If you missed the fall of Vivian Volkoff during last week’s Chuck, make sure you catch up with last week’s recap.
“Chuck vs the Wedding Planner” opens with a girl scout knocking on a door to sell cookies. She convinces the woman inside to purchase one of every box, making her believe there are only two varieties. When the girl quickly counts that the woman has $84, she notes there are five other varieties for a grand total of, who would have guessed it?, $84. As the girl returns to her father’s car, a subtitle notes that it is 1988 in McCall, Ohio. The girl, a young Sarah Walker, gives the money to her father, Jack Burton. He hands Sarah $100 as her cut of the takings. He asks her if she could have anything she wants, what would it be? Sarah replies that all she wants are adventures just with her Dad. Dad smiles, but drops her off with her grandparents.
The scene changes to present day as Chuck and Sarah’s wedding planner, Daphne Perralta, goes over their invite list. Daphne asks about Sarah’s father, but Sarah says her Dad doesn’t know she’s getting married. With everything looking like it is set, Daphne asks if the two of them are ready to pull trigger on the wedding. She knows that it is overwhelming and exhausting, so they don’t have to move forward yet, but the couple replies that they are ready. Sarah writes a check out for $26,230 and hands it to Daphne.
Chuck shows Morgan a wedding program. Morgan worries that the use of the Helvetica font and red and black coloring reminds him of socialism, so Casey is very likely not to attend. When Morgan leaves, Chuck asks Sarah if their wedding colors remind her of socialism, not in a good way? “Is there a good way?” she retorts. They try to call Daphne to ask her opinion, but there is no response. In fact, they can’t find her anywhere. She took their money! Incensed, as she was taught by her father to never be conned, Sarah exclaims, “She chose the wrong couple to con!” “That’s us, right honey?” Chuck asks in reply.
In Castle, Chuck and Sarah try tracing Daphne, but she has disappeared. They can’t ask General Beckman for help. Sarah, however, can think of someone to ask. Cut to Miami. Jack Burton shows an empty lot to potential real estate investors until he has to cut off his presentation at the sight of Sarah. “You’re still in Burbank with the schnook?” he inquires. Moving past the comment, Sarah asks if he has ever worked with Daphne Perralta? He hasn’t. He continues, saying he is proud of Sarah for becoming an upright citizen, but why not use that power to find the wedding planner? She explains that she has no authority to use more resources. Clearly, Sarah has forgotten one of her father’s most important rules of the con game: pretend she has the authority. She thanks her father and leaves, without explaining what actually happened with Daphne.
Alex shows up at the Buy More, and with Morgan, ambush Casey. Today is the day he should speak to Kathleen and tell her he is still alive. Casey is unsure because Kathleen deserves better than thinking Casey has a crappy job at the Buy More. As he tries to shoo them away, Kathleen enters the store. Morgan and Alex escort her out, but she catches a glimpse of Casey as she leaves.
Jack, having lifted Sarah’s wallet and license during their meeting in Miami, arrives at Chuck and Sarah’s apartment. “Oh, she lives with the schnook,” he comments on seeing their picture through a window. Devon appears, saying he is part of the neighborhood watch. Jack could try to run, but although he has Clara strapped to him, he is the more efficient runner and will catch the possible intruder. Jack explains that he is Sarah’s father, and is there to surprise her. Jack, noticing that Devon looks like a rock climber, mentions he climbed El Capitan in ’79. This allays Devon’s fears, so he accepts Jack’s offer of helping with Clara and invites him inside.
Sarah convinces Chuck to fake a flash as they discuss Daphne with General Beckman so they can gain access to deeper government resources. Sarah tells the General that Daphne is more dangerous than they expect. Chuck fakes his flash, and says that he saw a connection between Daphne and other dangerous people, including a weapons dealer named Mongoro. Beckman finds this hard to believe as they just took down the entire Mongoro cell. Chuck thinks quickly, and spying a name on a newspaper, says Daphne also worked with a Nobokov. Beckman recognizes the name as one of the most dangerous people in the world. She immediately calls three other agencies to order Daphne’s capture, dead or alive.
Chuck and Sarah now have access to all agencies’ databases, but they need to catch her before anyone else from the government does. Meanwhile, back in Echo Park, Jack plays the shell game with Clara and her bottles. He notes that Devon is good with the baby. Sarah, he says, is a tough one to read: the second you leave your guard down, you get hurt. While Jack finds the wedding program, Devon texts Chuck that Jack is there. “Would it surprise you to know your father is in our apartment?” Chuck asks Sarah. Of course not, but there is no time to worry about that. Sarah found Daphne in a satellite image getting into a Super Shuttle (Blatant Product Placement!), which Chuck dutifully explains is a ride-sharing mode of transportation to major airports.
