Sarah: Then and Now …

Chuck Versus the Baby is easily my favorite up to this point in S5. It gives us humor, courtesy of Hot Mama and Six Pack, fantastic Sarah fight scenes, a great story, and lots of tension. We get a full range of satisfying Chuck and Sarah interaction throughout, beautiful romance, and a surprising token of their dream future … Sarah style. Chuck Versus the Baby is off the charts powerful and emotional (in a good way). It warms my heart, perhaps more than any other episode.

It’s no secret that Sarah is my favorite character, so how can I not love an episode that gives us such a meaningful look at her past and such a big piece of the Sarah puzzle … one that explains so much of her story and her transformation.

I’ll start at the end and circle back, because this is a big circle. It begins and ends with a normal life in a white house with a red door and a white picket fence. What happens in between is Sarah’s story: ever-complicated, often-exciting, sometimes-painful, and ultimately-heartwarming.

~^~

I’m different now. You know, things have changed. You’ve changed me. I don’t want to go back.

The Beginning

Sarah could have had that normal life, but there was conflict at home. I don’t know exactly what it looked like, but evidently mom didn’t like dad’s chosen profession or his influence — go figure. Emma wanted to protect Sarah from Jack, give her a normal life, but Sarah probably didn’t –couldn’t– see it that way. She loved her dad and chose to have an adventure with him. She couldn’t have known where it would lead. What started out as fun ultimately led to major disappointment … and the CIA.

How much did Sarah keep up with her mom? Though we don’t have her phone records, we do have some new information. Emma knew that Sarah was in the CIA and communicated with her at least from time to time. I surmise that at some point, probably after Jack was arrested, Sarah reconnected with her mom and maintained some sort of (probably awkward) relationship. Sarah’s job would have prevented frequent contact, but there was contact on some level.

Her life with Jack and her choice to join the CIA set her life on a trajectory leading farther and farther from any semblance of normal. She became a top agent and a trained assassin. The white house with the red door had faded to nothing but a spec in her rearview mirror.

Emma: “Joining the CIA and giving up everything you did, did you ever think it would lead you here?” Sarah: “No.”

So, this raises the question: what first changed the trajectory of Sarah’s life?

The answer is in The Baby. In fact the answer is the baby.

Then and Now

Who was Sarah … exactly? Sarah’s ab-normal (as in, away from normal) trajectory landed her in Budapest in 2007, at the request of Kieran Ryker, for a special assignment. Here we see exactly who Sarah was as a spy. This is a snap shot of Sarah at the pinnacle (or nadir, depending on ones perspective) of her life — a snap shot of Sarah right before her trajectory changed.

She is just what we would expect as a top-spy and trained-assassin. Or is she? Let’s see: ready for the mission, check; breaches the house and assesses the situation, check; a little reluctant to kill 11 men, say what? Sarah needs more than an order to kill. Only after she sees that the men did indeed kill the couple, only when she knows that it’s her or them, only then does she follow the order to wipe them out. OK, maybe not exactly what one might expect of a trained assassin.

Once she moves to take them down, she is all spy. Wow. One of Sarah’s best shoot-em-up, take-em-down scenes. She is confident and skilled beyond believing. Check.

Next? Get the package. No problem. All in a day’s work.

Not.

Sarah walks into the room to retrieve the package, and her trajectory begins to change.

There’s a baby in the crib. What the …? “Ryker, th-the package …”

“The baby is the package. Grab it and get out of there.”

That’s not right. Babies aren’t packages. “But what am, what am I supposed …?”

“Move, Walker. I’m your handler, and that’s an order.”

Duty wars with conscience. Sarah can’t get her head, much less her heart, around what is happening. But the baby can’t stay where it is. She needs to get it to safety, which brings us to …

Present day Sarah and her dilemma. Shaw alerted Ryker that the baby is alive. The baby’s safety may be compromised. Chuck interrupts her research to bring her his big surprise (which can’t be as bad as the one she just discovered).

Chuck’s big surprise is sweet and charming and so perfect it hurts. Sarah, despite how she hates surprises, has learned to let Chuck surprise her, because it gives him such joy … and because his surprises are an extension of his love for her.

As Chuck furnishes the house with big dreams and his vision of the life he wants to give her, Sarah’s heart swells, not so much with the dream, but with the love of the man who has enabled her to dream again.

My heart soars with her confession, “I want this house, and I want the life that you have envisioned for us. I want every single part of it.” … and thuds with her reality, “It’s just that something urgent has come up.” … and breaks with her burden, “This time, Chuck, I can’t tell you.”

