Chuck vs. the Wedding Planner
Season 4, Episode 21, Air-Date April 11, 2011
Chuck and Sarah call in her con-artist father, Jack Burton, to help recover the wedding funds they lost. Morgan talks Casey into meeting with Alex's mother.
The initial plan for this episode review was for me to pretend to be Frea and for her to pretend to be me. Seemed appropriate, you know? Us pulling a con in honor of an episode about cons. Unfortunately, after thinking about it for a few seconds and trying to figure out if she could be analytical and stay on topic and if I could be randomly crazy, we both realized that conning is a lot of hard work and we're too lazy for that. So instead we decided to just be us. Fun, right?
Fortunately, we got a hell of an episode to make up for our laziness. Wedding Planner marked the return of a much beloved character: Jack Burton. But was his return to the Chuckverse as awesome as his first visit?
The short answer: Yes.
Want to see the long answer? Then you'll have to read to find out.
mxpw: So we need to do our review.
Frea: Yeah, I know. :-/
Frea: Do you want to do it now?
mxpw: Sure. I mean, if that's okay with you.
Frea: Do you think we should just stay ourselves?
mxpw: That would be so much easier. I don't think I could be a convincing you.
Frea: Okay. Wanna start?
mxpw: I'm not even sure how. Um...so that happened...
mxpw: My brain is all tapped out. How do you function on such little sleep?
Frea: Years of practice.
mxpw: Damn, I'm too lazy for that.
Frea: So the real con, readers, is that Frea is normally the sleep deprived one, but we've decided to switch roles and let Maximus take over that job. Which means that I, your benevolent overlord, should probably take the role of the analytical one, except....
Frea: I just can't. As Chris says, I'm not gonna front: I loved this episode.
Frea: That works, too.
Frea: I mean, Sarah in glasses. Sarah with an accent. Tiny Sarah! Tiny ADORABLE Sarah! I mean, wow. I'm gonna call it: best episode since season two. And Daddy Jack's back!
mxpw: Yeah, I'm not gonna front either: I thought this was the best episode since Phase Three, and easily one of the best since Season Two.
Frea: Yay! No fronting about the episode with the cons!
Frea: Wait a second. What's this "however" crap?
Frea: The episode was perfect. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE ANYTHING ELSE.
mxpw: Well, I AM the analytical one, you know.
Frea: Lalalalalala, I can't hear you!
mxpw: Three things!
Frea: Very well. You may speak, minion.
mxpw: Thank you, MBO.
mxpw: Thing one: I was a little annoyed that this episode made the prenup plot from the previous episode completely pointless. I don't know, I really wanted something here to make up for the fact that Sarah never once explained why she did what she did in the last episode, but I suppose I should know better. Continuity between episodes barely exists anymore.
mxpw: Thing two: It was dumb that Chuck and Sarah didn't get their money back and that the government apparently let Daphne get away free with being a conwoman. I understand why they did it, so that the end could happen, but it was still stupid.
Frea: Yeah, I really think you should know better, sorry. I saw the prenup thing for exactly what it was: the same thing as Sarah's reluctance to move into the apartment in Role Models. Drama for the sake of drama without a good explanation.
Frea: Yeah, at the very least the case should have been passed to our buddies in the FBI.
mxpw: Thing three: This wasn't really anything that bothered me so much as made me scratch my head. I've watched this episode twice now and both times I wondered how Jack didn't know Sarah was engaged before he saw the wedding book. Am I supposed to believe Sarah had her engagement ring off the whole episode? I guess she must have.
Frea: See, now I have to go watch that scene where they're having dinner together in Miami. Hold, please.
Frea: (I really am checking.)
mxpw: It's hard to miss the thing, her rock is frakking huge. So I can't believe Jack never noticed it if she was wearing it.
Frea: It would be one of the first things a conman looks for. Or, um, so I'm told.
mxpw: This isn't really meant as a criticism so much as something that I couldn't help but notice and be curious about.
Frea: It doesn't look like she's wearing the engagement ring, though she is playing with her ring finger.
Frea: Which, if that was intentional, brava, Miss Strahovski, excellent little character moment there.
mxpw: Heh. That reminds me of that interview she did where she said she sometimes freaks out off-set because she notices her ring is gone. And then has to remind herself it's not really her ring.
