A Grief Observed^ — A Hope Retained (Chuck vs the Goodbye)

This post has been a catharsis for me. As I’ve rewatched and analyzed “Goodbye,” some of my original reactions have softened, and I’ve gained a better perspective. Some of our readers’ comments and Faith’s post have also helped me see things in a happier light.

If you loved the finale, this post won’t bother you, offend you, or insult your taste. I’ve tried to keep a balance. If the ending disappointed you, maybe this will be cathartic for you as well.


Here’s what I know. Chuck and Sarah have suffered incalculable loss. They have also found inextinguishable hope.

Here’s what I feel. I feel the overwhelming sadness of a grief I can’t measure, and the warmth of a hope I can’t ignore.

Here’s what I believe. I believe in Chuck and Sarah. I believe in their journey. I believe in their future. And I believe in their love.

Those last words were my conclusion after Bo. They have taken on a different significance but retain their meaning. Chuck and Sarah’s journey is different than what I imagined, and the details of their future less certain. But I still believe in the reality of both. Their love, though reduced to embers, will blaze again.

It’s an odd mix of grief and hope that I feel from the finale. So, join me as I try to sort out what’s going on inside this last leg of Chuck and Sarah’s journey and how I feel about it. 

Disclaimer: My first reaction was good episodes — terrible finale. The heartache of the Chuck and Sarah relationship that hangs over both episodes diminished my enjoyability of what is truly a great episode. It gets better with time. It is an engaging story, a good use of all the characters, and the acting is off the charts fantastic. Yvonne and Zach are their most amazing yet. I have come to see it as a satisfying finale. The finale left enough breadcrumbs and Easter eggs to make my faith reasonable, but not enough to make it unnecessary. One of the objectives of this post is to trace the breadcrumbs and find the Easter eggs.

Personally, I will always cherish the intimate memory of Chuck and Sarah propped up in the sleeper compartment, quietly talking and sketching their dream. It is the last such memory we have before tragedy strikes. It is how I imagine they will be again.

Here’s where I left off with Bullet Train.

Here we bid a crushing farewell to the Bartowski’s.

What is my hope that we will see them again and that they will finish the journey together?

Love. The unrelenting love of a husband, who will do anything to help his wife … and the unquenchable love, somewhere inside his wife, that only he can stir.

With Chuck, it’s never just a matter of gray matter. It’s a matter of the heart.

This is exactly what plays out in the finale. There is the grief of what was lost and the hope of what will be. The story in between is one of enduring love.

Sarah Walker and Don’t Forget It … Sarah Who?

It’s easy for us to know what Chuck is thinking and feeling. He’s the same guy. Nobody wiped his memory and he wears his heart on his sleeve … never more so than in the finale. Sarah is not as easy to read.

Here’s the deal. Sarah is the key to the finale … and Chuck is the key to Sarah.

As the story opens, we know more about what happened to Sarah than Chuck does, but we still don’t know this Sarah or what to expect. Transparent, self-assured Sarah Bartowski, communicator extraordinaire, is trapped somewhere inside a pre-Chuck Sarah Walker, along with her suppressed memories.

At first I thought this Sarah was a total stranger, but I’ve come to think of her as a fragmented Sarah. Let’s think of her as a mix of the Sarah Walker we saw in Baby, the Sarah we know from S1 and S2, with a hint of wild-card-enforcer and gentle tugs of Sarah Bartowski. Remember that she has absolutely no context in which to understand or assess her situation, and the information she’s been given is false. Had memory-wiped Sarah awakened to Chuck instead of Quinn, the story would have been totally different.

So, we have to carefully read Sarah Walker and really watch her and listen to her. If we do that we’ll see that Sarah is always consistent with who she has been at one time or another. She is just not consistent as to which of those Sarah’s she is being consistent with.

First, what does Sarah know? Nothing … except what Quinn tells her. I love our girl who questions him and hurls him out the window. I love our girl who doesn’t let him fall. She doesn’t know he’s evil, but she doesn’t trust him. He gives her some evidence in her own voice that Bartowski was her assignment and conveniently adds false information. When she asks to speak to the only two people she can trust and is told they are dead, presumably at Chuck’s hand, well somehow she buys it. With nothing else to go on, she must at least consider it, because she’s pretty vulnerable at this point, with no memories.

Quinn is so many layers of evil, I can’t count them, and when he rests a consoling hand on Sarah’s shoulder, I can taste the bile and anger.

In the pilot Chuck got behind Sarah’s defenses immediately and connected with the real Sarah, the inner girl who hadn’t gotten much of a chance to develop her identity because of the con life and the spy life. Chuck saw and loved that girl, the real Sarah Walker. Sarah responded to Chuck, to his love. In relationship with Chuck over 5 years, she blossomed into S5 Sarah Bartowski. It’s a story of redemption and transforming love. It’s the most beautiful story I have ever seen on television.

This time around it’s the same, only different. It’s different for Agent Walker, because this isn’t an observe-the-nerd mission. It’s a kill-a-traitor/assassin mission, the traitor that killed her partner and her boss, so Sarah is more guarded. Second, Chuck is different. Chuck is the man he became because of Sarah. Likewise Sarah’s inner girl is different. Now the real, inner Sarah is Sarah Bartowski, the woman the inner girl became because of Chuck. She is in there, just as surely as the real Sarah was in there in the pilot. Sarah is still essentially Sarah. I have to believe that Chuck can connect with her again, or there’s no story here.

So, Sarah thinks Chuck is a dangerous killer. Absurd, right? Yeah, to us, but not to her. Her life depends on her keeping her guard up, and with Quinn in her head, it’s hard for her to sort it out, especially when she finds just enough evidence that seems to validate Quinn’s story, like the Intersect glasses and overhearing Chuck talking about destroying the Intersect. So I have to cut her some slack.

First Contact. The homecoming, forgetting how tragic Sarah’s situation is, churns out a great mix of humor, fear, and creepiness, all in the same moment, like spy-Sarah’s version of domesticity as she hacks up the chicken with a meat cleaver. It would take a meat cleaver to cut the tension.

Sarah’s search for the Intersect glasses turns up some unsettling things … not spy things, personal things, like the picture. The picture doesn’t line up with Quinn’s story, but neither can she reconcile it with her memory of herself.

Sarah being caught with her hand in the helmet … priceless. Yvonne is perfect here. Tension and humor invade the bedroom. Sarah, in full blown agent mode, busts the door open like she’s expecting hostile gunfire, only to find the uniquely charming and humorous Chuck (the one that Sarah Bartowski openly adores) and his imaginary spa. Sarah is suspicious and cautious and pretty confused. Who is this guy? What’s his game? I can feel her fear, fueled by Agent Creepy’s voice in her ear continually telling her Chuck is a murderer. When Chuck wants to crack her neck, she is truly afraid.

Chuck’s behavior is inconsistent with what she has been told. If not breaching her walls, he is at least putting cracks in Quinn’s story.

First Connection. Chuck talks with Ellie to try to figure out what’s up with Sarah. Sarah thinks Chuck is onto her. Come to find out he’s worried about his wife’s reluctance to let him warm her cold feet. With that small conversation, Chuck connects with his Sarah. Poignant. The moment vanishes, as Sarah keeps getting chatter from Agent Paranoid. She slips back into spy mode, including some kinda creepy fake cuddling.

This dance is familiar to us. In seasons 1 and 2, we got glimpses of Sarah’s walls crumbling in response to Chuck. Then the mission or her sense of professionalism would snatch it away. This time it’s Quinn that keeps snatching it away.

First Doubts. Before the mission to destroy the Intersect, Chuck finds the glasses in Sarah’s bag. He doesn’t want to believe the evidence, but deep down he knows something is wrong. By contrast, Sarah has believed Quinn’s lies on very little evidence, even though deep down, something seem off.

Sarah’s betrayal hits hard, “Now I have the Intersect, and you can’t destroy it, and you can’t hurt anybody else with it. … I know about you. I know what you’ve done, all of you.”

Chuck talks her down. He’s calm, offers an explanation for her memory loss, and appeals to their relationship. He gets through to his Sarah once more. She sees something in him, something honest and good, and she can’t pull the trigger. She begins to doubt the kill order. Quinn snaps her back to the twilight zone, and she leaves with the glasses. Chuck is devastated.

Sarah still can’t push the button to kill Chuck. This is a combination of the Sarah from Baby who couldn’t go along with Ryker and our Sarah who couldn’t bunker Chuck. Quinn pushes the button, and suffers Sarah’s wrath. Chalk one up for Sarah Walker.

Sarah is beginning to sort out the good guys from the bad guys, until she finds out that Chuck switched the glasses. That plus a few more manipulative words from Quinn, and Sarah is thoroughly convinced that Chuck is the rogue agent/traitor/killer Quinn says he is. She thinks Chuck played her, because that’s exactly what a spy would do. This is exactly the Sarah we saw in the pilot, who felt betrayed by Bryce and was determined to make things right. So, Graham’s Wild Card Enforcer goes off to fix things. Sarah Walker (even the domesticated Bartowski version) does not like to lose or be betrayed.

First Fight. This is the coldest Sarah we see and the harshest sequence of the episode. She is the Sarah who’s different without Chuck, but she’s forgotten that she doesn’t like it.

Chuck is out of his mind crazy about what’s happened to his wife. While everyone else thinks she is too far gone and wants to just take her out, Chuck will. not. give. up. His love is breathtaking throughout the entire episode, but nowhere more than when he takes her to “their” house and pleads with his wife to remember him, offering her a chance to start over with him.

Sarah insists that the relationship was a cover and he was only an assignment. Chuck will not back away. He tells her the truth, “I was an assignment, but you fell in love with me.” She says that’s her job to fool him, that lying is what she does best. Chuck unnerves her when he tells her that she’s not as good a liar as she thinks she is. That someone would know her so well is not possible. He puts his heart and soul into telling her how she fell in love with him. He pleads with her to remember him, to remember their dream, and to remember that a nerdy guy like him could make her happy. There’s a twist. He just wants to make her happy. He’s probably the first man whose goal was her happiness.

He has gotten behind her defenses and connected with his Sarah in a powerful way. In spite of herself, Sarah Walker is captivated by his story and his passion. His love is palpable. It evokes a visceral response (the heart wants what the heart wants). However, her mind cannot accept or understand what her heart is beginning to feel. She cannot imagine any scenario in which Sarah Walker would fall in love with an assignment (cardinal rule of spying and all). She should not be moved (though she clearly is), so she gathers her tattered denial and climbs back to safer ground … the mission.

The fight is heartbreaking. Sarah pounds on Chuck, but he refuses to hurt her. Even at gun point he won’t lift a finger against her. “You can kill me. I will never hurt you.” But she can’t. She can’t kill him.

First Recognition. Sarah glances to the right, once, twice, and her eyes linger on the carving. “Sarah + Chuck.” She looks at Chuck with new eyes, “I wrote that.” She recognizes the carving. A memory stirs. She softens a little, because suddenly Chuck may be telling the truth.

Quinn, with his knack for interrupting breakthrough moments, strides into the house and takes the glasses from a bewildered Sarah. Chuck confronts Quinn, angry that Quinn lied to Sarah and used her. As Quinn confesses, Sarah looks from Quinn to Chuck, in shock as the ramifications of Quinn’s deception hit her.

When Chuck takes the bullet that was meant for her, Sarah, the Sarah we know, rushes to help him. She kneels over him with her right hand on his chest, and he holds her hand with his, wedding ring on top. Though he is the one who is shot, he still thinks only of her, telling her to run. She leaves, but only reluctantly. Chuck Bartowski has left an indelible mark.

She now fully believes one true thing — Chuck is the good guy. As for the rest, she still has no context to process it. She has to rethink everything and get to the bottom of it, but who can she believe?

First Witness. In a beautiful call back to American Hero, Casey brings Sarah the information she needs, the truth about Chuck. He tells her that Bartowski made them both soft, that they changed, became friends.

She remembers nothing of Project Bartowski. The subject in question, a total stranger to her, told her that she fell in love with him and married him, for real. That’s crazy. … Isn’t it? Yet he obviously loves her in a way that completely redefines the concept. While she made herself his enemy, he spoke only of making her happy. He would die rather than hurt her. He was angry with Quinn, not for his own sake, but for what Quinn did to her. Then while she still held her gun on Chuck, he took a bullet for her and told her to run. Extraordinary.

Sarah has gotten new intel from people who seem to know her, yet she feels completely disconnected from the person that everyone else knows her to be.

Sarah sits spellbound as she watches testimony from the only witness that would be able to persuade her of the truth … Sarah Walker. She is hungry for the truth, the truth about Chuck Bartowski, the truth about her missing 5 years, but most of all the truth about herself.

This is one of the jewels of the series. Sarah never had a confidant (like Chuck did in Morgan and Ellie). Therefore, we were rarely privy to her thoughts, except through Yvonne’s amazing ability to communicate with her face and eyes. In this scene, we get the whole package: we hear Sarah’s thoughts in her own words and see her facial expressions as she tells them, while simultaneously seeing the reactions of present-day Sarah through her facial expressions, as she learns about herself from herself.

Sarah watches herself progress from hardened agent to completely compromised woman-in-love. Day 56, the bomb story gets the first big reaction from Sarah. Chuck was telling the truth. She kissed him. Sarah, just like her older self, can hardly believe it. Day 564. Witnessing her own confession of love, Sarah’s heart breaks. “I love him. I love Chuck Bartowski, and I don’t know what to do about it.” If she hadn’t seen it with her own eyes, she never would have believed it.

It’s a big step toward healing. But it’s not enough.

At this point, Sarah knows a lot. She knows that Chuck was telling the truth and why she, Sarah Walker, was so moved. She feels the love, but it isn’t attached to anything in her present reality. Though she knows about Chuck and their relationship, she doesn’t know him or the person she was when she was with him.

Her love for Chuck Bartowski is like the ache of a phantom limb.

In her current frame of mind, what she saw, the love and vulnerability, scare her, just like they did on day 564. So, she turns her focus to finding the man who stole her life.

First Goodbye. Sarah could have just run. The fact that she comes to apologize and say goodbye tells me that on a visceral level, her connection with Chuck is still there, still pulling her back to him. She never could leave him, and she still can’t.

The goodbye is absolutely heartshattering. Would Sarah have been open to something more from Chuck? Don’t know, but I do think, whether consciously or not, she wants a reason to stay. (Unlike the first time, he’s not her assignment. Duty does not bind her.) She didn’t hurry off. She was soft and open about things. I see a mix of Sarah Bartowski and the Sarah who fears relationships.

Chuck has given his all to reach her. He thinks he failed. Her words confirm it. If only he knew just how much he did get through to her, and that he is the key — the only key — to helping her.

You are a Bartowski, Chuck. Start acting like one.

First Rays. After two weeks, it’s time for an intervention. Chuck’s friend and family want him to get his wife back, preferably before another phase of cheese balls and The View.

Ellie throws open the curtain and lets in a ray of hope. “Out of bed Chuck. You are getting Sarah back today.” Everyone agrees, even Clara. “Chuck, it’s clear that we can’t force Sarah to remember, but emotions, feelings, those are powerful things. And maybe if you can find Sarah, you can spark some of these memories. She fell in love with you before Chuck. You can do it again. She’ll remember.”

It’s not just a matter of gray matter. It’s a matter of the heart.

Sometimes I think a character gives us a promise. I think Ellie just did (like Sarah did when she carved her name in the doorframe).

This wonderful Bartowski scene warms my heart.

And the intercut scenes — golden. Chuck ties his Nerd Herd tie, “I’m a very impressive spy for hire. I mean she may be the best spy in the world, but I’m Chuck Bartowski.” Sarah don’t-mess-with-me Walker slo-moes onto the beach in a catsuit. “It’s not like she’s out of my league.” No, but son! You’ve got your work cut out for you.

First Plans. Ellie’s plan … Find Sarah. Be yourself. Morgan’s plan … Kiss her. “I firmly believe, with all my heart, that one magical kiss from you could unlock all of Sarah’s memories.” (Another promise, perhaps?)

OK, off to get a bead on a big, blonde bird. Fantastic throwaway scene from Jeff and Lester and their Perv Herd.

First Memories. Sarah returns to the Buymore … looking for Chuck. He’s not an assignment, like the last time she rang the bell. This is Sarah Walker seeking out Chuck Bartowski. It’s just a spy need, but she still comes to Chuck. She is drawn to him on a non-conscious level.

Sarah’s wondering whether or not to ring the bell … another memory stirs.

Chuck has been looking for her, races out to see her, but can’t come up with a proper greeting. What are you doing here? *facepalm* Sarah looks hurt. If there were no connection, no feelings, she wouldn’t look hurt. Good to know.

Is it just me or does Sarah look around Castle with an emotional familiarity? She automatically grabs the right weapons case from the armory like she’s been doing it for years. Oh, wait …

Sarah Bartowski, the feelings, the memories … they’re all still in there.

Does Morgan’s passing-the-torch speech (one he gave Sarah twice before) touch her? Maybe on an emotional level … one she probably couldn’t even define. It does give her another glimpse of Sarah Bartowski through the eyes of someone who knew and loved her (Great Morgan/Sarah scene.) It may be what feeds her sudden fear of staying.

Despite all that we see in Sarah: the connection that keeps pulling her toward Chuck, the way she looks at him, her apparent desire (on some level) for a reason to stay, she won’t stay. Why? … Because:

I can’t be here. I don’t know how to be the woman you remember me as. All I remember is being a spy, a good one. It’s all I know how to do.

Interesting. That was always Sarah’s barrier. She didn’t have a clue how to do normal and didn’t think she could be the normal girl she thought Chuck wanted. In my journeys post I said that Sarah didn’t think she could be the normal girl he wanted. She needed to know that if she made the leap to his world, he would catch her and help her do normal. She made that leap at Ellie’s beach wedding, because she knew she could trust Chuck to catch her.

The obstacle is the same. She doesn’t know how to be the woman Chuck remembers … the one she thinks he wants. If only she knew that regardless of the external expression, he loves her.

Chuck is the key to Sarah, but she’s not ready to make the leap, because she still doesn’t know him and hasn’t reconnected with her love for him. He has to win her back, make her fall for him again.

See you in Berlin.

First Mission. Sarah agrees to bring TeamB to find Renny Deutch, though she has reservations about Chuck’s spy skills.

Chuck and Morgan have a sub-mission. Make Sarah fall in love with Chuck. Fate lends a hand with locations, hand picked to jog Sarah’s memory.

A Mexican restaurant just like their first date. Chuck can’t help talking about it. It just flows out of him. She listens, and somewhere along the way his love touches her. It’s too much, too awkward. She calls him back to the mission at hand. (All in all, a pretty typical mission for our Chuck and Sarah.)

Next up, a consulate dance, just like the Costa Gravan one. Chuck compliments her and earns a smile. She can’t help straightening his tie, a familiar gesture. Back to awkward. The dance gets Sarah into more familiar territory … with Chuck. Um-hmm, she’s done this before, and she is definitely attracted to him. They are both breathless … and not from dancing. Sizzle.

And what trip down memory lane would be complete without a stop at the Wienerliscious? It turns out to be an important stop. Sarah somehow knows the cups are out of order. It’s a memory, and Sarah wants to remember more, but Buzz-kill Quinn shows up. The evening ends in disaster as Chuck brings down Casey’s helicopter. Not the best impression to make on the world’s greatest spy. But it’s part of who he is.

The mission lands Chuck and Sarah in separate cells (in his own spy base, harsh) talking through a wall (I would have preferred a call back to Colonel with them in one cell). As they talk, Sarah learns that part of the reason Chuck doesn’t pull the trigger is because of her, that it was part of what she loved about him, that she didn’t want him to be any other spy than the one he is.

As important as it is for Sarah to get to know Chuck, it’s just as important for her to get to know who she was with him, that she was different with him.

Before Sarah can escape (to protect Chuck from getting himself killed and avoid the guilt she would feel?) she meets her mother-in-law (it’s about like the first time), and it’s a lot for her to take in, Mary the grandma/spy, a baby in the spy base, no guns. What a confusing visual. Sarah looks like she just went down a rabbit hole. Chuck just gives her an adoring reassuring smile. This was her life? Her family?

Mary briefs the family, and Sarah learns that the Intersect is this family’s family business. (I wonder how much of that she knew from files and how much was new information.)

See you at the concert.

First Family Outing. Most families go to a concert to for the music. Not the Bartowski’s. They go for the bombs.

