This week’s Chuck boasts some very familiar special guests – and a baby. It’s unashamedly sentimental, but that’s just fine for a fun adventure as we near the end of the series.
Five years ago, in Budapest, Sarah was hanging out with Peter Burke…wait, wrong show, but that is Tim DeKay of White Collar as Sarah’s handler Kieran Ryker. He orders her to take out a dining room full of thugs and rescue a baby. Now Ryker’s defected, and that cute little baby is coming back to haunt Sarah.
Seems the tot was in line for a huge fortune, and rather than turn him over to Ryker so that he could take the money, Sarah ran off with the kid. In the present day, Sarah finds out that Daniel Shaw sent a message to Ryker sometime during the events of the previous episode, and is now determined to find her old boss and take him out. Unfortunately for her, she gets captured and Casey and Chuck have to rescue her (with the help of a Hungarian phrasebook).
Through numerous flashbacks, we learn that Sarah left the baby in the care of her mother (Cheryl Ladd), even though it meant cutting ties with her broken-hearted mom. With Ryker still on the hunt for the kid (now named Molly), that puts Mama Walker in danger. What follows is a brawl through Sarah’s mother’s house that involves breaking some furniture and a wall, even if it ends a bit randomly with Ryker happening to turn around and stare at the fight going on the front lawn. Sarah is reunited with Molly, while Alex and Morgan are still trying to gel back together, with some help from Ellie and Awesome.
It’s a change of pace to see Tim DeKay playing a villain after two and a half seasons of embracing him as the hero on White Collar, but that actually somewhat works to his advantage because you want to like him even as you want to smack him. (Besides, he’s had practice playing a jerk; he was one of the network suits in the “Cliff Gardner” episode of Sports Night.) I just have to wonder how many CIA agents end up being bad guys. First Shaw, then Ryker, and we wondered about Bryce for a bit…let’s not go to that well too often.
As spot-on as it was to have Linda Hamilton as Chuck’s mom, I think the Chuck team scored again when they got Cheryl Ladd to play Sarah’s. Resemblance aside, she’s a treat to have on the show and it seems fitting that Sarah’s the kid of one of Charlie’s Angels. Since we saw so much of Mama Bartowski, I’d like to see Mama Walker come back, too. It’d be interesting to put the two moms in the same room, wouldn’t it?
This isn’t the most action-packed of Chuck episodes, but I like it because of its sentimentality. It seems to function more as a commentary on Sarah’s character, as we get to see how she moved from agent to handler, but we also get a look at how she grew as an individual along the way, which allows us to see how her past informed who she is today. As we wrap things up, it’s a nice touch to see how far our characters have come, so we get a complete sense of their journey – and ours.