You Must Remember This

A Kiss Is Still A Kiss

Wow. That was hard to watch. Four days later and I’m still thinking about what I saw and dwelling on all the emotions.

So I’ll tell you right from the start that I won’t be able to write a real review about Chuck vs. Sarah and Chuck vs. The Goodbye. I can’t be analytic about it. That’s probably for the best. All I can do is tell you that I’m still emotionally spent. Did I like it? I’m not sure – “like” seems to be the wrong word when I think about Sarah’s agony and Chuck’s anguish.

How about the question “Are you glad you saw it?, Buckley?” The answer to that is “More than I could have possibly imagined.” My feelings run from amazingly bitter to impossibly sweet and the old adage “Be careful what you wish for…” is ringing in my ears.


Let me take a moment to therapeutically give my $0.02 to the discussions we’ve been having in comments. (That’s for my therapy, not yours!) Of course, like Amy, Dave, Ernie, Faith and Thinkling, I have no desire to change anyone’s opinion. But I sure do have a need to put my thoughts to words. Please be forwarded, though. I may ramble.

This need we all seem to share now – to express ourselves about what we’ve seen – is to me a strong indication of the show’s success. I always said that the most important thing about Chuck was the way it made me feel something. Feeling something meant I was alive, and that “something” didn’t even have to be fun. Oddly, feeling sorrow, frustration and even anguish qualifies. In the finale, all of that came to be (so yes, be careful what you wish for), and I ran the gamut. Perhaps that’s not what television is for, and perhaps you don’t need that experience at this point in your life. Regardless, it is an example of powerful storytelling.

Chuck has made me feel alive for more than four years. Five seasons! There’s a catch, though. It could not go on indefinitely. We all know the story about how the show was almost canceled several times; We saw several endings. We saw Chuck&Sarah “get together” in a dingy motel room in Barstow – The End. We saw them honeymooning on a romantic train leaving Paris – The End. We saw Sarah finally say she loves Chuck and tell the insecure nerd exactly why he’s great (but we already knew why, ourselves) – Curtain Call! We saw Chuck&Sarah get engaged (several times!), we saw them save each other and get married – (sigh) The End. We saw them with extended family (including children) at dinner. Normalcy! The Perfect End! We saw them on the doorstep of the house with the red door and white picket fence, and we saw them with their baby, if only in a drawing. All these were wonderful, perfect endings.

What came after each of these was an encore. When I look back at the list, it looks to me exactly like what I – what we – were clamoring for. We wanted to see them together, married, happy, starting out as a “power-couple”, and we got all that. I will always see S5 as the story of Chuck&Sarah, Power-couple.

Next!

The floods is threat’ning
My very life today
Gimme, gimme shelter
Or I’m gonna fade away

Gimme Shelter – The Rolling Stones

What next for Chuck&Sarah? Grandchildren? More of the same (please)? No. Sad to say, it had to end, if not today, tomorrow. The only choice was about how the story was to end, and only one of those many possibilities was never an acceptable option.

How To End

To that, let me explain something particular and peculiar to my generation. We had one fear (well, two, counting the H-bomb). It was the fear of just fading away into nothingness and meaninglessness. “Just fading away” was never right for this show and watching Chuck&Sarah leading their perfect “normal” life, the one they dreamed about, was not meant for us. As much as I wanted to have more stories about them and about their life together, more stories would have been about them still getting to “normal”, not being normal. It would have been more of the same and the beginning of an inexorable fading until the inevitable network cancellation. No one wanted that. At least, I didn’t.

There was a lot of confusion and maybe even contrasting interpretations (guilty!) about what we saw in those last three minutes. We got an ending of sorts, and a surprising amount that was left to our imaginations. But like I insist on saying, we already had several endings. This was not one of them – it was a good-bye.

Memories

A personal story: I have a very vivid memory from my early childhood. The state was still building parts of Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System, and one section was being constructed within walking distance to my parent’s first house. What I remember was the large mounds of dirt and sod left by the bulldozers when they cleared the area. I remember my dad taking my brother, my sister and I sledding down that mountain (which, if memory serves, was taller than Mt. Everest) when winter came to Buffalo. We had a great time on those saucer-shaped sleds.

Oh, wait. What I put in parentheses is my memory, but obviously, the child saw the mound of dirt much bigger than it was. Oh, wait again. I actually have no memories of sledding down that hill and I don’t remember my mother there at all.

But she was there. You see, my mother had taken “Super-8 Movies” of her brood, movies I saw several times, years later. That’s what I remember – the home movies. You can see where I’m going. My memories are very real and very manufactured. The older I get, the more I realize how much I’ve forgotten and how much my memories are re-created daily from the mementos and artifacts of my life.

[I had a terrible example of this "forgetting" laid in front of me just last week. Mrs. Joe and I had an "old married couple"'s argument; she criticized something I had done carelessly, I took offense, wondering aloud if she really thought I was a complete idiot (or something). I momentarily felt disrespected and she felt ignored; we both felt abused. What we both forgot was a tiny bit of our history, the kindness, love and support we've shown each other over the years. The anger was gone by the evening. But I sadly wonder if we lost a bit of our history together too, replacing it with a moment of anger. I'm even more sad to realize that forgetting the good times is too much a normal part of life for everyone.]

