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Chuck - "Chuck vs. the Goodbye"

Written by Sakie on Tuesday, January 31 2012 and posted in Reviews

A recap of the series finale of Chuck!

Don't freak out.

Throughout the five seasons of Chuck the phrase, "Don't freak out" has been an underappreciated but very important part of the series, and after watching the final two episodes I can safely say that it's the best advice that I can give to us, the fans. I'll get back to this idea later but until then, don't freak out.

The first hour of the two-part series finale "Chuck vs. Sarah" begins shortly after the end of the last episode. Sarah's memories of the past 5 years have been erased and the final villain of the series, Quinn, has convinced her that Chuck is responsible for her memory loss and the deaths of Langston Graham (her former CIA handler) and Bryce Larkin (her former partner and lover). He secretly coaches her as she returns to Chuck; her goal is to obtain the last remaining copy of the Intersect, and, upon completion, kill Chuck. Its all terribly dramatic and leads to some touching scenes, such as a moment between Chuck and Ellie when he begins to notice subtle differences in his wife's behavior; or later when the team realizes that the Sarah that they know may be gone forever, and Casey exclaims to Chuck that he won't lose both of them.


"Chuck vs. Sarah" culminates as Chuck brings Sarah to their dream home. He desperately tries to make her remember their life together, and gives her a choice between taking the Intersect and staying with him. She chooses the former and viciously begins to attack Chuck, who refuses to fight back. Quinn intervenes to take the Intersect glasses from Sarah- revealing that everything that Chuck has told her is true- and attempts to kill her. Instead, Chuck leaps in the bullet's path (his life is saved by a Kevlar vest), and in the resulting confusion Quinn escapes with the glasses. Sarah explains that, although she now fully believes Chuck, she simply doesn't possess any of the feelings or emotions that his wife had. However, she intends to hunt Quinn down and kill him for taking that life away from her. An emotionally distraught Chuck accepts her decision and says goodbye, leading directly into "Chuck vs. the Goodbye."

Two weeks have passed in between episodes, and Sarah has tracked Quinn onto a private jet. He meets with a former Fulcrum agent (Mark Pellegrino) who gives him one of three pieces that are still needed to make the Intersect usable. When Sarah confronts Quinn on the jet, she is outmanned and forced to escape by blowing up the door. She seeks out Chuck in order to gain access to Castle and attempt to track down Quinn before he obtains the next piece of the Intersect.

As the final episode progresses, we are treated to a lot of fan service, such as a dinner in Germany in a Mexican restaurant that is an exact replica of the restaurant that Chuck took Sarah to on their first "date," and a stop at the Berlin Weinerlicious location. Chuck desperately continues his attempt to awaken Sarah's old memories, but all this seems to do is get in the way of Sarah's quest for revenge. Eventually, we learn that Ellie can create a program for the Intersect that can undo the memory loss that the faulty Intersect caused. The only problem is that the Intersect glasses Quinn has are only good for one use- and when he assembles all of the pieces, he will have the last copy of the Intersect in existence.

The final confrontation brings the team back to California at the Pacific Concert Hall, where we learn that General Beckman has unknowingly possessed the final piece of the Intersect since she was promoted to general, and that Quinn has set a bomb that has two crucial features- it is pressure sensitive (ensuring that Beckman will not be able to escape) and it will explode when the concert stops. As the concert begins to come to a close, Chuck and Sarah rush to the rooftop to prevent Quinn from escaping and using the Intersect. Quinn braces himself for the detonation, only to be shocked by the wonderfully soothing sounds of Jeffster performing A-Ha's quintessential 80s New Wave classic, "Take on Me." Quinn isn't worried, however, as he claims that there is still no way to disarm the bomb. Sarah finally executes her revenge, killing Quinn and recovering the now complete Intersect. With Quinn dead and the pair having no idea how to disarm his bomb, Chuck is left with a choice; he can use the Intersect to restore his wife's memories or he can upload the Intersect himself to download the schematics for the bomb, saving General Beckman and the civilians in the concert hall. Obviously, Chuck chooses to save Beckman and the civilians as he accepts his fate and the loss of his wife by choosing to become the Intersect once again. Chuck flashes on the bomb's schematics and opens it to reveal a secondary mechanism inside that is not in the Intersect's database. As the clock ticks down, Sarah casually asks Chuck why he doesn't use the "Irene Demova" virus (something she shouldn't know about if she can't remember the past 5 years, and a callback to the pilot episode). The virus crashes the bomb's CPU and the day is saved.

As the show comes back from its final commercial break, Operation Bartowski officially dissolves, Casey gives Chuck a hug, and we are introduced to everyone's new status quo. Casey gives Morgan and Alex his apartment so that they can move in together and he can go after Gertrude, Ellie and Devon accept new positions at a hospital in Chicago, Jeff and Lester are offered a recording contract by a "big time record executive" from Germany, and the Buy More is purchased by Subway. The only story left incomplete is Chuck and Sarah's. Chuck finds Sarah sitting on the exact same beach that Sarah found him at the end of the pilot. She asks him to tell her their story and we are treated to a wonderful montage of how she fell in love with him the first time. When he is finished, Chuck tells her that Morgan had this crazy idea that if Chuck were to kiss Sarah with one big, magic kiss, that it would bring everything back to her. In the final moments of the show, Sarah says "Chuck, kiss me," the two share a romantic kiss and the screen fades to black.

This brings me to the end: Chuck and Sarah are left in the middle of a hopefully romantic kiss on the same beach where Sarah first told Chuck to trust her, the screen fades to black, and there is not a dry eye in the house [Editor's note: I got all teary just reading the review, since I missed the episode].   Now I have read some wordy and opinionated reviews of this series finale on other websites, but it seems to me that they are all missing the point. As I said at the beginning of this review, "Don't freak out." I see no reason to be upset about the series' end. While creators Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak have refused to officially say what happened after the screen went black, they did leave subtle clues throughout both finale episodes for fans to draw their own conclusions. Sarah was slowly remembering minor details of the past five years, the "magic" kiss, and Sarah's willingness to listen to Chuck tell her their story are all signs that Chuck and Sarah finally get their happy ending.

"Don't freak out," Schwartz and Fedak wanted us, the fans, to be able to draw our own conclusions on what exactly that happy ending will be. Personally, I believe that everything leading up to the kiss was simply a chance for Sarah to fall in love with Chuck one more time before the kiss restored her memories and they lived happily ever after. Sappy? Maybe, but look back at the past five years of this wonderful series and tell me that it hasn't been absolutely brilliant when it was at its sappiest.

Would I have liked for a definitive ending where Sarah remembered everything, Chuck bought her the house with the red door and the white picket fence, and they had a little Bartowski on the way? Of course, but instead we really did get a great conclusion to a show that always tried to do right by the fans.


Plus, who is to say that Schwartz and Fedak won't sneak a deleted or alternate ending into the Blu-Ray/DVD release?

Written or Contributed by: Sakie

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About the Author - Christian

Christian is the exasperated Abbott to the Outhouse's Costello. When he's not yelling at the Newsroom for upsetting readers or complaining to his wife about why the Internet is stupid, he sits in his dingy business office trying to find new ways to make the site earn money. Christian is also the only person in history stupid enough to moderate two comic book forums at once.


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