We’ve made it to the finale of the most controversial season of the show. This is both high adventure and high comedy of the sort that is signature Chuck. Things seem to start at rock bottom in the aftermath of Orion’s death and capture of Team B, but they quickly get exciting with an unlikely rescue and strike back.
After the jump, we’ll discuss one of the most popular finales of the entire series.
Ring II brings an exciting and entertaining resolution to the S3.5 arc. Every poll we’ve done here shows this to be one of the most popular episodes of the show. So much is so well done here. Yet I must admit, in keeping with S3 tradition, I still have a few reservations that keep this from being one of my very favorites. But this time, let’s start with everything that is done well.
The episode kicks off with an exciting and amusing rescue of Team B. Good thing Morgan and Devon swiped Casey’s car! The team meeting afterwards leads to two important things; first, plan A of all running off together. I think this is the only plausible way to even consider such a thing. It leaves no one behind who can be exploited; interrogated, tortured or leveraged. But I like Ellie pointing out this is no way to live. Fix the problem, don’t run from it. So point one is all good.
Point two from the meeting is a little more mixed. I love Chuck and Ellie finally having their talk about Dad and the spy life. I wish this had been so much longer and more thorough. But Chuck is primarily a comedy, and such things will never be explored in much depth. But the seeds of my greatest discontent with this episode are sown here too. Chuck is just way too differential towards his sister. It seems staggeringly childish to me that he would promise to quit his job, as his significant other’s partner, because of his sister’s urging. I am pleased that in terms of show time, this will be resolved fairly quickly. Although the implied couple of months is still far too long. It just does not compute to me that Sarah would be fine with this. Although, as I’ve observed before, Sarah’s patience and tolerance of all Chuck eccentricities is truly amazing. They will so often on this show make Sarah look amazing by making Chuck look like a doofus. The obvious things for Chuck to say in this scene would be “I really can’t promise anything until I talk to Sarah”, “It isn’t your job or place to protect me in my professional life, that is Sarah’s job”, “I have a responsibility to my team and girlfriend”, or “As my family I need you to protect my emotional well being and moral center, but my physical protecting comes from Sarah and Casey”. I think this sort of making Chuck occasionally look like a fool or a child is the single greatest weakness of the remainder of the show. Fortunately, it is only an occasional problem, and great things are yet to come in this episode.
And those great things are in the form of two very fun sequences. The first being the exposing of Shaw’s intentions and take down of the Ring. The take down may be a bit anti-climactic, but Shaw’s downfall is satisfying and fun. I can’t argue with saying Routh plays this part perfectly; and so does Zac. He lays a trap, is in perfect control the whole time, and even gloats, just a little. Very fun.
The second great sequence is the Buy More showdown. Lots of hero moments to go around here. Starting with Morgan who actually catches Shaw in the act, and breaks his own thumbs on command, even if a pineapple moment makes his sacrifice unnecessary! Then Sarah charging in when Chuck cannot. And of course Chuck himself, rising to the challenge when he seems to be out of action. The clash of the Intersects is a lot of fun, and set to the worst music video ever made.
How could it be any better? A climax where Chuck reboots himself, overcomes Shaw, and refuses to kill is how.
I guess the rest is all denouement, but it is very satisfying denouement. Sarah gets to be a hero and a loving girlfriend, Morgan gets to be a funny klutz, the Buy More goes boom, and Jeffster goes on the lam. Then we get the sort of full gang gathering that has long been one of my favorite parts of the show. Somehow, the friendships and affection always feel real with everyone together, and Ring II is no exception. The episode ends with a nice hook into next season.
The Buy More sub-plot was mildly amusing, but the good news is its nicely tied into the “A” plot in the end.
I suppose I should mention the flashback story line in this episode. There was a flashback story line in this episode.
Over all I think this is a very good episode. I am less enthused with it as a possible finale, fortunately we all knew even when it first ran that we had another season to look forward to. But I think Chuck quitting the CIA at Ellie’s urging and the possibility of keeping secrets from Sarah irked me just enough that I was never completely at peace with Ring II. Of course my concerns and discontent never rose to the levels they did during the misery arc, or even during the long season off before that season. But so much of the action, comedy and story were were wonderful here. This is easily one of the top five finales of the series (!) and a solid episode.
This Tuesday night I should have another “Alternatives” post up, not only for the end of S3, but for a look at the S3/S4 break period too.