Chuck: We need to talk.
Ned: You don’t want to hear what I have to say.
Chuck has always been an idealist. She sees the good in everyone, and her relentless optimism leads her to believe that best-case scenarios are probable outcomes. Part of why she decided to keep her father alive after Ned brought him back to life was because she honestly, truly believed that she could make it work. But realism has never been Chuck’s strong suit, and realistically, there was no reason to believe that Charles Charles would ever want to stay put.
However, before Charles can cause any complications himself, Ned must be dealt with. It would have been understandable if Ned had been furious with Chuck, and initially he is. After all, she broke his trust. Plus Ned has always been the more pessimistic of the two of them, his neuroticism leading him ponder worst-case scenarios as easily as a regular person daydreams. But later, Ned actually sympathizes with what Chuck did. After all, he brought her back to life when he shouldn’t have; it’s only fair that she gets to do the same with her father.
Unsurprisingly, Emerson isn’t on board. While Chuck is an optimist and Ned is a pessimist, Emerson is a pragmatist. He believes that everything would be easier to manage if Charles were to go back to being dead. Charles is a wildcard, and Emerson doesn’t like what he doesn’t know. He doesn’t want to get involved with whatever nonsense Ned, Chuck, and Charles are getting up to, so he leaves them to their drama while he concentrates on the episode’s case. But because he’s shorthanded, he enlists Olive’s help.
“I’ve read the entire Harlequin library.”
Like Chuck, Olive is an idealist. She approaches every situation with zest and zeal, even something as morbid as a murder investigation. She’s very happy to be Emerson’s crime-solving partner, because it’s a fun, new adventure in which she can partake. Her romanticism actually ends up being an asset to the investigation; she uses it to talk down Annabelle Vandersloop from blowing up a lighthouse full of people.
But her romanticism has a downside. In talking to Annabelle, she reveals that she’s still deeply in love with Ned. She knows her love will never be requited, but she pines away, because what else is a romantic supposed to do? Emerson recognizes this about her, and instead of talking down to her, he actually offers sympathy and support. He recognizes Olive’s value, both as an investigator and a friend, and he wants to nurture it.
“Pie is simple; it’s limited just to a bit of pastry and filling. Cake is complex, layered with treasures waiting to be discovered.”
– Charles, to Chuck
Back to whatever nonsense Ned, Chuck, and Charles are getting up to: it turns out that Emerson was correct in his pragmatism; Charles did cause complications – big ones, in fact. After he asked Chuck to run away with him and she refused, he drove off on his own, abandoning his daughter. At this point, the idealized version of Charles in Chuck’s head as melted away; she no longer sees him as the strongest, bravest man she knew as a child, but as a complicated person with many faults and foibles. Maybe people themselves are like cake – complex and multi-layered – but Chuck would prefer her relationships with them to be more like pie – simple, warm, and comforting.
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