I’ll just come out at say it: I loved the double-header series finale of Chuck. In fact, I’m not sure it’s possible for me to be happier. Sure, I could probably nitpick if I wanted to. But that’s the thing – I don’t. I thought the plot was quick and exciting, I loved how the episodes called back precious moments from seasons past, and over and over again the episodes hit the perfect notes of emotion. It was beautiful.
Chuck vs. Sarah
Pitting Sarah against Chuck in the penultimate episode of the series? I thought it was a great idea. Sarah, with her memory erased thanks to Quinn and the Intersect, had a mission to take out Chuck. She lied to him and pretended everything was OK so she could snag the Intersect glasses before killing him, but Chuck knew something was wrong. And since Chuck is a spy who doesn’t even like to fire a real gun, he certainly wasn’t going to fight back when his wife and soulmate started kicking his butt.
Eventually, Sarah realized that Chuck had been telling the truth all along and Quinn was the bad guy – unfortunately, Quinn got away and she still didn’t have her memory back. She believed Chuck when he said they were in love, but she didn’t share those feelings. It was heartbreaking.
Chuck vs. The Goodbye
So in act two, Sarah sought to take Quinn out and Chuck offered to help – with the ulterior motive of making her fall back in love with him again. There was a Nerd Herd uniform, and wonderful glimpses back to “their story”, how Chuck and Sarah came to be.
It all culminated at the symphony. Beckman, unaware that she had an important piece of the Intersect hidden amongst her badges, was enjoying a concert when Quinn revealed that she was sitting on top of the bomb. If she stood, it would go off. If the music ended, it would go off.
Cue a concert from Jeffster (that was hilarious), Sarah finally killing Quinn, and a touching moment where Chuck realized that the Intersect glasses, with only one upload left, could do one of two things: it could upload all of Sarah’s memories for her, or it could put the Intersect in Chuck’s head so he could diffuse the bomb.
All along, Sarah had flashes (ah! pun!) of memory. She rearranged things at a German version of the Wienerlicious where she used to work. And when Chuck wasn’t sure he could stop the bomb, she remembered the Irene Demova Virus that he’d used on their first mission. In the end, the team saved the day.
What was great about this episode is exactly what was great about the season: everyone had their moment to shine. We saw Ellie intentionally crash a car to not only save Chuck, but to save Sarah from doing something she knew the real Sarah would never forgive herself for. We saw Jeff and Lester have their moment to shine, Chuck’s mom came back to lend a helping hand, Beckman had her moments. Everyone was there.
When it was all over, it was bittersweet. There were a lot of happy endings, with lots of movement for our favorite characters. Ellie and Awesome moved to Chicago to accept prestigious positions at a hospital. Morgan and Alex announced they were moving in together. Casey decided to go after Verbanski and actually be happy. Jeff and Lester moved to Germany to become pop stars. Subway took over the Buy More, which was a funny little shout out to the sandwich company that saved our show. And we were left with Chuck and Sarah, sitting on a beach.
Chuck told Sarah their story, and they laughed and cried. And then, like in a Disney princess movie, they kissed. Maybe it wouldn’t magically restore Sarah’s memory like Morgan thought – he’s watched a few too many princess movies with baby Clara. Maybe the optimistic viewers out there think that it did. But I think it was a sign of a fresh start for the couple. Maybe Sarah’s memory will slowly come back, or pieces of it will. Maybe it won’t. But they’re starting a new life together, a life where they’re no longer spies, and Sarah knew enough to know she wanted to be a part of it. That’s what I think happened.
Chuck has always been a show that’s not afraid to surprise you – Chuck’s dad getting killed is often referenced. And I think the show stayed true to this in the finale. It would have been easy to diffuse the bomb another way and use the Intersect to restore Sarah’s memory. But that’s not the kind of show Chuck is. Chuck is funny and at times campy, it’s action-packed, and most importantly it’s emotional. It’s got heart, but it’s not afraid to make you hurt either.
Since Chuck is a show that’s had more could-be season and series finales than probably any other show I’ve watched, I think any loyal viewer would say they’re glad the show was allowed to absolutely leave on their own terms. I loved this final season, and I commend the show for delivering such a memorable finale.