THINKLING AND JOE GO OVER LAST DETAILS
The sunrise diffuses a rosy glow over Burbank and … Everything is perfect. With Chuck and Sarah’s wedding just a few days away, Ellie and Devon and Morgan are bending over backwards (Morgan quite literally) to protect them from anything that’s stressful … taking care of the last details … making everything MAGICAL! so Chuck and Sarah can do something romantic. Her pre-wedding jitters having been erased by their practice vows, Sarah is sooo ready for this wedding … and her romantic day off! She nuzzles Chuck awake, “Today we have a day off from the CIA. Today is about you and me and our wedding.” Let the romance begin.
Nothing can go wrong WHATEVER CAN GO WRONG … WILL GO WRONG.
The spy world abhors a stress vacuum, so naturally this particular vacuum is about to be filled with … um, stress. Once again Chuck and Sarah’s real world is breached, and they find themselves taking care of a uniquely bizarre set of pre-wedding details that only spies could imagine. With Casey’s knock on the door, their romantic day takes a left turn and leads them the long way around, through South America and Russia, to get to their rehearsal dinner. We ride along through the bumps and curves of danger, hilarity, gastronomical abominations, and familial altercations, which are followed by love, understanding, and forgiveness — Chuck-style. Woven throughout is the enduring Chuck theme of protecting the ones you love … and the ones they love.
To Love and Protect
A Chuck flash, a few leaps, a somersault with a half twist, general awe from everyone. Done. Morgan saved (protected). The romantic day begins … again.
Across the courtyard Alex asks her dad to protect Morgan. The number of people Casey needs to protect is growing. Because he loves his daughter, he promises to keep her boyfriend safe, by keeping him away from dangerous missions.
Meanwhile, another parent is doing what she can to shield her loved ones from danger. Oops. MamaB is captured by Vivian Volkoff and wiley Riley. Now who needs protecting? Chuck and Sarah’s romantic day is postponed … again. They’re off to rescue Chuck’s mom. While Chuck is focused on protecting his mom, Sarah is focused not only on protecting Chuck’s mom but also on protecting Chuck from losing her again, right before their wedding.
See you in Colombia.
To Protect Against All Threats, Both Foreign … and Domestic
Casey: Come on let’s go before your girls kill each other.
Chuck: You don’t have to tell me twice.
Actually, it’s not that bad. They’re not pointing guns at each other. (Mom, this is my girlfriend Sarah. Sarah, this is my mom, Mary. I don’t know how to say this exactly, but please don’t kill each other.) That was a long time ago and a lot of water under the Bartowski bridges. Since then Mary and Sarah have bonded (not that they’re apt to gush about it over tea or anything). It’s a bond forged from shared experience, shared understanding, and a shared love. Even so, it was inevitable that these two strong women would ultimately knock heads.
Well, to start with Sarah was already a little peeved that Mary inserted herself into their case uninvited. Of course, Chuck could be right; maybe she’s just trying to protect them. Call it a wedding present. (How many couples do you know who are registered at Weapons R Us? A Norseman Device? No they don’t have one of those, yet.) OK fine. But her methods are a bit rogue-y … no back up, no contingency. Well, she has been rogue-ish for 20 years, so should we really be surprised?
Also not surprising, Mary doesn’t want to abort the mission. She explains to Sarah (Sweetheart) that she knows the wedding is important, but so is the nation’s safety. (Don’t they get it? She’s protecting the nation … and her family.) Sarah throws around words like stubborn and failed mission. These don’t go over too well with Mary. Chuck takes the easy way out and goes with Casey to find the Norseman, leaving his girls to sort things out.
Sarah is protecting Chuck. (Doesn’t Mary get it? She was absent for 20 years of his life. The least she can do is be at his wedding.) Finally it spills out, “Maybe [you can take care of yourself], but now Chuck and the rest of his family are in harms way two days before his wedding.” (Yeah, I know it’s their wedding as Sarah so designated earlier … in bed … when everything was perfect, but for the purposes of explaining things to her mother-in-law, it’s his wedding.) Mary pouts. Sarah does have a point.
