Chuck vs The Bullet Train (5.11)

Bullet Train is a fast paced, high adventure sort of episode.  Quinn becomes the series ultimate villain, in a couple senses of the word.  And the final act starts to take shape.

After the jump, we’ll look at this week’s episode.

This is a well regarded episode; at number 23 on our poll it is also the second most popular episode of Season Five.  For myself, I would rank it a bit lower, more around 50.  I can easily see much here to like, but there’s much I don’t like too and it is a heavy burden.

The good is wonderful.  Sarah and Casey rescue Chuck, Chuck and Sarah get very affectionate, and the “B” plot is very funny.  No doubt the Charah scenes are the highlight for me.  I like them bonding over what it is to be an Intersect, and of course, practice. I also really like when Chuck is racing to remove Sarah’s Intersect. The Buy More story is very well integrated with the main plot; Morgan and Devon as incompetent rescuers, and Jeff and Lester saving the day (for Canada!).

I know many viewers had a problem with Angus MacFadyen as Quinn.  They found him underwhelming (or overweight!). But I thought he was pretty ideal for this part.  He is dangerous and frightening, and not fun like some of our baddies have been.  But given his crimes, I’m fine with that portrayal.

But even so, that does get us to what I’m less enthused about.  This is one of those episodes that I find suffers in the big picture.  There is simply too much baggage here for me to enjoy this episode much.  Sarah is fine for most of this episode, but in the end, she is horribly brutalized.  And that very end, was an intriguing hook on initial viewing.  But now I don’t want to watch.  This episode is really the last we see of Sarah Bartowski.  Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe she made it all the way back and is currently in her third year of a very happy marriage.  But we will not see her for the last two episodes, except possibly a glimpse in the very last scene.  And after all this time, that still burns me up.  Especially since we don’t know on initial viewing that it is time to say goodbye.  I still feel ripped off as a viewer.  It happens too soon, and more than ever, I’m not okay with that.

Next week will a tough episode.

~ Dave

Step Up

Yeah, I know. I didn’t want to see Sarah suffering like that again either. It was really, really hard to watch even one more time. And that’s a pity, because there’s more than a few reasons to see Chuck vs. The Bullet Train again.

Don’t believe me? Right from the beginning, we have Kasabian’s Days Are Forgotten backing up Intersected Sarah in a fight scene that will get your blood going if anything can.

Days, days are forgotten
Now it’s all over
Simply forgotten
How to disappear

The Master Spy

The Master Spy

Oh, that’s good, and it gets better. Sarah doesn’t have to go on a tear through Southeast Asia to find Chuck this time. No, her flashes lead her to Toyko and the bullet train where Quinn is holding Chuck captive. And Chuck’s not quite helpless either. He is, after all, a master spy. What a team.

These past five years, Chuck and Sarah have had a pretty good time doing things like that. In fact, they’ve been enjoying the adventures and relishing the power that the Intersect puts in their hands.

Chuck: It’s the coolest thing in the world, isn’t it?
Sarah: The coolest ever!
Chuck: Do any parkour?
Sarah: Off a bridge, onto a moving truck and then onto a car going in the opposite direction.
Chuck: Oh, awesome!
Sarah: You know, I’ve been a spy for so long, and I’ve never felt this powerful in my entire life. It’s incredible.

Sure! I would have felt the same way when I was their age. It’s great to be able to “step up” when the call comes and you’re the one they’re depending on. However, things change. Needs and priorities change.

I'm ready.

I’m ready.


Chuck: Are you ready to say goodbye to all of it? The guns, the bullets, the parkour?
Sarah: I don’t wanna live my life in danger anymore. I’m ready to retire and start a family. Our future is exciting enough.

When it seems your subjects
have all forgotten you,
I need you to pretend that you are mine.
And the water is just deep enough to
take another chance,
ah, but the river doesn’t want you tonight.

I’m going to brag unconditionally and confidently (but with no supporting evidence) that no one has enjoyed their adventures and victories more than I. The ride has been unforgettable. Yet, at the same time, I find even more enjoyment in the picture Sarah paints, one of family life and normality with Chuck.

The picture she paints

The picture she paints

S5 has been a wonderful, almost uninterrupted story of the couple’s victories, maturation and ascension into this life of normalcy she describes. I’ve been hanging on to that thought because normal isn’t the same as boring or mundane, you know. Normal means they’re like us; they are looking for a different way to “step up” to life’s challenges. Just like everything else, the challenges change and so must we.

Rising to the occasion

Rising to the occasion

Speaking of which, did you notice (or remember) that Morgan rises to the occasion also? Good thing because Casey and especially Alex are counting on him.

Casey: [Over the comm] The case in front of you, open it. Put in the comm device, sync it to my phone. Do it!
Morgan: Okay, we’re hot, boss.
Casey: I’m gonna talk you through this. Grab a rifle, the Sig and a survival knife. Leave the heavy stuff. You’ll just blow yourself up.

Well, Casey likes to hedge his bets, clearly. Even though Morgan and Devon are not 100% successful in their attempt to free Alex from Quinn’s henchmen, they are 100% hero. When the call came, they answered. So too do Jeff and Lester.

Stepping up

Stepping up


Jeff: Did you see that? In my previous state of impairment I wouldn’t have cared or noticed that Grimes’ woman – forgive me, not PC. – Grimes’ significant other was just taken at gunpoint.
Lester: The newly unimpaired you is a master of the obvious.
Jeff: This is the call. We’ll find the truth even if we have to face mortal danger.
Lester: Okay.

Dave, if it’s entertainment you’re looking for, I have to say I enjoyed Jeff and Lester here more than I ever have before. Still buffoons, they are. But LOL and lovable buffoons. Even more enjoyable, though, is the way Chuck treats them. Despite everything, Intersect, Orion, Shaw, Roark and Volkoff and even Quinn, Chuck is fundamentally the same guy we saw helping a ballerina through a minor crisis in the Buy More. He’s a friend.

Not a victim, but loyal.

Not a victim, but loyal.


Chuck: I know this sounds crazy, but I’ve worked with those guys for years. They may seem like botulism victims but they’re loyal. They can do it.

Not only are Chuck and Sarah a team, but everyone surrounding them are people to trust and count on. More than anything, that gives me satisfaction.

Come on without. Come on within.

Come on without. Come on within.

Satisfaction, it turns out, will be a necessary ingredient. Sarah’s in deep trouble because of the tainted Intersect and even more because of Quinn. Despite all the good stuff (lasting well past the 30 minute mark of a 43 minute episode, sans commercials) the lasting memory is, well, disheartening is the word that comes to mind. The Sarah we all loved just ten minutes earlier seems gone. We know Chuck will seem helpless, his growth and maturity gone as much as Sarah’s memories.

We’re not going to find that ingredient here for Chuck and Sarah, and certainly not in the penultimate episode – that’s by design. But we’re going to see how that plays out for the others, the Ellies, Devons, Caseys, Alexes, and most importantly, for the Morgans that make up the characters in our lives.

– joe


About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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208 Responses to Chuck vs The Bullet Train (5.11)

  1. Dave, I think we’re in some agreement here. This episode is my least favorite of the series (even with Mask and Fake name), mostly because of brutalized Sara and the memory suppression.. The one scene I really do like is the sleeper compartment,

    I won’t say more, because I don’t want to go on a rant as to my problems with this episode so, until next time…

    • atcDave says:

      Hah, you’re a rare visitor to show restraint!

      There is a lot that’s really good here, but yeah those last couple scenes are just brutal. I would agree with calling Sarah’s torture among my all time least favorite scenes. But some of what’s earlier is quite strong. It sort of averages out for me. But it averages out in a way where I won’t often re-watch this one.

  2. Guys I feel like your overlooking something crucial about the CODA in bullet train and Chuck versus Sarah, the fact that Yvonne sold every minute of it! The fact is she’s brilliant in all aspects of this show! To downgrade an episode because its content is darker than we’re used to is unfair to everyone involved, I’d actually say that bullet train and Sarah are in the series top 5 best and the latter is Yvonne’s best episode! We hate that Sarah was brutalized because and manipulated because Yvonne did such an unbelievable job which is a point the final plot. Dramaedy that ends perfect shows writers don’t have faith in the cast to make their against the status-quo ending something we’ll never forget.

    • joe says:

      You’re quite right, Josh. Yvonne really is brilliant.
      In my defense, though, I had that in the back of my mind when I thought about the scene in the sleeper compartment and that drawing. You know, it’s really one of the most innocent and erotic things I’ve ever seen on TV – all at the same time. Both Sarah and Chuck (so credit to Zac too) are who I want them to be right there, right then. That’s where I wanted them to be from moment in the pilot, when Sarah smiles at him for being kind to a little girl and her father.

      Worth the price of admission, I’d say.

    • atcDave says:

      Yvonne’s performances are always awesome, and no doubt she’s perfect here. But no, I don’t care for darker content much, so this gets serious demerits for that.
      I think Phase Three is Yvonne’s best performance of the series, and its the one she always mentions as her favorite too.

      This episode scores as the upper part of average on our poll. I might agree with that more enthusiastically if I felt better about the end. But I don’t have much enthusiasm for the outcome and this is too far out to be saying goodbye to my favorite character.
      From an entertainment perspective I’m more comfortable ending the show with Baby.
      No matter how great certain parts of this episode may be (and the middle part here is extremely strong!) I really don’t care for the ending. I don’t care how good the performance is, I don’t like seeing people or characters I like brutalized. That’s an absolute that’s unlikely to change. The best that I can get for this episode is IF we someday get an official epilogue that helps me feel more enthusiastic about the end of the series, then the end of this episode might not bother me as much.

    • I was thinking the same thing re. Yvonne, but was holding further comment for vs. Sarah.

  3. anthropocene says:

    As terrible as Quinn’s torture of Sarah was, I thought the scene of Chuck and Sarah helpless to stop Quinn as he uncouples the car and makes off with Sarah was even worse. That was the last time Chuck saw his wife, until the very end on the beach.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah I think you may be right. Last time for us too (until maybe the beach!). Just an excruciating scene.

    • I agree, the lost look on Chuck’s face pained me to no end, knowing he lost Sarah after everything they had been through, while Sarah’s although tranqued, can see the look of despair and loss, even regret, for leaving the train car to try to stop Quinn. This is only the second time I have watched this episode, as I really can’t stomach the heartbreak.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ve watched it a few times now, I really think this may have the most extreme ups and downs of any episode.

      • joe says:

        I’ve noticed that too, Dave. It’s like, if there was a needle pointing to my level of enjoyment, it was all over the place for Bullet Train, much like seismometers in SoCal these days. In fact, it feels like that effect has been increasing for the last few episodes.

        If their goal was to have a lasting effect, it worked, apparently.

    • Angus MacNab says:

      Yeah. The abduction of Sarah by Quinn was by far the hardest part of this series for me because of what it signaled. Sarah Bartowski is gone. And, no, I don’t agree that she was back on the beach, at least nowhere near whole. Only one other scene in the story makes me feel as bad when I see it when it comes to these characters to which the show creators managed to get me so attached. It’s in the next episode. Most here know what it is. They didn’t just take Sarah away. They turned her into something much darker who was very difficult to redeem, in the span of one episode.

      The torture of Sarah didn’t bother me so much (in a story telling sense). That’s part and parcel with being an operative, the possibility of being physically abused for any number of nefarious reasons. There was almost a karma aspect to it with Sarah, because she’d shown she was very capable of it too in past episodes. It came back to bite her.

      I sometimes wonder if the destruction of Sarah’s character that begins here wasn’t because of the way she’d taking such a prominent place in the story, and the show creators tore her down to re-emphasize Chuck. When we discuss Chuck, Sarah is very often the one debate revolves around, and surprisingly (maybe not so surprisingly the way Yvonne portrayed her) it’s so strong that in many cases, you could have easily called the show SARAH.

      • atcDave says:

        There’s no doubt Sarah was my favorite character from quite early on. But I think a big part of the appeal early on was seeing this world through Chuck’s eyes. And part of what made Sarah so awesome was her respect and affection for an ordinary nerd.
        So although Sarah may be the most appealing character, especially in the last two seasons, I think “Chuck and Sarah” or “The Secret and The Agent” makes for a more fitting title!

      • revdr says:

        I agree Angus; I don’t believe, realistically. that Sarah is anywhere near back to where she needs to be. That she is drawn to that stretch of the beach (albeit subconsciously) is an encouraging sign, and yes she does finally want to her about “their story”, but I still maintain that it’s more of Sarah trying to make sense of things she doesn’t remember. Will they find their way back to each other? Absolutely. But do they have things to work out? Absolutely. I also agree that Sarah’s character took a beating (no pun intended) at the end to show Chuck’s hero’s journey reestablished. I never doubted the hopefulness, I just felt like Sarah, in the end was short changed. That the relationship aspect of the series took such a prominent emphasis overall, surprised, and I think ultimately irked some of the creative forces; and they felt it necessary to bring it down a peg.

