I’ve never seen Devon smile so big, and Ellie looks as happy as I always imagined she would. Everyone knows that Ellie has a lot to smile about. Her little brother is marrying the woman of his dreams, and everything is perfect. She’s done a great job with her MoH duties, and today she’s high on the moment. Tomorrow she can rest, because being the Maid of Honor is hard work. … If they only knew.
Today she watches her brother’s dream come true. Yesterday she presided over his worst nightmare. No wedding gown, no scented bath. This MoH drew her bride from an icy tub and dressed her in a hospital gown. Instead of hair pins and perfume, she administered IV’s and antidotes. Her only goal was to get the bride to the church alive; on time would be pure bonus. Mostly she hoped beyond hoping that she would be signing her marriage certificate rather than her death certificate.
Ellie and Devon kept Sarah alive, no doubt about it. It was great to watch them function as a team. The ER doors burst open, and Ellie and Devon take charge. Ellie-the-puzzle-solver tries to figure out the root of the problem, analyzing thoreum and all the possibilities. Devon acts swiftly to treat the immediate medical need. He compartmentalizes a little better than she does. Even in full doctor mode, Ellie never stops being sister/in-law. If we didn’t already know how dire the situation was, Ellie’s face tells us. My heart breaks with hers as she hears Chuck’s promise to fix things. Ellie is the one who knows the score … and the odds. Through her facial expressions and her words, we know them, too.
Today we smile with them, knowing that this Matron of Honor and her doctor-husband have more to smile about than meets the eye.
Mother/Spy and Partner/Brother/Friend
Mary and Casey are unknown to most of the guests. The Buymorons are probably wondering when Casey went soft and how Mary had such tall children. Others smile as the mother of the groom wipes away a tear and smiles her happiness. They’re touched by the fondness in Casey’s eyes when the vows are exchanged. I think it’s safe to say, though, that nobody can imagine the history that brought these two to this event. For those of us who know, however, those small gestures hold a world of meaning.
Casey’s progression from hardened agent to partner to friend to, dare I say it … the big brother of TeamB has been wonderful and heartwarming. He was all of those things to Chuck and Sarah in Cliff Hanger: from hovering in the ER and challenging Chuck to man up to his promise to Sarah (brother) … to breaking Chuck out of a CIA holding cell (partner) and giving him his clean identities (friend). Sometimes he was all three, “Shut up. You’re Chuck Bartowski, the second best spy I’ve ever worked with, and now you’re going to go save the best one.” … “You get the antidote. You get it to Sarah, and you disappear. You do whatever it takes. You save her.” Wow.
I loved his partnership with Mary. They started out with all the rapport of a cat and dog, then slowly progressed to oil and vinagre. Finally they found common ground not only as spies, but as parents. What with Casey’s filling the shoes of Chuck’s and Sarah’s big brother, I think that makes him and Mary some sort of spy-in-laws.
The mother of the groom enjoyed the wedding as much as anyone. Every glimpse we get of her she’s smiling … big. No one would guess that not so long ago she never dreamed she would get to see her son’s wedding … until this bride risked everything to give her that hope, “Mrs. Bartowski, I came here to help you take down Volkoff and to get you the hell out of here.” This MoG has more to celebrate than meets the eye.
A man’s wedding day is understandably emotional for his mother: all those memories and milestones that come flooding back:
Helping him find his classroom on his first day of school … helping him navigate a super-max penetentiary to jail-break an arms dealer. Teaching him to ride a bike … monitoring his first motorcycle ride at 250 mph. Worrying about playground bullies … watching him fight bigger bullies for higher stakes — and get tasered. Saying good-bye and sending him off to college … saying good-bye and sending him off for good with untraceable identities. Her tears are well-earned.
The unknown groomsman and the mother of the groom … typical fixtures at a normal wedding … not.
The Glowing Bride and The Dashing Groom
The week before the wedding is typically a bit stressful for the bride and groom, but the stress this couple experienced was hardly typical. The week began with some pre-wedding nerves. After that, typical vanished into thin air.
It comes as no surprise that Sarah’s only qualm about the wedding was having to exchange intimate feelings in front of a crowd. Even after Chuck stirred those feelings to consciousness, she couldn’t admit them, even to herself. The beauty of season four has been watching the vulnerable, free-spirited woman-in-love emerge as she opened up to Chuck. Breathtaking. But in front of a crowd of people? … Let’s not push it.
So … a dry run. Practice makes … perfect. We’ll be ready for anything. Someone really should give Sarah a glossary of things she should never say.
So, springing mom from a Columbian prison intruded on their romantic day-off, but they were ready for it (check). Intercepting a deadly weapon in Moscow wasn’t on their nuptial to-do list, but they were ready for it (check). Sarah being poisoned by the Norseman … nobody is ready for that, ever. Ready or not, Chuck stepped up. He did everything, risked everything, and hoped everything. He held nothing back and won it all. That’s why for 9 people, his vows aren’t just inspiring, they’re extraordinary.
Words just don’t cut it. Two days ago Chuck knelt down with words, “Baby, I’m going to fix this. We’re going to get married and be together … forever. I love you,” and stood up for action.
The only person who can get us the antidote is Volkoff. More words. Casey tested them, “It’ll take weeks to get clearance,” and Chuck gave them feet, Then I guess we’re just gonna have to break in tonight.
Missed him by this much. Volkoff is gone, and we meet the man who makes Casey go pale. Decker tests Chuck’s word’s, too, “Now stand down or get buried.”
No. Simple, one-word answer. The explanation that followed … all action.
