Episode 5.12

The episode that will remain nameless.  Now that Quinn has made a mess of things, we get a very dark, very tense show of the series’ penultimate outing.

After the jump, we’ll discuss this not very funny episode.

This episode polls at number 26.  My own initial impression was a good but taught episode that set up the finale quite well.  On re-watch, I need to rank this far lower.  It suffers from a number of shortcomings that now seem even more exaggerated in a full context.  I would also have to admit this is the first time I’ve watched this episode without immediately jumping into Goodbye, and I find this experience particularly unpleasant.  Perhaps I made it worse by watching it by itself, but I personally rank this episode quite a bit lower than the poll.  That is a mostly, but not wholly emotional judgement.

One of the worst elements of the story is the whole idea of Team B breaking into DARPA to destroy the Intersect.  This is a clearly criminal act and I really cannot make any peace with Chuck doing it.  Or Casey or brain-damaged Sarah going along with it all.  They are domestic terrorists and Sarah is right to be at odds with them.

I also find it rather offensive that both Casey and Ellie are so quick to give up on Sarah.  Casey is ready to kill her, and Ellie “you can never go too far” Woodcomb tells Chuck that Sarah is gone.  Oh brother.  Not buying it.  This is obvious manipulation to make Chuck look greater for not giving up.  But it is ludicrously out of character for both of them.  Not to mention, Sarah considers herself a “good” agent, and memory loss or no she should respond to legitimate authority.  I don’t want to make too big a thing of that last, as far as I’m concerned it says more about options open to Casey and Beckman than it does about Sarah’s actions. That is, rather than planning ambushes and sniper positions, Beckman could have used her legitimate authority to set Sarah straight on what was true.  This should have made little practical difference, the story unfolds quickly and Chuck takes over, but there was truly no reason for the stupid sniper talk.

But ultimately the biggest problem I have is just with the story being told.  I’ll get into this more next week in an “Alternatives” thread, but the bottom line is I simply needed to see Sarah have more of a clear success against her memory loss and Quinn’s mind control before Quinn himself gave up the game.  That is my preference; but that is what my review is all about.  I strongly suspect if we had seen the more plainly joyful ending I was hoping for that this episode would get far higher marks from me.  But as it stands, 5.12 is crushed under the weight of the finale story.

Obviously the big issue in this episode is Sarah’s confused loyalties.  We’ll save her memory loss for next week’s big issue!  This is one of those things I don’t have such huge logical problems with, at least not in the very short period of about a day that this episode plays out in.  Sarah knows she has amnesia, she is given a mission, and Chuck’s behavior (especially switching the Intersect glasses) would seem to verify the validity of her briefing.  I seriously don’t like this story, but I don’t have major logical problems with Sarah’s behavior.  Quinn is a smart and dangerous foe, he keeps chattering in Sarah’s ear to keep her from regaining her balance.  I like that she questions Quinn’s directions anyway, and I really like that she belts him after the DARPA bombing.

Again, I strongly suspect I would like this episode far more if Sarah, with Chuck’s help, had overcome Quinn’s brainwashing, and re-established her natural loyalties,  more clearly on her own.  But as it stands, I’m sort of okay with this end.  First of all, I am much more in agreement now with those who claim Sarah had a clear real memory of her carving her name in the door jamb.  In fact, I think this is huge.  I really wish more had been made of this, I wish we had heard Sarah recognize she had everything all wrong before Quinn showed up and ended the charade.  I now believe that she was reaching that conclusion anyway, I previously hadn’t been so sure; but I feel much better about that part of the story now than I did before.

And that moment really sets up the end nicely.  I do like Casey delivering the v-log, but given his earlier actions I can’t even come close to calling this a good Casey episode.  But Sarah watching her log is beautiful, it is easily the best, strongest moment of this whole episode. And just to be very clear here, this is absolute proof Sarah is lying when she tells Chuck she doesn’t “feel” it.  Sarah has felt it since the memory at the door jamb, she felt it when Chuck took a bullet for her, she felt every moment of the v-log.  And for those who’ve seen the deleted scenes, there’s a dynamite moment when she removes her rings, that is all about feeling it.  I am quite certain we are supposed to know that in the end she is exactly where she was in that last v-log entry we saw.  Sarah is in love with Chuck Bartowski and doesn’t know what to do about it.  Now is even worse for her than the first time around because she has so little context, I think all she has is knowledge of fact and a verifying emotion.  But without her memories she has no idea what to do about it except get revenge on the man who ruined her.

It also needs to be mentioned that this is an extremely good episode for Chuck, apart from the ill-conceived mission.  But there is no sign of whiney or buffoonish Chuck here; rather we are treated mostly to smart and creative Chuck who loves his wife fiercely. The scene at the “dream house” is particularly well done for him.  Well, apart from saying I think he should have spent a little more time talking with Sarah before he released her (!).  But that’s the sort of failing we often see in a time critical 43 minute program.  But I love his refusal to hurt Sarah, and willingness to take a bullet for her.  Once again, if I were more satisfied with the ultimate conclusion, this is the sort of thing that might have made this a great episode.

I have stated many times that the writing team of Judkins and LeFranc were my favorite on the show.  But this easily my least favorite episode of theirs.  The illegal DARPA mission, and Casey and Ellie’s behavior all strike me as seriously flawed story elements.  But I do put much of what’s wrong on the show runner.  I think this episode could have been 1000% better if they’d been allowed to end with Sarah more clearly reconnecting with herself.  Unfortunately, the show runner chose to put that moment off to the very end; and show it in a way that left far too many questions and was horribly unsatisfying for entirely too many viewers.  And we’ll get into a lot more of that next week.

For next week I want to strongly recommend that everyone get ahold of the extended cut.  I don’t know what download source might offer it; but on the discs its hidden under “special features” NOT on the usual episode list.  The extended cut is 52 minutes instead of the already slightly longer 45 minute cut that aired.  The longer cut does contain some key information that makes a meaningful difference to the end, and it is what we will use as the basis for our finale review.

 ~ Dave 
ct_bar

Sarah

Well, I’ll name it. Chuck vs. Sarah is not the episode I thought it was. Before I tell you whether I enjoyed it more this time around – or not – though, I’ll tell you right off the bat that I now find the question more than a little unanswerable. In fact, the question makes my brow furrow in the same way the question “Is the moon perceptive?” would. The words make sense and there may be an answer, but any answer tells us very little about the moon the way I understand it.

Let me instead repeat something that I wrote here many years ago now, about the way I see things. For me, the most important thing – not just about television but about the events in my life generally – is not that they are entertaining or enriching. It’s that they affect me somehow and not leave me feeling indifferent. [Picture me doing a teen-age, three-finger “Whatever!”] For good or ill, the importance lays in the impact. Needless to say, Chuck has had its impact on my life.

[Yes, I know many of you are looking for entertainment when you turn on your television and I do too. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t or that it’s in any way an expectation you shouldn’t have. Instead, I’m saying anything that affects me as much as this show has already gone far beyond my expectations for “mere” television. Making me smile seems a small thing by comparison.]

And boy, did this episode have an impact. Just as many of you have already commented, I too found it difficult to re-watch for the first time in two years. I don’t want to remember Sarah as a character not in love with Chuck and I barely want to remember her as someone who would threaten him. I know why, too. Forgive me for repeating this thought, but we barely knew Sarah before Chuck. Before this episode, we only saw that character in Chuck’s flash (in the Pilot), in Phase 3, in Baby and in each case only briefly. It’s just hard to face the reality of who she is.

Neither friendly nor forgiving

Neither friendly nor forgiving

 

Casey: What do you remember about me?
Sarah: Your reputation, mostly. Unfriendly, unforgiving… and unquestioning about your orders.
Casey: That’s funny. When we met, people said the same thing about you. Probably why we never got along.

Like it or not, without Chuck, Sarah is indeed unfriendly, unforgiving and someone who robotically follows orders. There’s even a hint of a moral failing buried in the meaning of those words – she doesn’t care that people bleed. That’s simply not the Sarah we saw smiling at Chuck when he squawked “Vicky Vale – Vic, Vic, Vicky Vale” behind the nerd-herd desk. It’s not the Sarah we saw agonize over telling Chuck that she saw no future for them, even under truth serum or the Sarah who wanted to go (romantically) on the run with him. It’s certainly not the wife and aspiring mother she was in S5; those are all characters we love. What we have is Sarah without Chuck.

Sarah lies

Sarah lies

Oh, there’s one more thing about this Agent Sarah Walker. She lies. This is an woman who believes she could fake intimacy – an entire marriage, in fact – for her mission. Yet there’s a bigger truth revealed in the most powerful line of entire episode and maybe the entire series.

Chuck: Actually, you’re not as good a liar as you think you are.

From the beginning I wanted to believe every word that Sarah says, but wanted not to also. Sarah-seducing-her-mark always gave me pause and it certainly seemed to make Chuck wonder about her true feelings. For two seasons we saw this amazing dance around the concept of relationship/fake relationship and all the while I was unsure about what to believe.

But she's not that good a liar.

But she’s not that good a liar.

So was Chuck. Except that Chuck was much more perceptive and trusting than I. “You’re not as good a liar as you think you are” is quite amazingly correct – Chuck wasn’t fooled as much as I thought either. And if you think about it, his proof came right at the beginning of S3, in the aftermath of Prague. You see, no one gets so angry over a fake relationship as she did. Even Sarah recognizes this.

I want to reconcile the violence in your heart
I want to recognize your beauty’s not just a mask
I want to exorcise the demons from your past
I want to satisfy the undisclosed desires in your heart

Undisclosed Desires is not used in the show – it’s one of the songs I consider to be “Chuck adjacent” because it describes Chuck’s dilemma throughout the show.

Dave brings up good points about scenes that seem disappointing at first glance. Why did Casey and Ellie seem to give up on Sarah so quickly? Why did they have to criminally break into DARPA? Why was Quinn so successful brainwashing Sarah? Believe it or not, I think I have answers – at least, partial answers – for your consideration.

On this viewing it felt very much like both Casey and Ellie gave up on Sarah to make a counterpoint to Chuck. He, himself both cries in despair and proves that his wife is gone forever and then, later, desperately tries to save her memory. He’s all over the map and the voices he hears only pull him against the way he wants to struggle. Ellie and Casey give up on Sarah so that Chuck won’t.

Doing Bryce one better

Doing Bryce one better

The scene in the Intersect room is, despite the criminality, rather wonderful. Sarah’s trip through the hallway blasting through guards and windows immediately recalls Bryce’s as he stole the Intersect. Very cool homage! And the DARPA theft gives Morgan a chance to be Morgan, referencing both Harry Potter and The Fugitive. It’s one of those scenes that allows us some relief from the tension.

Quinn was so successful in convincing Sarah that Chuck was a dangerous spy because Chuck switched the glasses on her, temporarily foiling Quinn’s plans. That action proved to Sarah that Chuck was more than a bumbling nerd-herder and certainly not a trusting husband. Sarah never did trust Quinn and she was looking for reasons to trust Chuck throughout, just as she did for the first four seasons.

I found it devastating when Sarah looks at the Intersect glasses and says “They’re not real,” a mirror-image recall of the end of The Colonel when she told Chuck “It’s real.” Sarah is furious at that moment. Nobody gets so angry at a fake relationship.

 The one-armed man did it!

The one-armed man did it!

All that made me reconsider the episode. What I wanted, like many of you have said, is something that “fixes” Sarah, or, at least, gives Chuck a reason to hope. We didn’t get that. In fact, we got the second powerful line, and perhaps the most painful, in the episode.

Sarah: I – I just wanted to tell you that I believe you. I believe everything that you told me about us.
But, the truth is, Chuck, I don’t feel it. Everything that you told me about us and our story, I just – I don’t feel it.

Could it be true? Yes, it could. That’s exactly who Sarah was five years earlier, someone who, admittedly, was not very good with feelings.

But Sarah was also someone who hid the truth, even from herself. The genius of the mission log is that she finally has a chance to face the Groucho Marx question – who you gonna believe? Quinn or your lyin’ eyes? When Sarah answers the question and decides who to believe, we can tell that immediately she knows the truth. Trusting Chuck from now on will not be a problem. But we have to wonder if she’ll ever “feel it.”

And like I’ve asked many times in this blog, now that she knows the truth, she has to face a very large, very profound question when she looks in the mirror. “Who are you, Sarah Walker.”

The only remaining question is if Sarah will get her memory back. Spoiler – The answer is, we know, not easily and not soon. But we see strong hints that something of a recovery is already happening. Sarah remembers their first “real” kiss, she remembers answering Chuck’s question “Do you love me?” with yes, she remembers the silent proposal and she remembers carving her name in the door frame. But this episode was never supposed to be about Sarah’s recovery.

It was all about her journey.

– joe

Thinkling:

Gut reaction and first thoughts: First, I’ll be more brief than my usual wordy self, because I’ve already poured my heart out over it (and then some) here, here, and here. Second, this is still a painful episode to watch. For both Zac and Yvonne it was a tour de force episode, no doubt about it (along with part 2), but still … it’s hard to watch, especially because it’s the finale. So, I stand by my original assessment: great episodes — terrible finale.

I, too, didn’t care for everyone giving up on Sarah so soon. However, I have the same problem, in reverse, in Goodbye. That is, Chuck gives up too easily and gives us, perhaps, the most cringe-worthy line of the series, which we can talk about next week. I only mention it, because it actually starts in v. Sarah: first when he tells her to run and then when he just lets her leave without a word. Now that we know where all this is heading — and why — the writer’s strings are a lot more obvious, and I find myself having to suspend a lot of disbelief. Either of those moments could have turned Sarah and v. Sarah toward a resolution (at least a partial one) of Sarah’s … umm … identity and relationship crises, but it was never to be, because the end game was what it was.

OK, before I go on, I’ll reiterate that I do see the happy in the ending. I am utterly convinced that Chuck and Sarah are OK … better than okay … happy. (By my calendar, their twins just passed 8 months, and CS are running CI and living the life that was foreshadowed throughout S5.) I classify the finale as victorious (but not without cost), reassuring, and hopeful, though not categorically happy (like Cliffhanger) or satisfying (like Push Mix).

Forgotten But Not Gone

The expression we’re familiar with is “Gone but not forgotten.” In the finale, however, Sarah was forgotten, but not gone. Yvonne did an off the charts job of showing us a fragmented and conflicted Sarah Walker Bartowski. What we see is that Sarah Bartowski, while forgotten, was not gone. She kept stirring to life and interfering with the woman Sarah remembered and was trying to be.

How does this Sarah compare to the Sarah we have gotten to know these five years? Well, Sarah came to Burbank after saving a baby, an act that I believe stirred Sarah’s inner girl and her forgotten dreams of a real life in a white house, with a red door, and a white picket fence. Chuck connected with that Sarah — the inner girl who, in relationship with Chuck, grew into the woman we knew and loved as Sarah Bartowski. We know, by her own confession, that she fell for Chuck almost immediately. I have every reason to believe that that Sarah is still in there, and that this Chuck will connect with her and stir the embers of a love that’s still in there. Otherwise … well … why watch!

So, Chuck is once again Sarah’s assignment, but this time she comes to Chuck on very different terms. She’s not observing a nerd. She’s not his handler. She’s tracking a killer, and her behavior is what we’d expect of the Agent Walker we have seen a few times before: the difference being that in the past Agent Walker was always acting to protect Chuck. Not this time. Scary. But the thing is that every time Agent Walker tries to do her duty, Sarah keeps getting in her way.

When Agent Walker goes to spy on Chuck and Ellie, she is pulled up short by their conversation and concern about … her and her cold feet. And it’s deja vu all over again. Her defenses are breached, as Chuck immediately begins to connect with the inner Sarah.

Chuck connects with Sarah again in the white room at DARPA. What mark would EVER have been able to walk up to Agent Walker and gently lower her gun? This stunning connection could have turned everything around, except for two things: Quinn’s explosion that made everyone think that Sarah had tried to kill them and Chuck’s swapping of the glasses that made Sarah think he was exactly what Quinn said he was. Those two unfortunate things led to the sniper snafu, the Ellie debacle, and house fight.

In the house, we see that Sarah can’t be around Chuck without extreme inner conflict (which, with Sarah, invariably leads to external conflict in one form or another). Chuck really gets to Sarah, and Agent Walker has a hard time doing her duty. Just as Agent Walker is about to win the battle, she sees the door frame and has her first clear memory — less than 48 hours after the memory wipe — and Sarah begins to re-emerge.

The v-log sequence is just fantastic. What a great job Yvonne did making me believe that those video clips were five years old. It’s obvious that she is definitely feeling it. She is mourning the loss of a dream without even the memory of it to comfort her. I like Dave’s thought, and I hadn’t really drawn the parallel before: that in the end Sarah is where she was in that last v-log entry we saw — in love with Chuck and no clue as to what to do about it. So she does what she does best. She stows her emotions.

The last scene is heart-wrenching, and yes, I think Sarah’s lying. Of course, she feels it. Even as she says she doesn’t feel it, she’s feeling it. Like Dave said, she now has knowledge and verifying emotions. But she has no context for the emotions and no path back to the life that was stolen from her.

Of course, we know what I believe she finally comes to realize on the beach: that Chuck is the context for her orphaned emotions and the way back to her stolen life.

~Thinkling

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 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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271 Responses to Episode 5.12

  1. CaptMediocre says:

    I can’t break up the finale because I see it as one long episode, so I’m posting this here. I do however sometimes wonder what would have happened if there had been 7 days between 5.12 & 5.13.

    Was the finale well done? – Yes.
    Was the finale satisfying? – Ehhh, no.

    I think I’ll stick with my theory that 0.1% hopeful does not fix 99.9% hopeless. The finale took itself way too serious for way too long. There simply wasn’t enough payoff.

    For me, the finale never overcame the fountain scene – which was a very powerful scene. I got the point of the “Sarah having lost her memories” angle to the story 5 minutes in. (We won’t discuss the part where “old” Sarah has no qualms about marrying her mark.) But the fountain scene really raised the dramatic stakes to a point the final story would never recover from. Sarah was leaving – no ambiguity.

    Call me pessimistic if you will, but the next 42 minutes did nothing but continuously show Sarah wanting to get away and showed zero of her wanting to reconnect with Chuck – at least until the beach – maybe. (We won’t talk about family and friends all leaving.) Sure, for most of these two episodes our two favorite characters were on the screen together, but they couldn’t have been further apart. One kiss on the beach and a few disjointed memories did not fix the overwhelming bleakness that came before. The story (I needed to see) is wholly incomplete. These were two episodes of perfectly believable, high stakes drama and just when we get to the point where it is starting to be resolved ….

    As much as people say it was implied that Sarah was regaining her memories (I get that’s what they were going for), the tiny snippets of recollection could not overcome the continuous leaving Sarah had to do in order “to find herself”. There needed to be more (or less).

    Like Angus noted last week, the more time has past the more I’ve come to realize that the finale had very little to do with Sarah or trying to get her memories back. The entire point of the finale was, again, to show Chuck as a selfless hero now more mature than he was when we first met him. The fact that he’s not permitted to to this with Sarah at his side baffles me to no end. The funny thing is I always saw Chuck was a selfless hero, something that is very mature, from the get go. (Something that wasn’t there after S2.) In telling this final Chuck story, the Sarah that I knew never came back to say goodbye. (Call me selfish for wanting that.) The joke was on me for being a fan of Sarah on a show named “Chuck”.

    (FYI, I never bought into the popular POV that Chuck and Sarah had to become “equals”. In fact, Chuck was superior to Sarah in many ways right from the start. Something the show lost after they became so called “equals”. Also, Sarah becoming Chuck’s supposed equal was never given as much attention. (At the beach in the finale is about the least equal they’ve ever been.)

    Listen, Chuck vs Sarah and Chuck vs the Goodbye are, bar none, two of the finest episodes of the series. I will never argue that. I wish I’d never seen them. I haven’t re-watched a single episode since. My favorite character was “killed” 2 episodes before the finale and (on a show where no one dies) never came back.

    To those who liked the finale – more power to you. For me, to use a popular analogy, I got 91 chapters of a 92 chapter book – and then the author decided put it down.

    One final note. I think the way the show ended would make a movie very difficult. For those who like the ending, a movie can go anywhere. Those who were looking for “more” from the ending have very specific expectations (I know that’s a dirty word) of what they need from a movie.

    • revdr says:

      Cap; I’m not really to comment just yet as I’m still getting my thoughts together, which is actually kind of weird, considering that, like you, I didn’t like the finale. But I will comment on your last comment…I don’t think that a movie would be that difficult to do; as long that it’s done honestly (unlike the finale was). If you have seen the Veronica Mars movie, I think that it was a fitting return to the series, that was canceled much too soon, and without the chance for proper closure. Put in the right hands, I think that a Chuck movie could be done very well, but that would mean several things that I will get into later.

    • thinkling says:

      I certainly understand how you feel, Captain, and you’re in good company — lots of it. Even though I’m logically positive about the finale, emotionally, it’s still hard to watch.

      You said:

      Call me pessimistic if you will, but the next 42 minutes did nothing but continuously show Sarah wanting to get away and showed zero of her wanting to reconnect with Chuck – at least until the beach – maybe.