      • atcDave says:

        Well now your heading back to my pet peeve, I don’t believe most television writers have any skills in writing an adult romance. I don’t believe its taught well, and I don’t believe Hollywood values really embrace long term love and devotion.
        On serialized television we often see one of two trends, that I think are unsatisfying. The first is making too much of it. That is, treating it like its the central story or endgame of the show. So the couple has major issues in doubt until the end. And I think this is a huge part of the Chuck malfunction. Especially given that so much of the Chuck audience was older and male I think it was a huge mistake to handle the end this way. I know I would have found it far more satisfying if say Sarah had essential memories return at the end of 5.12, maybe when she saw the carving; and then Chuck and Sarah were completely back together, as a power couple and team in Goodbye. Rather than make the finale so much ABOUT if Chuck and Sarah would be together, make the episode more about WHAT THEY CAN DO TOGETHER that makes them so awesome. There’s an old adage about how men and women see romance differently; women see things face to face while men see them shoulder to shoulder. If a show were aimed more at women it might work best to have the show be about the romance itself. But if its aimed at men it should more about what the couple can do together.
        The second failing I often see is the opposite, not making enough of the romance. A number of shows, often more episodic shows, just ignore every “‘ship” their audience may have latched onto. Long term I think this is disappointing and discouraging for viewers. And I think this is more the S3 malfunction of Chuck. The Chuck/Sarah dynamic was largely ignored for too many episodes; at least the “shoulder to shoulder” part of it was. They simply didn’t spend enough time on Chuck and Sarah doing things together for several weeks.

      • revdr says:

        Oh yeah Dave, I agree. I have never understood why writers cant write to a happy, healthy couple, or the constant necessity to prolong the wt/wt angst. There have been a few examples of contented couples who actually love each other and show it (see Marshall and Lily of HIMYM) on tv, but they are very few and far between. The relationship can grow and change; that’s what makes it interesting. I continue to see new facets of my wife, I and we have 27 years together. A real relationship means growing together, and not many writers seem willing to tackle that. Maybe it’s time constraints; maybe it’s lack of creativity….I don’t know.

      • thinkling says:

        You guys are playing my song, re mature happy couple. And I find it both irksome and disheartening. Overall I think Chuck did better than most show, overlooking certain arcs that shall not be named.

        I agree about the pacing of memory recovery, Dave. In fact, before the finale aired, I would have bet money on your scenario: Sarah mostly back to herself (if not all of her memories, but at least her connection to Chuck) and them taking down the bad guys together. That unfulfilled expectation only heightened my disappointment with the finale.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Thinkling I still like that scenario. The other scenario we heard that might have worked for me was Sarah more overtly “falling for” Chuck all over again in Goodbye. If we’d actually seen more plain affection, and more of what Sarah first loved about Chuck in the beginning, that also might have been more satisfying.
        But I think in trying to draw the tension out to the very end they flushed the emotional pay off.

      • BdaddyDL says:

        Unfortunately, tv reflects what society wants. Right now they want more sizzle less substance when it comes to romance.
        It wasn’t a picnic at the pool it was Sarah and Chuck trying to seduce each other.

      • atcDave says:

        Well it would have been fine with me if Chuck had used a little more sizzle to win his wife back!

        But I’m not convinced by the “what society wants” argument. It may be what Hollywood wants to show, but I don’t believe they are as savvy about such things as they want us to believe.
        Last I knew, something like 70% of all movies made in the last few years were rated “R”. Yet PG-13 and below movies make 70% of the profit.
        Hollywood is simply doing things the way they want. Not really responding to the market.

      • bdaddydl says:

        hmmm thats an interesting idea. Fedak wanted this.; I wonder what warner brothers and NBC thought of it.

  4. I believe the last scenes of this episode were greatly enhanced in mood because of the acting and musical selections M83’s Another Wave From You and Crooked Finger’s She Toes the Line were perfect choices that make these scenes 10x more heartbreaking

    I think the writers felt inclined to prove that Chuck is willing to deal with whatever side of Sarah is showing at particular points and to eventually (albeit slowly) give her one final identify thus freeing her from carrying her various ghosts around! My biggest theory is that they wanted them to build a new relationship based not on being spies or any asset/handler relationship! They might have also wanted to put Sarah and Chuck as equals, he was always insecure about not being good enough for her and allowing them to build a fresh relationship without personal or S3 baggage but simply as equals and a relatively normal couple will make this new Charah stronger than the former one ever was!
    Not trying to sound overly philosophical to anyone but I have always been a philosophical person and firmly believe in finding the deeper meaning behind everything, I also believe that what CF meant when he said Goodbye was “a love letter to the fans” was that, we saw the innocence of Charah’s relationship again, which to be honest I really missed:)

    • revdr says:

      I’ve always thought that they were so fixated with the hero’s journey that they once again had to put the relationship through the emotional ringer to show just how far the hero would go to salvage said relationship. The show was called Chuck after all. I agree about the innocence being displayed again, but at what cost? It seems that in the end we lost some growth, at least on Sarah’s part, just to show that Chuck had grown, but hadn’t lost his moral center. While I don’t see that it was a full return to the pre-Chuck Sarah, she definitely wasn’t going to be the same. The romantic in me hated the change that ultimately brought them full circle, but I see from the writer’s pov the necessity for it. I still have great difficulty watching from the end of Bullet Train on, and the final 2 episodes tainted the show as a whole for me, since I truly felt cheated at the end.

      • atcDave says:

        I also felt pretty cheated by the end. I know I’m significantly more optimistic about the immediate aftermath than you seem to be rev; but even so, I very much dislike this chosen story and I see it as an inadequate ending. I don’t particularly care about themes or symbolism; I was watching a show for some characters I happened to really like, and in the end, my two favorites suffered far too much pain for me to enjoy watching.

        I’ve said a few times I would have been okay with a very brief “fix” that more clearly showed all was well, and that’s true. But I WANTED a joyful send off for these characters. I wanted another Bartowski gathering with everyone together and happy, especially Chuck and Sarah. I wanted to see them enjoy the safer world they spent five years creating. And yes, I wanted to see the baby and the white picket fence.
        Even if I can grudgingly accept this finale, it ended too soon for me to be happy about it.

      • that’s just where we differ I suppose, all the end plot did was make me love the show even more than I did when I was taking the journey, can’t explain why…maybe its because Sarah was always unsure about who she was and carried it around with her. The viewer and Chuck knew who she is but I don’t think she ever would’ve fully let go of her other identities if it weren’t for what happened, plus it erases Daniel Shaw and other various mistakes throughout the series.

      • revdr says:

        Bit that’s just it; it doesn’t truly erase anything….it only suppresses things. Just imagine what happens when those memories return. You’re right, Sarah’s naturally unsure of herself emotionally; but that would only enhance her self doubt once she starts to recall everything that came before. Plus, the added self recrimination of what she did during the memory suppression. Guilt is a strong emotion, and putting Sarah through that was highly unfair. Her character was semi-sacrificed for the sake of Chuck’s, to show that he once again had to choose duty over love. That became an old plot device after season 3.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I’m mostly with Rev on this. I don’t believe anything was “erased”, mainly because I think Sarah would be recovering most of her memories pretty quickly. But even if some things never come back, it doesn’t fix the serious character flaws exposed in S3. I’m still stuck just ignoring THAT season as the only way to make peace with it.

      • joe says:

        I agree with that, Rev. I recently had a weird experience that emphases the point – for me, anyway.

        When I’m getting enough sleep I generally have vivid dreams for the last hour or so. Mostly they’re forgotten immediately. Even when I make an attempt to remember, the best I can do is to recall just a few seconds of the dream or maybe the color of the room in which it took place the same way you might recall the mood of something you experienced IRL. Even then, I’m surprised if I can recall even that much two hours later.

        But just the other day I had a dream that made me remember other, long forgotten dreams, some dating back years. Left me feeling weird too, because clearly those dreams were not forgotten at all. They were just inaccessible.

        It’s easy for me to see the effect of the tainted Intersect in those terms for both Sarah and Morgan. The implication is that, despite appearances, they really aren’t changed in a deep, fundamental way.

        Not that I like the idea that the road back is long, mind you…

      • garnet says:

        I guess that is my problem, I can hunt down little crumbs that help me to believe that Sarah’s memories are coming back, but I can also look at Morgan’s experience with the Intersect. He lost his memories and became a jerk. Sarah’s thoughts and the intervention on the rooftop brought back Morgan’s personality, but he DID NOT recover all his memories…and notably some important and well established memories like Indiana Jones and Star Wars. To me this is a truly unfortunate thing. Morgan’s experience was much milder than anything Sarah went through. I can see a Universe where she does NOT recover anything more than what she has….And if so, the Sarah Bartowski we have admired is gone for good. To me, that is a heartbreaking thought even if they are able to make a go of it.

        So on my good days I see them just fine, heading home from the beach to start their lives anew. On my bad days, I see Sarah standing up, dusting the sand off her clothes, and walking away. At the moment the good days are outnumbering the bad, but it doesn’t take much to swing the balance.

      • atcDave says:

        Garnet I think that was the fear for many viewers who disliked the end. I’m pretty confident at this point that was not the point and was very unlikely to happen. I think we saw enough to know Sarah Bartowski was coming back quickly, whether it was a matter of minutes or weeks. It was NOT a matter of months or years!

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, I agree with Dave. I admit I had to hunt the bread crumbs, but where they lead is pretty definite to me. I don’t ever imagine, even on the worst days, that Sarah got up and left. Having to go “find herself” acknowledges that she knows that she isn’t who she thought she was — who she remembers. Any honest search for herself, could only ultimately lead her back to Chuck. Her wanting to hear “their” story acknowledges that her “self” (the one she wants to find) is connected to Chuck. Asking for the kiss means she’s all in. No version of Sarah would kiss him and walk away. As you say, it was just a question of time.

      • atcDave says:

        Very well summed up!

      • revdr says:

        Thinkling; I certainly wish that I could buy into that, but unfortunately, I cant. By nature, Sarah has always second guessed her feelings; and although I’m sure she truly believes that she is connected, and married to Chuck, by virtue of the fact that her memories are currently suppressed, it’s just unrealistic to think that she would just get up and go home with him. To get a cup of coffee, maybe, but all in, I highly doubt it. Unless her memories just came rushing back, she needs time to process things. I never, in a million years would believe that they don’t fall in love with each other, again, but to just say let’s go home; that way to easy.

      • atcDave says:

        I firmly believe the easy. We saw her resistance in 5.12 and 5.13. On the beach, it was over.

      • Actually, I agree with revdr on the too easy part. I seriously doubt that they just started their life together again. I kind of picture the Pilot happening all over again, except without the illusion – that Sarah was open to the idea enough to let Chuck seduce her again, and that it of course worked eventually because, well, duh. While this is happening, Sarah regains some pieces of her memory, in a kind of Borne Identity sense.

        I guess I’d imagine it playing out something like S1, except without the distraction of Bryce, Jill and being a handler. But I do think it would take a couple years, even with them both trying. I’d imagine they’d hit a couple snags in the road along the way, but that they’re both kind and honest with each other, because that’s who they are. That Sarah would simply move back in, or something of that nature, feels too cheap.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow, I totally disagree. We already saw the horror of it all in 5.12, there was nothing easy or cheap about it. But the worst was past. I think the dam broke at the beach. I think Sarah’s last line (“Kiss me”) mirrors her last line from Other Guy, and THAT’s pretty much where they are at the end.
        Maybe less unrestrained and free than they were in Honeymooners; but together and happy about it.

      • Oh I’d definitely agree that the worst was behind them; it couldn’t get much worse than Sarah. I just think of their relationship as if it were a person in critical condition. They’ve passed the point where the injury dealt to them could be fatal, but there’s still a lot of rehab left.

    • Keep preaching, Josh! +1

  5. garnet says:

    I can see the “circle of life” aspect to the ending. It really all started with Sarah asking Chuck to trust her on the beach. And it ended with Chuck asking Sarah to trust him. It is a restart of their relationship, and without some of the baggage as pointed out earlier. Artistically, and on paper, they have created a very satisfying ending. Sadly, for those of us who really wanted confirmation that all was well in Chuckville, the ending was a little lacking. Casual viewers may have found it satisfying, but the brutalization of Sarah’s character in Bullet Train (I did connect this to the proper episode after all) starts a final arc that seems to me less love letter and more hate mail than I hoped for. I watched the final seconds of Goodbye with the horrified thought…they aren’t going to leave it there are they, no they can’t, they wouldn’t, not in a million years…What!! They did. Nooooo!