My friends, the idea that Chuck telling Sarah their story will restore (or rather, create) her memories and that is a proper ending is not the point I’m trying to make, although it is something to bear in mind. What is important is that what we saw was a plea from the characters, the actors, the writers and the producers (everyone involved!) to not let the story fade from our memories. They were not giving us another ending, but asking us to retell the story, if only to ourselves, so that something would live on. It was a tearful goodbye to us.

What we had was by no means an extended middle digit to the fans, and it did not wipe away five seasons of our memories and growth. It asked us – begged us – to keep that alive.

The Bettering

One of our long-time commenter, KG, wrote us this about two weeks ago. It rings true.

These two characters specifically, and the show in general, has made me a better person. Investing time and emotion into this show for five years I believe has allowed me to feel better about myself. Has forced me to aspire to be a better person. To be and act more like Chuck and Sarah.

I know I changed – a lot – because of what I saw. I revisited much of my own past and wondered (seriously, for the first time!) if I would do things differently. Whether the answer was yes or no, the difference is that from now on, I’m more concerned about doing things right the first time. I’m more conscious about failing to do that. Second chances come, but aren’t guaranteed. Indeed, Love comes to all, but there’s no guarantee we recognize it or can even return it. Because of this show I’m more determined to not waste the opportunity to do the right thing when it presents itself and to hang onto love, when I see it, the best I can. That goes for friends and family, too.

Chuck didn’t leave me only with that one thing. It doesn’t even begin to account for what I’ve taken away from this blog, all of you and the friends I’ve made. But if it had turned out that way the show still would have been the best ever, merely because of the way it made me feel every time I heard the theme song.

Don’t Overthink It – Our Heads Just Get In The Way

Did you care about what happened to Sarah at the end? Of course you did! Chuck and especially Sarah have been beloved characters and important in our lives, but it says something about us, that we should care. They are not real. Despite ourselves, there’s no need to feel sad for them, even for a moment, because they are in our imaginations. They’ll remain there, perfect as ever.

What is important and very real is the love we saw on the screen, thanks to the talents of Chris Fedak, Josh Schwartz, Zac, Yvonne, Adam, Josh G. and all the others. There’s no getting around it – we’ve been touched and changed by what we saw. We’ve been affected, and as much as we hated the mis-steps and as much as we wish this could go on longer, it’s a tribute to them, TPTB.

They have heart. It also takes a heart to receive the gift they left us 91 times over five seasons. That we’ve allowed ourselves to be affected for so long is a tribute to us, the fans.

Thank you.

- joe

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About joe

In my life I've been a professor, martial artist, rock 'n roller, rocket scientist, lover, poet and brain surgeon. I'm lying about the brain surgery.
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69 Responses to You Must Remember This

  1. Jason says:

    Straight from the heart Joseph – I’d expect nothing less!

  2. atcDave says:

    I really like one very interesting point you made; so much of what we remember isn’t actually first hand rememberence anyway. A lot of my childhood memories are more from photos or others people’s telling. So it’s not even hard to imagine someone having to rely a little more than the rest of us do on loved ones memories, yet still retaining the vital part of who they and their relations are. So I like the thought that even if Sarah’s recall will always be spotty, we saw all the essential characteristics of Sarah Bartowski back in the end scene. I still think she remembered all the big things!

    But I can’t be quite as generous towards this tale as you Joe! I think the bitterness that won’t let go has largely to do with the Sarah who wanted out of the dangerous life, she wanted the home, the kids, the family; more than any other character on the show that was what she wanted late in S5. And she is the character whose enjoyment of those very things was left most unclear. I will always imagine the best. But I think I will also always resent not getting a glimpse of it.

    • joe says:

      It gets worse as you get older, Dave. That’s part of the human condition.

      I understand about the bitterness. We saw them both get so close to that dream and to have it disappear like that is horrific. No other word for it.

      But that’s not to say that they won’t have other dreams, or even that the one they had won’t return. Since these are fictional characters, we can only rely on our own experience, and mine is that, in the end, it’s a little of both.

  3. Jason says:

    Joe – if you are there and talking ?’s, I am musically tone deaf, and honestly not too often interested. But I thought the Rivers and Roads tune was appropriate, and the fact the man singing the beginning reflected Chuck’s viewpoint throughout the final couple of scenes more so than at the beach, and final verse with the lady fit Sarah’s viewpoint on the beach which I translated as hopeful progress. Overall, the tune was haunting though. What did you think?

    I also thought the ‘Take on Me’ video to be very hopeful, with the genders reversed, almost told the whole story, including Sarah’s recovery and at the very end, a kiss (you miss it if you don’t look for it). Again, what did you think?

    Trust me, me asking you about music would be like Mad Dog Vachon asking Michelangelo about painting chapels, as I am not too up to speed. So speak slowly and use small words.

    • joe says:

      Heh! I don’t know if that’s a good analogy or not, Jason, but I appreciate the sentiment. ;)

      Honestly, I haven’t had time to look up the lyrics of either yet, and I expect my final judgment will change over the course of the week. My first verdict is on the mood they gave, and I liked both Rivers and Roads and Never Seen Nothing Like You. Each leaves me feeling something a little different and appropriately sad about the goodbyes. Both will bring me back to the ending and the show when I hear them on my mp3 player.

