Chuck vs Goodbye (5.13)

Sarah has run off after Quinn, leaving Chuck to try and win her back and help with her mission, without even knowing where she is.  Big changes are ahead for everyone as the story wraps up.

After the jump, we’ll have our last of these weekly talks.

This is the end.  The show originally ran five seasons over almost five years.  This re-watch has been nearly two years.  So this seems like a very big deal! Coming in at number 38 on our pollGoodbye is a controversial episode to say the least.  Most seem to agree it was extremely well done, but issues related to the mood and clarity of the ending sour the impression for many viewers.  I think for myself, I pretty much like it exactly where it polls.  A solid episode with some serious problems, or the recurring phrase we’ve heard around here so many times the last few weeks, great episode(s), lousy finale.

I want to reiterate here, every viewer should try to get a hold of the 52 minute Extended Cut. This longer cut absolutely tells a better and more complete story.  It is under “Special Features” (not the episode list!) if you have the disc.  I have not seen it available through a download or streaming site, so getting the discs may be the only way to see it.  As always, I encourage viewers to buy these discs (or legitimate download), we want to make Chuck as profitable a property as we can.  That’s how we get more!

Its a little hard for me to know how to launch into this.  Much of the mood here is desperate.  I have no problem with that for our big finale.  I think the opening is terrific; contrasting Chuck down and alone, but getting encouragement from family, opposed to Sarah Walker, super-spy on her mission of vengeance.  No, she’s not out of his league (!).

As the episode unfolds there is so much that is really terrific.  Great performances from Zac and Yvonne in particular.  Also some seriously fun call backs.  The Berlin mission in particular is an homage to many past scenes and settings.  There is also an interesting dynamic at play as Chuck is proving himself as Sarah’s partner.  There is good and bad to this.  The absolute good is how many times Chuck says “You taught me that…”  This is something I wanted to see and know for a long time.  Sarah gave Chuck many of his introductory primers to spy life back in Seasons One and Two.  But her role as mentor diminished a lot in Season Three and Four.  Some of that was appropriate as their relationship, both personal and professional changed.  When we get to Season Five, and Chuck no longer had an Intersect, it did raise some questions as to how it was he could hold his own in a fight.  Well now, at the very end, we finally get an answer.  Apparently Sarah has continued to provide Chuck with much of his conventional agent training, we just never knew.

But for me the bad part here is one final bit of buffoon humor for Chuck as he screws up the mission by shooting down Casey’s helicopter.  I never really laugh at making Chuck look like an idiot.  And there’s too much on the line here for this to be very amusing to me.  Maybe this isn’t a huge thing, I laughed the first time!  But it rubs me a little wrong now.

There are some nice and important moments here as Chuck and Sarah work together.  Like Sarah getting a little distracted as Chuck holds her close while dancing.  And I actually like Sarah shooting down Chuck’s (and Morgan’s) attempts at reconnecting her to her life.  Especially as the situations set-up the ending on the beach.  Don’t get me wrong, I would have much preferred a more clear re-connection all along.  I’ll get into this more on Tuesday with our “Finale Alternatives” post.  But especially with this longer cut, it is obvious how they’re setting the ending up.  Really a shame some of it was cut for broadcast.  But Sarah is holding Chuck, and her life, at arm’s length for the duration of the mission.  This seems like such a Sarah Walker sort of thing to do.

The action climax comes at the music hall.  This is one of the very best Jeffster performances I think.  “Take On Me” is an excellent song choice; the visual gags as Jeffster appears on stage and Morgan takes the director’s baton are perfectly funny; and I love Quinn’s last scene.  From being foiled by a really lousy cover band, to being gunned down by “his soldier”, this ending is fitting.  And we finally see Chuck make a solidly good impression on Sarah as he sacrifices for the “greater good”; something Sarah will doubtless respect.

The supporting cast all has their own sub-stories scattered throughout as well.  These are sort of uneven I think.  Casey’s story typifies a common television finale flaw; his whole series growth is reiterated in a brief sub-plot.  Hadn’t he spent five years already following this path?  Now he tries to reject team and family one last time.  Ellie and Devon consider a new job offer in Chicago.  I have no problem with this story; except I think it just requires a change of story sequence to work best.  Ellie saying goodbye to Chuck before she knows if Sarah is okay just seems wrong on every level.  It would be much better if this farewell came after the beach with both Chuck and Sarah, as a call back to the Pilot and Honeymooners. That alone would have fixed every serious complaint I ever had about this episode.  Jeffster, Big Mike, Morgan and Alex all get their goodbye scenes.  I may like Big Mike’s the best; he flat out disbelieves that Chuck and his cronies are spies, as he happily contemplates Buy More’s new Subway ownership.

Obviously I’ve saved the beach for last.  There’s no doubt this is a beautiful scene.  Pity they lost the last few minutes of footage.  I do think there’s enough here to know all is well.  And I don’t mean at some undefined point in the future, I think really all is well as the screen fades to black.  There have been so many little tells that Sarah would recover; even going back to the way Morgan recovered before regaining his memories.  We were also told in Bullet Train that the defective Intersect caused no brain damage in Morgan.  Obviously Sarah lost far more memories than Morgan did.  So they spelled it out a little differently here.  Several times during Goodbye Sarah will make a point of not wanting to hear her and Chuck’s story.  So Chuck makes an impression on her in other ways.  Mostly, she sees first hand what sort of team they were (I love the thugs at the embassy “how do we take care of three guys?””Well usually you take two and I take the other, or you just take all three…”).  I wish so much they had shown a woman falling in love more clearly.  This I call flawed story telling.  But even so, they rebuild trust as partners all while Sarah is having very small recollections, of mostly, well, stupid stuff.

Until very late in the episode.  The post mission de-brief has the first major moment in Sarah’s recovery since the end of 5.12 when she says no to Beckman’s job offer.  This would be completely out of character for her until fairly recently.  And given how many times Sarah has insisted Chuck is responsible for giving her everything she is outside of the job, I think we have to conclude “finding herself” is very good news. It also looked to me like Sarah was torn when leaving Castle; like even though she said she needed time to herself, just maybe she wanted a reason to stay.

But its probably best Chuck doesn’t push her.  The beach is a much more relaxed setting.  And I like pretty much everything about this scene.  Sarah seems fine with being found.  And after Chuck asks her to trust him, she asks for “Our Story”.  This is a huge moment.  Sarah has gone from pushing Chuck and her feelings away, to wanting to reconnect with them.  And I need to mention, this can only be a fully mature Sarah.  At no time prior to being completely involved with Chuck did she have any interest or comfort with her own feelings.  Maybe she wasn’t completely cold, but she was certainly all business. Chuck’s story time is absolutely a completely open Sarah.  Unlike anything we saw in those first few seasons.  Even in Season Four she struggled to be this open until the very end. We see Sarah happy, laughing, crying as “their” story unfolds.  Even if she still has holes in her memories, she is clearly completely at ease, completely “feeling it” and reconnecting with her husband in the fullest sense of the word.

When Chuck finishes the story he tells Sarah about Morgan’s magic kiss theory.  Before he can even finish Sarah asks for the kiss.  Again, huge moment. There is no cover here.  Sarah knows exactly what she’s asking for.  This is an invitation for Chuck to come back into her life.  You can only conclude otherwise by ignoring most of these last five minutes.  I know some of you will claim otherwise anyway. You’re wrong.  This is not ambiguous.

The episode ends with 15+ seconds of kissing, no end in sight, no other movement as the screen goes black.  The series ends with husband and wife kissing on the beach, and they both seemed pretty content with it.

Now I’m not going to claim they immediately were back to their mid-Bullet Train status.  They weren’t.  Chuck and Sarah still have some recovering ahead.  Who knows, Chuck may spend a few nights in the guest bedroom before Sarah’s ready for more.  But in the end I’m completely comfortable saying Sarah is past the worst of it and her recovery is well underway.

One issue summed up discontent for many of us.  The closing song “Rivers and Roads” is a melancholy song that struck many viewers as focusing on the struggles ahead, not the joy or the final triumph this episode seemed to be.  So for everyone who has another thought for a great song, we look forward to hearing about it in comments!  My own choice, probably my favorite love song, would be “I Will Be Here” by Steven Curtis Chapman.  It was originally written as a song of God’s perfect love for his people, but a few years ago Steven Curtis Chapman re-recorded it as a love song for his wife.  It’s no mistake the God of the Bible uses the love of man and wife as illustrative of his love for all of us.  And I think this message of loving commitment and determination perfectly fits the end of the show.

This ending is easily the most divisive moment of the show since Season Three.  At this point, I’m completely content to say I know Chuck and Sarah were all right.  But I do think this was very poorly told.  It was too subtle and too clever by far.  That I had to re-watch several times, and even rely on writer’s interviews, and finally the extended cut of the episode to be 100% satisfied they got the ending I wanted exposes a badly flawed execution.  I know some viewers, possibly most, saw this right away.  But I didn’t, and we spent six months after the finale going over this stuff every single day at this site.  So many viewers failed to see the happy ending.  Some called this end “brave”, I prefer “foolish” or even “inconsiderate”.  That the writer was willing to alienate so many viewers who had supported and watched for five years, including a very high profile “save the show” campaign, is, I think, ridiculous.  It concerns me a lot that writers feel so little responsibility or concern towards those fans who support them.  I will definitely be very cautious about supporting any show again the way I did Chuck. Chris Fedak once challenged us with “do you quit reading a book at chapter seven?” (well I have Chris, if I didn’t like the book!); but what to do when the book is blank after chapter seven?

This Tuesday (4/15) I should have up “Finale Alternatives and Epilogues“.  This will follow the format I’ve used for all such posts, with talk about how things could have been different, both small changes and big, in the finale arc.  And of course lot’s of fan fiction links for stories that provide both alternatives and epilogues. I think the fan fiction epilogues will be a very lengthy listing!

Next Sunday night will start a series of review posts, starting with “Chuck in Overview: Season One” and ending, six weeks later, with “Chuck in Overview: The Whole Series”.  For now, that is all we really have planned.  I don’t expect this site to go away for a while yet.  But things may slow down with the end of “scheduled” programming.  We’ll see, another idea may come along.  And hopefully, you’ll all still know where to find us when movie talk really gets going…

~ Dave 
ct_bar

A Kiss Goodbye

There’s no doubt. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster.

If a three-four chord can ignite a flame
And a girl like you can forget my name

By this time you’ve probably made up your mind about the finale, Chuck vs. The Goodbye. Thumbs up or thumbs down, we’re not going to change many minds and I’m not going to try. I will, however, tell you what thoughts I had during this, my 4th or 5th re-watch. I also want to tell you how surprised I was that my reaction was indeed, much different than previous. Perhaps time and tide have changed my perspective a bit.

Most of you will recognize that the Blitzen Trapper song was used, not in this episode, but much earlier, in S2, when Chuck was more than uncertain about his standing with Sarah. And that’s funny (funny ‘peculiar’, not funny ‘ha-ha’) because when it’s played, she’s sleeping right beside him and very happy to do so, it appears. But even then the situation was at best a mixed bag for Chuck – “A taste of Heaven mixed with Hell inside of my head.”

And so it’s been for most of these past five years. From the moment Sarah says “I just don’t feel it,” the finale has always struck me as being much more about the latter than the former. Getting past that in any satisfying way has been difficult for me, to say the least.

Awesome and out for vengeance.

Awesome and out for vengeance.

Dave’s got it right (again!) about the technical strengths of the episode. The intro is awesome at every level I care about, from the music to the comedic timing and scoffing at past villains.

Hector: The Ring. Amateurs.

Perverts unleashed!

Perverts unleashed!

Morgan insisting just enough to touch the surface of annoying that one magic kiss is what Sarah needs and Chuck unleashing the perverts to find Sarah are LOL this time around. Really, I let that humor wash over me the first four times.

Ellie: Enough crazy.

Oh – and the set-up is nicely intricate. I’ll confess, I forgot that the plot revolves around a key for the Intersect that had been divided into three parts (by Stephen, Hartley and Ted Roark of all people). Quinn already has the first and the second is up for sale by a former Fulcrum operative in Germany. The third? Some govie has it. It’s a nice tie-in to the past and from there, all the adventures flow.

So do the memories. My first impressions about Goodbye were dominated by all the references to familiar scenes – the Mexican restaurant where Chuck and Sarah had their first date, the ballroom dance, the Weinerlicious – and my disappointment that Sarah’s memory did not seem to be returning even a little.

I got it wrong, though. Now I see those scenes weren’t about Sarah’s memories at all. They were about Chuck’s memories and mine. It wasn’t just Sarah who had to discover herself again. Chuck did too.

You see, Chuck had changed these past five years, starting from the moment he met Sarah. At his birthday party Ellie had to reprimand him about the way he left first impressions with girls. Immediately talking about Bryce and Jill in a pathetic manner was not the way to make friends and influence people. Back then you’ll recall, Chuck started to do just that with Sarah at the Mexican restaurant, but brought himself up short. The result was a little magic.

Chuck: Uh, yeah. Yeah. Um, ah, Actually, well, back in college, there was someone. But actually, that’s all over with now. And her restraining orders are very specific. [They laugh] So…
Sarah: I like you, Chuck.

Pulling for Chuck

Pulling for Chuck

This time, Chuck started to forget the lesson and Sarah reacted the same way she would have five years ago had Chuck started off so whiny. And wow is that disappointing. Except – instead of watching Chuck make a fool of himself again, watch Sarah’s reaction. Could it be that she’s kinda, sorta pulling for Chuck to be the Chuck we saw the first time with her, in the Pilot? I think so.

Fighting

Fighting

The more I watched, the more times I saw Sarah do that. There were no indications that she was seeing flashes or snippets of memories or anything like that. It was more like she was trying – almost fighting – to recapture something. Would “everything for the mission, wild-card enforcer” Sarah even try to do that? Stacking cups and moving straws in the Weinerlicious has nothing to do with Chuck. It’s got everything to do with home and with being comfortable. Adjusting Chuck’s tie is not about the things Sarah has forgotten. It’s about who she is and always has been.

Same as it ever was

Same as it ever was

 

Ellie: It’s clear that we can’t force Sarah to remember. But, emotions, feelings – those are powerful things.

Perhaps you can see how differently I saw the episode now. Maybe the intense pain of seeing Sarah separated from Chuck’s memory and my desire to see her made whole was too much before. Maybe time has allowed me to see other things now, like the amazing job Yvonne does with the subtle expressions, expressions that go far beyond the blunt characterizations of anger, surprise and joy that we usually see on TV. Some see it as a flaw that this episode requires some close scrutiny and thought. Heh! I see that as a feature now. There is, of course, more.

Morgan: What about Chuck and Sarah? They’re a liability too, right? Good! By all means, lock ’em up, throw away the key, lock away your feelings too – forget everything that we’ve been through and YOU BE RUTHLESS!
Casey: You just don’t understand, do ya? I got soft. I lost my edge.

Say after me –
“It’s no better to be safe than sorry”

If I haven’t thrown enough clue-bricks around yet, here’s another. I was struck for the first time by how much Casey had to go through the same process of figuring out who he is now. He’s forgotten so thoroughly that even Morgan has to tell him off, that the team WAS his biggest asset and when the team’s together that’s when he at his best. And he’s being a giant jackass now.

See? They’re all going through it, the trials, pains and joys of figuring out who they are now. Those flashbacks are not just about Sarah recalling things she desperately wants to remember (and they are that). They are also about the things we – or at least, I – want to remember. They are the things I thought about those days, nearly seven years ago when I was quite different too, when I took daily walks with Arcade Fire and Blitzen Trapper playing from my iPod. Those were thoughts about wanting to be more than I was, reaching for adventure versus feeling that it was better to be safe than sorry, and about knowing the value of home, friends and family. I can accept that as a metaphorical kiss from TPTB.

Laughing and crying

Laughing and crying

So how does the ending play for you now? Unlike the first time, Rivers and Roads strikes me now as the perfect choice because it’s not about Chuck and Sarah so much as about living. The questions were indeed answered; the girl smiling, crying and laughing (even hysterically, at times) on the beach is not the cold emotionless assassin pursuing vengeance – a mere spy. It’s Sarah, complete with the feelings she said she didn’t have and it’s Sarah, the woman she said she didn’t know how to be any longer. Maybe those were lies, or maybe those were sad truths, undone by “the magic kiss.” Don’t know, don’t really care, because she’s the Sarah we came to know and my doubts are gone.

Feelings

Feelings

And maybe, if five years of the rollercoaster wasn’t enough, seven years has satisfied me. In ways I can’t put to words, I’ve grown and been fulfilled by the story I’ve seen and by the time I spent here, doing this.

