Chuck in Overview: Season Five

The last season.  Like the first season, its entirely too short. Now that Chuck and Sarah are married, Team B has gone private, and a bearded troll has the Intersect; how will this last, short season play out.

After the jump, we’ll discuss Chuck Season Five.

Like the show itself, we’re approaching the end entirely too fast.

To set the stage for this final season, I think this was the lowest stress off-season since the first.  We got the Season Five order fairly quickly, and Season Four left us in a reasonably good place.  There were no burning problems or questions unresolved. The biggest concern for many was just what would happen with “Morgansect”; in particular, would Morgan end up with a far bigger role than most of us wanted to see? This was no where near the anxiety past season finales had left us with, but it was at least a minor concern.

There was also some concern related to a schedule change.  For this last season, Chuck was moved to Friday nights.  This is traditionally a slow night for television, but a few shows have found success against weak competition over the years.  I think we all held out some hope that Chuck would find a new niche.  We were told several times that this order of 13 episodes was the end of the line, but there were hints if the ratings were good we could get more.  But it wasn’t to be.  Almost zero promotion led to dismal ratings.  I am still amazed, years later, how many people I knew who watched the show faithfully, thought it ended at the wedding.  Many casual viewers never knew about the change in nights, or the existence of the last season at all.

Overall

Let me start by saying I love Season Five.  I have to follow that up by saying there’s a sort of duality to my feelings.  I absolutely love seeing Chuck and Sarah as a happy team and couple.  Some of the good moments from this season are simply the best we’ve ever seen.  And that leads to a couple of extremely strong episodes.  Even “average” episodes from this period can be profoundly satisfying in ways the other seasons can’t possibly compete with.  This is the complete opposite of Season Three in that regard; the overall situation creates a halo effect that makes the good moments, better.

But I have some fairly serious problems with Season Five too.  For arguments’ sake, I’ll say there were three basic arcs; Morgansect, Conspiracy and Finale.  I found all three arcs lacking to some degree.  None crippled the show or ruined it for me, but none really inspired or excited me either.  Morgansect was mostly fun, and I like how in the end, it serves as a template of sorts for Sarah’s journey.  Especially to say we saw Morgan reconnecting with who he really was at the end of Frosted Tips, in a way that I think parallels Sarah at the beach and post series.  But it was a little too much Morgan for my taste.  Especially Bearded Bandit.  At least this arc only ran three episodes.  On balance I thought it was well done, but I would have chosen something else, something more Charah and less Morgan if I were calling the shots.

The Conspiracy Arc was the most disappointing.  Especially since it seemed to get off to a strong start. Decker was an excellent heavy.  Of the sort you really, eagerly await his destruction.  And his end was perfectly funny.  But maybe it came too soon?  Shaw was very disappointing as a mastermind.  This is a classic example of a television villain making one (or two) too many unwanted returns.  Still, Santa Suit was by no means a bad episode.  Perhaps if the story was tweaked some so that Shaw was still clearly serving some greater master; basically to merge the Conspiracy Arc directly into the Finale Arc, this all might have worked out much better.  As it is, I think this arc was underwhelming.  Several of the episodes are quite good, but the conspiracy never quite gains traction with me.

The Finale Arc is of course the most controversial.  It was well acted and executed.  It was potentially, nearly excellent.  And I think Quinn was a wonderful final villain.  He was fully as psychotic as Volkoff, with none of his charm.  I really wish he’d tied back into the conspiracy.  I wish that we knew he’d been calling the shots for Decker and Shaw. But he wasn’t presented that way, and its only a nit pick.  I’m mildly disappointed they went the amnesia route for a series finale; but Chuck was about computer implanted memories from the Pilot, so its hard to argue this trope had no place in the show.  I have some story telling issues with 5.12, as I mentioned in the last re-watch post, but this is only a fairly big thing because it occurs so close to the end.  I don’t like that so much of the end of this series, from late Bullet Train until Goodbye was darker in tone than what I’d been wanting to see every week.  And I dislike that my favorite character was absent for the last 2+ episodes.  Ultimately, my biggest problem with the end is it came a beat too early for me.  I needed to see Chuck and Sarah come home from the beach together to see the Woodcombs head off for paradise Chicago.  Or at least hear from Sarah that she’d found what she was looking for.  Some. Little. Bit. More.  I think all those other complaints would have been completely forgotten if I’d been just a little happier with the end.