      Take On Me was a great choice for summing up the entire series, I think. But that’s mostly because of that fantastic video.

  4. Rick Holy says:

    Here’s something to consider – and you’re all going to have to help me remember the order of things. When Sarah told Chuck that she believed everything about “them” that he told her – but that she just didn’t “feel” it – was she being completely honest with herself – or was she “replaying” the Sarah who couldn’t at first admit her feelings for Chuck? I mean how long did it take her to finally admit those feelings to Chuck? The Sarah who fell for Chuck after he fixed her phone and before he started diffusing bombs with computer viruses (all of which took place in the time frame of the pilot episode), wouldn’t admit her love for Chuck – and more accurately TO Chuck – until Chuck reached the point where he just had to flat out ask her. And even after that it took her more time to actually speak the words, “I love you, Chuck.”

    If she truly “didn’t feel it,” then why such emotion on viewing the “Operation Bartowski” DVD? She felt SOMETHING – otherwise there would have been a detachment – like watching the story of “somebody else’s” life. Was she not willing to admit (to Chuck) what she WAS already starting to feel – like the Sarah that we knew those first seasons?

    By the time we get to “the beach,” there’s been that steamy ballroom dance between she and Chuck. If THAT wasn’t dripping (literally) with feeling/passion/attraction/heat (call it whatever you like), then I don’t know what would. I think the pieces of the puzzle and the feelings that went with them were “there” before Sarah – just like the first time around – was willing to admit. Suppressed/erased memories or not – she’s Sarah – and when it comes to admitting/expressing those feelings that ARE there – she’s always been hesitant.

    The more I watch, and the more I read the posts here, the more the (little) pieces start piling up. With that kiss on the beach, she may not have remembered everything, but SHE KNEW. And the more I watch it, the more it “works.” Now, was there too much ANGST (remember that hated word that had been used so often in the past to describe Chuck and Sarah’s situation) before “the beach?” YES! Maybe that’s what took away something from the beach ending. Maybe a little less angst and a little more “positive” BEFORE (rather than after) the beach, would have helped to make the beach in actuality a wonderful ending in the view of more of us.

    But again, the more I watch, the more I put together the little pieces, and the more I remember who Sarah Walker was – both early on, pre-memory wipe- and then at the end, post-memory wipe – I see that underlying both sets of circumstances, it was the SAME Sarah – unwilling to admit her feelings until she couldn’t NOT express them – until she felt “safe.” On that beach – with Chuck – with the “tell me OUR story” – with the “kiss me Chuck” she was safe – again – with “her Chuck.”

    • atcDave says:

      I do think you’re exactly right Rick about Sarah kidding herself in the fountain scene. That was S1 Sarah speaking. The same Sarah who told Chuck their first real kiss was a mistake, yet we now know admitted to her personal log it was anything but. Funny thing is, I don’t think she saw the irony!

      I agree about the angst. I think Goodbye would have been a more satisfying conclusion if there had been more joy in Sarah falling for Chuck all over again. I haven’t really thought through how each of those scenes might have looked, but maybe just if we saw more smiles or whistful looks from Sarah when she knew Chuck wasn’t watching.

    • joe says:

      Since I wrote the post, Rick, I had a chance to re-watch both episodes. I’m glad I did. Now I can agree with you – there were a lot of little things shown when they revisited the important places in their past that added up to a lot. It was a proverbial sledgehammer to the ice Sarah reflexively puts around her heart (she’s like that!) and it was a sledgehammer to ours, too.

      We could see every step of the way how their story was affecting her. She started out disbelieving and even indifferent. Each time, though, Sarah’s reaction changed to something more meaningful, if not recognition. I don’t know about you, but my frustration that nothing seemed to be working got in the way of my seeing that each time, she was asking for a little bit more of their story, if only with her eyes (check out when they were dancing, especially when Chuck said “Are you kidding? You taught me how to dance!”).

      I’m still haunted by once still frame we had of Sarah from the pilot, when she killed the French assassins, then looks straight at the camera and shoots at us. Sorry, at Chuck, because he’s flashing. That cold killer, the one we only saw for an instant was back.

      And just like the first time, Chuck got through. Even before the end, he succeeded in doing again what he did five years earlier. If they were real people, the rest would be up to them.

      • Rick Holy says:

        I watch that dance scene again and there is REAL passion going on. I love it when Sarah says to Chuck, “Get me closer,” (she means to the target) and he pulls her in closer to himself. The heavy breathing isn’t from those few dance moves. And before Chuck tells Morgan that they’re on the move again, there’s the second moment of almost – almost -tearing into a passionate kiss. “I don’t feel it.” Not at THAT point!

  5. phaseou812 says:

    Well Joe from a fellow “Rock N’ Roller”, a very touching “good-bye”. I appreciate that you have taken the time to reflect what the show has “meant” to us respectively. As I can relate to the manner in which the show’s ending seems more like the continuing of a book then the end of a show. I can quibble and dream up better circumstances or additional wishes to have seen . . . but what I can’t change is how this show has made me feel emotionally . . . which is happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of it. As you so genially described . . . that the show made us “feel” . . . which sometimes includes disappointments or sadness . . . but nonetheless those type of “feelings” are what make something important and precious to have or store in our own memories.

