Cry baby, but not the one you think

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.

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About Faith

Eternally faith-ful at least as it relates to my beloved Los Angeles Lakers. Yes that's where the username comes from. Other than that self-professed Chuckaholic, Laker blogger and part time internet addict. Ok, full time.
This entry was posted in Inside Sarah, Observations, Reactions, Season 5 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Cry baby, but not the one you think

  1. Faith says:

    Happy New Year everybody!

  2. Katsumaro says:

    Happy New Year 😀

  3. herder says:

    On your final point, the dinner, two things the show does exceedingly well are the family dinners and montages, this had both at once. I have already rewatched that last bit, from the time that Sarah and Chuck enter the apartment to the end, I was heartwarmed and I got a bit of dust in my eyes.

  4. amyabn says:

    Loved, loved, loved this episode! Sarah’s come a long, long way. I will put aside the screwy timeline (Sarah was partnered with Bryce, and the whole handler bit) to revel in the painful choice Sarah made to give up contact with her mom and Molly (as she told Ellie, it’s complicated). The joyous reunion was done so well, as Faith said. The wistfulness of Emma looking at her daughter’s wedding photos, delighted in her happiness but sad she had to miss the event. It makes Sarah’s sacrifice all that more poignant to me.
    Sarah’s fight scenes were epic, particularly the flashback shootout scenes. Little Molly was adorable, as were Morgan and Chuck playing with her. I’ve already rewatched this one but I think another rewatch is in order today. Tim DeKay was awesomely bad and I think they did a great job with his backstory and motivations (money). Off for lunch and a rewatch!

  5. lappers84 says:

    What an awesome episode, and they seem to keep getting better. Sarah has indeed come almost full circle now – very soon we’ll likely be seeing mini Bartowski’s around (though I have a feeling that the promo is obviously going to be throwing us off a bit). despite some odd continuity in the flashback scenes, the story really shone, Tim DeKay was a damn good baddie – and what a treat to see Langston Graham make an appearance (I had no idea he would show his face around again.) I do have one very small complaint – the whole trust issue and I know it was resolved quite quickly but the fact that Sarah felt she could tell Chuck about it kind of bothered me, but I guess it was the only way to show how she had changed – from the loner enforcer to a married spy. What a great way to end the year on. Happy New Year everyone 🙂

  6. sd says:

    Just a great episode. I know a lot of folks would have really been put-off by the baby being Sarah’s–that would not have bothered me and would have really made for interesting drama as a back-story and moving forward. But, having said that, the story was great. The matrix-like shoot-out on the table was amazing– especially when you see how coldly Sarah goes about it–as if it is another day at the office–which I guess it was for her at that point.
    Happy New Year!

  7. thinkling says:

    Happy New Year, everyone. I loved the episode, and you reminded me of all the reasons why, Faith. So much heart. Yvonne did a fantastic job (as always) going back and forth from the younger Sarah to the older Sarah and showing the growth and change. Great episode, great review.

  8. joe says:

    I can’t tell you how much I loved this episode. But trust me, I’m going to try! 😉

    Matt Barber was extraordinary as a first time director! Usually, you can set your watch by certain events in shows like Chuck. The first clue comes right before the second commercial break, misdirect always comes at 25 minutes after the hour, the second real clue comes at 35 minutes past the hour (give or take), the hero seems to have lost the battle at either the 45 minute mark or the 55 minute mark (depending on the show), and the hero stumbles or fights his way to victory in the last 3 minutes. One minute is left for a denouement or set-up.

    Monk followed this formula exactly, every episode, and NCIS never seems to vary, except in two parters. Chuck sticks with it fairly often.

    But not last night. Ryker was dispatched with 10 minutes of air left to go, and none of it was wasted. In some ways, he wasn’t the big baddie last night. All the past decisions make by Sarah, Chuck, Morgan, everyone – they were the obstacles, they were the stories.

    What an episode!

