Today’s recap/review is Chuck vs. the Wedding Planner. I missed out on the first go round of discussions, so hopefully my thoughts are moderately original. As I rewatched the episode, I kept coming back to this thought: if you know all the cons, you can never be a sucker, but in this episode, just who is conning who? More after the break.
First let me say I love this episode. I loved DeLorean too, which makes this episode all the better for me. Jack Burton is one of those characters I have grown to love, in spite of myself. I say that because quintessentially, Jack is a bad guy. He cons people and is a thief. I know, I know, a good con man can leave town whenever he wants to. I guess we can discuss that more later.
So on to the heart of the matter: who is conning who? We start with Daphne Peralta, wedding planner and con woman extraordinaire. She manages to con Sarah (and a lot of others, but since Sarah is supposed to be an expert on these things, it makes it all the worse) and Chuck out of their money.
This leads Sarah to Jack. The whole exchange was excellent. Sarah lighting up while talking about Chuck and subconsciously fingering where her ring is supposed to be. Talk about a “tell.” Jack shocked that she is still in Burbank, with the schnook, and having already figured out (snooped in her purse) that she is CIA. What else is his daughter with holding from him?
Jack stays one step ahead of everyone for the rest of the episode. From swiping Sarah’s drivers license to find her place, to manipulating Devon and finding out about the wedding, to the daddy-daughter dance at the wedding reception con, Jack has things figured out. I thought the dance exchange was a bit manipulative on Jack’s part. I would have preferred if he had started out by saying the piece about dancing with his daughter at a wedding and then saying he was sorry he couldn’t make her and Chuck’s wedding. I just didn’t like Sarah having to feel bad about being happy and finding a life and great love. Maybe I’m being nitpicky, but that part just feels off to me. Moving on from that, Jack’s speech to Papa Klüg regarding daughters and being bad fathers was on target. An added bonus was Kathleen getting to see Casey as the hero that he really is, up close and personal.
The final straw is dinner at the Bartowski-Walker residence. Sarah doesn’t dare to hope that Jack will be there for her, when she arrives home for dinner or in life, because when you know all the cons you can never be a sucker. You see Sarah’s walls start to go back up, only to be slowed by her supportive, articulate schnook. Chuck is disappointed for her and is there to comfort her. His not saying a word and just holding her said all it needed to-he wasn’t going anywhere and she could count on him. The final redemptive moment was Jack’s note to Sarah. I think Yvonne played it so well. It struck me that not only did Jack approve, but he saw the goodness in Chuck and that they had their adventures, but in a different (and CIA sanctioned) way. His note made me want to cry-in a good way.
Amy, you like Jack in spite of yourself. But let me tell ya, I like him period! The man’s a hoot, as is this episode.
Chuck vs. The Wedding Planner starts in 1988 with a young (about 8 years old, but we know how TPTB like to mess with the time line on occasion) Sarah Walker showing us “The Cookie Con”. Dad’s taught her well! The little tyke’s got it down and knows how to extract every last cent from the – ahem – customer. The take this week is something like $2K, and lil’ Sarah’s even managed to put away some of that, her allowance, in her piggy bank.
A piggy bank? Yup. It’s for her future adventures with her dad.
Back in the present, our fav. couple sealing the deal with one Daphne Peralta (played by the underrated Lisa LoCicero). It takes about 30 seconds before they’re handing her a check for more than ten times the amount little Sarah cleared in 1988; $26,230 to be exact. You can just see Chuck’s thought bubble. “Wow… that’s everything. Sarah is worth it (sigh).”
Daphne is, apparently, ten times the con artist that Sarah was because C&S discover that Daphne has disappeared into the ether with their money. We’re left with the horrible feeling that Chuck is still this naive waif who is always going to be a victim, and Sarah has changed so much that she’s now as much of a wimp as he.
For about 5 seconds!
Chuck: I just don’t understand. She came so highly recommended – by the Internet!
Sarah: I should have seen this coming. She asked for our money up front; she gave us a 40% discount! You know, there is such a thing… I am not a chump – or a sucker!
Chuck: Well, me neither. I mean, we’re not a couple of sappy, helpless lovebirds.
Sarah: Yeah. That’s right. We’re CIA agents. Daphne Peralta – she chose the wrong couple to con.
Chuck: That’s us. Right, honey?
Sarah: Of course I mean us!
Heh! They’re not vicious, but Daphne still picked the wrong couple to con. And that’s the wonderful tone that pervades the entire episode, starting with Jack.
Now it’s time for a story. I had a friend once who did Tarot readings. For me, she pulled a card she called “The Thief” and then proceeded to laugh and laugh. I don’t believe in that kind of stuff myself, but I was still a little chagrined to be associated with that. At least, I was until she explained to me me that it’s not necessarily a negative thing. Everyone operates to their own advantage sometimes. But when it’s combined with “strength” (apparently another card I drew), that made me a “rogue agent”. The Rogue always has insider knowledge that lets the group go beyond it’s intended aims, she said.