    Any possible artistic triumph in the finale was so overshadowed by the heartbreaking last scene that I still have trouble thinking about, let alone watching, the finale. The only comparison I can make would have been if Agent 99 left Max to join CHAOS in the final episode of Get Smart… It would have been an inappropriate ending to a fun/funny show. Although Chuck could go dark at times, it wasn’t the showrunner’s forte, and the ending episodes were far too dark for the overall tone of the show. A fairytale ending (like Phase Three) would have been OK and partially redeemed the preceeding episodes, and all it would have taken would have been some recognition of the relationship being on solid ground…..not sand!

    • revdr says:

      I agree. I see it more as bittersweet though. rather that heartbreaking. As I said earlier, I do see the full circle/role reversal symbolism, but that’s what left it lacking for me. I didn’t necessarily need to see the white picket fence/kids in the yard scene (although that would have been great), but just a little more than what we got. The hopeful nature of it all was not enough, at least for me.

    • atcDave says:

      I mostly agree with all that Garnet. The only difference being I do NOW see the joy in the final scene. The first thing to me being how relaxed and emotional Sarah was (I did not really latch on to this on that first viewing!); it was clearly a more mature Sarah we were seeing, not the more uptight version we saw in the first couple seasons. And to me, that started to unravel the mystery and make sense of it. I decided whether Sarah remembered things or not, she was mature and secure, and was reconnecting with her own life, priorities and values (that means Chuck!).
      But dang that first night I sure was irate. My initial reaction was exactly as you describe.
      I’m not so sure it was a difference among casual viewers who accepted it easier, plenty of dedicated fans came out on both sides of it. And ditto for the casual viewers I know. Reactions I saw were mostly extreme love/hate.
      I’ve kicked around a few theories on why some viewers fell one way the other, and I still don’t see a clear pattern. I first thought it was a sub-group of fans who disliked S3. But I’ve since encountered fans who loved S3 and disliked the end. In fact, the casual viewer I know who most liked S3 (actually the only casual viewer I know who sort of liked S3) thoroughly dislikes the finale.
      So I thought maybe it was die hard Sarah Walker fans who were most unhappy. But I see exceptions on both sides to that as well.
      I think its most likely something undefined within us, that leads some to love open endedness and some to prefer concrete resolution. But people can have a whole range of in between reactions and tendencies. Bottom line is, I don’t know if there is any good predictor of reactions.

      • garnet says:

        Ask them whether the glass is half empty of half full. My personal belief is that pessimists are more likely to see this as a bad end relationship wise, and Sarah would, as a result , be inclined to leave. Optimists would see it as a good thing they were together on the beach and still talking (among other things).

      • atcDave says:

        Except most people who know me IRL would definitely call me an optimist. My cynicism is almost all for laughs (” what, you were serious?! Well I thought it was funny anyway…”). And yet I really struggle just to remain tepid towards the finale.

        Back before S3 I was pushing for giving the writers a chance, I was sure things would be better than we feared, right up until it wasn’t.
        I remember back when it ran trying so hard to everyone to give the finale chance. I was sure it would be awesome, right up until it wasn’t.
        I’m an optimist, and I get really ticked when my optimism is betrayed.

      • garnet says:

        OK I guess it’s back to the theory drawing board, although an n of 1 is not necessarily statistically significant…perhaps others would like to weigh in on this?

      • atcDave says:

        Obviously a small sample set!

      • Funny. I’m more of a pessimist and I love the ending. And Dave’s explanation actually makes total sense for that too, now that I think about it. Because I’m pretty pessimistic, the ending just feels… right. Bittersweet, definitely, but also just emphatically correct. That as a simple statistical matter, people taking life-threatening risks consistently will have things go horribly wrong from sheer randomness if nothing else. When a tragedy happens to them, I only see that these great people have a chance, and the will to recover.

        So an optimist like Dave looks at Goodbye and feels betrayed. A pessimist like me takes it for granted and feels grateful that they can recover. You might be on to something there.

      • atcDave says:

        It seems counter-intuitive, but it may be true!

      • BdaddyDL says:

        I do feel betrayed by Fedak. We trusted him and he gave us an ending that you had to figure things out, when that hadn’t happened before.
        Then it alienated even more of the fan base making it even harder to get the movie.

      • atcDave says:

        BDaddy I also have some pretty bad feelings towards CF. But I don’t believe he was deliberately trying to yank our chains. Its just his idea of what’s a good ending and mine, are NOT the same!

      • oldresorter says:

        Dave I probably have had the hardest feelings here toward CF almost since I began blogging right after Pink Slip. No longer. But yes, I always assigned a certain amount of cunning to him, that he loved pulling the fan base’s chains, and since he had control of the story, I felt there was a certain mean spirit in his way. Now, I’m more of the mind that he and I simply don’t agree on what we like in Chuck. Cause for me, once the s1 thru s3.5 team quit, the story telling and clever part of the writing got really bad, even if the relationship did OK, it never quite sizzled the same way.

        I feel banter and witty lines created the vaunted chemistry I so love (not just in Chuck, but in Castle, POI, BN, etc), i.e. writing. YS and ZL enhanced the chemistry, but the writing is a requirement to knock things out of the park. To me, that witty conversation was the magic part missing in 5×12 and 5×13, not Sarah’s memory. The same was true for most of s3 x 1 thru s3 x 12. If Alt – Sarah and Chuck had shared more witty repartee that implied the two of them clicking on most cylinders in spite of Sarah’s lack of memory, I think those two eps would have worked fine for most of you, even with the ending as is. Wit was the ‘hook’ used by the writers in s1 and s2 to keep us on board.

        So I didn’t like the final two eps, no biggie, same is true of most TV I watch, some parts, arcs, eps aren’t for me. Other than Castle, I can’t think of another TV series that I watch every week and enjoy about the same, or no episode in particular I’d need to watch next on reruns. Most other tv, after about twice thru, I’m down to a list of 6-12 eps I want to see again every once in a while – final 3 eps of Everwood for example or Honeymooners, etc in Chuck.

        As far as the final arc I’ve seen it enough, and probably don’t need to again any time soon. But, I’ve hit a point where I’m happy that some here can appreciate this arc, I still read comments although I don’t post often. I know others are still trying to find a way to enjoy the final, asking for help to find a way to enjoy the final arc. My advice is the final arc doesn’t have to be your favorite Chuck time, you simply need to accept the story as the writer’s best effort and move on. Nothing we can do will change the episodes, or our initial reaction to those eps. With time, the eps become part of Chuck cannon, part of the crazy highs and lows the show provided along the way.

        That’s all I got! Hope it maybe helped someone (if not, maybe it helped me!)

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I won’t argue with most of that. Although I do hold the later seasons in high regard, there’s no doubt there were problems.
        The best I can do with the finale is acceptance. I no longer find it terrible, but it doesn’t score high on my favorites list either.

      • Angus Macnab says:

        Sometimes I wonder if some of the bad feelings that get laid at Chris Fedak’s feet shouldn’t actually be dropped on Josh Schwartz’s toes… from a considerable height. Hehe.

      • atcDave says:

        I have such conflicted feelings about our show runners!

  6. All valid points by everyone and I also believe that the memories are suppressed, but I don’t find it likely that the memory of almost dying at the hands of Shaw (ether time) would come back because they’d need the same stimuli to start resurfacing, the brain is definitely tricky to understand but I think it’s safe to say that suppressed memories need triggers to reactivate, which is why I think she’s less likely to remember the more painful things.

    Guilt is a powerful emotion and thanks to Yvonne brilliant acting we could see that her excuse for running was pretty much a lie, she does feel their past relationship or she wouldn’t have been defensive or dismissive about it, the evidence is all over her face from the moment she recalls the carving on the wall of their house until the beach, especially in her eyes when she looks back and forth between Quinn and Chuck! I don’t know how Yvonne does it but her ability with facial expressions rivals some of the greatest actresses ever, it’s too bad she never gets major credit or nominations for it! A lot of major critics stereotype her as “just another bombshell with no talent” to them I say their out of their damn minds!

    • garnet says:

      Actually that is one of my biggest concerns. If they are out of the spy game, and the trigger for memories is a similar experience….That line of reasoning would suggest that many mission related memories would not be returning and let’s face it, the missions were a big part of them falling in love. Blocking out the bad memories might be a good thing as myself, I have often wondered how a series with 4 seasons keeps being credited with 5. 🙂 The other possibility I see would be that the more painful, the more likely the memory would be to return. In that case a few memories like Jill, Hannah, Lou and Prague might be enough to derail the process…
      I know I’m spiraling a bit. I guess this is one of the bad days 🙂

      And yes I can see that they are now on the beach as equals (basically even though Chuck now has the new intersect) with no one to tell them what they can and can’t do. No missions to risk themselves on. Only time to rediscover each other…They have the opportunity to fall in love all over again, that should be romantic enough, why do I see it as being a bit of a challenge?

      • atcDave says:

        It’s because we saw how awful the process could be in S3. It can be challenging to remember how different things are in the end.

        But we were told several times Sarah’s memories were in there. Including, really, at the start of this episode. Morgan told us specifically that everything important came back. And that’s where I think Sarah was in the beach. Everything important came back as Chuck was talking (according to Yvonne that’s exactly how she played the part). Details may fill in more slowly.

      • garnet says:

        Ah! this season 3 of which you speak is something I must have blocked from my memory… 😉

      • revdr says:

        Because that challenge is a farce….why should that even be necessary? It’s redundant; and a cheap resolution to an unfinished story. I’m not a pessimist; I’m a realist, and that scenario just doesn’t fly. If they were going to do that then it should have been done earlier in the season as to give more time to show recovery.

      • garnet says:

        dang, just noticed that emoticons don’t seem to show up. just add a wink to my last comment. and there were a couple of smilies earlier, but oh wel.

      • Revdr, I’m pretty sure that “realist” is just a word pessimists made up to describe themselves. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        I think its a symptom of your affliction! In my experience, optimists are right just as often as pessimists.
        The only difference being when the pessimist is right he has the consolation of saying “told you so.” While the optimist puts all their eggs in one basket, and can only be annoyed when they’re wrong.

        *oh, and notice it’s an optimist who came up the “bright side” of pessimism!*

      • revdr says:

        Not really Arthur; I’m usually a glass half full type of person, but I do subscribe to as much of realistic point of view as I can. I’m a hopeless romantic, so how much more optimistic can I be? I disliked the ending only because of the ambiguity, not because I, at any point, thought that Chuck and Sarah wouldn’t find their way back to each other. I just wanted to see more of a sign of things moving forward. A story and a kiss just didn’t fill the bill for me. I needed something more “real”.

  7. That’s a great point Dave by that last scene Sarah fully understands the same thing she knew prior to the memory suppression, that Chuck loves her unconditionally, without judgement for something she couldn’t control, she remembers what’s most important Chuck just wants to be there for/with her. No forced remembering or pressure, even if she can’t make sense of everything right away.

    Mac paints this picture very well in his story Chuck versus the Lost Years, anybody on here that had issues with the finale. click on Dave’s fan-fic list at the right of the page and read it! It’ll make you feel a lot better about everything!

    • atcDave says:

      Most people complaining have already read it! Feeling okay about the future for the characters, and liking the way it was shown on screen are two different issues. I’ve read many post-series stories that I love. But none of them really make the show’s sending itself better, they just help us imagine that the next few chapters are better than the last!

      • revdr says:

        I’m on of those in that camp, Dave. There are some great post series fanfics that I adore; but as I’ve said before. Fanfiction doesn’t provide any solace for me. It shouldn’t be the job of anyone else to complete of correct the work of the original writer. That just confirms that the original didn’t want to, or didn’t care about the reaction of the fanbase. And that’s fine; after all, it is their vision.

      • atcDave says:

        We do need to remember the end worked for most viewers according to polls I’ve seen. I firmly believe a better ending could have been made that would have pleased more of us (like me…). I don’t mean to defend the ending itself, but let’s not ascribe bad motives on top of it!

      • revdr says:

        I didn’t mean to cast aspersions as to motive. I only mean that it was their story to tell, and they told it their way. It was their vision, and I accept that. I didn’t have to like it necessarily, but I certainly respect them for sticking to it.

      • joe says:

        Rev., yeah, it was their choice to make. I’m full of stories tonight, but let me give you one more that might make their choices easier to swallow. Did you ever watch The Sopranos?

        The controversy over the ending for that show – 10 seconds of silence and black – was huge. People thought they had lost their cable and were calling up stations, networks, studio and anyone else they could think of to complain. Then they heard that this was David Chase’s (their version of Chris Fedak) plan all along, so they vilified him for that.

