Everything is different. Chuck thinks that he’s – not about to loose a sister, but gaining a brother. The Intersect is gone or at least safely in government hands. Stephen is back. Fulcrum has been blasted to smithereens, and most of all, we watched Chuck and Sarah share the most passionate of moments. It’s a perfect day! And Chuck’s life in the Buy More?
Chuck vs. The Ring opens to Chuck and Casey marching into Emmett’s office to the strains of a stirring song by The Thermals, Now We Can See. Just like that, Chuck frees himself from the Buy More and Emmett’s tyranny. Along with Casey, he quits.
No more Buy More, and no more you. You can take your flag and shove it.
Casey dittos that. I think my jaw dropped to the floor. No more Buy More???
There’s no getting around it. Everything is different. No doubt about it – the events of the past few episodes left my head spinning. I mean, first, Chuck and Sarah’s passion in Barstow and now this? Chuck quits the Buy More and it feels like he’s quit his old life. Now that he’s free, Chuck is (happily) facing the question about what to do next, and he has an answer – anything he wants! But we gotta ask – what might that be?
Oh, we think we know. It’s an extra long slow-dance with his date at Ellie’s wedding. After that? Whatever Chuck decides, it doesn’t include the Buy More or the Intersect or Being A Spy ™. And his pay-packet gives him the options he needs to find something else.
But for Sarah, the future is not so clear.
Beckman puts her in charge of the new Intersect project. That means she’ll be off to Zurich in the morning, and I imagine that’s quite a heady assignment, even for a veteran spy like Agent Walker. As he walks in, all dapper and smug and “James Bond”, we hear Bryce say the words Walker and Larkin, together again, and they come like the sound of a needle screeching over an LP.
Remember I said that, like Morgan, Sarah was about to face a big question about who she was and what she wanted to do next? It happens the moment Bryce walks confidently into Castle. Bryce. Pretty boy. Nemesis. Sarah’s ex. He’s come to be the new Intersect and he’s come to take Sarah away. Now both of them, Chuck and Sarah, have to decide on the futures they want. As we watch, both of them put one foot squarely in directions that lead away from each other – Chuck away from the spy world, and Sarah towards Zurich.
But the other foot?
Sarah: You look like a real spy.
Chuck: You look like a real bridesmaid.
It’s Chuck who seems to make the first move back to Sarah, when he tells her that he’s recently come into a bit of money. Then he proposes…
Sarah Walker, will you do me the honor of… taking a vacation with me?
A VACATION??? [Pardon me while I speak to my boy for a second.] Chuck, that was not the proposal she was expecting!
Me either, for that matter. Well, Sarah has her priorities too, and saving the world with Bryce does come a little before a vacation at this point in her life, so, no, she’s leaving in the morning. With Bryce. As Sarah painfully tells Chuck her plans, the music sings in refrain “It’s a perfect day.” Right.
Wanna Make God Laugh? Tell Him Your Plans
There’s a bit standing in their way – Ted Roark, for one. Fulcrum. As much as we thought Orion’s nemesis and that evil CIA-spawned cabal were finished thanks to Beckman’s air-strike, they’re not quite done yet. Chuck is shocked to discover that Roark is there to take the Intersect Cube back and to destroy Ellie’s wedding, not to mention kill all the guests. Chuck is quite willing to give him the Intersect cube.
And just when we thought Chuck was going to have a happy ending, too! After all, the show had not been renewed and NBC-U had been, up to that point, pretty cagey about it’s prospects of renewal. The fans had gone a little nutzo thinking that buying Subway Sandwiches on Mondays was going to make a difference, and… well, wait. There was still about 50 minutes of air-time left in the episode. Maybe something would happen to change their minds. Right? We all thought that.
It seemed like Chuck the show had accidentally and perfectly caught the fans mood about the show continuing by letting us know Chuck and Sarah were not quite there yet. “There’s more to the story!” they screamed at us. Certainly, the fun wasn’t over yet.
Why are you letting Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian wreck your wedding?
But that doesn’t mean everyone is going to enjoy themselves. With an assist from Morgan, Jeffster (Mr. Roboto), Bryce and Casey’s squadron of marines Ellie’s wedding is wrecked. Less than half way through the episode, we’re treated to one of the most raucous fight scenes ever as Ted Roark comes close to destroying the entire reception hall (it takes Jeffster to do that!), but is defeated at the last possible moment by Casey’s squadron and by Orion.