Frea: So those were your major beefs, then?
mxpw: Well, I wouldn't say major beefs so much as just beefs. Though the lack of continuity with the previous episode still bothers me, I don't care how many times you tell me that it shouldn't. But yeah, that's about it.
Frea: Hey, telling each other what we should like and what we shouldn't is a major no-no. Though, you know, fool me once...
mxpw: Oh I didn't mean it like that. I guess I should have used the word "remind" instead of "tell."
mxpw: Okay. So now that I got what little negative stuff there was out of the way, we can just get right into the good stuff. Which was like everything else. Starting with super adorable little Sarah! That little girl they got to be Sarah was perfect. I really liked the opening scene and how it established not only Sarah's childhood but her relationship with Jack. That was well done.
Frea: I don't remember selling Girl Scout cookies quite like that...
mxpw: I was impressed by little Sarah's ability to count exactly how much money the woman had just from the brief little flash she got and modify her plan seamlessly like she did.
Frea: Well, she's a Girl Scout. I can't remember those thirteen years of my life very well, but I'm pretty sure there's a badge for that. Oh, right, the entrepreneurship badge! I maaaaay have earned that when I was the top-seller of cookies for two or three years in a row (see? I can be adorable, too!).
Frea: But yeah, not anywhere near as adorable as Girl Scout Sarah because seriously? That was adorable. That beat out the Puppy Bowl on the Adorable Scales, folks. Yes, crime CAN be cute!
mxpw: Though that wasn't even the most adorable little Sarah scene, which was the stuffed animals part, but we'll get back to that in a little while.
mxpw: So we had a great establishing scene and then we open up on Chuck and Sarah pulling the trigger on their wedding plans. Am I the only one who was amused that after the last episode with the prenup, we see that Chuck and Sarah apparently have a joint checking account already?
Frea: Prenup? There was a prenup?
mxpw: Heh, yeah.
Frea: Was this an important detail I overlooked?
mxpw: How silly of me. That never happened.
Frea: Okay, good. I was worried. Moving on. So yeah, they've got a joint checking account already. And just to be me (aka ornery), whatever happened to all of that debt Morgan and Chuck racked up in the premiere?
mxpw: HA! I was just going to ask where all of Sarah's money has gone?
Frea: Prenup category? Prenup category.
Frea: Mannnnn we're nitpicky. But whatevs. So yeah, they pull the trigger and discover they're holding one of those little cartoon guns, the ones that shoot out the sign that says, "BAM!"
Frea: Sarah's less thrilled about this than Chuck is, for obvious reasons.
mxpw: I mean, seriously, this is a woman who probably makes around 70K a year and until she moved in with Chuck, probably had next to no living expenses thanks to the government, so I couldn't help but wonder how losing $26K, while a nice junk of change, apparently wiped the two of them out. But as you say, whatevs.
Frea: Whatevs! I like this attitude.
mxpw: Also, shhhh! about the guns that go BAM! With this show, you know they'd think that was actually a good idea.
Frea: ...Wow, I just saw the parallels between Sarah and Jessica Rabbit.
mxpw: Both super hot chicks married to goofy men? But I don't think Chuck has yet to suggest they play patty cake.
Frea: No, that's Morgan and Alex. Anyway, moving on. I personally loved Daphne Peralta and her accent. I giggled through the whole scene. That accent was a thing of BEAUTY.
mxpw: Yeah, she was pretty good for the role she played. And then I have to admit, Morgan comparing Chuck and Sarah's wedding colors and font to socialist propaganda was very amusing to me. I liked that scene between him and Chuck. Also, Sarah looked hot in her sexy work clothes again. And her outrage at being conned was funny.
Frea: "But she came highly recommended! By the internet!"
mxpw: That was a good line.
mxpw: And that leads to Sarah tracking down Jack. I'm not sure how she did it so easily, especially since in CAT Squad she said she had no idea where he was, but I'm going to assume she used government resources to do it. That's not important, though, because Gary Cole!!!
Frea: Gary Cole!!!
Frea: I would use government resources to track down Gary Cole. Um, provided I were, um, a stalker.
mxpw: And I gotta say, I really appreciated that he was apparently pulling the same con he did in Delorean. That was a nice touch.
Frea: I freaking love Gary Cole. His role on The Good Wife is one of my favorite guest spots ever.
mxpw: As I've not seen that show before, I'll just say, and he was awesome in Office Space!
mxpw: I did like the first scene between Jack and Sarah, though I can't help but be amused that Sarah flew all the way across the country and then back for like a five minute conversation. Heh. She probably just used the Castle slide.
