We have come to the second part of Yvonne’s mastery of Sarah Walker. We will take the next three episodes of season one and begin to see the various expressions that help build the character. I will also illustrate the difference between Agent Walker and Sarah the Girlfriend. More specifically, how you the viewer can tell when Sarah was in agent mode, and when she turned off her alter ego. We shall begin with Sizzling Shrimp,,
Learning the Depths of Family and Friends
When Sarah first came to Burbank, she didn’t know what it was like to make friends and have a family. Her idea of family was on the run after committing a scam with her father. furthermore, Sarah had to be in and out of most places because of being an agent. These are not the ideal conditions of what a family entails, but it was all she knew. In contrast, Chuck was the total opposite. The truth is they were similar in a sense.
The only friends Sarah had were those that worked with her. They may have been times when she saw them. but most of the time they were off doing missions. Thus, there really was no time to have friendships. When she saw how Chuck and Morgan interacted. She learned what it took to be friends.
Education on life experiences can come at any moment. They can come in Sarah’s case as a handler. She observes how Chuck and Morgan interact, and what she will learn even though they are just friends, Chuck still will act like a brother and prevent Morgan from doing stupid things.
If you look at the way the three were acting. if you take the camera away. It seems these three were just like that in real life. Yvonne, Josh and Zac just chilling looked so natural. Yvonne’s smile here shows that she is enjoying the night out. it would be the same during most scenes when she hung out with Chuck’s crowd .
The playing around between Chuck and Morgan put a smile on Sarah’s face. She is watching two men enjoy each other’s company almost like brothers, but little does she know they are brothers, but she will learn that eventually. For now, she is watching two people bonded by one simple word friendship. No strings attached just two people enjoying each other’s company.
However, things change to a more serious tone once Morgan needed to feed on his fix. Sarah thinking its drug or something to that nature would be surprised it was just fireworks, but Chuck a true friend, won’t allow Morgan to risk injury or worse. It was a new experience for her.
Above we see normal Sarah Walker, she is calm and collected. The agent inside of her is shut off, and back to being normal Sarah once fireworks was the fix. What I like about this set of scenes is the glassy eyed Sarah learning the ropes of being a friend. No spy stuff no desire to manipulate the situation just a group of people having a good time. Its rewarding to watch. its even more uplifting for Sarah.
The more she witnesses these kind of relationships Chuck has with people. The more she wants into that world. The world were its simple, but fun and relaxing compared to what she was use too. Reality though is a creepy creature. While Sarah was enjoying the normal world, Chuck was thrusted into being a spy, and with that having personal commitments no matter who they are take a backseat to the country. Sarah expression is one of
Chuck’s struggle with having to drop everything for the agency will take a long time. However, Sarah was showing her dismay for this inconvenience as well. Sarah’s expression said, get use to it Chuck. Its the life of a spy. There is no time for relationships. However, Chuck never buys into that. A very strong character trait in my opinion. First and foremost family and friends are more important to Chuck. We will see the lengths he is willing to go in a few episodes.
The expression above was one a girlfriend would make when hearing shots in the vicinity of her boyfriend. Whether its a cover or not, Sarah makes it a personal mission to protect Chuck from harm. “Are you ok, are you hurt” are the first words out of her mouth than what happened. Its the first indication of emotion towards Chuck other than what her agent persona has done so far. Positive progress so far.
We than get the first flirtatious gesture from Sarah, while its simply gesture, Sarah still initiated body contact. anyone would tell you that once a woman is willinging to start touching you, she feels comfortable with that person.
Its funny how things progress between men and women, no matter how much of it was supposed to be fake, real feelings eventually over took the situation. Especially when something real was revealed to Sarah about Chuck and Ellie’s past.
Before we touch on that subject, I must demonstrate the difference between Agent Walker and Sarah Walker. Sarah in very agent form told Chuck he couldn’t help Mei-Ling. Its not how she said it that intrigued me. Its her expression.
Sarah is still pretty much into following orders like Casey, and Chuck persistence in helping this woman caused Sarah to get testy. notice the mention Chuck wanted to help someone, and Sarah the agent told him no. Further proof that the agent didn’t like Chuck messing with the spy end of things.
While these scenes show Agent Walker in full agent mode, We get a different Sarah as the episode continued move along, During the mission briefing, Sarah gave a look like she did earlier when Chuck whined about dinner plans. A look as if it was reminder that the spy life always takes priority over anything. Twice this episode we saw Sarah give a look of what life is like for a spy. No life other than duty.
Sarah is all business here, she is making it clear for Chuck without the need of words. Something Chuck picked up on after seeing Sarah and then Mei-Ling. Its a learning experience for Chuck, but its business as usual for Sarah.
Whatever her feelings are about Chuck working as a spy, its hard to tell sometimes. When he saved the day, Sarah gives him a very approving smile. However, it will change when Sarah finds out what the Bartowskis special Mother’s Day is
The final scene of Chuck vs the Sizzling Shrimp really was a big one in my view. Sarah learned the meaning of family. She learned that the Barkowski siblings are not so different than her. The fact that the day their mother walked out, and their father would soon follow suit was tough times for Ellie and Chuck. Sarah understands the importance of friendship and family, but she won’t get it to much later in the series.