        I have to admit, I didn’t get it either and was thoroughly confused. The question then was “What happened? Is Tony dead, or is this just an ending that leaves it up to the audience to decide as they will?”

        Even after watching all 87 episodes twice after the initial viewing, I was still undecided. But as of last month (and either my 3rd or 4th re-watch of the entire series – I lost track!) I finally got it. I finally saw the hints given through out that this is the way Chase sees death – and he gives a lot of hints. Now his meaning is trivially and painfully obvious and I feel like a bit of an idiot to not have understood what he was saying before.

        Which isn’t to say I agree with him at all. In fact, as a practicing Catholic, I completely disagree. But at least now I understand the message relayed on screen. I can now say that anyone who criticizes it as “artsy” missed the point. There’s nothing wrong with the execution or weak in the portrayal. It’s exactly what Chase wanted to show for a reason even if I disagree with the reason.

        I have to think of the ending for Chuck the same way. Each time I do a re-watch I pick up on something new. This time I began to understand who Sarah was a bit better. You just know the scene of her telling Bryce in the limo that she’s not good with relationships is going resonate when we get to The Goodbye. The first five times I saw the episode I confess that I totally forgot about that earlier confession, yet, it matters.

        By the way, my reason for starting this place was to give voice to my feelings about the show, so I’m not going to criticize others for doing the same thing. The only guidelines we’ve been insisting on is to show respect, and you did.

      • revdr says:

        Thanks, Joe. I felt the same about The Sopranos too. I’ve never been a big fan of ambiguity so that ending was a head scratcher for me. With Chuck, I felt somewhat, no immensely, cheated, because I didn’t think that leaving things to the imagination, positive or negative, was a fair way to end things. Then, tonight, I watched the end of HIMYM, and while I wasn’t overly enthused, I saw the writers attempt to connect all of the dots, somewhat successfully, and again bring that story full circle, to the woman who, the writer/creators admitted, should have been the mother all along. I was irked, but I understood. Not having any talent as a writer in this medium (or any other for that matter), I realize that not everyone is ever going to be totally satisfied with the conclusion to any tv series, although, there are some that are universally praised (M.A.S.H, Newhart, Cheers, Mary Tyler Moore and few others); but, these days especially, writers seem to stray from conventional wisdom and call things as they see them, without taking into account viewer reaction. And that’s their right, since they’re the creators, and it’s their story to tell.

      • Dave mentioned seeing hints about the ending in prior episodes, I have a few more, phase 3 obviously but the biggest hint to the ending was 2 scenes in living dead; the 1st being when Steven B. gives that speech about the perils and consequences of being a spy and the 2nd is when Sarah gives Chuck her spy will, almost foreseeing that her constant desire to protect Chuck would come back to bite her.

      • atcDave says:

        Rev I’m a little soft on the story teller’s “rights”. Although its obviously up to them how they want to tell the story, I think it is hugely disrespectful to the audience to leave so much hanging, or change the tone of the show at finale time. And yet both commonly happen.
        Finale season is so often my least favorite part of the television season.

      • revdr says:

        Oh, Dave, I’m there with you…I totally felt disrespected with the way Chuck ended. I still do. I hated that everything was left for us to figure out. I’ve said before that we were at the writer’s mercy, and to a certain degree, we are. To leave things to our own perception was blatantly unfair. There was no closure, just their word that everything was indeed ok. We should have been given the opportunity to see that. We didn’t, not really.

      • Aplegat says:

        In Sopranos, however, the execution of the finale was much better than in case of Chuck. In the last scene of Sopranos there’s a great deal of effort put into establishing Tony’s point of view. The camera shows Tony entering the bar – and then it cuts to the bar interior as seen by Tony. Than we see Tony looking at the jukebox repertoire – and a moment later we can see it ourselves through his eyes. Tony looks up towards the entrance – and we can see the person entering; the same thing is repeated when Tony’s family members enter and when he looks at other persons in the bar, among others the guy entering the restroom. Finally he looks at the entrance when Meadow is about to enter, we should see her with his eyes – and the screen cuts to black and there’s the final silence. Coupled with the hints in episodes before concerning gangster life and how it ends, I thought the solution was rather clear, and I liked it, and I’m not that fond of ‘artsy’ finales.

        In Chuck, however, I felt the finale was rushed and underdeveloped, far below the level of execution the show runners made me expect before.

      • joe says:

        That’s all true, Aplegat. But it was that very effort and exectution, the switching POVs spelling out explicitly what Tony was seeing, that confused the audience. Or, at least, it confused me. It was unlike the rest of the series.

        The hints are another story. I agree – they were there in spades. And I’m amazed that all the hints I saw throughout just went over my head. Even there, I have an excuse, though. You see, the first few times through I was just trying to figure out who was killing whom in that great war between Tony and Phil and struggling to remember the chain of events that led to the disaster. You know; Phil wanted Tony dead because Tony prevented him from dealing with Tony B his way because Tony B killed Phil’s brother Billy because Billy killed Tony B’s mentor and friend because that mentor had hired Tony B. to kill Billy’s friend Joey who had killed Loraine because Loraine wouldn’t kick up to Johnny Sac when he and Carmine Jr. were are war because…

        Man, that got complex. The subtlety of techniques used in the ending didn’t exactly tell me what happened until I got a better handle on how David Chase was seeing things. You almost need a degree in psychology!

  8. Anyhow in other news, Nerd HQ has seen a moderate surge in contributors recently! In truth I the the # of funders was more important to Zac than the money amount and we’ve shot over 10000 as of yesterday so let’s keep this going people:)

  9. Just remembered that was joe who mentioned that not Dave, sorry for the mistake joe:)

  10. gatesoutcast says:

    Watching the Show Intelligence, because a family wants someone to watch tv with them. A Chuck rip off, and to my shock and disappointment, former General Beckman appears on the show, along with Fringe folks, but Beckman!!!!! OH Diane!!

    • mr2686 says:

      Diane’s husband is on the show, so I really don’t see a problem with that. If you really think this is a Chuck rip off, then you really haven’t watched the show.

  11. resaw says:

    Just read through all the comments above. Thank you, all, and Dave and Joe for leading it off as you do every week. I appreciated all the different comments. New to me, especially, was the thought in Angus McNab’s comment about why the writers went in the direction they did.

    I am almost certain I will feel as confused and bewildered as I ever have been when I watch the finale again (watching these last few episodes requires emotional courage every time), but whether you like or dislike the journey that the writers take us on, they have certainly succeeded in keeping me fully invested to the very end, and in the numerous rewatches that this emotional investment has compelled in me.

    Dave and Joe, thank you for bringing up the “practice” scene in the bullet train, followed by the picture Chuck draws; it is scenes like those that precede the final scene of the finale that give me hope for Chuck and Sarah beyond the finale (horribly written sentence; I hope you get what I mean).

    A question of content in this episode: Sarah’s casket has her name listed as “Walker, Sarah.” Does not Quinn know that she is married to Chuck by this stage, and goes by Barkowski? Or does he only know her by her professional name?

    Another point of hope, an indication that the writers want us to be positive beyond Sarah’s dire circumstances is when Sarah says to Chuck: “I don’t want to live my life in danger anymore. I’m ready to retire and start a family. Our future is exciting enough.” Did they write that merely to tear it all away from Chuck and Sarah and fans of the show, or do they mean this as a promise for the characters, and by extension for us as well?

    Somehow, this time, Casey’s final words to Chuck in this episode, “We’ll find her. We’ll find her,” moved me a great deal. Perhaps because I recognized those words as being spoken not just for himself and for Chuck, but also for Sarah herself, who now has no memories of her last five years.

    Thanks, everyone, for your thoughts.

    • atcDave says:

      Quinn knew just the week before that Chuck and Sarah were married. but maybe he thought it was just a cover?
      As far as the coffin goes, those were prepared by Sarah and Casey themselves; so maybe Sarah just wants to keep the Bartowski name as under the radar as possible?

    • your POV is very similar to mine, which I greatly appreciate as there aren’t too many comments that share our POV on this matter:) I always commend writers for not folding to fan pressure (not only in tv but games and books too) another great example is the video game The last of us, a fantastic emotionally gripping adventure that frankly puts everything else in its genre (post apocalypse) regardless of the medium its in to shame. That was also a highly controversial/ambiguous ending, that forces you to ponder its meaning. I am so glad the developers (Naughty Dog Inc.) stuck with their gut on that because The last of us is one of the greatest video games of all time and I will always remember it and talk about it!

      I feel the same way about Chuck its the greatest tv show ever! A writers job is to take the viewer on a compelling emotional story and make it something that won’t simply fade away once its finished, Chuck accomplished exactly this and I’m glad the writers did what they did, otherwise Chuck would’ve been just another thing that slowly faded away. I can list several other things that do such feats like:

      harry potter
      Breaking Bad
      The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
      Final Fantasy VII
      Star Wars

      P.S Casey’s gesture at the end of Sarah is one of the best moments of the entire series! He always did everything in his power stack the odds in Charah’s favor!:)

      • Casey’s moment with Sarah is one of my favorite scenes of the show. (Which I say about WAY too many scenes, lol). But I’m going to wait to wax poetic on it until the next episode thread.

        Are we sure Sarah actually changed her name? Also, even if she did, would it matter? Sarah wasn’t her real name to begin with. If she actually changed her name, wouldn’t it be Sam (or Moe) Bartowski?

      • atcDave says:

        We can be pretty sure as of “Family Volkoff” that “Sarah Lisa Walker” was her legal name. After that we really don’t know.

  12. Name Required says:

    I’m a little surprised how much controversy there still is on the finale, especially since it (and most of Bullet Train) is ripped off from Knight & Day, the rather lame 2010 spy-and-civilian movie with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. Check it out because the structure (down to the repetitive dialogue by one character at the beginning and the other at the end) is what the Chuck ending is all about. Fedak almost surely saw Knight and Day (which was kind of a Chuck rip-off itself) and said, “Hey, that’s how I can end the show, I’ll have Chuck reassuring Sarah on the beach just like Sarah did to Chuck in the Pilot.”

    Fedak did that a lot, rip off (er, reference) movies. The Chuck pilot (strong blonde agent and befuddled, manipulated civilian guy) owes a lot to Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. (There’s even a North by Northwest poster in Chuck’s room instead of the Tron poster that comes later.) Much of seasons 1 and 2 recycle lines and scenarios from Live Free or Die Hard, which came out in the summer of 2007, just as they were beginning to write the first episodes of Chuck. That includes the classic line Sarah uses on Chuck (“you are that guy”) when they are dancing in Ring. Bruce Willis’ McClain says that to the computer programmer character in Live Free or Die Hard.

    • atcDave says:

      Chuck was pretty deliberately an homage to the spy genre. That it aggressively borrowed and parodied from other shows and movies was part of its appeal.

      But the characters of Chuck and Sarah had a life all their own. Themes and tropes in the Charah relationship are always a hot topic of discussion; and I think the show generally did well with it, but on occasion things failed pretty spectacularly.
      The ending will likely remain controversial forever, or at least until we get a canon epilogue. What may or may not have been recycled is beside the point, many of us needed more clarity or more pay off for the characters we loved.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah, just a little more of a definitive glimpse into the future would have made a world of difference to me……

      • joe says:

        Picture this – a view through the window into a yard that shows two children at play and a white picket fence. Sarah’s voice saying “Dinner’s ready!”, loudly. Chuck’s voice saying “Your mother’s waiting…”

      • atcDave says:

        Awwww, now you know Joe that’s exactly what I needed!

      • revdr says:

        Joe; that would have been great, but honestly, I didn’t even need that much. Just something along the lines of a knock on the door, or a callback to the courtyard scene from vs Sarah with a “I remember” would have been more than enough for me. Just anything definitive……

  13. revdr says:

    Wow….I haven’t seen such a violently negative reaction to a series finale (HIMYM) ever. But that finale proves my point; that no matter how much of a fan you are, or how much time you invest in a program (in this case, 9 years); at the end of the day, you are at the mercy of the writers, who are going to tell the story their way, and the fans wind up being an afterthought. Any finale is, at best, never going to be liked by everyone, but shouldn’t loyalty to your work have some value? I actually liked the HIMYM finale; and like Chuck it came full circle back to it’s beginning narrative, but I have never seen such outrage from a fanbase before.

    • atcDave says:

      From what I’ve read I’m glad I wasn’t watching that one!

    • ArmySFC says:

      to me the ending of HIMYM showed vision that so many shows including Chuck lacked. TBPT knew where the wanted to go and how they wanted it to end. they knew from before season 2 started how they were going to end it. the final scene was filmed 8 years ago prior to the start of season 2 so no matter if they lasted 2 seasons or nine they had the ending they wanted from the start. i can’t think of another show i watched that can say that. people may not have liked the ending they got but at least TPTB knew where they were going.