    • ArmySFC says:

      Joe remember our talk about a good ep? what did i say was one thing i wanted? big bad taken down hard. i liked it, see simple. big bad dead. as a white collar fan i posted last year about how hey did mozzie’s back story with flash backs as he talked. chuck did the same this week, another copy but good. HNY

    • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

      Ryker was a good baddie, but I was happy he was dispatched early because I had seen the reunion pics.

      I didn’t watch Monk for the mystery. It had tons of useful OCD tips. You never know when you’ll need a level-leveling level.

      Your watch is very accurate for most shows. It’s especially bad in crime procedurals, making them predictable. The two extreme exemptions I can think of are Stargate and Smallville. Stargate sometimes omitted the denouement completely except for a few seconds of zoom out, which I think is why episode tags are so popular in Stargate fan fiction. Smallville’s resolutions were so long that it was hard to remember who the bad guy of the week was by the end of the episode.

    • joe says:

      IC, Army. This one must have appealed to you for Sarah’s action scenes too, right? Powerful stuff!

      I liked that too, but that only gets me part way there. I mean, many shows are capable of that. At least, they’re the shows I watch.

      This one got to me emotionally in addition to all that. That extended dinner scene / denouement just gave me everything I wanted to see. I don’t need that in every episode, and I hope that we haven’t seen the last of Skip Johnson and Fernando either. But when an episode makes me feel something emotionally, then it’s a winner in my book.

      • atcDave says:

        No one does the family gathering better than the Bartowskis! Always been one of my favorite parts of the show.

    • joe says:

      Jeff, I haven’t been praising Tim Dekay enough. I’m used to him as “a good guy” (he played a murdering Senator in an NCIS episode, but we didn’t know he was the bad-guy until the end). Watching him play the bad, tough guy was new. Well done!

      Actors who really know their profession and craft well enough to play many roles believably always amaze me.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        I sometimes still see Dekay as an annoying network executive from Sports Night (two episodes in 1999-2000). He was definitely showing his range in Baby.

  9. herder says:

    A couple of minor things that I noticed; apparantly Sarah told her mother that she was in the CIA but not her father (“my daughter is some sort of cop”). It seems that despite spending more time with her father she trusted her mother more.

    Also when she needed to send her mother and Molly somewhere safe, she sent them to her and Chuck’s apartment, not only does her picture of Chuck make her feel safe but that is where she sends others when she wants them to be safe.

    • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

      Good observations, herder. Jack Burton was being sent to prison when she was recruited, so it makes sense he wouldn’t know. I was pleasantly surprised Sarah’s mom knew.

  10. Leigh says:

    I really really loved this episode, for all the reasons Faith stated above and more. It’s the first one of the season that I want to watch over and over again.

    I know a lot of people have been put out by the apparent continuity issues, but…I can actually order things in my head so it works.

    Sarah and Bryce partner up.
    Bryce starts to “go rogue” and Graham separates them for both their sakes, placing Sarah with Ryker (because she’s his wildcard enforcer, he’s still hesitant to put her in the field without anybody backing her up)
    Bryce blows up the intersect, sends it to Chuck, and then dies
    Sarah gets back to DC that night from seeing her mother for the last time.

    It doesn’t excuse the sloppiness of the last scene (you can make the argument for Nacho Sampler that she didn’t remember what the photo looked like and needed a refresher?), but I think it works okay in a pinch. 🙂

    But I loved this episode. And I’m sure we won’t see Emma and Molly again, which is sad, but I’m still so glad we got this episode, and I still kind of laugh at all the people who were losing their minds, thinking that the baby was Bryce’s or Shaw’s. *shakes head*

    • atcDave says:

      Agree with all of that Leigh. Dynamite episode. Just a few continuity issues, that can mostly be explained with a close look at events. Very well done.

    • LC says:

      I always thought the Nacho Sampler ending was too simple myself. It makes more sense she would get a file to review, as was the case in this ep, rather than just be sent somewhere with a photo sent over the phone.

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