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CHUCK Finale: “Chuck Versus Sarah” / “Chuck Versus the Goodbye” – RECAP
It’s hard to write about the Chuck series finale without getting emotional. It’s been five years with these characters and to have everything come to an end, whether it’s satisfying or not, is a hard thing to accept. As I type these words, I’m still not 100% percent convinced it’s all over, not because I think the series could continue in some magical way, but because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Team Bartwoski. I certainly wasn’t prepared for how tear jerking this finale would turn out to be. It’s always been clear Chuck could handle a dramatic scene with ease, but this? This was something of a whole new level.
The finale was technically two episodes, “Chuck Versus Sarah” and “Chuck Versus the Goodbye.” The first part, “Versus Sarah,” had to have been the least funny episode of Chuck throughout the entire five-season run. Forget Nicolas Quinn, the Intersect and all the other mythological aspects of the show that were in play. This episode, and the finale in general, was about the relationship between Chuck and Sarah, the focal point of the show. Sarah has had her memory erased of the last five years, meaning she doesn’t remember Chuck or that they fell in love. She’s been led to believe he is her enemy and will do whatever it takes to take him down. Suddenly we have the cold-blooded Sarah from Season 1, willing to put a bullet between Ellie’s eyes to get her man. She’s ruthless and more than a little bit scary. You never feel like she’ll ever kill Chuck, but she makes you believe she’ll hurt him, a lot.
And that’s just what happens. She kicks the crap out of him after he pours his heart and soul out for her. This is Zachary Levi at his best. I was heart broken as he described his and Sarah’s life together, pleading with her to believe him. I wanted to give him a hug! But there’s no time for hugs because Sarah attacks him. Chuck, ever the gentleman, refuses to fight back even as she knocks him down a flight of stairs. “You can kill me. I will never hurt you,” he says. This has been what it’s all about. Not the Intersect, not Fulcrum, not The Ring, not Volkoff, not anything. Just Chuck and Sarah. To be honest, this show would have died a long time ago if not for Chuck and Sarah. I may find it cheesy and dumb that someone would dive in front of bullet in slow mo, but it’s because it’s Chuck and Sarah that it becomes okay. They work. Because they work, the rest of the show works. Knowing that, it makes sense why I haven’t enjoyed the episodes where they act out of character. This show only works if they behave the way they were intended to.
I want to try and keep this a readable length, so let’s cover “Versus the Goodbye.” This is the final episode of Chuck. This is the one filled with the most callbacks. Though the first episode of the night had its fair share, they weren’t as blatantly obvious as this one. In fact, Chuck would point out every time they visited a familiar location or situation from the pilot episode. This is no time for subtlety! I actually prefer how obvious the writers were when they were referencing something from the show’s past as it was all part of helping Sarah remember who she is. It was a delightful trip down memory lane and the finale was better for it.
There are two things that will stick in my mind forever when I think of this episode. Number one: Jeffsters final performance! After taking a much-needed break from Jeff and Lester’s two-man band, the duo returned for one last triumphant performance. And this time their song (“Take On Me” by A-ha) was responsible for saving the day. Jeff and Lester became heroes! How crazy is that? Sure, they rescued Alex last week, but this time they saved hundreds of lives! On top of that, they got a German record deal, or something like that. They get a nice happy ending. In fact, everyone did. Morgan and Alex moved in together, Ellie and Awesome are taking new jobs in Chicago, Casey is going to be with Gertrude, and Big Mike is still working at the Buy More that he loves so much (and is now owned by Subway!). But where is Chuck and Sarah’s happy ending? Did he manage to get her memories back? Well that brings me to number two.
We’d been getting little hints that Sarah was slowly getting her memory back throughout the episode, but by the time everything was winding down she still didn’t remember her feelings for Chuck. She decides to leave and Chuck is understandably heart broken. The two reunite on the same beach Chuck went to in the pilot when things were too much for him to handle, and Chuck shares with Sarah “their story.” She laughs, she cries, and in the end she asks Chuck to kiss her, because Morgan suggested previously one kiss might cause her memories to come back. The two kiss and the scene fades to black. That’s the end of Chuck. The ending is entirely up to interpretation whether or not Sarah remembers. Some may not like it, but I hardly think it matters what Sarah remembers.
The point for me is that she asked Chuck to kiss her. No matter what, she made that move. So whether she remembers or she doesn’t; I think the kiss means they’ll be together regardless. It’s a happy ending either way, and I am so okay with that. And Beckman leaves us with the feeling that the spy games aren’t over for everyone. That’s a good feeling to have. These characters lives will continue passed the end of the series. Maybe, just maybe, there could be a Chuck movie (just kidding).
If I have one complete about the finale it is Chuck taking the Intersect once again. I get why he did it. It was the only option to disarm the bomb and save the day, but did even end up using it? Yeah, he flashed on the bomb and learned what it was, but in the end he just uploaded a virus to it (the Irene Demova virus, actually). Couldn’t regular, non-Intersect Chuck have done that? But this is just splitting hairs in an otherwise spotless finale.
So that’s the end. I’m sad it’s over, but it was a fun ride filled with laughs, kung-fu, Subway sandwiches, and great people. Chuck will be missed, but I’m glad it got to go out on its own terms.