Morality vs Orders
Usually when I compare scenes. I pick two of them and work from there, but the subject of this article has to do with the first two years of Chuck.
The issue was how far out of touch Casey and Sarah were with Chuck’s need for his friends and family. It wasn’t like Chuck didn’t fill them in from the outset. In the pilot, Chuck ordered Casey and Sarah to keep his friends and family out of this.
Chuck was stern with a far different tone in his voice. It almost was like Chuck had a lot to figure out, and here is where we begin.
You have to leave My Friends and Family Out and Mother’s Day
When Chuck, Sarah and Casey first meet, They each had their own personality. Chuck was an underachiever, who was stuck in the past. Casey was all solider, and Sarah was in between if she wanted to be a spy anymore.
Three dynamic personalities with very different backgrounds. At this point, Casey was willing and able to put a bullet in both Sarah and Chuck with no quarrels about it and still have time to eat pancakes. Sarah was manipulating her way into Chuck’s life so she can fix Bryce’s mess with her own personal interest keeping her in Burbank.
Somewhere along the line Sarah started caring for Chuck. Thus, when being recalled, she said, “But, I can fix it. give me twelve hours.” The reason Sarah wanted more time was because she was intrigued by Chuck. She was used to unsavory people. People like the baddie who placed a bomb in the hotel’s ballroom.
Sarah once said, “When you meet someone. It’s hard to walk away.” (Chuck vs the Lethal Weapon) We experienced it in the pilot. Sarah looking at the Buymore shows intrigue in her mark. She already knew Chuck wasn’t a threat, but how Chuck handled the little Ballerina opened Sarah’s heart for the first time in her life. She was curious on who was Charles Irving Bartowski
It’s quite similar to the scene in Broken Heart, She was fired from her position. Yet, Sarah was very reluctant in leaving. Her moist eyes said as much. Her desire to stay with Chuck was at a vastly different level in Broken Heart, but nonetheless Sarah wasn’t on a plane in the pilot either.
The way Sarah was interested in Chuck was not the same for John Casey. In fact, he didn’t like Sarah. “Chuck Bartowski lives, the CIA skirt, you can kill.” Casey explained in Phase Three why he didn’t like Sarah.
Casey was a far different character in S4, but we can’t ignore why he didn’t like Sarah. Her unpredictability was what rubbed Casey the wrong way. Her tendency to go against orders was the issue.
At least in S1, Casey and Sarah both were company agents,, Sarah and Casey didn’t question any missions or orders. For example, When Chuck mistakenly helped Ben Lo Pan. Chuck was trying to get his handlers to help Mei Ling. The reason was because of his moral fiber about family.
While helping Mei Ling was not a top priority, Chuck’s ability to think fast would make the two agents cave. Ling came to the Buymore seeking help in rescuing her brother, and Chuck needed Casey and Sarah to agree to help Mei Ling.
He came up with a plan to ask Ling to defect, which in the beginning she turns down, but when Sarah and Casey don’t leave her with much options. She had no choice. Chuck’s decision to help Ling went against orders.
Chuck’s ability to talk down potential threats will be a skill he uses throughout the series. However, what Chuck failed to realize was he would be required to assist on the mission too.
Chuck had his own personal issue to deal with, it was a very special day between Ellie and Chuck.. They would be celebrating their own Mother’s Day. The holiday marked the day their mother left them. When Chuck and Ellie have one of many “Heart to Hearts” Ellie reminds Chuck what he valued most, which was his friends and family.
Ellie understood Chuck’s recent uncharacteristic behavior as being in love for the first time in a long time. So, Ellie decided to cut Chuck some slack. Great for Chuck, but a reality check for Chuck. The strain of his new job was interfering with the people that matter most to him.
The other difference between the two agents came in Sarah spending a lot of time with Chuck personally. Yes, it was a cover but it seems the more she spent time with Chuck, Ellie, Awesome and Morgan the more Sarah was learning what it meant to be a real family.
Whereas Casey was all about protocol, when Casey asked Chuck where Sarah was in Chuck vs Helicopter, Chuck said, she was meeting Ellie for dinner. Chuck said he had to go, but Casey was only interested in getting Chuck back to Washington out of fear Sarah went rogue.