But like Bryce said, it’s hard to say goodbye. And like Dave said, we’ll have a little more to say about the show and I still want to thank you all for reading and commenting. All in all, it’s been absolutely wonderful.

– joe
ct_bar

Advertisements

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.
This entry was posted in Season 5. Bookmark the permalink.

206 Responses to Chuck vs Goodbye (5.13)

  1. The one I’ve waited for.,..hope you guys are ready for some friendly yet heated debating:) I work during the week, so you won’t hear much from me until 5:00 ( Eastern Time) now to read the author reviews, excuse me….

    • joe says:

      We’re always up for that, Josh! 😉

    • revdr says:

      Dave and Joe; what can I say? I can start by saying what a tremendous pleasure it has been gaining insight, and perspective from both of you…and everyone associated with Chuck This. Not only have you kept the show alive for me (and I’m sure, countless others), you have instrumental in reminding me what this show really was. I know that will never completely come to terms with the way things ended, I still know in my heart that all will be well with our favorite couple. I will of course delve into my own displeasure with the ambiguity of it all as the week progresses, I still cannot thank you enough (Joe, I still owe you one for forcing me to watch the final arc yet again :)) for the honor of being able garner so much knowledge, and wisdom, as well allowing me to be able to express my own views. It’s only heightens my contention that Chuck is still the best show on television…you guys, and this site only serve to prove that point. I look forward to discussing Goodbye (sigh) this week, as well as many more furtive discussions as well.

  2. anthropocene says:

    Thank you, atcDave and joe and Ernie and thinkling and Faith, and guest columnists, for deftly herding all of us cats through that marathon rematch! Your commentary was always fun and interesting—something I looked forward to every Sunday. “Chuck” doesn’t feel quite so finished, as long as this blog keeps humming along. And by cherry-picking the series soundtrack so well, you’ve caused me to double my own “Chuck” playlist on iTunes. There are certainly some things I’d like to mention about this episode, but I’ll come back for that later. For now…thank you!…just sayin’.

    • atcDave says:

      Glad we helped to keep Chuck alive for you! We look forward to your comments Anthro.

      And it goes without saying I appreciate what you’ve done to keep the show alive. More on that Tuesday!

  3. resaw says:

    Well, guys, thank you for your commitment to Chuck and to this blog and to the people who read and/or contributed their own comments. I think I’ve watched this is the fourth time I’ve watched the finale. Each time, in anticipation, I was filled with dread, and became quite emotional thinking about the sadness of it all. To my surprise, at the end, when Sarah said, “Chuck, kiss me,” I finally saw that final scene as hopeful and optimistic, open-ended in the most positive of ways. I was “surprised by joy,” to reference C.S. Lewis.

    Dave, I think you are quite right to think of the Chapman song. Chuck’s selfless, giving love, so evident in his refusal to fight back when Sarah almost killed him, his absolute commitment to Sarah stated in his words to her on the beach, are profoundly spiritual acts.

    The thing that got me on the beach this time was the full range of emotion on display by Sarah. There was a freedom in her psyche that had been lacking ever since her “escape” from Quinn at the beginning of the previous episode. Why I hadn’t seen that before, I don’t know. Perhaps I was expecting a different and more obviously happy ending. This time, however, I did see a happy ending. I could always ask for more than what was shown, and in retrospect, I am grateful for the ending we got because it inspired so much attention to the finale over these last two years, and it also inspired so much really well-written fan fiction.

    I’ve said this in a previous review, but, agreeing with Dave, I’ll reiterate my disappointment that the writers felt it necessary to show the buffoonish Chuck in the chopper scene. And, as much as the Berlin versions of El Compadre and the Wienerlicious served to call to mind the Pilot/Season One, and revealed a subconscious memory for Sarah, I found those settings to be rather silly and contrived. The dance scene where Sarah’s adjusts Chuck’s tie, though, that was heartwarming.

    Zac and Yvonne were simply brilliant. Zac’s Chuck was passionate and thoughtful and loving. And, as always, Yvonne’s ability to convey the subtleties of Sarah’s emotional state, was just wonderful.

    I gained a re-appreciation for the gift of providing the extras speaking lines as they (over)enthusiastically engaged in their search for Sarah. Of course, Jeffster! was epic. I know you’ve said all this above (and in previous reviews), gentlemen, but I feel like it can bear saying again.

    Back at the concert hall, after Quinn has been killed, I found it very moving when Chuck realized he had to choose to save the people in the concert hall at the expense of losing the opportunity to input Sarah’s memories back into her mind. However, in making that choice, I think Sarah saw in Chuck a special man, someone who was worth getting to know again.

    I also loved the Casey bear hug that he gave Chuck. When I think about them all wrapping up this series, not likely working with each other again (except via Chuck’s Nerd HQ events), I can’t help but think that there was a lot of sincerity in that hug.

    Thanks again, gentlemen, and to all the principals, past and present of the Chuck This blog. Much appreciated.

    Russ

    • atcDave says:

      We’ve certainly argued a time or two here (!), but its great to be in about the same place for the end. I also struggled with it, but I’m finally (mostly) happy with it for the same reasons you mention.
      I’m not entirely sure I see it as “worth it” though. Much as I really have enjoyed the last couple years, and I love the amount of wonderful fan fiction we’ve seen, I still wish we’d had better closure.
      But then its been mentioned more than once, any end was bound to leave us all a little empty just because it was the end!

      • resaw says:

        Yes, Dave, I would have liked a bit more in the finale. Actually, I would have liked to have watched seasons 6 and 7 already. The other point of view that I hold, though, somewhat in tension with the first, I guess, is that the story is in the hands of the creators and this is what we got from them. Elements of the series may have been incoherent, messy, rushed, containing too much “gear-changing,” as it were, but that’s not that much different from real life. I recognize that the basic premise of Chuck, the Intersect, is not real life, but the most important things were the relationships and the journeys of the main characters, anyway, not the sci-fi element. I was emotionally engaged in this show in a way I have never been before, and certainly no current TV series holds me in its thrall now the way Chuck did.

        Well, I could go on, but I won’t (for now). A blessed Holy Week to those for whom this time of the year holds a special meaning.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree with all of that too!

    • anthropocene says:

      I too was uncomfortable with buffoonish (more like foolhardy) Chuck, but I wrote that part off as another callback to earlier seasons. I also thought the Wienerlicious and especially the Mexican restaurant were rather contrived. There was great subtlety at other times in the episode and they could have continued with that. For example, Chuck and Sarah could have been sitting at some kind of municipal fountain while staking out Quinn…and without Chuck even noticing, Sarah could be looking at the fountain and the two of them with a little glint of recollection.
      Agreed also: the ballroom and the concert hall segments were golden. I’m sure it’s been mentioned before, but it was significant to me that Chuck followed Sarah up to the roof, but after he reloaded the Intersect and gave his determined “Let’s go,” it was Sarah following his lead. She’d fully accepted him as a good spy and a good partner, and she was fine with him taking charge.
      I’m in complete agreement with Dave’s assessment of the beach scene. Sarah’s eager, if not hopeful “What is its?” response when Chuck brought up Morgan’s theory again was another little “tell” that she truly desired to reconnect emotionally with her husband.

      • anthropocene says:

        oops…I meant “What is it?”
        “What is its?” is something only Terry Gilliam could answer.

      • anthropocene says:

        I am really off my game this morning. Not Terry Gilliam. Michael Palin.

      • revdr says:

        Anthro; I truly wish that I could accept your and Dave’s and I’m sure many other’s assessment of that beach scene. While I fully embrace the hopefulness of it all; for me it just doesn’t make sense that Sarah’s anywhere near ready to be a wife…not yet anyways. She has at the most cloudy recollections of trivial things. There is absolutely no indication that she remembers Chuck, her marriage or anything associated with it. It’s just to unrealistic to think that, while she feels a real connection between them, she just jumps right back into a relationship with someone she doesn’t know. I cant buy it. And if the so called magical kiss actually worked, we certainly didn’t see it.

      • atcDave says:

        Anthro the last “kiss me” just seems more like she’s ready to be kissed than anything related to Morgan’s theory!

        And no doubt, you have managed to confuse the entire Monty Python troop…

      • anthropocene says:

        Senior moment!

      • anthropocene says:

        I again concur with Dave about the significance of “What is it?” and “Chuck…kiss me.” Morgan’s idea was cute but immaterial. Sarah was responding to “our story.” And, as Dave and others have stated on more than one occasion, that didn’t mean that she was all the way back yet—only that a happy reconciliation was clearly foreshadowed.

        Rev, I have no personal experience with amnesia or anyone who suffered from it, so I can’t comment meaningfully on the accuracy of Morgan’s and Sarah’s trajectories. But I am willing to accept that Sarah was back with Chuck, as I was willing to accept that Chuck bounced back from Phase Three without months of therapy, or Sarah showed no ill effects from near-fatal radiation poisoning at her wedding, or Casey was able to catch Chuck halfway down a fall from a six-story building without dislocating both of their arms, or that Chuck’s average body could pay the martial-arts checks the Intersect 2.0 was writing on them…and so on. We’re still in the Chuckverse here. If there was any constant “law” in canon, it was that Chuck and Sarah’s love always prevailed. I’m a scientist by profession and I could find any number of holesin any of the 91 episodes. But to quote John Cleese (think I got this one right this time, Dave), “where’s the pleasure in that?”

      • atcDave says:

        Anthro perfectly well put about suspension of disbelief. Chances are we all have a moment or two when something the show does collides with something we know a fair amount about from our real lives (the F-22 is never a bomber! The BAe 146 is not super sonic!). To some extent, we need to let that go and just let them tell their story. Obviously some issues are easier to do that than others. But I’m more than willing to go with it in the end; I saw enough to know Chuck and Sarah will make things work because they’re in it together. I wish I knew more of the details, but I can (barely) accept that I got enough to be content.

      • duckman says:

        I kinda wonder if the supersonic BAe 146 isn’t an inside joke for the aircraft savvy portion of the audience, perhaps one of the writers is an aviation nut. West Wing did something similar with directions from an atc (Dave perhaps?) that were preposterus to an aviator but benign to a layperson.

      • atcDave says:

        The thing that just makes me wonder is if they are so often so bad on aviation matters, how often they’re bad about things I know nothing about!

        Actually I take that back, I know enough about computers and history to find myself cringing quite often!

  4. Joe

    Im highly pleased that you can see the subtle moments as positively as I did, even the the 1st time I watched which (if u read one of my posts on the Sarah thread) was live. My opinion is that Chuck and Sarah’s future is too broad to be crammed into a 10m flash-foward, which is why I’m glad we never saw it. That being said, they could’ve provided more context (for the picky fans) on Sarah’s recovery. But if I can see that their future is, safer, happy and mature, during the original broadcast having barely seen any of the other episodes (at the time) I’m led to believe that people had major trouble imagining this couple beyond what they saw on their tv.

    I change my mind CF DID finish the THIS story (a hero’s journey and the affect 2 people have on each other) he left open the future but finished THIS story, I really believed that was what Chuck was about!

  5. Angus MacNab says:

    Thanks for the memories, Chuck This! D’oh!

    The rewatch was fun, and I’ve enjoyed the opinion and analysis from both the principals and the guests. However, I still think they owe us more. MORE! @#$%&@! *sigh*

    *Straightens Chuck’s tie, and pats him on the chest*

    There. Fixed it for ya.

  6. phaseou812 says:

    First off, thanks again Joe and Dave for doing a fine job of providing summary, perspective and a fantastic overview to that “E” word . . . or the dreaded end to the series.

    So Dave to be honest, I have not been following the re-watch schedule on this site; so some of my recollection is off of memory. As I have mentioned in the past, myself and children started a re-watch sequence of our own going through all of the seasons up to 5 where we stopped . . . as season 5 had recently been completed and we were not interested in jumping right back into the heartbreak there. So we were watching 2 to 3 episodes at a time during this period . . . although I had personally re-watched different episodes in 5 multiple times. Said all that to restate again what a terrific job that you did in putting the final episode in the proper perspective . . . although I have not recently re-watched it.

    I agree whole heartily that everyone that is a fan of this show should do their very best to watch the extended versions on DVD. To know end this frustrates me how the producers, writers, network or whoever else I could blame . . . tried to cram so much into the final episode . . . I remember thinking so distinctly when watching the final episode live . . . that there is less than 5 minutes left in this shows life and I don’t see an ending. Where that frustrates me the most when I recall Season 5 as a whole . . . is that there were a couple of episodes in this series that provided limited value to the overall arc of the final season; in which much more valuable time could have been spent on the shows ending.

    I do agree with your sentiments regarding the helicopter scene . . . I did laugh somewhat as well . . . but based on the overall setting of the final episodes, and the very limited time they gave to providing closure to the series . . . it was out of sorts. Not that you do not expect some of that type of humor in a Chuck episode . . . but only if you are getting to watch the next episode the following week. For me just more time not well spent on closing the final chapter.

    Great job of walking through the beach scene and putting it in place the various call backs of the show that helped you get to the conclusion that you did. I guess, I reached the conclusion early on that it was a positive ending . . . but you should not have to work that hard in a series finale to draw those conclusions . . . I mean I don’t have to be spoon fed by the writers to reach some of my conclusions of the show . . . but at least unlock the door to the house where the “food’s at . . . and I guess from my perspective that is where I can relate to you indicating that that portion of the story “was poorly told” by the writers or a “badly flawed” conceptual ending. A disservice to the faithful viewers of the show. Almost like the writers were hoping on hope that they were getting a backorder fill for the show to continue telling the story . . . which everyone at the time had already said was not going to happen.

    I also certainly agree with the goodbye’s not being in a logical order for how the entire series had played out in the past or what you would expect of the characters of the show. They were not really bad in of themselves, but just not logical in the life of the show. As you alluded to, the Ellie departure was just wrong . . . she spent the entire series watching over her brother . . . to simply leave town for another job while her brother was in the midst of his greatest crisis of his life. For that matter, really any of the main characters to simply move on, is not plausible based on the story line that was being presented with Chuck and Sarah . . . or not consistent with their characters throughout the life of the show. You would think that would be their final mission to make sure that the Chuck & Sarah issue would be resolved before exiting. As I had mentioned in one of my post responses immediately after the final show . . . if they would have at least panned out on the final scene at the beach and you see the gang in the back watching from the parking lot . . . smiling . . . or saying something to the effect of our mission is complete . . . anything in that nature would have been more natural for the show.

    I can’t compete with your spiritual point of view regarding the choice of using “I Will Be Here” . . . but I know I have previously stated . . . my song of choice would have been Huey Lewis & the News’s . . . “Do You Believe in Love”. For me that summarized the show . . . and yes I must admit . . . maybe “girly” of me to choose that song . . . but the fun loving nature of that song combined with the shows overall light hearted good nature feel for the series would have fit nicely for me. For me that was a lot of what the show was about . . . the love of others, sacrificing for someone else’s good . . . to believe the importance in someone else’s wellbeing greater than oneself . . . well I guess with the exception of our brief Morgan excursion as the power hungry Intersect goon . . . but although for me, the love of others was always played out by the various characters in their own way . . . was always there.

    Great job Joe of walking me back through this episode from your perspective. Although I do remember the Casy perspective of regression back to his old-self . . . I don’t remember every comparing it to Sarah’s same dilemma. The ability not to remember your past . . . they were both dealing with the same issues just from different causations. And I still agree in the end they were all able to resolve their lapses in memory . . . both with the help of characters that cared the most about them to help them see the light again.

    Really like you were able to throw out there the Talking Heads “Once in a Life Time” with the lyrics “same as it ever was” . . . very fitting for the story and the episode.

    And I know it has been said on this blog site numerous times . . . as you have stated again as well . . . but this show would not be the same without Yvonne’s enchanting ability to sell scenes with her facial expressions . . . one of those things that I just loved throughout the show. Like reading a book on a face . . . she did a phenomenal job of playing the part. Well, not just her . . . as I was always impressed with most all of the actors and actresses on this show. I have always said if the producers would have been able to put more money into the show’s production efforts combined with the gifted actors that they had put in place . . . the show would have been a huge success. The continuous will there be a next year . . . and writers having to move on based on the uncertainty of the show . . . as well as some of the limited production money spent on scenes and plots really crippled the shows efforts and some of its plot lines across the series as a whole.

