Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Chuck: Chuck & Sarah vs A Real Life


It's really what this show has been aiming for in the past two years isn't it? Chuck getting the Intersect out of his head so that he can return to the 'normal' life that he had before Bryce sent him that email. Of course, that assumes that Chuck can ever really go back to having a normal life, and that once he realizes what that truly means, that he'll want to keep it.

Last night, in 'Chuck Versus the Colonel', Chuck and Sarah go renegade in order to find Chuck's father, who is being held by Fulcrum agents because they want Daddy Bartowski to re-create the Intersect he made (the one that ended up in Chuck's head) with improvements so they can imprint it into Fulcrum agents.

Of course, as with all Chuck missions – and really, all missions in life – it's never as simple as it might seem.

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The first hurdle they have to jump is the fact that when they reach the location of the Black Rock, where Fulcrum is holding Chuck's father, they only find an abandoned drive-in theater. The second, bigger hurdle is the fact that John Casey – now upgraded to Colonel – has been given orders to bring Chuck and Sarah in, dead or alive.

And then there's the hurdle of the single bed in the motel room.

This is a show where the ship is practically shoved down your throat and to deny it is to be blatantly ignorant (of course, I feel this way about other ships as well… like Jack and Kate on Lost). Sometimes it leads to sweet moments (like when Sarah thought Chuck had sacrificed himself in an exploding vehicle) but mostly it makes you want to smash your head into a wall because the idea that Chuck and Sarah Can Not Be Together has become redundant in a way that I never thought could be worse than Buffy and Angel.

It's been brought up in a million fractions of the same two excuses: Their feelings for one another "compromise" the missions, and once Chuck goes back to a normal life, it isn't clear if Sarah can drop hers to be with him. We've already seen the first excuse shot down recently in 'Chuck vs the Broken Heart', but we're still left with the 'normal life' scenario. Would Sarah drop her secret agent lifestyle to be with Chuck? Would she even be able to?

'Chuck vs The Suburns' gave us a peek into Chuck and Sarah living in domesticity, but it was a mission and, in the end, Sarah (despite her heartache) treated it as such. This time her feelings for Chuck lead her to go rogue with him and she's taking this opportunity to test the deeper waters of a real relationship and if Chuck's friend hadn't left him with an IOU for his one condom, he and Sarah might have made the Dissertation of Intimate Relations. Instead, as they were captured by Casey and taken back to HQ, Sarah left Chuck with the knowledge that she did, indeed, want a relationship with him.

In some ways Sarah's end of the relationship is much harsher than Chuck's. As he told the General, the past two years have been an experience, one in which he has grown as a person, beginning to realize his full potential. He's gained, at least temporarily, an older brother in Casey and a girlfriend in Sarah and treats the relationships as certain and everlasting, despite begrudgingly knowing they're not. His life may be in danger, and sometimes his situation at work, with friends and with his family might seem disrupted, Chuck is moving forward on his way to a better life – with or without Sarah.

For Sarah, she has to constantly remind herself that Chuck is her mission, that she is his handler and that this life she's been adopted into is not her own, but an extension of the mission that is Chuck Bartowski. Outside of him, she has no family – her father currently a fugitive from the law is her only relationship – and her life has been all about missions. Those missions have given her a purpose in the chaos her life became when her father had been arrested.

Chuck has given her a glimpse into what a real life would be with friends and family, a sister and brother-in-law, and most importantly, someone constant in her life – Chuck. She's fallen for him because he's given her something she hasn't had all her life – stability and unconditional love – and last night in that bed she accepted that this was the life she wanted, with Chuck. And she reiterated her choice while awaiting incarceration at HQ when Chuck joked about two beds and she replied, essentially saying there was no need any more for the separation.

Of course, their new life together can't start until Chuck gets the Intersect out of his head and, conveniently, members of the Buy More staff cut the power, allowing for Chuck and Sarah to escape their confines to find Chuck's father, picking up Casey along the way in a scene reminiscent of the first episode with Sarah and Casey, guns drawn over Chuck, who insists one foot in the car proves that he's still IN the car (a running joke that always ends with Chuck elsewhere).

Casey, it seems, is far more loyal to his word than his mission and having promised Chuck he'd keep his father safe, he sides with Sarah and Chuck in saving Chuck's father from the impending air strike the General has ordered.

While Sarah and Casey infiltrate the Fulcrum base (it's down a hatch, underground – but Desmond is nowhere to be found), Chuck realizes that the drive-in theater is being used as a screen on which to play the new Intersect his father has been creating for a large faction of Fulcrum agents and he sets out to destroy the projector. His father, Sarah and Casey are captured and all together watch Fulcrum start up the projector, but it turns out what his father was building wasn't an Intersect, but a program to remove the Intersect from Chuck's mind.

As the film ends and Chuck faints, the air raid commences, destroying the Fulcrum base and killing many of its agents as Casey and Sarah escape with Chuck's father and the "Intersect" cube. As Chuck awakes, he admits he feels "lighter" and with Fulcrum seemingly destroyed, and the Intersect seemingly removed from Chuck's mind, the General decides that this mission is over.

Of course, it's not, and next week's finale looks to hold a brawl between what's left of Fulcrum and Sarah, Chuck and Casey at Ellie and Devon's wedding. The outcome of which could either be the series finale, or the events that will lead to a stellar third season. Obviously I'm hoping for the latter, if only to see how Chuck and Sarah handle their newest mission – A Real Relationship.


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