Sarah wants normal, but the spy life keeps getting in the way, revisiting the question of whether or not they can have a normal life and still be spies.

Back to Budapest and Getting the baby to safety. Sarah reassures the baby, “It’s going to be OK.” Then using her coat as a papoose, with a machine gun in each hand, she trundles the baby down the steps firing the machine guns as she goes. What a visual! (Hmm, one of the things in this picture doesn’t belong. I was at the mall the other day and saw a woman with a baby strapped to her front, and I thought, “where are her machine guns?” Chuck has made me think strange things that normal people don’t think.)

What was it Casey called Sarah? Graham’s wild-card enforcer. Unpredictable. Ryker hadn’t counted on Sarah the wild card. He counted on predictable, a spy who wouldn’t question orders, perhaps someone who was in it for herself (like Carina) and would look the other way … if she even figured it out. And figure it out she did.

As Ryker spins his justification, he accidentally waxes prophetic: “Listen, I know this job is the only thing in your life, but someday you’re gonna realize it’s not enough, that keeping your whole life a secret from everyone who loves you is too much.”

In spite of the moral ambiguity of the spy life, Sarah still cares about north on the moral compass, and she knows that Ryker is headed due south. She defies orders to do the right thing. Something we have seen her do time and again.

So, the baby is temporarily safe, tucked away in a spy’s make-shift crib. However, this baby (sole heiress to a fortune) is being hunted by a rogue CIA agent, who will take her fortune and then kill her. Now what?

Now what? Chuck is beside himself. His wife is headed out on a solo mish with enough guns to supply a small war.

He will deal with the whole no-secrets-no-solo-missions later. For now his concern is her safety. He enlists backup and offers the services of CI. Smart. Chuck does a good job. He convinces Sarah to let him and Casey come with. He stands up to her, and his confrontation in Budapest is warranted. As a side-note, the Casey/Chuck interaction was spot on all the way through … all win.

Sarah is no longer alone. (Ah, hello-oh. Sarah takes a turn with the stupid stick. We knew it was coming.)

The mission is the flip side of the first candle-lit scene in the house. The  house scene shows how much Sarah has changed. The scene in Budapest — in the same hotel room where she hid the baby, right across from the sidewalk café, her gun case out on the bed (no baby this time) — shows all the ways she hasn’t changed. She will still kill to protect those she loves. She will do what’s right at personal risk. She is still focused and determined and an awesome spy. Though surrounded by partners/friends — her husband, for crying out loud — she still acts alone, still feels the need to fight her battles solo. Like Chuck in The Curse, her motivation is pure, but her actions, though well intentioned, are misguided. To be so different, sometimes Chuck and Sarah are a lot alike, especially when it comes to protecting the each other and the ones they love.

When Sarah finds out that Ryker doesn’t know where the baby is, she no longer needs to kill him. The problem is that he will probably kill her. Thanks to Chuck and Casey, he doesn’t get the chance. Ryker, meaning to taunt her, spills a few more drops of truth … and lies: “Do you know why I brought you to Budapest in the first place? Because your file screamed loner. You had no family to speak of, never trusted anyone. … And you still don’t, do you? I bet no one even knows that you’re here.”

Bingo. Ryker is right, she was exactly like that. But he is wrong! She’s not alone any more. Her life is completely different. She has someone she loves and trusts completely.

It’s time for Sarah to live out of her new life, not her old one.

Her heartfelt response to Chuck’s gentle rebuke is sweet relief. At long last perhaps this one particular stupid stick can be retired. These euphoric feelings are cut short by the discovery of a bug and the realization that her mom and the baby are in danger.

Sarah and The Baby and Emma. Let’s double back and pick up with Sarah and the crying baby. One would think that it would take something earthshaking or nuclear to change a super spy and alter the trajectory of her life. But for Sarah, it was something much smaller — and bigger — than that.

Sarah’s transformation begins with a baby. Sarah approaches the baby like a mission (kind of like Mary). She’s got the diapers and the wipes, the bottle and the baby food … so why is the baby still crying? “I don’t know what you want. What do you want? What do you need?” When the baby is not forthcoming, Sarah does what women have done down through the ages. She calls her mother.

“Don’t freak out.” Words to live by for Sarah and her mom. Emma talks Sarah through some basic baby techniques. All the while, Sarah looks like an awkward teen first learning to dance, but the lullaby and rocking do the trick. Sarah is on her way to becoming a first-rate baby handler. When next we see her, Sarah has the cozy infant cuddled against her,  as they watch the rain. Sarah even has the nuzzling down … well, a little.