Battle wounds between the two are significant with the history Casey and Sarah have. It fed into each agent warning Chuck about the other. The heat between the two lead to a fight in the gourmet hotdog store, so, when Chuck bailed on Casey. The Major was not too thrilled, and had a very different tone when it came to Chuck’s disobeying his order.
Chuck put himself in danger according to Casey and Sarah. He accused Sarah of being a double and disobey Casey twice. A tough second episode on the job to say the least.
but a real education for Casey and Sarah on how far Chuck will go for others. Chuck couldn’t leave his sister in danger, and he couldn’t leave Sarah or Mei Ling’s brother to fend for themselves.
However, when Sizzling Shrimp aired the relationship between Chuck and Sarah was different by then. Casey was still Casey, but the closeness while working with Chuck both professionally and personally level granted Sarah access to his life.
At the end of Sizzling Shrimp, Chuck was adamant when seeing Morgan about this being family time. Ellie said, it was ok because they had a bonding moment. Ellie also would say Sarah was invited too, and we have a connection between the two. A very similar experience between the two.
While Chuck was telling Sarah about Mother’s Day, he let her in on something very personal, and based on her past quite similar when it comes to not having parents around. A likeness that helped establish a foundation for their relationship. Especially what happened in the next episode.
However, before we go further we must move back, Sarah was over for game night and seemed to be enjoying herself as they play their game. She was experiencing family time first hand, What started as fun and games. Sarah was taken back on how Morgan and crew knew about Stanford. It was rather alarming for her.
How could it not be awkward, Sarah was taught from a young age to keep secrets. Yet, Chuck’s friend and family knew about Bryce and Stanford. As Mr Bush (Unpacking Chuck) wrote in his book, ” A Fish out of Water,” Chapter 2 in his book.
So, Sarah’s first experience with her surrogate family had a bittersweet feel. Later in the episode, Sarah made a point to tell her former partner Carina she was good in Burbank. As if saying to her spy life, she was happy playing house.
Carina saw that Sarah was compromised, so she complicated things for Walker by telling Chuck the truth about Walker and Larkin. It was almost like the spy life getting the last laugh through the voice of Carina.
After watching this episode again, I learned something during the double date scene. Sarah touched the back of Chuck’s neck and flirts with Chuck. She acted like she was Chuck’s real girlfriend. There was no hesitation in her moves either. Walker knew what she was doing.
However, when Carina does it to Morgan, Sarah asked Carina to tone down the touchy feely stuff. Sarah inadvertently gave away her feelings to Carina. Hence, Carina’s move to get Sarah back on mission by revealing Sarah’s dirty secret. Carina also would make a move on Chuck by saying “I always like to take what Sarah wants.”
It’s the very reason Sarah was left speechless. Sarah’s spy world exposed her lie, which ended up causing a rifted between Chuck and Sarah. Unfortunately, Carina didn’t realize the rift between the two would spill over into the mission, but again Carina used the tension as leverage to get Chuck to give her the rock.
Great spy work from Carina, it’s how spies operate.
So, Sarah understood the meaning of family and friend for a split second, she even admitted to a colleague she was interested in her asset. How does Sarah respond with this education in normal day to day lives. She felt comfortable enough to wait in Chuck’s apartment after that.
It’s a big step because Sarah always called Chuck or asked him to meet her at the wienerlicious, but in this episode (vs Sandworm) she was standing in his room. Sarah was settling into her new role.
It wasn’t the same thing for Casey. one scene that really illustrates the difference between Sarah and Casey would be the debriefing scene in Sizzling Shrimp. Casey gave Chuck an order to go through files regarding Mei Ling, but Chuck didn’t want to disappoint his friends and family. He asked the major if they can do it in the morning.
Casey in a harsh tone instructed Chuck on priorities. He said, “China’s top spy is here, and you my friend may be the only one who can tell us why she is here.” but by the end of the episode Casey saw heroism from Chuck after saving them and Mei Ling’s brother.
Casey would then get angry with Chuck for not telling him about Lazlo. Chuck chose to let Sarah know about his flash, and not the major.
It is hard for Chuck to know how to work when the feuding agents operating in different ways. For example, Sarah told Chuck “He did the right thing.” by telling her about the flash. He followed protocol, but how could it be the case when Casey didn’t approve. Jealousy maybe? Sarah has access to the Intersect all the time.