What a fantastic scene: the tension, the Intersect glasses, chasing Quinn, the fading music, Jeffster saving the day. Chuck makes the hard decision. Sarah’s hopes bloom and die.

Up on the roof, Quinn is dead. Chuck holds the glasses and tells Sarah about his plan to use the Intersect to help her get her memories back. When she asks if it will work, her face shows two things: she wants to get them back, and she trusts Chuck. She sees his heartbreak as he tells her he has to use the last upload to save all those people, that he can’t help her get her memories back. Her face shows disappointment, but also understanding. She would make the same decision, because it’s the right thing to do. Heartwrenching. (Whether the glasses would have been a great way or a creepy way to restore her memories is moot, though I prefer the magical kiss.)

No time to dwell. They charge down the steps and join Casey. The original trio stand in front of a bomb with scant seconds to save a crowd of people. Seems like old times. Sarah’s memory of Irene Demova not only saves the day, but adds another entry to the growing list of awakened memories.

First Hope. Sarah has experienced some spontaneous memories, triggered by familiar situations. Many involved a task or something physical she did, like ringing the bell or arranging the cups. Some were mission related, like grabbing the weapons case in Castle or suggesting Irene Demova. Some had a personal connection to Chuck, like the doorframe carving and straightening his tie.

She is getting to know Chuck. At the restaurant she hears his pure heart and open adoration as he describes their first date. Dancing with him, she feels the rightness of them. She feels the attraction. At the Wienerliscious, she finds out that for better or worse, he doesn’t kill people. Though he is unlike any other spy, she discovers that this unassuming, gentle nerd, who loves her more than life itself, is a true hero.

His family and team are unlike anything she has ever known, but they pull together and work together and get the job done. Chuck easily assumes the role of leader and his team follow him and trust him. By the end of the day she had learned to trust him, too.

Sarah has gotten to see herself through Chuck’s eyes. She became a different person in those missing 5 years. Sarah Walker is now more than just a spy. Sarah Bartowski is the part of herself that she doesn’t know, but wants to find.

If she is going to be honest with herself (a Sarah Bartowski trait) Sarah can’t just run off and be a spy. She can’t disappear forever. She needs, she wants to go find herself … the person Chuck knows.

It’s a good sign.

The original band shares a last moment, before Casey gets up to go. Then Casey hugs Chuck goodbye. Who’d’a thunk? Emotional.

Sarah seems at a loss. She witnesses an intimate moment with her team of 5 years, yet feels like an outsider. Poignant. Casey doesn’t hug her, but he transmits his friendship with a warm handshake and a wink.

Sarah turns down Chuck’s subtle offer of a new beginning, saying she needs time to think and be alone. That’s what her words say, but her eyes are begging for a reason to stay. Chuck calls her back and almost tells her Morgan’s kiss theory. The hope in her eyes when he calls her back turns to sadness when he lets her go. Deep down she knows that going isn’t the way to find herself. Staying with Chuck is where she’ll find herself, but she doesn’t know how to make that leap, without his help.

After a flurry of farewells — Casey and Alex, Ellie and Chuck, Jeffster and the Buymore — Chuck sits at the fountain with Morgan, his faithful wingman. Morgan gives Chuck a push to listen to his heart and go to his wife.

First Kiss. Sarah can’t get very far from Chuck, can she? She goes to find herself and ends up at the beach where she first found Chuck.

As she once did for him, he finds her and offers her the help she needs to move forward, “I was hoping you would be here.”

She welcomes his presence and his words, “This place is important isn’t it.”

“Yeah, yeah, very much. This is actually where you told me I was going to be ok. That I could trust you. And that’s exactly what I’m doing now. I’m asking you to trust me.”

She feels comfortable here with him … safe.

“Sarah, I don’t want anything from you. I just need you to know that wherever you go I’ll always be there to help you.”

She nods. It’s true. He is the only one who has been there for her in these past weeks … thinking only of her, helping her, risking his life for her, not pushing her … loving her.

“Someone you can call, whenever.”

Right now, she is more certain of his love than anything else.

“Trust me, Sarah. I’m here for you … always.”

She knows she loves him. It’s time to trust him. Just like she did in another time on a different beach, she makes the leap from fear to trust. She will no longer be an observer of her own life. She commits to being part of their story again. “Chuck, tell me our story.”

The story captivates her. As Chuck tells their story, her heart expands, wholeness begins to return, and she feels “them” again. Chuck is where she belongs.

They share a laugh about Morgan’s theory of the memory-restoring, magical kiss. Whether it will work or not, Sarah wants to rekindle their love and reclaim her life.

“Chuck … Kiss me.”

~ Thinkling


First Impressions

Here’s what I know. I know Sarah trusts Chuck. She is open and vulnerable with him on the beach. I know she wants to find herself and get her life back with Chuck. TELL ME OUR STORY CHUCK. I know Sarah loves Chuck. It’s in her eyes so often throughout the finale. It’s in the fact that she always comes back to him. And it’s in the kiss.

Here’s what I feel. Happiness mixed with sorrow. The beauty of the final scene, as sweet and stunningly beautiful as it was, doesn’t offset the loss of 5 years worth of memories. The romance of the beach scene, as romantic as it was, doesn’t compare with that of the cozy married couple wrapped in their love and sketching their dream that was 5 years in the making. Sarah losing 5 years and all the memories of the man who is her life and the people who are most important to her is tragic. Without more certainty that she will get that back, it makes it harder to feel the payoff.

Here’s what I believe. I believe Chuck and Sarah will be OK. I believe Sarah will get her essential memories back. I also believe that Sarah Bartowski, the one that Chuck made the best person she could ever hope to be, with or without all of her memories, is the woman we see on the beach. In relationship with Chuck, as she did before, she will emerge again as beautiful as ever.

Quibble: That’s a lot to have to take by faith for me, personally, to call it a satisfying finale. The writers showed too little and left too much to my imagination. I know they like that, but it leaves me wanting. Besides the fact that I think tearing down 5 years of growth for the sake of nostalgia and one more redux of wt/wt is a horrible way to end the show. I know some people think it’s brilliant, and I have no problem at all with that. It’s a matter of taste. I might find it brilliant if we had another episode or arc or even a proper epilogue that let me actually see Sarah’s memories returning and Chuck and Sarah back to normal. You see my conflicting thoughts on this.

The episode gave me some great Chuck and Sarah scenes and a beautifully romantic beach scene. How could I not love that beach scene, so wonderfully played by Zach and Yvonne. That moment was enough to give me real hope. Plus, I have a pretty good imagination.

In that imagination, Chuck and Sarah Bartowski get back to who they were, do great things together, and build their dream.

Parting Thoughts

I can’t praise Yvonne enough for her portrayal of a conflicted Sarah. Her range with this character is fantastic, her emotional resonance was stunning, and as always her facial expressions were utterly amazing.

Zach turned in his best ever performance. He, too, was absolutely amazing at giving us an emotional Chuck.

Morgan was the best wingman he has ever been. Great Morgan episode.

This is the first Jeffster performance I have actually really liked. Great performance and send off for them.

Casey (after he got over wanting to kill Sarah) was great. And in a complete turn around he was particularly sensitive to Sarah.

Very strong episodes in so many ways, just not a good note to end on (for me).

I hate to see Chuck end. (I always said I would watch until Chuck got hair plugs and Sarah got orthopedic shoes.) I’ve never loved a television show or fictitious characters the way I have Chuck, nor do I expect to again. Huge thanks to all who made it possible.

** Added note: I couldn’t and didn’t stop thinking about the finale. As my thoughts developed further I wrote yet another post (Past is Prologue … and Epilogue).
^Many of you know that I like C.S. Lewis. I timidly and reverently borrow the title of one of his books.


About thinkling

In my [younger] youth, I was a math teacher, basketball coach, and computer programmer. In 1984, we moved to Brazil, where we serve as missionaries. I like to design things and build things, read things and write things. We now live part-time in Brazil, part-time in the US. Love them both. Wife, 37 yrs; mom, 30 yrs. I am blessed.
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305 Responses to A Grief Observed^ — A Hope Retained (Chuck vs the Goodbye)

  1. Randy says:

    A wonderful, thoughtful post; I’d been waiting for it. If it was cathartic for you to write it, it was cathartic for me to read it. Thanks so much.

  2. Leigh says:

    I’ve held off on commenting because I saw how angry people have been about these episodes, and while they made me sad, I really loved them. They were so well done, and for me, this was such a great send off.

    For me, it fits in with the rest of the series. Awful, heartbreaking things happen to Chuck, and he faces them, initially with the reaction anybody would have, but once he pulls himself together, he gathers up his hope and optimism and does the best he can. Never give up, always find a way.

    That’s really, for me, what this show has been all about. Optimism and hope in the face of extreme sadness. Along with “you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.”

    I don’t think we need the fairytale ending. I, personally, know deep down that of course Sarah gets her memories back. She may have even gotten them back while Chuck was telling her their story. They will get their happily ever after, and we got two amazing end episodes, and we know that their story will keep going. The house, the kids. They’ll get those, even if they’ve gotta work harder for it than they did before.

    I think it would have done the show a disservice to give us a straight-up happy ending. First off, it doesn’t fit with Chuck’s life as a whole. And there’s nothing to think about with a straight-up happily-ever-after. There’s no wondering what comes next, and for me, that’s been the best part of the post-finale. Thinking about what happens next. I love that.

    Thanks for this, Thinkling. Great article. 🙂

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks, Leigh.

      I’m glad you loved the finale Leigh. I think we’ve seen some pretty happy (fairytale) endings. Cliffhanger and Push Mix come to mind. But that’s neither here nor there. I didn’t need the whole fairytale. Down deep I believe the same things you do. I just don’t think I should have to. A little concrete assurance of that would have totally fixed it for me.

      I don’t see the sadness of Chuck that you do. I wouldn’t classify any of the sadness we’ve seen on Chuck before the finale as extreme. I’ve seen some sadness, of course, but it seemed like kind of normal sadness to me. Chuck and Ellie and Sarah, by the time we met them were already overcoming their past. We didn’t witness the abandonment of their childhood. Everything else was pretty typical life sadness. But the stuff we’ve seen starting at the end of Bullet Train and going through the finale, is most definitely extreme.

      • Wilf says:

        Just thinking out loud: Goodbye ended in an unclear position (albeit with, I’m glad to say, mounting evidence for a positive outcome) with viewers being asked to imagine the rest and being told by TPTB that it’s “obviously” a good place for Chuck and Sarah to be in. What if Cliffhanger had ended with Chuck at the hospital saying “It’s not too late? It’s not too late? … Please …Please …”. After all, we could have imagined all sorts of good outcomes from that one. Comparing those two endings, I can see that Goodbye was significantly better. Thank goodness Chris Fedak didn’t go *there*.

      • thinkling says:

        Yes and thank goodness he didn’t do the mind-wipe in Last Details. Horrors.

      • Wilf says:

        Probably annoyed he didn’t think of it then 😉

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think a more accurate comparison with the bedside scene in Cliffhanger would be Sarah walking out of Castle to go find herself.

        The wedding and the beach are comperable scenes, but there was no limo scene to introduce the Volkoff money or post honeymoon scene to set up CI for the next season.

      • thinkling says:

        That sounds right Ernie. The beach is a great deal more understated than the wedding, but it is a beginning rooted in their love, so yeah.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I found the beach scene far more moving and powerful than the wedding, and a far more definitive expression of the depth of their comitment to each other. But then apparently that’s just me. Maybe Faith too. Perhaps Jeff… Anyone else?

        Beuler? … Beuler? …

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Both expressed a deep level of commitment. Weddings are all about commitment, but I think Sarah’s big moment in Cliffhanger was the practice wedding with her vows, earlier in the episode. From that point on, she was certain. The beach scene was about trusting despite uncertainty, something that came out of love.

        I think a wedding ending, pre-Volkoff call would have been very satisfying for the most people. There would still be a few people complaining the wedding was too short and they wanted to see the reception and honeymoon destination on a beach. A wedding end would also have been very cliched.

        The beach ending was much more moving and memorable.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Ending with the bedside scene in Cliffhanger would be like Chuck showing up at the beach, finding Sarah’s car, but she’s no where in sight. Did she walk down the beach to collect her thoughts or did she walk into the ocean and drown? We don’t know.

        Both ideas are extremely depressing.

        The beach scene is like seeing Sarah wake up and smile, Chuck and Sarah kiss, and Sarah says the wedding is still on, but we don’t see the wedding itself. We wouldn’t know if the wedding was the next day or rescheduled for a month later. Chuck’s vows would have been in a second practice run. The wedding practice runs would be like the Chuck and Sarah’s plans on Bullet Train. The flashbacks from their church exit would be worked into the bedside scene.

      • atcDave says:

        I can’t deny the beach scene was powerful, but I think it requires too much inference to see the commitment. I’d call Cliffhanger a more satisfying end, even with the Volkoff call and Morgansect. The practice vows were the heart of that episode, just beautiful and perfectly done. The only beef I ever had with Cliffhanger was that the wedding was too short and we didn’t get enough dialogue/interaction with guests (like in a reception scene). But that seems to be SOP for Fedak, he puts the epilogue before the climax (to me, the rehearsal dinner in Last Details is what the epilogue should have been). But I would call that mostly a style issue, a style I’m not nuts about, but I can live with. I’m completely fine with an ending like Cliffhanger where its more like a new chapter beginning after we know the previous chapter ended well.
        We can see a similar pattern in S5. The epilogue was scattered throughout the season as we learn of their plans for the future. But then the actual end itself is fairly abrupt at the first possible moment when all is well, presumably the knowledge there were no more episodes to plan for led to that abrupt stop. I always prefer an ending that let’s us revel in that “all is well” moment a little more.
        But as I said from the start, its not hard to see that this is the happy ending, its just too unconventionally told for my taste (specifically too abrupt).

      • atcDave says:

        Just to be clear, I’m not saying the show should have ended at Cliffhanger. I’m very pleased with most of the final season. I think in hindsight I actually find Curse and Kept Man to be the season’s biggest disappointments (NOT the finale!). And that actually means I pretty much enjoyed every episode, and Baby is one of my all time Chuck favorites.

      • Jason says:

        Dave – what was wrong with Kept Man, I can’t recall? I did not like stupid Chuck in Curse either. But the amnesia arc was my biggest disappointment, followed by shaw beating the living heck out of Sarah for an entire episode.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I didn’t really appreciate sensitive/insensitive Chuck in Kept Man. But again, I didn’t find any episode or arc from S5 to be “bad”; just a few stray scenes or story elements here and there I didn’t care for. The two episodes I sort of mark down the most rely more on those story elements than others.

      • Esardi says:

        Instead of the episode Kept Man, they should that episode to the end off Goodbye. They could have easily finished it off with Sarah struggling but remembering and ended it with what they were going to do now the he had the intersect again.

        That would have been extremely satisfying and would have brought great closeure to this show.

      • atcDave says:

        There’s no doubt Esardi I would have prefered a full episode length epilogue. But the bottom line is, any ending would have left me wanting more. So I’m trying not to be quite so grumpy about where they did end. At least they followed the ending through far enough to know Sarah was going to be all right.

      • thinkling says:

        I can’t deny the beach scene was powerful, but I think it requires too much inference to see the commitment.

        I think we see Chuck carrying the commitment for both of them throughout the episodes. He proves his love and commitment to Sarah over and over again. She sees them (their love and commitment) through his eyes, and she feels her love for him reignite. She knows it’s all real. Her moment of trust is stepping into that commitment and trusting Chuck to hold her and do the heavy lifting until it all comes right (which won’t take very long).

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with your take on it Thinkling. But given the number of viewers I’ve encountered, both here on the blog and more casual viewers I’ve spoken with, who seem to think Sarah’s next line COULD have been; “well nice kiss, but I’ve got bad guys to catch, bye” I think the execution was flawed. They opted for a very stylized atmospheric sort of end scene that left all too many viewers uncertain of what happened next. They’ve SAID it was a happy ending; but its mostly just us who spent the time to work through it and/or read dozens of interviews who get that. If it was truly meant to be a happy ending it needed something more so average/casual viewers would get that. And I’m not suggesting that ALL average/casual viewers were disatisfied or failed to see the happy ending; but a significant number clearly were.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Dave, I’m hesitant about getting into the ambiguous ending, but I would guess nearly all of the casual viewers believe they got a happy ending together. The die hard fans are the ones over-analyzing the ending. Casual viewers have moved on to other shows.

        Saying that Sarah went back to the spy life without Chuck is ignoring the last scene with Beckman in Castle. Sarah is the first to speak up and say she didn’t want to be part of the spy life anymore. At that point she wasn’t sure about Chuck, but she was sure she didn’t want back in the spy world.

      • atcDave says:

        Jeff of the four more casual viewers I’ve spoken with, three of them thought Sarah promptly leaving Chuck was a possibility. Obviously, its a very small sample set, and ALL of them thought it was MOST LIKELY she was sticking around. But the three who said that were mildly annoyed or cynical about the lack of certainty. I think all were satisfied it was meant to be a happy ending after we talked about it, but I think it was mainly more dedicated fans who picked up on it right away.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        I guess your sample was different than mine. I asked four people about the ambiguous ending, without telling them what I thought first. They were all regular viewers who only watch episodes once and don’t read Internet reviews or blogs. Three of them were surprised by my question and thought the ending was less ambiguous than I did. The other basically nodded along, so I assume he either thought the same thing as his wife or he didn’t care enough to disagree.

      • Non Omnis Moriar says:

        I’ve talked to about 25 people about the finale. A lot of them from different countries and the most heard opinion I’ve heard is “Great episode(s), but a bad way to end the show. People also tend to agree that if it had been a season finale instead of THE finale, they wouldn’t have minded it in the least. I admit openly that I belong to the minority of people that didn’t like it at all. But that, HUGE, group of people…..okay…three of us….didn’t lke the amnesia arc in the first place. However we all agree that this show is legendary and it will be a long time, if ever, for something similar to come along on television. Ah yes, there are six fans among the 25 people I mentioned before, that absolutely loved the ending. So 6 loved it, 3 didn’t like it at all, 16 people liked the episodes, but the ending not so much. But they are fine with the added comentary by Fedak that both Chuck and Sarah will be allright in the end. Oh yes, the group consists of 12 males and 13 females.

      • Jason says:

        Jeff / Dave – I thought the whole amnesia arc was a lousy thing to do to me as a fan. I did not like the arc. I did not like the ending. But, they are together on the beach, for nearly the last 4 minutes of a 44 minute show. In TV time, that is a long time. She asked for ‘our’ story to be told, then asked to be kissed. The show ended with a kiss. Prior to that, what, maybe a dozen clues that the kiss held the key and / or she was starting to remember, and was affected by smaller actions chuck took and / or things around her. It seems illogical to assume anything other than a happy ending, both by implication of the action prior to the final scene, and explicitly by what was presented on screen in the final scene.

        The problem with the whole thing, it just plain and simply was not exceptional well conceived vs what was teased for the entire season, and vs what has been delivered for payoff in the past, coupled with the darkness of the final two episodes overall, and the end fell flat on its face. Plus, the final was heading toward being somewhat epic, it was going to work for me I think, in spite of me hating the story, all it had to do was pay itself off at the end with what was promised all season long, jsut finish the story you started, my goodness. Overall it was an odd quirky way for an odd quirky show runner to write his final, dark and dramatic, he just never understood how hopeful and joyful his creation was to many of his most ardent fans. Probably appropriate, albeit stunningly insensitive toward fans who just loved the couple these past 91 episodes.

      • atcDave says:

        I also tried not to ask in a leading way, and asked four people in three conversations. Of course, it may just prove more of my friends are smart a**es. And either way, four is not a statistically meaningful survey. But all were ready and willing to buy into the happy ending, it just seems three of them weren’t sure they got it (BTW, the one who was sure was my wife. She didn’t care for the rest of the episode, but liked the happy ending).

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        ha ha. Dave, I’ll be more polite to your smart a** friends and say mine are more hopeless romantics that actively deny the possibility of a non-happy ending if they can.

        Jason, I think a lot of the reaction here has been about the fan’s opinion about the story arc selection or the type of ending, not the execution of the story or ending. If the fan accepted the arc (at least a little) and doesn’t might strong hopefully happy endings, they liked it. If the fan doesn’t like amnesia arcs and/or wants definitive ends, their initial reaction was anger, and maybe their continuing reaction as well. Either way the episodes themselves did little to influence the reaction. It was about the choices made in the S5 pitch to NBC.