Her determination to keep the baby safe launches her own off-the-books mission, and begins the healing of past hurts. Sarah takes the baby to the only person she knows she can trust and the only place where she can guarantee the baby’s safety … home, to her mom.

Sarah leaving the baby with her mom is a powerful, emotional scene (in an episode full of powerful, emotional scenes). It takes me back to the Sarah who watched Ellie’s reunion with Mary, in Ellie’s living room. It lets me understand some of what may have passed through Sarah’s mind. Then I remember the Sarah who couldn’t invite her mom to her engagement party … or her wedding. It seems even sadder to me now that I know why her relationship with her mom was complicated.

Yvonne and Cheryl hit every nuance and absolutely nailed their scenes.

Sarah’s attachment to this baby, allowed her to understand her mother’s heart and motivation all those years ago … wanting her daughter to have a normal life. It’s what Sarah wants for this baby, and in these moments she feels the regret of her choice and the things she missed … home, her mother’s love, and a normal life. A tearful Sarah asks her mother to give this baby all the things her mother wanted to give Sarah, but couldn’t because of Sarah’s choice.

Regret, on the part of both women is palpable … poignant.

There are no do-over’s. But there is understanding, and there are clean slates. Just as Clara was a clean slate for Mary and Ellie, Molly is the clean slate for Sarah and Emma. In bringing the baby to her mother, Sarah makes a good choice and gives another little girl the normal life she never had. In this baby, Emma receives a gift from her daughter … a thank you for what she wanted to give Sarah and the chance to give it to this baby. Molly represents healing and hope.

Ernie has said on several occasions that Sarah having her own daughter would be the completion of Sarah’s redemption. In an unexpected twist, we witness the reverse. A baby girl is the beginning of Sarah’s redemption.

A New Trajectory. This is where we entered the story. The baby had changed Sarah’s trajectory. Chuck picks up where the baby left off. The lion’s share of Sarah’s transformation is because of Chuck, but from now on, I will rewatch Chuck through the lens of The Baby.

Is it any wonder, that on the heels of this mission, when Sarah walks into the Buymore, Chuck’s rescue of a little girl (and the restoration of a normal moment) captivates her so completely. Now we know why.

The Baby mission put Sarah in a place where Chuck could reach her and connect with her inner girl. It made her fight even harder for Chuck to keep his normal life. It made her dread what the spy life might take away from him —It’s not that simple. You don’t know who you’re working for.

The Baby mission opened Sarah up to Chuck’s normal life … a life she began to desire, but didn’t think she deserved. Her transformation happened in much the way we’ve understood it, in relationship with Chuck Bartowski, with the added reflection of a woman who first began to value and desire the normal life she never had,  because she had saved a baby.

Just when Sarah’s transformation is almost complete, she revisits the Baby mission and comes full circle.

The final take-down of Ryker is a team effort. This time Ryker faces a new Sarah. (Incoming–funny line: Nice apron … Thanks.)

I’m not alone. She’ll never have nightmares, and she’ll never even know that you existed. She’s going to have the life that she deserves, a normal one.

These words break loose from deep within and free Sarah from the last of her past. Sarah’s nightmares will never touch Molly. Thanks to Sarah, Molly will have the normal life that every little girl deserves … the life that Sarah finally accepts that she herself deserves.

The Family Circle Is Complete

This Bartowski party is the best yet, and it is certainly a love letter to this fan. Sarah’s mom drinking in Sarah’s wedding picture, the mother/daughter reunion, Sarah meeting her “sister” … powerful, emotional, perfect.

Chuck and Emma’s meeting was as perfect and appropriate as Sarah and Mary’s meeting. It’s interesting that Chuck and Sarah both relate well to their respective mothers-in-law. Sarah and Mary share their common love for Chuck and a desire to keep him safe. Chuck and Emma share their common love for Sarah and a desire to make her happy. Each mother found in her child’s spouse the person who gives her child all that she couldn’t. Isn’t that what every mother wants? Sigh … bonding, Chuck style. (Incoming–favorite line: She was always a tough little thing. )

As wonderful as it was watching Chuck and Emma watching Sarah and Molly, it was equally wonderful watching Sarah and Emma watching Chuck and Molly. The open adoration on Sarah’s face says it all. The surprise that is Chuck Bartowski … she never saw it coming, but now she can’t imagine life without him.