    When I happened to stumble on to watching the Pilot . . . I had no vision or goal of what I was looking for or wanting; I simply was killing some time with a desire for self-entertainment. But after I watched that pilot and episodes thereafter, what I found was an un-detachable emotion to believe, care and hope the very best for group of individuals that are merely fictional. That is simply something that would normally not describe my involvement with a TV show . . . I just don’t get swept away with these type of things. Although a show/movie may be enjoyable or elicit some type of emotion . . . it is soon forgot or stored away for memories of a good time had. But this storytelling, was so drastically different for me personally, as there story became so real . . . an emotion that I could truly feel for the wellbeing of the characters . . . and that is what makes the goodbye so hard. While I am still spending countless time viewing the blogs and thoughts of others regarding a fictional story that has ended.

    So I believe that your description of it not being an ending . . . simply a goodbye . . . is a perfect way to explain the emotion of a show that has long ended its production . . . but is still is making me “feel”. Again like most everybody else . . . if they could have given me a little of this or more of that for the ending, I know I would have been happy . . . but what I do not know, if the producers would have consulted with me personally on the exact scenes I wanted . . . would I “care” as much right now a week later or would I simply be happy with the outcome of their fictional lives. I guess that it is more that the show said goodbye that allows me to continue to feel and want to retell their story, even if it is only in my own mind . . . and that brings me happiness and sadness at the same time. Hard to describe, I just know I am better off for happening to stumble into watching this show and for being able to share and read the many bloggers of this site.

    Although I have not commented on all of the “blogs” that the authors have posted over the life of this show, I do greatly appreciate the story’s I have read and the opinions that have always been well thought out and from the heart. Thank you for all that you “guys” have done to helping to keep the fan-base engaged with this wonderful story.

    Many THANKS!

    • joe says:

      Beautifully said, Phase. I’d like to say that I’ve thought much the same thing over the years, but you knew that! ;)

      As for our job here, keeping these fans engaged was the easiest job in the world. We’ve been like that all along.

  6. kg says:

    Awesome Joe. Thank you for the shout-out. Excellent paragraph in your “Bettering” segment. That’s essentially what I was attempting to convey. Recognize, embrace and appreciate the love. Go for it, do it right the first time. Don’t wait for a second chance that may never come.

    • joe says:

      It was a great thought you had, KG.

      I’ve mentioned before that the capacity to change the viewer for the better is in the realm of great art, and it certainly isn’t usually found in mass-market entertainment. I’ve always taken it as one of my personal reasons to say that Chuck is at least a cut above.

      But we often forget that it reflects our own capacity to be engaged in the world. Really, it’s about our capacity to love one another. The idea that we’re better for having watched the show may be silly, but I’m willing to believe it says a lot of good things about us.

    • Faith says:

      We don’t say it to be kind, or say it to be humble, but what you guys say, what you guys do really do inspire us as as much as our words inspire you. So Joe’s shoutout to you was well deserved and we thank you not only for the thoughts and what it means, but also for enriching our Chuck experience.

      And yes I wholeheartedly agree, don’t wait for the second chance that will not come.

  7. andyt says:

    Joe, thank you for your excellent essay. As one who thoroughly enjoyed the finale, I have been feeling somewhat taken aback by some of the comments on the blog that I have seen. While I can understand people not liking the finale, it upsets me that they are attacking the creators of the show as being horrible to the fans and “sticking it” to them. I am one fan who feels lucky that they created this show, and that they put so much care and love into it. As you said, “this was not a middle finger to the fans”. I believe it was a sincere attempt to give the fans a loving tribute to the show. If some set themselves up for disappointment with “their” expectations that is not the fault of the showrunners. I have learned over the years that the worst thing to do is to have a specific set of ideas about how something “must” be because that is only a recipe for disappointment and anger. Thank you for your passionate insights into the show and this space to talk about it.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Agreed. I never have, nor am I ever again (never say never, I know) going to put as much of myself into a TV SHOW as I did with CHUCK. That is a tribute to the awesome cast, yes – but it’s also a tribute to the characters – and those who created them and “gave them life.” The run of this show was like a marriage between the fans and the show runners. There were great times, there were some disappointing times – but like any good marriage, it WAS a passionate love affair throughout – tightrope walking that sometimes thin line between love and hate (homage to Chrissie Hynde) – but holding on to the love for “CHUCK” through it all! If I had to do these 91 episodes all over again, I’d relive them in a heartbeat (yes, even the one where Sarah tells Shaw her real name was Sam!). ;)

      • andyt says:

        Fr. Rick, I agree wholeheartedly. I would not trade any of the episodes. It has been a pleasure for five years to watch and experience this show. Everything about it is what makes it special.

    • joe says:

      That’s the way I’ve been thinking too, Andy. I understand what they’re saying; I would have loved to have seen a “And They Lived Happily Ever After” ending too, but I know darn well this will stay with me longer.

      I was never one to say that my ideas about where Chuck&Sarah should go should be substituted for the writer’s and creator’s. I’m not qualified. But the effect of not letting myself write my own ending was let me accept there’s a bit more.

