This is the mid-point of the Jill arc, and one of those episodes that I think has held up very well with time. Chuck and Jill seem to be happily reunited; so naturally, Yvonne/Sarah owns this episode. We see Sarah trying hard to maintain professional composure and be happy for Chuck, all while obviously seething underneath. And of course Casey can’t help but rub it in. After the jump, we’ll take a look at “Fat Lady”.
Well I still don’t care for the love triangle trope, but all things considered this is a pretty good episode. Once again that mainly means Sarah/Yvonne is dynamite. Just a wonderful performance, so much feeling expressed in looks and mannerisms. We know at this point Sarah is pretty hopelessly compromised, she even admits as much in her warning/threat to Jill after the concert hall rescue. Yet we also know she is some months away from really facing up to it (her v-log entry). So she is conflicted all the way through.
And I’m just gonna turn this over to Joe…
The Opera Ain’t Over
Let me recap briefly. Jill is back, the girl who broke Chuck’s heart and slept with his best friend. Chuck also appears to have won her over by being a hero. Sarah’s not sure she likes that.
Oh wait. She’s sure. She doesn’t. Not one bit.
Chuck moves it along nicely, the relationship with Jill, starting with a romantic picnic on the Buy More roof. That’s not very Chuck-like. This is the guy who used to be rather dweebish around girls, you recall. Maybe being around Sarah has actually taught him something about how to impress the women, or maybe Chuck is just feeling his Intersect-enhanced oats.
Of course, being a CIA agent impresses women too. Both Casey and Sarah know that. If Sarah’s super-computer boyfriend is trying to browse someone else’s network, now she has to let it slide (because she’s “just his cover girlfriend”). That can’t sit right with Sarah, can it?
The late Guy LaFleur happened to have a list of Fulcrum agents hidden away. It may still be in his hotel room. Chuck gets to play spy again and impress Jill some more. The best Sarah can do is interrupt him as he’s running off to Jill, asking “Is everything all right?” It’s a “friend thing,” she says. Sure it is. If that’s not sitting right with Sarah, she’ll make it be alright the best she can.
After all, Chuck seems really happy, and really happy with Jill. He’s got his old life back, and it’s not so bad. Jill knows the real him. Doesn’t Sarah? Sure, but Sarah’s off limits, by mutual agreement.
And that’s where we are at the beginning of Chuck vs. The Fat Lady. Chuck’s not pining away helplessly for the girl he can’t have this time. He’s actually striking out on his own path, being, as Morgan put it, everything we knew he could be.
And that may not be such a bad thing, but we’ll get back to that.
In the “B” plot, Morgan is excited. The post office has just delivered the Q-36 game copier, “Canada’s most delightful gift since Shania Twain.” Free entertainment! Highly illegal! Emmett bait. It also becomes integral to the adventure that Jill, Casey, Sarah and Chuck are about to have.
And this adventure looks as if it starts with a bang, or at least, a “Hi-oh!” from Chuck and a wink from Sarah.
I just realized that I’ve only described the beginning of the episode, right up to the title credits, and I’m laughing already. There are so many stand-out scenes, lines and performances (case in point – Tony Hale’s Emmett is on a role as he brings into question Chuck’s patriotism to Buymoria) that I could spend all day recounting them.
Morgan’s excitement over the arrival of the Q-36 game card, Casey’s history as a choir-boy, Jill’s microbiology background teaming with Chuck’s puzzle-solving; there is so much here that just fits together, like a puzzle.
Did you realize that there are at least three mysteries going on at once? I count; who killed LaFleur, the scavenger hunt for the encrypted key and what is Sarah going to do about her feelings for Chuck when faced with a rival. To make all that work, the episode has to be very tight, without a wasted word, and that stands out for me in Chuck vs. The Fat Lady.
Rather than recount all that in detail, I’ll cut to the chase. The assassin destroys the data drive containing the list of Fulcrum agents and escapes, but Chuck has saved Jill. She’s appropriately impressed. Sarah looks more depressed and makes her decision to let let go.
Jill: Thank you for saving my life. I’m sorry for not trusting you with Chuck.
Sarah: You wanna pay me back? Don’t hurt him again.
Jill: I won’t. I wouldn’t. I care about Chuck.
Sarah: Me too. It’s my job to protect him. From anything.
But that’s not completely letting go, is it? Sarah’s not threatening Jill; she’s backing away. As Casey Stengel famously said, it’s not over until the Fat Lady sings.
Casey’s another story. Since he can’t shoot him, Casey wants to arrest Chuck for turning over the data, giving classified intel to the enemy and being a traitor to his country. But Chuck’s not that stupid. He used Morgan’s game copier to make a copy for himself. Heh! Casey should have trusted Chuck.
We should have trusted Morgan, too. He may have half-ratted out Chuck to Emmett, but he also sabotages Emmett’s attempts to become Buymoria’s dictator. Viva Buymoria! All this is classic Chuck, the kind of hilarious interactions we see in every strong episode. Here we have more.
It’s those last two minutes of the episode; the last scene blows me away every time I see it. With very little dialog, Casey and Sarah finish decrypting the data and start to review the list of Fulcrum agents. Jill and Chuck are making out (as privately as they can) in his room. We’re horrified to see Jill’s picture come up on the list of Fulcrum agents.
Wordlessly (like they are in shock), with the amazing Keep Yourself Warm by Frightened Rabbit playing in the background and in slow motion, a startled and panicked Casey and Sarah rush up the stares and then to his room to save Chuck from Jill. He’s gone. They’re gone. “You won’t find love in a hole.”
You can’t overestimate it’s importance. By leaving behind his signal-watch, Chuck has broken his lifeline to Sarah. He’s firmly in Jill’s clutches, and our trusting hero is once again without a clue.
That was the best three minutes of TV I had seen anywhere. Oh, I know that better is coming, now. But this last scene was series-TV at it’s best.