They arrange for Chuck to be picked up by the Shuttle during a short blackout in the government’s satellites. Clad in a trenchcoat and an awful beard, Chuck gets on the Shuttle with Daphne. Sarah warns him that he has five minutes to get her off the van before Casey’s team takes her out. Chuck handcuffs himself to her, telling her he works for the government and she is coming with him. “Oh yeah? Watch this!” Daphne whispers to him. She begins yelling that Chuck is her ex, that he handcuffed her to him, and that he exposed himself to her. General Beckman radios Casey that they have picked up a trace on the van. “Keep your eyes peeled and your guns ready,” he tells his crew. Chuck tells the van driver that he will expose himself to the driver if doesn’t stop the van. Sarah meets up with them when the van stops, but Daphne doesn’t believe they work for the government. “I’m calling your bluff,” she says, but before she can say another word, she is shot with a cargo net by Casey.
“She’s your wedding planner?!?” General Beckman bellows in disbelief. Do they have any idea what they’ve done? Beckman suspends both of them until further notice. Chuck pleads that Daphne has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars from hundreds of couples, showing the General Daphne’s book of marks she has swindled. As he flips through the book, Chuck sees an invite list with members of the Klug family on it and flashes. The Klugs are three brothers working for the Iranian government on a portable intelligence device called the Zephyr. The General takes the information, but Chuck and Sarah are not to pursue anything until they gain back the trust of the American government.
Back again in 1988, Young Sarah plays the shell game with her stuffed animals. She hears her grandmother and father arguing outside, with her grandmother saying Sarah deserves more than her father. Jack gets in his car to leave, but Sarah jumps in with her piggy bank. Labeled with a sign that says “Adventures for me and Dad,” she gives it to Jack. He doesn’t want to take her money, but Sarah says all they need is the two of them for adventure. He smiles as the scene dissolves back to the present. Jack makes Sarah a drink. He asks what is wrong, as he knows something about criminals. Sarah explains that the Klug brothers are never together at same time, but they will be together for their sister’s wedding, which they believe is still happening. One of the three of them has the Zephyr device at all times, but they switch off possession of it. Jack figures that they somehow have to throw the reception at which they expect to attend. How are they going to be able to throw a $100,000 reception? “Let me take care of it,” Jack replies with a twinkle in his eye.
They arrive at the hotel that is scheduled to host a bar mitzvah a but later than the wedding reception. Sarah impersonates Daphne Perralta, including Daphne’s “Lawn Guyland” (say it out loud) accent, and orders that the hotel switch the bar mitzvah decor into a Hungarian wedding theme. Sarah even constructs a beautiful cake out of styrofoam. Chuck has different “Chuck & Sarah” mix CDs, and Morgan will be a waiter. Casey shows up to stop them. Sarah apologizes that she shouldn’t have lied to Casey, but what Chuck said about the Klugs is true. “How can I help?” Casey asks.
As the reception begins, there is no sign of the Klugs. Chuck, as DJ, slows it down so everyone can “grab special someone and show them how much you love them.” Jack asks Sarah to dance; this may be the only chance he gets to dance with daughter. Sarah admits she and Chuck are getting married, but he knew. Before Sarah can apologize for not inviting him, he says she was right not to because has does not have a great track record when it comes to keeping promises. He never thought his little girl would settle down. Sarah replies that she has found a home here, a good one, and she’s happy. Casey interrupts the reunion by saying he has eyes on the Klug brothers.
Sarah approaches one brother, and pulls him into the back to discuss the open bar. Unfortunately for him, she knocks him out with a well placed blow to the head. “Got mine,” whispers Morgan as he brings back the second Klug where Sarah knocks him out too. “Spy five!” Morgan yells to Sarah as they give each other a high five. Casey moves to get the third brother, but he sees Kathleen. Jack goes after the third brother instead. Kathleen rushes after Casey and calls, “Alex.” He stops and turns to her. She followed him from the Buy More. She doesn’t understand how he is there. She was given a flag at his funeral. Chuck radios that they have the third brother and that they needs to get out of here. Casey apologizes but that he can’t talk to her right now. Kathleen says that Alex thinks Casey is some kind of hero for the government, and she wanted to believe it so much, but he just works at the buy More and picks up side gigs working security for weddings. Chuck radios again, and Casey tells Kathleen she should leave. She will, but only if he promises to tell Alex the truth. Casey swears that he doesn’t want to lie to anyone.
In the back, Chuck, Sarah and Jack looking for the Zephyr, but none of the brothers has it. It’s a shell game, Jack realizes (and we realized twenty minutes ago). In the game, the ball is always close by, so someone else must have it. Morgan radios that the bride and groom are about to cut into the cake of styrofoam. They do, and the Klugs’ father grabs Morgan. “Who do you work for?” he demands of Morgan before pulling his gun.
