Remember last week when I said that we are seeing a new, different Chuck? One not tied down by conventions, one not willing to play it safe, one willing to take risks and explore tension? Well this was a continuation of that. In other words, it bit off maybe far more than it can chew BUT that’s not necessarily a bad thing. More after the jump.
Sarah’s backstory is a quagmire of epic proportions. There are way too many questions and whatever answers they give us inevitably leads to more questions. I admire Lejudkins’ attempt at answering those questions and closing some doors but in the end we’re left with even more. Still it was an interesting move to tie in a full circle towards the end there, end where we begin so to speak. But I digress.
So it wasn’t Sarah’s baby and boy am I glad that it wasn’t. I didn’t really think it was hers, but I also didn’t think they would have the hutzpah to bring back Shaw so Pandora’s box has been opened. Instead it was a baby from a mission that she left for her mom to take care of and in the process severed all ties she had with her mom. Got it.
I’ll quote a brilliant piece of wisdom from Ryan McGee’s review of Santa Suit:
Push past all the impenetrable stuff about Omen viruses and Intersects and you had real people acting in real ways in extraordinary circumstances. The circumstances themselves aren’t unimportant, but they are ultimately ephemeral. What matters is what these people do, and how that defines who they are. And one glorious episode here near the end of all things Chuck, the show reminded us why we have watched all along, and rewarded us for our efforts.
This episode, more than last week epitomized that sentiment. In the end the details were less important than the emotion, than the relationships, than the people. The Sarah Walker that paused before following orders (a far cry from “Piece of cake” from Nacho Sampler), the Sarah that took out 11 men in a Tomb Raider-Matrix-esque exhibition? First, how awesome was that, secondly that’s the Sarah Walker that we have watched all along and that which we, and Chuck fell in love with. She’s the one that keeps us riveted and reminds us, in midst of a quicksand of questions that the details are unimportant, how she feels and how far she’s come matters instead. Sarah now has an openness and a family that she’s never had before and we celebrate that. That house, that future, we want it for her as much as she does for herself. Why? Because as her voice breaks wishing a better life for the baby, the kind of which she never experienced, we’re reminded and “rewarded for all our efforts.” As her mom glances at a photo of a wedding that she missed, we feel our hearts break, just a little. But it’s a good kind of heartbreak, a good kind of sadness because we feel and feel deeply. And we’re happy today because mother and daughter have been reunited. Because Sarah finally has the life her mom dreamed for her. Chuck even had a heartwarming talk with his mother in law, “Thank you for giving her this.” And with those words, our hearts warm, our tears fall.
I am not ashamed to admit that I teared up several times during this episode. I thought the Sarah-Emma scenes hit all the right notes. While they didn’t exceeded the coolness and sentimentality of Jack Burton, it got the job done. With Jack, we were given a largely helpless Sarah, whose choices were often dictated by either fate or Jack. In this one, Sarah had more control over her decisions, but she was no less powerless when it came to her mother. She was the loner that Ryker thought she was, she didn’t really see herself in a different light or fight for a different life until Chuck.
Other notes: Ellie and Devon, “win[ning] at life.” Laugh out loud funny. The matchmaking didn’t quite have the same feeling as “you’re a Bartowski Chuck, start acting like one,” but it was equally encouraging. It’s always nice when the show does these parallels and when they inject humor, all the better. The Woodcombs are a kinky couple and I don’t mind that at all.
Final note: there’s a special sort of magic that happens when they do family dinners. For this one the montage was a great call (by Matt Barber, first time Director). It epitomized that special sense of family, and happiness not unlike when our heroes inevitably rides off into the sunset (or will they?). I’m wondering if in midst of writing these episodes they were fearful of being canceled somewhere in between the 13 episodes because it seems like every week there’s a worthy farewell.