    On the flip side of that, I do know we were the beneficiaries of some of those great episodes in which based on the shows uncertainty produced some excellent series ending type of episodes; but I firmly believe if the original production of the show would have had the opportunity to be shown more patience with its funding and commitment level; they would have seen dividends paid out in the end. I recognize that it is always about the ratings . . . and the show did live on past what normal ratings allow . . . but some money spent in the series or an honest effort to make it more of a Hollywood production . . . in comparison to the approach of we are going to spend as little as possible to retain the viewers that are already watching . . . would have went a long way to bringing more viewers on board. There has been seriously more money spent on bad TV series that seem to keep on rolling in comparison to the quality acting that occurred for the most of this series.

    Well I am sure I got off point quite a few times to the purposes of this blog . . . which is the ending . . . but really enjoyed reading you guys thoughts on the matter.

    • atcDave says:

      Phaseou thanks for your thoughtful comments and kind words. Sounds like we’re in about the same place on a lot of that. I sure wouldn’t have objected to Huey Lewis! And I like your idea for the whole gang watching on at the end. And maybe a final beach BBQ as the screen goes black…

  7. I would just like to take the opportunity to endorse all the grateful comments above to Dave & Joe for their marathon efforts on this re-watch and to Ernie,Thinkling,Faith et al on this site for not only the pleasure and joy given to me over the years,but also the inspiration to cause me to take a chance in life and realise the dream.

  8. oldresorter says:

    As for how can anyone call the ending ambiguous, I think Schwartz and Fedak did (didn’t Fedak even say the two of them disagreed on how the ending should be interpretted?), so how can we not?

    I was still so displeased with the amnesia arc idea as the credits rolled, that the ending left me cold, much like I read the actors were on that beach, due to weather conditions. My first reaction was I glanced at the clock, hoping that a few minutes remained so the writers could give Chuck and Sarah a happy ending. Then it was over. I was sad, much like the song playing in the background. Much like Sarah’s line foreshadowed, I believed the ending, I just didn’t feel it.

    I didn’t feel that last scene was either of the actors best moment either – I blame the cold or maybe that the real life actress couldn’t quit crying. Who could blame her, given what was done to her character?

    You’d think the writers would have learned from s3, a sad comedy doesn’t work. One example the helicopter scene. With the writers having raped Sarah of her memory, Chuck being an idiot isn’t funny. Jeffster being idiots isn’t funny either. Matter of fact, nothing is funny in those last two eps.

    Then maybe the most stupifying line in the show and that’s saying something came out of Chuck’s mouth near the end, can’t recall the exact words, but chuck said to morgan something like – I used to be in love. How can anyone justify that line?

    Finally, the C scene on the beach put the the F amnesia idea out of its misery, aftter a pair of F episodes thankfully came to a close, not exactly how I hoped the show would end. Maybe heartbreaking is the correct word, even though I honestly think the writers tried to tell us that everything was OK at the end with all kinds of clues along the way that Sarah was starting to recall a few things and that maybe even a kiss would work. And, the last words of the show were Kiss me (I think), as the last two words of the Other Guy were. So, one might conclude that the show ended in the same spot as the Other Guy did. Sure, I believe them, I simply did not feel it.

    • revdr says:

      Well. unfortunately. we have not real choice but to believe them; however, I went back and tried to listen to, and read, as many post interviews between JS and CF as I could find, and the gist of most of them was that in the end, they embraced the ambiguity. To CF, the fairy tale ending for him always was the ingenious (?) theory that falling in love all over again was actually a good thing. I can’t and won’t ever accept that as good storytelling. I accept the ending as hopeful, as it was meant to be; but I will always count it as an unfinished ending. Maybe the writer just ran out of ink……

      • REV

        I hate to burst your bubble but the last scene IS great story telling, you just (and I totally see why) cant except it. The relationship was NEVER about the endgame. it was about how Chuck and Sarah changed and affected each others lives. I said it yesterday but I am happy there was no epilogue, because nothing would meet my expectations and their future is too broad to cram into such a thing. The Chuck and Sarah on the beach are the real Charah, which is why I now say CF DID finish THIS story, one that I choose to imagine a future for myself!

      • revdr says:

        Josh my friend; I guess that we will just agree to disagree. I’ve read and collected comics for over 50 years (1st gen Marvel) and even with them every arc has a clear ending, with a lead into the next. Goodbye doesn’t have this. Good storytelling (at least to me) clearly give me an ending. I agree that the relationship wasn’t the end game, and that’s the point. The relationship was the heart of the show, and while that provided a very hopeful ending, they decided that being ambiguous was a bold story choice. I appreciate their gumption, but no real ending is just that…no real ending. I never needed everything tied up in a neat bow, but some of us we craved just a little more, just for the sake of closure. Like I’ve said before, every journey has a starting point and an ending point; you have to finish one before embarking on another. This wasn’t an ending, it was just another beginning. And that’s ok, it just isn’t good storytelling to me.

      • atcDave says:

        I actually mostly agree Rev. I think it was lousy story telling for exactly the reasons you mention. And there’s no doubt I have completely different standards for a “good” ending than CF seems to. The only difference I see is that I don’t believe there’s any ambiguity in the “happily ever after” sense; I confine the ambiguity to specific details like when, and to what extent Sarah’s memories returned.

        I said back right after this ran; the minimum passing grade was Chuck and Sarah together and happy about it. So this ending was not an “F”. But it just barely met my requirements. So maybe a “D-“!

      • revdr says:

        Dave, I actually give it a slightly higher grade, just based on Zac and Yvonne’s performances alone. The story itself. not so much. The beach scene is the only part of the show that I grade above a C-, and that’s primarily because of the hope that it provided. The only drawback for me was always the open ended manner it which it was presented. I’ve said it before; to me, they once again decided to once again stamp a finale with a “to be continued” signature at the end.

      • atcDave says:

        I meant just purely as a finale. I actually grade the episode in general, the beach scene in particular, a bit higher than that. Really, I like the beach scene quite a bit now. Just like some of those fan fiction stories that were never finished…

      • revdr says:

        But Dave, that’s the point; they were never finished…..

      • atcDave says:

        Yes, I’m agreeing with you. That’s why its only a D- as a finale!

    • Angus MacNab says:

      “I didn’t feel that last scene was either of the actors best moment either – I blame the cold or maybe that the real life actress couldn’t quit crying. Who could blame her, given what was done to her character?”

      THIS

      I know many point to the part where Zac and Yvonne were yucking it up (notice what I did there?) when Chuck was telling Sarah their story. However, I thought there was a major disconnect between that and everything else we saw in that scene. As I’ve said before, if I was in Fedak’s shoes and had seen that in the editing room I would have made them re-shoot it. The whole enchilada.

      • BigKev67 says:

        The whole thing was rushed. We’d had 2 whole episodes showing us just how far back Sarah had reverted after being wiped, just how damaged she was…. albeit with little signs of memories returning and reconnecting. Then they got to the beach and suddenly Sarah is laughing and crying and “back”? It was way too sudden – at least for me. Finding out that scene was actually Zac and Yvonne reminiscing didn’t help either – it just confirmed the fact that the scene wasn’t organic to the story.

      • Disconnect!?!? if you haven’t I suggest you visit the 5-12 post and read the comment where I break down the “Dream House” scene, from Sarah’s POV! I realized what that was about and spelled it out thoroughly, it should enlighten you a lot as to its true meaning:)

      • Angus MacNab says:

        I’m not speaking to what happened in their dream home, Josh, I’m only referring to the scene on the beach. What we saw in that scene, the laughter and reverie between them while he told the story, seemed overdone to me – and as BigKev and I were pointing out, we now know why. That wasn’t quite Chuck and Sarah being shown to us there, it was Zac and Yvonne.

        You’re analysis of what happened in their home is interesting, and I agree with some of it, but definitely not all. In many ways I saw something different, and in many ways that is both a strength, and an Achilles’ heel of the media and the way the story was presented.

      • atcDave says:

        I sort of think its the whole rest of the episode that needed to be redone. I needed more evidence along the way that Sarah was gradually falling for/reconnecting with her husband. I thought the beach scene adequately showed want what I wanted to see (although just barely, it too needed more!); but CF was pretty miserly with the story, he was determined to keep things uncertain for too long. I needed to see more clear progress, not the sudden “its all better now” that I felt was delivered.

      • uplink2 says:

        Ding Ding Ding Dave. That’s exactly what it needed. We needed to see that Sarah remembered BEING in love with Chuck, not falling in love with Chuck and simply remembering meaningless things with no context. That is what is so blatantly missing for me. But again just like in season 3 where they couldn’t have Chuck and Sarah actually have a 15 minute talk with each other at the fountain like they had so many times before because it wouldn’t allow for their almighty OLI storyline and the forced final ending in 3.13,, here if they showed that reconnection it would temper their view of the epic beach scene. The entire story was to delay any real reconnection till they were sitting on that beach in the final moments of the series. And as others pointed out the fact that it wasn’t scripted Chuck and Sarah but Zac and Yvonne actually reminiscing doesn’t help and it makes the fact of the forced ending seem less “organic” as Kev stated. It simply wasn’t enough payoff for all the misery that came before. Again something they had a habit of doing.

    • Angus MacNab says:

      In addition, I also seem to remember an interview where all the guys were carrying on about how dramatically riveting the finale was and Yvonne’s paraphrased reaction was, in a nutshell:

      “Wait a minute! Look what happened to Sarah! Are you guys NUTS?”

      She knew it was a tragedy for her character into which she’d poured five years of her own life in a very gifted and dedicated way.

      • Angus MacNab says:

        Insert ‘romantic and’ between ‘how’ and ‘dramatic’ above. Gah! Need. Edit. Function.

      • Do you really think anybody puts that much effort into a performance if their upset with that upset with where their character is going? People I think it would’ve been the opposite.

      • revdr says:

        Yvonne was clearly torn as to the way her story ended. She was very guarded in interviews before and after the fact.

      • Angus MacNab says:

        Yes, Josh. Yvonne put forth a wonderful performance, because she’s a consummate professional. There is ample evidence, however shown in multiple interviews with her, to suggest thats she wasn’t particularly happy with what happened to her character at the end.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I think its fair to say Yvonne was ambivalent at best about this end. I wish very much she’d had the influence to get a more complete and satisfying ending for her character.

      • uplink2 says:

        Josh, I ABSOLUTELY believe that an actor can put that much of themselves into a performance of a story they were clearly not happy with. The reason? She is a total professional and was doing her job to the best of her ability. It’s ironic when this show made such a travesty of that statement back in season 3 that Yvonne demonstrated exactly what that statement truly means. I know we have had this debate on this site a number of times but it is absolutely clear to me Yvonne was not at all happy with what they did to the character she had lived with, grew with, loved and bonded with for 5 years. She never came out and said it directly but certainly has hinted at it as much has any actor who wants to continue working can.

      • revdr says:

        Absolutely, uplink. Even Zac has said that he understands those of us who were less that enthused with the finale because he himself was torn. And realistically, you never want to bite the hand that feeds you.

      • duckman says:

        I saw an interview with yvonne after Dexter where she referred to Dexter as being well written in a way I took to hint that Chuck might not have been…so much. Was probably mostly my imagination but I did feel just a little vindicated.

      • While there’s hard evidence to support that she’s right! “Ahem, S3 anyone”!?

      • mr2686 says:

        I think you’re reading in more to it than there really is. Let’s face it, Dexter’s finale, from what I can tell, was hated by more of it’s fans than Chuck’s Finale, and I wouldn’t say that Dexter was always well written. It’s the fact of TV…you get some great episodes, some good ones, and some real duds, and the same writers can write all three.

      • oldresorter says:

        Mr – we don’t always agree, but I found myself reflecting on how true that is for me. Once i get thru a fav show twice, I’m pretty well done with it (Everwood, West Wing and Alias come to mind). Most of s4, I saw 3 or 4 times, select eps from s1 thru s3, I’ve seen 8 or 9 times. But I think once I get thru a series twice, I’m left with a group of eps I want to see more of, but my tolerance for rewatching the entire series goes way down. Chuck is no different. For me, the final arc is not a must rewatch (I might never watch it again), but I can easily find 10 to 20 eps I’d enjoy watching right now, and 3 or 4 (or 6 or 7) I could probably watch once a month. The one exception is Castle, I don’t have many fav Castle eps, but I could watch almost any Castle ep right now, and be thoroughly happy. My complain about the final, I so wanted the final arc to be epic for me. At the end of the day, it wasn;t. No big deal, that’s the way it goes. It won’t change, I’ve tried.

      • revdr says:

        It’s not always a matter of being right. It’s about perspective; it is commonly stated about actors, especially in a series, that they are the keepers of their characters. If an actor is in a long running series like Chuck, they obvious care about the role that they are playing. If they don’t feel comfortable with the direction that their character is going or the words that are coming out of their mouth, many of them are fairly vocal. I often times see interviews with actors saying that if they don’t like, or don’t agree with what to writers are doing to, or with their character, they’ll say “(?) wouldn’t do that” or, “I don’t feel uncomfortable saying that”. Some of them have direct input into what their character says and does…some don’t. Some have said publically that the writers/producers damaged the character with the direction that they decided to take that particular role. But, they are professionals, and as such, they are paid to do what they are paid to do. That doesn’t mean however, that they are always happy with the material that they are given. What’s right to them may not always be apparent to us. Especially when we are on the outside looking in. Writers and showrunners are not above making mistakes in judgment. Just because they think something is a great idea doesn’t necessarily make it so (HIMYM anyone?).

      • Agree with every bit of that!:) the least they could’ve done for Yvonne was especially if they insisted on sticking with that plot, was make the recovery faster, more detailed and more broad. Contrary to what people may think from a even I have a pretty large issue with how they treated Sarah! Here’s hoping she gets more input if there’s a movie/reboot, I have to believe they’d round her out nicely if there’s such a continuation because as the old saying goes: “Fool me once, shame on you (S3), Fool me twice (finale), shame on you, Fool me three times, your nuts!

      • atcDave says:

        MR we do agree completely about that! And Old Resorter too. The really good episodes of Chuck are simply the most enjoyable I’ve ever seen. The show had a few duds, but I remain overall pleased. Interesting take on Castle, I think I agree. There’s not many episodes or moments I feel like I “have to” relive. But I do always enjoy when I watch a repeat.

        rev there are certainly a few times when I WISH Zac or Yvonne had said something about a scene. But ultimately we don’t really know how big any of their objections ever were. They were both too professional to air dirty laundry. We do know Yvonne had reservations, concerns about the finale arc and it clearly wasn’t how she wanted/expected things to end (her interviews at Comic-Con the year before are telling!). But our best information is that she ultimately bought into it. Although it was interesting that post series she was immediately understanding of fans who had problems.

      • revdr says:

        What I liked about what they did with Fringe in the final season was that they informed the cast about the plot and planned ending for the last 13 episodes; well before they started filming and solicited their input and ideas. Josh Jackson said at comic con that he had major input in the Peter being wiped from existence story line that ran in season 4. That tells you that some showrunners actually trust their cast and are willing to except their thoughts specific to their characters.

  9. Dave

    :In regards to Elle I take the same position you took when she asked Chuck to quit spying.; He’s all grown up, speaking from experience family can’t always be their in times of an emotional crisis and her plans to move were already in motion. With rivers and roads I feel the melody fits perfectly but I’ve already said my alternate would’ve been Fix You by Coldplay.

    Yvonne gives performances that rival Hollywood’s most legendary actresses and Zac really worked well with her..here’s hoping they reunite and some point Chuck or otherwise, they’ve got a genuine friendship and it shows on screen!

    Thanks for all you guys have done on this blog btw!:)

    • atcDave says:

      I think the real issue with Ellie is Sarah. To me, the whole scene would been infinitely more satisfying if her farewell had come after Chuck and Sarah returned from the beach together. If this scene had played more like Honeymooners it pretty much would have fixed every complaint I ever had with the end.

  10. C says:

    Dear absolutely everybody that has ever contributed or commented on this re-watch/blog. Thank you.

    I am, I admit, a lurker… and I have been happily lurking… and reading and loving your commentary for a good couple months now.

    I tend to not involve myself too heavily in any ‘fandom’ (bar 1 and that was equally as unexpected as this), so I don’t know how it happened that I am now posting on this board. But here I am.

    I remember the first time I watched the Chuck finale quite well… I think my exact reaction was… “Are you *insert colorful language here* kidding me… I can’t *insert colorful language here* believe it” and then I may or may not have stormed off. Now 2 years later… and with lots of time and copious amounts of therapy, I think I’ve dealt. In fact, I know I have.