      I interpreted it a little differently. Yes, Sarah kept saying she was leaving. What I saw, though, was Sarah trying to leave but being unable to stay away. I even thought it was very hard for her to walk away from the fountain. Really, there was no need for her to come to Chuck and apologize and say goodbye. Old Sarah (from S1) would have just left. To me (and Yvonne nailed the scene, as excruciating as it was) I saw a conflicted Sarah caught between the woman she remembered and the ever-present one that kept tugging on her emotions and informing her actions. By the end of v. Sarah, she understood where the emotions were coming from, but she didn’t know what to do with them. At the fountain, I saw a woman trying to leave, but deep down wishing for a reason to stay.

      If she was really all about leaving, she would never have come back.

      • revdr says:

        But, Thinkling, she did leave. Without hesitation. The only thing that was on her mind, at that moment in the courtyard, was finding Quinn, and killing him. There was no conflict; her only focus was the mission at hand.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        I’ve read that “buT Sarah kept coming back” POV before (I can’t argue that point) and it’s a view I wish I could have. I just see Sarah wanting to leave. I don’t doubt Sarah was conflicted at the fountain, but I don’t see her lying. (I certainly shouldn’t have to “interpret” her lying.)

        To me, I guess I was hoping for some form of reconnection to begin at the fountain, (by then I certainly had gotten the point of the story) especially after just reviewing the video logs. When that didn’t happen, for me, the story went further into a pit of despair the vs the Goodbye didn’t do enoufgh to fix.

        If the point was to make me “feel”, these two episodes accomplish that. If the point was to make me feel hopeful at the end – they missed.

      • thinkling says:

        Rev, we’ll just have to agree to disagree about the fountain. Sarah was very soft, not at all the harder Sarah from before. The very fact that she came back to say sorry and goodbye, something s1 Sarah wouldn’t have done, tells me that Chuck and her former life were very much on her mind. Her whole demeanor was hesitant as she turned to leave and glance back. I saw a conflicted woman, not a woman on a mission.

        As for the lying, we saw Sarah lie to herself (and to Chuck) repeatedly for two years (with the same tell of looking down and away), when it was obvious to others what she was feeling. That’s the same thing I think was happening at the fountain, b/c we definitely saw her “feeling it” in the v-log viewing. She stuffed her feelings, because that’s how the Sarah she remembers operates, and made herself get on with the mission.

        I will say that the fountain scene would have been an excellent turning point (one I really wanted — and still would have liked much better), but that was never going to happen, because CF’s one non-negotiable focus was the last scene at the beach.

        So, we watched the same scene, but saw two different things. That seems particularly true for the finale. Fans watched the same finale and saw very different things.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        “Fans watched the same finale and saw very different things.”

        Agreed.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree exactly with Thinkling on this. Sarah has already started her rapid recovery at the end of 5.12. All she really needed was for Quinn to leave her alone. She’s tough and stubborn, and slow to admit it. But she is recovering already.

      • joe says:

        I have to agree with Thinkling too. Unlike the last/first time, I was struck, this time around, by how conflicted Sarah was throughout – except when she discovered Chuck had deceived her about the glasses. And THAT proved she wanted to trust him completely. Oh yeah, Sarah’s got feelings, but she also has no way to know how to handle them. Reverting back to Graham’s wildcard enforcer is the only thing she can do.

        I’m not completely sure that she lies when she tells Chuck that she doesn’t “feel” it, but that too has been Sarah’s MO in the past. I couldn’t tell then, either.

        Captn, I sort of agree with what you said up-top, about the episode being more hopeless than hopeful. But after long consideration I’d say it was closer to 60% hopeless. Of course, I’ve always been glass half full kind of guy. 😉

        Added: Hey! I need a little help. Did a winking emoticon appear just before this update? I recently switched browsers and neither it nor two text versions appear in the browser I’m using now. Could you tell me, please, if you’re seeing it? Thanks.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah it came up Joe.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t even understand how anyone can say they aren’t sure if Sarah was lying. We just saw her bawling! It wasn’t even subtle. The emotions have been all ever her face since the door jam. As Chuck said, she isn’t even a good liar about it.
        Now Chuck knows her well enough to stay out of her way at this point. She’s in enforcer mode. But she’s clearly feeling it!

      • joe says:

        Oh! Sure, Dave. I’m not 100% certain because I don’t see it in Yvonne’s eyes. Sarah looks to me like she’s being sincere when she tells Chuck that she doesn’t feel it, and given their history, the words could not be better chosen. I believe her just like I believed her in S1 and even part of S2.

        And it may be my problem, but honestly, it feels more like Fedak and Yvonne were playing specifically to me! They knew I would feel uncertain about Sarah’s feelings right then, so they kept me uncertain exactly the way they did five years earlier.

        Pretty cool trick! 😉

      • anthropocene says:

        Count me in Thinkling’s camp too. I thought the fountain scene was the saddest moment in the entire series (…to motivate myself to work on my season 6 FF where C&S are happily together again, I need only play “Your Hands”). But I thought Sarah was intensely conflicted there—not only softer, but hesitant; almost nervous in talking with Chuck. At that point she was still so different from the pre-Intersect, loving wife Sarah that I missed her subtle signs the first time I watched. But just coming back to the apartment was huge, as others have noted.

    • I certainly respect your POV, however I find it a little cynical that people let the finale ruin the rest of the product! Rev had issues with finale too but was able to not let the ending (at least eventually) ruin Chuck as whole.

      I stated before why Sarah left, out of guilt and shame, she’s distant because she’s unable to trust herself to reconnect with the person(s) she hurt so badly.

      • BigKev67 says:

        Josh – But that’s precisely the problem with the story they chose. In choosing to put Sarah’s memories at risk, TPTB are explicitly putting their entire backstory at risk. Sarah’s memories are the show – they are the 91 episodes in my DVD boxes. If you put your backstory at risk and don’t resolve the issue satisfactorily, then you can’t blame for people for saying the entire product is damaged.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        If you watch 5 years of character growth go “poof”, you kinda ask yourself, “what’s the point”.

      • revdr says:

        Sarah is distant because 1) her only focus is on killing Quinn, and 2) although she believes what she has been told and the viewing of the mission logs, the fact remains that she doesn’t remember, and she doesn’t know this man….she doesn’t feel it. Those are words, not mine.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah. I personally think they gave us enough evidence to believe that her growth was not gone, and that she would recover most of her important memories, especially with Chuck’s help. I had to look for it, though. It wasn’t obvious on first viewing, and that’s all some people will give — one shot. Ultimately, I found enough evidence to make my faith (in a happy ending for them) reasonable, but not enough evidence to make faith unnecessary. However … I totally get Kev and Captain’s perspective. There are a lot of people who feel exactly the same way.

        Why watch something so wonderful, if you know that in the end it’s going to be cruelly snatched away. For fans whom CF didn’t convince of Sarah’s undiminished growth and imminent recovery … for them the story and all the wonderful moments they cherished of their favorite show, in essence, never happened. Again, I don’t feel this way, but I understand why some people do.

      • revdr says:

        The thing is though; it begs the question: what if Sarah had succeeded in killing Quinn on that plane? Would she have returned to Burbank?

      • thinkling says:

        I believe so. There was no “need” for her to come back and ask for Chuck’s help. She was a spy — a really good one. Why in the world would she need Chuck’s help. I also point to the end to support my theory. In the end when all was resolved, she didn’t leave. By then she didn’t even say she was leaving. She just said she needed some time to think and be alone, which of course she did at a spot special to both of them.

        Now, if CF had been writing it, no, Chuck-the-hero would have had to go find her in … probably in Paris. But the Sarah I was seeing would have ultimately come back, because I saw her being unable to stay away. Chuck was her home (always had been), and I think that notion was still in there informing her behavior.

        I realize many don’t agree with me on that, but that’s my interpretation of the Sarah in the finale.

      • revdr says:

        Think; I agree with you. This certainly is not pre S1 Sarah Walker, and yes she is conflicted, and definitely drawn to Chuck. However, what I don’t buy is that all is well at the end of that beach scene, because unless she remembers everything, or even is falling in love all over again, it goes against her true nature, which is to question her feelings. It just isn’t realistic to believe that she would throw caution to the wind a go off with Chuck. That doesn’t fit any incarnation of the Sarah we know about….S1 thru S5.

    • atcDave says:

      Although I understand many viewers felt this way, I really think you have to ignore a lot of what was shown on screen to do so.
      Starting with Sarah at the fountain. She lied. This is clearly shown. The whole last five minutes of the episode were about Sarah feeling it. But this is more like, not quite, but more like a S1 Sarah. The Sarah who clearly had strong feelings for Chuck but pushed them down and was always “duty first”. So now she knows something, and FEELS something that makes no sense to her. Naturally she is going to push down that feeling and come up with some mission to chase after.
      No doubt there is ample room for further tragedy here. Starting with Sarah killing Chuck, although she felt some resistance to doing so, and in the end it was enough that she hesitated until she had enough information to know it would be a mistake. Second is running off on a mission with no back-up. Which we know Sarah is prone to do anyway. But she managed to survive again. And finally is the idea of just leaving. But again, she keeps finding excuses to return or stay. And I’m pretty comfortable saying even if she’d killed Quinn she would have eventually returned home when she remembered enough.

      I’ll get into more of the Goodbye related stuff next week. But as I’ve said several times, Sarah “finding herself” can only be good news. We were told a few different times that without Chuck, Sarah is “nothing but a spy”. Yet in the end, she was looking for what else she was.
      I have just re-watched Goodbye now too, and I feel pretty comfortable with saying that Chuck had already given her all the time she needed when he found her at the beach. That beach scene is so critical. Starting with how emotional and OPEN Sarah was. She let herself be vulnerable and honest with Chuck. That can only be S4 or later Sarah. She may not have sorted out details and specific memories yet, but she is ready for Chuck. And the Extended Cut is very important here too. Earlier, Sarah insists, explains, why she does not want to hear “their story”. It’s not HER story and she doesn’t want to hear it! But in the end she’s ready. This is huge change and growth over the course of the episode, and I think a huge mistake on the editing room to have ever deleted the scene.
      And after all that emotion and honesty from Sarah, in the end, she invites Chuck back into her life with a kiss. She even uses similar language to what she used back at the end of Other Guy. But more importantly, after this period of honesty and vulnerability with Chuck on the beach, she doesn’t run away, she doesn’t even twitch; she takes initiative and invites Chuck back in. It is a very optimistic end.

      Now all that said, I dislike all this very much as a finale. I think it leaves Sarah in too damaged a condition. And structurally they left too much hanging until the very end. Even most action movies put the couple together by about the mid-point, so in the end, they know what they’re fighting for. Here, too much is left hanging until the very end, and it makes it difficult to care about some of the preliminaries.
      But worst of all, they were too cute, too vague with the resolution. It left far to many viewers with questions and issues. Even to the point of damaging the entire series for too many viewers.
      It’s obvious some would have been unhappy no matter what. CaptM has made it clear he was unhappy with the whole show post S2, so chances are no end would have worked for him. I know many just couldn’t have been satisfied with any end after this story. But for me, and I think most viewers I’ve encountered and even spoken with, the simpleist addition of material suggesting Sarah WILL trust Chuck (as he asked her to) and work this out WITH him, is all it would have taken.
      And I have to mention, Sarah asked to Chuck for “our story” immediately after he asked her to trust him. I see that as her doing exactly that. Too subtle for their own good; but again, Chuck has his wife back. The rest is just details.

      • Dave, I forget the gentleman’s name, but do you remember the guy who posted about having a similar experience in real life? One thing that’s important to remember here is that Sarah isn’t just faced with some guy she had a crush on. She’s faced with a life that seems totally at odds with everything she remembers about her past and beliefs.

        I’m sure you’re right that Sarah is lying, to some extent, at the fountain. But just because she “feels” it, doesn’t mean she’s ready to confront marraige and all that entails. That has to be incredibly frightening, and it’s much easier for Sarah to go back into what she knows. That recovery and adjustment, as the poster indicated, takes time. More than two weeks, and what we see in Goodbye, to revisit a metaphor I like, is the Chuck/Sarah relationship moving from “critical condition” to “rehabilitation.” At least, that’s how I like to think about it.

      • revdr says:

        It might have been me, Arthur; or at least, I did suffer from some short and long term memory loss after suffering a stroke several years ago. That’s why I can’t buy into the all is well/let’s go home theory, and my memory loss wasn’t nearly as extensive as was Sarah’s. I just cant suspend reality and say that Sarah is near fully recovered. I grant you, her memories are only suppressed, but I don’t believe that she has remembered as much as we are led to believe. Sure, she had remembered some things; but mind you, much of it was subconscious memory, not full blown “I remember everything” recall.. Not even close. Yes, she was drawn to the beach, but she doesn’t know why, or the significance of it. The thing that has always bothered me most is that we don’t know what she is recalling, and therein lies the failure of the piece. Just being told a story, even if it is their story, doesn’t mean that she is ready to run off a re-enter a marriage she doesn’t remember. It certainly is a hopeful sign, but anyone who doesn’t remember what they’ve done for the last 5 tears of their life would be hesitant to just pick up like nothing happened. It doesn’t make sense.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        “It obvious some would have been unhappy no matter what. CaptM has made it clear he was unhappy with the whole show posr S2, so chances are no end would have worked for him.”

        I was unaware of that. Thanks for clearing that up.

      • atcDave says:

        Arthur I think you’re thinking of Erik. I’ll try to find the link later, but yeah, he and his wife had a very similar experience where she had forgotten him entirely. They were both very up about this ending, and felt confident great things lay ahead.

      • atcDave says:

        Sorry my bad, you only said the character Chuck lost something after S2.

      • Dave, that’s correct, thanks.

        revdr, these are all things that I have said; I don’t disagree with any of it. I think you’re conflating Dave’s and my own arguments, which are very different.

        Where I disagree with you (and Dave in a different way) is that I think all of these things lead to a conclusion that things are ultimately headed in the right direction, and that the episode makes it all seem obvious and inevitable – all of which is very inspiring to me. That said, I also think there’s quite a bit of work ahead for the two of them to get back to where they were, and I think the time period for that would probably be somewhere between 1-2 years.

      • atcDave says:

        Oh I agree with saying there is work ahead. But I think the worst is passed. There are a few key moments from the door jam memory on, but the beach is a watershed moment and its clear to me recovery would proceed fairly quickly from there.

      • revdr says:

        Arthur; that’s my point exactly; I don’t believe by any stretch of the imagination, the ending didn’t signify a new beginning, with them together (at some point). What I cant ever subscribe to is that, they are husband and wife again at the end of that kiss (or that story). While I don’t think that 1-2 years is the right time frame (I’m thinking less) since, Sarah fell in love with Chuck in a relatively short period, it just seems wrong to underplay the memory loss (suppression) aspect of it all. The incompleteness that one feels when they don’t know or remember what has gone on in there lives, weighs on you mentally, and that is never addressed. And even if (when) those memories return, everything that has gone on since comes into play. It’s wrong to whitewash these issues, just for the sake of being hopeful; which I still remain, btw.

      • revdr says:

        their lives….sorry

      • atcDave says:

        Rev I think part of our difference is just that I don’t really care if there are “problems” ahead. I mean, that’s life. What mattered to me at the end was just knowing they were in it together, and I’ve seen enough to be convinced. But it wasn’t easy getting there, I wish that part had been far more clear.

      • I think I’ve said before that I think this is the biggest tragedy that could’ve happened to Sarah outside of death (or more memory loss). I wouldn’t underplay that at all; it’s the context for why the ending is so great. Granted, there’s a value judgment here: the endings that some commenters propose would’ve definitely been more “complete,” and I would’ve liked them less because that’s just not something I like.

        For me, that Chuck and Sarah’s relationship could survive even what happens in Bullet Train and Sarah, is just the most affirming thing they could’ve possibly said about that relationship. I understand wanting a bow wrapped on it, but I love that the direction (to me) was crystal clear while the details were left unsaid. I mean, it’s two years later, and I’m still arguing with internet strangers about how good I feel about it. That’s more than I could’ve asked from any show.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Arthur we’ll never see eye to eye on that. I needed more, and I’ll remain somewhat angry and unsatisfied by what we saw. They ended the story right when they got to the best part.
        And after five years of Chuck and Sarah growing together to find their own version of “normal” together, we never got to see it. Even worse, they made the world safe for themselves and their family, and we never saw the fruits of that victory.
        It just feels horribly incomplete to me.

        Anyway, I found the post in question by Erik (ref91507). This was really an awesome tie to the show.

      • Angus Macnab says:

        Dave RE: Erik. If memory serves me correctly (oh, the irony), Erik’s wife did not come home right away. Like many who suffer a brain injury of this type, I believe she spent some time with her parents, to rediscover her lost relationship, before finally returning home. I think the optimism Erik and his wife felt might have stemmed from the appearance that those seeds had been planted for Sarah in a way they could relate personally.

        Like Erik’s wife, Sarah could easily have still left, either by herself since she is something of a lone wolf, or with Emma and Molly, to spend more time in introspection and self-searching before coming home to Chuck. That can be a poignant story in, and of itself, because it still leads to the same great place. In some cases it can even be a better one.

      • atcDave says:

        Yes Angus, Erik and his wife were apart for some time, a year maybe? I don’t recall exactly. But then she also never got any memories back.

        But every situation is its own. We were specifically told Sarah’s memories were returning, and we saw the first one come back at the end of 5.12. I think the Bartowski’s recovery would come much quicker. I’m comfortable from what I saw saying they would recover very quickly. But even if it drags into a few months or longer the outcome seems likely to be good.

      • Angus Macnab says:

        Yeah, Dave I never had any doubt they would get back together either. 150k words later I’m really a believer. However, I will always find myself at some odds with people who think that there is no possible way they would leave that beach separately. After what happened to them, with everything we were shown, it was still a possibility, and that’s where the trouble lies with it. As I saw it they would be back under the same roof together in one to three months and that’s how I wrote it.

        I have never believed or said that they would not find their way back to each other. I do however think that Sarah could find herself oscillating back and forth for a period of time until she connected enough dots, and re-resolved some long standing personal issues she once had about giving her own trust to anyone. She just didn’t connect enough of them, in my opinion, by the time they got to the beach to remove all doubt for some of us who were more invested in the romance, as opposed to the drama.

      • I share your view on them leaving separately, Sarah’s psychological state is delicate and this point. you captured this extremely well in your follow up story. Chuck was anxious but understood what she was feeling, partly because he went through a psychological trauma 5 years before and again in tooth and phase 3, so he didn’t press her. I love that you had Beckmann place her on probation before rejoining the CIA, she shouldn’t have been allowed to jump back in to field duty without being forced to deal with and not run from those unknown 5 years and Beckmann needed at the very lest, level headed Sarah Walker back, which wasn’t possible until she faced everything eating at her.

      • atcDave says:

        I can accept the way you wrote it in “Lost Years” only because there was an external force still in play. And that’s fine. If a movie is done that uses a similar device, that keeps them apart for a few weeks because the Intersect adventure truly isn’t over yet I can accept that.

        But barring external forces, I think leaving the beach together is most likely. If they do leave separately, its likely only for a few days. I think recovery would be very rapid from what we saw.

      • revdr says:

        That’s been my take on the aftermath of the beach all along. It just doesn’t fit that Sarah would just go home with Chuck. This is someone who doesn’t know who she is right now; she certainly isn’t ready to be Sarah Bartowski again just yet. I never doubted that she would come around, memories or no, but she needs time still to “find herself”. She can sense a bond between them, but regardless of the trust that she now obviously has for him, story or no story, kiss or no kiss, she doesn’t remember being a wife, or the life that they had together. Unless the ridiculous “magical kiss” theory actually worked {and if it did I may not ever watch Chuck again-just kidding :)) it will take some time. Logically, it’s the only thing that makes sense.

      • atcDave says:

        I guess it all comes down to how you interpret that last scene. I would say she “found herself” right there on the beach.

      • harlock328 says:

        ActDave, I didn’t ignore what was on screen and it is NOT clearly shown that she lied. You’re taking your interpretation what she’s seeing in the video as her having feelings for Chuck as fact. It can easily be interpreted that she’s reacting with shock and sadness in seeing old self declaring her love for Chuck; but her current self doesn’t know Chuck, or have these feelings. She realizes what she’s lost. I believe she was telling the truth “doesn’t feel it”. If one believes this, the fountain scene is very powerful and needs to fully be addressed in the finale which it wasn’t.

