“Some people want to be heroes and others have to be asked. So, Chuck, are you ready?”
– Sarah

At the start of this episode, Chuck doesn’t see himself as a hero. His first priority is to get the Intersect out of his head. Luckily, there is a man, Dr. Zarnow, who can help him. Casey and Sarah consult the doctor. His verdict: yes, the secrets can be removed. *sigh* If only it were that simple…

If you haven’t already, make sure to read the disclaimer.

In this episode, many of the central conflicts of the series are introduced: trust vs. truth, duty vs. family, and real vs. fake. Let’s take a look at the first one. Dr. Zarnow isn’t actually able to help Chuck. (If he were, this episode – and subsequently, the entire series – would have no plot.) He’s actually an evil man, intent on selling the human Intersect for a large profit. Like all evil men, he has a plan. He fakes his own death and frames both Sarah and Casey. Now the two spies don’t trust each other. Each one is telling Chuck that the other is evil, and Chuck doesn’t know whom to believe.

“I never asked you to believe me; I asked you to trust me.”
– Sarah

Sarah tells Chuck this after he accuses her of murdering the doctor. It’s to be expected that a woman who lies for a living wouldn’t put much stock in the truth, but she puts it to Chuck bluntly and somewhat unfairly. After all, she hasn’t done much to warrant blind faith from Chuck aside from a little gentle encouragement. (And this is the spy world, where such encouragement could be part of a nefarious scheme.) But by the end of the episode, after Sarah has demonstrated that she’s clearly on the side of good by going after Dr. Zarnow, Chuck accepts his place in this new, dangerous world. He can’t believe everything that Sarah says, but at least he can trust her intentions.

In accepting to be a “hero,” as Sarah puts it, Chuck accepts his duty. However, he’s also a family man. Ellie, Morgan, and Devon a.k.a. Captain Awesome are the most important people in his life, and when Chuck believes that Sarah is trying to kill them, he rushes home instead of following Casey to a safe location. Family and friends always come first for Chuck, even ahead of his own safety.

As an intelligence asset in the spy world, Chuck is introduced to the need to maintain a cover, even with family and friends. Casey is posing as a Buy More salesman, and Sarah is posing as a Wienerlicious clerk. Covers and aliases are considered “fake,” discarded once they’ve served their purpose. However, emotional attachments are considered “real.” For the sake of a believable cover story, Sarah is posing as Chuck’s girlfriend. According to Chuck, their relationship isn’t even “remotely real,” but Sarah’s gentle encouragement early in the episode and Chuck’s wish to save Sarah from Dr. Zarnow later in the episode hint at something else.

And thus, three of the central conflicts of the series introduced. Along the way, Chuck performs a magic trick, tranqs a pilot, and flies a helicopter, all in a very entertaining fashion. Does that make him a hero? Maybe. Maybe not. But what is certain is that with the Intersect staying in his head, he’s going to have to balance trust and truth, duty and family, and reality and fabrication.

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