Real Heroes: The Morgan Grimes Theory

Photo of Joshua Gomez as Morgan Grimes in NBC's Chuck.
I am tempted to say that Chuck is NOT the true hero of Chuck. It’s hard to admit because he is one of my favourite TV characters of all time, but the more that I think about it the more I realize that Morgan Grimes is the true hero of Chuck’s story. There, I said it, and after admitting it I have come to realize that the same is true for Harry Potter, Frodo Baggins, Buffy, and even the Doctor. May I present: The Morgan Grimes Theory.

I’m quite certain that Chuck would not be sane without Morgan by his side, keeping him together during difficult times (like when Sarah’s AWOL and the CIA dumps Chuck like a week-old Subway sandwich).

“Bag ’em and tag ’em, Sarah. I mean, Agent Walker.” —Morgan Grimes
One of the most heartbreaking moments for me in the show is not when Chuck breaks up with Sarah,  nor when Sarah won’t talk to him, nor even when Sarah hooks up with too-good-looking Shaw instead of our beloved Nerdherder. Nope, the moment that gets me most is when Morgan says these seven words (words we never dreamed he would utter): “I’m firing you as my best friend.”

And it’s not getting back together with Sarah that puts Chuck at ease and reinstates his ability to flash. It’s when he’s finally able to tell Morgan everything about his spy life and Morgan instantly forgives him. Not only that, but Morgan thinks it’s awesome that Chuck is a spy. You can just feel the tension drain from Chuck as Morgan rehires him as his best friend.

The real hero of Chuck: Morgan Grimes.

Frodo: “Go back, Sam! I’m going to Mordor alone.” Sam: “Of course you are, and I’m coming with you!”
I can’t talk about best friends without mentioning The Lord of the Rings. The true hero of this story might be overweight, easily scared, and not too bright, but he also takes on a giant, man-eating spider by himself, storms a tower full of orcs out to eat him for second breakfast to save his friend, and carries a hobbit on his back up the side of a volcano when all seems lost. NBD.

Tolkien himself has referred to Sam as the “chief hero.” I like how Tolkien tips his hat to Sam by giving him the final scene and last words in The Return of the King: “Well, I’m back.”

The real hero of The Lord of the Rings: Samwise Gamgee.

I’ve applied the Grimes Theory to other franchises, and it  continues to hold true. Who’s the true hero in Harry Potter? Is it Harry? Or is it the one whose wit is constantly getting him out of impossible situations? The one who realizes knowledge is power and even time travels to study more, the one who helps Harry pass his Tri-Wizard tasks, the one who forms Dumbledore’s Army, the one who is always prepared to the point of packing a complete home in a handbag… I could go on.

She pretty much keeps Harry and Ron alive throughout the entire series, no question about it, and Harry is lost without Hermione and, to some degree, Ron by his side.

The real hero of Harry Potter: Hermione Granger.

And let’s talk about that teenager who slays vampires like it’s going out of style: Buffy Summers. Who talked Willow off of her murderous rampaging ledge?

“I see more than anybody realizes because nobody’s watching me.” —Xander Harris
Who survived numerous apocalypses with no slayer powers, no demon powers, and no magic? Where would Buffy be without the beloved Xander?

There are two characters Buffy couldn’t do without. The two that who stayed by her side when the going got rough (and boy, did the going get rough). They even fought her battles for her when she tucked her tail between her legs and ran away to the hallowed life of working at a diner in LA. However only one of those characters did not vengefully filet Warren alive, so he gets the nod here.

Xander is usually honest with her and tell her when she’s doing something stupid, like when she dates a vampire. Twice.

The real hero of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Xander Harris.

Last, but not least, we have the hero of time. No, not that hero of time (I think I’d have trouble convincing you to hey, listen, that his best friend makes the story). I’m talking about the Doctor and still thinking about what a horrible companion Navi would be; even David Tennant couldn’t save that season.

The Doctor is a perfect example of how far someone can fall without a friend by his side. Whenever the Doctor is without a companion for a time, his personality takes a dark turn and he makes more cold-hearted decisions. This is especially obvious in the episode, “Turn Left,” where he dies by staying too long after killing the Racnoss children because Donna wasn’t there to convince him to leave.

And the Doctor knows it’s important for him to have a friend; that’s why he keeps bringing them aboard the TARDIS and cares about them even though he knows their eventual departure will be heartbreaking.

The real heroes of Doctor Who: the companions—namely, Donna Noble. Why? Because I wrote this.

So what’s the main character to do without the best friend? Probably fail to understand what’s important in life, die a miserable death, and fall short of saving the world. Lesson learned.

Allison Barron

Allison Barron

Commander at Geekdom House
Allison is like Galadriel, offering wisdom where needed but turning treacherous as the sea when competitive games are involved. She is the executive editor of Area of Effect magazine, co-host of the Infinity +1 podcast, and staff writer for Christ and Pop Culture. When she’s not writing, designing, or editing, she is often preoccupied in Hyrule, Middle-earth, or a galaxy far, far away.
Allison Barron

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