The Pursuit of Happiness

The life that Sarah has fought to preserve for others (her mother and Molly, Chuck and his family) she will now pursue for herself.

Back in their house, in the intimate glow of candle light, Sarah quietly and simply speaks her heart’s desire for their future.

You know, I really want the life that you imagine for us, Chuck, but if we go back to the CIA, it’s just going to be missions and secrets that we have no control over. … I gave my life to the CIA for a really long time, and I chose it over my family and my friends. And that was the right thing for me to do at the time, but …

I’m different now. You know, things have changed. You’ve changed me. I don’t want to go back.

She waits for Chuck’s response.

Chuck’s desire is her happiness, even if it means giving up the bonus and the house … and the dresser from Anthropology. They only need each other.

Sarah carves their names and their dream into the frame of the house, her promise and a  down payment on the future and the happiness they will pursue together.

~ Thinkling

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About thinkling

In my [younger] youth, I was a math teacher, basketball coach, and computer programmer. In 1984, we moved to Brazil, where we serve as missionaries. I like to design things and build things, read things and write things. We now live part-time in Brazil, part-time in the US. Love them both. Wife, 37 yrs; mom, 30 yrs. I am blessed.
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37 Responses to Sarah: Then and Now …

  1. herder says:

    Wonderful review thinkling, one thing that I have been thinking about was touched upon by your review, why was Sarah chosen to handle Chuck by Graham? Was he using the same logic as Ryker, that she was a loner and could handle tough assignments (his wild card enforcer) or did he see that she had the potential to change and that it had started with the baby (she’s been his enforcer long enough). His words “we sometimes lose agents after an assignment like that” could support either possibility.

    So much to love in this one and the family time at the end is the jewel in the crown. And yes, the baby taking place before Chuck does explain a lot of her behavior towards Chuck at the beginning, especially the ballerina scene in the pilot. Over time of course Chuck explains the rest of her behaviour towards Chuck.

    • thinkling says:

      Hmm, interesting question about Graham. I hadn’t stopped to think about it. Maybe there’s a middle option. Maybe he didn’t want her to become a burn-out like Casey, so he was giving her a breather from the darker assignments. This assignment was top priority, needed a top agent, involved danger (though not as much darkness as many assignments). So, it would continue to challenge her and still give her a change of pace.

      I do think Graham intentionally gave Sarah the leeway to deny her possession of the “package.”

      • Gord says:

        I agree about the package – Graham knew full well that she still had the baby and realized that Sarah would be able to protect the baby a lot better than the CIA could.

        Also I wonder if his remark about losing agents over this was both regarding the baby as well as the “turning and killing” of Bryce Larkin. It must have been a very traumatic time for Sarah. You might be on to something when you suggest Graham intentionally gave her an easy assignment (Get close to a geek and find out what he knows about the missing intersect).

  2. joe says:

    The mission is the flip side of the first candle-lit scene in the house.

    Brilliant, Thinkling. You are every bit as big a romantic as I! 🙂

    Herder, you posed a great question. Did Graham have a reason to assign Sarah to Chuck? Surely, he knew that Bryce and Chuck had been friends (and enemies!) at Stanford, even if he didn’t know about Orion’s connection to them. So why would he choose someone else to handle Chuck who also had a connection to Bryce? Sounds messy.

    If I had one wish left for the show, it would be to enlighten us more (much more!) about Graham and his intentions, both for Chuck and for Sarah. I suspect that wish will never be answered.

    • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

      I see it as a split mission. Casey’s first mission was to kill Chuck. It changed to protection (then kill and then back to protection). Why should we assume Sarah’s mission objectives and the purpose for her assignment didn’t change as well?

      My assumption was Graham assigned Sarah to the initial “Intersect recovery/discovering Bryce’s conspirators” mission so Sarah could redeem herself and prove her worth despite her traitorous partner. He might have trusted her to accomplish the mission before Casey got there because she was his protege. When they discovered Chuck had the Intersect in his head, then Graham left her there because one or more of the following:
      – they were limiting how many people knew about Chuck having the Intersect, Sarah was in the loop.
      – they realized Chuck had a attachment to Sarah and decided to exploit it
      – Sarah made a case for leaving Chuck out of the bunker so they said fine, you have to deal with him
      In all of those cases, they expected her to hide the Bryce relationship. They didn’t count on Carina.

