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.
I. A GRIEF OBSERVED
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.
II. A HOPE RETAINED
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.”
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.
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.