      • I’m with Dave here if you REALLY study her movements and expressions, (specificity her face and eyes) she avoids direct eye contact with Chuck, if she truly felt NOTHING for him or her past life, when apologizing I have to believe she would’ve had no issue with being 100% straight with him (if u read my prior post, in which I break down the ‘Dream House” house scene entirely from Sarah’s POV I think it will enlighten you and you’ll see why if she felt NOTHING then she would’ve been able to state it with no hesitation at all. Dave, me and others who feel the opposite way you do about if Sarah’s lying in the fountain scene are by no means saying she’s in love with Chuck or even has deep feelings for him, I’m reminded of all the times throughout the series that other people told her ether;A. Chuck would do anything for her, or B.that she had “REAL, non spy feelings” for him. (Casey, her father, Roan, Cole, Forest, Shaw) but she was unsure of them and tried to bury them. That’s what she’s doing at the fountain, she knows she has some form of feelings for Chuck and the life she once had with him. This is further supported on the plan as she corners Quinn and says “you stole my memories and you ruined my life”, this suggestions that, she knows that she was incredibly happy in her former life and is furious that he blocked all proof of it in her subconscious. Dave is 100% right your misinterpreting the fountain/Vlog scences.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah, Josh; I do believe that Sarah was indeed lying to Chuck at the fountain. Question is to what extent? We know that she believes him about their story…she tells him so. But I totally believe her when she says also that she doesn’t feel it. How could she? She has no memory of it. She may feel something (something new perhaps?), but she also probably feels something else; guilt perhaps (after all, she kidnapped his sister, threatened to kill him, etc.); fear (it’s a huge shock mentally not to remember your life), anger (at herself mostly for trusting the wrong people and having her life stolen from her), and, most assuredly confusion about her feelings, old and or new for Chuck, and what to do about them. Thing is, this time the lie is more about not hurting Chuck further, unlike other times before when it was about the choice between job and love.

      • That’s a great point rev and it’s why I wrote the breakdown of the “dream house” scene in the first place. That scene is more than just the climax of the episode, it’s where Sarah splits into 3 separate identities, though one of these eventually is removed (“Quinn’s manufactured solider”) everything that happens after is an inner war between the 2, remaining identities, much like S1-3 where she was constantly at war with strictly doing her job and maintaining the cover or being with him for real.

        I don’t like how overboard they went with the ambiguity but I think it’s precisely the heavy ambiguity that led Zach and Yvonne to give what I view as 2 of the most amazing performances ever (that give Hollywood’s best a serious run for their money) they knew where the story would ultimately go and wanted to pour everything into their performances, in an effort to cut through some of the ambiguity.we were left with.

      • atcDave says:

        I think the safest thing to say is just that Sarah is very confused at that point. Personally, I think its already edging into her conscience that she really does love this man, and I think between the memory at the house, and him taking a bullet for her, she’s well on her way to something pretty serious.
        But even at my most optimistic, it comes back to what she said three years earlier “…and I don’t know what to do about it”. So she does what she always did those first two seasons, she stamps it down, focuses on her mission (“one mission at a time…”), and shuts Chuck out.
        Although as we see in the next episode, the attraction is stronger than her flight response. And just like three years ago, she’ll never be able to stay away.

    • macnab13 says:

      You know, I really can’t add much to this. Your thoughts on the last two episodes very closely mirror my own, Capt, in a we’re both standing on the same side of the mirror kind of way.

      I do, however, feel I have to touch on the one thing you didn’t want to address, and I have to tell you, it almost ruined this entire series for me. That one line that the ‘old’ Sarah spoke, in the bedroom of her dream home of all things. My gosh, was it ever, in my own humble opinion, ever destructive; so damning to her character that she could see herself doing that. I don’t think I ever really recovered from it as an ardent follower of Chuck and Sarah’s story from the very beginning after I saw her say that. I do believe it overshadowed almost all hope I had for them on the beach. A lot of introspection about the finale always led me back to that moment, and it was always something I felt had to confronted in my own continuation of their story for me to ever really see them together.

      One uttered sentence. One. In the entire series. And while Yvonne performed those scenes with amazing aplomb, what was said, and the way it was said, with such conviction, and such a slavish and self-destructive devotion to ‘duty’. Ugh. It terribly damaged her character in a way that made almost every minute after that depressing for me to watch.

      Okay. So maybe this shows us just how far Sarah has come in her own shared quest with Chuck. Unfortunately, I’m not sure anymore if that version of Sarah we were shown was ever really right for him.

    • Angus Macnab says:

      Yeah. The above was Angus. Darn WordPress keeps changing my handle.

      • harlock328 says:

        @Josh Zdanowicz
        I don’t think I was clear sorry. At the fountain she says “I believe everything you told me about us; but the truth is Chuck…I don’t feel it”. Her statement about “I don’t feel it” is having the same feelings for Chuck as he does for her; their life together. What he was trying to accomplished in the house. Not feeling it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any feelings (just not those he wants her to have about them).
        You said it yourself “no means saying she’s in love with Chuck or even has deep feelings for him,” Which is the point. At that period of time at the fountain “she doesn’t feel it”. The Vlog doesn’t show anything that she was remembering and having feelings for him. What it shows to me is sadness of seeing what she lost.

      • oldresorter says:

        The scene at the water fountain yet another example of how ambiguous the writing is. I don;t like this style of writing at all. Actually, ambiguous is sort of awesome, when it all gets clearly revealed at some point, but by the multiple interpretations of multiple scenes in these final two episodes, that clarity never occurred, right up to and including the bitter ending scene on the beach.

      • I agree but I hope you meant “bittersweet ending”, because love it or hate it that’s what it was.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree with Jason/Old Resorter about not liking this sort of ambiguous writing!

        But I don’t buy that this was just about loss. That is such an abstraction. I just don’t see how we get to the extreme reaction we saw without it being intimately wrapped up with Chuck.
        Again, she’s no where near knowing how to deal with it. And as she tells Morgan early in Goodbye, “I don’t know how to be that person”.
        But Chuck knows the answer, and at the beach she will finally let go of all her objections.

      • atcDave says:

        Josh I know Jason truly meant “bitter”! For many viewers that;s exactly what it was. And I would agree if I didn’t come to see how far advanced Sarah’s recovery was at the end, I would be bitter too.

  2. Yvonne put heavy emphasis on this fact in her performance at the fountain , I gather you may have not noticed this.

  3. Christopher says:

    of all of 91 episodes this one I can admit to only watching twice, and if I don’t watch it again, it won’t hurt my psyche. I am not one to question writers motives when it comes to overall storylines but this whole last 4 episodes makes me do that very much.

    First, Quinn to me was a wasted character. lets take a look at the evidence. in Chuck vs BO he said that Larkin stole the Intersect that was suppose to be uploaded to him, if this is the case than Quinn has been involved with the story since the pilot, which means did he hire Fulcrum and the Ring to secure the Intersect? I would think so since it was also proven that they both were his accounts, which was also interesting how Volkoff played into it, did quinn know about what Orion did to him.

    I also complain about the bridge between Decker and Quinn with Shaw in the middle to be very weak because between the three Decker and Quinn were far more of a threat than Shaw was at this point besides I just watched 24 and saw how BA Richard Burgi was in that series that I found Decker to be no point intended as Awesome.

    to be honest I have to re evaluate my top bad guys from Volkoff Quinn Shaw and Decker because these four guys did damage to all of the characters

    Roark was more for Orion and the intersect he didn’t do anything that really impacted anything although Chevy Chase was really good

    finally Sarah vs Chuck really is nothing I want to see if watching the break ups and fights was rough for the eyes to see seeing her try to kill him was torture for the stomach.

    even if Sarah was brainwashed by quinn, which is another part of the writing that does not make sense to me. how does Quinn know how far back he can go to erase her mind. it doesn’t seem logical that he put a pause button on what to wipe away.

    so yea 5.12 is not an episode I care to watch in fact as much as people complain about Chuck vs the Mask. this episode for me ranks like that along with 3d, broken heart and Nemesis

    there is so much on my mind about this episode that I will be rambling.

    • authorguy says:

      I own S5 on DVD but have not watched it yet. I’m just seeing my S4 DVDs for the first time. I will see enough of S5 when I get around to rewriting it, and then I will never need to see it again.

      • Christopher says:

        Author i get as far as baby in season 5 and no further than when sarah puts on the glasses watching sarah vs chuck is pure torture for the heart

      • authorguy says:

        When I get to doing the rewrite of S5 I’ll have Baby as the conclusion, with the Decker conspiracy as the main and only arc. It makes no sense to me that they did anything else.

      • Christopher says:

        Yeah, I agree with the exception of Quinn everything else is bad writing

      • authorguy says:

        I would never say that, since I don’t know what pressures those scriptwriters were working under. Why throw away a perfectly good plot with the Decker conspiracy? I can only imagine something related to the production necessitated the change, and they had to scramble for a story, just like the back 11 of S4 must have left them scrambling, and they made mistakes. I know how long it takes me to come up with mystories and can pnly marvel that they did what they did in the time they had. They rely on tropes for a very good reason, but sometimes too often.

      • Christopher says:

        I see your point but uf we go by that than Quinn really has been involved since the pilot and if that is the case wouldnt he be more ideal as the mastermind esoecially of the knowledge he had shaw does not work because decker said he was just a pawn much like tge ring fulcurm and volkoff all acconts of Quinn so Quinn is a big player in that regards

      • authorguy says:

        In order to make that sort of thing work, the storyteller really has to include the Master Villain as a bit role from very early on. It doesn’t work to just make him up at the end. I would prefer Tommy Delgado to Quinn, he has the right creepiness and we don’t know what happened to him in S2. I have the conclusion for the whole series already planned out and there’s no need for a Quinn in my version (but I may work in Tommy somehow, now that I’ve thought of him), which is, unfortunately, beginning to diverge slightly from canon.

      • Christopher says:

        Whuch is why he was wasted there its sort of like ralphie in sopranos we all wanted him dead but he died too early quinn came inti the story too late

      • atcDave says:

        Baby is an excellent stopping point. As I said a couple weeks ago, I think its the last truly great episode of the series. And a perfect end, that is sort of my final take away for the series.

      • joe says:

        If you do decide to watch Goodbye again, then please watch the (slightly) extended version that’s is the special features section of the last disk. There were some deleted scenes that definitely move the mood in a positive direction.

      • atcDave says:

        yeah big time!

      • authorguy says:

        I’m fortunate that the work of rewriting these episodes overwrites canon in my head, and I like my version a lot better. In that sense, I do own Chuck.

      • anthropocene says:

        Until the beach scene, anyway. 😉

    • I don’t think the suppression of the “Chuck specific” memories has much if any to do with Quinn but simply how the human brain works. When we subconsciously think of a memory I.e a person event or thing, it’s brought to the surface of our mind, through our brains electrical impulses. Using that logical explanation, Chuck was undoubtably who Sarah was thinking about at the time of the suppression process so those memories were naturally affected.

      • revdr says:

        I think that it’s a combination of everything. Just the thought that 5 years of your life has suddenly disappeared is mentally taxing. You’re desperately trying to remember….anything. Can you imagine having other people telling you stories of what you did only not to remember them? The frustration of not having control of a vital part of your life? I can speak personally to that. You are in a constant struggle to look beyond what you’ve lost, but without fail you feel totally incomplete because for whatever reason, that’s been taken from you. You do whatever you can to remain positive and move forward, but at times you cant help but feel like everything is at a standstill….like setting your keys down somewhere and not remembering where you left them. You’re not going anywhere until you find them. That may be over simplifying things, but it’s pretty much true. Sarah knows who she is, but not what she done. And, until she finds that “key”, she has to search for them.

      • authorguy says:

        Not to mention that it was by no means a clean slice. What Quinn did looks more like a wrecking ball to me. The five years didn’t disappear, she just has a mess of broken shards left, from around the edges. Those are the shards that tell her yes, she did marry this man, even though Sarah knows she would never marry a mark or sleep with a mark. That bit of angst only makes sense if you assume the memory loss was pretty clean and surgical, which I don’t. My story Not This Time, which was set before, during, and after these two episodes, presents a much less rosy view (as compared to canon) of what her life felt like from the inside. It may be darker than most of wanted to see, but I think it’s more realistic.

      • anthropocene says:

        And if it wasn’t “clean” (I agree with you), then it’s quite possible that Quinn could also have stripped Sarah’s memories of Molly and the incident that brought her to Emma, since that all immediately preceded the Chuck mission.

      • authorguy says:

        Exactly.She lost the majority of her recent past, not all of which was related to Chuck but simply located in that same general area. She would believe Quinn saying she married Chuck not because of some spy-whore idiocy but because it was true, and she has enough of those memories left to support the claim. She just doesn’t know why it’s true.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah; Quinn wouldn’t know when to stop in-so-far-as wiping her memories. He only knew that every time she flashed she lost some recall. It’s too vague…and poorly written. For instance; how did Sarah know that she now had a Lotus? Whomever kept the book on continuity, certainly didn’t seem to pay much attention to detail. This arc should have started much earlier in the season if they were going down this path, allowing for much more recovery time and a better end game.

      • authorguy says:

        There’s no need to worry about continuity. Any ‘mistakes’ they make can be more easily accounted for by saying “it’s in one of those sections Quinn broke (or didn’t break)”, than by saying “the memory excision was clean and surgical and someone on the production team screwed up, oh and by the way Sarah’s always been a whore we just never told you.”

      • thinkling says:

        I tend to think it was specific. He had specific cards, and we saw her lose specific memories. Anyway, I float a theory as to how he did it in my story (ch 11). It’s a passable theory for science fiction. 😉

      • authorguy says:

        That looked specific to you? I saw untested technology being shown to someone wildly trying not to look at it, Not sure how it was supposed to be specific. As for the specific memories being lost, how is that a surprise? They want us to see all the good moments being lost.I’m sure there are lots of bathroom breaks and take-out food they didn’t waste our time with. But they did show her remembering specific incidents, which argues against any kind of surgical precision.
        I have no doubt you have a theory, I’ll have to go reread it, but since a consequence of your theory is that Sarah is a government whore I don’t know why you’d want to hold it. I’ll stick with mine.

      • thinkling says:

        Ease off Marc! I have never taken a view of Sarah as a gov’t whore, and all of my comments in this post have stated quite clearly that 5.12 does not change that.

      • authorguy says:

        I know you have, in which case your positions are inconsistent. If the excision was ‘surgical’, which your story doesn’t quite claim, then there’s really no other reason for her accepting that she married and slept with her target except that it was a CIA standard practice. Otherwise her acceptance of Quinn’s description makes no sense at all.
        Fortunately, the theory you presented in your story depends on linkages between memories to ‘unravel the sweater’, so it’s completely consistent with the idea of unrelated-but-linked memories being stolen, and related-but-unlinked memories remaining behind. The excision was not surgical, although it would be more complete than my wrecking-ball theory would have it. These leftovers would support the story that Quinn was telling just the shards in my wrecking-ball theory would, without the need for a GW theory that so many people seem to want to float.

      • thinkling says:
        But they did show her remembering specific incidents, which argues against any kind of surgical precision.

        Of course it doesn’t. All of the memories Quinn suppressed can come back (no physiological or neurological brain damage according to Ellie’s exam of Morgan, which is meant to be a pattern for Sarah). So just b/c a memory returns doesn’t mean it wasn’t previously suppressed. I assume that the carving and Irene Demova and whatever else we see her remember was part of what Quinn suppressed. And when I say precision, I’m referring to a time frame, i.e. the 5 years in Burbank. Her past before that seems intact.

      • revdr says:

        But guys that’s why this arc should have been initiated much earlier in the season. Sarah’s memory suppression was much more extensive than Morgan’s, yet, in the end they expected us to believe that her memories started return in a shorter period of time. Unless of course the final 2 episodes occurs over a longer time expanse. In either case, again it was poor story telling and we are expected to “imagine” all of this. Too many plot holes with zero exposition. Even Casey mentioned something about the fact that Morgan was still having trouble remembering things.

      • oldresorter says:

        Rev – my opinion is they kept the amnesia misery arc short, learning from s3’s 13 episodes of unhappiness. At least this way, fans like me only hate 3 episodes (amnesia arc and Shaw beating up Sarah for an ep) from the season, instead of 13. And fans who like the miserableness, got three eps to love, including an inconclusive artsy ending to praise. Even I see why the ending was cool, heck, I sort of liked it. What I didn’t like, was two episodes of miserable amnesia which kept the dynamic duo from having fun while saving the world.

        But still, IMO, if they give fans a little spark of old Sarah on the beach or a short epilogue scene of happy Chuck and Sarah in the future, almost NO discussion about the small inconsistencies and ambiguities would have taklen place. And the final two eps would have been hailed as two of the finest in the series by the majority of the fans, rather than by a minority. The story was there to complete, all they needed was to finish it off. They chose not to.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason/OR that’s exactly how I see it. I’m thankful beyond words that this arc wasn’t dragged out any longer. Going too long on a depressing story is among the major failings of S3. A simple epilogue would have sufficed for me. Although I can imagine, if we’d had another episode or two, having some fun with the reconnecting process. But I’d already had my fill of drama.

      • revdr says:

        Exactly Dave; a couple of extra episodes might have made all the difference in the world…seeing the reconnection rather than having to imagine it.

      • joe says:

        Sarah’s memory suppression was much more extensive than Morgan’s, yet, in the end they expected us to believe that her memories started return in a shorter period of time.

        Rev, this is very true and it prompts me to make a point that I was going to save for the weekend’s write up.

        In re-watching Goodbye I noticed several things that I completely missed (or had forgotten?!) prior. One of those things is that throughout, something in Sarah is fighting very hard to restore her memories. Morgan, on the other hand, seemed to fight getting those memories back tooth and nail – at least, he did until Chuck got through to him. It makes a difference.

        I start to believe that I’m not thinking wishfully here. It’s something TPTB put in the episode that I just missed before.

      • revdr says:

        Well, thanks a lot Joe; Now I’m forced to do yet another painful re-watch :). I will say this though; the variable is that Sarah’s memories were taken deliberately, and the realization for her is that she remembers nothing, while Morgan’s memory loss were more obscure. He remembered friends and family, and Sarah had no recall of anyone or anything around her. Of course she’s fighting harder to restore her memories; a huge void now resides where her life had been.

      • revdr says:

        Essentially, our memories are what drive us. They play an essential part of who we are and what we want to be; what we aspire to in life. The good an bad memories co-mingle with each other. Triumphs and tragedies, mistakes and excellence; all experiences that shape who we are. Sarah lost all of this, so wouldn’t be natural to want to find that as soon as she could? After all, as far as she knew, all of the last five years her life could be gone….forever.

  4. Sarah is easily a top 10, probably a top 5 episode. Dave’s point about Casey giving up WAY to easily is very solid; that’s always bothered me. I object to that characterization of Ellie, though. Remember, Ellie had absolutely zero context – she had no idea that the CIA was waiting for Sarah, or that Casey was waiting with a sniper rifle (again, what?). All she knew was that Sarah was acting completely out of character, and Chuck was just putting her in a car without restraining her in any way. Of course she would warn him like that. From her perspective, she needed to get a message to Chuck as strongly as possible.

    That’s one of the two major flaws with this episode. The other is how easily Sarah trusts Quinn. To just accept that Bryce is dead, without checking with any known superiors (they didn’t even mention Graham) is obscenely stupid for such an intelligent character. The most generous spin I could put on it would be that waking up with five years of amnesia from forced brain trauma could make anybody irrational and scared. But still.

    • thinkling says:

      Agree about Sarah trusting Quinn too easily. Another inherent flaw is that she would readily accept that she was in a cover marriage. To tell this story they had to contrive some pretty startling premises and thread the plot through the eye of a needle. Quinn could never have sustained his plan any longer than a day. Like I said, to watch the story as told, one has to suspend a healthy (or unhealthy) amount of disbelief.

    • thinkling says:

      Ah, she did mention Graham, before Bryce. She told Quinn to get Director Graham on the phone, b/c he gave her orders. Quinn laid Graham’s murder on Chuck as well as Bryce’s.

      • thinkling says:

        … which makes it a little unbelievable that Chuck is just living his normal life in Burbank, if everybody knows her murdered the director of the CIA.

      • You’re right, I forgot about that. However, knowing and proving are two separate things. Think Al Capone, or OJ Simpson. Plus, the marriage plot isn’t all that different from what Carina set herself upwith

        Maybe Quinn IDed himself better off-screen or something. But from what we saw, all he had was a video of her five years ago. It’s just nowhere near as much proof as she should require. Especially after she had a night to sleep on it. As an impartial TV critic, I would ding it more. As a Chuck fan, I’m used to plot stupidity. It’s no more obtrusive than any of the other dumb things Chuck always does. The way I see it, if you don’t critique the various plot holes in, say, Honeymooners or Phase 3, you can’t be surprised when Sarah does the same things. At this point, that’s just Chuck.

        Casey’s leap, as Dave mentioned, is more problematic for me, even if he does have a sweet scene at the end. If it hadn’t been such a brief lapse in sanity, it would have knocked this episode down a tier.

      • joe says:

        Yes – great point, Thinkling. But that’s why I keep coming back to Sarah’s anger at being deceived by Chuck. She was counting on him to prove things were other than the way Quinn was saying. Instead, Chuck confirmed them.

      • anthropocene says:

        A big chuck of Sarah’s mind just got brilloed! I can accept a few uncharacteristically careless actions on her part so soon after.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah there’s no way Quinn could have kept up his story for long. As I said in the post, it should be fairly simple for Beckman, or any legitimate authority, to debunk Quinn very quickly.
      And Sarah just accepting the whole “cover marriage” story with no corroboration is quite a each.
      It’s all too much for me. I can’t rank this episode very highly because it’s just too shaky in its set up.