One thing before we move on, It has been discussed on this site about the fake picture. Sarah’s education in real world situation often became a balancing act. She learn to care for Chuck rather quickly and all her spy training would be tested by Chuck’s moral fiber. For example, Chuck finding out she lied about Bryce.
Chuck saw through Sarah’s lie and it really bother Sarah. Her expression after Chuck left was more telling. She was caught, but how could she fix it. When she was caught a second time in a lie, she rectified it.
After watching Chuck save the day, Sarah made it a point to fix her personal life. Yes, she was his handler, but by Sandworm Sarah was beginning to understand her desire to make things right with Chuck. He deserved that much.
The Alma Mater, The Truth
While Chuck and Sarah were growing closer, Casey felt like the third wheel most of the times, but even as a third wheel, Casey learned to respect and appreciate Chuck. By the end of S1, Casey was not the same man, who wanted to kill Chuck and Sarah, admittedly in S4, He said, “You’re Chuck Bartowski, the second best spy I’ve ever worked with. Now you’re gonna go save the best one. ” (Chuck vs The Cliffhanger)
The man with very little words held the key in Chuck and Sarah coming together in S3, and gave Sarah her video log to help Chuck get the girl.
Well, I believe it started in Alma Mater, Casey didn’t like people who committed treason. In Chuck vs The Colonel, Casey was furious with Chuck and Sarah, but not because they went AWol, they didn’t ask him to join.
In Alma Mater, Casey visited the place where Chuck’s idea of betrayal took place. His expression echoed Sarah’s gesture when Chuck went through with the story.
How Bryce just stood there telling him he brought on himself. Casey’s words after Chuck finished his story was “Roger that.” It means Casey didn’t chalk it up to typical Chuck
When three people have a common denominator, it often helps build unity. For Chuck, Casey and Sarah the common thread would be betrayal even if doesn’t measure up between the three. Sarah and Casey were already spies, Chuck was forced into the spy world by Bryce.
Once Chuck vs the Truth came around, Chuck, Sarah and Casey all were still in their respective roles. Casey listening in on Chuck and Sarah getting acclimated in Chuck’s life.
The double date isn’t the same as the dinner scene in helicopter. Tension between Team Bartowski was no where in sight. The tension takes place after Ellie gets poisoned.
The tension however is between Sarah and Chuck. Awesome puts heat on the relationship when he noticed Sarah and Chuck weren’t sleeping together. He makes it a point to make sure Sarah hears it too,
Sarah was worried about there cover, but it wasn’t the cover she was worried about. The image of being labeled prudent was getting to Sarah. The awkward approach after saying the words “It’s time to make love.”
We all know what happens next, Chuck meets Lou and so on, but let’s fast forward to the last portion of the sleepover, As Chuck and Sarah are going over their cover.
Sarah trying to keep Chuck for herself uses tactics prototypical of a jealous woman, it’s when a cover becomes a cover for her real intentions. When does the cover end, when Sarah said so?
It would of been easier to believe if Sarah didn’t see Chuck run across the parking lot for another woman. Real woman feelings kick in. The problem for Sarah really is her surroundings, she could express her feelings, but with Casey listening in, Sarah would be caught.
Why not now? It’s because Sarah didn’t want to share, and she tried her best to use her agent persona to hide her true intentions, but Chuck was not playing along this time. Sarah feared she was losing control of Chuck, and who could fault him.
The word cover kept spilling out of her mouth, but when we actually look at the scene. There was a lot of variables that made it complicated for Sarah.
Sarah reminded Chuck what they were doing was for cover, Yet, don’t you think candles and music like what Chuck was playing protected their cover. The situation doesn’t get easier when tension heats up with Chuck’s hooker line. it was an insult, Sarah wasn’t expecting.
Gary, often said Sarah lied to Chuck, but in this case she was lying to herself. She smiled when entering the room which means she liked what she saw. Chuck setting up the place should of been a clue for Sarah, he was still into her, but with Lou still on her mind she misread the situation. The scenery became overwhelming for Sarah. The CIA’s best agent was nervous.
Throw Casey listening in, and the mission became a bust for Sarah.