      • revdr says:

        And the thing is… I loved it. It was indeed a story that was worked out from the beginning. I think that many fans were off put by the events leading up to the finale; but it was realistic, and in the end, really poetic.

    • DKD says:

      Twitter and the blogosphere tends to amplify the opinions of the dissatisfied, while ignoring those of the satisfied. I wasn’t a HIMYM viewer, but I got the impression everyone HATED the ending just from the twitter reaction. Then, I had lunch with three non-Twitter viewers and every single one (1) liked the ending and (2) was unaware of the the twitter reaction. All three of these opinions were independent of one another because they hadn’t spoken to each other. Thus, the “echo chamber” effect was not present.

  14. Okay, first of all: PLEASE don’t spoil the end of HIMYM for me!!!!

    Second, Josh is making a great point about this episode (and the finale) that I think people glaze over: It’s the best-executed of any of the Chuck arcs. I saw somebody above saying they hated the scene where the train separates, but that’s a brilliantly done scene! Yvonne, Chuck and Quinn sell it beautifully, and it’s completely heart breaking.

    I know some people hated S3 because it was dark, but that was never my problem with it. I don’t like S3 because it is of poor quality. The relationship drama was false, the angst was forced, the characters are irrational: it’s a mess, and its unbearable

    Bullet Train (and after) is the complete opposite of that. The plotline is set up beautifully with the Morgansect, and follows a logical pattern through Sarah. The characters all behave completely rationally, as you would expect them to in the situation they’re in. And every member of the cast, from Sarah to Lester, NAILS their respective parts in this episode. Zach plays Chuck’s growing desperation with a subtlety that I didn’t think he possessed.

    I remember watching this episode, being on pins and needles the entire time; it has all the brilliant elements you’d expect from a great Chuck episode: beautiful Chuck/Sarah moments, Awesome and Morgan being ridiculous, a terrific Jeffster bit that ties the whole cast together, and a serious cliffhanger at the end. Bullet Train is one of a few rare Chuck episodes (along with Push Mix, Goodbye, Phase 3, etc) where every single moment of the episode is terrifically executed.

    It’s not nearly as terrifyingly suspenseful as vs Sarah, and not as beautifully hopeful as Goodbye, but Bullet Train is one hell of a setup. Its infinitely clear that every member of the Chuck team cared deeply about this show, and wanted to send it off with as much force as possible. In the words of the guys from Chuck vs. the Podcast, it’s a love letter to the fans, and I’m grateful for it.

    • Okay, I know I just called this the best-executed Chuck arc, but if anybody wanted to argue the end of S2, I couldn’t disagree. I flip back and forth.

      • revdr says:

        I’m partial to the end of season 2, myself. I just felt like everything came together that season.

      • atcDave says:

        I would have agreed until S3 ruined it. But I’m quite pleased with several of the arcs, especially the start of S2, Volkoff and end of S4.

    • anthropocene says:

      I started the thread on the scene of Chuck and Sarah’s separation. I don’t think anyone in that thread hated the scene or thought it poorly executed. We found it hard to watch because it was so heart-rending (agreed: well-played by the actors). As were Sarah’s collapse at the end of “vs. the Last Details” and the incredibly sad ending of the next episode.

    • atcDave says:

      As Anthro said, I really don’t believe anyone is disputing the quality of the finale arc, and certainly not Bullet Train. But we glazed over the previous point because, well, that’s not the point. Content matters at least as much as quality. I don’t watch much of anything on premium cable for exactly this reason; I don’t care so much about quality if I don’t like what they’re doing with the story and characters.
      S3 had a lot working against it, both quality and content. It’s funny if you’ve ever read the Alternative posts and threads for S3, there is just so much we complain about and dislike, it fails on multiple levels.
      The finale arc is far better done. That may be part of why it generated more praise. The reservations viewers have are all story related, NOT qualitative.

      • Well, first off, Aplegat criticized the execution specifically. But I wasn’t talking about that, so much as people criticizing Bullet Train while ignoring its strengths. I don’t think I ever said that people were criticizing its education, just that they were tremendously undervaluing it.

        Dave, we’re just going to have to agree to disagree on that point. “Quality” (whatever that even means) matters, a lot. But more important than quality is character – both the literal characters and the character of the show itself. S3 warps the characters we all love into something unrecognizable, where we keep seeing Chuck and Sarah acting in ways they just shouldn’t. S5 sees the characters we love working to overcome an immense tragedy. The former is unwatchable, but the latter is the deepest positivity the show ever offered.

        I really liked Chuck after S4. After this arc, it was hands down my favorite show ever.

        And really, the Sarah tragedy was long overdue. One of my biggest problems with Chuck was that bad things so rarely happened. Other than Steven’s death, Team B just walked away from too much completely unscathed. By the end of Season 4, the risks felt cheap and the suspense had died out from the show. What happens at the end of Bullet Train feels honest, without being brutal – that C/S would suffer an immense tragedy, but that it was one they could recover from, and one that the story made abundantly clear that they would recover from.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I agree completely about the difference between S3 and S5.
        But I partly disagree about the “need” for any of what we saw. I don’t feel any need to see such consequences; it simply is not what I watch television for. Real life is hard enough, I’m not looking for more in my entertainment. And I think we’d seen plenty of it from the various beatings, shootings, long falls and torture the team had endured over the course of five seasons. As far as that goes, the last arc is just one more trauma in the long list of what we’d seen. What sets it apart, and what I will always dislike about it, is the lack of a clearly positive resolution. Or at least getting to see that positive resolution. Those happy denouements had long been one of my very favorite elements of the show; and that last arc is conspicuous for not having one.

    • revdr says:

      Sorry, Arthur……

      • Aplegat says:

        Arthur, I stand by my critique of execution of the last episode mainly, not that much the whole last arc. As far as the structure of the series go, I think if they decided to toy with the idea of almost destroying Sarah character (not a move I like, but let’s go with it), it would be much better if they gave the damage and healing more room to develop instead of cramming it all into the short space of those last few episodes; still, within the confines they set, the execution was reasonably good in vs Bullet Train and vs Sarah. I didn’t like vs Goodbye though, neither for its premise nor the execution; I think I will return to this when we talk about the final episode.

  15. thinkling says:

    Well, at this point, there’s not much I can add. Dave and Joe and all of you have pretty well covered it. Thank you Dave and Joe!

    I have a sort-of love/hate relationship with Bullet Train and the rest of the final arc. Or make that a like/hate relationship for the rest of the arc.

    I loved Bullet Train up until the separation. I hated saying good-bye to Sarah … and Chuck-and-Sarah. I hate it even more, now that I know we never really see them again … or only a glimpse of their returning on the beach.

    The train car scene, from the awkward silence and the bonding over the Intersect to the practice and the drawing of the dream … well, that’s in the top of my top tier of favorite scenes from Chuck. I consider it the most intimate scene of the series. Where the last scene of Honeymooners was incredibly romantic, this was exquisitely intimate … an intimacy befitting a more mature couple, a love more tested and true. That’s as it should be, and it makes what follows all the more excruciating. Of course I mean the heart-rending uncoupling of the train cars, symbolic of the uncoupling of the couple (until they reunite on the beach), and the most brutal, gut-wrenching scene of the series — the torture and memory wipe of Sarah Bartowski.

    So Bullet Train has those extreme scenes, which ultimately makes it a great episode. It’s something Chuck has done well so many times: run the gamut from high to low and pack an episode with so many different moods. That said, it is still hard to watch, because of what it foreshadows: the pain and disappointment of the finale and the end of Chuck.

    I would have to mention how much I liked the side plot, with Jeffster saving the day and finally learning the truth about Chuck and Sarah. I have to say that S5 is the first time I have actually liked very much of Jeff and Lester. Kudos for that.

    Favorite throw-away line (cracks me up every time): Hello, Little Ear-ling. Such a funny scene for Lester.

    Great episode … hard to watch.

    • Loved both scenes. And the Casey/Lester stuff was just gold.

      Casey: Your country needs you.
      Lester: Canada?

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah and … “We have a John Casey who works at the Buymore.” “That’s me you moron.”

    • atcDave says:

      No surprise I agree 100% Thinkling. Bullet Train is a great episode, that is really painful to re-watch. Really that applies to the whole finale arc. I still believe a more clear epilogue would have made it far easier to enjoy the good aspects of what lies ahead, but there’s no doubt what they did, they did very well.

    • noblz says:

      I agree with Thinkling in all except….

      I think Jeff/Lester was handled, overall, very well in S5 (and those who know me know how hard it was to write that), but this episode’s Jeff/Lester/Buy More offering was, to me at least, terrible. It was the one thing I didn’t like about this episode. Jeff/Lester were good until this for me. I liked all of the rest of the episode for the very reasons Thinkling talked about. Both ends of the emotional roller-coaster was well done.

      Other Dave

      • atcDave says:

        “Other Dave”, funny.

        I do find myself liking Jeff and Lester here, and in most of this season. But I completely agree with saying that is pretty hard to write! I was really tired of them by the end of S4, but this is something I think they really did a good job of re-imagining, and doing surprisingly fun stuff with those characters.

      • noblz says:


        The thing that usually didn’t score in S5, for me, was Morgan. Jeff and Lester for the most part went back to being like they were in S1, which I liked as a secondary or terciary story.

        I just thought in this ep that the slapstick was a little overboard for my tastes.

        Morgan, on the other hand, was a drag on the story in S5 in my humble view. I really liked S5 overall. The Chuck/Sarah stuff in S5 was very good for the most part.

      • The entire final arc is difficult to watch, the thing that gets me every time is Sarah’s eyes after Quinn admits he lied and the rapid shaky glance from Chuck to Quinn and back again! I’ve said plenty before and say it again Yvonne was always brilliant but really think the last arc meant a great deal to her and Zac otherwise they wouldn’t have put everything they had into it! Absolutely legendary and brilliant acting, that they get little recognition for their talents just seems totally bogus, but sadly unless your known for a high-profile role or controversial stunt, Hollywood doesn’t pay you the slightest glance, which is incredibly disappointing:(

  16. I have to give extra praise to Yvonne during the torture scene, it’s got to be extremely difficult to appear to be in unbearable pain when not being physical struck, if I could ask her how she managed to play that I’d love to know!

    • I certainly agree with this sentiment, it was heart wrenching knowing she is seeing her memories being wiped away, but her acting was great as well in that scene!

      • garnet says:

        Maybe the fact that they all played the characters we had grown to love to the very best of their ability is what makes it so difficult to see. It is closer to seeing your friend’s family ripped apart than watching some ho hum actors play a so so scene on an ok show (and by ho hum, so so, and ok I am NOT referring to CHUCK, just 90% of the shows out there). I watched Burn Notice and I enjoyed it, but would I have shed a tear if Michael and Fiona had not made their final escape…No, not at all. There are very rare moments on TV that touch us beyond the show itself. Aside from CHUCK, I can think of only one other scene that was played so well I will likely remember it for a good long time…The breakup of Michael J Fox and Tracey Poulan (sp?) on Family Ties. Their relationship had an element of Truth to it (along with a great song). So it is not surprising that they, in fact, later married.

      • I second all of that! I know Dave doesn’t share my view on the belief that tv and it’s situations should echo real life and that’s fine:) I just can’t stand terrible acting or tv situations with couples, that would never happen in real life.

        I love this show I don’t need the “happily ever after” just the the satisfaction of them still with each other is enough to leave me grateful for what I invested:) besides we already got a pretty decent peak at the happy future we know they’ll eventually reach, I wouldn’t doubt Sarah realizes she’s pregnant shortly after the fade to black, they practiced quite a lot in that train compartment after all:) what better indicator of love than your bearing husbands child:)

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I’m an emotional sort of guy, I often invest emotionally in the shows I watch. I was glad Burn Notice ended well, although I hated that last season. It was like putting Chuck S3 last and ending the show in Paris. Very unsatisfying.
        But Chuck is unique for the length and strength of that passion.

      • garnet says:

        My thoughts on Burn Notice are much the same actually. It was nice to see Michael and Fiona together, but after a final season that ripped them apart, and changed Michael in so many ways, I was no longer sure that they should end up together. Killing Michael’s mother… nice finish for her but not really what I would have expected. All in all not bad but an awful final season overall. Having said that I have never posted on a BN Blog or Fansite, and have never bothered to a look at the BN page on USA. It was a show, we watched every last episode, but it remained a show. Chuck was a SHOW! We watched every episode, debated points, told our friends about it, schemed to get another season, rewatched over two years the entire searies, and hope for a movie. There is a difference.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Garnet exactly.