Characters

Season Five was another mixed outing for Chuck.  I mostly liked what I saw.  Chuck is happy, confident and capable with his new wife and company.  I particularly like episodes like Hack Off, Baby, Bullet Train and Goodbye where we see a wise and mature man and husband for Sarah.  This is Chuck at his very best, and there can be no denying that in the end Chuck rises to the challenge and is the man he needs to be.  But I do wish we hadn’t had to see the return of Chuck the buffoon in Curse and Kept Man.  I’m not sure who finds this funny, I know I don’t.  Curse especially makes Chuck look very foolish, very bad, at a time when we’re supposed to believe he is at his most mature.  I find this bitterly disappointing.

Sarah again fairs much better.  Her maturity and confidence throughout the season is easily my single favorite part of the show.  From confidently coaching Gertrude on making a relationship work while remaining a spy in Hack Off, to rejecting a CIA job offer in Baby, to embracing a new, safer business model in preparation for having kids of her own in Bo; this is just perfect.  Watch Truth or Suburbs, then come back to Baby.  Wow!  Add in learning the story of Emma and Molly and Season Five was truly a great one for Sarah Bartowski.  Of course some of this only makes the end harder.  I really dislike the way this was handled.  And I understand completely that those viewers who do not see Sarah’s recovery as really having started yet at the end may find it particularly heartbreaking.  But really, she’s all right.  I’m sure of it.  Maybe it took a couple days or weeks.  But trust me on this, the Bartowskis recently celebrated their third anniversary and Sarah remembers all of it.

Casey has another good season.  He adapts surprisingly well to life as a private spy/security specialist.  Even if he still prefers the lack of moral ambiguity in government work (!).  The big news for Casey is a new love interest.  I think Gertrude was a terrific addition to the show.  Especially in Frosted Tips and Hack Off she was a valuable new comer, and Casey’s obvious soul mate!

I think Morgan was mostly well used in Season Five.  Maybe a little too much of him in the Morgansect arc, but his part shrunk to a more appropriate quantity after.  I found his efforts to win back Alex to be sweet and funny.

Ellie and Devon were very entertaining at times, they particularly owned Curse.  I liked both Ellie getting to play Intersect expert at times and Devon as the new face of Buy More.  Given that these two have been the symbol of “stable” and “normal” since the series started we never saw huge changes for them, but they remained a welcome and entertaining part of the ensemble.

For the minor characters, Jeff had the best season.  That’s something I never expected to say!  But it was a lot of fun seeing him come out from the fog.  Especially how it shook up Lester.  Even more amazing, they were still friends in the end.

Episodes

I’ll use my usual three ranks for evaluating episodes again.

  • STRONG: Business Trip, Hack Off, Baby.  I wish I could put more on this list.  The basic situation for this season (marriage, private business) is by far my favorite of the whole series.  Baby is another of those extremely strong sorts.
  • AVERAGE: Zoom, Bearded Bandit, Frosted Tips, Santa Suit, Bo, Bullet Train, 5.12, Goodbye.  Several of these are almost strong, and would have been with just the smallest of little teaks (“Take me home Chuck…”).
  • WEAK: Curse, Kept Man. Like many past weak episodes, Chuck the buffoon is what knocks these down a peg.  Both episodes could have been “Average” with fairly small changes.

As I said above, I really love Season Five.  Looking at all the episodes rated above I’m struck by how strong so much of it was.  And I think the addition of four words at the end could have lifted three more episodes to “strong” status.  But I think Baby will always be the enduring gem of the season.  That’s a masterpiece.

I feel like I could write a lot more here.  But we just did full write-ups on every episode!  So I think I leave the more detailed discussions for those posts.  As always, feel free to comment here, or in any post that seems most fitting to what you want you want to say.  I look forward to everyone’s input.

Next week will be our last “scheduled” post, with “Chuck in Overview: The Complete Series”.

