Chuck: Chuck versus the Series Finale

[This dual review by Josie and Mark covers the last two episodes of Chuck, “Chuck versus Sarah” and “Chuck versus the Goodbye.” If you don’t want to be spoiled on how it all ends, click no further! If you do want to know the ending--as well as the meaning of life--click on.]

Josie’s Take

Last February, I gave up on Chuck. The plot holes and problems-of-the-week were starting to drain me, and I’d lost my affection for a show whose biggest strength is creating fondness out of nothing more than thin air, sub sandwiches, and quips. No one loves Chuck because it’s the best, or the riskiest, or the prettiest, or the most inventive. People love Chuck for the same reason Sarah loves Chuck: because he is what he is.

In that last review, I concluded with this statement: “Our heroes... are all about the connections. It’s that theme of Josh Schwartz shows that I particularly like, and it was the guiding principle of The O.C. for most of the series: people coming together and risking a lot in order to protect their loved ones.”

It’s odd, then that this finale wasn’t about people coming together, but people moving apart. Ellie, Awesome, and Baby Clara are on their way to Chicago and a pair of prestigious jobs. Casey has moved out of the apartment complex and on to more spy games and a woman named Gertrude. Alex (Casey’s daughter) and Morgan are moving in together—which just emphasizes that Morgan and Chuck have really moved past the roommate stage.

And Chuck and Sarah? That’s the question, isn’t it? Sarah lost her memory in the antepenultimate episode “Chuck versus the Bullet Train,” and by the end of the two-part series finale, it was left up to the viewer to decide if she’d officially regained it. We know that bits and pieces were coming back. We know that she seemed to enjoy Chuck’s stories about their life together. And we hope that the kiss worked its magic, just like in a Disney movie.

It wasn’t the ending I wanted, but I’m happy with the ending we’ve got. I choose to believe that Sarah regains her memories, and that she and Chuck ride off into the sunset towards their adorable house and a life of bourgeoisie respectability. At the very least, Sarah seems willing to consider the possibility that she loves her geekish husband, and there’s possibility there. Their relationship has come full circle since the pilot, and now—having completed that circle—there’s a chance for them to start afresh.

Mark’s Take

I stopped watching Chuck at the end of season four. Although I still had some affection for the series, it no longer offered a good reason for me to keep tuning in every week. But I still wanted to see the finale because I had to know how it all ends for Chuck, Sarah, Casey, Morgan and the rest of Team Bartowski.

I often rate series finales in terms of Star Treks. On very rare occasions you get absolute perfection (TNG). The majority of the time, though, you have to settle for great but could've been better (DS9). Other times they can be entertaining but at the same time a wasted opportunity (VOY). Too many times a show is cancelled before the writers can wrap everything up in a satisfying manor (TOS). And sometimes you get finales where your first response after watching is to scream “dear god, what did we do to make them hate us so much?” as loudly as possible (ENT).

I would rate this a definite DS9. The story wasn't that great and Quinn made for a rather lame final villain. There not much to the character and Angus Macfadyen's heart clearly wasn't in it. But those final goodbyes really got to me. I was surprised by just how emotional I actually got. Even though I drifted away from the show, I never stopped caring about these characters and it was sad saying goodbye to them. I was even starting to tear up at the end, as Chuck and Sarah shared that final, magical kiss. So I'll finish by saying a big thank you to cast and crew of Chuck. Our time together might not have been perfect but I don't regret a second of it. And I leave you all with some of things I've loved most about Chuck:

• Adam Baldwin's many grunts.

• The general awesomeness of Captain Awesome.

• Fantastic guest stars like Scott Bakula, Linda Hamilton, Timothy Dalton (unquestionable the series best villain), Mark Hamill, Tony Todd, John Larroquette, Rachel Bilson, Bruce Boxleitner, Morgan Fairchild, Tony Hale, Jordana Brewster, Melinda Clarke, Christopher Lloyd, Summer Glau, Robert Englund, Fred Willard, Swoozie Kurtz, Carrie-Ann Moss, a trio of Greendale almuni (Danny Pudi, Chevy Chase, Yvette Nicole Brown), Gary Cole, Mark Sheppard (because its illegal to make a genre show without him) and loads, loads more.

• The unique music of Jeffster! But not Jeff and Lester. They are one of the reasons I started to fall out of love with Chuck in the first place.

• Yvonne Strahovski beating the crap out of Nicole Richie to the sweet sounds of “Smack My Bitch Up”. I like to see this as a symbolic battle between proper television and the unholy scourge that is 'reality' TV.

What do you think? Did the season finale of the little show that could earn four out of four first dates?

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

3 comments:

Heather said...

I, too, had drifted away from Chuck over the last 2 seasons. But the finale, for me, redeemed all. I could have some quibbles... it would have been nice to see a better last moment between Chuck and Morgan... and I think it would have been nice to have seen a sweet smile on Sarah's face after the magic kiss and then have her simply ask Chuck to kiss her again. But these are quibbles. I immediately downloaded the episode, if only to hear Chuck say, "One word... Jeffster!". This finale recaptured every sweet thing and the rapport between show and fans.

Jonathan said...

I don't think that the kiss triggered her memories, but I think the fact that Sarah asked Chuck to kiss her, because she WANTED the memories back spoke volumes. I actually really like that they left the ending open to interpretation.

One issue I had was the fact that Chuck never told Sarah that he knew her real name. If it was all just a mission she never would have told him her name was Sam, something she kept as a huge secret. Only a handful of people knew it, so that would have been an easy way to establish that he was in fact telling her the truth...which might be why they chose not to go that route LOL

Mark said...

What Jonathan said, about the kiss.
I finally got around to seeing Inception, and then read what Nolan said about the last scene: the spinning top itself was not important, but that Cobb was no longer looking at it. In the same way, we don't know if the kiss was magic or not, but Sarah asking for it was the key.