    Let me preface all of this by saying that I fell in love with ‘Chuck’ only marginally before Sarah did. This show had me at ‘Vicky Vale’. I’m a giant nerd and I’m proud of it… and Chuck pushed every nerdy button I could hope for. It was funny, it was silly, it was smart, it was sweet, it was charming, it was bursting with pop culture references, oh and it had bar none the very best love story / couple I have witnessed on television (and nobody can tell me otherwise… I’ll take it badly). But after I watched ‘vs. the Goodbye’ I was unimpressed. – I couldn’t comprehend how you could take away 5 years of character development, strip something away so beautiful right to its core and then just leave it sitting there… on the beach. They (TPTB) were figuratively the devil to me at that point.

    Anyway, in about November last year… (I say about, as if I have any doubt) I was suddenly missing Chuck in my life and thought I may finally be ready to watch an episode or two again… two turned into the entire series, as it does, it was that magical/wonderful (I even roared through the somewhat hideous ‘misery’ arc – although I now swear I will never watch ‘The Mask’ again)… but as I approached season 5 (and the further I proceeded through it) I was filled with this dire sense of dread and foreboding… there was a pit in my soul that I simply did not like and it got worse with every episode. Enter Bullet Train (the other episode that I may never watch again… which is a shame because there is some truly beautiful stuff in there) and then the final two. I worked up my courage and watched goodbye… and I felt much the same way as I did the first time around but maybe with all that time/space and therapy I could sort of maybe get on sides with it. Maybe. Not really.

    Of course, what do you do when you have finished Chuck?
    Well, you start again… immediately, of course. Somewhere in the middle of this I stumbled upon this blog (and others), found out about that damn extended cut (what were they thinking ever releasing the original version? Are they insane?) and discovered a whole lot of perspective.

    I’m not sure when it happened. Because when I was swinging my way through that 2nd re-watch earlier this year I was still filled with awful dread and foreboding at the imminent end… – but at some point thereafter, I suddenly found a real warmth and affection for this damn episode. It just happened… like a shoe dropped and I finally saw what the writers were trying to do… albeit a little too subtly for my tastes (and clearly most of yours as well). I pushed my way through that episode about 5 times using sheer willpower and a strong hope to see something that I couldn’t quite put my finger on before… but now… now it’s in my top 5. Easily. In fact its one of my go to’s when I feel like watching a bit of Chuck.

    Just a quick segue on how I see a couple things. Thanks to the extended cut we have a little more context that included Ellie’s involvement – otherwise she was far too uninvolved in the process. I have a little theory that Ellie leaving is the pre-cursor to Sarah coming home… in the American Hero/Other Guy/Honeymooners arc Ellie was leaving on her Africa trip, and she was very much leaving Chuck while he was fighting for Sarah, (she only found out that Sarah was back in the picture at the end of Honeymooners… as she was walking out the door). So for me it nearly works that Ellie would be making this move…. Nearly. (I also am probably just looking for the things I want to see, I freely acknowledge this).

    I’m also fairly certain that Sarah was waiting for Chuck at the beach. Maybe she didn’t know she was waiting for him until he arrived but she wasn’t surprised to see him and maybe I am being far too interpretive but I’m sure I can sense the beginnings of a smile there when she sees him. Just the tiniest hint. (Maybe I’m just being hopeful… and maybe i say maybe too much) but all that aside, that scene… and I watched the episode again recently (quite happily now), that scene leaves me with a giant smile on my face… and an ‘awwwwww’ in my stomach. Somehow it has gotten to that point… from hate to love, a complete 180. I almost can’t believe it myself.
    Is it the epitome of bitter sweet? Sure… but is there hope and love and joy? You bet. At least there is for me.

    That was Sarah on the beach, our Sarah, Chucks Sarah, the one we got to know and love. Watching her laugh and cry, suddenly in touch with her emotions (and after not seeing them for 2 solid hours, what a relief that was) has become truly rewarding for me. That beautiful scene makes me happy… and it breaks my heart (in good ways) all at the same time.

    I have to mention as well, that the fact that Sarah asks for that kiss… is of course telling on just about every level, far too many to mention and I’ve kept you all long enough already – but for me, the most pivotal reason why it is important is that she knew what it would mean to Chuck… and Sarah doesn’t hurt Chuck, she protects him. She wouldn’t have asked for it if she didn’t ‘feel’ it. That kiss may not have magic-ed back her memories… but it was a damn good place to start.

    That’s it; I’ve said my piece.
    All that lurking clearly made it quite a long ‘piece’ – I apologise. If you have managed to get through it all… awesome and thank you and I promise I won’t do this again. But while I still have your attention I just want to re-express my opening thoughts… to absolutely everybody that has ever contributed or commented on this re-watch/blog. Thank you. You have helped my heart.

    C

    • atcDave says:

      Thanks for “decloaking”! I enjoyed your long piece.

      My own journey on the finale is similar, although less extreme. I went from really being unhappy the night it ran, to being mostly at peace with it. It may not ever be a favorite of mine, but I really like the beach scene now. Just wish we’d seen them come home after…

  11. Wilf says:

    I just want to thank all of you guys for keeping the discussion about this truly fantastic and, to my mind, unique show alive two years after the finale. I haven’t done much in the way of posting, but I have read avidly everything (well, almost everything) that has been said about Chuck and its actors and writers on this blog and it has been an absolutely fantastic journey. The way people have analysed and re-analysed, argued and discussed so many scenes in order to try to make sense of the often ambiguous messages they seemed to send, has been a real eye opener for me as I have never taken an interest in exploring any television show before (or since). You all helped me and others to come to terms with the loss of Chuck when it ended and, worse, the feelings of loss at what seemed to be an ending leaving us in a kind of deeply unsatisfactory and hurtful limbo. If there are more discussions to be had after the next few season-based ones, I’ll be here. Thank you all so very much.

  12. To Dave, Joe and everyone who helps run this blog and reads and comments,

    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping this platform alive for us to read, share, discuss, and debate with each other on this amazing show. When i found the site I was looking for a place to read ANYTHING about the ending as it left be dazed, confused, and angry about the ambiguous ending, sure I knew it was a hopeful ending with Sarah asking for the kiss, something The Enforcer would never ask for, but I need just something to make it concrete. You guys were at episode 4.23 of your re-watch, and I read the comments and found the level of analysis and fandom to be intoxicating. My fiance does not enjoy Chuck as much as I do, and my friends did not find it as appealing as I did, so you all have become my go to for Chuck. So I again I would like to thank anyone who has commented or kept the activity of this site alive. I also would like to thank you all for opening me up to the world of Fan Fiction a la the Chuckiverse! It has certainly helped ease my brain and provide it with some wonderful futures that have been thought up by some people (and some of those wonderful people post here!) and the creativity is astounding.

    I lost touch with Chuck after season 1 premiered during my Senior year of High School, and through college and grad school I lost it. But when I saw it on Netflix when it released on it, and I watched the pilot and immediately remembered why I loved the show. The Sarah and Chuck dynamic is so compelling, dynamic and the love they eventually share is heartwarming. The pop culture references and the inner nerd in me loved it all. I always found it interesting that the Nerd could get the mysterious and alluring super spy to settle down and enjoy life. I found this to be the most compelling part of it all.

    Now on to my feelings about the ending now:

    As many have said, this episode is all over the place. In the beginning we see S3 Chuck just no beard, and tub of cheese balls. Has all of his development from then on been for nothing? He stared down the CIA, parachuted in (with no intersect!) with Volkoff special forces and saved his wife’s life. Now I will say I can not know what it is like to be in his situation, but certainly the Chuck we know would not give up, even if it was just to build him back up for the episode it was not a good move. I had fully-expected the episode to be be more about the sub-conscious return of her memories (a la the way the episode had the Weinerlicious cups, dancing, el companeros) so that was not a surprise to me that it factored into the episode. However the helicopter scene did nothing for me, and ultimately served no purpose other than to set up the “I dont shoot people, its one of the reasons why you loved me” exchange. Now the beach scene for me, a very emotionally charged scene as everything was leading up to that. To get an ending where we get the montage of Sarah and Chuck together going through “their story” was fun, and then to see Sarah open up, the line I was hoping for was We will get there eventually together (Similar to the lines she said during the Door frame scene where they carved their names), but all we get is a hopeful cliffhanger. Rivers and Roads though melancholy, is a song a about hope and patience so ultimately it is a positive ending, not the ideal one however.

    Again fellow Chuck fans, thank you and continue to lurk, post, comment, and keep this site alive!

    -Daniel

    • atcDave says:

      I think a lot of us share that experience of having family and friends who like the show, but aren’t quite enthused to the point they want to discuss it the way we do! That may be the real genesis behind this blog.

      We’re glad you found us Daniel, and thanks for participating in the discussion.

  13. just for clarification the line was “what about Sarah Chuck? “you know I fell in love with an amazing woman and she fell in love with me and that is more than most people ever get” I don’t think anything was meant other than to state a fact, which that certainly was.

    • revdr says:

      Right, but Chuck needed to convince himself that if he did it once, he could do it again. That was CF’s central theme; that they get to fall in love all over again. We always got the analogy, The only thing was, why go that way? You said earlier that there had to be a Sarah tragedy, well there absolutely was. But the whole missing memory loss idea was a bad one. It would have been more acceptable to me if they had used that plot device at the end of Phase 3. They had a built in excuse, since Chuck mind was being deliberately wiped. And the whole everyone downloading the intersect had been done to death. It just never made any sense to me that, knowing that they HAD to end the show at 5:13 that the didn’t make better use of the episodes that they had. If it was going to be done then it should have been done much earlier in the season, if for nothing more than to show more progress with the restoration of Sarah’s memories. The last 2 episodes (1 actually) was just not enough time.

      • atcDave says:

        I never get why anything, tragedy or otherwise would “have to be”. Its fiction, it can be told anyway we can imagine. And I think ending with such a Sarah specific tragedy is just rude.
        But yeah rev I agree entirely it all would have played far better for me if we’d had this arc earlier in the season, or at least a good solid epilogue episode.

  14. uplink2 says:

    First of all I want to thank everyone involved with this site for your efforts at keeping this fandom alive and vibrant. I have learned much from all of you even if I see things in a completely different manner that some. But the one thing I’ve learned is you don’t have to love and appreciate everything they did to love this very special show. In fact there are things I absolutely hated with a passion but yet I still love this show unlike any I have ever known. It’s an old adage that the opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference and that I think is clearly shown by many members of this fanbase. If I didn’t love this show with such a passion, I would have simply moved on quite a long time ago. That passion was enough, though just barely, to get me to watch Beard when a very big part of me wanted to leave this show forever after feeling completely betrayed by TPTB when Fake Name aired. And it will be hopefully some day to let me come to terms with the incomplete ending and unfinished story.
    But now onto Goodbye. First I’m gonna say that this is only my opinion. I won’t say that anyone’s view of it is “wrong” or that something is or isn’t “great storytelling” beyond just my view of it. I am fully in the camp that these were great episodes but a terrible finale. I absolutely believe that for me the last chapter of a 92 chapter book was torn out and I never got to read it. All for the sake of having an “artistic” and “epic” ending they did not service a large part of their viewers. I also kept looking at the clock as Goodbye aired as time was running out and there was no redemption for our favorite couple. The “central relationship” was left incomplete for me.
    The helicopter scene was a ridiculous throwback to clueless Chuck of season 1 but Chuck, who hadn’t had his character destroyed in this story, wasn’t season 1 Chuck anymore. He was great spy and making him look like a fool only was done to extend the angst till we got to the beach, the almighty beach, the be all end all of this story choice. No resolution and no memory of context could be allowed to be shown till we got to the beach. That to me is one of the major flaws in this story. The memories that Sarah has come back are simply things with no context and absolutely no connection to Chuck and how she felt about him. I do believe that Sarah wanted to feel things again for Chuck but in that scene on the beach what I see is maybe a woman who is falling in love with Chuck again but not at all a woman who “remembers” being in love with Chuck. And those are massively different things. There are new feelings developing but the old feelings and connections are not shown as returning to me at least.
    I also found that final scene with Morgan to be a bit insulting with Chuck’s comment that “I was in love then”. How absurd is that statement? They spend much of the final episodes showing us how much he loved her and how horrific this event was but as soon as the major arc has finished Chuck thinks he is no longer in love with her? Damn Chuck no wonder you let her walk away twice when she needed you most.
    The Ellie leaving her brother and sister in law when they needed her expertise most was also a major disservice to the Ellie Bartowski we had grown to know and love. What happened to the woman who would do anything for family? Why would she even consider leaving her family who was devastated and destroyed by the world that had destroyed it so many times in the past? Money? Because they were being wooed? In the final episode for the fist time in the series Ellie B chose to be selfish instead of selfless and that really really bothered me.
    Now we come to Rivers and Roads. I will never understand why some see that song as perfect for that scene. It is not an uplifting and joyful song at all to me. It’s a song about struggle and loss with a very real possibility of no redemption. I find no joy in it whatsoever. But it does fit into the “ambiguous ending” that Schwedak were clearly embracing, well until they realized many were unhappy that their story fell flat. They hadn’t given the positive impression and so they ran around to every single person who wanted an interview to tell them it wasn’t really ambiguous as far as Chuck and Sarah being happy. I would have respected them more if they kept to their guns like the Lost writers did.
    But finally I have an answer to an important question that Fedak asked at the end of the series, “What is better than falling in love again?” I’ll tell you what is better Chris, BEING in love is better than falling in love. Having all of your memories that make that love so important and unique and yes epic, become such a part of you that you can’t see yourself without those memories and that person in your life. At the end of this series, Chuck and Sarah didn’t have that. They were on the road to possible recovery but they were far from whole. And because of that I never got the chance to say goodbye to them and feel happy for where they were and where they were headed. I have to think they are happy because I WANT them to be happy and whole, not because I KNOW they are. Chuck and Sarah gained some things by this ending but it will never replace what they lost for certain. That to me is a travesty and it is one of the reasons I fully understand those that can never rewatch this show again. The ending for many made it all meaningless.

    • atcDave says:

      A lot of really good stuff there Uplink. I agree with a lot of it. I mentioned back in the S3 Alternatives posts that what I loved most about the show was the idea of the main characters (ordinary nerd; slacker, underachiever, but decent and heroic when pushed. And cool/tough super spy who proved to have a huge heart when needed) and performances. Throw in a wonderful blend of action/adventure/humor and its a nearly irresistible show to me. But some specific stories and episodes were less than ideal. The misery arc was the only time I found myself actually disliking the show.
      The helicopter scene was poorly conceived. It did make me laugh on first viewing. But it breaks the flow of Sarah falling for Chuck again to make him look like an idiot when she needs him on a mission. Just a bad place for dumb joke.
      Really dumb thing about the Ellie leaving story, she’s a Neurological Specialist! Shouldn’t be there for her sister-in-law! Oi. Terrible timing. Have that goodbye scene with Chuck and Sarah both moving on with life together and it seems infinitely better.
      I think I do see the end a little more optimistically than you seem to, but we’re in a similar place about what was right/wrong with it.
      But I agree 1000% about the final take away. CF and I just have a completely different philosophy/world view about such things. But “being in love” strikes me as a much higher state than “falling in love”. That alone may explain much of my disconnect from this writer.

    • revdr says:

      Uplink; I tend to fall into your way of thinking on most the points that you make. Like Dave said, placing Sarah in peril again, after doing so the in the prior season finale was indeed, just plain rude. They essentially tore her down to once again show that the show was called Chuck, and she was just a part of his hero’s journey, regardless of the fact that Sarah had become most of the fan’s favorite character. At least this time she was more prominently featured, as opposed to Cliffhanger to preceding year. And us having to imagine a happily ever after is certainly not a love letter to the fans. I only said that “Rivers and Roads” was fitting because thematically is spoke to what we actually saw on that beach; that Chuck was willing to do everything necessary to win Sarah back. I don’t buy everything is ok after the kiss; I do feel that everything WILL be ok, but not right away. I don’t think that the ending is meaningless, because to me, it wasn’t really an ending, but a new beginning. But that’s to main issue for me, it wasn’t a proper ending.

    • uplink2 says:

      Though I did begin a rewatch after almost a year, I had to force myself to do it. I literally told myself “you are going to watch one of the show’s shining moments and try to remember what you loved about how this show made you feel before they stripped all of it away, The memory of the almost five year growth of Sarah deserves this from you.” So I “forced” myself to watch Colonel and then a few weeks later I joined in on the anniversary rewatch of Push Mix, in my mind the best “finale” of any of the “almost” finales. I then picked up with the rewatch here and began my own from the beginning.
      But I will never ever condemn anyone who feels that this finale damaged much of what came before and simply do not choose to ever retake their journey. That is their right and I don’t blame them for it one bit. It’s how TPTB story choice and execution affected them. I fully understand their POV as I was right there for almost a year following the airing.