~ Dave 

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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219 Responses to Chuck in Overview: Season Five

  1. everything you love about this season echo’s my view too! Where we differ is the finale arc, IMO just as many people say its a disservice to the fan base, I say its a much greater disservice to the cast of the show not to place the last three episodes as strong ( which I do) just because you dislike the content and/or ending! That would be like not casting Brian Crayonston as Walter White (which they almost didn’t) because he played the dad on MITM! Don’t you think the fact that the heartbreak is so palpable says how incredible the cast was!? it merits an upgrade because people are so affected by it, that was obviously the point of it anyway, otherwise they wouldn’t have done it ( I say this after watching the video that was recently posted in the S4 Overview) otherwise I have no objection to your view:)

    • atcDave says:

      I would agree the performances are strong. But the end is not to my taste. Period. This is not about any “objective” measure. I tend to think trying to quantify such things is a fool’s errand anyway. In the end we all like what we like. I see plenty of things in the finale arc I like, especially in Bullet Train. But the end sours the whole thing.
      Its like the old “other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?” One event sort of defines and sours the experience, no matter what the rest might have been. Obviously this isn’t quite so bad (my spouse did survive the experience), so it isn’t quite such a catastrophic circumstance! But even so, whatever good happened earlier in the arc, the end leaves me less than satisfied, so that remains the defining issue.

      Actually your Breaking Bad analogy is perfect. It makes no difference at all to me who was cast, I could tell from a synopsis it wasn’t for me. Any claims of “quality” are completely beside the point, you couldn’t pay me to watch such a thing.

    • revdr says:

      Josh; I agree that in a way that the finale arc was a disservice to the cast (at least to Yvonne) because once again we see Sarah’s character relegated to less of a partnership/proactive role, to more of a reactive/observer one, so that once again Chuck could be the hero and make a life changing decision in the process. That had become the rule, rather than the exception in finales for Sarah. The Sarah that we saw in vs 5.12 was a Sarah that we had only seen in a flash in the of the pilot, and while it was Yvonne being Yvonne, showing her immense range of talent, it was a dark, and stark departure from the Sarah who we had come to love over five years of the series. And, although the Sarah we see sitting on that beach certainly isn’t S1 Sarah, unfortunately, she isn’t S5 Sarah either. I could have accepted the whole memory suppression storyline if it had been introduced earlier in the season, giving more time for sighs of recovery. They just kinda whitewashed the whole thing; and the “magic kiss” theory couldn’t have worked because that wasn’t the ultimate goal, only a red herring. By his own admission it was their intent to break them up or, in CF’s own words “Have Chuck lose the girl” so that they can fall for each other again. That’s what’s makes it a disservice for the fans, because in the end, nothing was settled, or concluded…just vaguely implied. I understand the concept of leaving the door open for possible new stories, but, at least to me, there is no justification for the ambiguity, just for the sake of being trendy. As I have said before, I didn’t necessarily need to see the picket fence or the kids running in the yard, but any indication that they had moved beyond the recovery/get to know you again stage would have been nice.The “no ending” ending was kind of cruel and insensitive to fans who stuck with you from beginning to end. Although it was hopeful, it was ultimately unsatisfying.

      • atcDave says:

        Rev I have to say a lot of your dissatisfaction is willful, and its blinding you to what others DID see. In particular, I categorically did see Sarah Bartowski in the beach scene. And after the most recent re-watch, I’m more sure of that than ever. Not even S4 Sarah would have been so free and open with her emotions. This is directly parallel to Morgan at the end of Frosted Tips who returned to his later, fully mature character even before all his memories had returned.
        So we saw that Sarah did have memories returning, and we saw an openness from her at the end that can only be a very late series level of maturity, and yet you still say you didn’t see it.

        Okay, if you didn’t see it you didn’t see it. But it is wrong to present it as a “fact” that it wasn’t present when many of us did see it. Its your choice. Just understand that your reaction is a matter of taste and preference; NOT an objective reality.

      • Josh says:

        Dave

        Your 100% right about Sarah “Bartowski” being on the beach! She may not feel tottaly connected to “their story” but she feels Chuck 100%! I personally feel she’s drawn to him involentaraly like there’s a seridipidius element to it!! (I hope I used that word right lol)

      • atcDave says:

        I think you used that right Josh!