  5. Theresa says:

    I am going to go from a different point of view. Let’s say you have never seen a Chuck episode but you were curious and watched these last two episodes. What would you think of this show? I think the writers did a good job of informing a Newbie of who Chuck and Sarah are. I think they also did a good job on placing them in context. IE the Intersect room. The Family, and other unique to Chuck situations. I think just ignoring the last 90 so episode you can see that these two episodes encapsulate everything we know about Chuck, True the episodes did violate some of Chuck premises but still as a stand alone series. I think they should have been the First one the Viewer should see. I think if you look at this episode as the Premiere instead of what you know was the Premiere then it makes more sense. I personally think this was interesting. Because if you took this episode and the next then get to the beach scene then start the series then switch back to the beach scene it makes much more sense, It is showing a Juxtaposition which was not evident on a serial viewing.

    • atcDave says:

      That is an interesting point Theresa. As stand alones, the finale tells a pretty good story.

      The problem is, I think a series finale should be about pleasing long time viewers; not an audition tape for the writer’s next job!

      • Funny Dave, while we disagree about the finale, I agree with your point here. Plus, I’d start any viewer with episode one. I’d never want to rob somebody of experiencing Colonel, Goodbye, Phase 3, or Honeymooners without all the context that surrounds it. Chuck is special for its little moments as much as its big ones. I mean, consider:

        “I know who your are. You’re a girl I want to share a cheeseburger with.” I don’t care what anybody says, that’s as good a line as any in the series, and only because we know what it means for Chuck to say it.

        Or to be more on-topic:
        “Chuck… Kiss me.” (Goodbye) I can’t imagine that this line is anywhere near the same if you don’t immediately flash back to Other Guy, to what it means for Sarah to repeat what she said when she finally said “yes” to the love of her life.

      • thinkling says:

        There’s also a huge difference in starting with the finale (it’s more like seeing an amnesia movie) and watching it at the end of a 5 year investment. Amnesia movies typically show just enough of an introduction, so the viewer knows the back story and gets a feel for the characters and their prior relationship — at least enough to care if they recover. So we tend to be happy with an ending like Goodbye — one that gives us enough information to know that they are going to be OK, that the love is still there. It matches our investment. That’s v e r y different from a show where you’ve experienced the entire relationship — how they met, the ups, the downs, courtship, engagement, marriage — the growth and emotions — all of it.

        My investment in a movie is the price of admission and popcorn. I don’t feel the heartache and loss deeply; I just assent to it intellectually as a back story to the story I came to see. In Chuck, fans have a five-year emotional investment going into the finale. We know and love these characters. We’ve been through everything with them. We immediately, viscerally f e e l what Chuck and Sarah are going through, so we need more than an artsy ending. The greater investment requires a greater return on the investment.

        A significant portion of the base feel like that return wasn’t enough.

    • joe says:

      Theresa, your idea verges on brilliant. I too thought that the way to introduce the show to people would be to start at the beginning, but I’m not so sure that there’s much in the way of real spoilers in the finale. At least, not in the sense that someone wouldn’t want to see those scene snippets again.

      Really – what does kissing in front of the bomb tell them about Bryce or Fulcrum? Does seeing the kiss spoil how they got there? Not to me, so much.

      But Dave and Arthur are right. The finale should have served at least as well for the long-time viewers.

  6. Theresa says:

    Also on the question of a Movie. Yes there are endless possibilities of Chuck not accepting Sarah is gone and goes after her. Of course this would have to be done in a flash forward method.

  7. So I did flaws above. The flip side of that is that this episode an absolutely bone-chilling. There are scenes in this episode that are just more terrifying and/or heart wrenching than any other scene in the series.

    My biggest qualm with Chuck, up to this episode, was that it was too safe and too soft. That anytime something bad started to happen, I could just roll my eyes and wait until it all turned out okay, that no consequences would last more than one or two episodes. And when Bullet Train ended, I did the same thing: I just kind of rolled my eyes. I though that Chuck had lost all ability to surprise or scare me. Boy was I wrong.

    The scene where Sarah hugs Chuck and it fades to grayscale was the first hint that Sarah was going to be different. But even then, I wasn’t sold. It wasn’t until Ellie crashes her car when I had to pause, and readjust to the idea that Sarah was just going to be a whole different beast than any other Chuck episode. When Ellie throws down, you know that shit is getting real. It’s one of the two most tense moments of the series, and the other one take place only a minute later.

    The scene in their dream house, in my opinion is just the best of the series. Not my favorite, but this was Zach Levi’s single biggest moment. The only analogy I can draw is in sports, where a star’s team is down and he has one chance to bring the game back into play. If that scene in the house flops, nothing that comes after it is quite as significant.

    Instead, Zach pours every ounce of skill he has into it, and everything else coalesces around him. Yvonne NAILS a stone-cold Sarah without stealing the spotlight. Tim Jones’s score is fantastic, the writing is spot on, the dim lighting is a perfect contrast to the warmth that house has always given, the fight scene is perfectly executed, and it all leads to Sarah’s ah-ha moment (no pun intended), where we see the first spark of hope in what is otherwise the darkest episode of the series. And within a moment, that spark is blown out again.

    Gun to head, I’d rank Sarah fourth – after Goodbye, Push Mix and Phase 3. It loses points for a bit of broad-scope sloppiness, but at no point was I more invested in the drama of Chuck than these last two episodes. I’m grateful that in the majority of its run, Chuck is much more Goodbye than it is Sarah. Goodbye is a loud, booming blast of positivity, love and happiness, where every moment is a step towards a recovery that feels inescapable. It’s the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Sarah is the dark color that makes the brights of Goodbye really pop. It’s the yin to the yang, the tunnel leading to the light. It’s not always pretty, and it’s often perfectly ugly, but damn if it ain’t great.

  8. garnet says:

    Someone asked about the person who had recounted the story of his personal esperience with his wif’e memory loss. I believe that was Ref1907. He also wrote a stoy Chuck vs the Memories which, I am not sure if it has been finished, but he has gone on to write the Sarah Walker Chronicles as well in an attemtp to retell the story of each episode from Sarah’s perspective.

    I think what is most unfortunate is that by 90 episodes we have been conditioned to believe that bad things are temporary, and even death is a minor setback. Viewing Sarah through this lens, we should expect to see a solid resolution about mid Goodbye at the latest. Instead we headed down a much darker path with only faith guiding us to a happy resolution. I recall a statement that CF was supposed to have made about “is there any Universe where they wouldn’t end up together”? The answer to that is found in FF. There are multiple stories where Chuck and Sarah don’t end up together, admittedly they usually focus on Season 2 and some “mistakes” Sarah makes, but I recall reading one recently where Chuck and Carina end up getting married. So clearly people can take the ball and run with it and come to a conclusion that Chuck and Sarah don’t HAVE to be together. That being the case, I think they dropped the ball by not giving us a slightly clearer resolution to the memory wipe and relationship…. A few words… and shoulder bump….a flash foreward..10 seconds more.

    • revdr says:

      That’s it I a nutshell for me, garnet. I just needed a little more…..

    • atcDave says:

      Agree about the 10 seconds more. Just the smallest of changes could raised that from so-so to dynamite.

      • garnet says:

        BTW Dave, it must be about time for another FF post…please!

      • atcDave says:

        I’ll do a big alternatives post on Tuesday the 15th. Should be a really big one, as in wear out the link button big.

        Then a more general FF post a week or two after. We’ll see when I can see straight again…

      • I’ve always said no extra scenes are needed to have a proper resolution. Just a one-line murmur from Sarah as the black and white Chuck logo shows, “After you fixed my phone and before you started defusing bombs with computer viruses, right?”

      • thinkling says:

        Awww … I like that, Neil.

      • atcDave says:

        Neil you are an artist and a poet.

      • Thank you. Aside from the words, I think it strikes the right grace note. The show may have been called “Chuck”, but it was always about Chuck *and* Sarah.

  9. uplink2 says:

    Well I have to say that I agree with much of these reviews. To me CvS really is a tour de force for both actors. Zach and Yvonne both give some of their best work of the entire series. However as Thinkling points out, great episodes but a terrible finale. The very idea of using an amnesia story line to end a series without giving it the proper time to find a resolution is ludicrous. I am one who also believes it makes rewatching the series in many ways pointless. I, like the Captain, watched this show first and foremost for Sarah and to have her not be whole in the end is almost criminal. What is the point of retaking that journey if she remembers none of it? Sure she remembers small insignificant things like cups and Irene DeMova but she remembers none of the context of those memories and how they impacted her or how they connected to Chuck. It took me almost a year to rewatch a single episode and I haven’t finished and just stopped at Push Mix not wanting to get closer to this finale.
    As Dave said in this episode we have her first memory of the carving but where it falls down for me is that she says, “I did that” not “WE did that”. She makes no connection to Chuck in making that carving. For her it could have just as easily been part of playing her “mark.” With that I have to bring up the idea that this episode dispels any belief that Sarah would never have slept with a mark for a mission. She, though maybe a little uncomfortable about it, never questions the idea that she would have married her “mark” for a mission let alone sleep with one. It was a HUGE leap into an area they only tread very lightly on in past episodes like Crown Vic and Pink Slip. Here they jump in with both feet. To complete a mission Sarah Walker would have gone as far as marrying and sleeping with her “mark”, a believed murderer who killed both in her mind still real boyfriend, and her mentor, the Director of the CIA. It’s a huge leap and on that I find it very troubling. The pre-Chuck Sarah was a much darker character than we had ever been led to believe before Chuck vs Sarah.
    This brings up much of what I have a problem with in what they did show as far as her memory returning. Those memories are of things, not of feelings. There is no context, no emotional connection and nothing, absolutely nothing that directly relates to Chuck himself and how she saw him. That is what I needed to see. Some confirmation that she remembers “them” not Irene DeMova. We almost get it at the beach with “Tell me our story” but as Dave suggests much of the impact of that statememt is lost because they edited out the necessary context of it. Wasn’t that more important than Alex and Morgan’s “surprise”? It all leads to simply not enough uplifting to undue the destruction of the prior 2 and a half episodes. We will get to this probably in the alternatives thread but for me a much better idea would have been to throw out Bo and start all this an episode sooner so you have enough time to resolve it properly and not with the single tiny step back up we saw at the beach.

    • joe says:

      With that I have to bring up the idea that this episode dispels any belief that Sarah would never have slept with a mark for a mission. She, though maybe a little uncomfortable about it, never questions the idea that she would have married her “mark” for a mission let alone sleep with one.

      Tho I understand the sentiment, I have to disagree a bit with this, Uplink. There was one scene, when Chuck has taken Sarah to ‘their’ house and is trying to explain that, even though it seems impossible, they did fall in love. Sarah says “I did my job too well,” meaning, she fooled him.

      But the way Sarah says that, it’s very clear that she’s surprised she could go that far, or maybe she doesn’t understand how she could go that far. Sarah’s is a bit reluctant to believe that about her own character.

      And when Chuck tells her she’s not that good a liar, it’s a hammer blow. Sarah’s reaction is palpable.

      I found it very telling!

      • Angus Macnab says:

        She may be reluctant to believe she would go so far as to marry a mark, Joe, but my takeaway from it was that she did believe it, and thought she was capable of it by the stone-cold (borrowing Arthur’s description of her here) way she said it.

        That paints a picture of a manipulator who casts doubt on the very words ‘trust me’.

      • With that I have to bring up the idea that this episode dispels any belief that Sarah would never have slept with a mark for a mission. She, though maybe a little uncomfortable about it, never questions the idea that she would have married her “mark” for a mission let alone sleep with one.

        Uplink2

        I definitely have to agree with Joe here, I see that as a very cynical POV, which leads me to ask the same question somebody asked me, were we watching the same scene!? Upon sparking the memory of the carving she’s rattled, which means that she knows there is evidence to support Chuck’s declaration add to this, her eyes and there intense rapid and shaky movement from Quinn to Chuck after the former admits he lied and it’s clear she’s connecting to Chuck; she now realizes that their relationship was real and feels an incredible amount of guilt for beating and nearly killing her husband (although she doesn’t know him) who moments prior had poured his heart out.

        I don’t normally take offense to someone else’s comments and am usually able to respect people’s statements but this is definitely the 1st one I flat out CANNOT accept; whoever moderates comments I am trying (with extreme difficultly I might add) to keep my emotions at bay but I can’t hide my extreme disapproval of what uplink2 said, about Sarah’s character (S1 or amnesia) regardless.

        I hope u understand my frustration, it takes a lot to get on my bad side, I’m normally very respectful of other peoples opinions but…

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree and that is my point. There is no hint of turmoil when she delivers that line, it is cold, stern and with a little bit of pride that she had gotten over on him so badly. That she was so good at her job he actually believed the marriage was real. I can’t see how anyone can take away anything from that that Sarah believed she had married a mark.

      • uplink2 says:

        The above comments were in response to Angus’s comments but I have to address them to Josh as well. If you look at those comments from Sarah she may show a little remorse but it isn’t about what she did but the fact she did it so well that he fell in love with her thinking it was all real. There is no guilt about marrying her mark that I see in that scene. There is also a little pride in how good she is at her job. She’s conflicted but accepts the idea without any real struggle. She had a job to do and just after she says that she tries to finishes that job by taking those glasses and punching Chuck and throwing him down the stairs. That isn’t the actions of a woman shocked by the idea she married her “mark”. It’s the actions of an agent completing her mission. To me it ends any speculation about whether she would ever sleep with a mark. Hell the show had Carina engaged to one so you are certain she slept with him. All of what you say happens after that moment where the carving strikes something in her. Before that she was trying to complete her mission because in her mind Chuck had betrayed her by switching the glasses at the Darpa and his “sister” had tried to kill her with the car in Sarah’s mind. But I see no turmoil where she is shocked at the idea she married her target. Her conflict is that he actually believed the love was real.
        I’m not trying to offend or be disrespectful to Sarah’s character. I adore Sarah Walker but this is an unwanted consequence of the story choice they made. The idea she married a mark is critical to selling this story and it unfortunately throws into question the idea of sleeping with a mark all over again.

      • atcDave says:

        I think Sarah completely believed she had married her mark for about two hours.

        She was slow to trust Quinn initially. And I am convinced if he had not been chattering in ear all night Chuck would have won her over right then (I’d love to see the fan fiction of that! Maybe Chuck has a signal jammer at the house Quinn knew nothing about, and Chuck and Sarah actually start sorting out what’s really happened that night). But Quinn kept her off balanced and unsure, until she discovered Chuck had tricked her with the glasses. At that moment she completely bought Quinn’s story. She credited herself with being a better liar than Chuck knew her to be. No matter how distasteful the situation, she felt the evidence pointed towards Quinn’s version of events. So she was positive of what happened when she kidnapped Ellie and was taken to the house. This was her rock bottom. When she fought Chuck she started doubting the story again when Chuck wouldn’t fight back, evidenced by her own hesitation to use deadly force. When she saw the carving she had her first flash of solid memory, with Chuck (the episode gave it as a visual of the actual event). And immediately she wavered on what story she believed. I really, really, really wish they’d had Sarah say something more clear about realizing she’d been tricked before Quinn exposed it all. Very disappointing to have Quinn pull the plug on the game himself.
        Very disappointing use of pacing to have Sarah at her most brain washed and most dangerous in the last part of the episode like this. I would have so much preferred it if we’d seen her beat the brain washing, instead of it beating her the way it did.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink “would” and “did” are two completely different things! As I said, it leaves me more sure than ever she wouldn’t sleep with a mark. The only time she seemed pleased with herself was when she thought the mission was over! Sure she was pleased if she thought she’d pulled off a mission she would never want to. Just like I’d be pleased if you convinced me I’d captured three armed bank robbers. I’d never knowingly or willingly put myself in such a situation. But if I were trapped in it, and did well; well I’d be mighty pleased with myself!

        But ultimately I think this argument is silly. She didn’t. She briefly thought she had. So?
        I think your conclusions are flat out, utterly wrong. You obviously feel the same about mine.

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree Dave but prior to those two hours she went along with the idea from Quinn that she return home with her “husband” to complete her mission. At no point does she really question her orders. She doesn’t trust Quinn completely during that 24 hours prior to witnessing the carving but Chuck’s actions at Darpa make her believe Chuck had betrayed her and Quinn was right all along. She questions him and later punches him because something was telling her not to kill Chuck and she is pissed he blew up the Intersect room as unnecessary. Then she realizes she was betrayed by Chuck and decides to go after Ellie to get to Chuck to complete her mission that yes involved her marrying a mark. She shows no turmoil about it then and if this was the pre-Burbank Sarah it calls into question how far she would have gone to complete any seduction mission in the past. Again an uncomfortable consequence of the overall story choice. There is no way to sell this story of Sarah’s memory wipe and her being given a mission to kill Chuck without it once they were married.

      • Regardless of our view on this issue i think we all agree Quinn is responsible for the 24 hours prior to the “dream House” scene he did exactly what he told Sarah he would, “until I get what I want your my solider” he’s the ultimate Chuck villain!

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, that’s ok we have agreed to disagree before. We’ve also agreed on many things before. This debate of sleeping with a mark has been discussed about this show since it first aired. It will probably never be put to rest. It’s my view that there is plenty of evidence to say she would have before we got to this episode but this one seals it for me. Even to the point of marriage being something she had been trained to accept as a necessary possibility of a long term deep cover mission. Plus as I said the show already established as a fact that a female agent would go so far as to at least get engaged to a mark. But they have danced around all of that with Sarah much more cautiously until this episode. The deleted scene from Crown Vic was as close as they came to admitting the idea prior to this episode. How else can you sell this story without Sarah believing she could have gone so far as to marry a mark? It’s the only way it will work. If she completely rejected that notion from the beginning there is no believing of Quinn and following her orders.
        I’m ok with you and Josh seeing the opposite but for me the evidence is pretty clear and conclusive.

      • uplink2 says:

        One last point. In a show that had as a critical element to its story the idea of Government sanctioned murder by a rookie agent being a “final exam” to get your badge, the idea of sleeping with and marrying a mark seems pretty tame.

      • Angus Macnab says:

        Well, Dave, if she did marry a mark, then she most likely slept with one too. Chuck may have been scheduled in the family time slot, but I can’t picture Chuck and Sarah sleeping like Ozzie and Harriet or not having *ahem* marital relations. It still boils down to sleeping with a mark and excepting it, which she apparently did since she accepted the premise he was a mission.

        Yes, I find the whole concept as distasteful as you do. I avoid it like the plague when I write, because I know real people in the business who would take me out behind the woodshed if I did. This sort of thing *really* pisses them off.

        The thing that’s so wrong to me about Sarah accepting the idea of marrying a mark, is that the spy we were shown in her would have avoided that. She would never have allowed it to go that far, and therein lies the disconnect. Taking that logic to the next step, the Sarah Walker we grew to know would have questioned the validity of that whole scenario as given to her by Quinn, big time.

      • atcDave says:

        Of course she knows its a theoretical possibility. As such, once she accepts that she married a mark she knows what all it must have involved.

        But what she “knows” her job might have/must have involved at some point is not the same thing as what she did or would do.

        If you wiped my memories, and told me I killed someone in cold blood, and proved it to me. Well I might believe I had done it.
        That doesn’t mean I would ever, in a thousand years consider it an acceptable thing to do. I also might have no idea what could have ever pushed me to do such a thing. But if the proof is compelling, well I might come to believe I did something grossly out of character.

        I saw pretty good evidence she would not easily be pushed in to doing any such thing. Even when she had been told she married a mark, she was shy, reserved and modest around him. Much more so than back in S1 when she was comfortable knowing she could flirt and have some fun without actually having to go further than she wanted to.
        She was comfortable and confident with Lon Kirk. She was aggressive with Cole Barker, right up until she started to loose control of the situation, and it looked like things would go farther than she was comfortable with.

        And so what if Sarah was comfortable with what she thought she had done AFTER she thought the mission was over? She wasn’t comfortable during the mission when she thought she might actually have to do something!

        You’re claiming certainty of something that is contrary to on screen evidence. And even worse, you’re certain of something you don’t want to be certain of?!
        I might as well convince myself I’m dying. I don’t want to be, and there’s no real proof, but I did have a headache three days ago…

        You’re hanging everything on her attitude in one scene. An attitude she’s projecting towards someone she thinks is a killer and her FORMER mark who she’s now going to kill. She may be thinking she needs to get this over with before she throws up!
        I read absolutely nothing about Sarah’s character or values from how she acts in that scene. Its no more informative than when she threatened a Thai official with Ammonia. You know, when she convinced a mark she was a deadly threat, even though she did nothing permanent to him.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink the Red Test thing is just so offensive to me I have to ignore it. S3 is just broken beyond repair. There’s just no way…

      • I’m afraid I disagree with you that the red test itself is a crazy notion, as someone who believes very much in “hidden government practices” and control I find it 100% believable!

      • Angus Macnab says:

        I’m not arguing at all, Dave. I’m only using what strict logic, as applied to this story is pointing out to me. We obviously interpret this and other cues the the writers gave us about Sarah very differently, C’est la vie. For the record those little ugly pieces of the story that can be interpreted that way make me angry, for a whole host of reasons. Unfortunately the writers put them out there, and perceptions were born.

