“Do you ever just want to have a normal life? Have a family, children?”
– Sarah

So superspy extraordinaire Sarah Walker just wants to be “normal?” That’s odd. How could a woman who uses hairpins dipped in poison as weapons be considered “normal?” What exactly about being a CIA operative stationed in Burbank to protect an innocent man who accidentally downloaded a supercomputer full of government secrets is “normal?” And why do I keep putting “normal” in quotation marks?

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

Sarah is still in Burbank. She didn’t run off with Bryce. There’s a lot of debate amongst fans about why. Some say that she chose Chuck over Bryce. Some say that she chose duty over adventure. Some say that she chose the possibility of a “normal” life over a guarantee of never having normalcy. And some – like me – say that she didn’t make a choice at all; she just let the clock run out, allowing fate to make a decision for her. But since we’re not yet ready for an examination of proactive Sarah vs. passive Sarah, we’re going to skip over my preferred explanation, and look at the idea of normalcy.

Now, for those of you who have watched the entire series, there’s a lot about this topic that can be discussed. But keep in mind where I am in the rewatch. We know almost nothing about Sarah’s past at this point, so we can only work with the pieces we have. Let’s put seasons 2 and 3 out of our minds for a minute, shall we? Spoiler alert: we later find out that different characters have different interpretations of “normal,” so that’s why I’ve been putting the word in quotation marks. I’m going to dispense with that annoying convention for the rest of this commentary. But keep it in mind: it’s going to come back to haunt us later. (Haunt in a good way, I mean, unless certain parts of seasons 2 and 3 make you want to retch.)

So far, it seems as if being around Chuck has made Sarah want some semblance of a normal life. Perhaps Chuck made her appreciate something that she had never considered before, or maybe Sarah wanted a normal life all along and Chuck just reawakened that desire in her. We can’t know which yet, but we do know that Sarah is not totally satisfied with the spy life. But wait a second: she hates her cover job; she’s not too fond of the Buy More and its denizens; she drives a Porsche; and she lives in a freakin’ hotel room. It seems as if she is actively shunning normalcy. However, there’s something about Chuck’s normal life that Sarah seems to appreciate: Chuck’s support network. Ellie, Morgan, and Devon are all like family to Chuck. He cares about them, and they help him with his (non-spy-related) problems. Currently, Sarah lacks such a support network, but Ellie, Morgan, and Devon have all embraced her. She has attended Thanksgiving at the Bartowskis, which could be considered a family event, and has even participated in Chuck and Ellie’s Mothers’ Day celebration. Chuck has been Sarah’s gateway into the world of familial love. Sarah is forging real relationships with Chuck and the people in his life.

“The choice we made to protect something bigger than ourselves is the right choice, hard as that is for you to remember sometimes.”
– Casey

However, even if Sarah wants to be accepted in the Bartowski clan, she’s still got a job to do. Casey brings Sarah back down to Earth and reminds her that she must put her duty above all else. She can’t get too attached in case her duty leads her elsewhere. But for the moment, her duty is keeping her here and not running off with Bryce. For that reason, she decides to make amends with Chuck. But there’s something deeper there: with Chuck, there’s the potential for normalcy, and Sarah isn’t ready to let go of it yet.

Oh yeah, before I forget, Casey’s Crown Victoria got blown up in this episode. That was awesome.

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