      • atcDave says:

        Yup Jeff, I think that’s exactly right. The finale itself was one of the best crafted episodes we’ve seen. In spite of a few gripes, my biggest beef has to do with arc itself (and it’s timing). And I’ve been at least partially won over, I’ve always loved Big Fedak…

      • Jason says:

        For me, Bullet Train, Sarah, and Goodbye held true to my overall take on Chuck, great characters, good episodes, lousy stories.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        NOM, any viewer from a country other than the US and Canada is enough of a fan to get the episode for alternate sources. Your informal survey results make sense to me for that type of fan. I consider a “casual” viewer regularly tunes in or might even sets their VCR/DVR. Considering the relatively high percentage of “5” ratings in Ernie’s poll and SpoilerTV’s poll (>70% in spoiler TV, 49% in Ernie’s poll), I was thinking those must be the slightly stronger than casual fans, who participate in polls, but don’t speculate about episodes or over-analyze them afterwards.

        But now after the replies in this thread, I think 70% of people are hopeless romantics, but you and Dave don’t talk to many of them, and a lot of them don’t hang out here. 😉

    • Wilf says:

      Yes, I see that.

    • Esardi says:

      Dave it has taken me several days but I am starting to come to terms with what we got. What else can we do right? I know I am grasping at straws and made when the DVDs comes out we get something better. Maybe Chuck stops her and talks to her a little bit before or after the ending of the castle scene who knows.

      Whatever happens I am going to be greatful for most of this series. The shaw arc and a couple of other episodes in season 5 I might skip but overall I intend on watching and remembering.

  3. Katsumaro says:

    Tears, thinkling. Tears. I loved this so much. Such a fantastic read.

    You had similar thoughts to mine as far as the payoff goes.. but it was indeed quite beautiful. It took me a couple days, but I finally allowed myself to see the ending with hope that things will work out instead of despair over what might have been with it. It was tough, but I finally did it.

    My idea for the ending was they’d kiss, they’d part, Chuck would look hopeful, Sarah would remember *something* from their relationship.. anything, maybe like a one-liner, Chuck would smile, maybe say something like “It’s a start” and they’d kiss again which would lead to a fade-to-black situation. That way, you not only give the fans the payoff they wanted from the amnesia arc, but you also give one more powerful moment between Chuck and Sarah Bartowski. That’s how my ‘perfect ending’ for this whole memory-loss extravaganza would go. That way you’re not cheapening anything by just magically giving her all of her memories back. That’s what I’d do anyway!

    Either way, I’m still in mourning and trying to adjust to the fact that it is indeed over, as it brought about some wonderful friends in my life, and brought me into such a fantastic community, but your post is certainly help me finally move on. Thank you so much.

    • thinkling says:

      Thank you, Kat. I’m glad it helped.

      I like your amended ending. One Sarah Bartowski smile, or a flash of the first memory Quinn stole (their wedding), as they kiss would have made a big difference to me, too.

      I can’t believe it’s over either. It will certainly be odd. I’ll really miss the new Chuck’s (you know I’ll keep watching the old ones) and this wonderful community.

      • thinkling says:

        Actually I think we got some Sarah Bartowski smiles while he was telling the story. I think we saw a lot of Sarah Bartowski emerge.

      • Katsumaro says:

        Yeah, that’s what made me appreciate the ending a little more after a couple of days. People said that “Sarah Bartowski was gone” but I don’t believe that was ever the case, even in Vs Sarah. She wasn’t gone. She was just.. suppressed, the proverbial ‘chained to the chair, needing to be freed’ and I really do believe we saw her get partially freed as Chuck told her their story. 🙂

    • AndyT says:

      I think why is liked the ending and have felt very good about it is because not only do I believe that she will remember, I believe she did remember parts of her past with Chuck. I believe that as Chuck is telling her their story and the images flash past, those are Sarah’s memories not Chuck’s. See his remembering some of those events, not all certainly but some. Thus, when it gets to “Chuck, kiss me!” She is Sarah again, maybe not fully whole but she knows Chuck and she knows their relationship. I think that is why I never questioned the ending or needed more from it.

      • thinkling says:

        Hmm, thanks Andy. It certainly is a happier interpretation. I’ll have to try it on for size.

  4. sd says:

    I know from your “silence” soon after the episodes aired that they may have been tough for you. I do hope our characters move forward together and it happens in that beach but if you listen to that song I think there is more road to travel. As I mentioned in an earlier post the powers that be love to push the reset button and this time it was the mother of all resets.
    The tragedy is all that is undone. Can a memory remembeed carry the same emotional weight? Can Morgan get the same type of joy watching Star Wars for the “first time” at 30 b/c his 10 year old memory of it was wiped? I don’t know.
    I know I have invested more emotional weight in this program than any other…and despite my misgivings of the last few scenes it was an amazing show.
    Thanks as always for your perspective!

    • thinkling says:

      That’s why I think this is a little too dark, SD. I do think that most all of it can be recovered, and I’ll just ignore Rivers and Roads, thank you. But some stuff is lost for good, and that’s not just sad. It’s truly tragic.

      • sd says:

        I agree…I was so totally invested in Sarah Walker’s growth…even more so than Chuck’s. Heartbreaking.

    • thinkling says:

      Ah, that’s why I think the Intersect cure is less effective than the kiss. The kiss restores the emotional weight that goes with the memories. Not perfectly, but it takes both. Rather I think the kiss (and other emotionally related things) restores an emotional context within which to interpret the restored memories.

  5. Jason says:

    Think – Reading your posting, it almost felt like the actual episode, like the episode, you quit writing right before you told us, do you think the magical kiss worked or not?

    • thinkling says:

      Yeah. In my PS I say I believe Sarah gets her memories back. I believe that the kiss jump started them. I’m sorry I have to merely believe it. A flash or two while they kissed would have confirmed it.

      I actually think the kiss is a pretty good idea. It connects to the emotional and the physical, which are powerful triggers. Of course some of the memories triggered by a kiss might not be appropriate for prime time.

      • Jason says:

        Think – In all my season 3 dealings with various bloggers, I have always stated I have to see on screen the writers intent. Using my own logic on myself, when reviewing the final episode (I only have rewatched once, but I will again soon, watching even fav eps too often ruins them for me I have found) there is ample evidence that the kiss worked because the writers wouldn’t stop bringing it up, plus Sarah’s memory was racing back as the episode progresses, why would one assume it suddenly stopped? Plus, she didn’t say goodbye as she left the castle, something she did even when she remembered far less a few days prior. To me, the evidence of the intent is there, not clear or well spelled out, but this is a quirky, edgy show runner who strives to be considered brilliant ending his first creation, what did we expect?

        I said this elsewhere, but when Sarah said no to Beckman at the end, I was upset, thinking she did not want to be with Chuck. On second view, I was happy, since the Sarah Walker would not say no to being a spy ever, while Sarah Bartowski had no interest in being a spy & had just said no to the same offer a few episodes prior.

        I think the had drawn picture shown to SArah by Chuck with a knowing smile of Sarah B familiarity would have been an awesome ending. I wonder with that ending if ANYONE would have been angry?????

      • esardi says:

        Jason, that would have been that would have been the closure I needed.

      • thinkling says:

        I totally agree about her last departure from Castle. She didn’t say goodbye, and she looked like she wanted to stay.

        I even agree there’s evidence that the kiss worked, but I see as circunstancial evidence, breadcrumbs to help me draw that conclusion, though it was never actually confirmed.

        I love! your alternate ending.

      • Jason says:

        Think – Not trying to fight on this, I am curious if you agree? To me breadcrumb analysis is taking one obscure line that often is not even part of the main plot and then using that ‘breadcrumb’ one concocts a theory that explains large portions of an arc. In Goodbye, the magical kiss theory is at the forefront of nearly every key scene discussing Sarah’s condition, at successively and ever increasingly important times, but the kiss was delayed until the very last scene of the entire series. Matter of fact, every time Sarah started to remember anything, something happened to stop her. Nothing was holding her back on the beach, nothing interrupted her, she was completely in the moment. I am just saying, the magical kiss theory might be construed as something far greater than a breadcrumb in the finale, couldn’t it?

      • thinkling says:

        Ok maybe we’re defining things differently. I see a breadcrumb as a clue or a fact, a piece of real evidence. If you get enough breadcrumbs you can make your case, just like circumstantial evidence. If you amass enough of it, you can get a conviction. So I see the kiss theory that was repeated over and over as a corroborated breadcrumb, and since it’s drama, you can take it as foreshadowing. All the other memories that trickled back, but were interrupted, are also clues, evidence, breadcrumbs that lead us to believe that the kiss worked. However, we still have no eye witness testimony.

        I think we’re saying almost the same thing. I just see a breadcrumb as a solid piece of evidence, not something obscure and unrelated. That’s why in my post I paid close attention to all of Sarah’s emotional reactions and memories, because I consider each one a piece of evidence (breadcrumb) that lets us know that she is reconnecting with Chuck and remembering things along the way, that Sarah Bartowski is still in there and is on some level responding to Chuck. All that adds up to a compelling argument that by the end she knew she loved him and wanted her life back and that the kiss worked. But we still don’t have an eyewitness. We weren’t shown a montage of Sarah’s thoughts during the kiss. We didn’t see or hear her reaction to it, other than she liked it enough to keep on kissing, but that speaks to things other than her memory.

        That’s my take. I believed in the kiss and was pulling for it all along … and sooner. I saw some good missed opportunities 😉 I would have liked to see Sarah Bartowski partly restored (to the point she was on the beach) earlier, for the mission in Berlin and the final takedown.

        But I’m fine with it now, and can rewatch. I was never angry, just sad, and I’ve said multiple times that I would have liked it very much mid season or with a couple more episodes to round out her recovery and take down the mythical conspiracy (that they threw under the bus for Shaw).

  6. Oz says:

    Well Thinkling, you made a believer out of me ! Thanks you for the lovely post !
    I shall now bring myself to watch the finale episodes again !
    Thank you !

    • thinkling says:

      Can’t ask for more than that, Oz. Thanks!

    • Wilf says:

      Thinkling, you have certainly helped me to come to terms with the ending so thank you. The reason? Because you yourself have hesitated over it. If you can overcome your feelings about its shortcomings, then so can I, especially when you have put it all so eloquently. What I could not do before was overcome those feelings because someone who thought the ending was great told me I just ought to!

      • thinkling says:

        Thank you Wilf, I’m glad it helped. I knew from your comments you were struggling, like I was.

      • Wilf says:

        Yes, I was and I’m sure I will continue to struggle (if less strongly) for a time, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel now and I’m pretty sure that, this time, it isn’t an oncoming train 😉

  7. lappers84 says:

    Brilliant write up Think – I reckon you nailed down what Chris Fedak probably had intended for the finale. But remember it is called Chuck and not Sarah – This was Chuck’s ultimate test (and I think it was safe to say he passed with flying colours.) I do like the idea that the flashbacks we saw at the end were from Sarah’s memories and not Chuck’s – that does indeed make the final scene more hopeful.

  8. MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

    Great write-up Thinkling.

    I just noticed something in your top picture. Every time I’ve watched the ending, I’ve focused on Sarah and her reactions to Chuck’s story, looking for the signs that she is remembering and falling for Chuck again. What I had not noticed until now was Chuck’s reactions. From the house scene through the last Castle scene, Chuck looked like he was walking on egg shells around Sarah. That’s why he didn’t say anything about the Desert Eagle. He was trying to follow the saying, “If you love someone, set them free.” It’s why he let her go at the fountain and in Castle. He had trouble bringing up Morgan’s magical kiss theory because he didn’t want Sarah to bolt. He’s learned how to approach Sarah about these types of things. But in this image, we see Chuck relaxed and laughing. He wouldn’t be that happy unless he saw signs in Sarah that the stories were working and his Sarah was coming back.

    • thinkling says:

      Jeff, you’re right. I had to remind myself that Chuck knows Sarah and know she needs space. In fact, he has rarely ever pushed her on anything. He has allowed her space.

      Seeing them relaxed and laughing is great, and I hadn’t thought about how much Chuck’s laughter indicates that Sarah is responding well. They are back to connecting again … and enjoying each other. So nice catch.

  9. atcDave says:

    I liked all of this Thinkling; as is often the case, we are in the same place, but you are so much more eloquent than I! So thank you for this, especially for lavishing so much attention to the progress of Sarah’s re-awakening.
    I agree entirely this was a good episode, but way too down for a finale. I am still so sad at no more Chuck, and it’s made even worse by not getting to see Sarah Bartowski again for the send-off. But I will always assume the best from here, and I guess the good news is that now no one can ever prove me wrong.

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks, Dave. Yeah, part of the downer was the sense of premature loss of the power couple and Sarah Bartowski But there are so many wonderful Sarah Bartowski moments throughout S5 that I can dwell on those.

      True, our speculations and dreams all come true from now on. I sure got upended on some of the things I was sure would happen. Oh well, c’est le Chuck

  10. FlamesofDestiny says:

    You know, it occurs to me that this ending would have been MUCH less controversial if the showrunners hadn’t contradicted what we THOUGHT happened off screen at the end of Colonel.

    There, we hear Sarah say “it’s real,” and you see them rub hands again and hear Creature Fear again (a la the motel scene) and you say: Ah, got it. Chuck and Sarah go off and, well, you know…

    Yet we come back in Season 3 and the showrunners tell us not once (Chuck to Devon in Angel of Death) but twice (Chuck to Morgan in Beard) that it didn’t happen after all. What we all logically assumed happened off screen did not, say the showrunners.

    Now we see what we see on the beach, we even have the showrunners tell us it’s happpily ever after, and there are doubters. I’m not one of the doubters (as I’ve said, I rooted for a beach ending to the show), but I can understand why people won’t believe what they “know” in their heart.

    It’s really too bad, because this ending is so beautiful, just as the ending of Colonel was so appropriate.

    • thinkling says:

      I think a lot of distrust has built up over things like that and S3 in general, Flames. I am naïve I guess, but I never made the assumption at the end of Colonel. Although as I read your description, I don’t know why I didn’t. So, that wasn’t a hurdle for me. I may not have assumed the same off screen activity, but I did assume we were done with geometry. Woe, woe.

      • atcDave says:

        I am still staggered how, even in another interview out today, Fedak still thinks this was a great ending. Great show, good episode, lousy ending is my take. I will be VERY hesitant to get involved in another of his projects.

      • thinkling says:

        Yes, I would approach any future work of his with caution and detachment. He likes certain elements and styles that I just don’t, even though I have loved Chuck.

        Does anybody have a broader sampling of how the finale was received?

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Immediately after watching Colonel, I assumed something was going to happen, but I figured we’d be shown another wake-up-together scene at the beginning of Ring. Instead we saw Chuck and Sarah uncomfortable around each other, as if that moment in the hallway at the wedding was the first time they were alone together since the getting the Intersect removed. Also, I never thought Sarah would be cold enough to sleep with Chuck and then the next morning tell him she was leaving with Bryce. So ten minutes into Ring, I figured nothing had happened except maybe a goodnight kiss.

        I don’t trust any TV showrunner with geometry, so that didn’t surprise me. It just disappointed me.

      • atcDave says:

        Jeff you’re right about television geometry. I think I’ve tired of that particular device since I was 7. Maybe it’s like The Three Stooges, some of us are over them before puberty, others consider them genius well into their quasi-adulthood…

      • rh says:

        I didnt assume any off-screen activity either on their part after that episode, I thought that what happened in that motel room was very much circumstancial, with everything happening, a moment of true passion, and that since at the end of the episode everything seems to be in order, they figured they have time for everything and they didnt need to rush things.

        Your analysis of the final episodes are great, I really loved it, however I’m kind of a born realist/pessimist… (that’s something I don’t particularily like about myself – the attitude of “expect the worst, so you can’t be disappointed”). So I’m very reluctant to accept anything but hard evidence. Some of the endings people recommended would have done the trick (some real flashes of Sarah’s memories, or the picture idea that Sarah would remember – Thing is Morgan’s memories didn’t come back either).

        So all in all, I think I’ll be sticking with my interpretation of a (mostly) sad ending. To be honest, I don’t want to feel (back to) normal about things, ever. I’d much prefer to feel extremes (if you know how to contain them), doesn’t matter happy or sad, because the ability to feel is what makes us human, and it’s just wonderful to be able to experience a wide range of emotions.

    • esardi says:

      You know what Flames, even if we were lucky enough to land some kind of movie and Fedak is involved somehow. I am willing to bet those 1000 Costa Graven pesos that the opening line would be that Sarah left after the beach and Chuck has to find her and bring her back home. I know how a lot of people think that the show runners really meant for them to be together but if I read this group correctly what we imagined and what we will see will be two different things.

      That is how much I do not trust them.

      • atcDave says:

        I wouldn’t quite expect that Esardi, but I would say if they ever do another Chuck project I seriously hope Fedak is not writing it (and from current interviews it sounds like he does not want to write more Chuck).

      • FlamesofDestiny says:

        Well, it’s all in the timing, esardi. If by some miracle, we were to get a new Chuck product in, say, a year or two, I think you could play with it. How about this: Sarah has fallen back in love with Chuck but the magical kiss didn’t fully restore her memories. So when the big bad (Shaw) appears, Fedak can deliver an in joke like: “Who’s that guy, Chuck? Why does he hate us?”

        But ten years from now, when Chuck and Sarah (er, the actors) are approaching middle age, you couldn’t touch it. You’d have to handle it as exposition of backstory. Unless, of course, you wanted a suicidal start like Chuck and Sarah have been apart for 10 years and come back together only for this mission in the movie.

        As for who’d write a movie, guess what, folks. It’ll be Fedak. He’s a movie guy in the first place. It’s what he always wanted to do. It’s his baby. He’d want to do it. And, if they offered him the money to do it now, he’s start writing it tomorrow. This is a business, folks…

      • atcDave says:

        There’s too much that would have to happen before any other Chuck content gets made to know who would write; but for now Fedak is clearly talking about passing the torch.

        But you’re completely right about the timing of it. Chuck and Sarah together is more important than the specific memories, but if more than a couple years pass full recovery is required!

      • Jason says:

        I suggested that Baby makes a great end, and 9/10 a movie, and 11/12/13 a second movie. I have a new idea, the series ended with Chuck and Sarah looking at the drawing in the Bullet train, a perfect call back loop to Honeymooners.

        Then the first and only Chuck movie began with the scene where Chuck loses Sarah – that would be very Fedak like to start his movie that way – right? Yep – I think I might go with that one. I already have forgotten about all of season 3 except for Honeymooners and Role Models reducing season 3 to two episodes, so re-arranging season 5 into 10.85 episodes can’t be that hard, can it? Plus, I am ok with the last 2.15 eps as a movie, half these types of movies suck anyway, that would just get the bad one out of the way.

  11. joe says:

    Chuck unnerves her when he tells her that she’s not as good a liar as she thinks she is. That someone would know her so well is not possible.

    Your feel for those kinds of details has always astounded me, Thinkling. I knew I saw something when he said that; the memory stands out. But I could not articulate it so clearly. What an amazing post.

    See what you’ve done? I’ve put off re-watching the finales; been seriously unsure if I can absorb the pain and anguish I saw in Chuck&Sarah’s eyes the first time. Now, thanks to you, I can.

  12. Rick Holy says:

    C.S. Lewis would be proud! It’s a powerful book – and a powerful testimony to his beloved late wife. Your’s is a powerful post – and a powerful testimony to a beloved show. To quote someone C.S. Lewis greatly admired (and that’s the understatement of understatements): “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

    Their IS a grief that comes with the ending of CHUCK. I can remember in my youth shedding a tear when Carol Burnett sang “I’m so glad we had this time together……… Seems we just get started and before you know it, comes the time we have to say so long.” And when Johnny Carson signed off for the last time, my eyes welled up with tears along with him.

    I know these are fictional characters, but as often – or as infrequently (depending on one’s perspective) – we complained about TPTB, they DID give us characters that we fell for – HARD! That’s why the passions run so high. And the actors – all of them – but especially Zac & Yvonne who were so great together – made us believe in, care about, and hope for the characters they portrayed.

    As I re-watch the finale, the more it grabs me – for the good. I didn’t hate it to begin with, but like many, I hoped for just one tiny little bit more of assurance that Mr. & Mrs. Bartowski were going to be alright. The more I watch the finale, the less I need to be assured. At first chance, Sarah didn’t want to hear Chuck telling the story. In the end, she WANTED to hear it. And the kiss? It took now “extra-convincing” from Chuck. She wanted that, too. And for this Chuckaholic, that was enough.