Doesn’t that describe Jack perfectly? Told you I like him! He initially turns down Sarah’s request for help, but not after discovering that Sarah’s gone from being a con to being a mark, and that she’s a CIA agent to boot. That’s gotta be Chuck’s fault, right?
[Now imagine Joe grabbing Jack by the lapels and saying “Hey, Jack! At least she’s done *something*. You’re still trying to sell the Nakamichi Complex like you were two years ago!”]
It’s okay. I’ve calmed down. Jack has a change of heart and comes to Burbank to help his daughter and to find out why she keeps pulling on her ring finger. When it comes to Sarah, no one stands between them, not even “grandma”. It’s heartwarming, in a very Burton sort of way.
And Sarah convincing Chuck to fake a flash is hilarious. She describes him as somewhere between seeing a very bright light and tasting something very sour, and then proceeds to make the funniest “flash-face” ever. You can’t help but smile. Beckman, however, isn’t quite so amused when she discovers that she’s been conned by her own agents into allocating resources from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI into finding Peralta.
They get her, too. But that’s only the beginning of the adventure.
Daphne’s got a client list that includes the Brothers Klüg and their dangerous father, who are Hungarian scientists and Iranian spies selling “The Zephyr”, a device with all of Iran’s nuclear research on it. Key fact #1, it’s portable. Key fact #2, one of the brothers always has it on him, and they are never in the same place at the same time.
It’s a shell game! Sarah’s been teaching that game to her (stuffed animal) friends for years. The trick is to get the brothers to come to their sister’s wedding, a wedding that Daphne had no intention of throwing. The second trick is to find the package. If you’ve ever seen the shell game played, you know that where ever the package is, it’s not under one of the shells. Who reminds Sarah of this? Why, her father, of course.
I could wax poetic for hours about the scenes in the wedding hall. The music that DJ Carmichael chooses is perfect – The Bomb by Pigeon John, What I Like About You by The Romantics and the classic At Last by Etta James. That’s the music Jack and Sarah dance to. He always was a hell of a dancer, you know.
But all of that is overshadowed by the hilarity of Sarah becoming a wedding planner herself, complete with Daphne’s accent. Sigh. Is it me? Or is Yvonne doing any accent the best thing ever???
We can’t leave scene without mentioning Casey. When we left Casey and Alex in the previous episode, they had decided to tell Kathleen that Casey was still alive, and sure enough, Alex has brought her into the Buy More to meet again after nearly twenty years. But that’s not the way Casey wants Kathleen to see him, as an overgrown stock boy in the Buy More.
That is what she sees, though, and Casey has no opportunity to explain. I’m not sure he has the inclination, either. He’s a proud man, after all, and apologizing for anything in his life, including the Buy More, simply isn’t in him.
It’s not Casey’s time to be a hero either. He doesn’t need to prove himself. He does need to be a father, though. The father Klüg has taken the most vulnerable member of Team B hostage, Morgan, and it’s Jack, not Casey who knows where his soft spot is.
Klüg: You wouldn’t risk partner’s life. You won’t pull trigger.
Jack: You couldn’t be more wrong, my friend. Listen. Can I call you ‘friend’?
Chuck: What is your dad doing?
Sarah: Just give him a minute.
Jack: This man is going to shoot you and he is not going to miss. But I’m hoping that he doesn’t have to kill you. You see, I – I’ve got a daughter too. [points to Sarah] And based on the situation here, I’m thinkin’ you’re not the best father in the world. Heh! Join the club. I guess the only thing we can really hope for is that someday our little girls might be happy despite us. And yours is. She’s upstairs right now, in her white dress. Here you are, about to take a bullet in the head. So, do one thing for her, friend. Put the gun down.
Like I said, I like Jack.
Chuck wants Jack to stay for the wedding. At least, he wants Jack to stay for dinner. Sarah knows better. Her life with him has been that kind of disappointment. It’s hard (read: impossible) to think that Jack has been a good father, and he’s not a man who’s going to change. He also knows that “The Schnook” is looking out for his princess, and she’ll be all right with him – there’s no reason to stick around.
But Jack’s not been neglecting his daughter. He’s been filling her piggy bank for twenty years, not spending a penny of that money. Sarah will get to have her white wedding, we know.
I have to ask: is Jack a bad father? Maybe. But Sarah loves him. That’s good enough for me.
I love you like grave danger
Like moon shining disguise
When I wake up with your makeup
And spread blush cross the sky
Like a meteor crush
I’ma tell the world
Been a million years full of tears
But I found my girl