      Hum. Maybe I’m intellectually and emotionally free to write my own fan-fic now. ;)

      • andyt says:

        I know that this ending has stuck with me now for about a week. The only other time a Chuck ending has been this intense for me was “Ring”. I also am starting to believe that the creators did not want closure for the entire story. If they had created the “happily ever after epilogue”, then the story would be finished for them. In this way, they can feel that they told this “book” on this period in the Chuck story. However, future stories are just like life unknown and will play out. Also, they might have been channeling Sondheim from “Into the Woods” when he pointed out that “happily ever after” is not really true. Life is messy, not bad, but messy and unpredictable; however Chuck and Sarah will always have each other and their love. The TPTB left us an intense love letter to their romance and that will endure.

    • atcDave says:

      Sorry Andy I respectfully disagree. If a show I like disappoints it will make me grumpy. The more highly I think of the show the angrier I will be with the failings. If NCIS gives me a stinker of an episode I may forget about before I shut off the TV. If White Collar or Burn Notice fails me in an arc it will likely be a topic of discussion with friends for a while. With the unprecedented levels of investment that Chuck generated the frustration and anger will be magnitudes greater. As I’ve said, I don’t even see this finale as a terrible episode. But thankful for it? No. I’m thankful for the four mostly wonderful seasons we did get. But I’m pretty grumpy about some of the failings. And I never give a writer carte blanche; there is a weekly contract. They entertain and I watch. But when they disappoint me on the finale I will have harsh words.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        I have no problems with harsh complaints. There’s a difference between saying you hated how they ended the show or TPTB write action better than romance, and saying TPTB are talentless hacks. The latter is disingenuous. If they were so horrible, no one would care about the show and it wouldn’t have been on for 5 seasons. While minor personal attacks bother me a little, I have a bigger problem with cursing at TPTB, which I’ve seen here and other places a lot over the last few days.

        I think I said something similar a couple weeks ago and immediately became the target of personal attacks. Just remember everyone, I didn’t write the ending or S3.

      • atcDave says:

        Well obviously there needs to be some perspective. If we become heavily invested in a show the show runner(s) likely deserve some credit for it! But we also see the opposite extreme of “the show is great, so I see no wrong…” (just earlier this season I was accused of that…) And parties on both sides have been guilty of taking shots at the other.

        I think the rules shift a little between fans and the professionals too. Just in that sometimes harsh criticisms of the product or creative process are fair game, and harsh criticisms sometimes FEEL very personal whether they were meant that way or not (I know a former PATCO controller who still tells the story of how bad and personal it felt to be fired by the president of the United States on national television. Never mind that he was one of 10000). But obviously there is a line between criticizing someone’s work and criticizing them personally. One is appropriate and the other is not. I don’t recall anyone being cussed out, but feelings have been strong.

        If you Jeff, or any other guest at this site ever feel like you’ve been subjected to a personal attack let us know via this site’s “contact us” tab or my fan fiction page linked at right. We have deleted offending posts and we would do so again if certain lines are crossed. (for the record, I believe this has only been done twice in the history of this site, we hate to censor; but we don’t allow personal attacks either).

      • armysfc says:

        Dave…i was thinking about the ending again and it reminded me of a good movie line. it’s from pretty woman.

        Edward says, “People’s reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul.”

        i think that sums up this ending perfectly.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah that’s probably about right army.

  8. thinkling says:

    Wow, Joe. Beautiful post. It’s hard to say goodbye. I do wonder how I can get sucked into a television show and fictitious characters and care about them so much. So thanks for explaining it to me :)

    The beach scene is beautiful, and as you say begs us to remember their story. *sniff*

    Interesting memory angle. We may or may not remember details, or people may keep some memories reinforced just by telling them over and over, like the childhood memories you talked about. However, without emotional context memories are just facts. It’s the love or humor or pride in my parents’ voice that makes the memory more than a fact. Memories need mood, context, emotion. Memories should impress more than our minds. They should touch our hearts. So ix-nay on the Intersect memory restoration. Sarah shouldn’t have to flash on her wedding. Better to see the pictures and hear from her husband how beautiful she looked, how happy she made him … hear his vows and how he still means them.

    The Intersect would be like any other form of communication of data, only faster. It would fill Sarah with knowledge, but it wouldn’t fill her with feeling the way hearing their story from Chuck does. And I’m sure it wouldn’t do for her what that kiss did.

    • atcDave says:

      Wow, so well put. Yeah the kiss is MUCH better!

    • joe says:

      You guys! I missed that great insight! Having the Intersect restore Sarah’s memories would have been inferior, just like you say. Heh. We should have been all over it as a big, storytelling cop-out had they chosen to take that easy route.

      Chuck and Sarah were discussing on the train how much fun the feeling of power was when they flashed. I would be, I’m sure. But now we finally see the Intersects limitations.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Actually Joe, i feel the opposite is true. think about this, chuck was never really affected by the intersect while he had the governor, then a clean version. shaw’s version didn’t seem to harm him either. morgans and sarah’s were a corrupt version, like installing a bad program on your PC. if you loaded an agent with the faulty intersect, flashed his memories away, then used the version they used on hartley, they could create exactly what they wanted, the perfect agent, programmed to do what ever was required with a complete skill set. it actually has very few limitations.