Sarah stood up for Chuck to his mom. He didn’t do the same. In his focus to protect his mom and get everyone to safety, he lost sight of the other person who needs his protection in other ways. Sarah is so strong that it’s easy to forget there are some areas where she needs his protection, like from his mom. Casey clues him in. On the way home, he apologizes and reassures a quiet, angry Sarah.
Almost immediately his promise is put to the test. The sparks continue to fly between Mother/Spy and Daughter-in-law/Spy as Mary tries to protect Chuck and Sarah from their own mission. Mary throws around words like fix your mistake and clean up [your mess]. These don’t go over too well with Sarah. However, this time Chuck protects Sarah from his mom … much to his mother’s shock. She is the mother and senior agent, after-all. But Chuck’s not 9 years old any more. He’s a spy, the head of his team, and protector of his soon-to-be wife (who has more than earned her own stripes). Morgan, who has a suicidal habit of putting himself between quarreling spies, pulls Chuck aside to protect him from Mary’s protests. The air still crackles from the conflict, but at least this time Chuck ended up on the right side of the conflict.
OK. See you in Moscow.
Protecting Them — Keeping the Promise
Since it’s cold and snowy, Casey offers to let Mary wait in the van. Mary decides it might be chillier for her in the van, “Nah, it’s alright. I think I’ll give Chuck and Sarah a little space on this one.” Parenting isn’t easy.
Mary: It’s hard to have kids. Can’t always protect them.
Casey: Yeah, or their idiot boyfriends.
And so it is that the two least experienced parents on the planet bond.
Having just spoken the words, Mary’s worst nightmare materializes before her eyes. Riley is about to shoot Chuck in the back of the head, and she can’t draw her gun fast enough. The shot rings out. … But it’s Riley, not Chuck, who drops with a hole in his head. Sarah’s got Chuck’s back. Afterward, in the briefest moment when they hold each other, it’s Chuck and Sarah, plus no one. C: You saved me … S: Always.
What more could a Mother/Spy want?
Thinkling Takes in the Rehearsal Dinner
Sarah may not have gotten her romantic day off, but she is really enjoying the rehearsal dinner. Did you see the way she charged into the courtyard, dragging Chuck behind her? As for the courtyard, what Chuck and Sarah said: “Guys, wow. The courtyard, it looks unbelievable.” Ellie more than met her goal, and everything is MAGICAL! It was a sweet moment for the two couples, a culmination of 4 years of Awesome’s hints and Ellie’s hopes. And it’s real.
Sarah’s nostalgic look at the fountain couldn’t be more perfect. The scene of so many meaningful moments and milestones, and now this … so much she didn’t know she wanted but now wants nothing more than “to spend and learn and love the rest of her life with Chuck.”
Chuck’s surprise (which brought a questioning look from Sarah and a panic face from Ellie) turned out surprisingly well. In fact it was great. I loved watching it, and I loved watching others watching it, especially the women: Sarah, Mary, Ellie, and Alex.
To Love and Protect — Til Death Do Us Part
The tinkling of Mary’s water glass calls the gathering to attention (before Chuck’s kisses advance scandalously far up Sarah’s arm). I don’t know what the other guests see, maybe just a traditional rehearsal dinner toast given by one of the parents of the groom … probably not very different than the last one they heard.
I see an absent father, smiling in affection and satisfaction that his life’s mission is complete — his family together, happy. I see a minor miracle … a family moment that might never have happened were it not for the determination of this groom and the courage of his bride.
Like so many things surrounding Mary Bartowski, the scene is layered. The guests hear one thing. Ellie and Devon hear more than the guests hear, but less than Chuck and Sarah hear. Since this is a toast to Sarah, the deepest connection, is between Mother/Spy and Daughter-in-law/Spy.