      • atcDave says:

        Good sumation of why Sarah got the job, I suspect all the reasons given have some truth. I don’t think I want them to revisit this anymore, I have a strong feeling any further tampering in the early mythology will only annoy many fans and cause more continuity issues. In particular, I like that as we know it now Sarah was never given any form of kill order on Chuck; I like to think Graham knew she resisted such directives anyway, and forcing her to kill an asset she’d cultivated for any period of time would likely cause more problems than it solved (in other words, I like to think Graham had at least a little bit of grey matter in his skull!)

    • Gord says:

      Maybe they will save that for the movie.

      Also, I don’t think they really knew about Chuck’s affiliation with Bryce based on Sarah’s questions to Chuck on the rooftop “How do you know Bryce Larkin?…”

      • atcDave says:

        Didn’t she say “How WELL do you know Bryce Larkin?” Only one word different. But its the difference of knowing what his association with Bryce was, she’s only asking how deep or current that association is.

  3. atcDave says:

    Great write-up as always. I love the idea of re-examining bast episodes in the light of this one. Two things really jump out at me; first is from Crown Victoria when Sarah grills Casey about if he wanted normal. We know she was mainly thinking of Chuck at the time, but how much of that thinking might have been started by Molly?
    The other situation is Mauser. In “Baby” we get Sarah’s blunt statement “I’m going to kill him Chuck.” As you said, Sarah is a protector by nature, or as we sometimes say, lioness. There are seemingly no limits on what she will do to protect those entrusted to her. She is moral and decent enough that the extremes cause her grief (we saw that strong reluctance to pull the trigger back in Santa Claus, but once she’d done the math, it was over for the Fulcrum detective). I know I wouldn’t want to be the parent of the third grader who hit her child, imagine being confronted by a very irate Sarah Bartowski (imagine if you ever found out what she used to do for a living…)

    That contrast between how she has and hasn’t changed is fascinating too. She is still the most dangerous character on the show; she is tough and resourceful. She even always had a heart and a moral center. And yet in the end she’s changed as much as anyone on the show. She’s no longer the loner, she’s learning to share more of her feelings and history with her husband, and she can honestly say she doesn’t want to go back to the CIA. Although she was possibly willing to leave the agency as early as Colonel, her readiness to leave when she can apparently have it all is new.

    • joe says:

      There’s one more episode to consider, Dave – Suburbs. The scene with Sarah making breakfast for Chuck looks different to me now, after seeing her in the kitchen in Baby.

      She had been there before.

  4. gameagain says:

    There’s one big, giant elephant in the room regarding this episode though that seems to have been glossed over — “Molly” herself. Although she has a wonderful mother in Emma, a strong sister with Sarah, and a fine extended family, it’s all false.

    1. Molly is still the heir apparent to a vast fortune. What happened to it for the last 5 years? Will she ever step back into that life and reacquire her rightful inheritance?

    2. Her real parents were murdered. Does she know? Will she ever know? Was she legally adopted by Emma then? I assume not, as Ryker would’ve been able to track her down then though legal channels. So where does that leave her “legally”?

    3. What about the rest of her real family? Aunts? Uncles? Grandparents? Older siblings? What must they think as to the (technical) abduction of the child? A murder was committed and the child taken. Unless she was the end of her bloodline, there are other family members looking for her, I’ll wager.

    Although it’s admirable what Sarah did to protect the child, I wonder what the endgame is with Molly. Will they tell her when she comes of age to step back in and claim her rightful previous life and fortune? Or will she just be told she was adopted, her previous life never revealed, and she’ll live her life as an average kid in the U.S. with the Walker/Bartowskis?

    Or perhaps Molly’s fortune is what pulls everyone out of the spy life, as they would now have the Volkov-like vast resources in place again to start anew.

    • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

      All interesting questions, gameagain. I sense a spin off series, Chuck: the Next Generation, twenty years in the future, featuring Clara, Molly, and the future Charah kids wearing capes. It might address 1 and your final questions

      My guess is she is too young to know now. They might tell her when she is older. She probably wasn’t legally adopted before because that would leave a paper trail. Now with Ryker dead, maybe Sarah could call in some favors. If Beckman can through a last second Christmas party, she should be able to get a birth certificate or adoption papers forged. The CIA can make anything. (No, I’m not a birther. Don’t want to go there.)

      Assuming her parents were important people, the Hungarian government would probably get involved with any future claim. If Molly was assumed killed, their assets may have gone to some charitable groups based on the will. If her parents were criminals, like Volkoff, the government probably already seized their assets.