“What a lovely parking garage!” Morgan says loudly into his radio so the others can hear. Chuck and Sarah approach Mr. Klug, who shoots at them. Casey approaches from the other side, so Klug points his gun at Morgan. Jack walks in the middle of the standoff. He promises that Casey is going to shoot Klug and not miss. Jack explains that he, too, has a daughter, and thinks Klug is probably not the best father in the world either. If Klug is like him, he must hope that both daughters might be happy despite their fathers’ actions. “Do one thing for her,” Jack says, “put the gun down.” Klug does, and Jack winks at Sarah. Casey places Klug under arrest, and when the police show up, he flashes them his badge. Kathleen, who was sitting in her car, sees this and makes eye contact with Casey.
Back at Castle, Beckman says Chuck and Sarah were unprofessional and their actions were unacceptable. She was, however, impressed with their work done to acquire the Zephyr device, though she wonders how they did it without CIA resources. Before they can answer, the General decides the less she knows, the better.
At Chuck and Sarah’s apartment, Jack is packing to leave. Chuck says Sarah is on her way home, and will be there soon. Jack replies that they have never been great at goodbyes. Chuck insists, saying he watched Jack and Sarah — if he came to the wedding and walked her down the aisle, it would mean a lot to her. Jack wishes them the best, but he’s not going to be there; he doesn’t want to break her heart again by breaking another promise. Chuck pleads that he stay for dinner. “Alright, Charlie,” Jack replies.
Casey tells Kathleen that everything was his fault. He never thought she’d see him again. Kathleen notices that Casey and Alex have the same nervous finger twitch. “You’re a soldier, a hero,” she states. “You have everything you have ever wanted.” Casey’s look responds for him that her statement is not wholly true.
Chuck comes back home, and suggests to Sarah that a courthouse wedding might be romantic. He has all the ingredients for dinner with Jack, but he notices that Jack is gone. Sarah isn’t concerned; that is her father’s M.O.: he just leaves. “Once you know all the cons, you can’t be a sucker,” Sarah repeats her father’s advice. Flash back to 1988. Jack drops off Sarah in her bed, and shows he clearly loves her before leaving again. In the present, Sarah goes into her room for a blanket. She stops suddenly at the sight of her piggy bank with the old sign on it sitting on the bed. A note from her father reads that he never spent a dime from the bank; he only added to it. “It should cover your wedding to the schnook.” Sarah opens the bank and rolls and rolls of $100 bills fall out. Sarah tears up and falls onto the bed.
So, that was the long awaited return of Sarah’s father; a reunion that has been preordained with talk of Sarah’s parents for the last few episodes. All in all, I thought Jack was used well, and it was a fun outing for Sarah, Chuck, Casey and Morgan. If this episode came two weeks eariler, I would have loved it. The episode, however, came this week, so I was bit disappointed.
My disappointment lies in the fact that last week, the show gained a lot of momentum for its final arc: a showdown with Vivian Volkoff and her attempt to kill Agent X (whomever that may be). After a triumphant return for Timothy Dalton, and the establishment of Vivian as Chcuk’s nemesis (albeit, a bit quickly, but understandable with the time restraints), I was expecting to continue the ball rolling forward in these last four episodes of the season. Instead, the show took a side trip that was fun and character revealing about Sarah, but nonetheless, it stopped the momentum that was building toward the finale. Now, perhaps Jack will indeed return for what will surely be Chuck and Sarah’s finale wedding, and play some part in the endgame with Vivian, but it appears he was brought back for this one episode, to provide a little color to Sarah’s personality, and then depart. If so, and if Sarah’s mother doesn’t end up being Agent X, then all of the discussion about Sarah’s parents seems a bit superfluous. Yes, I’m always happy to have characters fleshed out, which the parents talk did for Sarah, but all the conversation made it seem like they would play a larger role than they ended up being, if this was Jack’s last appearance of the season.
For the episode itself, I was highly amused by Sarah’s Daphne impersonation. Really, is there anything Yvonne Strahovski can’t do? I also enjoyed the revelation to Kathleen that Casey is alive and a government agent. I mean, as soon as they went into the garage, I knew Kathleen would be there to see Casey in action, but I didn’t mind. Adam Baldwin is underrated when it comes to the emotional scenes he is sometimes asked to play, and he knocked his scenes with Kathleen out of the park, yet again. I really hope they move forward with the Casey/Kathleen story just because I love seeing Baldwin get the chance to flex his acting muscles. Last thing: this was at least the second, if not the third episode in a row without Jeff and Lester. Did anyone mind? For me, they are like a side salad: if it comes with the meal, I’m not going to turn it down, but I’m not going to order it purposefully. I like Jeff and Lester (and especially like the actors playing them), but if they aren’t in an episode or two, I’m not sweating it.
What did you think of “Chuck vs the Wedding Planner”? Were you happy to have Jack back on the scene? Did you melt when he and Sarah danced at the wedding? Do you think you could outrun Devon despite his efficient stride? Please leave your comments, questions and theories below. Chuck is a repeat next week, so I will be back in two weeks with another recap. Until then, I’m off to see something bright and taste something sour at the same time.