    When LOST came to an end, one of the show runners said in an interview that LOST was basically primarily a love story. I whole-heartidly agreed. And I think – make that I KNOW – that the same can be said for CHUCK.

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks, Fr Rick. I am going to miss Chuck, and the blog and all the people that have made it such fun.

      The finale is growing on me, and I know I’ll keep on watching Chuck. I’ll just miss the new ones and the rest of their story.

      Blessings, Fr.

  13. BDP says:

    Before anyone reads the below: all of the above was brilliant, it has, actually articulated some of my own thoughts much more viscerally, and in more of a way that my male brain can process it, so thanks but…

    We had two episodes left, 2 hours to spend with our gang, and it seemed only Chuck and Morgan turned up, but ill digress as im pretty damn tired of this whole thing.

    Part great episodes, part awful finale – something i would have liked to see at the beginning of season 5, i mean it wasn’t a million miles away from the whole “Oh NO, Sarah a double triple super quad agent thing.” in season 4

    i guess ill leave one more pearl of wisdom for a tired half muttering mad man – we get to now “decide” our hero’s journey onwards. Could be a good thing. But it doesn’t take the most pessimistic or depressed mind to come up with something as sad as below.

    Sarah steadily remembers her old life, but has no real interest in marriage, kids and that perfect house, goes off and becomes a spy again. I mean she was not instantly attracted to those ideals, it took years… will likely take more years.

    Leaving Chuck alone with Morgan and Alex and starting his new computer infiltration firm. Chucks doing well financially, but hitting rock bottom emotional, becoming a shell of himself, playing a facade for his friends and family, slowly dying inside. maybe he’ll meet someone nice on a mission or something, but nothing will fill that hole. It will only really hit him after Morgan’s and Alex’s wedding, the only thing stopping him from grabbing the bottle of Johnny Walker Black and painting the wall red with Casey’s Desert Eagle is a simple miss-fire…

    Mello-dramatic, down, the more sinister and depressing the better? i know its pretty dark but can be fun 🙂

    • esardi says:

      I am glad you mentioned mission, because he is the intersect and you can bet they would come a calling to save the world again. I am wondering if he has nothing to live for what kind of an agent would Chuck turn out to be? Yep it could be dark indeed.

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks, BDP. Glad you liked the post. I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I hope you haven’t signed up to write the screen play … 😉

      • BDP says:

        Ah that, knocked up in 3-5 mins, thats just me being a little sleep deprived.

        Further sleep deprived stories inclide: A more awesome one which would involve a castle in a snowy mountain, a bearded Chuck (not to be confused with the worst Chuck they ever created aka Pink Slip Chuck, i hated him so much i wanted to punch in the funny bone) going there to find Sarah, who went back to the CAT squad to do some intersect thing with memories coz of blah blah blah, getting trapped, with Zondra lady getting dead, and whats her face whos still in it coming back and breaking into Chucks new offices to convince him to go on his 200th “1 last mission.” but she’s also injured and disavowed by the DEA or whatever she was.

        Oh and Morgan and Alex are getting married, so ya know they got a deadline which is not the morbid Sarah trapped in a mountain castle and is freezing to death time thing.

      • thinkling says:

        OK, thanks for sharing … now, go get some sleep 😀

  14. Ernie Davis says:

    Always interesting and wonderful to read your thoughts Thinkling. I think you and Faith have done well by these episodes. Regardless of how some of us feel, they were, to me at least, technically and tonally, Chuck masterpieces. But we’re four days in, and I’m still interested that nobody has fleshed out the A-Ha angle. See, once upon a time, music videos were a new art form, and on occasion one broke new ground, and not just visually. But hey, it was the 80’s. And the 80’s were a cultural wasteland…right?

    Still interested to see if somebody catches the parallels.

    • Rick Holy says:

      I might catch them, but not if it depends on knowing the song lyrics. “take on me, take me on, I’ll be ?????” that’s all I know! But I do certainly remember the video! Great for it’s time. Is the parallel something to do with the girl in the video entering into the guys world – then they’re together, but then something happens and one is getting pulled out of their “together world,” so the other has to pull the one (him/her – I can’t remember) back in?? Sorry to be so haphazard. Haven’t seen the video in ages!! 🙂

      • joe says:

        Here’s the lyrics, Fr. Rick.

        Take On Me

        We’re talking away
        I don’t know what
        I’m to say I’ll say it anyway
        Today’s another day to find you
        Shying away
        I’ll be coming for your love, OK?

        Take on me, take me on
        I’ll be gone
        In a day or two

        So needless to say
        I’m odds and ends
        I’ll be stumbling away
        Slowly learning that life is OK
        Say after me
        It’s no better to be safe than sorry


        Oh the things that you say
        Is it live or
        Just to play my worries away
        You’re all the things I’ve got to remember
        You’re shying away
        I’ll be coming for you anyway

      • joe says:

        Okay – I have to say it. I really thought I was the only one to see parallels between that rather memorable A-Ha video (thank you so much, Faith) and the story we’ve seen. Not braggin’, but I’ve thought so since S2.

        I think it was the idea of “breaking through” (the barriers? the walls between their different worlds?), the half-animated, half real worlds, the palpable longing to join each other – all Chuck.

        I was really glad to hear the music, but I could not keep that 25 year old video out of my head.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        You got the gist of it Fr. Rick. The two worlds and overcoming the barriers between. Reverse the sexes and Chuck is the geeky comic book lover who becomes a hero and Sarah is the initially two dimensional hero made real. I have some thoughts on the finale and I may more thoroughly flesh them out using the video.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Ernie, I’d be interested in seeing an analogy with the video.

        Vik Sahay said the Jeffster music choices were completely based on how difficult the song would be for him to sign. There’s a high note at the 3:10 & 3:28 marks that I think they might have dubbed in for Lester.

      • thinkling says:

        I’ve been looking at the vid again.Thank you guys so much for this reference. No doubt at all why they chose the song, which is great. Besides the obvious parallels, it’s an Easter egg to show Schwedak’s intent of a happy ending.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Thanks Faith and Joe! O.K., Ernie. Spill the beans!! 😉

      • Big Kev67 says:

        “You’re all the things I’ve got to remember
        …..I’ll be coming for you anyway”

        Damn it. I said I wasn’t going to tear up today! 🙂

      • sd says:

        Did anyone notice that “the Indian Lesbian” half of Jeffster was wearing a similar coat to the girl in the AH HA Video…can’t be unintentional.

    • thinkling says:

      Cool Ernie. I had no clue where the song came from. A lot of the 80’s are a big gap for me. That was when there was very little TV in Brazil (only 1 channel where we lived) and no internet.

      Enjoyed the song. Interesting parallels in the video, too. Great catch.

      • joe says:

        Heh. Me too, Thinkling. I sort of turned off the radio in 1980 because I thought the music was so bad (I really got tired of screeching guitars and synthesizers). Next thing I knew, Top 40 radio was dead, “video killed the radio star” and albums were CDs.

        What the heck was a “Safety Dance” anyway? Turned out to be a sign of the times. I really didn’t start listening again until Hootie & The Blowfish and Dave Matthews were popular and I had to travel backwards in time to appreciate Nirvana.

        And all of *that* sounds old fashioned now!

  15. the shrink says:

    Damn I got something in my eye. Very touching and very powerful. Remember we will always have Omaha.

  16. amyabn says:

    Awesome write up as usual Think! I’ve softened on the episodes, save one point: the hard reset they did on Sarah. Sarah Walker came into the BM and fell for Chuck (by her own admission later) after he started defusing computer viruses with porn. We watched 3 years of growth and all the other stuff (plywood) as they fell in love and finally admitted it. The hard reset I refer to is that Chuck’s charms, for lack of a better word, were not making the dent they should have, in my opinion. Her own mission logs confirm this as well (the speed in which Chuck broke through her emotional armor). So now we are to believe that Sarah believes everything that comes out of Quinn’s mouth in spite of all the situations she finds herself in with a loving family and friends? A home with terrific photos of a life that she can’t remember. The wedding picture that Emma was examining in Baby should have knocked some of the proverbial dust off.
    I think those doubts she may have had regarding Quinn’s story should have been manifesting themselves much, much earlier. She saw through Riker’s story about the baby, she always immediately saw Chuck’s goodness. So what is different that it isn’t creeping through those defenses again?
    I think they could have shown some of that confliction. They could have had Emma on the VTC, with Sarah amazed that everyone has met her and that she has a family again (her own). They could have had a quick blurb with Carina, someone in the spy world who isn’t dead who she would still trust, affirm her bridesmaid status or to resend the video clip of Chuck’s vault confession of love. I know that would be a lot to jam into an episode (and we know they will put an extended version on the DVDs), but even a simple, “Chuck, take me home” or calling him an articulate schnook would have sealed the deal for me. You’ve given me a lot to think about and another rewatch is in order (but not tonight!).

    • thinkling says:

      I think they did a fair job of setting up a bubble that would keep Sarah confused without straining credibility too much. But you’re right, there could have been ways to convince her, but Quinn kept her on the move and in the dark. Episode 12 is only a two day period,

      All those things you mentioned (pictures and friends) will come in handy when they go home and Sarah starts learning about her life.

      Hope it gets better on rewatch, Amy.

  17. Faith says:

    So I was with you until the end. I appreciate how hard that must have been for you, not only to accept but also to convey. I think we’re all just feeling ourselves, both emotionally and mentally along this journey and this ending (by ending I mean Chuck’s conclusion, not the finale’s ending) and it’s not easy. There are some hard feelings, some pain, some suffering but most of all love.

    I think what I got most of your piece was how powerful love is, and how timeless, special and once in a lifetime their love is and was. As I was reading it dawned on me how gradually they fell in love again the 2nd time around, a direct contrast to how fast (but never easy) it happened the first time around. In some ways I like to think of the pilot as love as first sight, but the finale, it was a beautiful and gradual process of falling in love. It was getting to know someone, it was learning their faults and their strengths and falling in love with them because or regardless of it. When Chuck was telling her that that was one of the things she liked about him–that he wouldn’t kill people—I think it took her a moment, it took her a moment to see that his faults (in her book) is actually one of the things she could love the most. Then when he quite literally opened his heart to her, and begged for her love…I think that was a huge moment. Maybe as big as hoping for her memories to return in the end, trusting Chuck to save her, in the end. Their love this time around wasn’t the flash and burn of the the first time around, but it was no less powerful and exemplary. I only wish we can all experience their kind of love, just once, in our lifetimes.

    P.S. Thanks for reminding me that Casey hunting them and then jailing them was a call back to Colonel. I cannot believe I missed that. But I will add that two things that you may not have seen, or didn’t mention that dawned on me later on–that maybe only I can see, who knows…like I said, their love this time around is gradual and I think throughout the second hour it was less about not feeling the love, as it was not trusting anyway I digress. I think the logs are a parallel to her journey within the episode. When she was watching post 49-B Sarah say, “I love Chuck Bartowski, and I don’t know what to do about it.” I truly believe that she loves him again in that moment. She was falling in love with him again, sometime before he was willing to help her and before he begs her in the house they dreamed of together. She never completely fell in love until the end, but she was feeling what she was seeing. It was powerful, all the more powerful because of the duality. Second callback that I don’t think you mentioned: break up. When Sarah went to go talk to him she said the same things in the same way Chuck did when he broke up with her (but with different words). It was the same message but with different words and this time around Sarah was fooling herself and Chuck was heartbroken. I expected Zac Levi to have his moment where he had to compose himself but they probably ran out of time.

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks, Faith. I know you know how hard the finale was for me. In the end I think we have far more ground for agreement than differences about it.

      I think Sarah started falling for Chuck in the Intersect room, but when she found out he switched the glasses, she thought he had played her. That’s what spies do after all. But in the house he got to her big time. So after watching day 564, she loves Chuck again, but she doesn’t have anything real to attach it to.

      That’s why I compared it to the ache of a phantom limb. The pain (in this case love) is very real, but the limb is gone. In this case the relationship is gone because her memories of it are. She didn’t know Chuck or the Sarah of the video, even though she felt the love. At that point she needed to be able to attach the love to something real. So she needed to get to know Chuck and feel the love with and toward him, as a person real to her. That’s what happened in Berlin and in the cell and on the last mission. Plus she got to see herself through his eyes, which was the key to her growth the first time. All that was inspired and beautiful, even if it takes me a while to put it together. On the beach, all that continues. She gets to know Chuck and their story through his eyes of absolute love, and she gets to see herself though his eyes. From the words, “he met a spy name Sarah, and he fell in love,” he had her.

      I didn’t catch the breakup call back … dud … good one. It would fun to compile a list. I know I’ve caught some call backs that are really subtle and not all that significant. Some are obvious and really plot points, but some are just little things.

      • sd says:

        I know both you and Faith interpret the day 564 scene as the moment she falls in love with Chuck. I, respectfully disagree. I think in that moment she is crushed and heartbroken to realize all that was taken from her. She isn’t able to love Chuck per se but knows she lost a lot and that devastates her.

  18. FSL says:

    Great review. Like you said, it’s all in the acting, their facial expressions, etc. That moment when Chuck told Sarah she wasn’t a good liar, you can see Sarah’s heart and defenses shattering. But still being the “agent” that she is, she had to say that she was sorry she did her job so well. Wonder if that was the writing, the director, or Yvonne. But great scene.

    • Faith says:

      I’d love to get my hands on this script. The Chuck vs. Break Up (as follows) script gave her direction, but she just hit it out of the park.

      “We hear Sarah’s heart drop along with the needle scratch. She covers her emotions, pained but hiding it…Beat. Sarah sucks up her pain. At the same time, a part of Chuck wants her to refute what he just said. She doesn’t. They eye each other. There’s a longing, but they fight it.”

      My heart!!!!

    • thinkling says:

      Yvonne knocked another one out of the park … out of the city … out of the … Houston we have a problem. Zach did too, actually, Yvonne had to play several different versions of her character. She nailed the layers and the conflict, the Sarah on the beach. fantastic.

  19. phaseou812 says:

    All I can say is the “Authors” on this site are simply fantastic and as always “Thinkling” you have a wonderful way of putting things into proper perspective . . . or as you eluded to that “purification” and or “cleansing” process. Reading your blog brings out all of the warm connections that I have come to love over the series lifespan. As I had posted previously in “Dave’s” blog, I wish the B Team/family could have had more of a pivotal role in the rekindling process . . . even if it was them all together in the background on the beach waiting for Sarah/Chuck to emerge hand-and-hand . . . with limited or no dialogue, but lots of “hugs” and “tears”.

    I think the writers did what they intended to do . . . which was let us all experience the grief of a huge loss that comes one step short of physical death . . . but then provides those cookie crumbs for us to come to the conclusion of their continued love and happiness.

    I am really personally upset for the fans that have seemed to love the show only now to be bitterly angry with the ending . . . although I do understand their emotions nor fault them for it . . . I simply hate that a show, with so much heart and character, could end up leaving some of the core fans so deeply disappointed and or divided. As you have planted so many good “seeds” regarding Sarah’s emotions and thought process, it is one of those episodes that you all most have to watch multiple times to savor those moments.

    I choose to believe that the Sarah and Chuck story that we so deeply believed in continued there after the beach scene . . . after the Sarah walls came down . . . and she allowed herself to connect to Chuck again . . . heart to heart.

    Sometimes, unfortunately, “loss” can be the greatest “teacher” in this life . . . and from Chuck’s perspective he experienced the loss of his greatest love in life through her memories being temporarily suppressed . . . I have to imagine that after their reconnection on the beach . . . he was a man possessed to never take a day for granted with his love . . . and via time in Sarah regaining memories or having a flood of memories return, or just some more time experiencing Chuck’s undying love for her . . . that they would learn to fall in love on a daily basis . . . and that is a Fairytale ending in my book. In fact that kind of love probably would produce multiple “chucksters” to hold onto in the future!

    Thank you for painting such a lovely picture with your write up.

    • thinkling says:

      Thank you Phase. And thanks for your insightful comments. Great final paragraph about the power of love and the lessons of loss.

      I do think their love will be stronger. I also believe that the memories return. The real key was getting her to fall in love again and decide to stay. Had she left Chuck for good, the memories may never have returned. But with the reconnection and the love rekindled and the magical kiss, it’s a strong start. After that it’s a matter of time, because their home is full of triggers, and there are lots of other people that can help.

  20. herder says:

    One of the best reviews that I have read on this site, I knew I had found something a bit over two years ago when I stumbled onto this place. I’m kind of caught betwixt and between on this one, they were two of the best episodes of the series and at the same time they had some of the flaws of the series, cold hard Sarah (similar to Crown Vic) and an underdelivered ending. I have no doubt that the ending was meant to convey the intent that you have found, but tv is a visual and visceral medium, you shouldn’t have to work so hard to divine the intent.

    I think at one time JS or CF said that their job was to mine stories for emotion and conflict and my gut feeling is that they pushed too close to the line here, an extra 30 seconds to make things more clear would go a long way to not necessarily fixing the story (as I don’t really think it needs fixing) but completing it. Above Faith put in the scene instructions from Break Up, it is almost as if Goodbye was missing the scene instruction “…Sarah starts to remember, she starts to feel it.” at the end.

    • thinkling says:

      Thank you Herder. This blog has been a very special place. I think you and I are in complete agreement about that the episodes were great, but we shouldn’t have to divine the intent.

      You made something click with me. Crown Vic. I think we had exactly a CV Sarah in the house scene. Chuck had gotten to her, and she couldn’t let that be. I think we saw the Crown Vic cause and effect played out in the house. The video log propelled Sarah from CV mode to her S2 self. By the time she went to find herself, she was more emotionally honest, like Sarah Bartowski, only without memories. The finale, more or less, reproduced Sarah’s reactions and phases of growth from the series. On the beach we more or less got a Ring1 decision on her part to take a chance with Chuck (tell me our story) and an OG (kiss me) ending that says they are together again. We just needed more concrete assurance of the memories coming back. To think otherwise is to me unthinkable.

      I think you’re right on Schwedak pushing the envelope on emotion and conflict. Knowing that they see that as their job, helps me understand them better. They have sometimes gone too far for me, but this is the first time that their conclusion has been so understated as to have to be divined. I agree, 30 more seconds to complete the episode. You’re right it doesn’t need fixing, only completing.

      • atcDave says:

        Very well put about the conclusion. I’ d just been thinking earlier today that ambiguous really is the wrong word for it, because they clearly did end up together. But understated is perfect; that also explains why so many of us were disappointed, understated is the antithesis of Chuck.

  21. Paul says:

    This is an excellent summary of the series finale in a wonderfully positive light. I have watched every episode of Chuck ever produced at least twice. I understand that it is in my best interest if I wish to fully enjoy of another run through all five seasons on DVD for me to go with such a positive interpretation.

    That said, I think that it was very dark and twisted of Fedak and Schwartz to abuse Sarah so much in season 5, to go to the Will They / Won’t They well once more and in the finale no less, and to leave us with a glass half empty or half full kind of ending that takes therapeutic blogging and commenting to sort through to be able to come to terms with the pain that our favorite characters were made to endure.

    This is it. This is the end of my favorite show of all time thus far, and I didn’t get a proper epilogue with confirmation that everyone lived happily ever after. I have to go on breadcrumbs and innuendos. There won’t be a movie. Comic books and fan fiction do not matter to me. Without Zack, Yvonne, Adam, and everyone else it isn’t really Chuck for me.

    As Yvonne said in an interview prior to the finale, “I think the fans will find it satisfying.” Look up the word. You’ll find something like “To be sufficient or adequate.” Look up the word satisfactory which is considered a synonym on Dictionary.com (which Google serves up for a one word search) and you’ll find:

    1) Fulfilling expectations or needs; acceptable, though not outstanding or perfect.
    2) (of a patient in a hospital) Not deteriorating or likely to die.

    Yvonne was right. The finale brings closure, but I have to give it a grade of “C”, Satisfactory, when I was really hoping for an “A+” Excellent, which for me required concrete demonstration of Chuck and Sarah living a “normal” life WITHOUT THE INTERSECT, out of the spy business, and at least on their way to the house with the white picket fence and the baby on the way. I shouldn’t have to imagine these things or debate them. I wanted to see the actors who performed so wonderfully over the years bring these images to life.

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks Paul. I certainly feel your pain. I hope I have helped you feel my hope.