Frea: I think she did. And the Green Screen of Awesome to put her in the same parking lot as Jack, apparently.
mxpw: Heh. I noticed the green screen too.
Frea: I had to say something.
mxpw: At least it wasn't as bad as the bit in FOD.
Frea: Or Masquerade or the matte painting in Balcony. Ah, show. I adore you.
mxpw: So Jack gives Sarah the brilliant advice of faking it until you make it, which to me, sounded more than a little dirty.
Frea: There were a couple of times where I was like, "Hmm" about things in this episode. That time, and when Jack is snooping through the windows and sees the fact that the apartment is just completely Chuck and very little Sarah (except for the shot of Sarah in the titanium bikini), I was kind of cringing.
mxpw: Well, it's pretty understandable. Sarah has no hobbies or outside interests, like she's going to have decorating perspectives? Pffft!
mxpw: However, the faking it until you make it did lead to one of this episode's best and hilarious scenes.
Frea: Yeah, I know. That's why I was cringing.
Frea: But yeah, we got to see Yvonne and Zac's take on their characters attempting to act, which is always a hilarious, hilarious gambit.
mxpw: Sarah's flash face was hysterical. I love Yvonne and her willingness to be goofy and her version of the Chuck's flash face was just SO perfect. I had to rewind and watch it over and over again. Then I had to find a gif of Sarah's flash. Chuck's reaction to her face was pretty funny too, and then Sarah's reaction to Chuck's reaction was even funnier. Her being all curious about whether or not he liked her version. That scene was the best of the first half, I think.
Frea: I would agree. The scene with Beckman had me wanting to hide under the desk, but that's because awkward scenes make me feel awkward even as I'm trying not to scare the entire computer lab with my cackling.
mxpw: That scene with Beckman made me facepalm, but it was so funny. I was like, "Wow, brilliant plan, guys! I see you've thought this through really well!" Hahaha. It made me really appreciate the irony of Sarah making Chuck fake a flash after she got so angry at him for thinking he had done that in Crown Vic. I do think Sarah's slowly growing horror at how things were spinning out of control really helped that scene.
Frea: It really did.
mxpw: So after the great flash faker scene, there was the only real questionable part of the episode for me: the SuperShuttle scene. It could have worked in theory, but in execution was just a little too silly. Chuck was acting too goofy and I don't understand why he couldn't have just flashed some ID, since we know both Sarah and Casey have government ID. Plus, it went on too long. Though I have to say that the weird chick that was describing everything that was going on was kinda funny, especially since she was acting like she wasn't all that turned off by Chuck "exposing" himself. Ah, Los Angeles, how I miss you.
Frea: That's who she reminded me of! I was getting Parks and Recreation flashbacks to April. Got it. Thanks, brain, for finally putting that together. But basically, you summed up my entire opinion of that scene, save one thing: THE BEARD! Heeeeee. It was almost as bad as the Spy Daddy beard from Alias.
Frea: But, but, but, that scene does lead to the all-important sight-gag of Daphne Peralta being taken down with a net-gun.
Frea: And Beckman being pissed as hell at Chuck and Sarah, for which I will say they completely deserved it. I think that's part of the problem I had with the characters this episode, that they were using government resources all willy-nilly against somebody they should have gone to the police about. When the episode became about taking down the Klug brothers and fixing their mess, I felt a lot better about the characters, but until then, I just sort of had to shake my head about what awful people they were.
mxpw: Hahaha, yeah. I completely agree with you. The net gun was fantastic. And Beckman tearing into Chuck and Sarah was awesome. Though letting Daphne go was stupid.
mxpw: And I really appreciated that finally we had a mission that had next to no connection to Chuck and Sarah's personal lives. They were just doing their normal jobs for once. That's why the second half was better this episode. And a major reason why it had a S2 feel, I think.
Frea: Yeah, it's nice when there's this whole world outside of their bubble, isn't it?
mxpw: It really is.