      • thinkling says:

        Army, we weren’t talking skill set, the context here is emotion. The Intersect is a whiz at facts and skills, but it’s bankrupt when it comes to emotion or mood. The Intersect is completely inadequate to give Sarah’s dossier emotional context, which must be restored along side the factual memories. In fact the emotional context is key. Sarah was convinced by the facts of the video log, but she was touched and captivated by its emotion. Reading her reports would not have had the same effect. It was Chuck’s love, not his facts, that touched her.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Opps got it! i was just saying tactically the intersect is limitless, lol. but emotionally yeah it’s bare as a desert.

    • Jen says:

      True words Thinkling… memories without the emotions are just facts, stories, that will not stay with us unless we feel something. Having Chuck telling her their story was definitely beautiful… i wish we could have gotten more of it, see more of Sarah’s reaction. Yeah, we had those images slide through our screen, and saw some laughter and tears, but yeah… i’m wanted more. The beach scene is beautiful to me, but i will always feel a level of sadness with it.

  9. Faith says:

    Reading that…inspired piece, I come out of it with one thought:

    We really do take this thing seriously. Maybe detrimentally so. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  10. Wilf says:

    Joe, a great write-up. Thank you. Together with Thinkling and the others, you have made it so much easier for me to accept an ending that I didn’t like on first, second and third viewing. But having watched just the last act a few times more, it really has grown on me and looking back over the whole episode (I can’t be bothered to watch 5.12 at the mo because I really did not like that, except ffrom the point of Sarah viewing her log) I can really see how Sarah does begin to recover, if so slowly and (almost) imperceptibly.

    I agree, also, that a “nice” ending would not have generated the buzz that this ending has done and continues to do, and thus our memories of Chuck might fade more quickly as a result.

    Just as an aside, and a different sort of tribute to Chuck, the series has made me more physically fit. Really. I was never one much for exercise but I was moved to put together a playlist of great music from the series over a year ago (and one which has been expanding as I have heard more music in the newer episodes), and also having added the episodes in mp3 form, I listen to those every day while working out and it makes a very boring but necessary activity almost a joy. I never seem to tire of listening to the music and remembering what scenes they are from, or listening to an entire episode (and remembering the great acting, facial expressions, etc. associated with them. So Chuck has become my exercise programme and I don’t see that changing any time soon!!!! Others should try it :-)

    • joe says:

      I don’t know if you were reading when I wrote about that, Wilf, but exercising while listening to my growing collection of music from Chuck is a major thing in my life too. Had the exact same experience as you.

      It started with “recreational” exercise; walking, working out on an exercise bike, biking. Then I graduated to the “hard” stuff; treadmill, then running. Became a full-time addict. I lost 38 lbs and got up to running 5 miles two or three times a week. My wife tried an intervention once. It didn’t take. ;)

      All the while I did it with those earbuds stuck in my ears. It’s a triple dose of my favorite addictions, I think – music, exercise and Chuck.

      • Wilf says:

        Ha, well, I’m not quite so dedicated as you but I do work out most days for around 40 minutes and also go on long walks – my knees are not up to running. But I have chosen my most favourite songs from the series and always play them in the right sequence, as I say remembering the scenes in which they were played. A Comet Appears and Get Away are two of my all time Chuck favourite songs.

        Interestingly, when listening to the actual episodes, as opposed to watching their videos, you do actually pick up quite a lot that you might miss from watching although of course you miss the facial nuances etc.

      • Wilf says:

        I don’t know where I’m going to find new and interesting music from now that Chuck is not there to provide it for me :-(

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        You could look to Music Supervisor Alexandra Patsavas’ other projects: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0666031/
        However, a lot of my emotional attachment to a song is because of the scene the music was used in. That would require finding another show I love like Chuck.

      • Wilf says:

        Thanks Jeff. You’re absolutely right – much of the music might not have grabbed me, initially at least, if it hadn’t been for its Chuck-related context.

      • joe says:

        Yeah, I agree with that. The Internet Radio services like Pandora and Last FM might help, but I haven’t been able to use them effectively. Like you guys, it’s the association with particular scenes in the show that get me to listen closely enough to enjoy and appreciate any particular song.

        Oddly, another source is commercials, ads, on TV. I heard a tremendously catchy snippet of a tune on a recent batch of commercials for Advil, so I put “Advil Commercial Music” in my favorite search engine and it popped up immediately with Chugjug by Family of the Year.

        What you do after that is up to you, of course. But at least it’s often possible to identify the music now.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Speaking of music ChuckTV.net has the season 5 part of their music poll up. I will never forgive them for putting “Another Wave From You” against “Through The Crowd” AND “Half Moon” against “She Tows the Line” in the first freaking round.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        In earlier polls for S1-4, I noticed a few good songs get knocked out early. But by the end, none of the 2-3 finalists were surprising.

        “Rivers and Roads” currently has 128/132 votes. I’m surprised “The Weight” is not doing better.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think “The Weight” would be doing a lot better against any other song.

        I know some songs I like are bound to get knocked out early, but these pairings bother me because the more dramatic moments usually tend to dominate, especially the early rounds, because people remember them more. They are linked directly to the musical montage or the big emotional moment. While “Another Wave From You” is moving at the moment it plays, it’s little more than an instrumental transition, and it is going to clobber a nice fun happy tune that plays over some favorite bit of Charah fluff. Same for “Half Moon” (but “She Tows The Line” is a great song, not just a little instrumental transition). I think they both deserve to make it to the second round. They also put “Your Hands” against “Silver Hands”, but at least that’s a fair fight. ;)

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        The top says the pairings were random. Personally, I’d be worried about my hands in a fight with silver gauntlets.