      • authorguy says:

        I haven’t yet watched my S5 DVDs, and i probably won’t until I have to for my stories (the only reason I’m rewatching S4 now). I’m only hoping that when I get to the end, all these comments about the ending will change my perception of it into something happier.

    • Angus MacNab says:

      Well, I really can’t add a whole lot to that, uplink. You hit on every major thing that bothers me, too. But like you I love this show so much the good outweighed the bad by a very wide margin. You and I have mostly small differences of opinion about the characters and story… and maybe one or two big ones. It’s to be expected. Season three, for instance, wasn’t quite so bad for me. I’m probably more closely aligned with atcDave on that. Having said that, my passion for Chuck is like nothing I’ve ever experienced for something on TV. It’s obsessive, lol.

      I tried to say so in my first comment in response to this post, however, I must strongly reiterate again how much I appreciate all that the principals have done here on Chuck This, and for allowing us to share our passion for Chuck with them, all of them.

      Thanks to all of you.

      • atcDave says:

        We are very happy that so many have appreciated our efforts. But you know, we did it for our love of the subject. I think this would have happened even if it was just for us. But so many other fans participating and keeping the excitement up just made it all a ton of fun.

  15. It’s been a fascinating read.

    Kudos to those for sharing your thoughts.

  16. I think my comments may disrupt the flow a little, but this’s the first chance I’ve had to post today. This’s going to be shorter than I’d originally thought, but that’s because Dave and Joe already hit on what I’d wanted to cover. Also, I want to apologize ahead of time if I repeat anybody.

    Of all episodes, this is the one I’ve spent the most time thinking about, and I only watch the extended cut. When I first saw the beach scene, I was looking at it more or less literally (i.e., “Where’s Sarah going to go? All of her stuff’s at the apartment.”). Then I read the analysis posted on this sight at the time, and took to rewatching with those comments in mind. From that point on, I was able to see the happy in the ending.

    Even with that, though, for me the best thing about 5.13 was the performances.

    Without re-analyzing the whole episode, I’d just like to comment on the beach scene. I think much too much was made of the “magic memory kiss.” Recall the scene in, I think “vs. the Frosted Tips.” Ellie had told Sarah about having amnesia patients respond to stories about their past lives. “It doesn’t restore them to normal, but it helps them cut through the fog. In this case, the Intersect.” That’s what we’re seeing. And I think you mentioned that, Dave. Sarah’s not all the way back, but she is getting an idea of what was lost.

    Then, when we get to “Kiss me,”, it’s not about Sarah getting her memory back, It never really was. It really is just Sarah wanting to be kissed. Is she ready to be Sarah Bartowski again? Maybe not. But I’d argue that she certainly is willing to jump back in.

    Also, for those of you who commented on the fact that the story was just Zac and Yvonne reminiscing, I have to agree. Knowing that does take me out of the story. Still, when I did watch this episode (and I haven’t recently), I did try to ignore that fact, and chose to look at it as Chuck&Sarah’s story,

    As Lou said, this has been a fascinating, and educational, read. I look forward to the S5 Alt and season recap posts.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree with most of that Jeffrey. Although I would mention that how Zac and Yvonne played the beach scene is something we’re maybe making too much of. Actors will often draw on something, some memory or moment from their lives to motivate or inform a performance. I think that’s really what was going on here. Zac and Yvonne found a way to do a scene together that hit the right emotional tone. Perhaps it was a mistake for them share what they did, it sort of breaks our belief in the scene when we know what was going on behind the scenes!
      But I am sure, they took those moments that hit the exact mood they wanted. Even re-shooting the scene would likely come out mostly the same. I think only changing something objective about what was shown (adding dialogue) would have really changed the interpretation for most of us.

      • Yeah obviously they drew on something special enough to tap into those emotions and translate them outward as Chuck and Sarah. I’d make the counter argument that Charah’s story is very emotionally charged, think of, tooth or that heartfelt question & answer in Other guy or phase 3 or honeymooners, or the valentines day scene in masquerade, or cliffhanger, the list is endless..,I’d never found it hard (even slightly) to believe that was Chuck and Sarah reacting together to their story on the beach with plenty of smiles, laughter and tears:)

      • Sorry for the late response. Actually, I only found out that the story was Zac & Yvonnne joking around in the DVD commentary. If I remember right, there was no actual direction for that scene. They were just told to talk.Fortunately for all of us, it played out well.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I know it was discussed there. But the exact order/sequence we saw could have been pretty heavily edited. Yeah it sure played out well for me!

  17. mr2686 says:

    Well, I really wanted to write pages and pages about the final episode, but in the end I think we’ve pretty much talked it to death, and I really don’t think many people will be changing their minds anytime soon. If you loved it, you still love it, and if you hated it you still hate it. I think it’s the people in the middle that have been swayed slightly one way or the other over the course of the last couple of years.
    With that said, this one comes in at number 38 on the blog’s poll, and on my poll it comes in at…Number One. Yep, number one, and the number two on my list (which I love) Honeymooners, is a distant second. I could talk about all the things along the way that helped the viewer see how Chuck and Sarah were on their way to the life together that they wanted, or I could talk about the final scene and how hopeful it was with Sarah wanting to hear about their story and be kissed, just days/hours after not wanting to hear it, but the bottom line with this show was feelings. It was a show about Chuck’s feelings, or better yet, having too much of them. It was also about Casey and Sarah’s hiding their feelings. In the end, it was a feeling that Chuck and Sarah were ok that helped make this, too me, not only the number one episode of Chuck, but the number one finale of any show I’ve ever seen.
    One last thing. I’ve probably watched Goodbye 15 times since it aired, and there has not been a time that I have not suffered from allergy attacks during that final scene. That is one powerful, beautiful and touching scene that really stays with the viewer. I will take that any day of the week, instead of the unrealistic, tied up with a bow, finale like Burn Notice which ends on a happy note for everyone, but one which I can’t believe the two characters were really going to stay like that for very long. How is that not worse than having hope that two people were falling in love all over again? Anyway, love it or hate it, I hope people realize that after all is said and done, that this was just a TV show, albeit a awesome one. It tried to do a lot of things, sometimes too much, and that’s probably why it lost some of the audience, but also has us talking about it two plus years later.
    Hopefully a Chuck movie will help those that are upset with the ending, while not pissing off the rest of us that love the way it ended. It’s a slippery slope.

    • Finally 1 person who sees this EXACTLY like i do:) Goodbye (and the whole finale arc for that matter) is (are) the 5 best episodes (along with Phase three and Honeymooners) of Chuck ever!! In the context of their dangerous spy life and fluke relationship stemming from a fluke event, Chuck getting to woo her and Sarah getting to know him without these things hanging over them, is a VERY GOOD thing indeed!:) I do wish for Sarah’s (and Yvonne’s consideration) that they’d made her recovery faster!

      For me it goes as follows
      1. Phase three
      2.Goodbye
      3. Sarah
      4. Honeymooners
      5. Bullet Train

  18. atcDave says:

    At this point I agree entirely, it’s too late to change minds! There’s no harm in saying what you love and why. And there’s no doubt there’s some terrific scenes in this episode, the beach is really a great one. You know, if only they’d found that last bit of footage…

  19. Now that I actually have time to write, I’ll follow other commenters leads and go all out with my opinions and thanks!:)

    First things first as a relative “read but don’t comment” kind of blogger I was skeptical when entering the Chuckverse because in my experience most fan forums were chaotic and not very user (or comment) friendly. My love for this fantastic show and wanting to connect with other fans, far out weighed any doubts i had so when I saw it through google I decided to take a look (back in mid-February I believe) and I was pleased almost immediately. I noticed their was a re-watch going on and (having recently started my own) jumped right in. I had seen Chuck periodically on tv but due to various circumstances (mainly my sister) was unable to watch almost all of the original run (with the exception of the last 5 or 6 episodes) so when it hit Netflix I jumped at the chance to watch the entire series! Since that first time 5 or so months ago I’ve watched the series 12 to 14 times and it’s the best thing I’ve ever watched!

    This blog has acted as a major outlet for me, allowing me to express all the bottled up thoughts I’ve had about this truly life changing show! It’s been absolutely fantastic reading, analyzing, debating and watching all that is CHUCK! To the authors and my fellow fans I simply say thank you, thank you so much for all you’ve said and done to keep a show I never wanted canceled, alive a very real way I’m truly grateful!:)

    Dave if there is a direct link to other episode posts and reviews from this blog re watch I’d much appreciate being pointed in that direction, (I’ve been getting each one emailed to me but would love to read what I wasn’t here for, thanks:) Now on to the actual series finale episode… (in a separate post)!

    • revdr says:

      Josh; one of the wonderful things about a blog like this it that it encourages thoughtful, meaningful commentary. Dave, Joe, Thinkling and the others have always seemed to welcome anyone, and everyone into the fray, so long as our comments are respectful, both to each other, and to creative forces behind the series. While many times we wind up agreeing to disagree, for the most part we all find common ground, the biggest being that we ALL love Chuck. It’s what brought us together in the first place. No one ever has to like everything that we see, but I glean some perspective from every post. I enjoy the back and forth, and apparently, so do you, otherwise you wouldn’t keep coming back. I have enjoyed your thoughtful insight in to certain scenes and your willingness to see the other side. And while I don’t see the finale as a whole as being more that a middle of the road episode, and certainly not a fitting close to an otherwise great series, I get it that you see things in it that I obviously don’t. Essentially, if we all agreed on everything about the finale, and Chuck as a whole, we would have very little to talk about. I can’t learn anything if everyone always agrees with me……

    • atcDave says:

      It is a truism that when we all agree there isn’t nearly as much to say! Sometimes the arguments get a little silly like if we’re discussing if Honeymooners is a top three, or only a top five episode. And sometimes it gets a little heated if someone’s most loved episode is someone else’s most disliked.
      But we try to keep it all just in fun. I know patience is tested sometimes, we’ve probably all been really annoyed a time or two. But we (the principals) decided from the very start we wanted to encourage open discussion/debate, and keep the place pretty “family friendly” in mood and language. I think we’ve mostly done that. And hopefully everyone visiting has had more fun than frustration.

      Site navigation can get tricky with over 800 posts so far! There’s a few tools available. At top is the “Blog Episodes Guide”. If you click on that you will get a full listing of all 91 episodes, along with the original network description and some credits (writer(s), director). Each of those listings end with links to the articles that are most about that episode, including all the articles from this re-watch series.
      Over on the right-hand column of this page are a couple of search headers that let you look by either “Category” (includes season, fan fiction and several others) or “Archives” (for sorting by month/year).
      You can also click on any of the principal authors and pull up everything we’ve written. Unfortunately, co-written articles are credited to only the one of us who started it. So since I started all of this series posts (except the misery arc) they will all show up as credited to me, even though Joe co-wrote most of them, and Ernie and Thinkling weighed in on occasion. But its a start!
      Don’t hesitate to comment on an old post. We all get e-mailed whenever someone comments on one of our posts. And of course, it will show up under “Recent Comments” for a while.
      If you ever have an idea for a new post send us an e-mail. At least Joe checks those regularly (!). For anyone who has a fan fiction account I’m a little better about responding to PMs there (the alerts work differently, in a way that I actually notice them…) But we consider all discuss all such e-mail. No promises, but we have started many posts from reader feedback. This may become a bigger thing in June when we are officially out of scheduled posts.

      • Thanks, for re hashing all that, Dave:) I forgot a lot of it til just now! I created a fan fic account recently and bought Scrivener yesterday (special thanks to Angus Macnab for that suggestion on software) so as soon as my internship is over I plan to start writing!

  20. Matt says:

    So…my take on the series finale requires some set up. Due to a move and an unfortunate DVR incident, I missed the last 3 episodes of Chuck the first time it aired, and never really worried that much about it. Back in February, it came up on Netflix, and I thought I’d finish up the series. Watched the last 3 episodes over the course of a weekend, and after my first watch of the finale, I felt like someone I knew had died. I was alternately devastated and incandescent with rage. My least favorite plot device is the memory loss trick, all the way back to the first time an author pulled it on me (I’m talking about you Susan Cooper and the Dark is Rising sequence), because our memories inform our current selves, and without memory of our heroic (and, let’s face it, not so heroic) moments, we are less than we could be. BUT what that finale did do was: start me on an obsessive rewatch to reassure myself the kids would be all right; drive me to the internet, where I found this blog and the Chuck reddit; and induce me to read Fan Fiction, something I never thought I would do (Thinkling I am somewhat ashamed to admit you may have saved me from a legitimate post-Chuck depression). I think if it had been just wrapped up with a neat little bow, I would have moved on from Chuck in a moment, not bought the blu-ray set, and not lurked in internet forums to the point where my wife actually told me today she’s a little worried about me. That may be because I just finished my rewatch, and immediately started back up again. I will say that having rewatched the series, I did feel that the finale ended on a more hopeful note than I felt when I first watched it back in February.
    Here’s to the greatest show of the last 10 years, and especially to all of you on this blog who have kept it alive 2 years after it left the air–which says something all by itself.

    • atcDave says:

      Wow, thanks for all of that Matt! Many of us went through a similar process with the end. It certainly isn’t a story I ever would have chosen, I’ll probably never be gushing with excitement over it (!), but I think I’ve made my peace.
      No doubt Thinkling did a wonderful thing for us all!
      I know my wife has been a little worried a time or two too. But really, I can stop whenever I want…

  21. REV
    Sorry, but I think you get what I meant to say:)
    Need EDIT BUTTON

  22. k8te says:

    Just wanted to take the time to thank the folks that have kept this blog going and gave me time to catch up. I discovered Chuck last summer and became hooked like I never have before for a TV show. I was so grateful to find this blog and realize that my obsession was not something I needed to be concerned about-contrary to my family’s opinion. I loved reading about each episode and either learned something new about it or was given a different point of view to consider. The discussions are all so well thought out and can be so passionate.
    I am content with the final episode. I read ahead on the blog here ( I read the last page in books too) and knew to be afraid of the final episode. I think that by my not expecting a happy ending, I was able to watch and appreciate every little thing that made me think that all would be well with Chuck and Sarah. Just like it seems that some folks here are coming to the point of being able to make peace with the finale, I find that I feel better about it every time I watch it. Knowing to watch the extended version also made a world of difference-thanks again “Chuck This”
    Bring on the movie!

    • atcDave says:

      Its always great to hear of someone else who found us lately. Thanks for your comments. And we’re happy to tell you, you don’t have a problem at all!

  23. Matt says:

    Oh, also, one more thing: unambiguous song choice to play over final kiss: some version of Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love. I’m partial to a super chill version by Ingrid Michaelson, but there are several versions that would work well. And that speak to the inevitability of Chuck and Sarah.

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah, good choice!

    • mr2686 says:

      The funny thing to me, is that I can come up with dozens of great songs that I would have liked to had as the final song…that is, before I saw the finale. Now, I can’t imagine any other song other than Rivers and Roads. Hey, I know how some of you feel about it, and to tell you the truth it would not normally be my “type” of song, but it is hauntingly beautiful and I believe perfect, especially following the wonderful Cruel and Beautiful World. Music was as much a part of Chuck as the Buy More, and even though they got a bit too Indie for me at times, they always found something that fit the mood.

      • revdr says:

        mr, I agree. While I still think that, since they were doing call backs to the beginnings of the series that “No One’s Gonna Love You” by Band of Horses would have been appropriate, and beautiful, “Rivers and Roads” fit that final scene thematically, and now I can’t imagine any other song there either.

      • atcDave says:

        I try desperately to imagine a different song there….

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree Dave. The problem for me is that I agree with rev that it fits the scene thematically but that in and of itself is the problem. It reinforces the ambiguity and enhances the very real possibility that:

        If you don’t know what to make of this
        Then we will not relate
        So if you don’t know what to make of this
        Then we will not relate

        It reinforces the very real possibility that all of this is for naught and they will have lost everything. It does not help me feel more positively about the scene in the least and maybe that is their intent. And if that is the case then that is “the story they wanted to tell” but it isn’t the story they tried to sell in the interviews that followed.
        It’s not the first time that a song choice confuses me more than helps me see things more clearly. No one is gonna love you is another example as I’m still confused who that song is really about. Chuck or Bryce. I’ve looked at it both ways at different times.

        But still Rivers and Roads for me is not at all a positive or uplifting song. It’s melancholy with a real chance for loss of everything and that isn’t how I wanted to walk away from this show.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah ditto all!

  24. Justin says:

    The finale wasn’t bad. It had some good moments and the callbacks were a nice nostalgic touch. But, to me, Chuck vs. The Goodbye lacked something. I think it has to do with the absence of the loving power couple Chuck and Sarah were earlier in the season. The amnesia ruined that. It is one of the reasons why I started an alternate version of S3 and S4. I wanted to rewrite fate.

