My favorite TV episodes are often the ones that make me cry the most. A good example of this is “Chuck vs. The Cliffhanger,” the Season Four finale of Chuck. I’ve seen this episode a few times since I first started watching the series on DVD last year, and it still makes me cry in multiple places every time.
One of my favorite things about Chuck is the warm and genuine chemistry between Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski as Chuck and Sarah. This episode celebrates that chemistry in the most beautiful of ways: with a much-anticipated wedding. But before the actual ceremony can take place, Chuck has to save Sarah from a deadly dose of radiation poisoning she contracted at their rehearsal dinner. Life and love are never simple in the spy business.
Though things may never be simple for Chuck and Sarah, what moves me the most in this scene is how simple and easy their love feels. Sarah’s “practice” vows are such a genuine reflection of who she is and who Chuck has been for her. She was sent to protect him and teach him how to be a spy, but he ended up teaching her how to be someone who is capable of being so much more than just a spy. Chuck brings out the gentle side of Sarah, the side that smiles almost shyly when she’s done telling the man she loves exactly what he means to her.
And then there’s Chuck—sweet, open, big-hearted Chuck Bartowski. If you asked me to draw up my dream man, it would be Chuck, and this scene shows exactly why. You will never see a man on TV as devoted to the woman he loves as Chuck is to Sarah. Levi plays this character with such beguiling earnestness that it’s impossible not to believe in the love story he’s selling. The moment when he whispers “Perfect” with tears in his eyes before saying it louder to Sarah gives me goose bumps every time I watch it. You can feel how much this character loves the woman he’s going to marry, and that believability is both incredibly uplifting in that scene and incredibly heartbreaking as we watch Chuck sitting at Sarah’s bedside, holding her hand and silently begging her not to leave him. As the scene ends, you get the sense that this man is willing to do anything to bring back the woman who so brightly lit up his life in the flashback we just witnessed.
Sarah wants to show Chuck that he is a gift she deserves, and what’s so emotional about this scene is that we can see that Chuck believes Sarah is a gift, too. These two beautiful characters deserve each other and the happiness they clearly have even in a practice wedding. And nothing makes me cry like two worthy characters finding happiness with each other—and fighting to protect that happiness in the face of huge obstacles.