Although last night was NBC’s Chuck‘s 21st episode this season, three more outings remain: Chuck’s longest season to date. Not many shows get 24 episodes anymore. In last night’s, “Chuck Versus the Wedding Planner,” Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) are swindled out of over $20,000 by their wedding planner. On advice from Sarah’s con man father, Jack (Gary Cole), they use CIA resources to track down the woman, earning them both a suspension. But when Chuck flashes while looking at the planner’s client list, General Beckman (Bonita Friedericy) doesn’t believe him. So Chuck, Sarah, and Jack stage their own con to save the world and restore the two spies to duty.
It is an absolute delight to get Gary Cole on screen in any capacity. Since it doesn’t look like he will be returning for Chuck and Sarah’s upcoming nuptials, it is awfully kind of the writers to build him into such a nice story, and provide a sweet moment for he and Sarah on the dance floor during a wedding reception. A con man with a heart of gold is still a con man, so he’s just not that reliable. Plus, despite the fact that he so obviously loves his daughter, no one ever said Jack has a heart of gold.
In flashback, we see Sarah’s childhood. Her grandmother tells her father to stay away, and he reluctantly agrees. Young Sarah is heartbroken, and gives her daddy all the money she saved from the schemes they pulled together, hoping he will take her with him. He does end up disappearing, with the money, and without Sarah. While these bits are not particularly important to the overall series plot, as we already know the type of relationship the two have, but they are so well put together, it’s easy to just enjoy them and not worry if they are necessary. And the actress playing young Sarah is adorable! Also, Jack leaving Sarah her money, of which he spent not a dime over the years, is a nice bookend, and solves the problem of Sarah and Chuck being hoodwinked.
Of course, last time Jack showed up on Chuck, it is revealed that he has money stashed away for Sarah. Is that what his purpose is going to be? Every time Jack is on screen he is bringing money? Is this some sort of commentary on absentee dads?
Parents are an important element on Chuck. Not one of Sarah or Chuck’s parents are in the picture when the series begins. Chuck has tracked down both of his by this point, who happen to be spies, like him, although his father is now dead. Sarah’s father has popped up a couple of times, but her mother has not been shown. Is it too much to hope for, that with three episodes left in the season, a suitably recognizable actress puts in an appearance? Or if not before the wedding, then next season? That may just be wishful thinking, and admittedly, I’m still hoping for a miracle resurrection of Scott Bakula.
While Beckman’s anger at Chuck and Sarah for misusing agency resources is certainly understandable, it stinks that she doesn’t at least let them recover their missing money. After all they do in the line of duty, they should have just asked Beckman for help with the con woman, and she should have granted it. What good is having a job with such resources, and not getting to use them?
This is not the first time Chuck or Sarah have crossed the line of professionalism. Both have used the tools of their job to hunt for Chuck’s family, which ends up tying into their missions. While blind luck is probably partially to blame, Chuck must be given credit for good instincts. Not only did his hunt for mother and father help bring down bigger criminals, but the arrest of the wedding planner once again led to another mission. If we are to suspend disbelief and assume these are not coincidences, which is viable given the massive computer in Chuck’s head, and its effects not completely all known or understood, Beckman needs to start learning to trust Chuck’s actions, even when he himself doesn’t realize a bigger motive.