        Half Moon vs She Tows the Line is a tough one.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I understand the random pairings, but don’t agree that it’s the right way to go in the early rounds. When Faith designed our music poll she made sure to pair compatable genres, styles and context so you were voting on the song, not the style. My $0.02 I’m mostly kidding, as I’m sure you picked up on.

        LOL, “Silver Hands”, yeah, I meant in the context that they both play over pretty dramatic moments. In this case I think it goes to the more recent memory.

      • Old topic, but this seemed an appropriate spot. First, Chevy Sonic steals We Are Young from Baby. Then, How I Met You Mother steals Rivers and Roads from Goodbye. (I didn’t see it, but heard about it.) Just now, I saw a CBS March Madness ad which featured Gold on the Ceiling, also from Goodbye. Chuck had it before The Black Keys released their video for it. It’s just not possible to get away from Chuck music.

  11. the shrink says:

    Bravo Joe…..

    I could not agree more or put it any better.

    I am not sure what I will miss more… The show or the people passionately expressing their feelings about the show.. I believe I would not have enjoyed the show as much without the beautiful people on this site and their passion.

    I am still torn. Were Chris and josh actually evil genuines that navigated us skillfully thru these last 5 years? Or were they clumsily stumbling thru the China shop of our emotions and luckly feel thru the right door. Whatever it was as it worked out perfectly.

    Thanks again Joe for all of you hard work over these last 5 years. Thank goodness “you didn’t stay in the car Joe”.

    • joe says:

      Thanks, Shrink. I’m just now starting a grieving process for the show and for all it, and everyone connected, means to me.

      – the people I’ve met (if only virtually) on this blog most of all.

      If I’d done anything to enhance your enjoyment, that’s beyond what I thought I was capable of doing when this started. To think it’s possible is a blessing.

      What’s no longer possible is “staying in the car.” ;)

  12. Joe, thank you for a wonderful piece that articulates much of what has been going through my head as I wrestle with what is going through my heart. I was touched and affected by what was going on just as I have been by these fictional characters for the past five years. My memories of the show, like the memories of my life will continue to fade, but how I felt about it will remain strong. Which of course brings me to a song. Since you’ve already quoted the Rolling Stones, I give you one more song from them that highlights your message of Chuck & Sarah and our remembering:
    I’m gonna tell you how it’s gonna be
    You’re gonna give your love to me
    I’m gonna love you night and day
    Well love is love and not fade away
    Well love is love and not fade away

    My love bigger than a Cadillac
    I try to show it and you’re drivin’ me back
    Your love for me has got to be real
    For you to know just how I feel
    Love is real and not fade away
    Well love is real and not fade away

    I’m gonna tell you how it’s gonna be
    You’re gonna give your love to me
    Love to last more than one day
    Well love is love and not fade away
    Well love is love and not fade away
    Well love is love and not fade away
    Love, love is love and not fade away
    Not fade away
    Not fade away

    Goodby Chuck. You may be gone from our screens, but you won’t fade away from our hearts.

    Thanks again Joe for all you and The CT Team has done!

  13. betik says:

    oh Joe you made me cry… I don`t know how, but the Bartowsky become part of my own family.. but now I know must move on.. and let all the characters move on…
    We grow together for 5 years but now it`s time to take separate ways, without forgetting what we learned together … everybody grew up even jeff!!.. so I must do the same…
    Thanks Joe and thanks Chuck !

  14. Jen says:

    I finally got around to reading your post my friend… it’s a good one. I particularly like:

    They were not giving us another ending, but asking us to retell the story, if only to ourselves, so that something would live on. It was a tearful goodbye to us.

    What we had was by no means an extended middle digit to the fans, and it did not wipe away five seasons of our memories and growth. It asked us – begged us – to keep that alive.

    I really hadn’t thought about the finale that way. I request, or begging us, as you say, to not forget the story, to not forget it’s relevant, that it hasn’t been wiped. To me, it’s the stregth of the connection between Chuck and Sarah that was forged over the years what holds them together there, on that beach, recounting their story, with Sarah asking fro that kiss… so the story if Chuck and Sarah isn’t going anywhere. Of course, how AMAZING would it have been to have a truly happy ending, the house, the picket fence, and yeah, i’m not happy about being asked to use my imagination… but i’ll do it, and i’ll paint a happy ending because it’s the only one possible for those 2.

    And so we say goodbye to our show. Let’s try and stay positive and not take away from the things we’ve learned, the love we’ve felt, and the passion the show caused us to feel. We know the show wasn’t perfect, we know about the plot holes, or dropped issues, we all can question a million things we noticed, continuity… but there is no poitn anymore, in the end it comes down to Chuck and Sarah (us shippers always knew that :P) Like you said… Chuck and Sarah live in our imagination, sooo… let’s make them happy in there.

    Hopefully i’ll have time later to swing by and read some comments. I gotta run now!