      • revdr says:

        Dave; I don’t know that it’s willful, but yes, ultimately, I just don’t see it. Realistically, to me it doesn’t make sense, and it doesn’t jibe with what the writer was trying to accomplish. He himself wanted Chuck and Sarah to fall in love again, with or without recalling her suppressed memories, and so to say that Sarah Bartowski is present on that beach doesn’t ring true to me, especially when the memories recovered so far have been not only random, but from 5 years prior, and, she doesn’t even know the significance of the beach she migrated to. Again, I see the hopefulness, and the destiny aspects of it all, but I just cannot buy that a story and a kiss means that all is well, and that they still don’t have a ways to go. I have to inject a little realism into the mix my friend. So I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.

      • Josh says:

        We’re not saying all is well, just that Sarah is freely opening herself to explore the past she doesn’t remember and Sarah Walker wouldn’t have done that!

      • oldresorter says:

        Rev listen to that hour long podcast. Fedak pretty much says Sarah is still in there.

      • atcDave says:

        Rev what you call realism I just call pessimism. They are definitely not the same thing. We saw a concrete memory from just a few weeks previous at the end of 5.12 (the carving). And I absolutely saw Sarah Bartowski on the beach. Your realism just looks stubborn to me, its not an accurate reflection of what’s on screen. You’re just rationalizing it as realism.
        Ultimately what I DID see is just as valid was what you didn’t. And once I saw it, I don’t even get how I ever missed it.

      • uplink2 says:

        rev, I’m more aligned with you but I do want to bring up the idea once again that somehow Fedak seemed to view the idea of losing everything and falling in love again, which they never clearly show, is somehow a satisfying ending. No BEING in love is a satisfying ending. That somehow having Chuck lose the girl so she could maybe, sort of, possibly if the viewer wants her to, fall for him again is somehow a great way to end a series. I just can buy that concept. Being in love with all the growth and memories of how that love came into being is a far far far better outcome to say goodbye to these characters but we never got that and we never will. It’s a flawed concept that “what could be better than falling in love again” has an affirmative answer.
        I can appreciate the work of the actors and the execution of that story but the story itself is a flawed and false one and an absolutely horrible story choice for a series finale. I agree with Think totally, great episodes and terrible finale. Get rid of Santa suit, Curse and Bo and tell a longer amnesia storyline and maybe it could have worked but what we got on that beach wasn’t anywhere near enough to get me to believe that the only and definitive outcome was a happy one. That Sarah Bartowski was whole again or ever would be. Meaningless memories of cups on a counter or Irene DeMova without any memories of Chuck himself or the context of those memories simply isn’t enough for me to walk away feeling like they were well on their way back.

      • uplink2 says:

        Excuse me “can’t buy that”

      • revdr says:

        OR; I did listen to the podcast again; that’s the point. My argument isn’t that Sarah isn’t in there, but that she just isn’t fully there on that beach. Maybe as Dave says, I’m just being stubborn, but would disagree that I’m being pessimistic, because I’m not saying that they don’t wind up together, only that It make’s no sense that what we see on that beach resolves anything, at least not there and then. My focus isn’t on Sarah’s memory loss, although it does matter, realistically. And I’m not diminishing what anyone else might have seen in that scene. I see hope, and her willingness to want to reconnect, but it still doesn’t resonate with the story. My point always was that nothing was resolved, and that just wasn’t enough for me…just me. I’m not trying to take anyone else along for the ride. It is indeed my interpretation, nothing more.

      • oldresorter says:

        Rwev – I didn’t like it either. But I do see what they were trying to do. They just missed the mark (for me).

      • atcDave says:

        I’m closer to OR on this. The resolution they were shooting for works for me, if only I’d seen it on first viewing. Well mostly. I would always prefer a more proper epilogue. But together and happy about it is the minimum acceptable. And I’ve come to believe we got it. Sarah’s recovery is far enough along it can have only have one outcome. Its just not being sure of that on initial viewing will always irk me a little. The reason I always say I needed a little more is just so I would have been sure on that initial viewing.