It is important the significance of Chuck opening up here. Chuck let Sarah into his heart and history. Earlier he let her in on Stanford and Bryce, but it could be seen all as work related. When Chuck decided to open up about his family life. It told me that Chuck was interested. He allowed her to know about his past. Something that would help develop a bond between the three. I know Morgan was in the scene too, but its really more about Ellie, Chuck and Sarah. After all they eventually will become family.
Being Fake Will Only Last So Long
In Chuck vs The Sandworm, there is a breakthrough of sorts. Chuck was beginning to see question the sincerity in their cover. It only took four episodes, but we see Chuck being to develop a small backbone . When he questioned her for waiting in the bedroom. These expressions are rare funny expressions,
Sarah being caught off guard by Chuck request of staying in the room was comical because the two’s idea of staying in the room was quite different. Sarah was thinking naughty and Chuck was thinking about music. Its very funny as I write about it. Then we get to the dilemma of the episode. How do we constitute what Sarah did? Do we say she was following orders from Casey? it would mark her first time being in his room alone.
The spy/girlfriend in her must of wanted to see how her boyfriend lived. When Chuck questioned her motive. She covers it up with giving him a picture. The interesting thing about the picture is even if it was a fake, Sarah did have it on her dresser in her hotel room. Another sign that the cover was a fraud, is it normal for a handler to have pictures around her hotel room of her and her asset.
I want to spend a few minutes on this picture for a second, and here is why the bug is not really Sarah’s doing but more of a order. While the picture would of generated some questions, Sarah could of given the picture to Chuck in front of them. Why the secrecy? The planting of the bug is too obvious of an answer for me. She was using her spy techniques I am sure to look through things. no proof of course just speculating.
This scene I saw a little spunk from Chuck. He questioned the picture then followed up with “We look like a real couple.” I love the line, he is telling her for the first time what he is thinking. They are talking, and Sarah’s response “Well we are a real couple just a different kind of couple.”
A rare moment alone together and they are talking. There is nothing but positive that comes from this except Chuck finds out whats behind the picture. We also get the second simple gesture of flirting from Sarah in the same scene.
Chuck said he was a fool for not trusting them, and he screwed up the Lazlo situation. He closed his complaining by saying no wonder you bugged my room. When Sarah sees the picture there is a rare moment of regret in Sarah.
The expression in these set of frames showed me a woman that was getting it. She may have to maintain the agent in her for professional purposes, but the second look at the basket made me see how far we have come since the pilot. This was not the agent but more of a preview of the girlfriend. it may have been a fake picture, but she still gave it to him. For her to find it in the basket was a message she understood.
We fast forward to the end when something fake becomes real. In what was a big step for Sarah, she tried to make things right with what happened earlier. A move she learned from Chuck already. Do the right thing in other words.
Its growth no matter how you slice it. In what was awkward in the beginning for Sarah explaining the picture to seeing it in the trash. Sarah making an effort to make things right with Chuck was dignifying. She didn’t have to care the picture was in the garbage. Do you think someone like Carina would of cared? most likely not. Its a nice moment between the two.
A trip down memory lane
After sharing a nice moment in Sand Worm, Chuck and Sarah will learn something about Bryce. This episode is a learning experience for both of them. We learn that Chuck and Bryce were actually friends in Stanford. They were very close.
By the time the first episode of season one aired, we were beginning to see Sarah get comfortable in her surroundings. The more she spends time in Burbank, the more she enjoys. Especially with Chuck and Casey. The team is forming into a good team, and better yet Sarah gets to learn about Chuck’s past.
Sarah showing that she is intrigued by knowing what she would learn what happened at Stanford, which made her very interested in this mission. Bryce and Chuck’s relationship started there, and now Sarah will visit the place where it all started.
What we have noticed since the beginning Sarah’s expression when it comes to the safety of Chuck. As an agent we see one face. A straight motionless expression that usually has anger behind it. But notice the expression each time she witnessed Chuck in danger. Take a look above when she heard shots fired at him in Sizzling Shrimp or during the shooting scene in La Cuidad’s room.
Her emotions are not of an agent, but someone who has invested emotions in him. Sarah has feelings behind these expressions. There is no question she cares about Chuck, and better yet has a tendency to let Sarah the girlfriend out for a moment.
Chuck opened about the day he got kicked out of school. Sarah listening like she did when it came to Mother’s Day. The word betrayed came out of her mouth. A very familiar feeling she had with Bryce. It brought them together a little more with the common experience.
When Chuck kept the disc to see why his professor had him being recruited by the CIA, Sarah reluctantly let Chuck see the video and What happens is a indication of Bryce still on Sarah’s mind.
The best part about the ending is it leaves the viewer wondering who the tears are for. Was the tears for knowing Bryce’s intentions were honorable. Are the tears for Chuck, and the fact that he ended up working for the CIA because of Bryce. Its masterful of Yvonne not to give an indication on who they are for.
One thing is for sure. Sarah is put in a tough spot, and maybe just maybe Sarah still has Bryce floating around in her mind. The reason is simple really. She never had closure. There is one other thing I would like to point out the look she gave Chuck, while listening to Fleming was trying to understand how smart Chuck was. What a great flow of emotions from Sarah.
We shall continue the master of expression next time with a arc that holds dear to me. The Truth, Hard Salami and Nemesis is next in our evaluation of the expressions made by Yvonne. The very expressions that brought Sarah Walker alive.
The next three episodes will showcase Yvonne Strahovski in full command of Sarah Walker. We will see also venture into a inner battle between Agent Walker and Sarah Walker. Stay tuned for the next installment of Master of Expressions.