    • atcDave says:

      I get that completely Justin. Chuck and Sarah TOGETHER was my favorite part of the show, and it just wasn’t the same in the last two episodes.

    • authorguy says:

      I know exactly how you feel. Not that Fate, i.e., the story, was always that bad, but the portrayal of it was often horrendous. S3 had a great story but no equally-great storytellers, so everything good was lost under a pile of garbage. S4 is just garbage, in large part, with a lot of good bits that have to be fished out and reorganized. S5 had a great plot available that they didn’t complete, and that’s where my version will differ most significantly from canon.
      The amnesia storyline feels ad hoc, tacked on for some purpose unknown to us mere mortals. In a charitable mood, I can imagine them having to ditch the Decker conspiracy for some obscure reason, and falling back on one of TV’s oldest tropes. Most of the time I’m just not that charitable. The amnesia storyline was an awful one, full of some top-flight acting that could and should have been used to much better purpose.

  25. I don’t think season 4 is garbage at all! Its my favorite season, full of REALISTIC conflict, relationship storylines, the best guest stars in the history of the series and the best arcs for any season. S3 was conflict for wt/wt, its the worst of the 5!

    The finale arc is really good but I dislike that that started it so late. for Sarah’s (and Yvonne’s) consideration, it would’ve been 100% better to start it at 5-10 and throw out most of BO!

    • Wilf says:

      I agree, Josh. season 4 is my favourite too, mostly because there was no real insecurity about Chuck & Sarah’s relationship, and certainly nothing that lasted more than an episode or two, which, with my short attention span, is just how I like it 😉

    • revdr says:

      Well, while I liked season 4 quite a bit, I still rank it behind seasons 2 and 1 respectively. Although 3 of my favorite episodes come from that season (Phase Three, Push Mix, Cliffhanger) the writing was still spotty and a lot of time was wasted, especially in the back 11, on several poor episodes. The highlight of the season of course was the Chuck/Sarah relationship, the whole anyone who wants it can have the intersect thing drove me crazy. I was very hopeful that the intersect would no longer be a factor going into season 5, and that that who show use Chuck finally coming into his on without it. Unfortunately, they continued to beat that dead horse.

      • no didn’t not with Chuck anyway, he doesn’t have it for all of S5, they very much proved he is an awesome spy no matter what, that’s what was so great about S5 and that’s what I most wanted from it!

      • revdr says:

        Yeah Josh….I just wanted the intersect gone, period. For me the Morgan and Sarahsects were the worst things about season 5….obviously it ruined the end of the series for me. They had so many possibilities, what with Chuck and Sarah being a newly married couple and starting a new business sans the government, while still battling the government, the story ideas were limitless…..

    • atcDave says:

      Season Four is also my favorite. Although Season Two might be objectively “better” (higher production values, tighter scripts) and it is certainly the season when the show moved to something really special for me. But Season Four is when they really delivered the show I wanted to see.

      Rev I do agree though that I wish they’d just let the Intersect be gone for S5!

      • oldresorter says:

        s4 was awesome, a perfect intellectual connection between the characters and the script, a comedy that didn’t take itself seriously. No multi genre mashup. The same comedy as s1 and s2, and the two great episodes of s3 – Honeymooners and role models. s5 continued on that path, until the show broke away from its roots with the shaw torture episode and the unhappy amnesia crap final two eps. If I want to watch drama, there is plenty of it on tv, Chuck is not that type of show. Just caught up on Game of Thrones, if you want to watch nasty, mean spirited stuff, watch a nasty mean spirited show is my motto. House of Cards is not nice either, but the plot and the characters support the nasty. Jeffster, Big Mike, Captain Awesome, a general who reminds me of Yoda and makes me laugh each time she speaks, a guy who grunts instead of speaks, a pair of guys named Morgan and Bartowski, and a blond cartoon hero are characters made for comedy, not drama. When Chuck stayed true to itself, no show was better. When it missed its mark, no show made people want to throw things at the tv set more.

        The thing that frustrates me about Chuck, is near anyone could have written a successful show, episode after episode in a formula. Begin with Chuck and SArah solving a domestic issue, then the bad guys, then some goofy scene with the heroes in, next the Beckman call them to action, spend 6-10 scenes on the missions, while 1-2 more goofy B scenes came into play, wrap things up with the Yoda Beckman, and have a water fountain moment between Chuck and Sarah. Almost any writer writing for any TV show could have popped out Chuck ep and Chuck ep, for as long as the actors wanted to do it. Instead, we got this multi genre mashup business as an excuse to ruin the show. I don’t get it? I never will?

      • authorguy says:

        I doubt that this blog would exist, or that we’d all still be posting to it, if that had been the case.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason I agree with much of that, although I think a little more highly of the dramatic potential of the show than you seem to. I have no interest interest in big, self important, drama; but I think in spite of Chuck’s light touch there was a strong human element to it all. It drew people in because the main characters were easy to like and respect (usually), and that lent itself to a very entertaining relateable sort of drama. Things like healing families and planning life together. It only ever really failed me when the main characters behaved foolishly; in effect, they lost that connection, like when Chuck or Sarah made decisions that were hard to sympathize with or relate to (S3).

      • oldresorter says:

        Dave, you’ve posted more here than near anyone, yet I don’t know if you ever wrote a stronger observation than this:

        “there was a strong human element to it all. It drew people in because the main characters were easy to like and respect (usually), and that lent itself to a very entertaining relateable sort of drama. Things like healing families and planning life together.”

        I submit to you, that what you describe so eloquently, is what the great family shows on tv have done since way back to Leave it to Beaver, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Happy Days, The Waltons, That 70’s Show, Everwood, etc. Each of those shows week after week wrote stories that let the cast chemistry create a powerful synergistic feeling to the audience that far exceeded the individual performances or the writing.

        When Chuck was ‘right’, it equalled or exceeded the great ones for me. When it strayed for me, Chuck was maddeningly frustrating.

        Finall, not directly related to your point, but maybe the most amazing thing is how differently different segments of the Chuck fan base viewed what ‘greatness’ or ‘straying’ was. That one of the things unique to Chuck I don’t think I’ll ever understand, for me, how anyone could take the show seriously? And how serious people could reply to me as if I was some sort of bafoon for considering the show an offbeat comedy with a heart and nothing more? I’d have to guess that this disconnect is why the show never gained a huge audience. All of us at least loved it enough to keep watching, but the less interested on either side of the divide probably just gave up after an episode or arc of ‘straying’ took place that did not reflect what they loved in the show.

      • authorguy says:

        That’s one of the best things about the multi-genre nature of the show. As long as it had a strong thread in one of those genres, I could move the others to a less important status for that episode. Sometimes it was a comedy with dramatic elements, or a drama with comedic ones, or an action show with a bit of both. There are some genres I heartily dislike but this show rarely ventured into those areas completely, although the growing influence of soap opera and slapstick was a turn-off. There was plenty of opportunity for intelligent romance and comedy without having to stoop to those levels.

      • atcDave says:

        Jason/OR I like the connection with great family dramas and comedies of the past. I think Chuck, at its best, was right there with any of them.

        Marc/AG it would be my single biggest complaint with the early seasons was the tendency towards soap opera. Especially when we got to the third round of love triangles in S3. But otherwise I think it mostly hit things just right. Well, apart from forgetting to do an epilogue…

      • authorguy says:

        Fortunately I wrote an Epilog.
        By soap opera I mean not just things like the wt/wt that shouldn’t have been, I also mean stylistic elements of soap opera, such as clumsy dialog that is meant only to clue the viewer in to what happened in a previous scene.

      • uplink2 says:

        I’ll jump in here too. Season 4 is my favorite but season 2 is the best. I think that logic can work. Season 4 even with its flaws, and there were plenty, is the show I wanted to watch. The best villain by a mile in Volkoff. The best “possible” finale in Push Mix and probably the best Sarah specific episode in Phase 3. I will say the writing was tighter in season 2 and the budget was obviously more but I still just love season 4. No WTWT, nobody back from the dead, and most importantly of all, no @#$%^&* Shaw!

      • authorguy says:

        Jim Rye from Fear of Death was Shaw, the comic version. Always pushing Chuck to go off on his own, always believed by Beckman over the rest of the team, who clearly had less trust or respect for him. If he’d lasted more than an episode you’d probably have hated him as much.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink I agree exactly with all of that!

        And I loved Rye. If they’d done Shaw like that he never would have been so hated. Getting rid of the LI angle is by far the biggest part of that. But playing him as a pure buffoon helped too. With Shaw we had this horrible disconnect where WE saw him as an idiot, Casey saw him as an idiot; but Chuck and Sarah at different times fawned and swooned over him. If he’d been played as a buffoon all the way, more like Rye (“but then there’s no safety net!”) he wouldn’t have been so hated. Or well, he would have been hated like Rye is hated, NOT like Shaw is hated (?!).

      • uplink2 says:

        I don’t agree at all about Rye and Shaw. Rye was a buffoon and played it like a buffoon. But at least he was an actual spy that went on an actual mission. Shaw was only there to be the love interest and the spy story was simply tacked on to try and justify it. Was there actually any real spy story in 3.0? The Ring is virtually non-existent and completely pathetic though that was the justification for Shaw being there but they were never shown to be an actual threat to anyone. Plus their final undoing was as BillatWork so perfectly describes it, the capture of 5 accountants in a stairwell. Wow what an amazing spy story! “The Ring, what amateurs.” indeed. What was Shaw’s biggest accomplishment as a spy? Anybody? Anything? Bueller? Every mission he was on became a disaster of incompetance. With Rye they didn’t event try to make him a serious “super spy”. With Shaw they told us he was but showed us he wasn’t because his real role was as the “Other Guy” and one more dip into the dried up love interest well.
        No way does Rye ever become as bitterly hated as Shaw. Sure maybe like Ryker or Decker but Shaw hate is in a realm all to itself. And it is never “love to hate” it is just pure hatred. That is something Rye never could have risen to.

    • authorguy says:

      S4 was a complete retreat, giving up everything they’d manage to accomplish in S3, which was a considerable and necessary bit of development of all characters on all sides, even if badly told. S4 should have built off of that, but instead it’s a march through Cotton Candy land. I couldn’t listen to a single one of their kisses without cringing at the sound effects. Where was any of the passion of the bomb kiss?
      Of what value was the proposal plot? Did anyone think after all of S3 that they weren’t already welded together at the soul? They should either have been married right after S2, or not wasted the time getting married at all.
      Did anyone think Mary was really evil? Was she even competent? Was Volkoff really a mastermind? He puts Sarah on his team, knowing who she is, and practically hands her the heart of his network. Sarah manages to bring down his empire in two weeks, while Mary couldn’t in 20 years.
      Whole episodes (Wedding Planner, Seduction Impossible) are wasted time, good for nothing but slapstick laughs that meant nothing. The Gretas, barely redeemed in the A-Team to be anything but stunt casting. Endless time in the Buy More.
      Once I get done hosing off all the sugar, I doubt I’ll have much more than the original thirteen episodes worth of story left. Eleven episodes worth of nothing.

      • atcDave says:

        mmmmm, I like cotton candy…

      • authorguy says:

        The last time I had Cotton Candy was at last year’s company picnic. Before that, I was probably eight. Somewhere along the line my tastes grew up.

      • Yeah I rather enjoyed the “cotton candy” lol and Linda Hamilton sold the ambiguity of her affiliation completely. Volkiof was incredible a villain you “love to hate” as opposed to Quinn who was a psychopath with one goal! I don’t some people they complain about how S3 was so against character personality and when they finally let the characters breathe, some people still complain! I mean you’ve gotta be emotionally out of touch to think the opening in masquerade was anything other than hilariously cheesy and adorable!:) it showed Sarah as carefree and laid back as we would ever see and Casey’s reaction upon walking in was just priceless!:)

      • authorguy says:

        I skipped past the raunchy sex comedy part when I was rewriting that episode. The only part I can stand to watch is Sarah’s face at the end, when the wings pop out. The sexting scenes in Anniversary, the bikini modeling in Coup d’Etat, I skip all that stuff.

      • mr2686 says:

        Geez, I guess those pesky writers forgot they were supposed to write War and Peace. LOL.

      • authorguy says:

        S3 does have that depth of story, I’ll grant you. They just lacked any writers in their bullpen capable of telling it.
        The writers of Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies were all able to put a powerful story in a few episodes. S4 didn’t have to be War and Peace (probably just as well, after S3), but I’d have preferred something more dramatically interesting than Bella and Edward.

      • revdr says:

        I would have settled for Gone With The Wind…..

      • authorguy says:

        I never read that, or War and Peace either. I wonder how many people actually have read them, or are the names simply useful metaphors at this point?

      • revdr says:

        Right there with you on Wonderfalls and Pushing Daisies authorguy; it is a shame that those two unique shows weren’t given more of a chance…….

      • authorguy says:

        I’ve often thought of a Chuck-Wonderfalls crossover story, but the talent on both sides of the fence, especially dialog-wise, makes my soul shake at the thought of living up to that standard.

      • revdr says:

        Oh come on…can’t you see a Ned/Chuck and Chuck/Sarah epic?

      • authorguy says:

        Well, in a PD crossover, we could have either Sarah or Chuck or both die, then Ned brings them back. But that would be a cheap ploy.
        For a Wonderfalls crossover, I can see Sarah getting a little paranoid about Jaye’s constant activity, though. Casey and Darrin Tyler would get along very well. The main thing is I can see no story for either of these crossovers. (As opposed to S5, where I have the series finale already planned out.)
        On the other hand, I have an idea for a scene in the next episode that will be very reminiscent of the Dead Like Me movie, another tragically ended show, but really, anything where the main characters are virtually immortal will have problems.

      • mr2686 says:

        Count me as having read both. Gone with the Wind in High School, and War and Peace in College…the latter definitely not a pleasure read. 🙂

      • revdr says:

        Yeah Mr.; I read them both too…in Jr. High….loved GWTW; muddled through WAP.

  26. I wanted to let everyone know as I mentioned yesterday, I’m currently working on my Review/Analysis of Goodbye which due to its length (having to type with one finger) and the fact that I’m in an internship for another week and a half, may delay it’s posing until the weekend starts but I will work as much as I can to have it posted here ASAP:) I’ve got a lot to say about it!

  27. oldresorter says:

    The video for ‘take on me’ has some of the Chuck vs Goodbye story embedded in it. At the very end, the female lead joins up with her imaginary love, who finds her in real life. Happy ending. Has to be a clue? Here is the link:

    Has everyone watched it b4? If not, doesn’t it help the final feel better?

    • atcDave says:

      Yeah its funny, I described the song as an “excellent song choice” in the post. But maybe I should have said “excellent video of the song choice!”
      I think there was a bit of meta-humor in that choice.

    • revdr says:

      I’ve watched that video countless times over the years and now that I see it again I do see the symbolism. One of the most creative vids ever, it does speak to Chuck and Sarah’s dilemma; Sarah longing to be in Chuck’s world. and him desperately trying to break that plane into hers…..wow!

      • oldresorter says:

        Rev – funny, I agree with your interpretation, it’s mine too. But sometimes I see it the opposite, where Sarah is the guy, the race car driver, the guy fighting, etc and the normal world lady longing to be with the comic book hero is Chuck. Chuck joins Sarah in the comic book / spy life or gets maybe more like gets reluctantly pulled in like in the video. Then, Chuck loses Sarah when her mind is wiped, like the lady loses her man in the imaginary life when he pushes her to save her life. The lady is alone in the real world like Chuck, when the confused man shows up in the ‘real’ world … same as Sarah quit the spy life and was on the beach, the beach being the real world.

  28. revdr says:

    Oh absolutely, OR….this show from the relationship aspect, was always about the meshing of two worlds; the adventurous and the mundane. And from that pov it is Sarah who leads the exciting life, yet seeking normalcy, while Chuck, who, at the point, lived a life of commonality ; so normal in fact that he was about to flat-line, but wanting something, someone the give him that spark, and a means to escape. Sarah did that from the moment she approached that Buy More desk. Resistance by each of them was fear of the unknown. What made them so good together is that they complimented each other, their differences strengthening them both, and both leaning that a mash-up of both worlds is what made them a perfect fit. I saw that very early on. Take On Me hits that beat perfectly.

  29. Bill says:

    Let me chime in to add my thanks to Dave, Joe, Ernie, Faith, and everyone else who ran and participated in this re-watch. I’ve spent many enjoyable hours reading the thoughtful insights you’ve posted along the way!