I waited 20 years to do that!
Oh yeah, as a by-product, Bryce tells Chuck that he knew about Orion all along. Bryce was the only one Stephen trusted, and asked him to look after Chuck as early as Stanford. It was all to keep Chuck away from the Intersect, and when that didn’t happen, Bryce knew that Sarah would find him and protect him. Despite all the emotional content of those last episodes in season 2, we learned a lot about Chuck, Orion, Bryce and Stanford at the very end.
Picking Up The Pieces
Sadly, Fulcrum’s intrusion is not just a minor centerpiece problem, and the wedding is canceled. It is officially a disaster, and Chuck realizes that despite everything, his spy life has wrecked his real life again. He just wanted to be a normal guy. It felt so sad at that moment, I found myself wondering if being “a normal guy” was still what Chuck wanted.
Normal is not what he is, after all. Chuck, being our Chuck, comes up with a plan. Do you think that Sarah has time for one more mission before she takes off? You bet.
What’s the plan? Well, it involves Casey’s team and Ellie’s forgiveness. It involves Slow Club singing Christmas TV, and it’s a wonderful beach wedding. It’s just what Ellie wanted, it’s just what the fans wanted.
But what it is that Sarah wants? On the beach, Bryce knows something’s up. He doesn’t ask, but tells her (and confirms) that Sarah’s not leaving for Zurich in the morning. Just come on home, Sarah.
Now I have a question for you. Did you think it was Chuck, or Sarah, or Casey who finally defeated Fulcrum? It wasn’t. One of Casey’s key men is Miles (Tug Coker), and it’s clear that they have a history. Casey saved Miles’ life at least once. We were all surprised when, out of nowhere, Miles assassinates a smiling Roark in his cell, finishing Fulcrum and opening up a whole new mystery. Just come on home, Roark.
Chuck and Sarah have their slow dance. Finally, after prompting from Chuck, Sarah has to face The Question ™ head on – what does she want? Well, it’s not to save the world. Is it to be with Chuck? No, we don’t find out. Her long-awaited answer is interrupted by Orion’s flash, and Sarah’s mission becomes saving Casey and Bryce. And Chuck? That’s his mission too. Even without The Intersect, Chuck can’t quite leave the spy world. Not yet. And Sarah can’t quite join Chuck’s world. Not yet.
After all, making your dreams come true is hard. Very hard.
And, oh yeah, the data architecture is all different in this Intersect. Even Orion doesn’t know what it does. Chuck’s not a spy any more, but it’s the Intersect we’re talking about, and he’s a Bartowski. For the second time in this action packed episode, we’re treated to an epic action scene as Chuck, Sarah and Casey chase Miles and his team through Castle, where, in all amazement, we see Bryce dying in an Intersect room. He gives Chuck the means to destroy it. Bryce’s dying words are that Sarah wasn’t going to come with him, and that Fulcrum doesn’t matter. They’re just one part of The Ring.
And my head had been spinning for an hour. Everything was different.
No, Chuck is not over. The Intersect is not over. In an amazing leap of faith, Chuck re-intersects himself discovers new capabilities and the fans see the words – To Be Continued.
We all cheered, but mostly we cheered because the story of Chuck and Sarah was not over.
We the fans ended season two with a sense of elation and excitement that seemed unprecedented. Perhaps it was. The Subway campaign certainly drew attention and contributed to the network’s decision to renew Chuck for another season. But there’s no getting around it – many things were not as we expected. We invented a lot of “Could have”s and “Would have”s and “Should have”s concerning the story lines and characters. What if they knew earlier about the show being canceled? Would Chuck and Sarah been together forever in our minds after Barstow? What if Matt Bomer hadn’t signed on for White Collar and the show renewed? Would Bryce have tempted Sarah and tormented Chuck?
And would there even have been a “Ring”. It’s all unanswerable now, but our imaginations worked overtime on the possibilities.
It looks to me now that, in some ways, the question Chuck and Sarah faced – What do you want? – was put before us, the fans, that summer. We can argue forever if TPPB heard our response, but I’m guessing that what we saw for the next three seasons was something akin to giving us everything we asked for, even if it didn’t always seem that way. What we got was not what your normal show would have given the fans.
But we’ll get to that as we continue our reviews.