  17. revdr says:

    I’m like Dave; with Chuck I was so emotionally invested in Chuck and Sarah being together, that the ending left me a little cold. I know, it was a hopeful one, but it never has rung true for me. I don’t like having to imagine a happy ending; and I’ve always felt it unfair; and I still feel short changed. And I certainly didn’t like being told (after the fact) that “oh yeah, they’re together”, and the absurdity of the coolness of getting to fall in love all over again. I believe in romantic notion of it all, but for me, I just needed to see something, anything that could give just little forward motion. The ambiguity left to many open holes for my taste.

    • Funny thing is I was/am just as emotionally invested as you guys are, but the end didn’t (and still doesn’t) leave me feeling cheated or upset, I love the show, the couple and the deep meaning behind the final arc and finale way too much to harbor an ill-will towards it or the writers for that matter.

      • atcDave says:

        I have come to grudgingly accept it as a completely happy ending. But I am very disappointed in our show runner and very unlikely to watch another of his shows. I am like rev in that I need to see it to be emotionally satisfied. Intellectually rev and I have drawn some different conclusions, but emotionally I think we’re in a similar place.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah Josh; I just don’t like ambiguity. Open ended finales to me is just cheap story. As I said on several occasions, I didn’t need to see a white picket fence or kids running in the yard, but a 30 second flash forward could have made all the difference in the word for me. What can I say…I like happy endings. I think that everyone wants to find that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow…….

      • Yeah and who knows you might still get your pot of gold, time will tell! I’m just part of a select group who found nothing whatsoever to dislike about the final arc finale, or the entire series for that matter While I put certain episodes higher on my list there’s nothing I dislike about any particular episode, arc or character, which believe me I’ve never said about a show before!

      • revdr says:

        sorry…spell check…world

      • revdr says:

        I don’t know if you ever watched The West Wing, but that story ended perfectly to me. We knew what happened to every major character, and there was complete closure, yet there was opened-ended possibilities for future stories. That was satisfying for me emotionally and, realistically. That what’s what I didn’t get from Chuck’s ending. It wasn’t my job to imagine what happened. And, like Dave, it makes it difficult to trust the showrunner in future projects because of that. At least with HIMYM, you know that they had a ending planned from the beginning, and, like it, or hate it, they never strayed from it. I can appreciate that.

      • I haven’t but my parents did, they loved it! I believe that if CF did return to penn a confutation he’d finish it in a satisfying way, there’s plenty of evidence proving he’s capable and his staff is capable. The case here is he went for nostalgia, while leaving what happens next up to the viewer. That path of choice isn’t really any reason to doubt him or his staff, we saw the future happiness we wanted regardless of where he ultimately brought Charah for the finale, if he didn’t care at all he wouldn’t have included the various things he did! He’d wrap any continuation up neatly like he did ring part 2 and cliffhanger (not counting cliffhangers here obviously).

      • thinkling says:

        Another show I thought did a really good job with the finale was Monk. Tied up the main story-line, gave Monk closure and someone to care about in a believable way, and left plenty of room for more adventures.

      • atcDave says:

        Josh I don’t think CF’s track record with possible finales is very encouraging! Of episodes he thought were possible series finales, only Cliffhanger, or maybe Push Mix, ended in ways I would have found acceptable.

        And obviously I’m greedier than rev. I strongly dislike unambiguous dark endings. I did require the house, the picket fence and the Baby in order to be completely happy. I don’t like ambiguous OR depressing for the major characters.
        I said shortly before the finale ran that I required Chuck and Sarah to be together and happy about it for me to consider it a passing grade. So we got that. That makes it a D- or better. We didn’t get one shred more than that. So it stays a D- for me.

      • Speaking of Monk, the Psych finale ended in San Fransisco, and they heavily implied Monk was the consultant in the kitchen alphabetizing the pantry. Poor Monk is going to get replaced by a fake psychic and his sidekick.

      • Re: West Wing. They cheated and had a flash forward at the Bartlett Presidential Library opening. It did help with the closure, though.

      • revdr says:

        Jeff you’re right…they did tease the end at the beginning of season 7 with West Wing; but that’s made the finale great. The only real unanswered questions were Josh and Donna (one of the longest wt/wt’s that I’ve ever dealt with) and the whether Sam would return. And they even had Sorkin back in a cameo. It was a great sendoff.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Jeff the Monk call out at the end of Psych was brilliant! I fell off my chair laughing, loved it!

      • Duckman says:

        The Josh/Donna wt/wt really never bothered me that much. They kept it innocent enough that I never got overly invested in that aspect. I was still rooting for them and cheering for them at the end, but it never annoyed me that they kept their distance. It felt natural and never manufactured, something very rarely gotten right on tv.
        Maybe Sorkin should be involved in the Chuck movie.

      • revdr says:

        Duckman; if they could get Sorkin I would get the Kickstarter campaign started right now…

    • BigKev67 says:

      Open ended finales to me are like going into a restaurant and being asked to cook your own meal. It’s the chef’s job to do that just as it’s the writer’s job to finish their story. It’s fine if the show itself has ambiguity built into its style or premise – but otherwise it just seems like a horrendous writing cop out to me. Forget trying to be cute – just finish the story.

      • revdr says:

        After writing all of that I just read that the creators of HIMYM are going to include an edited version of the finale with a different ending in the boxed set. Wow, bowing to public pressure. I honestly would prefer that that they leave things as they are. I can respect a writer more if they stick to their artistic integrity. Especially when they planned their ending from the beginning. I don’t ever have to like it, but I do want to know that end their vision is their vision, not mine.

      • revdr says:

        Oh yeah….I’m right there with you BigKev…..

      • atcDave says:

        Big Kev I agree 1000%.

        Rev, I think “artistic integrity” is a load of doodoo. I want a good product, and I’m not inclined to trust the writers to deliver without someone looking out for my interests. If the studio execs have to force on the writers, I’m fine with that too.
        Ridley Scott makes the comment about “Kingdom of Heaven” that he originally had a more downbeat ending, where Balin returns home from the Crusades alone. But the producers demanded something more upbeat and “satisfying”. He said his first thought was just “well it’s their money…” But after finishing the movie, he decided it was for the best, the happier ending was more satisfying to him too.

      • I think an overlook downside of the show constantly being “on the bubble” (at least for people who need solid closure is what I’d call the “multiple finale syndrome” you do it so many times that when the real one final comes around your gun shy. I think that is partly what happened with Chuck, it’s also why now that the writers have had ample time to pull back from the show I’d trust them to do a satisfying follow up.

      • revdr says:

        Dave, what I mean by that is that once the deed is done, have the courage and integrity to stick to your guns. I always reserve to right to disagree with you, or dislike what you do, but I certainly will lose some respect for you if your alter your vision to jibe with mine. I cant trust you if you can be so easily swayed. That’s why you and I seem to get along so well…..

      • atcDave says:

        Josh actually I think the multiple finales served us well. It meant the major story elements were resolved each season. But I think awkward questions were left between Chuck and Sarah in Ring, Ring II, and Goodbye. That’s a story telling decision I don’t care for.

        I see now rev. So my mulishness is an advantage!

      • Really Dave I only see unanswered questions about Charah in ring, I think you might be nit-picking with the other 2!

        Rev: I’m glad nobodies opinions are easily swayed here, it makes our debates much more interesting! I also respect writers that stick to their guns, you might not like what CF did but at least he kept his vision, which I think he had for the finale reasonably early on despite what people seem to think. I haven’t seen HIMYM yet but I hope they aren’t altering an ending they had planed from the start, that would be..disappointing to say the least..

      • atcDave says:

        Ring II left with pretty serious questions about Chuck’s truthfulness towards Sarah. I know a lot of us were concerned about it. And I strongly dislike the start of Anniversary, it sort of realized my worst fears about the sort of lying jerk Chuck might be. Although I ultimately like how the issue was resolved in that episode. Goodby is obviously still hotly controversial and many viewers feel it was an inadequate ending.
        None of these rose to the level of S3 discontent. But I think Cliffhanger is the only finale that ended on a completely acceptable note.

      • I kinda see ring II from chucks POV, he already told Beckmann he was out, he told Sarah too! His mother had been branded a traitor by the CIA, but he felt obligated to carry on his fathers search and as we see in Anniversary Beckmann wasn’t really going to let him out which means he was obviously still being monitored! I’m reminded of a quote from role models: “check back with in 30 years Charles, the CIA has a way of breaking young idealists especially when they’re in love.

        Such was the unfortunate nature of their profession and I think THAT is why I love that CF hit the reset button with the relationship, they can build a much healthier and stronger one and won’t have to constantly fight against the crushing noose (I hope I spelled that right lol) that comes with a life of espionage working for the u.s government!

      • atcDave says:

        A lie is a lie. It never works for me.
        But regardless, it left a negative pall over things at the end of Ring II. Even worse, the whole quitting at Ellie’s urging made Chuck look like an idiot.

        The bottom line on all of this is just that CF’s idea on where and how to end a story is completely at odds with my taste.

      • Not so fast Dave we all have to satisfy our family members when asked serious favors like that! Keep in mind at this point that Elle knew nothing of the intersect, from her point of few her little brother was a novice spy who’d gotten in over his head, she raised him, the only way she could keep him safe was by asking him to quit. Chuck said yes to put her mind at ease, I think he knew wouldn’t be out for real but what’s he supposed to say, “no Elle despite the fact that we watched our father get murdered at point blank rage and I was nearly framed and killed too, I can’t quit this extremely dangerous profession” come on Dave, THAT would make him look like an idiot!

        I appreciate writers that make us think for ourselves so yes I like CF more than a lot of people do! I think his decisions are reacted to way too cynically, throughout the Chuckverse, they may be unpopular but there his threads and situations are realistic. Just for comparison J.K Rowling made MANY controversial and unpopular decisions with Harry Potter but let’s face it it’s the greatest franchise of all time (the other 2 being Star Wars and Lord of the rings) and no one is bashing her for it!

      • I’m surprised you like Chuck at all to be honest, with how much you dislike your entertainment mirroring real life, are you surprised you like it?

      • atcDave says:

        No I completely disagree about Ellie. Chuck is an adult, and SARAH is his professional partner and significant other. Ellie has no say. Obviously out of love and respect Chuck needs to address her concerns. But her “request” is totally inappropriate, and Chuck is a fool at best, idiot at worst for honoring it without Sarah’s input. It makes him into a teenager. It is the natural progression of things that as we move into adulthood we become responsible for our own decisions; and parents and guardians must loose/sacrifice authority or we remain children. But especially, when you move on to an adult romantic relationship; that partner completely usurps any remaining parental authority. Again, not to say you stop respecting or caring for a parent; but the partner assumes priority and authority, not the parent.

        There is a difference between a tense, potentially controversial story element; and telling the whole story. And CF often did very well with such things. Sarah arresting Chuck’s mom at the end of Aisle of Terror was an awesome moment. It was a perfect example of the love vs duty conflict of interest that this show so often explored. That is a well conceived and executed sort of tension.
        But leaving the story hanging, especially elements with a major emotional component, just doesn’t ever work for me.
        Finish what you started!

        And for the record, every story teller has detractors. I guarantee not everyone loves ANY writer. And no writer ever is beyond reproach. I love Tolkein, but I wish he wrote action better. Lucas crafted a modern classic with the original Star Wars trilogy, but he probably should have stayed in retirement rather than do the uninspired prequels. And JK Rowling?! derivative, recycled, misguided….
        My favorite modern author is probably Stephen Lawhead, but even he’s written a few stories that don’t quite measure up. There’s ALWAYS things that could be tweaked or reworked. And even if the writer honestly feels their own work is “perfect”; so much is subjective, it is unlikely to be “perfect” for many readers.

      • atcDave says:

        I absolutely love the blend of action and adventure. And I like protagonists who try to do right. Chuck struck as nearly perfect right from the Pilot. That I found serious missteps along the way never undermined my overall enthusiasm for the project. Well, maybe in S3…

      • If Elle hadn’t of been responsible for Chuck for pretty much all of his life I’d probably tend to agree with you more on this point but seeing as at that moment they were the only blood family they had left I don’t think it makes Chuck look foolish or idiotic, you can tell during those scenes Elle is scared to death of both the situation and losing her (at the time) only reaming blood family member.

        Did u know J.K Rowling’s mother died shortly before the 1st book was picked up and published she never even knew she’d been writing it, she has said in numerous interviews that greatly influenced her writing

      • atcDave says:

        I’d also point out it is the nature of discussion to focus in on the complaints. When we all love what’s going on, discussion peters out quickly. But when there are elements we take issue with, especially when there are both apologists and detractors, even a small issue assumes a large role.