      • revdr says:

        Uplink; while I’m on board with your line of thinking, I certainly understand what Dave, and everyone else is saying, and I appreciate what they all saw. My take is that, hopefulness aside, that no matter what happened on that beach, it wasn’t enough. I know what the writer was trying to convey, and it just didn’t fly with me. The ultimate question would be why, but to CF’s way of thinking, Sarah’s in there, somewhere, just waiting to come out. And it’s a very great thing in his mind, that them getting to fall in love again denotes their destiny to be together, and overcoming any obstacle to be together. Cool right? Not so much, they have already overcome both being kidnaped, Sarah almost dying, a long separation because of a mission to say him mom. How much more do they have to endure? And, the thing is, we are not given any sense of time, or what has occurred between them leaving castle, and Chuck finding Sarah on the beach. I don’t doubt Sarah’s wanting to reconnect, but wouldn’t you if you had trouble recalling things about your life, that have been taken from you by design and with malice of forethought, from the one person that you have decided to trust. I sure would. But it just doesn’t seem right that her hearing their story would make any real difference that soon, when that stretch of beach doesn’t have any real meaning to her at that point. Again, I don’t think that it’s pessimistic to believe that a prolonged kiss means anything more that a desire to feel something, anything, to help her remember, or find something positive from a very scary situation. I have always been taught that you have to help yourself before you can help anyone else, and you also have to trust someone other than yourself. Sarah’s at that place in her life. Falling in love again might be a great story if you’ve been separated for a prolonged period of time, and you go through the process of getting to know each other again, memory recall notwithstanding. Yes, Morgan began to remember, slowly, Sarah wasn’t given nearly as much time, and her suppression was even more pronounced. It was ill conceived and not conveyed convincingly enough to ring true. At least, not to me. The bottom line for me is that the story was left undone. On purpose…….

      • uplink2 says:

        Rev, while I agree with your POV and understand what you are saying about intent the fact is my moment to say goodbye was taken away from me and I can never get that back. And what is so frustrating is that it all was so easy to have been given to me. For me I’ve come to the conclusion that “Chuck? Shut up and kiss me,” and a smile of recognition on both of their faces that they both understood what that meant is all that would have been needed and would have been the perfect ending to the story THEY wanted to tell. Can you imagine what Yvonne could have done with that non-verbal moment? It would have been brilliant. And the joy and hope on Zach’s face would have been priceless. But alas it never happened and what is even more depressing is I don’t think it was ever even considered of thought of TBH.

      • atcDave says:

        Uplink that would have been a perfect little extra. Exactly the sort of thing that would have made a big difference to me.

      • revdr says:

        Yep Uplink; that could have made all the difference in the world. It could have mirrored the DYLM looks in Other Guy. Everything would have changed for me.

      • uplink2 says:

        It would have worked because it would have been exactly what was missing for me, a memory of Chuck and a memory with context. That is all I would have needed. With that I could have said goodbye, walked away and knew with absolute certainty they would be fine. With what we got I believe they are but I don’t know it and that intentional uncertainty bothers me greatly.

    • thinkling says:

      Yeah, Josh, I can be objective about an episode and see the good in most, but in the end my rating of the episode boils down to whether I liked it or not. I don’t think I’ve ever heard critics of the final arc say that the execution and acting was anything less than out-of-the-park fantastic … some of the best of the series. People take issue (broad range from mild disappointment to bitter anger) with the finale b/c it was an unsatisfying ending (or non ending) to the series. My first response was outstanding episodes … lousy finale. Even after working my way to a happier outlook on the finale, that original assessment still holds.

      • atcDave says:

        Of course I think this is exactly right. Even the harshest critics of the finale tend to acknowledge its merits. But its the feeling it leaves us with at the end that determines the like/dislike for most of us.

  2. oldresorter says:

    For me weak Curse, Santa, Goodbye and Sarah. Strong Baby, Business Trip, and of all eps, Zoom, with Baby being the strongest. Rest were average.

    I thought the acting really started to distance itself from the set / budget and writing, such that I felt bad for the cast. This was true in all the episodes, even Baby had some really bad writing, and that was probably the most well written ep in the season and the scenes sometimes seemed like I was watching an internet production rather than network tv. One reason I liked Zoom, that ep setting seemed bigger and better more like season one or two Chuck.

    The final two eps let me down so much, and the season was intertwined into those two eps so much, that it was hard to like the season retrospectively for me, in spite of the season largely being likeable, except for the Sarah torture episode and the final two joyless eps from hell.