Casey listening bolds an interesting dynamic. Chuck was with Sarah, which meant Chuck was protected. Casey didn’t need to listen per se, but the fear that Sarah was compromised was the angle here. How far would Sarah take the cover.
The other aspect of this equation comes with the possibility Casey wasn’t blind to what was happening between Sarah and Chuck. In Chuck vs Tango, Sarah and Chuck were engaging in an intimate moment.
The opportunity presented itself for Chuck and Sarah to kiss, and Sarah would’ve gave in, but a certain someone was watching from the window of his apartment. It really became an obstacle with Casey around.
Back to the truth, Ellie came into the room and interrupted Chuck’s evening. Clearly, Ellie wasn’t herself, and Sarah noticed right away., At the same time, Casey was getting cross talk. Things get really rough between Chuck and his handlers at this point.
Whatever relationship problems Sarah and Chuck were going through, it took a back seat because of what happened to Ellie. Tension will become hostility once Chuck’s family was affected by his spy life, which will bring the first clashing moment between Chuck and his handlers.
The confusion in Sarah and Casey’s struggle in caring for an individual comes with the job. It would be misguided to believe Casey and Sarah didn’t care about what happened to Ellie, but when the millions of people’s lives are at stake. Casey and Sarah must protect all of the country not just Chuck’s sister. However, when it comes to Chuck, who proved in Sizzling Shrimp.
When it comes to family, Ellie was the only family in Chuck’s life. Orders and the protection of the country wasn’t important to Chuck. His determination to keep his sister alive was worth more to him than his own life.
Casey and Sarah have remorse in their faces when they arrive at the hospital., and as they are explaining to him how Ellie was poisoned, Chuck becomes heated.
Chuck: Why would anyone want to hurt Ellie? She doesn’t know anything about nuclear codes. She doesn’t even want us to own a microwave.
Casey: That’s good news, means the person who poisoned her is Still out there looking for the Intel chip.
Chuck: No, no, no, no, no. There is no good news.
Okay, you just told me that my sister was poisoned by the same stuff as a dead guy.
Sarah: Chuck, our medical teams are trying to identify the poisoning agent to create an antidote for Ellie.
Chuck: There’s no time! If it’s the same poison as the dead guy, that means Ellies only got a few hours left. Look, this is easy.
All we’ve got to do is find the codes, and we get the bad guy to trade us for the antidote. Okay, we do this kind of thing in our sleep.
Casey: Even if we knew where the codes were, that’s not a practical plan. Can’t risk the bad guy endangering millions of lives for the one.
Chuck: This is my sister we’re talking about, all right? We can’t just sit around and watch her die.
During this scene, we saw emotion out of Casey, he does care about helping Chuck’s sister, but protocol dictates his actions, and Casey made a valid point. However, Sarah can sense Chuck ready to erupt with the idea of standing pat, and quickly tried to cool the tension by coming up with a plan.
Once Chuck found out they had a bug, Chuck snatched it from Casey’s hand and spoke into the bug, he alerted the baddie, they found the codes.. Casey was rather impressed with the quick thinking Bartowski’s plan of luring the baddie to them.
All plans don’t always pan out, while Chuck found the codes in Ellie’s sweater, he ran for Casey and Sarah, who were dealing with the baddie. Chuck crashed into the room knocking the vile out of the baddies hand causing them all to get poison.
The chase was one, Casey threw a crutch across the hospital and nailed the baddie knocking him over. Sarah caught the antidote before it crashed to the ground. Casey and Sarah insisted Chuck to drink it because of the intersect, but Chuck didn’t want too. He wanted to give it to his sister.
Casey pointed his gun at Chuck and was trying to force Bartowski to drink the vile. It didn’t work as Chuck ran for his sister. it left his handlers standing in the window realizing what Chuck would do to save his family. Orders or not Chuck’s friends and family matter most. Sarah apologises for all of this, but with his sister saved Chuck returned to his charming self.
The experience from the truth didn’t really register because in Best Friend, the tension between the team again became testy when Morgan becomes the target of a mission.
The next chapter will discuss how Sarah and Casey’s struggle in normalcy clash with Chuck’s moral code. We will take a look at the back end of S1 into S2 for more examples of the battle between orders and morality.