      We don’t know much about them except from Ryker, whose word can’t be trusted. I assumed Molly didn’t have any other family. Otherwise Ryker’s plan wouldn’t work.

      • atcDave says:

        ohh yeah, good point about the implications of Ryker; it at least means close family is unlikely. Its a little hard to figure how Ryker exercised control of the family’s assets anyhow. Perhaps most of the wealth was liquid (criminal of some sort seems likely). If we assume Ryker had spent the last five years transfering ownership of things to himself it starts to be a messy legal situation to resume control of it anyway. Since, by his own admission, Ryker had no family himself, I’m thinkig the Hungarian government would seize control of the wealth pretty quickly once his death was known (unless he had a will, but why???).
        I think the smart move is to just let it go. But of course people will do stupid things for money…

      • patty says:

        Maybe they were an American family hiding out in Hugary and under the CIA’s protection. This would explain how Riker got the goods on them.

    • atcDave says:

      I don’t know if I would quite call that an “elephant.” Sure its an issue, but its the sort of issue you’d expect to be dealt with outside of the context of a show that will never really be about Molly. Maybe if the series had more time left. But obviously the choice just comes down to if the “adoption” is to be made legal or not. I would guess Sarah provided Emma with some bogus papers so Molly would have an identity that could hold up to casual examination, its even possible Emma herself has some skills in that area. She is the ex of a significant con-artist, we really know nothing about how involved (or not!) she might have been in that life.
      But if they choose to reconnect Molly with her family I would guess they would do some research first to see if its safe, and what the potential risks are of going public. Sarah made a very big deal (to Ryker) that Molly would have a normal life with no nightmares. So I can easily see them deciding to just leave it all alone and forget about the money. If they do pursue full legality its possible the US government would play intermediary because of the circumstances. Given Sarah’s connections (Beckman in particular) its possible Emma could get quite a bit of legal help for an adoption. At any rate, Chuck has never been a legal drama; this strikes me as fodder for the fan fiction community. Not really a subject for a spy themed action comedy…

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Despite my recent, plot-hole filling, fan fiction tendencies, I’m not writing Molly vs the Adoption. I don’t want to write legal dramas either.

      • thinkling says:

        Here’s the fanfic tease. Sarah through CIA magic, modified her own birth certificate, just changed the dates, so Molly could have a (sort of) real one. Turns out Sarah’s name was really Molly. (She can’t tell anyone her real name. It’s the baby’s cover now.) Sarah doesn’t need her own birth certificate. She has all the Sarah Walker I.D. she needs from the CIA.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s a great start Thinkling! You really need to write it all out, especially since Jeff has apparently bowed out of “Molly vs the Hungarian Court System”…

      • thinkling says:

        Ha! Dave, I figured a lot of people would like that name resolution twist. 😀

    • thinkling says:

      Often these peripheral details are left undeveloped, for lack of time, if for no other reason. The story isn’t really about Molly. It’s about Sarah, and in the end all the rest would be pretty boring television. Here’s the way I fill in those details ( because I did think about them, but they’re just not the thrust of the story).

      I believe Molly was the end of the line, based on several things. If there were other relatives, the CIA would not have been ready to take her into custody (ward of the CIA has a terrible ring to it). If Molly had other family, they would have all been put into protective custody. I’m guessing the the assassins were Ryker’s men to start with. Any surviving family would likewise be in danger from Ryker and a fresh set of goons. Ryker himself said that the baby is the key to the fortune. If there were other family members, Molly would not be the key. He’s not stupid. He chose this baby for that reason.

      For the past 5 years, the goal is to keep Molly safe from Ryker. No one can know where she is. Any move toward the money could tip off Ryker that the baby is still alive, so they couldn’t risk it. Presumably something would have to be done before 7 years pass (when the baby could be presumed legally dead). During that 7 years, the inheritance would be held, pending the child’s discovery or declaring her legally dead. However, even after the 7 year period, she could still come back and claim her rightful inheritance. It might just be more complicated. Anyway nothing else could be done with it before 7 years. All those details of the parents’ wills and such just wasn’t mentioned. In the real world it wouldn’t have been such a walk in the park for Ryker. (I think … someone else help me out).

      Now that the threat is eliminated, they will have to face the inheritance issue and try to get legal guardianship, based on the extreme circumstances of her case. It can probably be done through the CIA and WITSEC. Again, I’m guessing a little. But with no other relatives, no one can contest it. Obviously Molly has a wonderful home, people that love her and have risked their lives to protect her. I see no obstacle to custody.