    • atcDave says:

      Its funny, I knew even as I typed the post that you would rank Santa Suit as weak! You’ve been pretty consistent on that since the night it ran. For me, I think with a few changes it actually would have been strong. Of course a little less pounding on Sarah IS part of that. But I thought there were several great moments, and just a few minor annoyances, so not bad at all to me.

      5.12 is an episode I almost called weak. It definitely fell a bit in my eyes on this latest re-watch. The excellent performances, and dynamite v-log scene struggle against the prevailing dark, depressing story. I suspect if Sarah had taken a step towards reclaiming her life, instead of pursuing Quinn right then, it would have helped me a lot. And of course, just a bit of extra certainty at the end would have helped the whole arc!

      Zoom was fun. I can’t call it strong, but I have no major complaints with it. Bearded Bandit was the only episode of the Morgansect Arc I really had any issues with (too much Morgan). I almost could have called Frosted Tips strong too.

      • oldresorter says:

        Would no Shaw and no Sarah being beaten and tortured for the entire ep be catagorized as a small change? If so, I’m with you.

        Although, how cool would have a cameo been same as his ep started, with him confronting Sarah, him pulling a gun on her, and she shooting him dead, three bullet CIA execution style, as he fell off the railing, his head gets chopped off somehow, his head lands on the pin ball machine? The pin ball machine goes crazy, like it hit the daily double – ching ching ching, with the bumpers moving his head back and forth. 5 seconds total to bring the Shaw arc to a close!

      • oldresorter says:

        Then, they could have tied Decker to quinn as the big bad in that ep, and started the investigation. Nearly the same plot, with Quinn up to no good from afar instead of shaw from the castle. Quinn would leave Sarah an email about the baby to end the ep, Quinn was not caught, only revealed at the end.

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t require no Shaw. Sure I groaned when I saw him in the preview. His return was certainly an unwelcome one. But I didn’t feel his presence ruined the episode. I would have preferred less pounding on Sarah, someone other than Shaw as the mastermind (maybe a first reference to Quinn), and for Chuck to go running off to Castle immediately after Shaw went down.
        That might have been enough to make it strong for me.
        Although your version probably would have done it too! I particularly like Sarah just shooting him dead.

      • uplink2 says:

        The only reason they brought Shaw back was because Fedak wanted to bring him back. Him being behind the “consipiracy” has so many holes you can flt a C5A through it. It takes such a case of cape waving and squinting to gain any believability to that storyline. Plus in the long run it served no purpose. It didn’t bump up the ratings which was why the promo aired 2 weeks earlier, it didn’t tell a believable story and it didn’t give us a final resolution to Shaw himself. He is simply back in prison just like he was before the episode aired. With a definite end to the series coming there was no need to keep your beloved, in Fedak’s eyes, “villain” alive. A far more satisfying end with Sarah putting a bullet in his head or throw him into a power panel with 40,000 volts might have worked. But to simply have him beat Sarah up for 42 minutes, just to get Ellie hit him over the head this time and put him back where he was when the episode started was a very weak excuse to simply tweek the fans and bring such a hated character back.

      • uplink2 says:

        I’ll be honest. I’d feel a lot better about season 5 if they had killed off Shaw once and for all. To me the only reason to bring him back was so he would be killed off finally much like the final scene in Agents of Shield with Agent Garrett.

      • atcDave says:

        Agent Garret had an awesome exit… more like Decker.
        And of course, that was LaJudkins!

        I completely agree there were a lot of holes in Shaw’s “mastermind” story. That required massive suspension of disbelief!

      • Wilf says:

        It didn’t bother me having Shaw return, although I’d have preferred it if he had not. But I do rather like OR’s short, execution-of-Shaw version … maybe without the chopped-off head, but perhaps that’s just me 😉

      • oldresorter says:

        Head chopped off would preclude another comeback

    • revdr says:

      Yeah, Garrett’s demise was awesome. I love how they are intertwining all of the elements of the MCU, opening the door to so many possibilities, what with Guardians hitting this summer and Ant-Man on the horizon, season 2 holds a lot of promise….and Agent Carter is going to fill in a lot of gaps, since it’s a precursor tale to that of SHIELD’s.

  3. oldresorter says:

    Mentalist had a pretty decent ending tonight!