      • atcDave says:

        Josh I just don’t buy Ellie has any legitimate grounds for demanding Chuck quit a job. I’m even giving her the benefit of the doubt and calling her a “parent”.
        Can a parent demand their child leave the military? Or stop being a firefighter? Not in the modern west. It just doesn’t work that way. And Chuck is almost 30 at the time! Ellie is attempting a sort of control that is more like a mental illness. And Chuck looks pathetic for complying.
        I just think this was a very poorly thought out story element.

        But don’t confuse my criticism of some specific elements with overall dissatisfaction. I’m in a line of work that demands constant self grading and correction. One of my favorite hobbies is war gaming, which also requires constant, critical assessment of one’s own decisions and plans. I also build models, which requires an honest analysis of technique to get desired results.
        This is how I look at things. Even my very favorite episodes of Chuck will have some elements I can pick on. But look back over the course of almost a full series of reviews now and you’ll see I like far more episodes than I dislike. After we do Goodbye, we will do a series of six posts where we look at first the seasons, then the series, for an overall assessment. I will lay out my praises and complaints for the whole thing. Chuck really was an extraordinary show. But it was never perfect.

      • That explains a lot, I’d been trying to figure you out for quite a while because you seemed to be at both ends of the spectrum with your opinions, I could be wrong but I don’t believe I ever said that it was perfect. I just don’t have any complaints about Chuck (except maybe Brandon Routh) but generally I’ve never had complaints about the shows I’ve watched on a regular basis, which is why I’ve watched them regularly.

        Your next ideas certainly sound fun I look forward to them!

      • thinkling says:

        I’m with Dave on the whole Ellie thing. Ellie way overstepped. (I speak as both an adult who made her own way and a mother who has to let her son make his own way.) And Chuck shouldn’t have given in, especially after his “vows” with Sarah, “Do you agree to NOT quit the spy life and be with me?” “I do.” There should be respect and give and take, but ultimately Chuck should have stayed with his decision he made with Sarah (or consulted her about any change), and Ellie should have backed off.

      • Well I guess that’s a moo point cuz both issues are resolved by the end of coup de-ta, but I get why you guys feel that way. In the writers defense tho you’ve gotta create conflict from somewhere and parter/spouse vs family is will always be used that’s just a fact!

      • revdr says:

        Josh; You are absolute right in saying that CF stuck to his guns and told the story his way. Problem was (for me at least), he didn’t finish the story. I felt like at the end of all this that he was saying ok, here’s the beginning, and the middle; now you finish it up for me. What? If I wanted to do that I could watch The NEVERENDING Story (which by the way did have an ending-with endless possibilities for further adventures). I have to trust the writer, good or bad, and he lost me there. My biggest complaint has always been that he left the story unfinished, and, especially since we finally knew that this was it, the “to be continued” approach was kinda’ cruel. Like BigKev said, it was like saying, here’s the food now fix it yourself. I too, like writers that me think, but not ones who want me to complete their work. The cliffhangers with Chuck from season 2 on were a devise, admittedly by TPTB, at throwing caution to the wind. But as Dave said, far too many questions could have been left unanswered if the show had been canceled. I will always respect his vision, but, if I can’t trust him, I can’t watch him.

      • Yeah and just for the record, if he hadn’t included the various things he did in business trip baby kept man and even the bonding moments in the wild ride that was bullet train I’d be EXTREMELY upset about the ending, but he did so the ending made me, nostalgic, happy and grateful their would be much calmer, peaceful moments the second time around for Charah, because the 1st time around was a mess,

      • atcDave says:

        Josh the problem is it felt exactly like they were just “creating conflict!” They need to learn what things are better left alone and what conflicts are legitimate to explore. Artificial conflict makes the participants look stupid, and it has the effect of alienating the audience from the humanity of those characters. Fortunately, this one was “fixed” quickly in Anniversary. But it did badly damage Ring II as a potential ending point.
        Unfortunately, this artificial conflict was exactly the underlying issue behind what failed me about S3 too. And that time it went far longer and took entirely too long to fix.

      • While at least they realized if you create unnecessary conflict you resolve it quickly, writing is very much trial and error and a heavy amount of experimentation. I wonder if they’d gone the opposite direction in s3 would people have stuck around or gotten bored? S3 was many things but it (or the series) was never boring!

      • revdr says:

        But you see Josh, while you are right in saying that the ending was wonderfully nostalgic and hopeful, there is still an air of “what’s next” in the air. You seem to like realism, but you’re glossing over a very real fact….Sarah doesn’t remember anything! She knows that she’s married, but she doesn’t know the man she’s married to. I have absolutely no doubt that Chuck and Sarah will fall in love again, but, how long will that take? Days? Weeks? Years? Why is that fair (or necessary)? Will she ever recover her suppressed memories? Did the “magical kiss” work? There were so many unanswered questions and so much left to the imagination. It’s not my job to finish his job. Where’s the fairness in that. That’s not storytelling; that’s Choose Your Own Adventure.

      • You may be right rev but for personal reasons (too many to list) I just like the new beginning approach, so I suppose I am choosing my own adventure with Chuck and Sarah:)

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t think Chuck and Sarah ever would have been boring. In fact, I think there is so much potential for the story of Chuck becoming an agent, if they had just left the silly “Prague incident” and love triangles out of the mix we could have seen a much more interesting coming of age story.
        I love the idea of Shaw pushing Chuck to become a real agent, sometimes too soon for Chuck’s own good; all while Sarah is helping Chuck retain his humanity and everything that makes him special. And then the drama of discovering Chuck’s new mentor is a traitor…
        So much great potential. And they flushed it for a stupid love triangle. Ugh.

      • I don’t think so ether, but I still wanted to pose the question anyway, right or wrong, good or bad CF actions have kept the show a relevant topic long after the fade to black and that makes him ultimately successful in my book!

  18. revdr says:

    I prefer to think of it as being steadfast Dave…….

    • thinkling says:

      Good one. I think it’s a matter of perspective. The trait I label as steadfastness in me, I often view as mulishness in others. 😉

  19. John G. says:

    Thinkling hit it on the head with her description of great episode, hard to watch.

    I’ve never watched this episode, or the one prior and the two after, all the way through since my first viewing. They hurt too much.

    I cherish Chuck and Sarah together on the train, “practicing” making a family and literally drawing their future. I despair with Chuck as the train cars separate. I hurt with Sarah when she’s strapped to that chair.

    Great episode, hard to watch.

    • Duckman says:

      I’ve resisted commenting lately because I havn’t been able to bring myself to watch since Baby. It has become a chore to watch s5 and after Baby the chore is just to unpleasant. The first time through I kept thinking it would get better- mayby one more shot of fun, It never did. I can marvel at the performances in the final episodes but I find the story manipulative,disrespectfull,arrogant,mean spirited, and cruel. Thanks to the thoughtfull commentary here I pretty much “get” what they were going for, but this episode dooms the finale for me. The final scenes in this ep made me regret ever watching the show. I suppose they were trying to give us both endings by showing the compartment scene, but by then yanking it away they made me feel like a dog lured by a treat only to be kicked across the room and into the yard while fedak mocks me through the window telling me it’s a happy ending. The ending itself left me confused and disappointed, this left me feeling played and angry.
      Not exactly thoughtfull commentary but others have that pretty well covered.

      • revdr says:

        Duckman; for a very long time I felt the very same way. To this day, it’s very difficult for me to watch beyond the middle of Bullet Train through to the end because for me it wiped away much of what I loved about the show: the Chuck/Sarah relationship. With time, I have at least come to appreciate the nostalgic callbacks and hopeful tone at the end, but then the reality sinks in once again. They have to start all over again. I, like you felt betrayed, and even angry that they left the ending opened ended, and felt insulted that we had to “imagine” a happy ending. I respect their narrative, but I will never like it. Who wanted yet another cliffhanger, especially when you knew going in that there would not be a season 6? I don’t regret watching the show, but the way they ended it put in perspective how I’ve watched any other shows since then. I find it difficult to get emotionally invested in any series any more, and this, in some cases, kills the enjoyment of it. Chuck is still my favorite tv show ever, but the finale did add an asterix by season 5.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m sympathetic with this. I do see the ending as a happy end, but with a big BUT!

        This re-watch has been more difficult than I expected. I’ve dreaded every episode since Baby. I think for future reference, that will likely be the last episode I care to watch. If we ever do get a better epilogue I may feel very differently. But for now, I find everything from the end of Bullet Train on excruciating. That whole episode, and Bo before it, is basically destroyed by the torture scene. And it really isn’t redeemed by the 45 seconds of relief I can get at the very end. To much anguish for far, far too little pay off.

      • I always power thru the last 3 episodes because the performances are so amazing but I won’t deny it’s difficult to watch, with that being said the difficultly of watching the last arc pails in comparison to One tree hill’s; With tired minds, tired eyes, tired souls, we slept!

      • Duckman says:

        The nostalgic callbacks were completely wasted on me, I just mentally batted them away- quit screwing around, fix the problem and get on with the happiness. Much like the jokes in santa suit, they were overshadowed by the main story. Now if the story had been positive the callbacks would have worked for me.

      • revdr says:

        You said it Dave; it’s has been a very difficult re-watch for me. I guess because I know what’s coming (or not coming as the case may be), I have deliberately put off watching each episode until the very last minute. And what’s funny; I can watch all of season 3 (even Mask and Fake Name) without hesitation, even though season 5 is by far a better season (until the final 2 1/5 episodes that is). I have been able to do re-watches of every other show that I have managed to collect over the years including finales that I loved (MASH, MTM, Cheers, Frasier, Six Feet Under etc.) and those that I didnt like so much (Lost, Sopranos, Alias and others), but with Chuck, not so much. I’ve come to realize that it was much a matter of expectation vs result, but it still doesn’t make it easier. I mentioned West Wing earlier, and someone else mentioned Burn Notice as well, and I can say that I have watched both of those finales infinitely more times than I have watched Chuck. As bad as the final season of Gilmore Girls was, I have seen it’s finale more times as well. I guess when you feel as strongly about the ending as I did, it’s just hard to put aside the emotional betrayal that I felt.

      • I’ve re-watched Chuck more than any other show, it strikes me differently then most people, I stumbled across it having just come out of a very dark time in my life…I also see so much of myself in Chuck, I’m a physically awkward nerd, people generally like me, I love technology i bury myself in it, but as far as a legacy or relationship I lack confidence to fill ether of these areas, it sounds cliche but Chuck inspired me to better myself as a person, socially, vocationally and pulled me out of one of the darkest points of my life, so yes I’m emotionally attached to it beyond it’s amazing quality and relationships!

      • BigKev67 says:

        “Quit screwing around, fix the problem and get on with the happiness!” Love your work Duckman – that’s exactly what I think 80% of the fanbase would have preferred.
        I didn’t feel “played” when Bullet Train aired because I didn’t think for a minute that TPTB would be foolish enough to leave the memory issue unresolved or open ended. Had I known how wrong I was, no doubt I would have ended at Baby. I wish I had.

      • atcDave says:

        Duckman, Big Kev, I agree. As I’ll mention a couple times in tomorrow’s post (!), I think it all could have been far more satisfying if Sarah had made the most meaningful part of her recovery at the end of 5.12, and then gone into the finale with our favorite husband and wife spies together, and out for justice. But delaying all gratification to a questionable ending. Just. doesn’t. work.

        Josh a lot of us were drawn to Chuck through identifying with the main character. Apart from being physically more like Morgan, I related exactly with Chuck at the start. Nerd (more history than computers, but in some ways that’s worse, fewer like me!), physically awkward, socially awkward. I’m more than 20 years older than Chuck; but I went through a painful down and out phase as well. Although I long ago got a good job, and a great woman.
        But that close identification was a double edged sword. I am very frustrated with some of Chuck’s worst excesses (especially in Curse!), they just infuriate me. Ditto when he lies (like in much of S3) or behaves like an ass (like in much of S3). I go from the first two seasons where I so often laughed along with “oh I’d totally do that…” to suddenly “I would never do that! What a jerk!”.
        It was a pretty horrifying alienation process for me. By the end of S3 I no longer really related to Chuck as much. I no longer enjoyed the show so much viscerally. I could still mostly “like” Chuck, but I no longer felt like I “was” Chuck. And I found myself much more focused in on Sarah. And then the end…

      • See that’s where we differ I never stopped identifying myself as Chuck even during his somewhat arrogant transformation during S3, when he downloaded 2.0, he realized it was an opportunity to actually have an impact on the world, I believe his mistake was getting Sarah’s hopes up, in other words during the flashback in castle I would’ve been upfront from the initial mention of running away and said “as much as I would like to I can’t just up and leave because my life is here and I finally have the opportunity to do something meaningful with it and help the world”. I believe waiting until the last minute (the train station) was a SERIOUS mistake by JS (or whoever was responsible) and wasn’t something CHCK would do, he had no problem being upfront with Sarah in S1 & 2!