    Chuck will live on. I know this because my DVDs have been circulating from family member to family member for the past two years, and just yesterday, their current viewer (one of my sisters) texted me about how awesome the Salami episode was! 🙂

  30. Review is coming along nicely, TGIF I don’t have to think about anything else but Easter and I can really focus on this, plus I just re watched Goodbye (extended-cut) so that’s sped things up quite a bit, this should be done over the weekend but in the meantime I’d like to wish all (who celebrate it) a happy Easter!:)

  31. Name Required says:

    Am I alone in this particular view; That 5.13 is the “fairy-tale” ending. I say that because EVERYONE gets a happy ending: Jeffster goes to Germany to become famous;. Big Mike gets an in-store Subway. Casey goes after Gertrude. Morgan and Alex move in together. Mr. and Mrs. Awesome get big jobs in Chicago.

    My point is that we didn’t see any of that happen, just have it given as exposition. So that we didn’t see the fairy-tale ending for Chuck and Sarah (magic kiss works) is no surprise. In fact, right in the opening credits, Morgan calls it a DISNEY fairy tale. So you KNOW it works because Disney fairy-tale endings always happen in Disney movies.

    I guess it’s why I don’t worry about the ending. No one’s happy ending is actually shown, just talked about. So the magic kiss worked, Chuck and Sarah are together and Jeffster’s first German album should probably be coming out just about now…

    • atcDave says:

      Its awesome if that works for you. I think many of us needed to SEE what came next, not just take it on faith. But no doubt, this sort of end works better those who can look at it like you!

    • revdr says:

      I’m with you on this Dave; it is great that our friend sees that “fairy tale” ending…but for me, I needed to see it. And, from where I stand, they got it partially wrong. While there was plenty of exposition with Casey, Ellie/Awesome, and Morgan/Alex, what we wound up with on the beach was more supposition. We have to assume that either the kiss worked or that everything WOULD be ok….based on what we imagine to be true. That’s not a “fairy tale” ending; that’s just a hopeful one.

    • your not alone here I felt the finale wasn’t about the future at all, it was about the past in the present and reminding us in a round about way why we love charah so much! I have much more to say that is being said in my review for goodbye which I am more than half done with and wil post here when its done.

  32. bubbasuess says:

    I’d like to add something to this thread before time advances too far beyond it. I totally missed Chuck’s original broadcast and only watched it somewhat recently. I went through it once and have only rewatched the first two seasons. Of course, I only found this site a couple of weeks ago, just in time to miss the rewatch. In some ways, I feel like I missed the show all over again, having lost the opportunity to share the show with other fans twice. Bummer!

    As far as the ending goes, I think it was the most powerful and beautiful things I have ever seen on a television show. The fact that it was felt so viscerally by so many people is testimony to its power (for good or ill). I think that the overall vibe of the ending is confidence in their future together but the juxtaposition of the melancholy hope of Rivers and Roads adds just enough of a tinge of doubt that it really adds a tragic beauty to it. Honestly, I think the ending was so powerful that I sort of hope that they don’t make a Chuck movie because then finding out the resolution of that moment will subtract from that moments beauty. Probably an unpopular opinion, I reckon. Of course, if they do make a Chuck movie, I will gladly watch it.

    I can’t remember where I read it but I think it bears repeating that Chuck and Sarah’s romance is not over but only beginning. While everyone else in the show has some sort of resolution or a completing of their arc, Chuck and Sarah are left kissing on the beach. It is the one part of “Chuck” that, in some fashion, is unresolved and so the story continues, though we can be confident that it continues with Chuck and Sarah together. I think that is an awesome thing.

    The only other show that has impacted me the way Chuck impacted me was Twin Peaks. The contrast in the endings of these two shows is pretty dramatic. Chuck fans have much to be thankful for in how the series was brought to such a beautiful conclusion, even if some feel like we are left hanging. Put yourself in a Twin Peaks fan’s shoes and the picture is not nearly as pretty (the shows’ tone aside, of course).

    Thanks to everyone who has been commenting through the rewatch. It has been a pleasure reading all the discussion about such a great show. It may have started off as a show about a nerd in the Burbank Buy More but it ended up being one of the funniest, most entertaining and epically romantic shows ever. Pile on the great geek references and some fantastic action, amazing performances and excellent technical achievement and it was just about the perfect show, despite its oft-discussed failings. Reading all of your thoughts makes me want to go and rewatch it all over again!

    • mr2686 says:

      Oh we are soooo on the same page. I agree with everything you wrote.

    • atcDave says:

      That extreme visceral reaction may be exactly what keeps a movie from ever being made. I am just staggered by how extreme the differences in perception are, and its obvious we all even have a hard time being civil about it. I’m not sure how one would even go about picking the story up again without upsetting one group of fans or another. If it ever does continue, I think it will be because there is a pretty strong feeling of incompleteness among so many fans. I know that feeling is just bitterly strong for me, I still feel somewhat robbed and angry over the whole thing.
      I still hope for a movie, but many days I’m not very optimistic it will happen.

      • Me 3! That’s exactly how I feel too, what they did was powerful beyond any ending I’ve watched! I believe so much in that couple partly because of the off the charts chemistry of Zac & Yvonne who are so incredible together but the other reason is CF (NOT JS) he told a very compelling story with the finale arc. I have to be brutally honest here, I never liked the fact that their relationship was born of a fluke event, by going the route he did CF proved one and for all that Chuck and Sarah are meant to be with each other and I’ll always give him high praise for that.

        This is just me but if he’d done “the happily ever after” scenario, I would have been maybe initially satisfied but soon after I would’ve began to wonder are these two really meant to be or did she only fall for him because she was ordered to protect him (thus was always around him) and what he unwittingly put in his brain. In fact I’m so grateful to CF for proving that they are indeed meant for each other that I’ll always give his future projects a chance.

        That being said, Yvonne Strahovski is a brilliant actress and I wish out of respect for her that they CF would’ve made Sarah’s recovery more visible.

        As far as R&R goes I think it conveys the EXACT OPPISISTE message most people think it does. Whatever obstacles they face they’ll always overcome them and stay together, go to the end of the earth for each other! If I picked an alternate song it would be: Belief by Gavin Degraw, or Coldplay’s Fix You or A Message from their album X&Y!

        Dave

        Don’t lose faith in a movie. My mom who also loves CHUCK said something that makes a lot of sense. “CHUCK wasn’t ready to end, so how could there have been an ending on screen” which there wasn’t! Had they been able, I believe they would’ve kept going, the cast camaraderie proves as much!
        Contrary to what people might think, Zac was not holding a move hostage to his campaign and he never meant to come across as saying such, it will likely take time but I have complete faith it will happen!

        After much consideration I decided to ditch my finale review and officially started my fan-fic instead, any other fan-fic writers know that its a slow process but I’m working on it as of yesterday.

      • atcDave says:

        Well there’s never really an ending as long both characters live. No matter what we’re told about a “happily ever after” (kids, career, home), it’s not hard to imagine adventure finding them. I would have vastly preferred a more concrete ending like the Baby had, but that precludes nothing in the future.

        And Josh really, if Rivers and Roads gives you that message, then you actually GOT the exact ending I wanted. All my complaints about the episode and arc are little stuff, except for the unsettled feeling the end left me with. Had it felt more settled to me, like it apparently did to you, I likely would have been enthusiastically behind it. But having to dig deep for answers ensures I can be no better than ambivalent.

      • authorguy says:

        My hope for a movie is very limited. I want to see Sarah restored to all her glory, nothing else will do and nothing else matters. There will never be a sense of completeness about the ending, since I never want it to end, but I do want a sense of continuity, and that’s what was stolen by that terrible storyline. My problem with waiting for a movie is that the longer the wait goes, the older they get, the more time would have passed from the end of the series to the beginning of any movie plot, and the restoration of Sarah becomes more of an afterthought.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m completely fine with just picking up over the course of a movie that Sarah remembered everything in a few weeks, and they renewed vows on their second anniversary, or something like that. Seeing them together and whole matters more to me than actually seeing the recovery. In fact, given how long its already been, I actually don’t want to see the recovery. I’d rather just know it happened in the past and they’ve moved on, together.
        But that exact issue may be huge in terms of a satisfying story. If we are told five years have passed, and Chuck and Sarah are just now getting back together, I would be POed.

      • authorguy says:

        As would I. My problem with that is that, aside from showing the recovery, I can’t think of anything I would want them to do a movie about. Her memories are really the only unresolved plot thread from the show. I would have no interest in just seeing a movie about some random adventure some years down the line.

      • joe says:

        How about this idea, Dave…

        Ellie, in Chicago, continues to be fascinated by her father’s work. Sarah, in the meantime, is home with Chuck but straddling the fine line about being okay or not okay with her situation and her life. Ellie makes a discovery about one of Stephen’s (not a neurogist but a computer scientist) work that explains Intersect Memory Loss (IML) – it’s reversable.

        Enter one of the evil organizations (or all of them) who want the new, improved and perfected Intersect who try to take Ellie.

        Sarah and Chuck save Ellie, and in last scene, restores Sarah’s memory.

        Work for you? 😉

      • authorguy says:

        That’s almost the plot of Chuck vs The Epilog, except for the enemy action. I can’t think of any organic way to make that fly, unless the Decker Conspiracy comes back, and that’s a bit much for one movie to handle.

      • atcDave says:

        Joe that could be a great story. Although again the elapsed time is a huge issue. If much time has passed, I would need to see Chuck and Sarah happy together with or without the memories. If it all takes place in just a couple months I might be okay with Chuck and Sarah struggling some, and then both of them knowing how much saving Sarah’s memories means to each other. But even then, I think the idea they’ll ultimately be fine with or without the memories is huge.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m completely fine with “random adventures”, it makes the world feel more alive to me if events simply come up that the heroes must respond to. In fact, I think it sort of defines the hero when they rise to the challenge even without a vested interest.
        But of course Sarah’s recovery is the emotional reason why I “need” more Chuck. I would just prefer that her recovery was not the whole focus of the story. But seeing Chuck and Sarah happy and together would pretty much satisfy that “need”.

      • authorguy says:

        That was one of my biggest pet peeves with the series, that the episodes had very little connectivity from one episode to the next. One of my own goals with my fanfiction writing is to add some degree of that connectivity, while retaining as much of the randomness of the events as I can.

      • atcDave says:

        One of my complaints with the later seasons was too much connectivity. As government agents they should be going after criminals and terrorists from a range of threats and sources, and not so much “all in the family”.
        Even as free lance spies for hire I would have preferred more NEW threats and challenges. Once they were “free” of the government would have been a good time to never hear from Decker or Shaw again. Instead we got an incestuous sort of story where things all kept tying back in to the same conspiracies and villains.
        Now don’t get me wrong, I can imagine a big conspiracy being a great story and tying everything together nicely; but my first choice would have been more random and diverse threats. I think it makes the world feel bigger, more alive, and it makes the heroes more heroic.

      • authorguy says:

        I agree to some extent. It was sort of annoying that every episode in the beginning of S4 had some Volkoff connection, to the point where Beckman eventually has to point out that not every criminal works for Volkoff. My complaint there would be more with the clumsiness with which it was done, though. That’s only surface connectivity. If you look at the plot descriptions, where little details like this Volkoff connection or that are left out, the episodes have almost no coherence to them at all. That’s why the Volkoff elements in them shriek ‘gimmick!’
        But the episodes with absolutely no connection to anything are wasted air time. It’s one of the rules of writing, every scene has to advance the plot, but Seduction Impossible and CAT Squad advanced nothing except a proposal/wedding subplot that I had no use for. These were quite clearly ‘filler’ episodes that required only the most minor tweaks to fit them into the elopement subplot, and produced to fill the space until something more specific to a larger Volkoff plot, like Masquerade, could be produced. These episodes provide maybe a little comic relief in nine2five, if I can figure out a use for them at all. A-Team and Muurder at least had some build-up to them, even though they were pretty pointless on their own..
        I don’t remember S5 very well, I only saw it once, during the original broadcast, but the original premise of the Decker Conspiracy could certainly have been a background element even as they dealt with more unusual threats in each episode.

      • oldresorter says:

        Good writers can pull off connectivity. Most can’t. Chuck was far stonger with standalone eps. Season 2 did ok with the bigger story, but after the A writing team pulled out after the first half of season 3, they never really wrote a good arc. Dalton salvaged season 4’s first half, but that was his doing along with YS and ZL.

        I’d love to see a Bartowski vs the world movie. No CS angst required. Memory or amnesia need not apply.

        I’d love a yearly movie for the next 4 or 5 years, I think Hart to Hart did a coupke of those.

        I don’t think the Mars movie was much of a box office success, 3.3M, most of which came the first weekend, so I would guess that will not be the model, or at least the exact model.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree entirely Jason, Chuck and Sarah vs the world, as a happy couple and awesome team is by far my favorite part of the sho,

      • anthropocene says:

        There was one other major unresolved plot thread at the end of the series.
        Chuck took the latest (and perhaps last remaining) Intersect upload, for a heroic purpose as we all know. It is not clear that anyone other than Sarah and Casey (who must have seen him flash) knew that he’d uploaded it again.
        Most significantly, the next day in Castle—with Beckman right there—nobody let on that he had the Intersect. And Chuck never asked her to have it removed, even though that would have been the perfect opportunity. So it appears he intended to keep it. Beckman either did not know he had it…or was pretending not to know.
        That gave me a nice little subplot for my imaginary season 6 FF.

      • authorguy says:

        Quite true, but it’s more generic, unlike the memory issue, and I would class it more as a ‘hook’ than a plot thread.

      • atcDave says:

        Of course you’re right Anthro. It doesn’t have quite the emotional impact, but it sure could lead to adventure.

      • atcDave says:

        Naw you’re just flat out wrong on that Marc. Episodes like Seduction Impossible are the meat of Chuck, It’s what they always did best, it’s what I was watching for. The stand alones are the heart of the show, the arcs are the filler.

      • authorguy says:

        You won’t too much salvaged from that debris in nine2five season 2. I got one scene out of Wedding Planner, and one of my personal favorite scenes highlights the Roan/Beckman romance from SI, but there’s really not a lot there. Those episodes could be dropped from the DVD completely and it wouldn’t affect the season a bit.

      • atcDave says:

        They’re just examples of the show at its best…

  33. The most ironic thing is I’m a pessimist by nature, which just shows how much the ending affected me in the way you wished it had affected you. Tv really is subject to opinion but I know one thing, I wouldn’t let JS near CHUCK again, he’s the poster child for unnecessary drama. I always wonder what may have been if the late development of their relationship from Santa Clause to Colonel had continued come S3…

    • atcDave says:

      I’ll cautiously say I think pessimists generally liked the ending while optimists were less enthused. At least, that’s my current theory. I’ve floated a half dozen theories about it that all seem to be wrong. Ultimately it may be hopeless to find a particular pattern, and just say it was highly individual as to whether we loved or loathed or were some where in between on the end.

      I would also be cautious about JS being involved again, and I agree entirely he is the likely villain behind the dreadful S3. There are just so many better ways that story could have been told. Obviously this is where I promote the S3 Alternatives posts (all are linked from the “Blog Episode Guide” or “Season Three” if you do a “Category” search). But I’m pretty sure he’s done with Chuck anyway, so I don’t believe its worth worrying about.

    • authorguy says:

      Certainly there are a lot of rewrites of season 3 to get into, most of which go off in a direction very different from anything S3 tried to show us. If you want one which stays pretty close to the S3 mold try my nine2five series. I saw a lot of value in S3 that simply hadn’t been told well.

  34. I picked up right from the beach but unlike Angus’ story I’m not giving her the explicit memories back and instead am moving them forward with the cards they’ve been dealt. I’ve been working on the beginning all day, this is the most challenged I have been in a very long time…but I like a good challenge!

  35. Does anybody know what time of day they were going for in the beach scene!? As beautiful as it looked I couldn’t figure that out. That is the only thing I wish they would’ve been able to do, go back to the actual beach location but a combination of NBC’s budget cuts and weather prevented that from happening which is a real bummer for nostalgia reasons!

    • atcDave says:

      My guess would be late afternoon. IF it’s the same day as the meeting in Castle, it’s been a long day of meetings and goodbyes.
      But I don’t think we really know, it could have been a day or two later when Chuck talked to Morgan, and got the encouragement he needed.

  36. bubbasuess says:

    This may or may not be the best place to post this, but I noticed something interesting the second time through season 2 that sort of foreshadows the finale. In the great scene at the end of Breakup, Sarah says to Chuck: “You know, someday when the Intersect is out of your head and you have the life you always wanted, you’ll forget all about me.”
    Chuck’s response: “I seriously doubt that.”