  4. aalleess says:

    What I didn’t like:
    1. Hints of a bigger conspiracy got me really excited. I thought that would lead to an awesome finale. Instead, they came up with Shaw. Ugh, At least he makes a better villain than a good guy.
    2. Quinn just came out of nowhere.
    3. Putting intersect into Morgan/Sarah.
    4. “Normal” Jeff.
    5. Amnesia.

    What I liked:
    1. Decker and Ryker. Great villains.
    2. Hack Off and Baby – strong episodes.
    3. Verbanski.

    • atcDave says:

      Apart from liking “normal” Jeff, I agree completely.

      I wish I’d mentioned that in the main post, Quinn needed a better introduction. I think making him the head of the conspiracy, and letting us hear the name sometime before we met him (probably in Santa Suit) would have helped a lot.

    • thinkling says:

      I like all your likes.

      I’m with Dave on normal Jeff. I loved normal Jeff. In fact s5 is the first time I liked Jeffster in a very long time. It was a great way to breathe new life into a part of the story that was dead for me for a long time.

      As for the amnesia, Sarahsect/Morgansect, and conspiracy … I don’t completely dislike them.

      If the conspiracy plot had used Shaw as a stooge of Quinn and the conspiracy mastermind, that would have been fine.

      Morgansect and Sarahsect (with the resulting amnesia) are valid story lines to pursue and organic, given the Intersect/brain complexities established throughout the show. The whole Sarahsect/amnesia arc was so well acted and had some really wonderful stuff. It just needed to be resolved before the finale. The finale should have been Sarah’s return (at least to a reasonable level) and CS as the power couple again bringing down Quinn and the conspiracy mastermind. Two more episodes to bring Sarah back and complete the conspiracy plot. That would have made the amnesia arc sort of awesome I think.

      • atcDave says:

        What a great outline. I definitely needed Sarah okay(ish) by the end of 5.12. It would have been so cool to have them flirting and enjoying themselves in Berlin. Especially if Sarah is somewhat confused by it all; “why am I having so much fun?” “Why does this seem so natural?” Oh well.

      • aalleess says:

        As far as “normal” Jeff is concerned, I should probably say I didn’t like the BuyMore anymore. Entertainment was a very important part of the show for me and BuyMore provided plenty of it. But just in the first two seasons, much less in the later ones and especially so in the last season. I missed the good old days.

        As far as the Intersect is concerned, I always had a wish that Chuck was something special so that a thing like the Intersect could only be put into let’s say 0,000001% of the population. Maybe that is my problem – the whole “let’s put the Intersect into a different person five times a season” really annoyed me. There was some good stuff, of course, and your suggestions would make it even better.

      • atcDave says:

        I think they really struggled knowing what to do with the Buy More after S2. Literally, as Buy More became less important Chuck the character it became less important to Chuck the show.
        But it was funny on occasion. And for pure dumb laughs I thought it worked well enough in S5.

        I do agree the Intersect lost a lot of its specialness in the later seasons when more people wound up using it. But I would say that was sort of the point. Orion meant it to be an educational aid. I think the 2.0 was meant to be more broadly useful than the original version had been, remember Roark thought he could build a whole army of agents with it. And I think after Ellie tinkered with it, it became even more accessible to more users. That wasn’t spelled out in detail, but I think its a reasonable conclusion from we did know.

  5. Still hate what they did to Sarah….They really screwed her up the last two seasons, poison and amnesia… The ending I agree with you Dave, just a small motion- a small line, or some type of positive body language would have been enough for me to know everything will be alright. Especially after the emotional ringer they put us through those last 3 episodes.

    • anthropocene says:

      Sarah throws her arm around Chuck on the beach in mid-kiss, just before the fade to black: Done.

    • authorguy says:

      One word. “Perfect.”

    • atcDave says:

      Oh some good suggestions guys! How simple it would have been to fix will always be part of what was so frustrating about it.
      But at least its given us something to talk about for 2+ years.

      • revdr says:

        Yeah; that’s for sure Dave; and i’ve never had so much fun getting to know, and gaining so much insight from all of you guys……

      • atcDave says:

        Don’t forget “getting frustrated with each other”. Definitely a huge part of the experience…

        But of course its been a ton of fun. I think both learning from each other, and having to understand our own reactions enough to defend them is a huge part of the fun.