        Sarah married a mark. I think that is very clear. The implications are not pretty. For this viewer it looked like the ‘old’ Sarah also accepted it, saw it as a part of a sacrifice to her duty. That’s not the Sarah we know. I’ve personally tried to deal with it in my post series story, make her deal with it the best I could. She let herself be duped, and had to accept that fact. To me it’s very unfortunate the writers put her, a highly successful operative before she met Chuck in that position to create the drama for this part of the arc. The question is why did she accept the premise to begin with?

        Now she’s accepted the assignment to sanction her FORMER mark to whom she is married (illegally sanction him, I might add)? Revolting or not?. YOIKS. Thankfully something we all saw as very positive prevented her from doing it. But accepting that assignment paints yet another less than pretty picture. All to create drama? There are better ways to do that.

        It irks me that the writers did that to her character to achieve their ends for the finale.

      • atcDave says:

        Josh I work for the government. They are simply not competent enough to do that sort of thing without the world knowing about it.

        Angus I won’t deny any of that is ugly. But in the end, she neither married nor murdered the mark; and it seemed to me she was uncomfortable with the whole thing, and abandoned the mission as soon as she had the right intel.

      • A little off topic, but Dave, on government competence, you’ve nailed the fundamental flaw of such conspiracy theories. As if in the era of Wiki-leaks and Snowden, we’re having secret red tests against American citizens for all CIA field agents? Please.

      • you guys would be surprised, how much the government does to influence and control us, its eye opening..my brother has spent quite a lot of time researching this topic of “hidden government” and has passed much of his knowledge on to me. The “general public” is extremely naïve; Weather, population, politics, sports, entertainment, music, and news its all manipulated to influence our thoughts and opinions. obviously I don’t consider anybody here part of the “general public”, I think your all un affected by the obvious “mind control” tactics, this “hidden government” uses to affect the “general public’s” decisions thoughts and opinions but I don’t think its a coincidence that most prominent figures who rally us to be open minded (MLK.JR, JFK, Michael Jackson, ect.) end up dead, the “hidden government” doesn’t want people thinking for ourselves or restoring mass free will period.

        I might be labeled crazy by various people simply for thinking for myself and I can handle that so, this ends my speech.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah and look at all the brouhaha over IRS bias or NSA eavesdropping. Just imagine if it ever came out that the government was using assassination of troublesome agents as a rite of passage for trainees!
        Nothing stays secret with our government for long. There are actually things I know that are considered sensitive or secret, and I won’t spill the beans, but I bet every one of those things could be found with some determined on-line research.

      • thinkling says:

        I am with Dave 100% on this. CvS in no way proves that Sarah ever slept with a mark, much less would have married one.

        First, I have to consider the real-world source … CF and his end game. That end game was more important than any wrinkles it created. There was no way to write the story without the Gadzooks-I-Married-a-Mark idea to sell. I doubt he gave much consideration to the potential fallout for Sarah’s character.

        Second, when judging Sarah’s character, I have to put more weight on the five years I’ve observed her than on her response after the emotional and neurological trauma of having her memories wiped and then being put in a fearful, life threatening situation (without time (?) to really get to the bottom of it). No court would accept the attitude or remarks of someone without their memories and under duress (and someone playing a role, at that), as opposed to years of actual behavioral and character evidence.

        Like Dave said, you’re accepting this as proof of something that is contrary to all prior on-screen evidence. And what is the proof now? NONE. The role-play of a desperate amnesiac is not proof of anything. That Sarah accepts the mission and its pretense is NOT proof that she had ever done such a thing in the past … especially given how awkward and bad she was at it when she came home to her supposed husband. She did not get into the wife role with any aplomb at all. She was awkward and hesitant and very unprofessional at that part of it. To think she was practiced at such an assignment is just laughable, considering her performance. (Her abysmal performance and hesitation in the role is actually much stronger evidence that she hadn’t done such an assignment than the house scene is that she would have.) But she pretty much had to go with it to get the assignment behind her and kill the man who was responsible for the deaths of the CIA director and her partner.

        Sarah has two choices in the house: believe Chuck or believe Quinn. Quinn’s lie currently has more proof behind it than Chuck’s truth, so she has to accept the possibility, however remote, that she was somehow trapped in a mission that involved marrying her mark. I see nothing but her discomfort and revulsion with the idea. Her cold demeanor is about survival, not casual acceptance of the assignment she was so obviously uncomfortable with. Bartowski had played her and was still doing so. Or so she thinks until she could see his sincerity, which begins to unnerve her considerably. Her revulsion grows with the thought that she did her job to the point that he fell in love with her. That means that she is repulsed by the idea that she did a more-than-passable job at such an unthinkable task. That’s revulsion at the job, not at its effect on the mark. But she’s got a mission to complete and a murderer to kill, so she doesn’t take time to consider the alternative … that Chuck is innocent, and she actually fell in love with him and married him and had a normal life.

        The premise that is absolutely necessary to tell this particular story — that Sarah would just take Quinn’s word for any of this — is a hog’s hair shy of unbelievable. But setting up the lie and letting the story play out doesn’t alter Sarah’s actual character that we have observed for these past five years. Whatever you believed about her before still stands.

      • Angus Macnab says:

        Um, no, Josh. The Red Test *is* a crazy notion, and frankly insulting. I’m not going to deny that wet-work actually happens. Point of fact being there is a division of the CIA mostly staffed by former Tier 1 military operators who have a mandate for that, But the the idea that every field officer in the CIA becomes an assassin to get their ‘badge’ is patently ridiculous.

      • uplink2 says:

        Let’s face it the concept of sending out rookie agents to murder suspected “traitors” as a prerequisite to gaining your badge and becoming a full fledged agent is absurd. Especially in a case like Chuck’s where it was done on American soil. How do you successfully cover up the murders committed by every single agent of the CIA or as even Casey hinted his knowledge of, possibly the NSA as well? It’s totally preposterous. It was simply done as a plot device to try and tie the ridiculous and hated OLI story with the loosely structured and poorly executed at times spy story. Chuck had to kill, which he never actually did, and by having the connection of Sarah killing Shaw’s wife it made it, in their minds at least, a big dramatic reveal. So Chuck would be allowed the hero’s version of a Red Test by protecting Sarah and saving her life. But the lynch pin of a Red Test is absolutely ridiculous. Plus by that point I didn’t care one bit about Sarah killing Eve, I just wanted Shaw gone. I wasn’t about to suspend my disbelief for the concept of a Government sanction murder done by every single CIA agent to gain their badge.

      • Angus Macnab says:

        Thinkling, I believe I made my point pretty clear that I don’t believe (or want to believe) this proves Sarah actually slept with a mark either. But her acceptance of it, revulsion, or not, was a great disservice to her character because of the doubt it created, for us, as well as her.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree, Angus, that it was a disservice to her character. (Some would say that the whole story was, on one level or another, a disservice to her character.) I don’t, however, think it implied past missions of a similar nature or that it was, in any way, proof of anything … except CF’s determination to tell this particular story. The story was paramount, and everything else served the story, regardless of the consequences.

      • uplink2 says:

        Think, I believe part of this is another example of them trying to have it both ways. Keep the illusion of the carefree spy that would use anything and everything including sex as a weapon to accomplish their mission. Every other principle spy in this show was allowed to pay the sex card without consequence. Carina certainly did it with no impunity. I think Bryce and Cole would have had no problems whatsoever sleeping with a mark, which gets into the whole sexist idea that for male spies its ok but females its not, yet they walked Sarah up to that line, Kirk, Barker, and Gilles but tried to somehow keep her pure, pure enough for Chuck. They put her in every single sexy outfit they could to use her sex appeal to sell the show and the story but somehow she was supposed to be different. I just take the view that this story choice, and I agree it is necessary to sell the whole amnesia kill your mark/husband, crosses that line with Sarah as a consequence. I also agree that it wasn’t really much of a concern for Fedak. He has clearly shown that he is willing to play with Sarah’s character in what fans might consider disturbing ways to sell his heroes journey for Chuck. For many fans Sarah was held to higher standards than Fedak was willing to hold her to. I think part of why you guys feel that way is because you WANT to feel that way about her. That is what they were going for many times. It’s the same reason why many fans want to believe that Sarah never slept with Shaw. The thought is so disturbing and revolting that we look for evidence that it didn’t happen. But in my belief Fedak would say it did and I think earlier than many others believe. Does anyone really believe that the Sarah we knew of prior to meeting Chuck wouldn’t have gone that far if she was assigned a long term deep cover mission to get next to a major player? As much as I don’t want to think about it I think she would have been “unquestioning of her orders.”
        I guess its ultimately how you view their dance along that line. To me this idea ends the question for me, intended or not. No matter how sordid or not.

      • atcDave says:

        Well Angus and Uplink its good to find total agreement on the Red Test idea anyway.

        And Angus I do completely agree it was a terrible disservice to the character to end the show this way. Really the whole two episode finale with a couple of atypical, darker episodes that paint the show’s most popular character in bad light; when most of us would really rather be celebrating what we loved about the show and characters. Not Cool.

        Uplink I always bristle at the “double standard” suggestion. I completely disagree; its a “higher standard” that I hold both Sarah AND Chuck to. In fact, the angriest I ever was in the whole run of the series was when Chuck behaved like a sleazaball. Sarah’s shortcomings all seemed minor in comparison; she seemed foolish or stupid while Chuck seemed agressively trashy (in S3).

      • CaptMediocre says:

        I’m with Uplink & Angus on this one. I remember while watching the first 10 minutes of this episode and thinking, “Man, they have no idea what they are doing to the Sarah character.” Just like the fountain scene the story is vague enough to go both ways.

        I agree with Thinkling, there was a story to tell and damn the casualties. Which is why I say the finale was all about Chuck.

        The fact that we only talk about Sarah should highlight that something fundamental was missing.

      • atcDave says:

        Cap I do think this highlights the fundamental disconnect between show runner and audience. Although I do credit CF with expanding Sarah’s part from S3.5 on, I don’t believe he ever understood how important she was to the show for most fans. To him (and of course, many fans too), this always was Chuck’s story, with Sarah mostly along for the ride. But I think for a very large, possible majority of the audience, we were really watching for Sarah. So making her look bad, and really, not having the character we loved present at all in the last two episodes, was a good way to annoy or alienate significant numbers of viewers.

        And I do have to admit, I’m purely guessing about “majorities”. Polls up at the old NBC site showed Sarah as the show’s most popular character, with about 70% picking her over 30% choosing Chuck. That doesn’t “prove” that 70% wanted her as the most important character on the show. But it does suggest to me the last two episodes would have been better received with a more appealing and positive portrayal of her.
        At the very least, as I suggested elsewhere, I think it all would have played better if Sarah had more clearly overcome Quinn’s influence BEFORE he ended the charade himself. And I would have loved if her overcoming Quinn had included a line to the effect of “it sure does seem unlikely for me to have ever wound up in a situation like this…”
        That level of introspection might be unlikely for an S1 Sarah Walker, but it would fit the emotional maturity of Sarah Bartowski.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, I agree but as Think points out so well the one absolute in this story was that the beach scene would be the ending. Nothing else mattered especially to Sarah’s character. They were absolutely convinced that it had to end on the beach with the mirror of “Trust me”. So with that they could not step the story forward till after they got them to the beach. Damn the torpedoes, to Sarah’s character, and full speed ahead to the beach and the ambiguous ending.

      • thinkling says:
        Damn the torpedoes, to Sarah’s character, and full speed ahead to the beach and the ambiguous ending.

        … which is why I take the fallout to Sarah’s character with a ton of salt. Still, though, the episode does nothing to change my view of her. That is, it doesn’t prove anything about her past missions, and to me, it only shows her discomfort and revulsion at the whole idea of marrying a mark. Others interpret it differently, but that’s my interpretation, and I’m sticking to it. If there’s a reasonable explanation that exonerates her character, why wouldn’t you believe it?

        My view resides in the reasonable doubt they intentionally left for her with regards to sleeping with a mark. This episode doesn’t erase that reasonable doubt. If anything, it may even expand it.

      • atcDave says:

        Obviously I agree completely with Thinkling on this.

        And Uplink, yeah, I know CF was determined to have the beach scene the way we got it. I really didn’t need that! Again, we talk about disconnects, that’s a biggie. I would have ended things very differently.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Wondering if I should step in, but… Here’s my take. Seduction missions per se were established early, but purposefully left ambiguous, treated more as something damaging to her reputation and just one more thing a female spy has to put up with. They never established Sarah’s limits, but heavily hinted via Carina that in general sex is a possibility for some spies. They definitively established marrying a mark as a possibility in Undercover Lover, but at the same time established it as a last resort fraught with danger for the agent provided the mark is sufficiently suspicious. This was reinforced via (again) Carina in Three Words (though the marriage itself never actually happened).

        These things tell us about the world Sarah inhabits, but they never tell us her limits, though they strongly suggest in Beefcake she has them. Now, given that, does this episode tell us anything about what Sarah would be willing to do? No.

        Sarah wakes up and is presented with the (apparent) fact that she DID marry a mark, not the choice. As she never exercises the choice, but is presented with the fact it tells us nothing about what she would do presented with the choice. It is merely another disturbing aspect of a mission she doesn’t remember and is desperate to finish as far as she knows. We of course know different.

      • atcDave says:

        Well put Ernie. I’m not going to re-write what I know about Sarah based on one scene where she’s dealing with someone she believes to be a dangerous killer.

      • thinkling says:

        Well said, Dave and Ernie! Agree with all.

    • thinkling says:

      Hey Uplink. The whole marriage to a mark thing would bother me tremendously, but I tend to view it as an unintended consequence. There was no way they could tell this story without that horse pill to swallow, and it just doesn’t really fly. I will say that in the house, Sarah seems pretty torn up by it. There’s that conflict again. The choice comes down to believing Chuck — that she, Sarah Walker, fell in love with and married an assignment (who she believes was always rogue) — or that she “did her job too well.” At this point, she goes with the latter, but she’s clearly NOT happy about it.

      But so great was the determination to do this story that their usual keen attention for details (yanks tongue from cheek) was just a little less keen.

      • Funny, thinkling. I’d add that Sarah clearly doesn’t feel comfortable with Chuck giving her a massage, let alone sleeping with him. It’s pretty obvious that this is not something she would do on a whim.

        Which is not saying that the concept is disproved. Simply that the evidence for Sarah sleeping with marks in this episode is fairly slim. It’s more a case of people searching for more reasons to justify their existing dislike of the episode.

      • mr2686 says:

        Arthur, I think the main problem with Sarah being uncomfortable with the massage and sleeping with him, is that she was unsure if her “cover” had been blown and she didn’t want to be in a compromising position and get killed. As for the whole problem with marrying a mark/sleeping with a mark, I have to laugh out loud. Sarah’s no angel, and what would it matter if she did marry or sleep with the mark? By the way, this is a woman that kills people routinely, so what’s the big deal about sleeping with someone?

      • uplink2 says:

        MR you bring up a good point. Sarah Walker has “done terrible things in her past” things she was afraid to let Chuck know about. Hell we still don’t know if she told him any of that. She has killed probably somewhere near 50 people in the show itself over the 5 years plus you don’t get the name “wildcard enforcer” by being an angel. Yet this subject seems to make people far more squeamish than say the fact she is a known killer. Now it may be that many times they were “baddies” but still there were probably a few innocents as well. Collateral damage and all. Were all those people at the table in Baby deserving of being killed? We don’t know for sure at all. So why does this subject, a subject they have clearly established is part of their universe such a big deal?
        Arthur I would highly disagree with your feeling that its simply because I dislike this episode. The fact of the matter is I don’t. I like it a lot for what it is. Possibly some of the best acting ever in the series. My problem is that the ending of Goodbye didn’t finish the story. The Captain gave what I consider the absolute best description of what happened. I read 91 chapters of a 92 chapter book. It is an incomplete and unfinished work and that fact for me and yes many others damages the 91 chapters that came before it. My issue with the marrying a mark aspect is for me this episode simply tips the scales further over than they ever did before that Sarah would have slept with a mark and if ordered to, marry one as well. Hell she followed her orders and murdered Eve Shaw even with the discomfort she felt. And she had far less information about who and what she was than Quinn gave her about Chuck. Yet she did it. So please, I like this episode from its amazing portrayals by both main actors, I just don’t like that they never finished the story.

      • thinkling says:

        To some of us it matters very much. As a woman, I find the whole idea abhorrent. I hate government whore story lines, and if they had made Sarah a government whore, it would have put the show on a different (darker) level, and I would have probably tuned out.

      • BigKev67 says:

        MR/Uplink,
        Have to say I totally agree. Within the context of the show – as opposed to real life, which is obviously different – we’re told that Sarah will do anything to accomplish a mission. We see that her body count over 5 years (never mind before that!) almost runs into hundreds. We’re told that CIA culture sanctions Red Tests. And people are queasy about Sarah sleeping with the occasional mark? I don’t understand that to be honest. That doesn’t mean that I want to see it – but I always took it as read that it had probably happened occasionally.

      • oldresorter says:

        OK. I can’t help it, going pipe in.

        1 – First off, blame James Bond. Sexpianoge was in his play book. CF and JS are fans.
        2 – Since several of the smartest people posting here watched the same 91 eps, and concluded the opposite regarding Sarah’s use of sexpionage, I’d have to say odds are Sarah’s use of sexpionage is written in an ambiguous (or conflicting) manner.
        3 – I think ‘modern’ tv spy stories struggle with this issue. Undercovers attacked it head on ep 1, and was off the air in a blink of an eye. Covert Affairs has not done well with the issue either. it wasn’t any better watching it on Burn Notice with Mikey & the Russian spy in the last season. It was funny watching it in James Bond, but I don’t think its ever been portrayed as anything but distasteful in the past 10-20 years on tv. Given Chuck is more a comedy than most such shows, it came off as even more disgusting.
        4 – I didn’t like the final arc, but I’m in the camp that the final arc was trying if anything to show Sarah being uncomfortable with sexpionage, esp when intimacy was nearing. Had she been all on board for sexpionage, she’d have reacted the opposite, using sex to gain an advantage on Chuck, which she needed. She acted more like a school girl on prom night in 5×12 as Chuck’s fake wife. But again, rather than actually address the issue with dialogue spelling things out in black and white, it kind of was left standing there, open to any interpretation one wanted to assign to it. Far too often, that was how the Chuck story was told, right up to the bittersweet end.

      • atcDave says:

        It matters to me; Chuck and Sarah’s behavior matters a lot. I’m okay with deadly force in certain circumstances (per international legal standard; to protect human life). Yes, the show sometimes played games with what was justifiable. But I’m okay with a government agent having some authority and leeway on the use of deadly force.
        I’m not okay with either Chuck or Sarah taking casual attitudes towards sex. We can argue it’s “relative importance” however we want; but bottom line to me is (much as Thinkling suggests), if they make the characters trashy, I stop watching. That’s exactly what I did with Covert Affairs. I am not going to watch that. No one else has to agree with me.
        I know exactly what my standards are on both issues. I can make occasional exceptions, and even explore some moral complexities. But I watch to have fun. And if EITHER area of morality is treated too cavalierly I will drop it.

      • I’d like to split the difference here.

        Old resorter hits on an interesting point with Bond, in that it’s definitely a double standard. No one calls him a government whore, and he’s much looser than the worst interpretation of Sarah’s sexuality. That phrasing does seem sexist to me, and it makes me a little uncomfortable.

        And I have to agree with Mr. on the impact of her having sex. Really, Sarah summarily executing people on faith of her superiors is much more problematic to the idea of her being a good person than the idea that she might have sex with somebody. It’s not close.

        A caveat to that: if she’s being ordered to sleep with somebody, that is awful, but not because it damages Sarah’s character. It’s just that it would mean that the CIA (and US government) is essentially leveraging its authority over her to force her into sexual acts. I’d be outraged to find out it happened in real life. It still wouldn’t be worse than Graham ordering Casey to execute Chuck in First Date, but it’s really, really bad.

        But let’s take the next-worst case scenario here, that Sarah is willing to work as a glorified whore for the CIA, only instead of getting paid, she’s saving thousands of lives that would otherwise be at greater risk. As a self-interested individual, it’s not something I would do, or want a relative to do. But somebody who would be willing to do that would be morally superior to me, by any humanist-based view of morality. I mean, I don’t know that I’d want to get shot to save two strangers’ lives, even though that would be the moral action. And if Sarah was doing that, I don’t see it as any less of an honorable sacrifice than, say, Casey getting shot in the line of duty.

        With all that said, it’s just an icky thing to think about, and I get the visceral revulsion it inspires.

      • authorguy says:

        Well, first of all, no one was telling Bond (or Carina, for that matter) to have sex as part of the job. They apparently did it because they wanted to.
        Second, as stated before, there is nothing to indicate that Sarah at any time acted as a ‘government whore’. As far as I can tell, the people who see her character in that light want to see it that way, in spite of a total lack of evidence.

      • Sorry for the double post, but Old Resorter makes another great point that Sarah’s “sexpionage” is all the more distasteful because Chuck is the show that it is – that Chuck treats a very important moral gray as through it’s a joke. The whole idea is one that American viewers (rightly or wrongly) expect to be treated with more sensitivity than it is here. By hedging its bets and skimming over the topic, Chuck manages to have the worst of both worlds – hinting at something most people find extremely distasteful while not doing the issue any justice.

