Chuck vs. The Honeymooners 3.14 ****
When Schwartz and Fedak pitched NBC their 13 episode Season Three, the brass was so happy with the plan that they gave the producers six “bonus” episodes. Because of the closure that Other Guy provided, they both thought it was nice to have a lead-in to Season Four. A kind of Season 3.2
“Chuck vs. The Honeymooners” kicks the new mini-arc where the last one left off with Chuck and Sarah enjoying their time alone together in France. Alone together for hours (and perhaps days) upon end, being the emphasis.
Both of them decide to make their little sabbatical into a full-blown escape. But, wouldn’t you know, they’re on a train that has enemy agents on it. Old habits, you know.
Meanwhile, Beckman has Casey and Morgan track them to bring them back. Here is where Morgan’s value really comes into being as he uses his knowledge of Chuck and his quirks to pinpoint where they’re at.
Unlike the labyrinthine twists and turns from the last episode and the dark themes throughout, this is light and frothy, cut and dried, and Chuck and Sarah heaven. We finally see the two of them together and the adorable reading is off the scale. This is as much fun as we’ve ever seen Sarah have. She’s laughing and playful and enjoying herself for the first time in a long time, and it’s clear that they love playing spy couple.
I particularly liked Sarah’s heavy Texas accent. So over the top and hilarious, but also interesting in that she hides behind it a little with the intimate moments with Chuck. Especially when they pose as the honeymooners and Chuck slips on the ring, Sarah tries not to lose herself in the moment. And again when Chuck tells Sarah they make a really good team. She still uses the accent, still not letting herself quite actually believe they’re together. And conveniently that’s when a disgusted Casey shows up to take them back to Burbank.
It might be the biggest duh observation to make, but it’s interesting how Sarah wasn’t really playing a role right from the start. As a real girlfriend, she’s acting exactly the same with Chuck as when she was his fake girlfriend. So on some level it’s always been real for Sarah. It was never an act.
Then, of course, there’s the fight ballet which is awesome on its own but even more wonderful when you consider that the only other one that Sarah was so in tune with was Bryce. So for Chuck to finally reach that level of partnership, not only as a lover but as part of a dynamic duo, is incredibly significant. And that’s why we get the moment where they decide to be lovers and partners in the spy world. Because not only do they want to be together, they belong together. And they finally accept that they belong to the spy world. It’s as much a part of them as they are to it.
When Chuck episodes go off the air permanently, this is the episode that will probably be most fondly remembered. It’s not the best one the show has done, but it’s the one you can enjoy watching again and again. Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski just take it and run with it, using their screen chemistry, comic timing, and presence to really inject some sorely missed fun back into the show. Adam Baldwin and Joshua Gomez may just be the breakout tag team in the show now as supporting players. Morgan is still a fish out of water, but he’s adapting to the current as only Morgan can despite Casey’s impatient grumblings.
It is kind of strange, though, that the angsty, dark tone of the show this season has brought about unintended expectations. I wanted a bit more menace from the villains, although the non-pacifist “Canadian” harpy was a nice touch. But I had become so conditioned to the sturm and drang that I kind of missed it when it wasn’t there. Still as a second episode by Rafe Judkins and Lauren LeFranc, you couldn’t ask for a better episode to fill devoted Chuck fans with such giddy pride in their show.
Well, okay, there is the Ellie and Devon subplot of having a final farewell party before leaving for Africa and Chuck not being there. Jeffster even makes an appearance and like Morgan with Casey, they actually adapt and step up to the plate when hey sing a halfway pretty version of “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” I’ll be honest, though, I would have preferred that Chuck never really said goodbye to Ellie and Devon. There has to be cost, even in the light and fluffy stories. Unlike Chuck and Sarah, you can’t always get what you want. And it would have left Chuck and Ellie in a bittersweet place.
I absolutely loved the moment when Sarah made it official to Beckman and she finally acquiesced and let it happen (like she could stop it), and even admitting that she was rooting for Sarah and Chuck off the record. You can’t deny true love, no matter how much it may not make logical sense. Love doesn’t work that way. I think that’s also what Sarah Walker is beginning to understand and accept. Judging from finally getting introduced to Nina Simone and cuddling up to her Chuck at the end, she’s finally discovered what happiness and being in love feels like. And it feels good.