      • thinkling says:

        Therapeutic blogging indeed. 😀

      • Paul says:

        I thouroughly enjoyed your post! It very much helps me to make the best of the situation. Personally I would have preferred it if our heros had not had to experience such an ordeal in the first place but what’s done is done.

      • thinkling says:

        Agreed Paul, it’s a little too heavy for me. But they did a fantastic job with a compelling, albeit too heavy, story. I’m with Yvonne. I’m surprised that they would go this route.

        It’s all the more sad, because not only did Sarah lose her 5 years memories of Chuck, but her 5 years of growth. It was a double whammy. And to lose all the memories of your husband … tragic. I’ve been married almost 35 years, so pick 5 yrs and take them, not that I want to lose any, but I wouldn’t lose my relationship. I would still know my husband and son and have plenty of context to re-insert the lost memories. I could have a family evening with some photo albums and be fine. But not to even remember meeting him. Drastic. Tragic. That’s what’s really hard for me to get past. Maybe it was especially hard on Yvonne because she had to portray that in her character. Maybe that’s why she was the only one bold enough to use the T-word.

  22. Paul says:

    Think, thank you for a wonderful write up! I am pretty much in agreement with your analysis of the subtle hints that we were given, and the outcome that was hinted at. I particularly liked your comparison of the beach scenes in S2 with S5. You are right, in both scenes, Sarah decides to take a chance with Chuck.

  23. Non Omnis Moriar says:

    Thanks Thinkling. After reading your post, it feels like I can look at the end from another ,milder, perspective than my own harsh one. Because of my anger of the way things ended, I started to forget what Chuck is all about. Reading your post gave me the incentive I needed to take a step back and think about all the things I (used to) love about this show. It made me realize that because I disliked the ending so much, I began to see the whole show in a negative light and it absolutely doesn’t deserve that. I’ve mellowed somewhat to the ending thanks to your post, but not much. But I can honestly say that I still love Chuck and Sarah and that will never change. You say it so much better than I ever could, that I think I will let my Chuck time end here for me. You described perfectly how I feel about the ending and the show in general. So if people want to know how I feet about the end of Chuck, I hope it’s alright if I give them the link to your post.

    Thanks again,


  24. Don says:

    Thinkling, thank you for post. I have always found them insightful and positive. I was devastated by the ending and you have explained my feelings far more eloquently (and reasonably I might add) than I believe I could. In fact your posts in general have mirrored my feelings for the characters as well as giving me insight. With all the distaste that I have had for the finale, I have waited for your analysis and I was not disappointed. Thank you for the catharses. I will miss your posts.

    • thinkling says:

      Don, I’m touched. Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad the post was cathartic to others as well as myself. I’ll miss writing about Chuck.

  25. Thank you for a well written and emotional response to the Finale. I haven’t gone through the thread to see what others reactions have been, and I probably wont, so forgive me if I repeat others.
    We were all left with our own interpretations, our own beliefs about what happened at the end – and our own feelings thinking this while realizing this is the end. Sometimes the emotions are too hard to suppress – and I think that’s what I came away from the finale with – the memories might be gone, but Sarah Bartowski, the feelings and emotions that make the Sarah Bartowski we all have come to know and love – they are still there. You did a great job highlighting those for us and I thank you.
    Just a couple of other thoughts. In the week before the Finale, I quoted on one of the spoiler pages “if you love something let it go….” (I think it was Dave that responded track it down and shoot it) Anyway, we saw Chuck let her go. Zac’s performance might have been the best example of unconditional love I have ever seen on screen – no conditions, no strings. I will love you and prove it every day. Fantastic!
    And you could see Sarah’s recollection and conflict as events unfolded for her. Yvonne’s performance was as remarkable as I have ever seen. It was clear to me that her realization of the Sarah Bartowski inside of her was becoming stronger as she struggled with the thought of trusting not just Chuck, but the feelings she had been taught to suppress.
    And I want to give you one more clue from the writers that this was happening – the song. I had posted the lyrics on one of the spoiler pages when I became sure that would be the Jeffster song – and I wont do it again – except for one verse:
    Oh the things that you say
    Is it live or
    Just to play my worries away
    You’re all the things I’ve got to remember
    You’re shying away
    I’ll be coming for you anyway

    Today is #GoodbyeChuck Day Five – and I have to remind myself of a qutoe from Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

  26. joe says:

    Heh! I have to pass this along, from TV Edge today:

    Oh, and just in case you’d still rather have proof that Sarah got her memory back and she and Chuck lived happily ever, a true story: I offered to send some ginkgo biloba (a supplement good for memory) to Yvonne Strahovski after seeing Friday’s finale and she gleefully accepted. “I can’t believe it’s over,” she told me of the show’s ending.


    • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

      That’s confirmation Sarah wants her memories back, but still needs help. 😉

      On the other hand…
      When pressed for an answer as to whether Sarah did indeed get her memory back, Schwartz tells me: “Our point of view on it is however you wanted that story to end, that’s how it gets to end. We wanted to leave it ambiguous enough that that audience member could finish that story.”
      Now, when he says “you,” he specifically means me, right?! And so it is decided: Sarah got her memory back just before conceiving a baby Bartowski right on that beach and running off to sign escrow papers on their dream home and living happily ever after. Done, done and done!

      Since that was the ‘official’ ending, we can blame the network censors for cutting the scene when they did.

    • Faith says:

      Pretty sure that’s from Kristin of E! She also said that in her mind they kissed, Sarah remembers and their passion overtook then into making their very own beach baby right then and there. Schwartz didn’t disagree so… 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Ha. That sounds like mine, except I get them home first (don’t like sand where it doesn’t belong).

        I gotta say that her remembering would be huge happiness and cause for celebration. I would still have liked to see Sarah’s smile when she remembers.

        Did anyone else wonder if he’d already bought the house? I mean houses for sale are locked. How does he just walk right in. And why is there a card table and chairs and packing material upstairs? The Buymore had been sold for some reason.

      • atcDave says:

        I think we should believe selling Buy More was set in motion back in Bo. So it may be plausible that Chuck had already bought the house. That or that Realtor who liked him never asked for the key back…

      • thinkling says:

        … or fixed the door frame. I don’t think it’s that much of a stretch. I don’t know what the Buymore would go for, but they could finance it themselves, since they own it outright (at least I presume they do). Take a down payment to cover the house, plus a little, and live off the payments for quite a while.

  27. Jason says:

    Still doing a little sneaking around the internet, here is one I have not read b4, I linked the entire article, as well as copied what I think is a decent way of thinking about Chuck’s end from someone who is probably more critic than fan, a different POV from mine, I find it rational and instructive, even if I am very frustrated over the words, I do think it captures the spirit of what Fedak and Schwartz could have been thinking in crafting their ‘happy’ ending:


    “Let’s talk about the finale, which took part in the final two episodes. Um. It was good. It was damn good. I cried, and despite being a female, I don’t cry all that often. (I had different crying stages. From ‘okay, guess I’m not gonna cry after all’ to ‘Oh My God, why is my body breaking down like this!?”)

    People are upset. People are actually furious. The thing is, some people hate the “ambiguous” nature of the finale. I don’t think it was all that ambiguous. And without doing something as big and different, the impact would have been so much less. I’ll defend the Chuck finale to anyone.

    It’s not easy for a show to excite fans at the end of a five year run, and present them with something new. But make no mistake, finales are a great time to take a risk. Chuck has given us plenty of “Chuck and Sarah are happy” episodes, especially during season 5. It was a nice risk to see the show do something that leaves fans talking, that surprises them (rather than “they’re happy and okay and everything is predictable!”) and keeps a foot in the door for a continuation via an online movie, comic books, etc. Isn’t that what you want? Do you really need the show to say “And Chuck and Sarah lived happily ever after?” Don’t you have faith? Don’t you think it’s incredibly fun to think about everything that would happen after the beach?”

    • Faith says:

      Aha! That’s where I read/heard the Katherine Heigl comparison. Thank you Jason.

      P.S. I’ve stopped watching Hart of Dixie. It lost me sometime after episode 5. Are you still watching? Is it worth continuing?

      • Jason says:

        Everwood is a personal top ten tv series for me, I see just enough Everwood in HOD to have kept watching, albeit in choppy sequences, an ep here, two there, etc. Not sure if I am up to date or not. Is it worth watching? I have a weekly contract with that show, it could lose me any given week, I think it will, but it hasn’t yet.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Everwood’s final season was awful (Irv’s fate, Bright’s treatment of Hannah, and geometry), but it had possibly the most satisfying finale I’ve ever seen. It just requires ignoring how Jake and Stephanie got the shaft. I didn’t like Jake, so that part was ok. Stephanie didn’t do anything wrong.

        I normally sure about most CW shows, but if Hart of Dixie is really like Everwood, I might watch it.

      • thinkling says:

        I’ve pretty much stopped, too, Faith (HoD). I might still watch if there’s not much else, but I’m not really following it anymore.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Everwood version of the Chuck finale (the characters don’t line up, but the sentiment is the same):
        – No spy mission or bad guys whatsoever
        – Casey proposes to Gertrude, and she accepts.
        – Ellie and Awesome get dream jobs at a different hospital in the LA area and move to a nice house in the suburbs
        – Chuck lands a helicopter outside of Sarah’s hotel. She walks out and sees him, immediately remembering the last five years. Cue romantic scene.
        – Chuck and Sarah find a different, larger house. It has a red door, a white picket fence, and a transplanted door frame. They invite Emma and Molly to move in with them.
        – Team B starts their new business using Sarah original plan
        – Morgan and Alex move in together, Jeff & Lester get the record deal.

    • atcDave says:

      I strongly agree and disagree with parts of this.

      I strongly agree the ending was not really ambiguous. I think it was wrong to ever use this word for it. It was incomplete, and to me unsatisfying, but more and more I think it was clearly “happy”.

      But strongly disagree about finales being a “good” time to take a chance and break from style. It’s a slap in the face to fans who loved the show for it was. The results for this Chuck finale are clearly mixed. Some loved it, some hated it. I think a real “love letter to fans” would have better reflected the show we watched for 5 years and pleased a much higher percentage of us.

      • joe says:

        Dave, I finally got up the courage to rewatch the finale, and I agree. It was not ambiguous, not nearly so much as I thought after only one viewing. What solidifies that in my mind was something I missed the first time – it was how many times they mention “our story” in the course of the two hours.

        Such a little thing, and easy to miss. But Sarah’s reaction to that was different each time “their story” came up. Her first reaction was to be completely unmoved. That’s certainly not her final reaction.

        By the end of the finale it’s amazing. The story is still wrenching, but much more hopeful than even I thought.

        And by the way, you know how the extended ending on the NBC boards makes the original seem better? The original ending seems damn good to me now.

      • thinkling says:

        Joe, I like the original ending, but the NBC music. But Sarah’s emotional reactions as he tells the story are great. At the very beginning, by the time Chuck says “he met a spy named Sarah, and he fell in love,” Sarah has a tear track down the right side of her face and an tear falling from her left eye. She is so ready to hear the story.

        Sarah hearing their story and seeing herself through Chuck’s eyes (because you know his version will be all about her) will have a tremendous impact on the woman who already knows she loves him and wants to know more and get herself back.

      • joe says:

        You got it, Thinkling. She wants and needs to find herself, and who she is. By the end Sarah is quite aware that the answers are all about Chuck. With their story she starts to understand why.

        You know, Chuck is now her Intersect.

      • Faith says:

        “Tell me a story,” gives me goosebumps now, I’m not going to lie. I’ve seen the finale 3 times, 2 of those while I was writing my review…after that? It’s too close to the end, and I’m in mourning.

        And of course I’ve made a signature of the log…and that sticks to me as well. If it was all for naught, why give us such a gift…because it wasn’t all for nothing, everything meant something and it will and does again.

        (Sorry if that just crashed your browsers!)

      • thinkling says:

        I love the mish logs, Faith. That’s definitely one of the most powerful scenes in the finale, and there were severl. They showed her herself and her love for Chuck. That was hurdle #1, because spy Sarah wouldn’t accept such a thing about herself.

        As she got to know Chuck more and rediscovered their love, she also got to see herself through Chuck’s eyes: when he talked about the first date, it was all about how he saw her. In the dance, he was focused on her, as he almost always is. I’m betting most of their story was, too. That was her key to becoming all along … becoming the girl Chuck saw. I’m sure by the end of their story, she was a goner and almost whole again.

  28. Duane says:

    I discovered this blog about a year and a half ago and have followed the posts on and off since then. This community has done a fantastic job of helping each other and more outside observers such as myself to dig deeper into the story and characters that we love! Like many others, I was left with some conflicted feelings about the finale. I can see the symmetry and beauty in the story yet I know I didn’t want to say goodbye to Sarah and Chuck in this way. Thinkling, thank you for sharing your analysis (and everyone else too!) and what’s in your heart. Your cathartic release has helped me to see things more clearly. Thanks again!

    • joe says:

      Hi, Duane. I’ve been blown away this week by the number of first-time commenters and de-lurkers. I’m so glad so many have taken the time to write.

      I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but there’s still a lot of energy flying around about the finale. We may not have liked it (like I said, I’m not sure that ‘like’ is the right word for my feelings about it either), but we were affected, often strongly. That’s telling us something, and maybe even something important, about the show and about ourselves.

      • Big Kev67 says:

        You’re right – it certainly tells us something about how much we invested in the show as fans, how the characters’ heart affected us, and how their struggles to become better people reflect the similar desires that we all have for our own lives.
        I gotta say though, as good as it is to be emotional, to connnect and to be involved, I’m hoping the emotional intenity of these episodes dials down for me a bit. I’ve rewatched the finale only once, and 5.12 not at all. I can’t bring myself to watch again, because it’s just too sad, and it takes my heart to places I really don’t want it to go. I’d hate for the last 2 episodes I ever watched of my favourite show to be permanently consigned to the “too hard” basket – but that’s where they are for now.

      • herder says:

        Kev, I’ve yet to rewatch, currently the plan is tomorrow night, my hope is that with time comes perspective. A sad ending to a sad event (the end of the show) takes some time to process. In truth the various posts here help.

      • thinkling says:

        It takes my heart to places I really don’t want it to go.

        That’s it Kev. That’s exactly how I feel. To me those places are too heavy, painful, tragic, not just for my own heart, but for a show like Chuck. I think that’s what Yvonne was hinting at when she said she was surprised they were “willing to go there.”

        I’m analytical and logical and not very emotional publically. Sometimes people wrongfully conclude that I don’t feel things, when in truth it means just the opposite. I feel things too much. That’s where I found myself after the finale.

        But I love the characters too much to leave it there, and I wanted to give Chuck one more written tribute. As I rewatched for this post, with my most careful and honest analysis, I found a way through the grief to real, honest hope. I can genuinely see hope and happiness in the ending. But the happy ending (which is real) and the romance don’t just wash away the grief.

        Perhaps some people look at such a mix and see the romantic ending as determinant. I can’t quite do that. Forgive the digression, because the finale wasn’t in any way, shape, or form as bad as this movie, but I think “Forever Young” was probably written to be a romantic movie. I thought it was the most depressing movie I ever saw. The romantic moment at the end (besides ringing false) in no way made up for the tragedy that came before.

        People see and feel things differently. Some may like to feel this much tragedy and emotion and sadness, as long as there’s hope in the end. I really don’t. I religiously avoid movies with this much sadness and tragedy and loss. (Chuck has had enough emotion to keep it real and deep and satisfying, but it has never gone this far.) However, because it’s Chuck, I’ve persevered to the point that I can see the love and hope building throughout the episodes, and I can be satisfied with the good place they’ve gotten to, on the beach. I am convinced of a happy future for them –I really am– not just from the path in the finale, but from the theme of S5 itself.

      • atcDave says:

        I still feel exactly like Kev and herder. I’ve rewatched a few scenes, but not the entire finale yet. I mean to, but emotionally its such a big deal I haven’t yet. Maybe tonight…

        Of course I would ditto most of what Thinkling just said too. I tend to vet the movies I watch pretty carefully. I’m not going to invest 90 minutes or more in tragedy. I’m not wired to accept such a thing easily. (I even agree specifically about Forever Young! Too much was lost for it to be anything other than a tragedy). Chuck’s finale came dangerously close to tragedy. And at the very least I regard it as too down, for too long, with too little pay-off. I know there were some important and beautiful moments, the end scene was particularly well done. But I needed more and I’m not sure if I’ll ever find it a particularly satisfying end note.

      • Esardi says:

        Well Joe whether we liked it or not it will not really matter. If we are left with our imagination, then I can see them being together at some point. However, the plain fact of the matter, since Chuck decided to download the intersect once again their chances for a quiet happily ever after went out the window.

        The 800 hundred pound gorilla by the name of the intersect will make sure that our power couple is busy with the life she wants to leave. Notice that I said she. Chuck loves it, and no matter what the world will need saving. You can bet that Chuck and by extension Sarah will answer the call once again.

      • thinkling says:

        There you go, Dave. You’ve hit on the key to some people’s disappointment and even anger. People have invested 5 years in a basically happy show, and at first blush, they feel like the finale turned the whole experience into a tragedy. They feel betrayed.

        I don’t think that’s the case, as I’ve explained, but it is how some people feel.

      • atcDave says:

        Even for those of us who won’t consider the end a tragedy; the fact that someone could plausably claim it bacame one is upsetting enough to me. That very open endedness they seem so proud of is the very thing I intensely dislike.

      • thinkling says:

        Esardi, I would have preferred no Intersect, but I’m OK with it, and here’s why. The Intersect was a key element of Chuck. It was more than just a tool to help Chuck. It’s his family legacy. The Bartowski family, specifically Chuck, is the guardian of the Intersect, something like Tolkein’s ring. It is powerful, and in the wrong hands does great harm. Only Chuck can wield it for good. It is in some ways very fitting that he would end up as its guardian.

        That said, Beckman in no way pressured the team to continue. She accepted their decision to get out of the spy biz and bid them a fond farewell. Of course she left it open to save the world again, at their discretion.

        I don’t take this to mean that they will automatically be sucked back in. I think this leaves it open for them to do either, but I like to think of them living the life they had planned mid Bo. I do imagine a sequel or two when the team is recalled for another mission to save the world, but I do not see them making a career of it or repeating the mistake of Chuck’s parents.

        The only people who know that Chuck has the Intersect are his team and family and GB. I believe Chuck’s secret is safe, and Chuck and Sarah are free to live their lives as they see fit. They are both fully fit for either world. They are free to make a genuine decision without having to default to anything.

      • joe says:

        I’m hoping the emotional intenity of these episodes dials down for me a bit.

        Kev, me too. I did take the time to rewatch both hours yesterday, and I have to admit, it wasn’t nearly as traumatic as I feared.

        If you do, you’ll find that there were many more moments that were NOT about the pain and anguish, and many more moments that WERE about – well, not starting over, but about picking up and taking the next step. Despite was Sarah seemed to be determined to do, she was not about to leave. That becomes more clear.

        And besides all that, there were some wonderful moments, especially the concert-hall scene. The last three minutes speak for themselves, of course. From a fan-Chuck Addict’s point of view, they may become the most memorable three minutes of the show (and yes, I’m surprised to be feeling this way already.)

        I guess I’m saying it’s worth giving it a shot.

      • thinkling says:

        I’m going to amend the Intersect comment. The only one we know (with 100% certainty) knows that Chuck uploaded the Intersect is Sarah (and Casey, because he saw Chuck flash). It’s possible Chuck told the others, but for now it could be Chuck and Sarah’s secret (and Casey), until they decide what to do. I would like that. If I were Chuck I wouldn’t have told Beckman, maybe not even Casey. I would have said that he got the key to defuse the bomb from Quinn (that’s true). If asked about the Intersect glasses, I would say they were destroyed and can’t ever be used again (also technically true). No one else would have to know right now. If the spy life were resumed, I imagine Chuck would tell Ellie and Morgan, Casey if pertinent.

        So … the Intersect is Chuck and Sarah’s secret, and Casey knows, because he’ll always be watching over them.