    • Rick Holy says:

      Amen, Sista. Amen! I’ll eventually get Season 5 on DVD & Blu ray, but I hope they do a kind of complete series package like they did with LOST, Smallville, etc. There are STILL some people who’ve never experienced the (mostly) joy of CHUCK. Part of my continuing to be a CHUCK fan will be to see that they do. :)

      • Jen says:

        So true Rick! I shared my sadness over the show ending and my dissatisfaction with the end with a friend n lol… She cheered me up and gave me a positive spin. Man, that and Faith’s post, some of the positive comments, this post… They all helped me so much! Now this friend wants to watch the show, even watched clips on YouTube… So yep, our work is not done :)

        I already per- ordered my S5 Blue-Rays :D

      • Gord says:

        Absolutely, I will buy S5 on both DVD and Blu Ray and if they come out with a complete box set, I would definitely buy that too. The show’s chances of getting a movie will be better if the dvd sales do well. I assume it will have some extra deleted scenes and maybe some directors cuts of some of the episodes, like they are doing with the finale.

        I have seen interviews with cast members in which they talk about scenes that weren’t in the episode or in the deleted scenes. For example I remember an early S2 interview with Sarah Lancaster in which she says that there was a scene between Ellie and Roan Montgomery.

    • joe says:

      Well, not perfect, I agree. But the show’s been pretty darn good throughout. We’re all gonna miss it. Hum… I find myself recognizing Kübler-Ross’s five stages, and I think I’m getting near acceptance already. I hope the cast ‘n crew did as well.

      Hanging onto the positive things is exactly the right advice, Jen. I intend to take it!

  15. Gord says:

    Here it is friday afternoon and I’ve come to the realization that there is no Chuck on TV tonight. I guess I will watch an old Chuck episode to ease the trauma.

    As for the finale, at the end of Chuck Vs Sarah when she says goodbye, its a very haunting moment. In the car I was listening to some Canadian East Coast Music and this haunting melody by the Rankins came on called Fare Thee Well Love and thought it would have just been perfect for that heart-wrenching scene. Sorry I don’t know how to embed a youtube clip on this blog, but here’s the link:

    Lyrics

    Fare thee Well, love
    Fare thee Well, love
    Far away, you must go.
    Take your heart, love
    Take your heart, love
    Will we never meet again no more?
    Far across, love
    Far across, love.
    O’er mountains and country wide
    Take my heart, love
    Take my heart, love
    No one knows the tears I’ve cried.
    So I’ll drink today, love,
    I’ll sing to you, love
    in pauper’s glory, my time I’ll bide
    No home or ties, love,
    A restless rover, if I can’t have you
    by my side.
    Oh come back, love
    Oh come back, love
    The sun and moon
    refuse to shine.
    Since I’ve gone, love
    Gone away love
    this lonely girl has had no peace of mind
    So I’ll drink today, love,
    I’ll sing to you, love
    in pauper’s glory, my time I’ll bide
    No home or ties, love,
    A restless rover, if I can’t have you
    by my side.
    Fare thee well love, fare thee well love Fare thee well, fare thee well
    Far away, you must go. Far away you must go.
    Take my heart, love Take my heart
    Take my heart, love Take your heart
    Will we never meet again no more? Will we never meet again no more?
    Will we never meet again no more? Will we never meet again no more?

    Of course, I think as a Chuck fan it pretty much how I feel about the end of Chuck too.

  16. herder says:

    I think I have made peace with the ending of the story, regardless of whether Sarah got her memories back or not, she wanted them. Like Jeffster in the earlier episode, despite their memories being wiped they still had some sense of what had happened. Thoughout the finale Sarah had some sense of what had been between her and Chuck but she fought it, in the end she wanted what she had been told to be true, that was why she wanted him to kiss her, she wanted what she had had to be true. That and “take on me” is one of my favorite eighties songs.

    • joe says:

      Very well put, Herder. At the end she wanted to have her memories back. Even more, she wanted to be, once again, the Sarah she had been with Chuck.

      I had a bit of a flash the other day. In my mind I saw Chuck and Sarah, being domestic, working diligently to restore what they had. But Chuck was tentative, and even nervous that Sarah was going to pull away, somehow.

      It’s Sarah who’s thinking to herself I wish Chuck would stop being so afraid of me and be closer! Why doesn’t he just put some music on, pick me up and throw me on the… oh! – as she has the barest recognition that he’s done that to her before.

      In other words, it may well be that Chuck has an even more difficult adjustment to make than she. And we know he’ll adjust. We know Chuck’s still in love.

      They climbed a bigger mountain the first time.

      • Esardi says:

        Hey Joe you are not going to believe this but this Friday they are releasing a film about a couple that is very much in love, I do not know if they are married. Long story short they get rear ended and she loses her memory. All she remembers is being engaged to someone else. I think the movie is called the Vow.

        It looks like a scenerio very much like Chuck if you ask me. I hope this is not a formula that gets copied too much. Just another reminder of that ending we got.

  17. joe says:

    The last Chuck Nerdposium Netcast (CNN) has been put out in two parts.

    This time, Karen, Jan and I are joined by Frea and Max of Castle Inanity to talk about S5, and especially the ending.

    I do want to point out that, before we started recording, Frea challenged us all to take the titles of as many Jeffster songs we could think of and use them in a sentence. (Oh, you bet we had a good time! You can just hear Fred “The Ogre” Palawaski shouting NEEEERRRDDDSSSS!)

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