Frea: So can I just say, I loved that they brought Papa Burton into the spy world to pull off the wedding con? I've made no bones about the fact that I adore heist movies like nothing else, so there's that, but I love montages where characters are doing setup, and this episode had that in spades! Sarah's a Cake Boss! Chuck's a DJ (though, man, if they had made Morgan the DJ, I would have flipped out; they already had Sarah being somewhat-originally from Idaho), Jack being the slick shyster we all love, and Morgan being enthusiastic to be included in the team. So. Much. Awesome!
mxpw: Agreed, agreed, and agreed.
mxpw: I thought this episode had the perfect amount of Morgan, in Morgan-appropriate roles. I thought Sarah's new accent was just perfect and I can still hardly believe that was Yvonne doing it. Plus, Sarah in glasses! (Excuse me while I swoon for a second.) And Jack masterminding the whole thing was awesome. Methinks he'd have a future doing government work if he ever wanted to go "legit."
mxpw: And the shell game scene. Little Sarah was so adorable in that scene with her stuffed animals I couldn't help but go "Awww!" through the whole thing. That was an excellent way to further develop Sarah's hero worship of her father, the theme of a life of adventure, her family problems, and the piggy bank.
Frea: I did love the shell game scene. Well, I completely forgot it existed until you mentioned it just now, but I blame that on my constant daze of sleep deprivation and confusion. Anyway, that was an adorably awesome scene. Almost as awesome as that accent. If Yvonne ever did a charity auction where she offered to record somebody's voicemail in that accent, I am 95% sure there went my life savings.
mxpw: Hahaha. Which is funny, because I'd want her to just use her natural accent.
mxpw: But yeah, so they manage to pull off this wedding, which was great, and I enjoyed seeing everybody working as a team to take down the Klug brothers. There was some truly excellent team work in this episode. I loved Sarah whacking all the brothers with that platter. And then doing a "Spy High-five" with Morgan was excellent.
Frea: Hee, that part made me laugh because Yvonne nearly ended up flat on her face when she whacked the second guy.
mxpw: I did like seeing the camaraderie that exists between Morgan and Sarah.
Frea: That was rather excellent. And they all looked so nice, all cleaned up and stuff.
mxpw: Yup. Sarah looked good in her dress and glasses. Even Casey got all dressed up.
mxpw: And then there was that great father-daughter dance. I just enjoy the interplay between Sarah and Jack so much. And Chuck's look of happiness as he watched them dance was sweet. Now it's those moments like that when I can believe they love each other.
Frea: I'm about to be a curmudgeon!
mxpw: Yay! It's been a while.
Frea: But I really, really dislike that song.
mxpw: You dislike "At Last?"
Frea: Which has nothing to do with the show. I just lived with this girl for a summer who had that song as the ringtone for her boyfriend. Which wouldn't be a problem. EXCEPT that said boyfriend called, and I'm totally not exaggerating here, at least 30-40 times a day.
mxpw: Haha. That's pretty impressive.
Frea: so 30-40 times a day, I'd hear "AAAAAAAT LAAAAAAASTTTTTTT"
mxpw: That's a shame, because it's a really good song.
Frea: She was pretty quick about answering, so after the first few seconds of the song, I don't mind it so much.
mxpw: Well, song choice aside, did you like that scene?
Frea: I did. I feel bad for Sarah that her dad just isn't cool enough to deserve her, though.
mxpw: I don't know, Jack Burton is pretty cool. Especially cool under pressure.
Frea: Man, our readers are drunk.
Frea: That's cool, I think.
mxpw: I also think it's cool.
Frea: The question is, who DOESN'T think it's cool?
mxpw: But speaking of cool, that scene in the parking garage was pretty cool. It was a nice callback to the end of Delorean.
Frea: It really was. There were a lot of great callbacks to Delorean throughout this whole episode, the same con in a new city, the parking garage... Now the question becomes: what did you think of the Kathleen storyline?
mxpw: Well, that's a bit complicated. I am a bit uncomfortable with the notion that the show seems to be trying to put Casey and her back together mainly because of what Casey did to her. But I am pleased that so far, Casey seems to be keeping himself at a distance and not actively pursuing her. I thought that AB did some really good acting, good non-verbal acting, especially in the scene where Kathleen confronts him about being a liar. I think it's a storyline that needs a wait-and-see approach. So far the show has handled the whole storyline pretty well, so I actually have hope they won't blow it.