      • atcDave says:

        I seem to remember Thinkling that was one of our specs for the end; Chuck having the Intersect, but it being his and Sarah’s secret as the choose the quiet life.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeh, Dave, I think it was, and I’m quite happy with it.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Thinkling, I hadn’t caught that but you’re right. The only people who know for certain are Chuck and Sarah. Casey probably knows or suspects. I’d like to think that the “family” (Ellie, Devon, Casey, Morgan, and maybe Alex) knows because the secrets plot-line went on too long. I assumed Beckman knew, but I’d like it better if she didn’t. In Anniversary (and Marlin and First Date), she’s proven she can’t be trusted to leave them alone.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Beckman might have heard chuck say, i haven’t done that in a while, but i’ll go with she doesn’t know. then again she may have and that’s why she left an offer on the table.

        since the ending is so open, i wouldn’t be surprised if they went back for a time. it would allow sarah to do things she is familiar with, being a spy, as she gets her memories back. doing something familiar and not just focusing on getting her memories back could help her regain her memories. working beside chuck in a similar fashion could only help. that’s what helped win her over in the first place.

      • thinkling says:

        Jeff, I’d like to think for now that it’s their secret. I don’t think Chuck will ever keep his family out of the loop of what he is doing again, but for now the Intersect is a dead project. The fewer people know that he has it, the better. If he actually resurrects the project or actively uses it, yeah he should tell them. Just not yet.

      • thinkling says:

        Army, I think Chuck will do whatever Sarah wants, so that she can feel comfortable while she recovers. But she is the one who appears to have stepped away until she can sort things out, so there’s no guarantee that she will want to go back. However, we can’t eliminate it from the possibilites.

        If the kiss worked, I think it’s bye bye spy.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Maybe the extra 8 minutes will reveal who knows the secret.

        Leaving the “who knows the secret” information unknown might be a good idea when trying to leave plot flexibility for a movie. (I’m not talking about Sarah’s memories and the beach, just the ‘who knows’ part.)

        Beckman didn’t know Morgan had the Intersect at the beginning of Frosted Tips, but she still went to Carmichael Industries for help. So I think her comments in Castle at the end fit either way.

      • thinkling says:

        Agree completely, Jeff. I think they left the Intersect part in the best possible way.

      • atcDave says:

        I also thought Sarah was happy to walk away from spy life at the end, it’s sort of one more little thing showing even without all the concrete memories; emotionally she was pretty much Sarah Bartowski again. In Castle she walked away from the CIA with “I need to find myself”. And then I’d say, with Chuck’s help, she did find herself on the beach. And we know very clearly that Sarah “finding herself” means with Chuck, and without the CIA. That’s clearly where she was at those last several episodes before loosing her memories.

      • joe says:

        I have no trouble believing that at all, Dave. Especially about her emotional state, that’s pretty much exactly what I saw when I re-watched.

      • thinkling says:

        Yup. Here are the emotional phases I saw. In the house, she was emotionally a S1 Crwon Vic Sarah. After the video log we had a S2 Sarah. But it was Sarah Bartowski (sans memories) who went to find herself.

      • Esardi says:

        Think, I am not buying it for one minute. Remember what happened at the end of season 3? Chuck not only saved Beckman but the government as well. She agreed to end Chuck’s involvement in the spy world. Just how long did that last?
        The intersect has been a curse and a blessing to Chuck. The blessing was that Sarah came into his life because of it. The curse is that bad things happen if anyone else has it. Therefore, just how long do you think that Beckman would keep his secret if the danger was big enough? This is Chuck we are talking about. There is always going to be a danger out there big enough that they will drag him back in.

        There was a reason for that episode the curse. I believe that at some point if there had been a complete other arc, that Chuck would have to come to a decision. Either run away with Sarah like they should have done in Prague; or serve as a spy for his country.

        This show is about coming to full circles. Chuck is his father’s son, he would have been the next Orion.

      • atcDave says:

        Pretty bleak Esardi. The nice thing about the show being over is now I know we’ll never see such a story, and I can happily say “no way.” Chuck and Sarah actually learned from the mistakes of their parents and will never do any such thing. They’re together for real and forever. If they happen to help the government out on a case or two it will be as a team; shoot, they’d probably even round up Casey and Morgan before they did anything. That’s an ending I can live with.

      • thinkling says:

        What Dave said. Plus GB doesn’t know Chuck has the Intersect. That was the point of the other comments.

      • Esardi says:

        Dave there is no doubt they would be together. However, with the intersect it would be a problem. You saw how they took their money. Sarah and Chuck have been around enough to know how they could become a serious problem if they did not get their way.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        In his very spoilery EPK interview, Ryan McPartlin said the Bartowski’s are the last line of defense for the world. He said the Woodcombs are leaving every in good hands. That made me think they were going to either still have the Intersect (like Chuck does) or get pulled back in to the CIA somehow. Given a choice, I liked how they left it. Chuck has the Intersect, just in case he and Sarah decide they need to save the world in a 1-shot mission, but in the meantime, they are together trying to re-imagine a normal life together.

        He also said Chuck is going to get the girl back and get her memory back. I think that’s how TPTB were describing/spinning the plot to the cast. Here’s the video as a reminder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbcHrQwLQ1U

      • Esardi says:

        OK you got me there Think. If no one knows that is another thing all together. However, did GB say to Chuck if you ever want to sae the world again call me?

      • atcDave says:

        Yes she did say that Esardi, but she’d already hired Chuck several times in the last year to do exactly that with no Intersect at all. She actually came to believe in teamB even without it.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        In Frosted Tips, Beckman asked for Carmichael Industries’ help before she knew Morgan had the Intersect. She just could have been keeping the offer open.

        However, the theory I prefer is Beckman was directing the “you know where to find me” comment at Casey. (Dalex FTW!)

      • JC says:

        Wasn’t the whole point of destroying the Intersect because he knew that it would always put the people he loves in danger? It was just a more rational argument that he made in Curse. I just can’t see Chuck and Sarah having a normal life as long as it exists let alone in his head. Its like the Elder Wand in Harry Potter as long as someone has it, others will always want it.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Nice Harry Potter analogy, JC.

        While I originally thought Beckman knew, I’m liking the idea that very, very few people know. It’d be like Bilbo after The Hobbit. Chuck and Sarah know, like Frodo. Casey, like Gandalf, has his suspicions. Morgan, like Merry and Pippen, will occasionally see Chuck use powers, but not say anything. Sauron is still out there and one day will be coming after the Intersect. So some day we’ll get three fantastic blockbuster-budget movies.

      • Esardi says:

        I just cannot see where having intersect is a good thing. It will be too easy to slip up . A bank robbery and person in distress. Anything could and would happen. This is Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually Esardi, I’d say it’s not “Chuck” anymore. The show is done, ended, cancelled. Now we can just imagine Chuck and Sarah Bartowski living out a normal life!

      • thinkling says:

        Love the analogy Jeff.

        Esardi, if Chuck and Sarah happened on a robbery or a person in distress, do you think that Intersect-less Chuck and Sarah would pass them by. They are heroes. With or without the Intersect that won’t change.

        I don’t really think it’s a huge deal. Fedak said it wasn’t a big deal to him either.

      • Esardi says:

        Think and Dave you are right this is fan-fiction material now. I will let them handle it.

    • thinkling says:

      Duane, thanks for taking the time to comment. I was predicting a much happier ending and commented that if I was wrong I could get therapy later … or Chuck This would become a support group. Well …

      I’m glad for the people who loved it, because they helped me see what they see. There are a lot of us with mixed emotions. I’m glad my catharsis was cathartic for others, as well. Bottom line, I didn’t want to say goodbye like this either, too tragic, too sad. However, within the story they told, I have found a legitimate path to see a happy ending on the beach. Even so, the hope and happiness will always be mixed with an element of grief. It’s hard. I have and can and will rewatch the finale (though not as often as other episodes), partly as a matter of honesty, but also because they are truly good episodes (in spite of the sadness). They are SO well done and contain some of Chuck’s best moments.

      • Duane says:

        The last episode is so authentically Chuck. It’s hard not to be mesmerized by it, but the overall context is so difficult. I keep re-watching vs Goodbye, especially the final scene, hoping to get a glimpse of something I’ve missed, hoping to learn a little bit more, hoping to find a little more hope. Part of the problem is that my feelings about the storytelling are mixed up in the same tornado as those about the reality that this is the end of Chuck and that makes having perspective difficult. I knew that the end of the show would be hard, no matter how the last scenes played out. I just haven’t figured out yet how to get out of the storm and really be at peace with the fact that the show is no more! Again, your perspective has been invaluable. Thanks so much!

      • thinkling says:

        It is the end, but we have 91 episodes to keep us company, so in that way it never ends. Go back and watch some favorites, and then come back to the finale, knowing that Chuck and Sarah will get back to who they were and get their dream. The beach is the healing point.

  29. Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

    Is it coincidence that if you combine the finale titles you get “Chuck vs Goodbye Sarah” 😦

    • thinkling says:

      None of the above, Shepp. I think the one thing that is abundantly obvious, is that for Chuck and Sarah it was not a goodbye. What we saw throughout, was that Sarah couldn’t leave Chuck in her amesic state any more than she could in the past 5 years. When she left to find herself, she didn’t even pretend to say “goodbye.” On the beach, she definitely said, hello more than hello she said, stay. In fact I think it was more of a never leave me.

      Sarah never went half way with Chuck. She never dabbled in a real relationship or lead him to hope in something she couldn’t deliver. When she decided to trust Chuck, to be with him, it was a no-going-back decision. I believe this decision she made on the beach was the same. That’s one reason it was so hard for her to come to those decisions, They were watershed decisions.

      • Jason says:

        Thinkling / all fellow bloggers – In many ways, we fans who aren’t convinced about the end are metaphorically still stuck sitting on that beach trying to decide if we believe Chuck’s ‘Trust me’ or not, in the same spot emotionally as Sarah sat before the episode’s final scene. We have been given a pair of episodes chocked full of clues that everything will be OK, same as she was, yet many of us aren’t feeling it. I must admit, I may not like it, but the whole thing has a weird kobayashi maru feel to it, given that in order for the ending to be happy for me, I have to make the same choice Sarah makes based on nearly the same set of facts and trust that the end was happy. Whether intentional or not, seems like nearly the perfect revenge onto those who doubt the show runners ….

      • joe says:

        That’s an amazing insight, Jason.

        And I think you’re exactly right. The final outcome – that’s up to each of us individually. It’s up to you.

  30. sd says:

    I would like to think the intersect is a C/S secret but what about what happened during the Honeymooners? He flashed and they couldn’t just ignore the “bad guy”. What happens when that happens again? Or is there an on/off switch on 3.0 or 3.5 or the version with Siri? 🙂

    • thinkling says:

      I doubt Chuck would ignore people in trouble, just like Sarah wouldn’t either. But they have learned that they don’t want to do it for a living. The US government can handle things without them. They did for years. So, I don’t see Chuck and Sarah volunteering to be on dangerous missions all the time. That’s not who they are any more. I imagine they’ll keep it under wraps and stick to their counter cyber terrorism company. It will come in handy there, as their secret. It probably won’t be totally bullet proof, but far safer than what they’ve had. No long-term missions, no deep cover. I loved Sarah’s idea, and I think that’s exactly where they’ll end up.

      • sd says:

        That would be cool…the cyber terrorism company always struck me as cool “out” for our favorite spy couple…especially since Sarah read his files and it said he was good with computers 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        Exactly. And if the Intersect is their secret, it will be their secret weapon against cyber terrorism.

    • Jason says:

      I think TPTB had the show stone cold wired in the Honeymooners, unfortunately, they ignored the lesson. A young married couple getting into trouble by trying to do the right thing, a 100% romantic comedy with all kinds of silly action scenes. The intersect in Chuck along with Sarah’s super spy skills allow them to get into a ridiculous amount of trouble and have fun, kind of like Hart to Hart. Unfortunately, just about the time the show gets it going, the mash up of genre thing kicks in and some awful spy story multi ep arc kills the momentum for another season. At the end, the same thing killed the show’s sense of fun and joy permanently.

      • thinkling says:

        I think that’s kind of what we’re back to, Jason. At least I’ve always seen the epilogue that way. And apparently Fedak does, too. Chuck and Sarah retired from spy biz, in their modified CI company. In love, raising a family … that gets interrupted from time to time to do good deeds, because they can … and because they can’t not.

        As long as I can transition from the beach to that, and I definitely can by now, I’m happy as a clam.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jason good points. TPTB agrees with that as well, to a point. they said that the mishmash of genre cause the loss of viewers. had they picked one direction or another it would have been better. i agree with you on the failure of long arcs. even the most ardent supporters say the mythology part of the show was the weak point. yet they kept hammering away at it. i think more eps like honeymooners would have done more for the show than the volkoff, big bad shaw (i still say he was the big bad decker was talking about. after they stopped him it never surfaced again) and now the quinn bit. i will give them credit they write what they want and do it their own way, despite what the fans want. it doesn’t mean i have to like it.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah that Honeymooners feel is something that would have never gotten old for me. We got that mood back on occasion, but not many other full episodes. But I love the idea of that being their life now. They will be a happy married couple, as normal as they can be, who are heroes all the way through and rise to the challenge when trouble comes up!

      • thinkling says:

        Army, you’re right. They admitted that they made the conspiracy arc about Shaw, but only after the fact, which is why it never made sense. Decker said all that stuff about a conspiracy, and only later did they insert Shaw. Trouble is he really didn’t line up with what Decker said and what they had showed us. And that’s because they basically squeezed the glass slipper on the wrong foot.

      • JC says:

        Just like in S3 i wonder if things were originally written for a Bryce return? If you replace Quinn and Shaw with him the conspiracy angle and Intersect’s return make sense somewhat. It even makes the mind wiped Sarah being told about her mission completely understandable with no hand waving required. Hell we would’ve gotten Chuck versus Bryce in Bullet Train then Sarah shooting him with the stolen Intersect. That’s really coming full circle.

      • ArmySFC says:

        JC from what i have read other places (spoiler sites) s3 was supposed to be the return of bryce.

      • Jason says:

        One comment about the show’s decline relating to the intersect. I really liked intersect 3.0, when Chuck knew kung fu. I thought the sham arc sort of ‘masked’ how good chuck was intersected was for the story. The intersect gave the show uniqueness, and usually was cute and fun and even funny.

        Then, right after role models and really ever since, the intersect stopped being fun, and sort of took on a villain role of its own, right up to the morbid sarah mind wipe arc, but certainly morgansect was a fail, agent x a fail to many, and I thought Shaw’s resurrection from the dead to intersect was downright stupid.

        I think this show should have remained about Chuck flashing, no governor, no headaches, no greta’s, no Volkov, no intersected Shaw. Had the show gone in this direction, I am almost sure the Chuck and Sarah and Team B vs the world mentality would have prevailed.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree Jason the defective intersect of S3 wasn’t much fun. But I think my favorite “phase” of the story was no Intersect at all some S5 episodes. They might have made the 2.0 fun if they’d played its bugginess for laughs, and made it a simple issue of working when Charah is doing well, and freaking out when Chuck and Sarah are having problems. They chose a more convoluted and ultimately less fun approach I think (not working when Chuck was stressed, and later the whole governor thing).

      • armysfc says:

        interesting points about the intersect. i think a mix of both could have worked, maybe even better. had chuck done the same things he did in season 5 but still had the intersect and didn’t use it would have showed great progress with chuck. he had the means but used his own smarts. same with physical confrontations. if he only used it in dire situations (like sarah did in bo, and mind you most people had a love fest with) it could have added something vs what it was used for by the show runners.

  31. thinkling says:

    Want to hear more from Fedak about how he believes the end turned out. I do think the article has been posted before somewhere, but I liked this quote:

    We find out what most of the other characters are going to do, and Chuck and Sarah are on the beach, so we know they’re going to get back together. But what do you see as the rest of Chuck Bartowski’s life being?

    Wow! Well, that’s a gigantic question. I will tell you this: I see Chuck and Sarah together, being a husband and wife, starting up that computer security firm. Hopefully they won’t find themselves dodging bullets for the rest of their lives. Of course, as a writer, now I start thinking, “You know what? They could get into a little bit of trouble.” That gets the story side of my brain going. But for now, they’re happy and they’re together and thinking about their future.

    I like that! Full article.

    • atcDave says:

      I remember that interview! That was a very good one, and one of those from that first night that really helped convince me things had worked out fine. I wish he would be so positive in tone more often. Maybe he’s just getting tired and grumpy….. Not that I’VE ever been a little grumpy…

  32. Jerry says:

    What probably really broke my heart as I was watching “Chuck Versus Sarah” was that I remembered (too well?) the many times Sarah has said things like “I won’t let anyone hurt you”, “I don’t want you to get hurt”, or variations thereof. Those were words echoing in my head as I watched Sarah turn her husband black and blue. (And thus, “Chuck Versus Sarah” is an episode that might take me quite a while before I watch it again… but I did however like the video log of Sarah.)

    I really hated Quinn for doing such a cruel thing to Chuck and Sarah. For perspective, I didn’t hate Shaw all that much, even back in the third season, because I knew that as confused as they sometimes were, they’d be able to rise to the occasion. With Quinn… I’ll just say that the loss of memories to me was much more horrific than any other physical torture that might have been meted on Sarah.

    As for the ending of “Goodbye”… I too believe that Chuck’s the only guy who could heal Sarah, and that Sarah will fall in love with Chuck again, but it doesn’t make it any less painful for me that Sarah might never be able to fully recover from the psychological scarring she got, as well as them being set back on their shared dreams. I understand that the last scene was a great demonstration of how good a husband Chuck is, but I really wish it didn’t have to involve hurting Sarah so badly. (I didn’t have to see the picket-fence house in the ending in my head, and they could still have gone with the final “kiss on the beach scene” Schwartz and Fedak apparently wanted for the last episode; I was just wishing that it was ending with them looking at the beach, wistfully remembering the past five years, and maybe thinking about what comes next.)

    (It has taken me a while to separate out my sadness for the show really ending, and my sadness over Sarah’s loss, I must say. But at the time I was watching these two, these combined and fully hit me in the gut.)

    Interesting thoughts:
    1. It is interesting that the Intersect was what brought them together in the first episode, and was what nearly tore them apart in this final cluster of episodes.
    2. If we assume that “Chuck time” more or less follows real world time… it’s almost Valentine’s; Chuck really has a lot of work cut out for him this month. 😉
    3. I presume CI is dissolved (with the spy equipment all sold as well), and that Chuck has sold the Buy More to Subway. The proceeds of the sales should be quite sufficient for Chuck and Sarah to finally buy the house, I think.

    • atcDave says:

      Some very good and thoughtful comments Jerry. I feel/felt the same way. A lot of my “grief” last Friday was certainly due to the show ending, added to an episode that offered little solace on its own. I like your vision for a final scene.

      But I’m feeling a lot better now. The ending we got will likely never be a favorite of mine, but it doesn’t seem to be all tangled up with the show’s legacy or the future of our favorite couple anymore either. Its just a little sad that such a dark chapter for them (and me) came at the very end.

    • thinkling says:

      I know exactly how you feel, Jerry. It hit me pretty hard, too, but I’m feeling better now.

      I don’t know if CI is dissolved, because they had plans to turn it into a counter cyber terrorism company. Don’t know for sure that the space was sold. It seems like they were separate. But the team is disbanded for now. Fedak did say he pictures them together, in love, being a husband and wife starting their new security company. So they’ll probably get new digs, but I think CI lives on, just doing different things.

      I think they’ll have a great valentines day. The kiss got the memory train rolling, and the love simmering.

      • Jerry says:

        I must say, I had Volkoff’s words in mind the first time I watched these last two episodes: “We always expect the best from the ones we love, and rarely get it.” After a few more days, my position is no longer that extreme. I’m glad Chuck got his wife back (in some form), I’m glad Casey is pursuing Gertrude, I’m glad Jeffster! will raise hell in Germany, and I’m glad the Awesomes will be getting better jobs than they had. But, having to rebuild Sarah Bartowski from bits and pieces (N.B. I never doubted that the fragments of Sarah Bartowski were still there even after Quinn’s cruelty) has still proven to be a rather effective damper…

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Jeffster did not get a happy ending. As Lester predicted in Best Friend…

        “Yeah, sure, we’re going to blow their minds, but where does all this lead? Stadiums, groupies, drugs, creative differences, and then what? Jeffster! Breaks up? That’s you and me, Jeff. And then what’s my fate? Some chambermaid finds me in a hotel room, having accidentally asphyxiated while making love to myself? It’s just not worth it!”

        Everybody else got a happy ending.

      • thinkling says:

        Jeff, I did NOT have to remember that. Jeff and Lester got a happy ending, because they’re different now than they were then. They can handle it.

      • atcDave says:

        Well at least Jeff is different than was. Not so sure about Lester….

