There have been many times while watching Chuck, I have noticed that stories are recycled, but the roles are in reverse for Chuck and Sarah. Character development makes the story better or can make the story worse the second time around. For example, in the first three years of Chuck, Both Chuck and Sarah had potential love interest that would put one of them in a fit of jealousy.
There are a few story lines I would like to give my point of view on and the first one will be the Mauser shooting from Chuck vs the Santa Claus and Chuck’s red test from Chuck vs the Final Exam. Both episode have similar outcomes and somewhat damaging results to our favorite couple.
If you have not seen these episodes I suggest seeing the episodes first before reading. It may spoil the episodes for you.
Before diving into my feelings on the two scenes, we should talk about the nice moments of the two episodes first. I have written before about how the spy world often caused problems with the development of Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. Sometimes it would even interfere at the most in opportune times. In Santa Clause, we have a scene between the two that was both romantic and touching, and for Sarah the advance made by Chuck was nonchalant yet still charming none the less, even the agent in her could not resist it. Especially when Chuck gives her the bracelet and Sarah responses, “You should give this to a real girlfriend, and Chuck replied with “I know.” A simple gesture that would be one of many scenes that would show the growth in the relationship.
However, the elephant in the room wearied it ugly head, which would be the spy world. It turned out that Fulcrum staged Ned taking over the Buymore to flush out who the CIA and NSA were protecting, and unfortunately for Chuck and crew the hostage negotiator was indeed Fulcrum. Mauser suggested Ned to let Casey and Walker go so he could be alone with Chuck. Sarah like always makes the save, and we get a dark conclusion to this mess. Mauser taunts Sarah telling her that he knew Chuck’s secret and unlike the other fulcrum agents they captured, Fulcrum would try to free him, which Sarah knew would not go well for Chuck. He will be either bunkered by the government or tortured by Fulcrum both situations does not sit well with Agent Walker. She has a split second to make a decision.
Risk Chuck’s life and arrest Mauser or do what she knew needed to be done in order to protect Chuck and his family, and the decision was to kill Mauser. Unfortunately for Sarah, Mauser was unarmed, and to make matters worse Chuck was watching. Chuck confronted Sarah about Mauser, and Sarah proceeded to lie about it. The lie was more of an impact than watching Sarah kill Mauser. It started to make Chuck wonder if Sarah will ever be truthful.
His reaction was overblown. Sarah was doing her job, and it is hard for Chuck to fathom this, which is what lead to the reason Sarah would give to Chuck. Here is what she said,
Chuck Bartowski: He had threatened my family, my friends, and you were just doing your job. I get that but – Sarah, the guy was unarmed. And – and you just…
Sarah Walker: I did what I had to do. He knew who you really were. Your whole family was in danger. And I’m sorry. Sometimes I forget you never asked for all of this.
Chuck also forgets that in the spy world sometimes a spy has to do whatever is necessary in order to make sure a threat is neutralized. In the Mauser situation, Sarah had to kill Mauser because he knew too much, and was a threat to Chuck and his family. So, what happens when the roles are reversed?
For three years, Sarah watched Chuck use morality on missions, and his reluctance in killing people was something Sarah found to be great. For Sarah, it was an attractive part of Chuck. Something she would tell him when they finally did get together, but what did Chuck do that made Sarah say, “it was the greatness news I ever heard…it means you haven’t change…it means you’re still Chuck, your still my Chuck.”
After downloading the Intersect 2.0, Chuck decided in order to be with Sarah he had to become a real spy. Moreover, Chuck’s training was changing him and Sarah was watching the man she fell in love with disappear.
For Sarah, her biggest fears were coming true. Chuck was becoming the man she knew the spy world would turn him into. The very fear Bryce had all those years ago. The same man Alexi Volkoff had become. The same would be true for Chuck if he did not have the strong support staff like Sarah, Casey and the rest of the people in Chucks’ life.
The feelings they had for each other were strong, but neither of them were ready to take the next step. They often came close but duty interrupted them. When Chuck begins his final exam, he met up with Sarah at the stakeout point. In which, he provides bubbly, food and entertainment like only Bartowski can. The very charms that she loves are on full display and she is loving it.