      In my version, one day, Molly will learn the truth and gain access to her inheritance. Not only would it have been dangerous to tell her before now, but she wasn’t really old enough to hear it. Soon she’ll learn of her family’s tragedy and that her sister is really the extraordinary woman who, at personal risk and sacrifice, saved her and gave her a loving home. Those first few days will make a great family story … the spy and the gun-case-crib, learning how to care for a baby. I can see Sarah and Molly laughing about the story, as they look after Sarah’s own baby … Molly’s niece or nephew.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        I like the way you filled in the details, Thinkling. The story was more about keeping Molly safe and trying to give her a normal life and a good home, not about securing her inheritance.

      • thinkling says:

        You brought out some good points that I missed about the Hungarian gov’t. I think back door channels (with the help of Beckman) could achieve an agreement about Molly’s custody that would give Hungary a very generous legal fee and still leave plenty of fortune for Molly and her family.

      • gameagain says:

        I’m not really concerned about Molly’s money (except that there seems to be a LOT of it, considering murder was involved), but rather that Sarah just took her without an appearance of due diligence. A single line to Chuck in the “now,” stating: “I went back to Hungary and tried to locate any other members of her family, but she was the last of the bloodline. I didn’t want her to become a ward of the state, without anyone to protect her. Besides, Ryker’s connections were such that he could have still gotten to her. So I decided the only way to protect her was…”

        Explaining that taking her was the only available safe option would have helped.

      • thinkling says:

        Actually all that was explicity explained (it would have solved things quicker if I had double checked above, sorry), first by Ryker, then by Graham. Ryker said, “The men you took out killed that girls’s entire family. Look, she’s the only heir to a massive fortune, so whoever has her has access to it.” So, no family.

        Her conversation with Graham is her due diligence:
        S: “If I have the package in my possession, then what?” … G: “The CIA would take it into custody” (This verifies that the baby has no family and that the child would become a ward of the state.) … S: “Could you guarantee its protection” … G: “You know I can’t make guarantees. The CIA keeps records on these kind of things, records that a man like Ryker might be able to get his hands on. Who knows what he would do. He’s a wild card.” (It seems like Graham is all but telling her to do something else with the baby.)

        Sarah hesitates just a beat. (I dont’ think for a second that she hasn’t already given a lot of thought to her options.) The child has no family. She would become some sort of ward of the CIA. As such her safety could not be assured from someone like Ryker. Her only hope is something off the books with absolutely no CIA trail.

      • gameagain says:

        Bingo. Thanks for filling in the blanks, Thinkling. I missed all of that. (Need to rewatch the episode again.)

      • thinkling says:

        Heh, you’re welcome. I should’ve looked it up better the first go ’round. 😉

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        It’s funny what the mind assumes and fills in. You just made me realize… Molly’s family might have been an American family living in Hungary. Other than wanting to find out who is responsible for the deaths of two foreigners and 11+ mercenaries in Budapest five years ago, the Hungarian government might not be involved. Molly could be an American citizen.

  5. Ernie Davis says:

    A pleasure, as always, to read your thoughts on this Thinkling, and not just because they line up with mine. 😉 Unfortunately now that Sarah has more or less come full circle, as has Chuck, they’re gonna start to mess with them again before the happy ending. Maybe we get a weeks respite while the mess with Casey first.

    I thought it interesting that Sarah’s journey (the more recent one) started with her essentially giving up a normal life and a child and will (possibly) end this season with her getting those things for herself and Chuck. If the spoilers are any indication kids is going to be THE hot topic between Chuck and Sarah for some time to come.

    • thinkling says:

      Ernie, are you telling me that I need to begin the ingathering of comfort foods for the last episodes of the series. 😉

      That’s why I love the last scene, even though I didn’t elaborate. Chuck had eluded to the familial purpose of the door frame. Kind of sad that Sarah didn’t relate to that. So, in her promise to ultimately have their dream, she does what any deadly, knife-throwing spy-turned-wife would do. She carves their names (hers first) into the frame. (After all, shouldn’t mom and dad’s names go first on the family door frame. I think it’s a fine tradition.) It was so old/new Sarah. And poor Chuck. She always drags him into her wild things. That he goes with her flow is a credit to the new Chuck.

      So now that they’re both on page normal, the spy life will come at them with a vengeance, but the carving is our promise … from Sarah and by extension, I think, TPTB.