    In that exchange Sarah pretty much spelled out the end of the show, where she has the life she always wanted with Chuck and Quinn fusses with the Sarah’s Intersect and then she forgets all about Chuck. But just as Chuck doubted he could ever forget Sarah, so to should Sarah doubt that she could ever forget Chuck. I am not saying that this was intentionaly done or anything, but I do think that, in hindsight, their dialogue in breakup is pretty prescient and pregnant with meaning. I also think it adds one more weight on the scale in favor of a happy resolution for Chuck and Sarah beyond the fade to black in Goodbye. Whatever happened to her, I “seriously doubt” that she can forget about Chuck. Maybe this has been pointed out before, but, as I missed the whole rewatch and ensuing discussion, I have a propensity to recover old ground. Sorry about that.

  37. KG says:

    We were all moved and deeply touched by “The Giant Blonde She-male,” who fearing her Chuck and his brilliant mind had been lost forever in Phase Three, at the tail end of an impassioned plea as “Sarah Walker the Girlfriend,” a desperate and completely broken down Walker bluntly utters, “I’m nothing without you, I’m nothing but a spy.”

    This is where I am at the beginning of Finale. Quinn has fiendishly forced Sarah to flash and flash and flash until there’s little left of her. He is easily the most vicious villain Team B has faced. Not even the disgraced Shaw was this evil or clever. Not even he could hurt our couple the way Quinn has.

    But ya know what? We’re led to believe Sarah has lost all her memories, as if, she’s been rendered a useless vegetable. But we know that’s not true. She forgets everything except the fact that she’s a spy. The CIA’s top enforcer.

    She comes to and obviously doesn’t believe or trusts Quinn and proceeds to toss him out a window. But then again, she’s really just a spy here, sadly and painstakingly. She is easily manipulated by Quinn, who rather effortlessly convinces her he’s CIA, her handler and that Chuck and his team are the bad guys. Sarah is nothing short of a well-trained, lethal, puppet on a string. Heart and gut-wrenching simultaneously. We’re truly shown that Sarah was a prophet. She really is nothing without Chuck.

    Phase Three the best example, we’ve seen the lengths this woman will go to protect and save Chuck. And all that Bartowski did and endured to save Sarah in Other Guy and Cliffhanger. God himself help those who mess with this truly dynamic duo/spy couple.

    What I really found fascinating was how everyone close to Chuck kept telling him that Sarah was gone. And those people were not necessarily wrong either. The Sarah they knew was toast. Chuck would not, could not believe that. This, this kind of faith, this kind of heart, this kind of loyal determination, this is what makes Chuck the exceptional hero, the uniquely gifted and special best of the best Sarah fell in love with as early as Pilot.

    In spite what his eyes saw, despite the fact that she tried to kill him, despite the fact that she threatened his sister, he wouldn’t fight her, he wouldn’t turn her in, he wouldn’t give up on her. “Ellie, what if it was Devon?” He jumped in front of bullet meant for her. Chuck was still there for Sarah when they were most likely at their lowest.

    Chuck’s world is crashing all around him. His wife and her life have been stolen. And yes, you can argue that some of his self-doubt resurfaces, but the essence of the man does not change. Chuck is true to himself and Sarah and refuses to give up on her. No matter what. Her condition is the worst of that.

    The recovery starts as soon as Chuck takes her to their home and unselfishly and without trepidation leaps in front of Quinn’s close range bullet.

  38. I thought this was a superb alternative song to Rivers and roads for the ending but maybe its just me… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-IabfCL_T8

  39. Martin Traynor says:

    First, I’d like to say that you all (Joe, Dave, Ernie, Faith and Thinkling, etc.) are AMAZING! Dave, I think that you and I were separated at birth, as we are on the same page for almost everything you write. And those rare times when our thoughts diverge, it’s not by very much at all. You ALL have not only the great gifts of writing, analysis and insight, but you’re also so generous and passionate. I love it and I think I love you all. I have teared up many a time reading all or your comments, and I thank you for your support of my Chuck obsession.

    I came to Chuck well after the series ended and spent the summer watching it on DVD with my 10-year-old daughter, who has loved it as much as I, and has often brought me back to sanity through thoughtful discourse on the show and character motivations. She’s really quite insightful.

    I found your site after we got through about the first 3 seasons, and found myself reading ahead to see what would happen, as I am NOT a fan of angst. I enjoy a fair amount of conflict and understand it’s an integral part of storytelling – perhaps the most integral part – but I don’t like angst. Like what we got in early season 3. In fact, one the things I love most about Chuck is that once Chuck and Sarah got together, they NEVER had to deal with anyone trying to come between them. I don’t know if I’ve seen that in any other show. Even in Castle (another favorite, though not nearly as much since I’ve discovered Chuck), they had Beckett flirt with the British guy in the 5th season – another reason why I struggle so much with Cole in Season 2 – Blimey on the Limey. Sorry, that was wrong. But man, when Sarah started showing feelings for Cole, I just flashed back to Castle and all the hatred we all felt that summer for her actions.

    But I digress. I agree with what Dave says on Season 3, but Joe and Ernie, your thoughts have really helped with that whole mess and I think I see it a bit differently. My thoughts are that Sarah was broken, and when you’re broken, you latch on to whatever you can. And Sarah’s heart was broken by Chuck, so what does she do, but reach out for the exact opposite, which is what Sh** was. I think she had to – had to – talk herself into thinking she was happy with him, because she really acted as though she was numb or just going through the motions. At least, that’s what I want to believe. Maybe I need to believe it. I don’t know. (Looky here, I just succumbed to Chuckwin’s Law. And I thought I was immune. Oh well, I am human, as is Sarah.) I know that when I am mad at myself or others, I get very self destructive. And I think that’s what Sarah did.
    Anyway, moving on the finale, some things I noticed that probably have been spoken of and dissected to the extreme, but don’t mean much of anything are that, when Sarah is saying goodbye to Chuck at the fountain (Sorry, don’t remember if that happens in 5.12 or 5.13), she really, really seems to either want him to say something more, or expects him to try and stop her. And she looks either puzzled, disappointed or downright sad that he offers nothing other than “goodbye.” I think she was reaching out to him in that pre-matured Sarah way of dropping extremely subtle hints that Chuck never picked up on when he was too self-involved, which he was there (and was often – see “vs. the kept man”).

    Also, on the beach in the very final scene, Sarah is not wearing her wedding ring. I don’t really think I was expecting her to, but somehow I am disappointed that she is not. Again, it’s not like I thought she SHOULD be wearing it, just more that I hoped she WOULD be wearing it. That would have been nice to see. I was also looking to see if she had Chuck’s mother’s bracelet on. But there was no way to tell in that scene, as she had on long sleeves. But again, that would have been a gesture that meant a whole lot. But apparently the writers were more concerned with leaving very little clues for us to try and decipher as to what was happening and what was going to happen in the future, than giving us concrete signs.

    I agree with everyone that says clues were there, that she was coming around, and as far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter if Morgan recovered or not. I mean, this is Sarah, and as far as I know, she is the ONLY person to have survived the Norseman. Like Chuck says, “You’re Sarah, of course you can do anything.” So I don’t need precedent to believe she can recover her memories. But like many of you, I wanted something more substantial. Something more hopeful.
    But, I too, and seeing the happy in the ending. Of course, I have no other choice. If it’s not happy, then I am one depressed puppy walking around, and that’s not good for anyone.
    Thanks for your blog, your posts, your thoughts, your words and your hearts. God Bless!

    P.S. Forgive me if this has all been said. I’ve read A LOT on this site and others, but just wanted to have my say…Thank you for the opportunity.

    • atcDave says:

      Hey Martin we are always happy to hear from another Chuck addict!
      Its obvious the show had a deep impact on you, just as it did for all of us.

      I also would have liked to see the rings reappear as the last scene faded out; I think our show runner looses major cool points for trying to play it too clever at the end. But I agree about seeing the happy ending, and I really don’t see any other way to look at it now.

      Feel free to comment anywhere on this site. Discussion and commentary is what keeps this alive. At least until we hear about “Chuck: The Movie”…

      • Martin Traynor says:

        Thanks, Dave. I’ve been commenting a little at IMDB, and see an occasional post from Ernie, but that site is really lacking in activity.

        I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to re-watch season 2 in particular, because of what transpired in Season 3.0 I enjoyed S.3 from “vs. the America Hero” on, and esp. “vs. the Honeymooners” in that season, but I think s.3 took what happened in s.2 and just decimated it. But I have been re-watching s.2 from the beginning and can’t believe how much I’ve forgotten about those early episodes. Your article in particular on the first few episodes of s.2 are what urged me to re-think it, and I’m glad I did. There were some really well-done episodes there, and I forgot about the sheer FUN. Ah yes, the FUN and C/S are what made me fall in love with this show.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I agree exactly with all of that. S3 did massive damage to the earlier seasons. And it is such a shame, there was so much terrific stuff in those seasons. At this point, I mostly ignore S3.
        Have you looked at any fan fiction? Dealing with S3 is what got me really hooked on it. I would particularly recommend “Chuck vs the Fight” by KateMcK; she rewrites several of those S3 episodes, with a twist that I think would have made them a lot more fun. Or check out my “Alternatives” post, or my favorites list at right, under the “fan fiction” header.

    • joe says:

      Hi, Martin. Good stuff.
      What you said about Sarah being “broken” in S3 really resonates with me. There’s one scene, when we’re meant to think that she’s been shot by Rafe Gruber, that perfectly fits with this. I’ve written about it before – a split second before the shot there is a look on Yvonne’s face that haunts me to this day, like Sarah’s given up on life. You’re description puts that to words.

      But me, I also have found more unwritten details in the music. Challengers (by The New Pornographers at the very end of 1.02, Helicopter) has me re-thinking everything I thought about Sarah early on. I used to understand the song as speaking for Chuck, and that may be right. But if you think of it as speaking Sarah’s thoughts (or possibly, her fears) it underwrites much of what comes later, especially Season 3.

      I have to ask. What did you think about Castle using the memory loss idea? The end of the opener bothered me for a bit, thinking that Beckett was reacting the way Sarah seemed to – she was the character that had changed (if only because of the passage of time). They downplayed that in the send second (Sorry!) episode, so I feel much better about them now.

      Thanks for joining the ongoing conversation. Like Dave said, it’s always nice to see new fans.

      • Martin Traynor says:

        Joe,

        I don’t think I’ll ever be a big fan of the “lost your memory” trope. With Castle, I’ve been invested for a long time, and seen Castle the character and Beckett go through the whole wt/wt, angsty relationship stuff for long enough to have to endure this – yet another roadblock to seeing our couple coupled officially/legally.

        I am a firm believer that couples can be written well to be be enjoyable. It’s funny, though (not to go off topic), but in shows like Friends and The Big Bang Theory (comedies, I know), they can write the hell out of the secondary character couples (Monica/Chandler and Howard/Bernadette, respectively), but always have difficulty with the main couples (Ross/Rachel and Leonard/Penny). But Chuck did a great job with Chuck/Sarah – until the very end.

        I invest a lot emotionally into the characters that I like, and when they lose their memory, they become someone different. That’s not really the case in Castle, but I’m still not a fan. But to answer you question, I don’t think it was handled well, and I don’t think the characters acted like themselves. I think Castle would have been a LOT more mad at the fact that someone took his memories, and I have a hard time believing ANYTHING could make him want to forget. Doesn’t that just sound like something a bad guy would tell you. And they could have drugged Castle to give up the story that he never told anyone, so a guy who questions things as much as Castle would NOT, in my opinion, believe so easily the story that guy fed him. And he and Beckett would NOT accept a 2-week memory loss so well.

        But that’s Castle the show for you. They’ll forget all about it for a few weeks, then bring it up for sweeps, then sweep it back under the rug for several more weeks until they decide the characters need to remember it.

  40. Martin

    As much as I LOVE S2, I think both Chuck and Sarah (more so Sarah) are kind of stuck in a never ending infatuation with each other…its not love because if you truly love someone you work through conflict (like they do later in S4 &5) which makes S3.0 more watchable for me even though its still awful…but not a stretch to say Sarah had an idealized view of chuck which is why I say it was infatuation and not love

    • atcDave says:

      I think it was solid, self sacrificial love from quite early on. It wasn’t fully mature for quite a while, maybe mid-S4. But I think it was well beyond infatuation; just like any couple, their love grew as they came to know each other better.

    • joe says:

      Josh, M. Scott Peck wrote about this. Like Dave, I suspect the characters are beyond that stage (he calls it Cathexis) from the beginning, if not by too much. It’s pretty clear that Chuck, although he’s “stuck”, isn’t being too shallow. He’s just full of inertia. Oddly, so is Sarah, and in pretty much the same way.

      It’s really one of the things that attracted me to the show. At every stage, the characters are always a bit deeper and more complex than you’d expect. Like you, I don’t see “love” for quite some time (um, almost two full seasons). But I see more than infatuation very early on.

      • maybe the word i meant to use was “dependent…” Sarah seems to have an involuntary attachment to Chuck; at first i thought it was because she wants to protect him but now i believe its more selfish than that…is selfish the right word?

    • Martin Traynor says:

      Josh,

      Not sure I agree. But I’m not sure I disagree,either. I think both Chuck and Sarah were in love with the idea of each other before they actually loved each other, but I don’t think that discrepancy lasted for long.

      I also think that they were both the kind of people to sacrifice themselves for others, whether or not they actually loved them, so I don’t feel that’s an accurate barometer of when they loved each other.

      What I liked about season 2 was that it showed Chuck and Sarah growing closer as friends and lovers. What I hated about season 3 is it took that all away – at least for a while. That’s what makes season 2 hard to watch/enjoy – because it’s ethereal. There’s nothing solid about it, because it ceases to exist, and it’s even more like it never happened. I find it hard to believe/accept that (these) characters, who went through as much as they did, and as much as they did for each other, could end up as they did in s.3 at the beginning.

      But I love where Chuck and Sarah ended up in season 4 and season 5. True partners, still learning from each other and growing together.

      • atcDave says:

        Ethereal is a good word for it. If S3 is allowed to exist it renders irrelevant most of the first two seasons. So many great moments like “You could tell me who the president is” or “take off your watch” are undermined.

  41. Joe its funny you bring up the music because that’s how i felt too like it showed Sarah’s POV…more evidence lies in “fresh feeling”, “skinny love” and “fake empire” alll great choices BTW!:)

  42. Martin Traynor says:

    Dave,

    I agree. Funny thing – I watched the entire series first with my daughter, then got my wife and son to watch. So as they saw it for the first time, My daughter and I re-watched it with them. My wife enjoyed it, but because I had made such a big deal about it, she kind of resisted wanting to like it too much (you know how wives can be…). Anyway, after the first episode, I asked if she wanted to watch another, and though she presented a reluctant yes, I could tell she REALLY wanted to watch more. Though she has never loved it like me, she got invested enough in the characters and the show to see it all the way through rather quickly. But I am telling you, after the finale, she swore it off and said it would take a long time for her to be able to watch it again. Well, it’s about two months later, and she’s watching season 1 now, but still vows to stop at the end of s.4. The finale ruined s.5 for her. I must say, after the finale, I needed a break from Chuck, too. But only about three days (ha!).

    One more thing – this blog helps me get through the work day. Whenever I need to recharge my batteries, I pick an episode, read up on it and get the juices bubbling to re-watch (not that I need any help in wanting to re-watch…)

    Thanks!

    • atcDave says:

      My wife also enjoyed the show, but with a bit less enthusiasm than me. She however really liked the finale, it was some friends of ours who were upset or much less enthused.

      Glad we can help you get your Chuck fix Martin. Writing and discussing this blog has filled that role for me too. It is beginning to let up now, after seven years of addiction! Mainly because there’s nothing new now, even fan fiction has slowed way down. But I expect it will be a long time yet before its gone entirely.

  43. Is it possible to say that the Magical Kiss worked in Phase Three and therefore in the Finale one? It confuses me that altough the lobotomy is actually almost done, Chuck does not getting any side effects – thats why the only answer for me is the Magical Kiss! So is it safe to assume that this Kiss worked also for Sarah?

    • the miracle of true love:) and some good old Disney like magic-according to Morgan anyway, i like that! I also think Chuck’s will won out in phase 3; that was why they kept switching between Sarah speaking in the lab and his mind in that scene; shows he was fighting to hold on. Also agree about the lack of side effects but the simple explanation is it’s TV.

    • atcDave says:

      Well it is certainly possible it worked perfectly!

      I’m happy just to say that in the end Sarah knew she loved her husband, the rest came back with time.

  44. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Goodbye (5.13) | Chuck This

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s