        In some ways, its a victim of it’s own successful characterization, isn’t it? When it’s Carina, people just ignore it. When it’s a character people really care about (Sarah), the bad joke turns sour. It’s another example of hour TPTB didn’t quite realize what they had in Sarah/Yvonne.

      • Authorguy, I agree completely, but the hypothetical is an interesting discussion.

      • authorguy says:

        a) Not to me. I’d rather the topic never came up again.
        b) There are unfortunately people on this board and elsewhere for whom it is not a hypothetical at all. Discussions on this topic are almost as bad as the stifled discussions of the Unnames Season.

      • atcDave says:

        I really think there’s a lot of looking for similarities where its really more about differences. Bond may be a fun fantasy for a lot of guys, but ultimately he’s a pretty unreal character in an unreal setting; and I think most of us really wouldn’t want to live that sort of life, even if the occasional movie is a ton of fun.
        Chuck is completely different as entertainment. Sure the world is still pretty unreal, but for many of us, Chuck was a much more personal sort of fantasy. It was much easier for us to either respect and admire Chuck down to moral level, or even identify with him quite personally.
        And again I have to address double standard nonsense. I abhorred Chuck’s behavior on occasion, especially in S3. THAT was the first, and greatest failing of that whole season. CHUCK, NOT SARAH became a contemptible whore. Not even a government whore. He became trashy for his own reasons.
        The character went from being someone I could admire and respect, to someone I despised in the first couple weeks of S3.
        The difference is wholly about how I saw Chuck vs how I see Bond. Bond can do such things because he’s more caricature than character. But for Chuck, his good, normal guy persona became a double edged sword. I could love him in ways I would never love Bond. But his failings became personal and damaging in ways no Bond failing ever could.
        Seriously guys. Go back and read our posts here from early S3 (Jan/Feb of 2010). Many of us were just furious with Chuck’s failings. More so than I ever was with Sarah.

        Now I could just say “ditto all” for Sarah. Her situation is a little different, but closely related. I think ultimately it has to do with her suitability for our “every-nerd” hero. It works either if she is different, better than others in her field from the very beginning (and I always saw this as Carina’s role, to affirm how special and different Sarah was); or if she has an epiphany, a life altering revelation at some point. I think we got some of that too (“I’m different without Chuck, and I don’t like it”).
        I can really be fine with Sarah either way. But for this specific argument, I side with those who say we can conclude nothing from 5.12. I’m not about to draw conclusions about her pre-Chuck character from a confrontation she has with him when she thinks he’s a traitor and a killer. I think her reactions have more to do with confusion, rage and wrath than anything resembling “truth”.

        I think its interesting to keep in mind Carina was a pretty popular secondary character. But she was held to a different standard than Sarah. She was a comically “bad” girl. To very many of us she could never be a fit for Chuck, even if we enjoyed laughing along when she was on screen.

      • thinkling says:

        Very well said, Dave. I’ve often said that Sarah was the more faithful of the two, and I hated sleazy Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah it’s really kind of funny; she’s actually the more reserved and careful of the two of them!

    • revdr says:

      That’s is another good point, uplink; the memories, or recall, is almost a subconscious one, kind of like muscle memory. The only knowledge of Chuck personally is what she had been told, and what she might be feeling, but to her those feelings have to be confusing; that’s just natural. There is no indication that she remembers him, or their life together. Even the beach is a subconscious draw…she knows that it has some meaning, but she doesn’t know what.

      • revdr says:

        If only Sarah had said “are you going to use the Irene Demova virus…like you did before” then just maybe I could buy into the ending more. Just a few additional words or lines could have made all the difference in the world to me.

      • anthropocene says:

        But if she and Chuck were faced with the same situation before her memory wipe, wouldn’t she have said that exactly the same way she did? To me her terse reference meant she subconsciously knew that Chuck would understand—it was another little flash of their prior intimacy. That would explain why Chuck was so stunned that he nearly forgot about the bomb! Sarah downplayed the significance of that recollection later on, but that seemed like another not-so-good lie.

      • atcDave says:

        Interesting take Anthro, I like it!

    • atcDave says:

      I do agree with much of your sentiment Uplink, but not quite all the details. For one, Sarah’s memory of the carving was accompanied by a strong emotional response from her, and stopped her cold from completing her “mission”. As I said in the post, I really wish they’d made more of this, it took me four viewings to be sure of it all. But I see a definite start of Sarah reconnecting with her feelings right there. Then she forces it all down to accomplish her revenge mission.

      Another thing; although I find the spy-whore theme repulsive, it also seems clear to me Sarah does too. Given her amnesia, she’s given a fait accompli. She is told she is married to her mark. She’s not stupid, she knows what that means. Yet she clearly is uncomfortable with it every step of the way. We don’t see even a hint of the happy handler Agent Walker we saw in S1. She is cautious and uncomfortable all the way. She resists undressing in front of her “husband” until she has no choice, she ends the massage at first excuse, and she doesn’t even “cuddle” until she learns she’s damaged her cover by not doing so.
      Bottom line is, she doesn’t play “wife” very well and clearly dislikes the role. I’m fine with that.
      It’s actually sort of funny to me that Quinn gives her this “mission” without realizing how much internal resistance Agent Walker will have to doing it. So much, she ultimately can’t even do it.

      I completely agree about the bad move of diminishing “tell me our story” for the broadcast cut. Especially considering some of the banal fluff that was left in (“we’re being wooed by midwesterners”. “Surprise we’re moving in together”). Doh. Terrible decision.
      I also agree this was dreadful way to end the show. Many of us share the mantra “good episodes, lousy finale”.

      • thinkling says:

        Great point, Dave. She was really terrible at the whole fake wife thing. And completely aghast that she did it so well that Chuck actually fell in love with her.

      • atcDave says:

        It’s sort of funny to find something Agent Walker is so bad at!

      • noblz says:

        atcDave, Uplink et al

        I agree with the sentiments and for me the finale needed about a 10 second scene where Sarah cups Chuck’s cheek and says something like…”Chuck, we’re going to be OK.”

        Then the finale would have been fine for me. I agree with the feeling that Sarah is now, I guess on a subconscious level, very uncomfortable with the whole married to a mark for (as far as she knows) 5 years. I got the impression that deep down Sarah was still there.

      • atcDave says:

        Great idea Other Dave! That definitely would have been a more appealing end to me.

    • uplink2 says:

      While I see many of your points and can say that maybe she is uncomfortable with the idea of marrying a mark, none of that really matters because she still did it in her mind and doesn’t outwardly question the idea. As Think points out it is simply a consequence of telling this story but the problem with that is is that it makes you look back at everything that came before and question what you saw or what you thought you saw. Knowing that she may be uncomfortable with the idea but still accepted Quinn’s telling her she married her mark how does that impact what would have happened in Crown Vic with Lon Kirk if Chuck hadn’t flashed? What actually DID happen with Gilles after Sarah went back to work following Chuck’s betrayal and rejection of her in Prague? It’s those kind of lack of “keen” details and unintended consequences that become part of my troubles with this story choice. You have to put your blinders on too tightly to follow the bread crumbs.
      Sarah’s emotional response at the carving though can be viewed in a number of ways I guess but to me none of it points to the idea that “WE did it” not “I did it.” That’s what I wanted and needed. It didn’t have to be this scene but some memory of “them” not things. She sees herself in the video logs but it’s like she is watching something externally. She is reacting because she realizes that she herself is telling her that everything Chuck told her was the truth, the whole truth just as it happened. But she doesn’t remember “them”. She doesn’t “feel it”. I agree she is lying that she doesn’t feel anything but I don’t believe she feels “them”. She feels the loss of a life she can’t imagine herself living. She feels many things but she does not feel Chuck and Sarah.

      • atcDave says:

        I think it makes a huge difference on how comfortable Sarah is with a certain sort of mission. A big enough difference I’m more comfortable than ever with saying nothing ever would have happened with Lon Kirk or Giles, because Sarah is so resistant to it she would have come up with an escape plan at every opportunity.
        It’s no different from distasteful job elements many of us are faced with. Theoretically, recommending termination for a trainee is part of my job description. Yet thankfully, it’s never come to that for me. I’ve had some good luck with my assignments, and even those trainees who really struggled I was always able to figure out how to make things click for them. The one who struggled the most is now an excellent controller. But if you told me that at some point in the future I actually had a trainee fired; I would hate it, but I would know perfectly well it goes that way sometimes.
        I imagine Sarah in the same position. She hopes never get into such a messy cover situation. But knows such things do happen. I like what we learned about how resistant she is to the idea, and how bad she actually is at it. I think that speaks very well of her character.

        And I think you’re just making too fine a point on what Sarah felt. It seems like saying “I don’t know if I like peanut butter, but I sure like the taste of it,”. (???!!!). It’s impossible to define exactly what Sarah felt at the end of this episode. But she clearly was “feeling it” pretty strongly. And since it started with the carving, and amplified through the v-log, I’m pretty comfortable with saying she was coming back to herself from pretty early on.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, but its why so many simple things could have been added to make me react 180 degrees from how I did react to the finale. As you said quite eloquently had I liked the ending my feelings about CvS could have been very different. I could have waved my hands at things much more easily. And what is so frustrating is that it is was all just small things that could have made the difference. Having Sarah say “Shut up and kiss me” when she interrupted Chuck talking about Morgan’s silly plan. “I may not remember much but I know your my home Chuck and you always have been.” something, anything that directly connects to Chuck and Sarah and not just meaningless things like cups on a counter. It’s why the finale is so difficult to get over. I get what they were trying to do, I see many of the clues but the necessary pieces to pull it all together to a satisfying “Goodbye” for me simply were left out by design and by circumstances.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree completely something more was needed at the end. I would have loved one of those more plain call backs.

      • revdr says:

        I agree uplink, and here’s the thing; everyone keeps harping on the fact that Sarah resisted hearing “our story” until the beach. But she says at the end of vs S that she believed Chuck and “our story”, but, “I just don’t feel it” when she tells him goodbye in the courtyard. She wasn’t lying…the tears in her eyes show the truth in her statement. She had a sense of loss, but for her memories, not her relationship. I just watched it again for clarity, and no, she was focused only on going after Quinn for taking her life from her. The was no reason at that point for hoping for a positive outcome. The Sarah that left that courtyard was bent vengeance, and nothing more.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, I agree but it’s not just more plain callbacks for me, its callbacks specifically to Chuck and Sarah. Callbacks to them and their amazing connection. The memories we got are things with no context and its the context that makes them matter. I can see how that idea can be used to show her confusion, her internal struggle etc but there comes a time when you have to make that connection and “show” your audience that she is beginning to remember “them” and what Chuck means to her and always has. We didn’t get that and it is why though they were set up for a home run for me at least it was a swing and a miss.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Uplink of course. That is clearly what was needed.

        Rev you’re not allowing for any change! Sarah’s position changes a great deal over the course of two episodes. Several times in Goodbye Extended Cut Sarah shoots down hearing “our story” precisely because she says it’s no longer “her” story.
        That is exactly why it matters when she changes her mind in the end. I think she admitted to herself she was changing, and things were different when she turned down Beckman’s job offer. And after an undefined period to herself, Chuck found her at the beach, and she was then ready to let him back in. And she was even more clear when she asked for a kiss.
        Obviously the fact I’ve had this discussion approximately 13836 times since it ran it was not made clear enough. The execution was flawed. But I have no doubt we were supposed to see this point. Sarah is ready to reclaim the life Quinn tried to steal from her at the beach. The exact details of the recovery process remain unknown to us. That is a shame. But it doesn’t change that the recovery was starting.

      • uplink2 says:

        +revdr. I can agree that at the beach Sarah wants to hear their story to see if she can connect with it and she wants Chuck to kiss her to see if she can find that connection that way, but we never got the answer. She laughs, she cries at “their story” but we never get any evidence that she “feels its their story”. For all we know she is giving the same reaction we did to watching the series from the outside. There is no evidence that she is reacting from the inside. I absolutely believe she wants to but they left whether she does or not unsaid. As the Captain so brilliantly said it’s like reading 91 chapters of a 92 chapter book without ever knowing the ending and the answer to the biggest question of the entire series. And if that is how you see it, why bother reading that story again?

      • revdr says:

        Only 13,836? Come on Dave, surely it must have been more than that! No, I really do get it; and you’re right, it was a terribly flawed execution of the final story. That’s my problem though…I readily realize that Sarah wants to reclaim her life, but the lack of any mention of the amount of time from her leaving Castle to her going to the beach being defined, or her mindset at that point leave me wanting to scream. The ambiguity once again was just a ridiculously cruel way to leave things.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I was rounding down. Don’t want to exaggerate!

        I do agree about the problems; it was presumably no more than a couple days, maybe even the same afternoon. I guess the relevant answer was supposed to be “long enough”, but it is made difficult when we just don’t have enough context.

        Uplink of course she was connecting with Chuck when she asked for a kiss! S1 Sarah called a real kiss a “mistake”. She knows exactly what it means to Chuck. Again, I wish they’d even just shown it heating up a little more. But it did run at least 15 seconds with no sign of ending when the screen went black. So I’m pretty comfortable saying it was meaningful for Sarah for all the right reasons.

      • revdr says:

        Uplink; again, I’m with you. I wanted to know if anything (the story, the kiss) connected with her. Hey, if Chuck told me that story I’d laugh too…maybe even cry a little, being as I am a hopelessly romantic fellow 🙂 ; it’s a funny, romantic tale. But that doesn’t mean that I would connect with it. I needed to see something, not have to imagine it .That the fatal flaw in the finale…it’s the never ending “to be continued” syndrome that TPTB seemed so fixated on.

      • uplink2 says:

        Well I’ll make this comparison as I just finished a 24 watch/rewatch to get ready for Live Another Day. I started watching that series in season 4 and loved it all the way through to the finale in season 8. I watched what I missed on Netflix since it was announced that Yvonne was joining the series and rewatched the rest. I personally think that series ended very well. Throughout it’s 8 seasons there was a formula for the series and they carried it all the way through till the end. Now we didn’t know exactly what happened to Jack after Chloe cut the feed from the drone but we didn’t have to. We fully understood what was to come with no equivocation. The particulars as to how it manifest itself didn’t matter because we understood exactly where each character was when the series ended. We got to say goodbye in a very satisfying manner. With Chuck we know exactly where every character is except for the two most important ones. Whatever we think happens to Jack Bauer next is all fine because we know who and what he was at the time of the ending. Not the case for Sarah Bartowski. They may have wanted us to make up our own next story but they failed to leave the building blocks intact. 24 didn’t. We know exactly what those building blocks were and it is why its such a satisfying ending for the fans, unlike what so many Chuck fans feel.

      • revdr says:

        Absolutely right, uplink. I too watched all 8 “days” in preparation for LAD; and with Jack Bauer you always know that he is going to survive. Plus, they always provide us with an overview of Jack’s whereabouts and activities from the prior day to where the current story begins. This time we even get to see Chloe’s backstory. That’s exact why we need a Chuck movie…to finally close the book and find out what happened after that “unfinished” scene on the beach. I said earlier that I watched the “Veronica Mars” movie and I knew within the first 5 minutes what had happened from the end of the 3rd season to 10 years later to practically every primary character, without losing any of that show’s charm. The movie was just like another VM arc, and it was great. It can be done, but the right people have to be involved. I wouldn’t want to get a movie, or a mini, or whatever, only to get stuck in neutral at the end….again.

      • thinkling says:

        Rev, you might laugh and cry at Chuck’s story, just b/c you’re a romantic guy, but Sarah most assuredly would not! That’s just not Sarah Walker pre Chuck … or pre “them.”

        I don’t doubt for a second that Chuck’s story was connecting with Sarah … and that she was reconnecting with Chuck and with her (their) life. Up until then, Sarah memory-wiped Walker Bartowski had no reason to laugh over anything. In fact, Sarah Walker pretty much didn’t laugh or smile very much until Honeymooners and beyond.

        Her laughter and tears there on the beach are the outward expression of the connection she’s making with her husband and her life. The fact that she was laughing and crying with Chuck is extremely positive … and very Sarah Bartowski. And the kiss … no version of Sarah Walker would have lightly asked for a real kiss from Chuck. Kisses meant something to Sarah. It is another step forward into her life and, as Dave has said, an invitation to let Chuck back into her life. I could never honestly consider it as a mere Hale Mary.

      • revdr says:

        Think; you’re right. The Sarah that we see on that beach is not pre, or even season 1 Sarah Walker. However, I don’t believe that she’s season 5 Sarah Bartowski either. And, unless her memories have returned, since she doesn’t even recall the significance of the beach, and just because she listens to their story, and even allows Chuck to kiss her, I cant buy that she’s quite ready to restart their marriage, just like that. Sarah is searching for not only her lost memories, but her lost self as well. Sure, she’s drawn to Chuck, and she trusts him, but to say anything other than they’re going to be ok….eventually, is more than a stretch. The hope of it all is that no matter what it takes, Chuck will find a way to help her and win her over. And that’s more than a hope, it’s a given. That’s the significance of “Rivers and “Roads”. Anything worth having is worth fighting for, and I do believe that she’s at least ready for that battle. It just doesn’t fly though that she’s Sarah Bartowski at this point….not yet anyways. Right now, she’s just Sarah.

      • revdr, on Rivers and Roads, I could not agree with you more.

  10. There’s a few things I’d like to say about this one. I apologize if I repeat anybody, or mess up the flow of the conversation.

    First, the dream house sequence and the v-logs are, for me, the best parts of this episode.As both Dave and Uplink have said, here we get some of, if not the best, work from both Yvonne and Zac.

    As a side thought, has anybody but me noticed something at the end of the entry for Day 564? It’s small, but as Sarah gets to the end “I don’t know what to do about it”. her voice breaks and she starts crying.

    Second, as to the fountain scene, I have two comments. Even when I first watched this episode I couldn’t really accept that Sarah didn’t “feel it.” As an example, look at her reaction to bomb kiss (v-log entry for day 56): Clearly, she’s feeling something. If not, there wouldn’t be the obvious emotional reaction. This’s also not the first time she’s lied to Chuck, nor the first indicator that she’s not a good liar. After all, remember the Wienerlicious conversation re. Bryce in vs. the Wookie?

    When Sarah leaves after at the fountain, I think we’re seeing an example of “not knowing what to do about” her feelings.The writers tend to use Casey and Sarah as parallels in dealing with their feelings. In Casey’s case, when confronted with feelings of any sort, he either trivializes them, or compartmentalizes.
    I think Sarah’s doing this at the fountain, compartmentalizing. She loves Chuck, but at this point can’t/isn’t able/doesn’t want to deal with it. So she channels everything into finding Quinn. Thus, we get “He took away my life.” Which, next week becomes: “You stole my memories, and you ruined my life!” Clearly, Sarah not only knows what she lost, but she feels for that loss. Otherwise, why get so angry? This isn’t the first time Sarah’s deflected her feelings. How many times through the series do we see her confronted with feelings, only to put off dealing with them until after the mission, or pretend their not there? vs. the Seduction and The S4 romance arc come to mind.

    Let me leave with a few parting thoughts.

    Sarah and Chuck are connected at a visceral level. In vs. the Coup d’tat we’re told that “nothing’s ever gonna change” the fact Sarah loves Chuck, and I think we see this in action here in 5.12 and, indeed, through the whole finale. She’s never been able to pull the trigger on him and still can’t, either in the Intersect room, or in the house. If the Sarah we all know was really gone, pulling the trigger shouldn’t have been a problem, especially when, in both cases, she’d completed what she thought was her mission i.e. recover the glasses and eliminate Chuck. Then, after the fountain, she leaves, but, as we’ll see, won’t be able to stay away. I’ll leave more on that for next episode.

    Until then…

    • uplink2 says:

      I see your point and I can extrapolate that her leaving at the fountain to find Quinn is an example of “one mission at a time”. She doesn’t say what she will do once she finishes that mission and Chuck doesn’t ask. But I still don’t see that as meaning she “feels Chuck and Sarah”. She is doing what she always does when she has a mission and her mission is to find Quinn, not figure out who Chuck and Sarah are.

      • I’ll agree that Sarah’s not ready to figure out who Chuck and Sarah are at the fountain. I may have expressed myself badly if I gave that impression. All I meant was that her feelings for Chuck were there. Does she know what to do about them yet? No. But then neither did S1 or S2 Sarah. As you said, she’s doing what she always does: mission first. But that doesn’t mean that her feelings aren’t below the surface. At least, that’s what I get from that scene.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree exactly Jeffrey.

    • atcDave says:

      Some great observations Jeffrey, I think i agree with every bit of that. I didn’t notice Sarah crying on the v-log, but I would easily believe her frustration back in mid-S2 was pretty close to where she is at here in 5.12!
      I think you summed up the fountain scene exactly right. She will launch herself on a reckless mission to avoid dealing with all those confusing feelings! But she will come back to it. I’ll always wish they’d been more clear, and done it sooner, but in the end she definitely will get back to it!

  11. Actually, all that took me about six or seven runs through the series and “an incredible amount” of thought.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah they definitely needed to be a little more clear about a lot of it.

      • This’s off-topic, but often when I watch now, I find myself wishing that many scenes should either have had more explanatory dialog, or have been rewritten As it is, we’re often left to rely on the ability of Yvonne et. a. to sell a scene with nothing bu physical acting. Imagine “Chuck” with a less capable cast. It’d possibly be unwatchable.