      Interesting Ernie … another circle for Sarah. At that point in her life, she really wasn’t in any position to keep the baby or live the normal life. So, she gave them up, probably with no hope she would ever have such. But you’re right, it will all come back to her. If we don’t actually see the wee Bartowski, I’m sure we will somehow know that he or she is in their future. Now that Sarah wants every part of Chuck’s dream, it will be interesting to see where the baby road leads.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I absoluely agree Sarah wasn’t ready for the things that were dropped in her lap at that time, she said as much herself, but it interesting as backstory that she gave up on them just as she got assigned to Chuck where she was more or less forced to slow down and live a “normal” life, perhaps for the first time ever, to fit in with Chuck. You can practically see the wheels turning now, “So this is what it’s like…Not so bad, as long as she still gets to go on missions and things don’t get too serious between her and Chuck” And then things get serious between her and Chuck and she clings desperately to that little bit of normal for two years till one again circumstances and her mission seem to rip it away from her and Chuck both. I can see her going a little crazy in Pink Slip a little easier now.

      • thinkling says:

        Yes, this adds depth and context to Sarah’s PS warning to Chuck … and her reaction.

        The timing of the Chuck assignment couldn’t have been more perfect. It IS the first time she has been forced to be still and do normal (even though it was a cover). It’s ironic. She finally sees that normal is good, and that the baby deserves it. She gives up on it for herself, while beginning to want it for the first time. Yeah. It sets her up for Chuck. It puts a slightly more poignant light on things, knowing that she was primed for normal in this way, and makes it that much sweeter to see her get it all back with Chuck. It’s absolutely wonderful that we get to see them come full circle, finish their journeys. It’s a gift.

        Chuck Versus the Baby is GENIUS!

        So, this episode was truly genius. But what is your word for S5, Ernie?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Yeah, we need a new word for our excessive praise and excitement… GENIUS is so season 4. How does EPIC sound? 😉

        As for Sarah’s PS reaction imagine if the first thing her mom did after the lengths Sarah went to to protect the baby and give them both a normal life was to call up this guy named Ryker and tell him about how her daughter Sarah dropped off this lovely young baby for her to raise. That has to be some of what Sarah felt in Ring/PS when Chuck re-intersected because of her.

      • joe says:

        I just re-watched Baby (moments ago) and wow, does this resonate.

        I just can’t watch this episode with the left side of my brain – you know, the rational, step-by-step, analytical side. Everything here is emotional and emotionally spot on.

        So I have a thought running through my head. I used to be a left-brained thinker. Pre-calc., Quantum Mechanics and programming in Fortran (yeah, I know – ancient dead languages were a hobby!) were my idea of fun (and now I understand what I seldom could get a date! 😉 ). Sarah doing the Lara Croft thing is not like that. I didn’t get out of my left brain and discovered my right until I took up the martial arts. And then I discovered I could draw.

        It’s totally the opposite of analytical, and Sarah’s cold reasoning was anything but second nature to her. She could do it, ’cause her father taught her that way and the CIA made her do it that way. But once again we find it was just a façade.

        Talk about your deep cover!

      • thinkling says:

        Yes, Joe. I don’t think the spy life was such a hand-in-glove fit after all.

        So much of what I’ve believed about Sarah’s growth is still true. Her father and the CIA did rob her of the opportunity to find herself, develop her inner girl. Chuck is the biggest part of this. But Baby just sweetens it. I understand her better, knowing that it was her own decision that brought it about. I obviously don’t judge her; she was what 8 or 9. And it’s still her father’s fault that HE didn’t give her the normal life she deserved. The CIA still took advantage of her, etc. BUT Sarah still knew it was her decision and probably felt she deserved what she got, which is absolutely not true.

        I like that her mother is a good mother who missed her and worried about her all those years … always left the light on.

        TPTB are right. I do look at Sarah in a whole new light, but it’s not a bad thing at all. In fact, it’s quite wonderful.

      • thinkling says:

        Right Ernie … or Molly growing up and following in Sarah’s footsteps. Sarah managed to protect Chuck and see him safe and free from the Intersect and the spy world, and darn if he didn’t go and jump back into it again … this time in the deep end. They had what they both wanted (only she miss-communicated to Chuck) and he took it all away.

  6. Gord says:

    This episode definitely gives us much more of a look into Sarah’s state of mind and motivations in the early years. One thing I’m thinking they were trying to demonstrate with respect to S1 and S2 was that because of her experience with Molly, Sarah felt that she had to keep her distance to keep those she loved (eg Chuck) safe.

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