Frea: Yeah, I definitely hope this isn't the show putting them together. Because honestly, I think Kathleen needed to kick him a few times. As much as I like the way they're handling the storyline, I kind of hate the fact that it exists at all, that Casey faked his death as Alex and that, in addition, there was a child involved. It's one of those things that sours Casey in my book, but the way he's handling it now does make up for those things. If Casey and Kathleen start getting romantic again, though, all bets off the table, and I will make my scorn evident (imagine that, Frea being scornful! What a leap of imagination that will require).
Frea: For the record, yes, I know Casey didn't know about Alex. Doesn't make it any less distasteful that he would do that to some poor woman, though.
mxpw: See, I appreciated Kathleen's line about Casey getting everything he ever wanted, because I felt like there was definitely an air of intentional bitterness and irony attached to it. Which I think illustrated, at least at that moment, that Kathleen wasn't really sure what to think and wasn't about to just declare her love for Casey again.
mxpw: But then with this show and its lack of continuity between episodes... You never know what you're gonna get.
Frea: It's the ultimate box of chocolates, that's for sure.
Frea: With this fandom, however, talking about chocolates means we're talking about Chuck's eyes. Have you noticed how many fanfictions call his eyes "chocolate?" Personally, I find nothing delectable about eyeballs.
mxpw: Really? They're like olives, but crunchier.
Frea: See, like the great Sarah Walker, I hate olives.
mxpw: Heh, speaking of which, gotta give a nod to the props department for that great picture of a crossed out olive on the picture of one of Chuck's CDs.
Frea: Yay, KentuckySoCal! You're awesome.
Frea: Oh, speaking of Awesome, what'd you think about his scene with Jack?
mxpw: I definitely believe he could chase Jack down because of his superior form.
mxpw: It was nice to see Awesome back to being awesome again. And he was a good contrast to Jack, in terms of being a father. Still a terrible liar/spy, though.
Frea: That's okay. He makes up for it in other splendid ways.
mxpw: Yeah. I mean, it's a good thing he sucks as a spy.
mxpw: So we should talk about the end and then wrap this up, yeah? What did you think of the final bit of Jack we will probably ever see?
Frea: I was a little surprised he gave the piggy bank back.
mxpw: I don't think I was.
Frea: Now, I was also not surprised at all, which speaks for the general undercurrent of optimism that always runs throughout this show, with a notable exception being most of s3.1.
Frea: But I don't know, I don't think giving her back the piggy bank ever really matched everything they outright told us about Jack. So on the one hand, I was a little like, "Hmm" but mostly, it was nice to see that they kept Jack's layers in place.
mxpw: Hmm...I think it was in character for Jack. He's the archetypal lovable rogue. He was a bad father, an irresponsible father, but he's always been presented as really likable and as somebody who loves his daughter, even if he doesn't know how to really show it. And I think the piggy bank really symbolized that dichotomy in Jack's character. I guess we are kinda saying the same thing. They kept his layers, and I loved that. He was a bad father and he always disappointed her, but I don't know, seeing how emotional Sarah got at the end and the smile she had, made it worth it. Heh. That scene made me emotional too. That's what this show used to be able to do on a regular basis. It made me inordinately happy to see them do it again.
Frea: Yep, that pretty much sums it up, the whole episode, I think.
mxpw: Awesome, so do you have any final thoughts about this fantastic episode?
Frea: It was nice to leave an episode smiling?
Frea: Tiny Sarah makes me want to write a series of stories about the Adventures of Tiny Sarah?
mxpw: Heee, I would read that series, FYI.
Frea: Well, apparently, it's kind of Greater.
mxpw: Haha, yeah, I can see it.
mxpw: So do you have anything else?
Frea: You know what the only thing this episode was missing, Max?
mxpw: SWP, obviously.
Frea: CASTLE SLIDE!
mxpw: Always the same answers from both of us.
Frea: Always. It's good we're consistent. See you next week for another new episode of Chuck?
mxpw: Yeah. I just want to say I loved this episode. I watched it twice. The last time I did that was Seduction Impossible and before that Phase Three. This was better than the former by a wide margin and as good as the latter. It felt like a Season 2 episode to me and it cemented my love for Jack Burton. It was just so much damn fun! Thank you, show, for being fun again.
mxpw: So episode ratings?
Frea: 9 Castles Slides out of 10
mxpw: I'll give it Five Joisey Sarah Wearing Glasses out of Five.
So, your thoughts? Did you love it? Hate it? And did you expect us to say "cool" during this review? I bet you never thought we'd bring that up again.
We'd love to hear your thoughts!