      • atcDave says:

        Zac and Yvonne both really sold it. Their interplay, the way they dealt with each other is just awesome. The end result is far greater than the script or dialogue because of those awesome, living performances.

        I find it even carries over into fan fiction. When I can SEE the characters responding, even in fan material, I’m reminded of how great those performances were.

  12. resaw says:

    I’m overwhelmed by the great opening comments from Dave and Joe and Thinkling, and all of the subsequent discussion. These last episodes continue to be difficult; I almost have to steel myself for the task. But I have to say, I find each viewing rewarding. Thanks, everyone.

    I know Yvonne’s get high praise for her acting, but I am really impressed with the subtlety of her portrayal of memory-loss Sarah at the top of the episode. (Well, actually, I’m impressed with her in virtually every moment of the episode.) She sounds like Sarah, but different somehow. I have to say, though, that the rather light-hearted opening music sounded rather jarring after the ominous opening sequence.

    I would like to comment on the feeling that breaking into D.A.R.P.A. was an issue. My view is that they are breaking into a government facility to put an end to a research project, the Intersect, not to put an end to people’s lives. Given all the trouble that the Intersect has caused, it seems like a relatively benevolent exercise. I think it is also viewed as a nice piece of symmetry for the series, with Sarah breaking *into* the Intersect room in order for the Intersect to be destroyed/stolen, mirroring Bryce’s breaking *out* after having destroyed/stolen the Intersect.

    • atcDave says:

      Well I take it as a given that Chuck would never mean to hurt anyone. But its still tresspassing government property for the purpose of permanently destroying an entire project. Regardless of Chuck’s experience with the Intersect, I can’t imagine how he thinks this is his “right”. And its no wonder Sarah could easily see him as a bad guy!

  13. I’ve come to a realization about my comment habits, my comments are simply meant to try and help people see the “method” in some of the writers more unpopular decisions, you are free to agree or disagree with my POV but one of the things I’m best at is making sense out of confusing or erratic situations, so with that said I’ll tackle various peoples sticking points with this episode!

    Dave I have a feeling we’ll butt heads a little here, but that’s the point of blogs right!:): while agree that Elle jumped ship on Sarah way too easily, I disagree about Casey; he’s a solider eventual softness or not that’s who he is. He knew in bullet train Sarah’s memories, had already started being suppressed. I noticed in crisis Casey reacts like a solider, he adapts by helps by keeping people level headed. In situations he controls only what is in his power to control and abandons all else to help the most affected party, no matter who is causing said threat. He did this in tic-tac, and bullet tran and even final exam and honeymooners.

    I’ve already said my piece about Sarah’s actions so I won’t rehash that, but I agree with whoever said its wrong to not place this and all episodes of the finale arc at their true value because of the difficult content.

    1 other thing I think Casey’s gesture at the end is so amazing and really shows that no matter who you are Chuck can alter you merrily by being in around him! As far as Casey goes in this episode he made sure Chuck stayed clear-headed the entire time.

    I agree with everything else and as difficult as the finale arc is Zach and Yvonne make every minute worth it! I force myself to watch it just like I force myself to watch OTH’s school shooting episode.

    I think that Elle was 10x worse than Casey in this episode, a sister who is married to the love of her life asking her brother to abandon his wife whom we all no he’d never let go of unless she was physically dead and even then he’d never recover from that.

    Love doesn’t need marriage or even (to a much lesser extent) close physical contact, true love is about knowing that there’s one person you’d protect, endure and accept no matter what, my parents are married but they are opposites of each other and yet they figured out how to consistently make each other better people.

    Rev made a good point a while back, people who hate the finale (not those who just dislike it) but the far smaller group who genuinely HATE the direction it took don’t see these characters beyond there TVs. and never bought in to Charah at all. If you can’t see that Sarah was lying or the reasons why she ran or that she was being distant for reasons that go way beyond “Langston Grahm’s wildcard enforcer” than I feel sorry for you, love is the greatest thing there is and it’s a shame so many people have lost faith in it.

    Those that are sour to the finale for the right reasons, I understand your POV and hope that you at least grudgingly accept it’s true purpose, despite it’s various missteps (I’m also counting it as a whole package BTW).

    • atcDave says:

      I think most of us actually get the writers’ intent, that is rarely the problem. The issue is what we watch for. When the writers’ ideas don’t mesh with our own preferences and expectations we tend to be dissatisfied. Chuck more than most show’s appealed to a broad variety of tastes, especially the first two seasons. After that, after an ill-advised attempt to re-invent the show (CF’s words, “to create a new show on the skeleton of the old one”), they bounced from one to extreme to another, alienating different groups of fans as they went. I was one of the lucky ones, after enduring the one miserable season, they did another reinvention that aligned pretty well with my taste, until the finale arc (and even that might have been fine with a slightly better end).

      But people do watch for very different things. I want the characters to feel like real people, but I need one or more I can respect and relate to. I will simply not watch a show if I can’t find one or more characters I can relate to and respect.
      “Realism” is secondary to me, as long as those characters continue to feel real(ish). Because seriously, reality is Dad with cancer, Mom with Dementia, wife loosing two jobs in a year, the pain and embarrassment of Crohn’s disease, a house that’s worth less than the mortgage, two best friends ruining their marriages with affairs…
      And I don’t mean that to complain, I’m not a down beat or depressed person. But I do not watch television for any more “reality”. I watch to relax and have a good time. I want better from and for the characters I watch. I like worlds, stories and characters that are inspiring and better than reality.
      So no doubt, when a fun show takes a dark turn I don’t like it. I don’t want to take that too far. A tough challenge, and the occasional reversal of fortune keeps things exciting. But I expect those things to be quickly resolved (S3 dragged it out WAY too long) and to come out well in the end (oops…)
      I completely sympathize with viewers whose hearts were broken by this show’s end. Now as you’ve probably noticed, I think a lot of those bad feelings come from missing important details or dwelling excessively on the negative ones. But that was also my first impression, and I understand entirely that it is hard to overcome those first impressions. And most more casual viewers who were disappointed or disgusted on finale week, have now moved on with only a sour memory of the show.

      As for Casey specifically I still find his actions indefensible. As a military man and man of honor, he should be ready to go above and beyond for a comrade in arms and partner. Not be thinking about sniper positions. Especially when getting her the correct intel would likely end this problem immediately. I think his first reaction in this episode was just very poorly conceived and written. I’m torn between whether Casey’s actions or the DARPA mission cause me the most distress; both annoy me quite a bit!

      Josh no doubt I’m happy to continue the debate. But I’m even happier when we do find common ground. I always consider that the better outcome.

      • While like I said I agree with everything else and although we watch tv for different reasons I find that most of our opinions (with the exception of the finale arc) mesh nicely.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave and Josh there is also a view that I take that what really matters isn’t the writers intent but what actually shows up on screen. Execution is far more important than intent. This is a show that had it’s ups and downs with that. There were many great successes where the execution even goes beyond the intent, Colonel, Phase 3 and to an extent Chuck vs Sarah. But we also know times where execution was so bad that we never even saw the intent. It just got buried under layers of manure. I’ve used this line many times but this isn’t kids soccer where you get a trophy for just showing up. You actually have to execute your intent to get credit for it. The majority of the time they accomplished that but there are certainly significant moments where they fell flat on their faces.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I agree execution matters a lot. But I am willing to consider intent, especially in cases like the finale where I think intent clarifies the execution. That is, I didn’t see what they said they were doing initially (I do consider that a flaw!). But since I’ve heard what the intended, I can now look at it and say “okay, that makes sense. And I like it better than way. So I’ll buy it.”

        Of course the execution always matters a lot. We’ve heard CF talk about how Zac and Yvonne’s strong chemistry was sort of a surprise to them. I think it defined what made the show irresistible to a large number of us. And (eventually) they did adapt; they made Sarah’s part much bigger in later seasons. And gave us two seasons of a happy couple. Certain other elements didn’t work out so well, like pretty much everything related to Shaw. I’m not sure how much sense anyone thought they’d made of that story on paper, but it sure didn’t come across on screen! Still, I’m willing to say if I’d LIKED what I was seeing I might have been more willing to make sense of the story they were telling.

      • garnet says:

        Dave, would it have made a difference if he had been using a Tranq Rifle??

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah, about 1000%!

      • I thought an awful lot about the “Dream House” scene and have new things to add. I all the sudden saw the scene entirely from Sarah’s perspective bearing in mind the prior 24 hours. Sarah has unfortunately been altered to her former self (with a darker edge from Quinn’s brain washing) and is in full agent mode in this scene. Now I break the dialogue up line by line and explain what I believe she was thinking.

        She awakens tied up and face to face with the man she believes to be a killer, expecting him to at least destroy the glasses, but he instead responds with a simple and gentle, “hi”, this instantly throws her off and is inconstant with what she was told. Being that she’s in “agent mode”, when Chuck launches into telling her that she told him about her view of a dream home she is distant and responds with, ” our relationship was, a cover Bartowski, you were just an assignment.” She’s attempting gain the upper had with this, matter of fact statement, unfortunately (or fortunately) for Sarah, Chuck responds with a matter of fact statement of his own, “no I was an assignment, and then you fell in love with me” he doesn’t let her succeed at what she’s best at, having control of the situation, so she attempts to hit him deeper with, “my job is to make you think I feel something when I don’t, that’s what I do best I lie” she attempts to make Chuck doubt the relationship, expose his biggest insecurities and gain the upper hand again. Unfortunately (fortunately) for Sarah Chuck is un phased by this and responds with “actually your not as good a liar as you think you are’ this throws her off even more and before she can even begun to process his words he continues with “look if I didn’t know any better I’d say it was crazy but the fact is, you fell for me Sarah you did, (she rolls her eyes) but he continues , at this point I believe she starts wondering why Chuck would admit that the odds of her failing for him , seemed “crazy” especially if their relationship was a cover because that would jeopardize her assignment, she starts at least contemplate the idea he might be telling the truth, but the “agent” in her is careful not to let him see any real doubt. Following a very emotional explanation of how they fell in love including that she initiated their first “real” kiss I believe she expected Chuck to walk away and leave her there to process what he told her because at least this would give some truth to the false notion that Chuck is a liar and intentionally manipulates situations for what he wants (which in her mind is to destroy the intersect) instead he does something she’s not prepared for, he unites her and tells her ” I’m gonna give you a choice, right here right now, you can ether take a chances on me and start over, or you can take these glasses that you came for and never see me again”. I think because of what Quinn told her she’s completely caught off guard by this willingly given choice of free will (again she’s careful not to let that show on her face) and the agent in her clings to the only thing that makes sense at that moment to “complete the mission” despite that thought process she can’t help but ask “all this is real, you really love me”!? Chuck replies passionately ” with all of my heart!”
        I’ll pause here for a moment to explain what I think she’s thinking. I believe it’s at this moment after his genuine declaration that she starts, not to believe him but rather to panic! She desperately wants to believe Quinn’s version of things because he provided her (mostly) with physical evidence (albeit manipulated physical evidence) that it is true and some of Chucks actions the prior 24 hours further support Quinn’s story. So she tests Chuck a final time by attempting to make him think she fell in love on purpose, hence her coldest statement “I’m sorry I did my job to well”, some people may be wondering why I see this statement and the subsequent fight as Sarah starting to really panic, I’ll try to explain myself let me know if I’m unclear:): from Sarah’s perspective to admit that she felt any of Chucks story would be admitting its true. To admit its true would mean having to accept or admit, she’d been completely duped and played by the agency she’d been trained to spot these things from (at least in her mind because Quinn told her he was CIA) that is something agent Sarah Walker would not be wiling to do. So she tests the last thing she’s able to; the notion Chuck is first and foremost a heavily trained CIA agent, by attacking him expecting his (in her mind) naturally ingrained training to cause fight back, but unfortunately (fortunately) for Sarah he doesn’t, this at the very least proves that Chuck is not at all who Quinn led her to believe. At this point all she has that is true is Chuck swapped the glasses, interfering with her mission which she uses as a disguise for her anger but what of that anger?

        To quote Dr. Phill: “anger is nothing more than a mask for a far greater emotion or realization we can’t bring ourselves to face” I know from personal experience this statement is 100% true. Sarah is distraught (not quite yet over her actions or words) that she was fed false information about ” a mark.” Chucks actions of 24 hours prior however, still have her clinging (albeit barely) to the notion that Chuck is a rouge agent going against the government who fed her that story to enlist her help in destroying government property. She hopes to prove this theory by attacking him to see if he’s as deadly or brutal as she was told. She precedes to attack him but he doesn’t strike her or even put his arms to protect himself! Something important occurred to me when I thought about this moment; he feels responsible for what ultimately happened to Sarah. I find a hard to notice sweetness in that gesture, he’s wiling to be her “punching bag” he loves her that much:( 🙂 She demands to know why he won’t fight back and he says ” I’m not going fight you” at the climax he shouts “Sarah your my wife!” She kicks him downstairs stumbles to his feet, senses she is clinging to the only thing she knows for sure, she has a mission to complete, so in a pure expression of love he tearfully says “you can kill me, I will never hurt you.” This is precisely the moment when Sarah “Bartowski” pushes “Quinn’s solder” aside long enough for Sarah Walker to hesitate squarely focus on Chucks eyes (for a moment that to me lasted forever) where genuinely for the 1st time she sees no malice or evil or judgment” Sarah Walker lowers her gun, realizing once and for all that Chuck is nothing like Quinn told her he was. Her eyes (in the slightest way) shift to the door frame and she sees the carving and she recalls initiating the carving of their names, says with widened eyes “I wrote that” abc Chuck confirms it with, “yeah..,yeah, you did (they wanted to make this moment about Sarah that’s why it was written as “I” and not “we” and gives her a gentle smile.

        Before Sarah Walker can even begun to accept that everything Quinn told her about Chuck and the reason she was assigned to him was false, he barges in takes the glasses, Chuck surveys Sarah’s expression towards Quinn, he realizes it’s skeptical so he takes the opportunity to get Quinn to admit that he manipulated her and states directly to him “you used her…you lied to her!? Her purpose to his plans fulfilled he admits to it. Sarah stands shakily gazing from Quinn to Chuck and what’s true and not true hits Sarah’s subconscious like a like a truck moving at 100mph that crashes into a heavily populated area and then explodes killing everyone. I’m willing to bet she had a total out of body experience at this moment because she barely becomes alert again to react as Quinn attempts to kill her. Chuck selfless intercepts the bullet and Quinn escapes. I’m unsure if Sarah Walker or Sarah “Bartowski” rushes to Chucks aid..I’d say a combination of both (“Quinn’s solider” is now completely gone) Chuck tells her to run (again he thinks only of her) and she reluctantly heeds his advice.

        Wow! That is without question my longest post ever and took (I type with one finger) 5 hours! I thought about my thoughts all night yesterday and hopefully I’ve put a new perspective on this scene PLEASE provide feedback, thanks everyone:)

      • garnet says:

        Sad that they overlooked an easy fix!
        I get a feeling of whiplash when I think of Casey here and Casey at the end of Goodbye…Are we really seeing the same character?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Now granted, this crew could be very liberal with tranqs being either instantly disabling or nearly ineffective depending on what the plot needed, but if we take that as an indication that they are unpredictable they wouldn’t want to take the chance that Sarah could hurt or kill Chuck or Ellie before she was disabled. And tranqs, as often as they are the easy way out for this crew, would have been too easy a way out for the story they wanted to tell.

      • atcDave says:

        “The story they wanted to tell” is exactly what’s wrong with it. They made Casey look like a monster and an idiot when all his long time partner needs is a truthful briefing on the situation from someone she would trust (like the head of the NSA…)
        And there’s no need to ever let Sarah get close to Chuck, arrange a time and place where you know she’ll be, tranq her, and give her a good briefing.
        And yes, I’m sure you can find holes in the solution I came up with in 5 seconds. But the point is, the story we got contained serious holes of the sort that made a main character look very bad.

        I think its counter-productive to raise tension through stupidity. I don’t care for humor derived from main character stupidity either. Seems to be a recurring theme with me.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Yes, this site has a long and storied history with “The Story They Wanted to Tell”.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow Josh that’s quite the exposition! I don’t know that I could add anything to that, I think its mostly on the nose, especially in the end. We didn’t get to really see much of Sarah’s conflict early in the house scene, but its easy enough to imagine it was there. Especially when she finally hesitates right before her flash of real memory.

      • Thanks Dave! My writing is rough around the edges but I’m very good at it and when I get an idea it usually flows until I finish it, you might see a fan-fic from me soon!

      • uplink2 says:

        Josh, I have to agree that was a very well thought out and very much on the money break down of one of the most important scenes in the entire series. Too bad it didn’t happen in episode 89 instead of episode 90. i can agree with your idea about it being “I did that” instead of “We did that” because of 2 things. First the storytelling, the beach scene was always the driving force and in their eyes they did not want any idea of “we” to come until they were on that beach. I believe that is a very big mistake but it is the “story they wanted to tell”. Secondly Sarah had just been blindsided by Chuck’s reaction to her attack on him. His willingness to stand there and let her kill him was bravery and selfless sacrifice this version of Sarah had never seen before. It was something Bryce certainly never would have done. That moment of “shock and awe” caused the Intersect/flashcard blockage of the memory of the carving to crack and fall away. It was an emotional trauma releasing the hold on her memory however briefly. Again they don’t give her the context of the memory because that would open up “them” and again that couldn’t be allowed to happen naturally, it had to be forced onto the beach.
        That’s one of the sad parts about this finale is they take brilliantly performed moments of huge significance like this one and when they are about to pull it all together and give their fans the payoff of all of this great drama, they simply fade to black and don’t finish the story. A story that needed only 1 or two more lines. ( and a flash forward scene lol)

      • joe says:

        Yeah, Josh – great analysis. I think you’ve hit on several points that I haven’t considered before.

        Like Dave said, I too couldn’t add much if I tried.

      • revdr says:

        Josh; that was a very insightful and thoughtful interpretation of the Dream House scene. I have watched the scene now a of couple times, and I can say that I agree with some of what you’re saying. I see Sarah at this point a very conflicted person. Let’s face it; here she is a person who cannot remember the last five years of her life, including, apparently having married her “mark”; a man that she had been told by Quinn (someone she also doesn’t remember) that this man (Chuck) is a killer (possibly including being responsible for the deaths of Graham and Bryce), and a traitor to his country. Now, she’s been captured by him, and if all that she’d been told were true, could have just as easily killed her, just by virtue of her kidnapping Ellie. Instead, he tries to convince her that she actually loved him. The thing is, Sarah has always been perceptive when it comes to Chuck; she was ordered to eliminate him in the pilot, but she could already see that he was something different than she thought she knew; something special. I certainly buy into the anger aspect, but her anger I believe was directed more at herself. Sarah is someone whose whole life has been based on deceit. From her father the con man to her work in the CIA, all she knew was lying. However, once she starts being faced with the truth of her current situation, from being duped by Quinn to the fact that Chuck was not who she thought he was, added to the realization that she actually married him and “did her job too well she sees And a great a liar as she might be, Sarah hates being lied to, and hates being conned even more (see Wedding Planner). So, yes, she is very conflicted; her life has been taken from her, and moreover,she cant recall any of it. So, when you add all of that together, the scene had a profound effect. Quinn may have been the catalyst, but Sarah was the conduit. Guilt, confusion, a sense of loss; even hate; equals anger. Anger is a strong (and sometimes, necessary) emotion. Yes Sarah is absolutely angry….at Sarah.

    • Josh, I think you’re far, far too hard on Ellie here. She had a split-second reaction 10 seconds after a bad car crash where she was being held at gun point. Also, she has no idea that Casey was ready to shoot Sarah. She just gets a call from him. The moment she had a second to stop and think about it (see the opening scene of Goodbye), she’s completely on board with not giving up.

      I think if you were being dragged out of that car crash, right after somebody was threatening to kill you, you’d also be frightened and disoriented, and it’s possible you could say something that you would take back after you had a moment to think about it.

      • On the whole, I agree with Dave that Casey’s part is a huge jump. However, in his defense, Sarah isn’t just sitting out there harmlessly without her memories. She’s already (as far as he knows) tried to murder Chuck, Morgan and Casey, and is holding a gun to Ellie at that moment. And let’s not forget, Sarah is a trained assassin. As Ellie hints, I’m pretty sure Sarah, if she’d known about the situation beforehand, would’ve wanted Casey to shoot her rather than let her kill Ellie or Chuck.

        With all that said, the better solution is to bring in the CIA en masse to try and talk her down first. Beckman kind of hints at that, but it should’ve been made more explicit. That solution is still unpredictable and risks that Sarah starts shooting the moment she sees something is up. On balance, I’m still calling a foul, but not a flagrant.

      • atcDave says:

        I do agree Ellie’s “offense” is fairly minor. It wouldn’t have bothered me at all, except combined with how Casey reacted it all felt pretty manipulative.

        And I do understand Sarah is dangerous, and Casey being careful. But again, it just felt like too much manipulation “for dramatic effect” when just getting Sarah the real scoop seemed like the obvious way to deal with it.