Sarah Walker: Uh, I don’t know. It’s… it’s different.
Chuck Bartowski: Different how?
Sarah Walker: Than with you.
So close yet, yet so far. A near kiss that we have seen so many times before. A kiss that is interrupted by the job. Shaw calls.
After completing the mission part of his exam, both Chuck and Sarah reached the pinnacle stage of their relationship, and the reason was Chuck’s test was not done. Decisions were needed to be made and the consequences of those decisions would affect everything.
Unfortunately for Sarah, Chuck would have to perform a red test, in which Sarah says “The day of her red test was the worst moment of her life.” As Shaw tells Sarah what Chuck has to do next Sarah immediately shoots it down.
Daniel Shaw: Chuck has to kill him.
Sarah Walker: What? Chuck has to kill him? You’re giving him the Red Test tonight?
Daniel Shaw: That’s right.
Daniel Shaw: Because you would’ve said you couldn’t be a part of it.
Sarah Walker: I can’t… I can’t be a part of it. And I won’t! *You* have to meet him. I can’t make him do something like that. I’m not sure I want him to be able to do something like that.
Here is where I have my first issue between the two events. After killing Mauser, Sarah explained that it was her duty to protect Chuck and his family. She said, “It was something she had to do.” Yet, when Chuck was faced with the same issue. Sarah took it to heart, claiming “I am not sure I want him to be able to do something like that”
Sarah’s response and concern was not of an agent. She knew what it took to become an agent and the sacrifices spies have to do, and she was on the receiving end of Chuck sacrificing his own happiness in order to become a spy.
Sarah’s reaction is one of a girlfriend, who saw the one she loved backed in a corner. Sarah was put in a position to follow orders or protect Chuck. The difficult part also was the decision was to be made by Chuck only. Her heart is in her throat, and once Chuck does arrive for what he thought was dinner between the two turns out to be orders. Again the job becomes the x factor.
As Sarah was telling Chuck the remaining part of his exam, Sarah hoped that Chuck did not become lost in his quest to become a spy, which makes me want to point something about the dinner scene.
The one of the things I love about the show was how music sometimes spoke for characters. For example, as Sarah is walking away from Chuck, the song my sleep is playing. Sarah turned around to glance back at Chuck and you can hear this in the background
“But time has been unkind
and kept me far from you
But I know you will be holding me
In my sleep”
It is fitting that this portion of the song can be heard. Sarah was leaving for Washington, and she was with Shaw, but for Sarah her heart belonged to only one person. No matter what happened that night Sarah was going to keep Chuck in her dreams.
The mole arrives and Chuck follows him out to the train tracks, and points his gun at the mole. The sound of gunfire echoes in the air, but it is not Chuck who fired his weapon. Casey killed the mole, but unlike Chuck watching Sarah kill Mauser, she never saw Casey. In her eyes, Chuck killed the mole, which broke her heart. Later that night, Sarah visibly shaken by what she saw, said she no longer was in love with Chuck.
Chuck was also placed in a tough spot because Casey told him that no one could know about what he did. Furthermore, He was being stationed in Rome, and this would mean he would be leaving without Sarah, but for the first time the job gave him an opportunity to win her back. General Beckman told him to take a vacation on them, and in a week you get to pick your own team.
When Chuck returns to Burbank, he finds that Sarah is leaving with Shaw. The reason was because he killed someone. She saw him kill the mole. Except he didn’t and protecting Casey was in Chuck’s mind, but thinking about the Mauser situation, it seemed like Sarah overreacted to this. Chuck came too far in his development as a spy to turn back, and Sarah falling out of love that quickly was just another lie she was trying to sell on Shaw.
Did Sarah have the right to be angry? Yes, she did, but she seemed to forget what it felt like for Chuck watching her kill Mauser. Something that would last for a while much like the Red Test did for Sarah. The only difference was Chuck didn’t kill the mole. It took Casey to confess to Sarah the truth about what happen.