        I know a lot of people don’t but I see his reasoning in Curse (let me explain before anybody starts chewing me out). As somebody who’s been repeatedly kicked around by life, in several “fluke/bad choice” events (I was born with CP, the procedure I had as a child when (I was pretty mobile to further help with this) had the completely adverse affect, I became severely stiff having lost nearly all the work I’d done in PT and OT prior. I was devastated and had no will to start over, being that I was still a child I didn’t realize that consistently doing nothing would make things even worse. By the time I did realize this it was too late to get back any real physical mobility. This led to a chain of events;severe scoliosis (again I ignored pleads to minimize damage by not wearing a body brace), 2 major surgeries to correct it, I had been homeschooled from 7th to 12th grade because of a lack of decent middle/high schools where I lived. I decided to go away to collage and while I did fine academically (3.5 GPA) for the semester, I was not prepared for the other aspect of collage and became severely depressed. It took until last year ( which was around the time I found Chuck) to snap out of it.

        What’s my point with this story? When your dealt 1 or more devastating set backs in life for no reason at all it eats at your subconscious, soul and will, makes you question yourself, you start to ignore the voice you should listen to, start to feel like a burden to those around you and close yourself off to them and make bad choices that just end up making things worse.

        In Chuck’s case the things that ate at him;his parents abandonment and knowing that the spy career is what tore his family apart, Stanford, Jill, Bryce, the intersect and fear of not being good enough for the woman he loves led to many of his questionable choices. My main point is that the thread in curse isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds because that showed (for the last time) how Chuck’s life and insecurities play a roll in his decisions, I actually thought the way the writers wrote the “Prague Incident” was way more ridiculous because I believe Chuck would’ve handled how I described and not the way JS wrote it, which completely went against Chuck’s character!

      • I’ve got no problem saying that Chuck was one of the things that ended up saving my life and restoring my spirit! I’ve since learned to deal with the hand I partially dealt myself and am once again happy, this might be why I can deal with the vast majority of the choices JS & CF made with the plot.

      • revdr says:

        Josh; First, let me how much I applaud and admire you for rising above everything. So many people use their misfortunes in life as an excuse to capitulate to the pain of it all; but you didn’t. I had a son with CP and unfortunately he passed away 4 years ago after a lengthy illness at age nine. A couple of years prior to that I had a stroke and lost several of my short and long term memories, some of which I have yet to, and may never, recover. That’s one of the reasons I have such a difficult time with the glossing over of Sarah’s memory suppression and the idea that they won’t have work to do before all is well with them, and them going forward in life. Things do get better, but it does take time. I understand your absolute faith in the ending being positive, and I certainly wish that I could see that. No one believes in the positive power of love, and how much can be overcome because of it. Realistically however, Sarah has to work out things, in her own mind, and in her own time to come to terms with the person she is now. Just like Captain America had to adjust to being alive in a world where he lost 20 years (Avenger’s #4), Sarah has to adjust to 5 years of suppressed memories and a husband who, for all intents and purposes, she doesn’t know. However, love is a powerful emotion, and I firmly believe that Chuck and Sarah will find their way back to each other, just not at the beach after a story and a kiss. Again, you are an inspiring person, and your story has lifted my day. I look forward to many spirited debates with you.

      • Rev, thank you for your kind words, your hardships certainly shed new light on how you feel about the finale. The only part of Chuck I’d be wiling to label as perfect is the music score and soundtrack. I’ve never watched another show that added so much to its scenes with the music! I’ve bought the best music from every episode although. if I’m in the middle of a re watch I can’t listen to certain songs without getting emotional.

        I also find Zac and Yvonne’s chemistry absolutely incredible and rivaled only by John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer of The Office both of these duos have genuine friendships and it shows on screen every time!

      • atcDave says:

        Josh you certainly have had a difficult and amazing life experience. We’re always happy to have you drop by here to share and chat, especially about our favorite show.

        And I agree entirely about Prague. I felt Chuck’s behavior was painfully OOC. Ditto about Hannah. He crossed that line from dealing admirably with the tough situations life had dealt him, to behaving like a selfish jerk.
        The situation in Curse is a bit different. The biggest problem may just come down to taking counsel of his fears and acting rashly.
        It may not quite be character destroying in the way S3 was. But it is still an unappealing portrait. He lost confidence in his wife, who ALWAYS had his back, for no good reason. But in the end, it is merely one annoying episode. Many shows, many characters have their unappealing moments. Perhaps its no big deal. But it does still end with an episode I don’t care for much.

        By the way everyone, since revdr mentioned Captain America I have share how excited I am!
        The Winter Soldier, an exciting movie, centered on an admirable heroic character; who is a good guy and strives to do the right thing even when it seems impossible, is setting box office records! This pleases me enormously. It affirms my faith in what movie goers will pay to see. And it encourages me a lot about the movies we’re likely to see in the near future.

      • I see Curse as less of losing faith in his wife and more letting his fears and insecurities cloud his judgement in a time of crisis, an unappealing but realistic character flaw. I’ve got multiple re watches of Chuck going with different people and just finished s3 with a friend earlier today! It’s pre back order missteps remind me of how the show runners of Friends spin-off Joey (not Kevin S. Bright) butchered the character by throwing what we loved about him out the window and thank god that CF eventually pulled in the reigns because I like you want to smack JS for making such ridiculously foolish decisions!

        I still want to see Thor 2 and definitely plan to see Captain America, it was partially filmed in my hometown of Cleveland Ohio after all!

      • revdr says:

        Josh; you are so right about the music and the significant role that it played throughout the series. I understand the significance of “Rivers and Roads” being used as the final piece being played at the end of Goodbye, but man I sure would have loved a callback to “No One’s Gonna Love You” as he told Sarah their story. Like the finale or hate it, I wouldn’t have been able to hold it in….even through the anger.

      • I think as alternate choices go, I would’ve picked Fix You or A message by Coldplay

      • revdr says:

        And both Thor 2 and especially C.A.-Winter Soldier are outstanding. As an old, and current, comic collector (nerd alert-sorry), I am in heaven.

      • joe says:

        Josh, I’m not familiar with those two songs (never did buy anything by Coldplay). But I’ll certainly give them a listen before next week.

      • While the lyrics of both songs focus more on Chucks dialogue in the scene and the 1st would’ve spoken more to how they were feeing emotionally, while emphasizing the gravity of what Sarah went through, but the melodies of both would’ve fit with the flashbacks, like Rivers and Roads does but without downplaying the tragedy of it all, which I know Rev had issue with this fact.

      • revdr says:

        I really didn’t have an issue with “Rivers and Roads” as the final song, Josh. In fact, that song was the only honest thing about that final scene, because it spoke to the reality that, although Chuck was willing to do anything to help Sarah, and hopefully, win her back, there were still miles to go before they got there. That’s the deceit of the scene without a followup scene or 2 showing progress, there was no miracle “lets go home” moment.

  20. Dave are posting the finale, as a package like it originally aired or separately, I’m just curious!?

    • atcDave says:

      We’re doing it separately. Honestly I’m thinking that may have been a mistake, but it’s how we’re doing it.
      As this has always been a “big picture” sort of re-watch, discussing anything, from any episode is fair game.

    • joe says:

      What Dave said, Josh. I too thought earlier that maybe doing both this week was the way to go. But now that the end is so near I felt the need to draw it out.

  21. I pose a thoughtful question to everyone does anybody think it would’ve ended differently had it been on longer (I think we all agree it never should’ve been canceled) or had a back order of episodes!? I’m inclined to say yes because although I’m perfectly ok with what CF did, it did seem like the 1st idea that popped in his head and I’m not so boneheaded that I can’t admit he could’ve added/done SOMETHING ELSE! I Still say he was gun shy too!

    • revdr says:

      I don’t know that it would necessarily ended differently. What I detected from him was a sort of arrogance that this is what it would be, and that’s it. Their mindset seemed to be that, just like with Ring and Ring II, this was a middle finger to the masses (in those cases, the network) and everyone else be damned. They embraced the ambiguity, and were proud of it. They actually liked the idea that imagining your own outcome was a “cool” concept. Me, not so much….

      • I honestly believe that on some level everyone involved was proud of the ambiguity, the incredible performers tell me that much, people don’t put that much effort into their performance if they don’t believe in the vision, they all wanted to prove that Chuck could live beyond TV and all us fans have been proving their point to the masses for 2+ years, which I’m proud of! Although from what I’ve read Chuck was generally favored by critics so it looks like the only ones that hated Chuck was NBC!

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t know that such an extreme reaction was ever meant by anyone. Certainly NBC wanted the show to succeed as long as it was on their network. They had no vested interest in it, as it wasn’t an “in house” show. But surely the network would have been happy if the show had done well.
        CF and company certainly meant to deliver a satisfying product. You don’t find work as a writer if viewers hate your work. But in the end, I have to conclude CF’s taste and interests are strongly different from mine. I may love certain aspects of his story telling, especially his use of action and humor, but until I hear that he’s matured more I will not invest in another of his projects.

      • Duckman says:

        I’d be curious to know what those involved honestly thought about the material and the reactions. Obviously very few actors have the status to be able to critisize an employer’s material, but it would be interesting to know. From some interviews I’ve seen, most of the cast were invested very differently than myself, talking about being killed off and such like it would be fun. Only Yvonne seemed to be different in that regard. I would think it would be incredibly difficult for an actor to pull off performances like these if they truly disliked the material, but I’m sure it happens. As much as I bitch about the finale arc(mostly to myself) they obviously put lots of effort into it and I wonder what it’s like when they see/hear the extreme reactions good and bad.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Duckman I remember back during the misery arc, after Mask, all the “damage control” they did. The different perspective was just painfully obvious. Especially JS casually commenting that they were “past” all of that.

        I have a few experiences that help me understand a little. I used to do theater in High School and College, and I remember well how much fun it was to play different sorts of characters, to be a scoundrel, or a ham. I can see where an epic death scene might be great fun.
        I also wrote RPG game adventures for many years. And I know how different that story tellers perspective is. You can see the ups and downs with a much bigger perspective. You can think of meta issues like how a character should end, or grow up. And I know how much grief and frustration I gave my players on occasion.
        And it all shapes my perspective now. Especially in that I see all these twists and turns as a choice. And I very much want these story tellers (writers and actors) to respect their audience and learn from their experience. And its maddening to me when hear some of their comments and realize they are so trapped in their world that they be learning nothing. In particular, I had really thought that they all, especially CF, learned great and lasting lessons from S3. And then the end led me to re-assess. I don’t know that he learned much. But I THINK Zac did. And Yvonne seemed pretty wise about things.

    • atcDave says:

      I see two possibilities; the first is, CF was so enamored of this end, that if the back order had come early he would have simply drawn out the story and ended in exactly the same place.
      But the second possibility, which makes me much happier, is if the back order had come late, with no time to change the front episodes. I think we would have seen a very rapid recovery for Sarah, because I really think CF was not interested in drawing out such a story. I’m not sure what they would have done with an actual plot.
      There are several fan fictions that are appealing possibilities. Thinkling’s “Sarah vs Finding Herself” if we had an epilogue movie. Angus McNab’s “Chuck vs The Lost Years” if we got a bigger budget movie or mini-series. Or Anthropocene’s hypothetical Season 6 if we got a whole ‘nother season. There are several others that could work too.

      • I’m willing to bet it’s the latter CF never liked dragging out the wt/wt and was eventually fine with letting various writers do Charah and other main character relationship focused threads.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Josh – I’m asking this only partially in fun, but…. “CF never liked dragging out the WT/WT”…..were we watching the same show?? 🙂

      • From what I’ve heard it was JS who was that way, which considering his other projects makes sense.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with Josh on that. I think the wt/wt was 100% JS. The moment CF took over the show it ended forever.

  22. revdr says:

    That doesn’t sound much like JS….he made a point of resolving the wt/wt with the most popular of his character couples fairly quickly on The O.C., even using the iconic Spider-Man kiss to emphasize the point. Yes, he might have been mainly responsible for prolonging the agony in s3, but he stopped being showrunner that season.

    • atcDave says:

      S3 is on JS. The finale was CF. JS even bragged prior to S3 how much he loved love triangles. If the show had continued I think Sarah’s issues would have resolved quickly because CF doesn’t really like wt/wt. He might have played some cute “getting to know you all over” moments; or at least, he would have allowed that from writers like LaJudkins and Newman who liked writing the romance. But it would not have been a lengthy recovery.

  23. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Bullet Train (5.11) | Chuck This

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