One more test, “Chuck you realize that if you go against Decker, you’re going against the CIA. You and Sarah will have to disappear forever. You’ll never see your family again.”
Chuck stands at the point of no return, one moment that will determine his and Sarah’s future. I’ll do anything I need to do to save Sarah.
How do I express the depth of my love for you … or my dreams for our future?
By saving Sarah’s life … whatever it takes. Because she is. his. future.
I loved the motorcycle sequence … OK mostly Mary’s freaking out (I can relate) and Casey’s sideways glances. Oh, and Hartley’s screams.
After rocketing a charmingly confused Hartley into this decade and the new millennium, they’re off to the hospital to make up a batch of iridium, atomic # 77 on your microwave dial (in case you were wondering … oh, and don’t try this at home, kids).
Iridium flows like hope through Sarah’s veins. Maybe their friends will get to hear her vows after all.
Chuck clings to the memory. If only he can spend the rest of his life with her looking at him just like that. Happy. He wants to make her happy … always. He chided her for her few words, especially compared to his eloquent tome. Now, he has no words.
Chuck, you’re a gift. You’re a gift I never dreamed I could want or need, and every day I will show you that you’re a gift that I deserve. You make me the best person I could ever hope to be, and I want to spend and learn and love the rest of my life with you.
Simple. Perfect. She took his breath away. He still can’t believe she see’s him that way. He’s the one who doesn’t deserve her.
Right now, there’s only one gift that matters … life.
It’s not working. Chuck presses for ideas, and his mom comes up with the answer. A better iridium, available only from Volkoff Industries … in Moscow. Mom’s got the info; Casey will provide the ride, and Hartley is the key (or the face) to get them into Volkoff. They are on a roll.
… Or the fact that I will fight for you every day
Decker. Doesn’t he have somewhere else to be? Apparently not.
Hartley was too funny, especially considering he used to be Volkoff. It’s a good thing, because the rest of the scene was one of the harshest ever on Chuck. Chuck never quits, never stops, never gives up. There are certainly no words to express the measure of his love in these brutal moments … or its impact on Mary and Casey … and Hartley. It’s one thing to kneel by Sarah’s bed. It’s quite another to be brought to his knees by tasers, as he fights for her with all he has.
His love inspires. It made the Colonel go soft during Chuck’s vows. It gave Mary the strength to let him go. It emboldened Hartley to follow through at Volkoff Industries.
Chuck may not have the Intersect, but he’s got a plan. With Hartley in tow, they go to Moscow to get the antidote.
Hartley bails, leaving Chuck with no Intersect and no plan. He is completely alone, in the heart of enemy territory. Just like being surrounded by Decker’s men, the same rules apply: never quit, never stop, never give up.
There’s more than one way to fight for Sarah. Chuck plays to his strengths: the truth, humilty, and appealing to the flicker of goodness he believes each person possesses. This is not a moment of weakness or cowardice, but one of strength and courage. I love the scene.
Vivian is touched, but unyielding. She clings to her anger and focuses it unjustly on Chuck. Hartley’s appearance keeps hope alive, as he uses exactly the same game plan as Chuck. The truth. Humility. Hartley’s simple truth exonerates Chuck’s family and exposes Riley’s lies.
Chuck and Hartley show Vivian a kind of love she’s never known. Hartley offers her a father’s love in his sincere words and invitation to a better life. Chuck shows her utterly selfless love, when he offers up his safety and his freedom for Sarah’s life. Together they tap the vein of goodness deep inside her and draw her back from the abyss.
Antidote in hand, there’s one more battle to win. Chuck has the plan, and Hartley/Volkoff has the resources.
… Or that our kids will be like little super heroes, with little capes (or parachutes, maybe?).
This man and his love never give up. It was a cheer-worthy scene: Chuck parachuting onto the hospital mall and facing his armed enemies with steely confidence. He confronts the man that tasered him and never wavers or winces, even when all the guns are trained on him.
“You’re all under arrest.” Decker is such a smirker, and we know what happens to smirkers. I’ll see your arrest and raise you 19 Russians. Ha! The Russians are coming. The Russians are coming. So many Russians.
I’ll just prove it to you every day for the rest of our lives.
One last move. Chuck walks right up to Decker and threatens him and the government with public exposure and embarrassment if anything happens to Sarah or his family or friends. Checkmate.
The memory of their dry run drives him, and he flies on the hope that he’s not too late for them to “tie the knot” for real.
You can count on me.
Squeee3. The wedding was absolutely beautiful. Best I can remember ever on TV. Sarah has never looked happier or more beautiful. The walk to the limo was beautiful as well.
The limo ride was another lovely moment. Such a happy couple. Affection warring with annoyance at Morgan’s Kodak moment. Mrs. Chuck Bartowski. Mr. Sarah Walker. The reaction to Hartley’s gift held just the right amount of trepidation. He’s no longer Volkoff, but still … we all know what Alexei would have left under their seat. Come to think of it, it was sort of a bomb … but in a good way.
I loved the cliffy. The idea of an evil puppet master and CIA conspiracy. Chuck and Sarah out of the CIA, wealthy, owners of the Buymore, operating their own spy business in the old Castle. A ton of potential. And with Fedak’s recent metaphor, Hart to Hart meets The A-Team, I can hardly wait for S5.
A huge shout out to Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton. I so hope that LH returns next season. She is such a great mother/spy. I love the dynamics that have developed between her and the other characters. I want more, please. I can’t imagine the Bartowski’s without her. TD did a masterful job as Tuttle/Volkoff/Hartley. He was totally believable and utterly entertaining. Since they didn’t kill him, maybe Hartley can come back for a visit.