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        Sorry, Thinkling. I thought any conversation about Jeffster had implied sarcasm. 🙂 However, for everyone saying Charah did not have a happy ending (I think the number is dwindling) I’m just pointing out they had a happier ending than Lester.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I still wanted Thelma & Louise for them, but as Fedak said he did that tribute in Bo.

  33. Meandmine says:

    Thinking, you have just written the very thoughts from my head. I have had so many people say I must have missed something because I didn’t like the ending. Just like you, I loved the episodes themselves but the ending left me wanting. I needed to know that Sarah had connected to those memories but there was just not enough evidence during the finale. Excellent write up. Thank you.

    There is one thing I did miss; When Sarah was in castle I thought her expression could have been her either feeling the familiarity or desperately trying to feel it, but I missed the automatic grab for the weapons bag so thank you for that.

    I feel better now. Still think it’s an awful way to end a series though.

    • Meandmine says:

      Sorry! Stupid auto-correct. *Thinkling 🙂

      • atcDave says:

        I love the auto-correct; modern technology helping us all look even stupider than we actually are…

        It’s been a week since the finale, and I’m only just now making peace with it. It was a very good episode, but yeah, weak for a finale. There’s a difference between leaving us wanting more and leaving us not even satisfied. But my take on it now is, they ended right at the very first moment we knew Sarah was alright. So all of our “what happens next?” questions have to be answered by the things Chuck and Sarah talked about wanting all season long. From the dream house, to kids, to the less dangerous computer crimes version of their company. I’ll always think they ended it a beat too soon, but the clues for what came next are actually there.
        And a lot of my discontent clearly did have to do with this being the last episode ever. I am still so disappointed to know we won’t be seeing this cast together anymore. That is by far my least favorite part of the end.

      • meandmine says:

        I think Shepp was responding to Fedak’s comment about them ‘falling in love again’ rather than what we believe. It is not so much falling in love as realising the love they already have.
        I also believe that Sarah is, in essence, the same Sarah but there wasn’t enough on screen to believe that she had connected to that person before the screen faded to black. My issue is all about the fact that we don’t get to see her reconnect or even begin to, she was too busy trying to survive to give herself time. Time is always given as a reason things are cut etc., but there is really no excuse this season. They knew exactly how much time they had and should have planned the season better; not left this major story until the last 2 episode so there this no time left for a satisfactory resolution. (well, for me anyway.)

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Meandmine. The first time I watched, it left me really down. But it does get better, because you notice little encouraging things as you rewatch.

      I think this is probably Yvonne’s best yet, playing so many sides of Sarah. Showing emotional connection without cognition … superb. She definitely made me hurt, but she also made me hope and believe. It was a mind-blowing performance from her … and from Zach, too. Once you see the daylight at the end, the rest gets better.

      • Wilf says:

        I agree with you Thinkling and, as you know, you (and others too) have helped me enormously to get to a much better place in relation to the ending, to the point where I do see the growth and transformation that Sarah has gone through during the course of this episode. As a result, it is with some considerable hope that I now perceive the ending, rather than with total dismay and disbelief. Just going back to my earlier pessimist mode I do wonder, though, if it’s a bit like Winston Smith in Orwell’s 1984. After all, in the end he loved Big Brother 😉

      • Wilf says:

        … er, but I hasten to add, I definitely don’t equate you with O’Brien !!!!

      • thinkling says:




        Who me? 😉

      • sd says:

        I am looking forward to re-watching once it goes on-line—if not, I understand S5 will be out on DVD in May.

        I have looked at some of my posts and I seem like a “Debbie Downer” about Sarah and Chuck’s immediate future. While I still think there are “rivers and roads” to travel until they are back where they were (or better) before the memory sweep…folks, like yourself, Thinkling, who have picked up additional subtle cues on re-watch make me much more optimistic.

      • thinkling says:

        Glad to hear it, SD.

      • Meandmine says:

        I couldn’t agree more about the performances. Maybe that’s why I find where they left Chuck and Sarah so heartbreaking; the performances were so convincing that I can’t get past the sadness of Sarah not having a connection to all the stories Chuck is relaying. Yes, I know we see them laughing together and I have no doubt that they will stay together but, as atcDave said above, the episode ended a beat too soon. We will never get to see Sarah reconnect to the person she became because of Chuck and that leaves me unsatisfied with the finale. They had 13 episodes and a definite end date but still chose to leave it open. I know some people love this fact but I don’t; not for the series finale. Hopefully, it will be available online soon and I will be able to watch and enjoy all the callbacks and Easter Eggs and eventually come to terms with the ending. Apparently, RobbieMcDunc has tweeted that there will a Director’s Cut on the DVDs. Dare I hope?

      • atcDave says:

        We’ve heard the director’s cut will be eight minutes longer. My bet is, the end stays exactly as we saw it. They (Fedak in particular) seem very pleased with the ending, and my bet is they won’t change it at all. I would also think if another scene was shot for after the beach scene we would have heard about it through the rumor mill. BUT, if we see more development, more of the “Sarah falling for Chuck” like in the Berlin scenes or at the concert, it might help the ending FEEL more definitive than what we saw on television. Interviews I’ve seen with Schwedak seem to indicate they consider the ending “happier” than most commenters seem to feel it was; so perhaps with a longer develpment it will feel that way to us too.

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        They said two new scenes and some extended scenes. If the new scenes are 1-2 minutes each, there would be a lot of extended scenes. I agree with Dave about the beach scene–I think it will be left as is. I do not think the concert hall will be extended because music arrangements are harder to remix, but it would be fun. For an extended scenes:
        – Alex doing the Casey grunt that they’ve mentioned
        – More dancing
        – Chuck reusing some of the jokes at the Mexican restaurant

        Assuming the ending stays the same. I have three pipe dream ideas for the two new scenes:
        – In Berlin, Chuck flirting with Sarah during a wardrobe change
        – Ellie/Chuck conversation before they decide to move.
        – Chuck using his Buy More money to buy the house. He’d put a sold marker above the relator sign. It would symbolize Chuck waiting for Sarah at their dream home when she is ready. This would be before he talked to Morgan at the fountain.

      • joe says:

        I have a feeling that the directors cut will include more between Chuck and Ellie. Their goodbye seemed just a little clipped to me, and I have a feeling it wasn’t intended to seem quite so abrupt.

        Rather than extend the beach scene more (which I think is perfect as it is) or give a codicil following, I wonder if there might not be something that shows a bit more of Sarah’s memory being jogged. Not that there’ll be a whole new scene, but more of the ones we have, but something showing more reaction from Sarah.

        I don’t think the additions will imply more recognition from her, though. Just more emotional reaction.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe I completely agree about the Chuck/Ellie scene. Not only did it feel chopped up, it just felt completely wrong to me. We get all wrapped up in the Charah story (I know I’m as guilty of it as anyone! It truly was the main thing I watched for from S2 on); but I thought that was actually the most poorly contructed part of the episode. It just rang false with Chuck’s life being in such utter turmoil, for Ellie to be saying “see ya!” I’m not sure HOW that can be fixed without a MAJOR rewrite (I would have actually put that scene AFTER Chuck and Sarah came home together from the beach…; boy, that would have pretty much fixed all of my complaints with this episode!)

      • atcDave says:

        BTW, hot off the press, the extended cut of 5.13 will run 52 minutes. Officially that’s NINE minutes longer than a standard Chuck episode, and SEVEN minutes longer than the version that aired on NBC (I’m going to guess the minor discrepancy of seven vs. eight is some sort of rounding error)

      • joe says:

        Wow – Dave, you’re right. That ordering would have been a great indication of the future without any hard promises. I would have liked to have seen that myself.

      • Meandmine says:

        I don’t think the beach scene will change either but more evidence of Sarah connecting with her memories throughout the episodes is all that’s needed for me. More scenes like her remembering carving their names would be good. I understand why they ended on the beach but I would have preferred the ending to be of them all together back at the house. Chuck bringing Sarah home from the beach to the family gathered to see the Awesomes off would have been perfect. There were so many lovely call back scenes I would love to get this overwhelming feeling of sadness over so I can enjoy them.

      • thinkling says:

        All of the goodbyes were a little squeezed in and rushed, but Ellie’s in particular. The way the scene was crafted made things look more rushed than they needed to. The packing pandemonium (probably meant to show that they had definitely accepted the jobs) distracted from the attention Ellie should have given to Chuck. The boxes could have been in the background, but the focus should have been a conversation between Chuck and Ellie and Devon, with Mary taking care of Clara and looking on. The scene made it look like packing was the priority and not Chuck.

        In reality, the truck probably won’t come for another day or two. They will all still be there when Chuck and Sarah get back from the beach. I’m thinking big Bartowski breakfast, because Chuck and Sarah will be going straight to their apt from the beach 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I would have loved that sort of send off MeandMine. It would have felt so much more right with Ellie and Devon leaving if Ellie could have said something about how Chuck and Sarah would be fine because they had each other. I mean, we know that, but that is exactly the sort of heartwarming sentiment this show has done so well for so long, it just seems a shame we didn’t finish on that note.
        Oh well.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I am going out on a limb here, but not much of one IMO. The beach scene will change. They will add a shot of Chuck at the top of the bluff in the background with Sarah in the foreground to duplicate the scene in the pilot.

        Addendum: Good lord, we’re down to speculating on DVD extra spoilers… We need help.

      • thinkling says:

        Aw, I really hope the sadness drains away for you, Meandmine.

        I would say mine is almost to its irreducible minimum. There will always be some sadness (not even counting the end of the show) because of what was done to Sarah and the tragedy it brought on Chuck and Sarah and their family and friends. That will be a dark part of their story. Right now it dominates a little. Starting at the beach, though, Sarah will remember more and more. Their love will keep growing every day. One day, probably really soon, Sarah will realize how happy Chuck makes her. Pretty soon instead of recovering their past story, they will be creating its next chapter, and we already have a pretty good idea what that will look like. Think of the date at the end of Baby, and the carving. Think of Sarah down in Castle with champagne and plans for their new company. Think of them drawing their future on the train and practicing starting a family. That’s the promise of the beach.

      • thinkling says:

        Ernie, quick, put up a new spoiler page. 😀

        Oh, my. That is too funny.

      • atcDave says:

        You’re just now figuring that out Ernie?!

        That would make sense as a change, and tie things nicely back into the Pilot. But I’m still betting no substantive changes, since all you artsy types loved it so much…

        You know I did just have a funny thought though. I believe RDM did refer to the extended cut as a “Director’s Cut.” Might be funny if his “vision” isn’t the same as Fedak’s, we might ALL be surprised!

      • thinkling says:

        Hey Dave, if they did that, it would be a perfect Honeymooners call back.

      • atcDave says:

        You’re right Thinkling. And then Chuck could re-introduce Sarah to a song that was her favorite!

        Hey if it worked once….

      • Paul says:

        Actually, I would have loved a scene where they were doing something (maybe stakeout or driving) and “Feeling Good” came on over the radio, and Sarah would do a doubletake.

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, Paul, either one of those works. Or the stakeout mix, that Sarah remembered from their first stakeout.

      • Meandmine says:

        I think my sadness is at the level as yours, Thinkling (at least I don’t burst into tears everytime I watch clips of the finale now), but the things you mention, all the plans they made throughout this season, are what makes it so sad. We have to believe Sarah recovers all those memories too otherwise they may be unrealised dreams. As you said originally, to make it a happy ending I have to trust in my belief a little too much.

        As for speculating on the DVD extras!!! There are no words. Lol.

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        The sad part is that they can’t fall in love AGAIN (like CF says). Chuck is already there. For Sarah it’s falling in love from SCRATCH, unless her memories do return so she can reconnect to them.

        As far as we know (or don’t know) Sarah doesn’t see the ballerina, doesn’t know that Chuck wouldn’t leave her to die alone, doesn’t meekly ask her out or heroically show up on the rooftop (best entrance ever) or give her the charm bracelet. She doesn’t feel the anguish of Chuck not staying in the car, or possibly blowing up in Best Friend.

        Although the story is rewound to the beginning the people involved are no longer the same and neither is their situation. To say they will fall in love again and experience those feelings again is a very romantic idea, a fairy tale if you will. The issue with that is TPTB and the accompanying performances gave us a very real story to end their series on, not a fairy tale.

        For me, great as it was, if the fountain scene wasn’t there I could probably still buy into the fairy tale. But that fountain scene resets things in a manner more devastating than Prague ever did.

        And I guess there in lies my problem. It’s not enough for Sarah to just get her memories back, as M stated above, she needs to be able to reconnect to them in order to have that emotional investment in the relationship. Otherwise the relationship has been reset with two different people.

        To borrow a line from a wise friend, (imagine a few years from now), “… and the Fedak aware for best unfinished story goes to ….”. 😉

      • Shepperd of Lost Sheep says:

        Try the punch line again.

        To borrow a line from a wise friend, (imagine a few years from now), “… and the Fedak AWARD for best unfinished story goes to ….”.

      • atcDave says:

        Shepperd you know I agree the episode needed something more at the end. I do regard it as an unfinished episode, simply because too many viewers are struggling with the same feelings you descibe. I consider it poor story-telling if a significant portion of the audience fails to get what the resolution was meant to be! The story ought to be about connecting with the viewers, not some artistic vision that only some viewers will pick up on.

        BUT, I do think a closer examination of the episode reveals a very happy ending. Not only were Sarah’s memories starting to come back over the course of a couple weeks, but the rate they were returning increased with her proximity to Chuck (Ellie TOLD us this would happen, because the emotions are a very strong part of memory). And by the end, Sarah’s heart was all Chuck’s; she had fallen for him all over again. So the pace at which her memories of ballerinas, and not staying in the car, and exploding Nerd Herders come back to her will likely be pretty fast even if the “magic” kiss doesn’t actually do anything instantly.

      • thinkling says:

        I understand why you feel that way Shepp, but that is not at all what was on the screen.

        First of all the real Sarah who is still inside lost Sarah, is Sarah Bartowski, the one who grew and evolved in relationship with Chuck. The growth is not lost, it’s still there. Sarah is essentially still Sarah, including all her growth. It is the source of her confusion, beginning with her eavesdropping on Chuck and Ellie. It is Sarah Bartowski that Sarah Walker goes to find, because she knows that she is essentially, viscerally different than who she thought she was when she woke up in her hotel room, minus her memories. She welcomes Chuck’s company on the beach, she accepts his help, his words. She makes a definitive step back into her real life, the one she has with Chuck.

        She is in no way falling in love from scratch. I can’t stress this enough. If Sarah’s feelings were all gone, Chuck’s speech in the house would not have moved her … at all, yet she was utterly undone. She didn’t know why until she saw her video logs. The love was definitely still in there bubbling to the surface throughout. During her missions with him, she reconnects with that love specifically for Chuck. It becomes very much a part of her present, not just her past. It’s not confusing any more. It is love and it’s source and object are Chuck. She knows she loves, him — not hopes she will, but knows that she does — when she tells him to kiss her.

        Sarah would never kiss him on a wish or a whim. She never gave him false hope the first time around, even though she loved him. If she didn’t intend to step back into their life as his wife, she would not have asked for the kiss. It’s interesting that she didn’t touch him much at all. After leaning over him when he was shot, she never touched him again, She didn’t even shake his hand goodbye. I think that was intentional to further define the significance that the kiss was meant to portray. The only exception was the reflex of straightening his tie (for the mission of course) and the dance, but that was a mission, and of course it’s really hard to tango without touching.

        Now, as to memories and emotions, you’re right. Just being told your memories would be like reading an encyclopedia. Interesting, factual, but hardly emotionally compelling. Memories are tied to emotions. So I really think it’s quite appropriate, as per Ellie’s statements, for Sarah’s recovery to be stimulated first, even primarily, through her emotions, which are still in there. The other benefit is that the love and emotion, that she has already reconnected with, give her an emotional context to interpret what she is told about her past… to give the information personal meaning. But when the memories surface on their own, the attendant emotions will surface with them.

        Whereas I agree that the end is understated and a tad incomplete, the situation is just not as dire as you say. The characters themselves show just the opposite.

      • meandmine says:

        Sorry, I replied to the wrong bit. I’m new around here and haven’t worked it out yet. My comments on Shepp’s response are further up the thread, I think.

      • joe says:

        Not a problem, Meandmine. Because your tweets you feel like an ol’ friend to us (not in age, but in depth of acquaintance). Not one of us has failed to trip over that same thing, and not one of us has failed to complain about the lack of editing facilities too.

        But hey, WordPress charges the right price! 😉

      • thinkling says:

        I sometimes do that too Meandmine, especially when the threads get really long. Not to worry.

        I agree that the finale was rushed and that the end was understated and not competed. I do think there’s enough on screen to show that Sarah is still Sarah, that she is recovering, and that the way forward is happy rather than uncertain. I’m totally with you that I would have liked more of that and an epilogue or more episodes after to show her full recovery. It could have been humorous and sweet to watch Sarah remembering a reliving the love. Sigh. But I’m convinced of a happy future for them, and I feel much better than I did a week ago.

        So glad you joined the discussion.

      • meandmine says:

        Thanks guys. 🙂 Joe, you’re such a charmer. 😉 I have to say that I feel somewhat better after listening to the CNN Podcast. It was very cathartic. 😀

      • Paul says:

        Thinkling, good point with the whole Sarah not touching him thing. I think it was her being confused how to act around him. She knows she’s supposed to love him, but doesn’t have the emotional connection yet. And Chuck is just as tentative because he doesn’t want to pressure Sarah.

  34. Jason says:

    A week after the show ends, here are a few random musings.

    Season 5 was Chris Fedak’s Chuck, not my Chuck or your Chuck, his Chuck. The real love letter was he told us how to watch Chuck, a Chuck ‘cipher’ so to speak. With that in mind:

    1 – For me, Chuck and Sarah overpowered everything on Chuck, from the first scene in the Buymore pilot, straight thru to the final scene on the beach. This was both a blessing and a curse. For clarification of the curse, just ask Chuckwin or look at the mixed reaction to the final. But the blessings far outweighed the curses for those of us who watched to the end.

    2 – Here is the truth, much as I don’t like this, Chuck was not a romcom, chuck and sarah were in a drama, placed into a comic setting, think Love Story meets The Office.

    3 – Who would have ever thought the last three words on Chuck would be “Chuck, kiss me” while delivered as we still are on the edge of our seats asking ‘how will this end’? This was not the ending of my romcom, but the ending of Chris Fedak’s dramatic love story.

    4 – As the credits roll, the last words already spoken, the final image we are left with, was a kiss between husband and wife, the tender kind shared by two people who have done it before and aren’t ever going to ever stop. ‘Perfect’

    • Gord says:

      Interesting thoughts on how you saw the Chuck series. To me it was a spy action comedy with a strong message on the importance and power of love and family.

      As for your point 4, I agree the ending was perfect. I would add that in my mind it was not only perfect because of that kiss, but because we the fans can see the conitnuation of their story in which ever way suits us.

      For example, even though Ellie, Awesome and Clara are in Chicago and Casey is off with Gertrude, I still see the gang getting together aroud holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas for those big Bartowski family dinners.

      I also see with Sarah falling back in love with Chuck, them deciding to have a renewal of their vows and at this wedding Emma will be invited and Molly will be a flower girl.

      I also don’t agree with those that say that the character development in Sarah was wiped out with those memories. The Sarah I saw on that beach was a lot closer to the Sarah of S3.5, S4 and S5 then she was to S1 Sarah. After all she was being vulnerable, sharing emotions with Chuck, and was the one to initiate the kiss. That was not pre-pilot or even S1 Sarah.

      • thinkling says:

        I see a reiteration of the practice vows, with real rings this time. Sarah wore them most of 5.12. From the goodbye at the fountain she didn’t wear them ever again. As far as we know she didn’t give them back. I like the idea that she didn’t, like the rings in Suburbs. So I see a private little ring ceremony in their near future.

      • Paul says:

        Thinkling, IMHO, Sarah wore her ring in 5×12 because it was part of her “cover”. She didn’t in 5×13 because she didn’t know how to be the woman Chuck rememberd her as, and as such, in her mind, had no right to wear it.

      • thinkling says:

        I totally agree with that Paul. It was really great the way they did it. Sarah never wore her rings on missions, yet deceived Sarah wears them all the time for the cover … another give away that she is not herself. It was actually part of the heartbreak for me.

        Once she is no longer deceived, she takes them off. Also good, because at that point it would be dishonest to wear them, obviously. The thing I found telling was that she did not give them back. (For the sake of all we love, I hope that is NOT a cut scene.)