      • Yeah, I’m pretty much agreeing with you overall, just not quite as much on the extent. Like I said, it’s definitely a foul, but I can see the logic if I squint hard enough at it.

  14. I typed extremely fast in my above post and for that reason parts may seem jumbled and slurred I apologize:)

  15. John G. says:

    Zac and Yvonne acted their asses off in this episode. In fact, when I rewatch episodes, I am blown away by the acting of Yvonne Strahovski. She’s good, y’all.

    Other than that? Sadness. And pain. But mostly sadness.

  16. Wilf says:

    Some posters have suggested that these final two episodes are a great advertisement for and encouragement to watch, the entire series. I have to disagree with this premise because, although it does tell us a lot about the series, it fails to show us the mix of genres which made Chuck … well … Chuck. For me, Chuck was a light-hearted, albeit sometimes more serious, action-packed, spy-orientated, romantic comedy. 5.12 certainly, and also 5.13 just didn’t convey (at least to me) the light-hearted core of Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree about this not being typical Chuck. But to me, the interesting question becomes, do these two episodes make a good stand alone “movie”? I kind of think yes. It would be an interesting experiment if I knew the right audience.

    • I’m with you, Wilf. First off, I would never start somebody off with a series ending on principle. If somebody did that to me, I’d be PISSED. Second, there’s so much callback in Goodbye that people just couldn’t get. And finally, There are just better representations of the overall series to be had.

      Personally, I still say the Pilot is the best episode to start with. It’s a really awesome episode.

      • revdr says:

        I’d always go with the pilot…but I could make a strong case for First Date too.

      • atcDave says:

        I’ve got a few friends hooked with First Date, and a few with Tango. My worst batting average is with the Pilot.

      • Won’t argue with you there; first date is a wonderful episode. I know people love honeymooners (I’m looking at you, Dave! 🙂 ) But the date scene in First Date might be my favorite. The look on Sarah’s face when Chuck jokingly says he’s fantastic and Sarah says “Yes, you are”… Yvonne was one hell of a find. It amazes me that she (and Zach, for that matter) hasn’t found a niche in romcoms.

      • It might interest people that I was the finale arc was my 1st experience of Chuck! I couldn’t watch it prior to Friday because of my sister watching other shows, my parents are old fashioned what you want you buy on your own so I hadn’t gotten a separate tv yet. I saw the last I’d say 5 episodes live. I was attached right away and still was pleased with it and was even happier with it after watching the whole series through Netflix!

      • Tango? I never would’be guessed that one. To be fair, I haven’t done as much Chuck legwork as you, but so far I’m batting 1,000 on the pilot.

      • atcDave says:

        I think it just depends so much on the viewer. For someone who watches shows faithfully and carefully, the Pilot truly is the only way to go.
        But so many people don’t really care. If they enjoy a sample, they may watch occasionally when they get the chance, but they will never make appointment viewing out of anything. And many will never actually buy a series.
        So I try to gauge the viewer and the content. I used Tango with a group of friends back when S2 was just starting, so I only had the S1 discs. I chose it as the first “normal” episode, with a good mix of humor and action. Everyone in that group liked what they saw, but only one became a faithful weekly viewer (I later found out she was a Nielsen viewer, so score!).

      • That’s probably true. Do you know if Netflix releases its viewing data? I’ve turned a few people onto Chuck via Netflix; it seems to make it easier for people of my generation, who by and large don’t make “weekly appointments” for TV shows.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah no doubt viewing habits have changed. My younger co-workers are the same way, they watch pretty much nothing on live television, and either download or buy discs (I’m actually a little surprised how many of them go the disc route). But during the run of the show in particular, it was all about live views. We needed to get the ratings up! Now things are a little different, but I still know of a few very casual viewers who will only watch with ME. They are well enough disposed towards the show to agree any time I want to watch, but they’ll never watch the whole series. So for them I don’t worry about starting from the Pilot, its more of a “greatest hits” sort of thing.

        I don’t know of any actual viewership numbers available through Netflix. I can only say we saw a small increase in traffic here (20% maybe?, plus a number of new commenters) in the months after it came available.

      • authorguy says:

        Fanfic numbers appear to be up a bit, too. Not comments, sad to say, but simply people reading the stories and moving on.

      • atcDave says:

        Well that’s sort of good!

        If they are new readers coming from Netflix (or this site, we always see a lot of clicks from the links here over to ff.net) it may just take some time before they buy in to the whole experience. I think it took me six months from when I started reading before I actually created an account and started posting reviews.

      • thinkling says:

        Interesting, Josh. Although, I have to say that the finale, if as a first experience with Chuck, wouldn’t have the same negative impact that it had on the die hard fan base that had already invested 5 years in Chuck and Sarah. And that’s what it became. It wasn’t just an investment in the show; it was an investment in two fictional character, that, over time, somehow became real. The emotional impact of their loss was intensely personal for us, and not seeing a complete recover was like a sucker punch. As a first experience, a viewer wouldn’t really have any idea of the magnitude of the loss, except as an intellectual fact. And intellectually, the viewer can see that CS will be ok. Situation resolved. An emotional investment requires more of a return. For many fans that just wasn’t there on first viewing, and for some it never came at all.

  17. noblz says:

    Two of my least favorite subjects from the show…

    First, the whole notion of the “spy-whore”. I always felt they really overdid this on the show. I know that intelligence operatives have gone undercover with partners and pretending to be married. And I am sure that a female agent may have been forced by circumstances to have sex to maintain her cover or preserve her life, but this whole intentional use of agents as whores was not a good part of the show. Prior to this episode, Sarah always appeared above this (Ilsa and Carina on the other hand…) and the ambiguity they gave her here did not do her character any favors.

    Next, the notion of the “red test” is insulting to me as a professional soldier and combat veteran. We weren’t given live targets to practice on before shipping out. I know agents have had to use deadly force on occasion, but this “red test” deal is absurd.

    So I’m with atcDave, Thinkling, et al on this one. No need for it, would have been fine without it, any of it.

  18. Bill says:

    This is a terrific discussion. So many well-thought comments. Thanks.

    I come at these last two episodes from a different angle than most. As I’ve posted before, I stopped watching the show’s original run sometime in the latter part of S4, and at this point have come to the conclusion that Push Mix is my finale. Thus, I can almost see Sarah/Goodbye as the Chuck movie that has been much hoped-for since the series ended. It has all of the ingredients of a post-finale movie: lots of call-backs to the series, a challenge for the romantic leads, and a bad guy to take down. Viewed in that light, I can enjoy (and in my case very much did enjoy) these last two episodes.

    On the other hand, I don’t know how I’d feel about them if I’d remained an avid fan through the show’s entire run. Although I’ve only watched S5 once, it does seem to me that the last two episodes had the dark tone of S3 as opposed to the lighter fare of S4, and that in and of itself could have been jarring.

  19. revdr says:

    24:LAD is coming…..and it’s going to be good…………..

  20. So many thoughts floating around in my brain due to recent realizations about Chuck I’m not sure where to start so I guess I’ll just jump in, here goes nothing!

    First I believe I may FINALLY have a reasonable explanation for to fill the continuity hole of Morganterstect; Stephen Bartowski built the programming processes for the prototype intersect which worked but each flash was physically taxing to the user (evidenced by his instant fatigue as he flashes on the agent who faked his death in Ring. Together Stephen, Hartley and Roark fixed this issue and released the first stable version of the Intersect (the 1.0) and while information would now be accessible without consequence to the uploader there was another issue they overlooked (probably because they assumed it wouldn’t be uploaded by just anyone) the actual upload process; there is a ton of data inside this computer and the brain must receive and process the uploading data all at once. Chuck was among the only people with the will/brain power to handle uploading the original without suffering information overload.

    I’m willing to surmise that in designing/reverse engineering the 2.0 some combination of Stephan, Bryce and Mannosh (forgot about him didn’t you:) figured out how to correct the information overload problem experienced when uploading the prior version. Using that more than believable explanation anyone could upload 2.0. However as we see in S4 just because anybody can UPLOAD it, doesn’t mean (Trojan notwithstanding) that it will function properly, I believe Chuck is the only person who is capable of completely handling the Intersect.

    My next realization: As much as I hate to admit this the finale arc wouldn’t have gone any other way. Their was always going to be a “Sarah tragedy”. However I have to think that had we gotten more episodes we would’ve gotten more closure. Skeptics need prove; s3 and s4 got unexpected back orders that led to very good episodes and whose finales (cliffhangers aside) provided more than enough closure. Sure we might not have gotten “the White Pickett Fence” scenario but Sarah’s recovery would’ve started sooner, happened with more detail and been given more context.

    Lastly no writer is perfect; I heard the creators of FRIENDS originally weren’t going to put R&R back together but caved to fan pressure, I never thought they fit together, I never thought they had chemistry, I bought way more into Monica and Chandler. It’s funny isn’t it; Chuck’s finale arc ended the series the opposite way it’s fans (me included would’ve preferred) wether viewed positive or negative and it’s future is endless. Friends finale arc went against writer/creator instincts and met fan approval but it took less than 10 years for its legacy and popularity to be challenged by another show, The Big Bang Theory (another of my favorite shows) has still not dwindled in popularity or ratings despite nearing the end of its 7th year and was recently given a 3 year renewal deal. If it manages to stay this relevant through its 10th year I feel it’s only fair to say it will surpass FRIENDS completely.

    Love it or hate it the controversial decisions with Chuck and need for true closure have kept it relevant. It didn’t even take a full 10 years for FRIENDS to essentially fade and be replaced and now it’s only mentioned when on the subject “the history of tv.” Seinfeld, however is still talked about, same with Cheers.

    It’s just funny isn’t it, maybe there’s a method behind finishing a series with an ambiguous, non relationship or controversial ending after all. I heard mad men’s creator already explicitly stated that he’s ending it in an “open ended”/controversial way.

    • joe says:

      I like it, Josh. Despite what Stephen told him, I never thought that Chuck had some sort of “super” brain or anything. His head was merely “special.” It’s reasonable, I think, to imagine that Stephen designed and tested the original Intersect with himself in mind. The original probable fit the specifics of his brain enough so that the damage it might cause was minimal, but there was no guarantee that it would be as safe on others. Hartley, in fact, proved that it wasn’t. Chuck inherited those specifics, I’m sure, but even Stephen was surprised that the Alpha version didn’t hurt him.

      Even though the design was specifically tailored (out of the necessity of taking simplifying measures, I’m sure) for Stephen, both he and Chuck needed the governor to prevent other problems. All the while, Fulcrum and the CIA (and Roark too) were working to make the design more general so that it could be used to make an army of super-agents. We saw the early attempts fail in Suburbs, but by the time Manoosh enters the picture by essentially solving most of the remaining problems it’s a done deal. It’s only a matter of time before the new design becomes widespread.

      The design Morgan (and later Sarah) used was deliberately tainted, IIRC, according to Decker. That was his way of trying to control the thing.

      I have a feeling, if a movie is ever made it’ll be centered around the idea that the Intersect Cat is out of the bag. Chuck is special, but he’s not that special.

    • revdr says:

      Josh that was well thought out. It’s reasonable to believe that Stephen realized the design flaws in the original design of the intersect, especially after it overtook Hartley’s personality. He had more than enough time to perfect the design, but the government’s continued tampering and insistence upon adding to his work not only led to him going underground, but also enlisting Bryce in acquiring and destroying the intersect. The one thing that Stephen didn’t forsee was Bryce involving Chuck, whom he had done everything he could to keep out of the mix. Bryce didn’t see the real danger ubtil it was too late. It seems that the variable was that 1.5 had less of an effect on the brain than 2.0, what with everything the government continued to add to it, even with the necessity of the governor to aid in keeping the brain from getting fried. But, that still doesn’t explain the tainted intersects that first Morgan, and then Sarah downloaded. If Beckman always had part of the mechanism necessary to gain a pristine intersect, where did the tainted version come from. We know, or think that we know that Decker, and to a larger extent Shaw was involved, but 3 questions remain; Why didn’t Stephen use the removal of the intersect from Chuck’s brain on himself 2)why didn’t Shaw ever lose his memories and 3) why did Beckman hide the truth. As for Manoosh, he pretty much kept things simple by not downloading the intersect, only using it by wearing the glasses. It probably would have had less of an effect on him because of that fact.

      • While see as the Intersect is a computer, and the flashes are basically a program it’s reasonable to think that it can be hacked and installed with Trojan’s to alter how the program runs because that’s what a Trojan does to an actual computer; where a virus infects a computer and self replicates until it crashes and is unusable, a Trojan affects a computers written programming code changing various functions; viruses are used to destroy computers, Trojans alter how the computer and it’s programs (coding) runs and is usually what hackers use to infiltrate the computer steal information or install other Trojans in programs;they most likely upload the virus after they’re done if they have what they need.

        I have little doubt that Decker or Shaw hired anonymous person(s) to hack, copy and alter the intersect and it’s “programs” to fit their plans after Decker removed Chucks 2.0. Sorry for going all “nerd” on everyone but I spend a lot of time with computers lol!

        As for Beckmann I believe it was implied she never knew she had a piece of the key.

    • joe says:

      Don’t forget that the two GRETAs (Vicky & Ricky!) had no memory loss to speak of either, Rev. I’m pretty sure that the tainted version was a deliberate sabotage by Decker and, like you said, maybe Shaw too.

      Shaw and Volkoff are interesting cases. It looks more to me like both of them had their personalities replaced. Or, maybe like Morgan, the Intersect brought out their inner bad-guy more than suppressing memories.

    • revdr says:

      In so far as the creators bowing to fan pressure, that’s absolutely true where Friends is concerned. You can Fringe to that list also. Conventional wisdom aside, what’s wrong with that? Just look at the controversy over the recent finale of HIMYM. They stuck to their original concept, with an ending that they not only devised eight years earlier, but also filmed (partially) and they never swayed from it. I don’t believe that there is ever a method to an ambiguous ending, except for causing controversy and splitting your fanbase. If you really want to leave the door open for further adventures down the line you can always do that without tainting the ending of the current. Every journey ends; that doesn’t mean that another journey isn’t possible.

      • There’s nothing wrong with that obviously and as I said I believe that had they been given a back order we would’ve seen a more pleasing finale but I stand by my notion that the “Sarah tragedy” was always their plan.

      • joe says:

        That’s probably right, Josh. And you know, they might very well have handled it the same way they did C&S’s breakup after Prague. The first half of the season, maybe up to 6.11 or 6.12, would have been all about Chuck and Sarah suffering through her slow recovery. I’d guess that it would be about as much fun as the first half of S3, before Paris.

        But I’d bet that the two-episode finale would have shown us the recovery we all wanted to see.

      • Yup and I say that solely because that’s essentially what the finales of s3 and s4 did. I think NBC didn’t realize how hard it would be to cram a pleasing finale into a season with no back order; that was acceptable for s1 because the show was still figuring itself out but by s5 no way to do everything you want in only 13 episodes, especially for a show like Chuck; case and point they had originally planned to do “I know Kung-Fu” at the end of S1! The tension of S3 might’ve never existed if they had been able to do that a year sooner.

      • revdr says:

        Oh I definitely agree that the theory of a “Sarah tragedy” was a given. However, they knew going in that there was to be no back order with season 5 with the 13 being the end….that’s why I felt like the ambiguous ending was planned from the beginning. It seemed that the full circle return to the beach was the vision. It’s just that, it would have been just as meaningful if Sarah would have been on that beach with Chuck to announce a pregnancy. They just seemed to be so obsessed with the hero’s journey that Sarah’s character had to be thrown under the bus.

      • revdr says:

        The problem with that theory Josh, is that season 1 was shortened by a prolonged writers strike. They had a full season going in with season 2. Really, only season 3 had a delayed back order, because they pretty much knew that they had not only a full season 4, but a 24 episode order at that. NBC actually could have cancelled the show after season 2 because of poor ratings, but relented after the first huge save the show campaign and the Subway device. There really is no excuse for not having time to wrap the show in 13 episodes. Fringe had the same 13 episode order for their last season, and they wrapped every story line and still left open the possibility for future stories with the disappearance of Walter at the end. The only explanation is either poor writing, or poor execution.

      • I just don’t buy that it’s possible to wrap certain shows without a back order and Chuck, I consider Chuck one of those shows and we don’t really know what a writer goes through, the finale is a double edged sword because the story can go anywhere but there’s no evidence of where its going, which tells me that both the story and relationships we saw for 5 years was about the journey not the destination. I include every main character in that statement too not just Charah. We know every couple is with each other and starting over as that couple as opposed to individual people, but nothing else..

      • atcDave says:

        Season Five was known to be a 13 only order from the start. And I think it easily could have been made more acceptable, to more viewers, with only the smallest of changes. Really no need for a second of additional time, just more clarity with what they had (although more would have been better!)

        As far as planning things out goes, I’m pretty sure they only plotted one order at a time. As early as Ring, they didn’t know for certain where they were going until they got the next order. Even Marlin, they later admitted to re-plotting a lot of their future plans during the longer than expected break/writer’s strike.
        We’ve heard a lot of anecdotes of things they kicked around and never did (Devon the enemy agent) or things that were incorperated differently from originally imagined (we’ve heard BOTH that the 2.0 was part of their original plan, AND that it was something they’d promised NBC they would never do).
        A lot of shows go through changes when cast members are lost (like Matt Bomer) or when things like big budget cuts are made (like after S2). So they can end up improvising for a variety of reasons. But improvising is never a good excuse for an unsatisfying story.

    • revdr says:

      The deal with that is that the final 13 episodes of Chuck was a gimme’ by NBC. They had from the end of May to wrap things up. There was not to be a back order, that was made clear at the upfronts when NBC announced their fall lineup. Every major character WAS wrapped, except for Charah. If you cant tie things up in 13 episodes, then you are not very good at what you do. They plotted the entire season going in; they just decided to take the path that they did. It wasn’t a last minute decision. I obviously didn’t like the direction that they chose, but I respect that they knew what they wanted. You are selling the writer short if you don’t think that they didn’t have the ability to finish the story properly with the number of episodes that were allotted, especially when they knew their limitations from the beginning. That doesn’t show much confidence in their writing skills.

  21. Exactly Chuck is special because even though he’s a spy, he refuses to bury his emotions and thus can use eventually the 2.0 without letting it affect them. When he uploads 3.0 despite the magnitude of his choice he remains alert and suffers from no disorientation, it works best in Chuck because he doesn’t let the powers go to his head.

    I personally would LOVE to see Angus Macnab’s Intersect 4.0 and his whole story brought to screen. I just thought the idea of Intersect’s “merging” with one another was awesome!!!

    • atcDave says:

      Angus’ post series story would be an excellent way to go for a Chuck mini-series. Although I think Thinkling’s would also be an excellent choice. Or Anthropocene’s for a whole new series. But I’d probably want to look more at one-shots if we only get a movie.

      • I love Angus’ intersect idea because it realized something we all wanted and never got;Chuck AND Sarah as Intersects and a super spy couple! But thanks to his story there’s a pretty detailed picture of it!

      • atcDave says:

        We all wanted? I liked the idea of no Intersects. I always thought the 2.0 and later was sort of a cheesy gimic, I wish they’d stuck with the earlier info only model.

        Now that said, I did like the way the two Intersects synched up, I thought that was a very entertaining twist. That made Angus’ vision by far the most appealing of those that left them in the spy world.
        But in the end, Chuck and Sarah both wanted out of the business. And I liked that idea most. Chuck and Sarah happily retired to live a more normal sort of life. That’s what I wanted for them.

      • I only meant that it would’ve been nice to see them BOTH have it at some point in the series run and Angus’ “twist” would provide a fresh idea for use in any movie/reboot but I certainly agree that they should pull back from field work. To quote Awesome, “if living a double life means having to give up your real life, it’s not worth it.”

      • atcDave says:

        I can agree with that!

    • revdr says:

      Yeah; I’m with you there, Dave. Ideally, for me, season 5 would have been nicer with no intersect at all; with Chuck finally realizing his potential and being “awesome” without the intersect as a crutch, and he and Sarah finally experiencing a normal life. We got some of that, but I think that so much more could have been done. The end of the beach scene finally signaled that new beginning, but it was done in such a way that it left the outcome unsatisfying. Just a little more would have gone a long way in signifying that.

      • Again I agree with both of you, I’m just saying that it would’ve been fun to see the “super human spy couple” because we never saw it, even if just for an episode or two.

      • atcDave says:

        Honestly I didn’t mean to bind the writers in so much. I can imagine dozens of different ways to end out the story, many of which would work perfectly well for me.
        But I think the first choice for me was some version of them getting out, and finding “normal”. But of course, maybe still really extraordinary; as business owners, parents and a happy couple. But something safer, with fewer life and death situations!
        My second choice is more the comic/super-hero sort of end. A lot of the “continuing adventure” sort of tales belong here.
        The really cool thing is that there’s an infinite number of possibilities in between too! I guess the irreducible minimum for me was always Chuck and Sarah together and happy about it. Most of the details are optional.

      • While I’m in the process of thinking of any idea for a story, but until my month long internship is over I won’t be writing anything. Stay tuned though, whatever I write I’m gonna make sure it’s awesome!:)

  22. Pingback: Chuck in Overview: Season Five | Chuck This

  23. Pingback: Episode of the Week: 5.12 | Chuck This

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