My recent articles were either kind of long or multi-episode articles and although it was a lot of fun writing them, I would like to do something completely different this time.
I’d like to start a series of very short articles that focus just on one scene or a short sequence of related consecutive scenes in one episode. The intention of this series of articles is to take a closer look at some Chuck scenes that I believe didn’t get the full attention they deserve. By this I mean scenes in which certain important details were barely notice by most of the audience. The reasons for missing the details differ: Sometimes the details were outshone by the romantic part, the comedy, they had to be interpreted by considering past episodes to get the full meaning, etc.
So basically I want to talk about scenes that were more than they first appeared to be. I won’t talk much about the obvious part of the scenes; instead I will focus on the less obvious details.
At this moment I have five or six scenes in mind that I’d like to talk about, but I am pretty sure that this list will get longer if I give it some more time. I am going to publish the parts of this series of articles sporadically.
The scene for today is taken from Bullet Train. I don’t watch this episode very often because the end of it just breaks my heart.
The scene I’d like to talk about is the one where Chuck and Sarah were in their compartment sketching out their future life together. A scene that many viewers hold dear because of its romantic nature and the famous drawing.
But in my opinion some major details in this scene were simply missed by most viewers because they were focusing too much on the beauty of this scene. When Chuck and Sarah were talking about their future we already know that things will change for them. How do we know that? (Because we all here watched the episode already. No, kidding.) We know it because the show-writers have already told us in this episode that they will introduce a major change for Chuck and Sarah that will separate them.
To really understand the full meaning of this scene we also have to take the Casey scene before into account, because the scenes belong together.
Casey’s scene started with him sitting on the coffin that trapped Quinn. Casey was reading the Lonely Planet travel guide ‘Japan’ and that was no coincidence. I know that Lonely Planet is the most famous travel guide, used it myself quite often, but I believe it was chosen because of the brand name here, too. Books displayed in this show have always a meaning, well described in Unpacking Chuck 2.0, although G.W. Bush was more focusing on how book titles represent traits of the characters they belong to.
Casey sighed: ”Cherry blossoms”.
Cherry blossoms at the Tokyo Imperial Palace
In Japanese culture cherry blossoms represent impermanence and the transience of things as a metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, which also includes the acceptance of destiny and fate.
‘Cherry blossoms’ was a statement that change was about to happen.
Quinn’s people had captured Casey’s daughter Alex. The first time I watched this episode I believed something really bad would happen to either Casey or Alex, not that I would have been ok with that, but as soon as the scene changed it was clear that this was about Chuck and Sarah.
When the compartment scene starts we see that it was all wrong. Sarah and Chuck were on the wrong sides of the bed. In season 1 and 2, before they were together, Sarah was on the left side of the bed and Chuck was on the right. This can be observed in Truth and Lethal Weapon.
Left: Truth; Right: Lethal Weapon
Their places changed when they decided for each other in Colonel. In Honeymoon they were really together and at the end of the episode we see them: Sarah on the right side, Chuck left side. In all following episodes they never changed their sides of the bed until this very moment.
Left: Colonel; Right: Honeymooners
That their positions were changed in this scene ultimately told us that soon they will not be together anymore.
At the end of this scene, when they were about to kiss, the buzzing cell phone interrupted them. This foretold that an external influence or event will keep them apart.
The whole scene just allowed us to watch one last beautiful moment while the characters didn’t know that ‘fate’ had already decided that their relationship was over (for now).
For me the first second of this compartment scene, was the 2nd most heart breaking moment of the whole series, 1st would be the flash card scene at end of this episode, 3rd the moment before they entered Ellie’s apartment in Break up (not when Chuck made his speech, the moment after they both looked at each other and faked a smile).
Next up will be a scene from vs. the Suitcase (if I don’t change my mind spontaneously).
And with this I’d like to end this article. You see, it was really a short one. As always, feel free to comment, disagree or tear it apart in the comment section.