        I see a moment soon when she brings them to Chuck to put them on her finger again.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the rings were back on when they left the beach!

      • Paul says:

        Chuck was wearing his ring. He never took his off (kinda symbolic in a way that he never gave up on his marriage). Sarah wasn’t wearing hers.

      • atcDave says:

        Paul they never left the beach…

      • Paul says:

        Bah. Time to go to bed. Reading comprehension is degrading fast…. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Hey it’s okay. Just seemed funny having someone fact check my wishful thinking!

      • thinkling says:

        I like that, Dave. It was interesting that Chuck kept his on the whole time, because he also used to take them off for missions. 🙂

      • Jason says:

        I’m going with Sarah slipped the ring on during the kiss as all of her memories returned.

        How much did the knowledge that NBC specifically gave Fedak 13 episodes to say a proper goodbye hurt the reception to the ambiguous cliffhanger-ish type ending?

      • MyNameIsJeffNImLost says:

        From Push Mix on, neither Chuck nor Sarah wore rings on missions with a couple of notable exceptions:
        – When it was a prop for their cover
        – Sarah during parts of Chuck vs. Sarah when she was on a “mission” to kill Chuck
        – Chuck during Bullet Train – because he was kidnapped from home.
        – Chuck in “Chuck vs. the Goodbye”, because he was making a point

        My hopeful thinking is Chuck was carrying Sarah’s rings with him at all times, and returned them to her at the beach. Then they resumed kissing until a beach patrol officer came by.

      • ArmySFC says:

        Jason…i think it had a lot of affect on the reception the ending got. add to that the love letter to the fans and the fore shadowing of the fairy tale ending. i could be wrong but most fans expected a more definitive ending to the show as opposed to the make it up as you go one they got.

  35. Wilf says:

    Over a week after the finale, I have now come more o less to terms with it, think I understand it (sort of), and can imagine where it goes next (to a good place). I can even now joke about it. So thank you Thinkling and all the others for getting me here.

    I imagined a conversation with Chris Fedak.

    Wilf: Hi Chris. I thought the Chuck finale and ending were really cl.
    Chris: “cl”? what does that mean?
    Wilf: Oh you know, just imagine the right word beginning with cl.
    Chris: But what is the right word? Couldn’t you have completed the word for us?
    Wilf: Well, it’s just too obvious what word I have in mind, so I thought it would be much better to leave it up to you. Go where your heart takes you, Chris.
    Chris: But there are so many words. It could be clever; clear; classy; climactic; clumsy; clean; cleavage – no; claustrophobic; cliched; cliquey; clouded. Or many others. What am I to think. I really cannot be expected to know what you meant. This is so unsatisfactory.
    Wilf: Oh come on Chris. It’s obvious what I meant and it is a really good word. Clairvoyant, obviously.

  36. Nash says:

    Strange as it may seem, I find myself terribly disturbed by fictitious characters who I have come to relate to at so many levels and love. It reminded me about my own personal battle to overcome obstacles and finally marry my adorable wife. I have only started watching Chuck this month and completed it within two weeks squeezing in time whever i could. Seeing the number of hopeful and convicted responses, I feel convinced now that the end was a happy one. It was not a happily every after ending, but Indeed was one that had immense hope. If not for hope, what else would drive us mortals through life’s challenges. At first , I felt ashamed that I was so upset about a mere TV Serial, but I realize that inspirational stories are the foundation of our very being and personality. I will watch the last 2 episodes one more time tonight and bid Chuck Adieu !! Thank you for your post, I definetely feel better now and hope to move on !! Credit to all responsible for the production of Chuck and (Zack and Yvonne the most for portraying such warmth), It reflects that while stories of violence and sex capture attention, Stories of Love and hope prevail above all !!

    • thinkling says:

      Great comment, Nash. You are obviously not alone in your love of the show or how the finale affected you. There’s something about CHUCK that has captivated us. For me it’s the relationship and the intangibles and lofty themes of the show.

      If you’re not quite ready to say goodbye, stick around. We’re still talking about it. If you want to extend the ending, I wrote an epilogue story that starts mid finale and ends two years after the beach. Some people loved the ending as is. I wanted to flesh out the hope, so I did.

      Welcome to the blog. Like I said, stick around and join some of the conversations. 🙂

    • atcDave says:

      I think we all got over invested in this group of fictional characters Nash, but it was so much fun!
      Nash be sure you find the extended cut of the finale to watch. Its not available through iTunes, the only source I know of is on the discs. And its in “Special Features”, not the one on the episode list. But its about 7 minutes longer and gives us more from Sarah’s perspective early; some of which is a little painful at first, but it absolutely makes the end scene at the beach more significant and powerful. Some questions will always remain, like how fast Sarah recovered her memories. But in the end, there can be no doubt that Sarah Bartowski was back, and she wasn’t going anywhere. The “tell me our story” moment becomes so much bigger in the extended cut.

      Of course I like to direct everyone towards Thinkling’s extended epilogue “Sarah vs Finding Herself“. Obviously its fan fiction and not official in any way. But for many of us it provides a beautiful and needed bit of closure. It is also very consistent with the show and characters (and with many interviews we’ve seen with the writers).

    • joe says:

      Hi, Nash. And welcome. Please come join us in one of the later, more active threads. We’ll be reviewing and discussing Season 5 pretty soon, and doing it for a while, I suspect.

      It’s great that you’ve seen Chuck in its entirety, even if you started late. 😉 Most of our frustrations and angst about the show was because of the interminably long breaks during the summers and the occasional month (or so) off because of strikes, Olympics and presidential speeches. You missed that, but the fans went a little bonkers at the time. I have to say, we sort of bonded over all that stuff too.

      I absolutely agree with you (and well said, btw) about the way Chuck highlighted the theme of “immense hope.” I don’t think we ever used those exact words, but you’re spot on.

      I know that was part of what engrossed me so much over these five years. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed TV shows before, but never have I been so invested in the characters. I’m still investigating the reasons!

  37. Nash says:

    Thinkling, Joe & Dave, Thanks ! I feel a little less awkward now, having found a channel to share these thoughts with a like minded folks. I do feel less looney as well when I read comments and perspective from others on this post. I did finish the last episodes again last night, I may still watch them again. Having read all the comments on this post before I watched those episodes again, I must say I had a more positive view of things. Consciously or not, I think Sarah gave subtle clues that she was beginning to recollect her memories of Chuck, however this is a Sarah who has been reset to 5 years ago and is well guarded when it comes to showing her true feelings. As the episodes progress, She seems startled by the Sarah within, who now is Sarah Bartowski and not Sarah Walker, From the engraving in their dream home, to the log handed over by Casey, being surrounded by the Bartowski’s, being part of a team, finishing a mission with odds in her favor because of some unusual help from the Jeffsters and Morgan, it seems too much for her to digest in such a short span of time. Then again, people talk about her leaving all the time throughout those 2 episodes, but she keeps coming back, that must mean something or am I the only one seeing it. By the time we reach the end on the Beach, She has already boomeranged and reached a point where she has recognized what she had become with Chuck and is ready to step right back into the shoes of Sarah Bartowski, all she needed was a nudge. I think Chuck is more than capable of giving an emotional nudge. I will look forward to those extended scenes that were talked about in this Post, but I think I am one step closer to Closure.

    • joe says:

      That’s a great observation, Nash.

      Those hints you mentioned, how Sarah gave subtle clues about her memories – I’ll be looking for that.

      It’s always amazing how much differently (and better!) Chuck plays for me on the 3rd, 4th or even the 5th viewing. There really are many subtleties built in that just don’t register the first time through. Now I’m seeing a bigger picture, and noticing how entire arcs fit together, much like a puzzle. The Morgansect and Sarah’s trauma work that way for me now.

      It’s been months since I’ve seen the finale, and I’m really looking forward to it, having digested the rest of S5 in the past two weeks. And I’m expecting a treat with that extended-cut version of 5.13. It’ll be the first time I’ve seen that!

    • atcDave says:

      Well put Nash about the boomerang effect, Sarah cannot escape Chuck and her old life. But I think in many ways we saw that she wasn’t just reset to five years ago. A big thing is her surprising willingness to talk about her feelings in the extended cut. Of course, her main feeling in the earlier scenes is anger, but this is still different from the very guarded and cautious woman we saw back in the original S1. And her openness and honesty in the final beach scene is breathtaking; no way Sarah of 2007 would have let her guard down to Chuck like she did on the beach. But that’s where the parallel to Morgan’s Intersect experience comes up; Morgan was able to return to his base personality at the end of 5.03 even though his memories were still a mess. So I think we get the same thing for Sarah in the finale, her personality including all that openness we saw throughout S5 has been restored even though the memories have not been. And remember the Sarah who was giving relationship advice to Casey and Gertrude? THAT’s who she is on the beach, not the woman who couldn’t spit out her middle name in S1.
      But even if her personality wasn’t healing rapidly (Chris Fedak, the head writer, said she had emotionally “caught up” by the time she got to the beach), this is still the same woman who fell in love with Chuck in just a matter of hours after first meeting him (between fixing her phone and disarming a bomb she claimed in Other Guy).

      I think it was a mistake that they gave us an ending that had inadequate closure for so many viewers. But that closure is there if we dig for it. I will always wish we had seen Chuck and Sarah living their happy ending, but I do think the evidence is there for it.

  38. Pingback: Episode 5.12 | Chuck This

  39. Selena says:

    I felt like everything was building towards that kiss on the beach–an emotion crescendo, if you will, but I would like to know why Sarah was a grump everywhere else but the beach.

    I’m sorry, I know she went through a lot, but I felt like she was just dismissing everything throughout that episode and didn’t want to give her heart a chance, so it kind of made the kiss on the beach feel..random. I’d be insane if I didn’t want that to happen, but I just want to know why she was acting that way. I understand why she “lost it” in Chuck versus Sarah, but then afterwards I feel like she has no reason.. Can somebody help me out with understanding this? XD

    • atcDave says:

      Sarah was always very mission oriented. Just like in the first two seasons, she (mostly) denied her feeling for Chuck because she had a job to do. So in the finale she was the same way, she didn’t want to hear anything about the life she “lost”, she was just all about getting revenge on the man who ruined her.
      But once the mission was over, she was ready to get her life back.
      And I think that surprised her a little. She thought she could just disappear, maybe go back to being an agent. But when the time came, she wanted back what she’d lost.

    • joe says:

      I think Dave has it exactly, Selena.
      A bunch of us saw Sarah as two people for a long time – Agent Walker and Sarah. That split (the right word, actually, is dichotomy) was supposed to symbolize the way the two aspects of her life were at odds – the cold, emotionless assassin of French diplomat/killers and the girl who almost loses it when Chuck fake-breaks up with her because of Lou or breaks up with her for real at the fountain.

      I don’t think that’s quite right, though. It’s more like Sarah Walker make a conscious decision to be Agent Walker because of her father or because of Langston Graham or something. The emotions were always there, but she was never going to let them out until Chuck came along. And now that she didn’t have to supress her feelings, Sarah realized how much she preferred that way of living.

      And that’s why she was so grumpy in the finale. The tainted intersect may have wiped away all her memories of Chuck, but it couldn’t wipe away the fact that Sarah Walker was whole again because of him. If she forgot the journey, Sarah was not really changed back to the way she had been before Chuck.

  40. Selena says:

    Don’t you mean “If she had forgot the journey, Sarah WAS really changed back to the way she had been before Chuck.”?

    Sorry, I’m terribly nit-picky. XD, but thanks, you are definitely right–like Bryce said, emotions get you killed. At least, that’s what the case was when she was a spy..

    • Wilf says:

      No. I think the point is that although she has forgotten how she got there, inside she is still the Sarah of Season 5.

    • thinkling says:

      Exactly, Joe & Wilf. S5 Sarah was in there all along. She just didn’t remember who she was. She was trying to be the woman she remembered, but Sarah Bartowski kept coming to the surface. Throughout the two-ep finale, Chuck was connecting with his wife, who was still in there.

      I think that b/c she couldn’t remember who she had become, she thought that part of her was gone, and it was impossible to get her life back (to Quinn: you stole my memories. You ruined my life.) So she stayed the course of going back to the only thing she remembered. But toward the end, she realized that she wasn’t the person she remembered, and she had to “find herself” … figure out who she really was.

  41. Selena says:

    Thanks so much guys! I feel endowed with your wisdom.. 😛

    • joe says:

      Heh! Then “our work here is done!” 😉 We use that line a lot around here.

      Yes, I wasn’t real clear (and sorry I didn’t get back sooner, Selena). But Wilf and Thinkling had the gist of what I meant. And just to tack on a bit more of my own $0.02, the idea that, despite appearances, Sarah has as many emotions at the beginning as she does at the end is the very reason the ending leaves me optimistic. ATCDave has always felt that TPTB were too subtle, and that even a small clue in that direction would have reduced the ambiguity about their future and produced an ending loved by all. (Actually, Dave would have died a happy man if Sarah had simply said, at the beach, “Take me home, Chuck.” to close the show. I agree: it would take very little to make me delirious about that finale.) As it is, I’m happy enough to continue hoping for a movie!

  42. James Pyle says:

    I for one am sick of unhappy endings..too many shows are doing this now to be different but it has become the norm. I watched seasons 1-5 in a couple of weeks time on Netflix and am sorry I did. I fell in love with the show and characters..only to be heartbroken in the end. Not sure why I even watch TV anymore.

    • duckman says:

      that’s pretty much my reaction distilled down to it’s essence as well. After rewatching to “get right” after the godforsaken last arc, (that’s no finale to me), I can add insulted to the list of feelings this show invoked in me. I havn’t turned on my good tv to actually watch something in 2 months now, and that was to watch a movie, not a show. In the last year or so I had gotten into 3 initially well done, intelligent shows- Doc Martin, Royal Pains, and Secret diaries of a Call girl. All 3 shows felt the need to play the tired old “couples can’t be happy” trope in the most boring and insulting ways possible. In the case of the first 2, I got so fed up I don’t even like the shows anymore. In the case of the latter, the show ended with a “finale” so vile, contrived, and disrespectfull to both the characters and viewers, that Chucks end is a rom-com by comparison. I wonder if anyone involved in making tv these days ever watches what they’ve produced, or has any grasp of reality at all.
      Dang, ya went and got me wound up…

    • atcDave says:

      I agree completely about the current trend. I am so tired of dark and depressing television, masquerading as important or clever.
      I have made some peace with the end of Chuck. As Thinkling observes here, I feel there is enough here to know it was a happy ending. But I resent the sort of too cute, too clever story-telling that left so many of us uncertain initially. I think its a writing failure when so much of the audience is left unsatisfied.

      James if you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend Thinkling’s story “Sarah vs Finding Herself” as the essential epilogue to the show.

      • James Pyle says:

        Thanks for the link I will check it out.

        I haven’t even finished Season 5..I was half way through it when I started to realize something bad was trending and it wasn’t going to end well. That’s why I resorted to Google and found all this info about the final episodes. I have already been burned by so many shows that I was WAY in love with it and it’s characters only to be shattered..that I did not want this to happen again.

        I feel really…sad…depressed almost, that I spent a couple weeks with these characters in Seasons 1-4 only to feel like I had to just stop watching or the ending would completely crush me.

        It makes me wonder why I even watch TV anymore.. Especially comedies like this. I should be laughing and having fun, and I did many times in this show but to end it like this where all those laughs are for naught..is just…bad.

        I was so upset, the last three nights I spent watching old movies from my childhood that give a feeling of hope and inspiration..rather than watching TV shows.

        I watched The Mighty Ducks, Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, some movie called Underdog (football underdog story)…

        You can see how serious it is by what I have watched..at least those movies gave me hope and a satisfied feeling at the end.

      • atcDave says:

        Chuck really did not have a “bad” ending. The last two episodes are darker and less fun than Chuck at its best. Perhaps the biggest complaint is just the questions the end left us with, most specifically, how long of a recovery period Sarah was facing. But after several viewings, I’m pretty sure the answer is “not too terribly long”. I think the worst is past.

        Now I will always call it a fail that so many viewers felt uncertain of that. But the end scene really is beautiful. It just needed a little bit more.

      • joe says:

        James said:

        I fell in love with the show and characters..only to be heartbroken in the end.

        Yeah. I understand.

        Dave and I have been seemingly at odds over this before, but I must say I agree with him completely here. Perhaps my experiences gave me a different outlook, but I find the ending to be far more poignant than depressing, especially after our re-watches.

        Really! I can’t recommend too highly that you go back right away and watch the Pilot episode and the scene on the beach again. “Trust me.” Sarah says. Thinkling’s story is worth every minute of the read too.

        Ultimately, I too would have liked to see C&S more clearly on their way back to where we all wanted them, especially in the house with the red door and picket fence, even if we never see them enter. The apartment in Echo Park would have sufficed also. All I know now is that they’re headed in that direction and that helps with the heartache. Trust Sarah.

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks, Dave.

      James, if the download doesn’t work for you or you’d rather read it on-line go here.

  43. I’ve said this plenty of times but the ending is taken differently depending on the viewers perception of it; i do find it funny that pessimistic people like myself loved the ending but optimists seem to be rather upset, you’d think it would be the opposite…

    • thinkling says:

      I think you’ve simplified things a little too much, Josh. There are many more variables than that, and much of the data simply doesn’t fit your theory. Besides that, it places the responsibility on the viewers to like whatever is put before them and absolves the writers and show runners of any responsibility to please the viewers.

      • atcDave says:

        Although it’s funny, we’ve had this discussion before, and there does seem to be some correlation. Ultimately, it’s a very personal thing. And of course it’s the responsibility of the writer to reach their audience. But we have seen a tendency of professed pessimists to like the end, and those who claim to be optimists to be less pleased. At least in very non-scientific conversation here that seemed have some bearing.

    • DKD says:

      If anyone is keeping a tally, I’m a pessimist and I was fine with the ending.

      • Wilf says:

        I’m also a pessimist but hated the ending!

      • James Pyle says:

        Pessimist here too and I hate the ending.

      • atcDave says:

        Okay, another theory bites the dust…

      • Wilf says:

        We’re all doomed, I tell you

      • DKD says:

        LOL. I guess we would have to do an extensive personality profile of every Chuck fan to find which traits correlate. But, I bet that would fail to find any meaningful correlations either. But, maybe a “TV/movie” quizz of what types of movies and TV shows you like and what kinds of endings you’ve liked in the past, would probably yield some correlations.

      • thinkling says:

        Yes, I think it’s more a matter of what kinds of shows/movies/endings a person likes … perhaps even why they watch. Some people like heavy true-to-real-life drama. Others just want to be entertained. I can take some of the latter (in the crime realm, for example, but not so much in the relationship realm) but mostly I like escape and entertainment. I like to see the good guys win and a strong distinction between the good guys and the bad guys. I don’t like to watch messed up lives and relationships on TV, /bc there’s too much of that IRL. I like to see people overcoming their baggage, not wallowing in it.

      • atcDave says:

        You know I’m in about the same place Thinkling. I’ve known too many people with messed up lives, and I have no desire to see more of it on television. I like seeing good people succeeding against the odds. I like seeing friends working together. And I like seeing people overcome their limitations.
        I have no taste for wallowing in the mud; I dislike seeing broken and damaged lives. Although if the story is about overcoming the damage I might like it. But all too often we see stories that are just a path to destruction. That holds no interest to me at all.

      • James Pyle says:

        That’s how I feel. Life is full of bad things already…even though I have a decent life, the news is riddled with negativity and I have family members or friends around me that are constantly going through health problems or life struggles. Why would I want to watch a show that mimics this and makes me feel those same worries of the world? Now if I am watching a serious drama like Breaking Bad or something then it is to be expected. But when I watch a COMEDY..albeit a drama/action mixed with comedy..I want to feel happy.


        Once Sara and Chuck got together there was an entire season I believe worth of episodes where I felt completely happy and blissful watching the show. I am big on Love and it is one of my weak spots and I am a very emotional person..so things were perfect. But then I realized that there was too much show left for it to remain like that. Hardly any show ever continues a good trend or relationship for very long so I knew something bad was going to happy. It’s sad..because it ruined the whole show for me. I don’t want to have to guess if Sara even regained all her memory and if they survived this ordeal. Even though I know how strong they are and know they likely did..that is not good enough.

  44. Pingback: These Are a Few of Our Favorite Themes: The Intersect (5 of 5) | Chuck This

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