The Way We Were
I hope you’ll pardon my lateness in getting this out. I’ve been looking for an opportunity to watch Chuck vs. The Hack Off for only the second time, and I haven’t found it yet and I feel slightly uninformed! Fully realizing that my impressions of episodes often change dramatically on re-watch, I’ve decided to risk displaying my ignorance, press ahead, and tell you what I’ve been thinking.
Oh, isn’t that a sappy song? It’s a classic! My college girlfriend and I saw that movie when it came out in 1973, staring Robert Redford and Barbara Streisand, and as quaint as it seems now, the movie did have it’s charms. Something in this episode made me think of it, and I know what it was. It was that look Sarah gave Chuck. You know the one – The “Awwww – isn’t he cute?” look?
That was the look Streisand gave Redford when they met again. It was something I was lucky enough to see in 1973 also. [insert blush here :)] The distance makes that time look pretty good to me now.
I think Chuck and Sarah had a twinge of that same nostalgia for a moment, too. Chuck had it when he sat down at the computer, took a swig of that Chardonnay and started to pour over someone else’s code. Hey! I recognize that! I used to read code like that too. Didn’t we all? You can trust me when I say it would take a bottle of Chardonnay to get me to do that again! It’s like trying to read somebody’s mind.
Chuck may feel differently. He rather enjoyed digging into the bytes and bits of the machine code and seemed rather pleased that he could still do it. In fact, he can still do it well, and it felt comfortable to him. Of course it did! That’s what he knows, and has, ever since he coded a version of Zork for his Apple IIe.
Sarah had her nostalgic moment too, and it wasn’t so different from Chuck’s. For her, the moment Gertrude mentioned that, since the age of 16, the spy-life was all she knew, Sarah turned 16 again. Perhaps it was the time Langston Graham introduced himself. Sarah realized that being a spy was just about the only thing she had been doing since, she’s been doing it well and it feels comfortable to her, somehow. She’s been very good at that.
Lest you think Chuck&Sarah are alone in their nostalgia, Casey seems to be enjoying his memories of Minsk too.
But things are different now, in a big way.
There’s a cast member who’s gone missing, who hasn’t been mourned even as much as Emmett or Harry. Did you miss The Intersect? Fact is, it wasn’t even mentioned in the episode. Chuck’s been asking who he is without The Intersect, and although he got his answer from Sarah, it doesn’t mean he feels up to the task. Chuck’s been failing, both as a spy (Taking assignments from Decker, indeed!) and as a businessman. He’s off balance and he knows it.
Sarah’s a married woman now who wants to have a normal life, mostly. But that’s not comfortable to her, and she knew it the moment Gertrude brought it up. Like Chuck, she’s been off balance. It’s not that they are aren’t doing what they want to do. It’s not that they haven’t succeeded. They did.
It’s that now, they must do more. It’s hard to get comfortable, the way we were, when pushing against the comfort zone.