Many of you might not know me, but I am Chuck’s and Ellie’s mom. Truth be told, I was gone for a long time. The guests’ curiosity is peeked, but whatever they conjure up to explain her long absence won’t come within a light year of the truth. For Ellie and Chuck, the words are a bitter sweet reminder of all they lost and of the happiness of having their family back together. Devon always did what he could to compensate for Ellie’s pain, and Sarah joined Chuck’s quest to bring Mary home. Chuck, even more than his mom, knows the legacy of the family business, its nobility and its pain, while Sarah is the only one who understands Mary’s 20 year hell, (“I was lucky. I got you. Your mom … got Volkoff.”)
Now that I am back in their lives, I sometimes overcompensate. Now there’s something everyone understands. All moms overcompensate. True, but which other mom’s overcompensation forced her children to break her out of a Columbian holding cell and recover a top secret weapon from Moscow on their way to the rehearsal dinner? This is a direct apology spoken to Chuck and Sarah for the preceding two days. Apology noted and received with affection and understanding.
The guests smile and nod, blissfully unaware of the deeper meaning of the scene.
The rest of the toast is just for Sarah and spoken only to Sarah. The communication, both verbal and non verbal, is a touching reminder of everything they’ve been through and their unique bond from the beginning until now.
But lucky for me, my soon-to-be daughter-in-law is very forgiving. Chuck’s forgiving nature is so obvious that we sometimes overlook Sarah’s capacity to forgive (seen as early as Helicopter and Wookie). Mary’s direct reference is probably to the past 48 hours, but this is far from a new revelation. Mary has had ample time to observe and interact with Sarah. Sarah’s capacity to forgive and understand was a crucial element of the mom hunt/rescue and their relationship all along. More than that, her understanding was more than just a passive attitude. It was an active commitment. Mrs. Bartowski, I came here to help you take down Volkoff and to get you the hell out of here. In part, Sarah’s capacity to forgive helped bring Mary home to her family … to this moment.
She’s never heard me say it, but Sarah is one of the strongest and one of the most amazing women that I have ever met. It’s obvious isn’t it? We all know it. Chuck, Morgan, Ellie, Devon … they all know it. I just don’t think Sarah knows it. In fact, I doubt she’s ever heard it (except from Chuck). Sadly, her own family and her own mother don’t know what a treasure she is. That ends now. Her new family treasures their newest member.
The words could be applied to Sarah in so many ways. But specifically, what Sarah did for Mary was stunning. It showed exceptional strength and was nothing short of amazing.
Mary’s words, spoken with genuine affection directly to Sarah, specifically as her daughter(in-law), touch Sarah in a unique way. Their effect is visible, and not lost on Chuck. Sarah’s eyes are a wee bit watery, as the affirmation, especially from a mother, begins a healing long overdue.
So I would like to propose this toast to her. Sarah, thank you for taking care of my Chuck. Thank you for shooting Riley in the head and saving my son. (The guests smile at the typical remark, having nary a clue what it means.)
The Mary/Sarah story comes full circle, with this acknowledgment of a promise kept. Not long ago, in the family basement, Mary and Alexei Volkoff bound Chuck and Sarah and planted explosives around them. As Mary adjusted Sarah’s ropes, she handed her a way out, “Protect him.” From that exchange, a fragile bond took root in a shared love. Since then their bond has deepened through a unique kinship, a shared mission, and a battle for survival. Despite all of that, though, the root of their bond is their love for Chuck Bartowski and their fierce determination to protect him.
May you have many more adventures together, and may you always keep each other safe. Spoken as only a Mother/Spy can, these words are directed to both Sarah and Chuck. Love and Protection is a two way street … and a family affair. With these words Mary includes Sarah in the protection equation. Before she asked Sarah to protect Chuck. Now she asks Chuck to protect Sarah. At the same time she acknowledges Chuck as the Protector he is, no longer her Protect-ee.
Confident in their love for each other and their ability to keep each other safe, she gives them her blessing and sends them off on their journey for two, little knowing how they are all about to be tested.
You never know what adventures are just around the next curve or what dangers will demand everything you have to protect the ones you love. Within minutes Sarah, the strong amazing woman, Chuck’s Lover/Protector, lies unconscious, under the ardent protection of her own Lover/Protector and her new family.