      • Wilf says:

        Agreed, and I second rev’s point … it really has been so much fun getting to see all the various views about the series, its plot strong and weak points, the actors, the acting, etc. Absolutely wonderful.

      • anthropocene says:

        And write imaginary sequels to.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s my other favorite part!

        Well reading them anyway…

      • thinkling says:

        Amen and amen. This site and community has been sooo much fun for me. And the ff … yeah a ton of fun to read and lots of fun for me for my first (and thusfar only) venture into writing fiction. Aww, I’m getting all nostalgic.

  6. I totally echo everybody’s point… prior to coming to this site I never noticed the overwhelming amount of problems in S3 and I was shocked when I watched it back and finally saw how laughable the first 11 episodes were…proof that the phrase “ignorance is bliss” is totally true.

    the back and forth certainly is wonderful; cant wait for the full series overview!:)

    • atcDave says:

      I actually feel bad though if we diminished your enjoyment of something. There are viewers who enjoyed that story, and its never my intent to gain company for my misery. Only to commiserate with like minded viewers!

      But I’m pleased that the discussions have been fun for you Josh. That is always the whole point of this site.

  7. My comment may be a little off-topic, and may of you will disagree with some of it, but here goes…

    Of all 5 seasons, S5 ends up being the one I give the most thought to, and my reaction wavers between ambivalence and disappointment. Ambivalence because for me, given how S4 tied the Charah love story up so well, S5 plays like an epilogue or a sequel, rather than part of the show. It’s nice to have, since we get to see C&S as a power couple, but isn’t really necessary, At the same time, I’m disappointed because, while S5 gives us some good stuff (the pool party in Business Trip, the entirety of Baby,and any C&S scene), we get the rug pulled out with the Quinn arc. So even though there is some really good stuff in this last season, its not one that I can enjoy, and have skipped entirely in my last coupld of run-throughs.

    • atcDave says:

      I admit I’m most likely to skip the whole finale arc in the future. Really a shame, there’s some good stuff. But too much baggage to be worth it.
      For myself, I figure the show basically ends at Baby.
      And its pretty much for the reasons you mention.

  8. thinkling says:

    I agree with Jeffrey about the disappointment part, but no ambivalence here … none, nada, zero, zilch. In fact the Hollywood Romcom-fairytale viewpoint that the wedding is the end of the story frustrates me to no end. I see the wedding as the beginning of the best stories yet to come. And that goes double for Chuck and Sarah Bartowski.

    S5 is in many ways my favorite season. I wish we could have a lot more Chuck and Sarah as the power couple, more of the family spy biz. S5 gives me the Chuck and Sarah that I have wanted all along, so for that I love S5 more than all the others.

    I thought the plotting of S5 was tighter than any other season and basically well done … with one major exception: the conspiracy plot. The conspiracy and the episodes leading up to it (the end of Cliffhanger, the end of The Zoom, the end of Business Trip, Hack Off, and Curse) really had me going. I thought it was one of the best ideas for a plot on Chuck. Then came Santa Suit … a bucket of cold water to my enthusiasm. (Slight digression: Shaw’s story had been told. I thought his resurrection was a cheap, unappealing story line in S3. His return in S5 was just ridiculous.)

    Shaw as the conspiracy master mind was ludicrous on so many levels!! As Decker described the Puppet Master (as being in on the entire Intersect stuff ever since Agent X), Shaw doesn’t qualify. (Neither does Quinn, but more on him later.)Decker could have lied, but then there’s no story integrity. Really, really frustrating that they flushed an exciting story down the Shaw drain.

    Quinn was an okay bad guy, but I agree with those who think he should have had an introduction sooner in the story. I still don’t see him as the PM … more of a long-time pawn of the PM. They could have actually hinted at the big PM at Quinn’s death and left discovering and ending the PM as a movie/mini-series plot. But Nooo, we had to get another reprise of Shaw.

    OK. Rant over. Even with all of that, S5 remains my favorite season on many levels.

    • atcDave says:

      I agree completely with the favorite “on many levels” part. This is absolutely my favorite place for Chuck and Sarah, they are really my favorite television couple ever and I wish we’d had a lot more of this story from here.
      I always hesitate to call it my favorite season overall because a couple of the arc failures, especially the conspiracy really annoy me. Much worse than just Vivian being a little dull. The finale could have been terrific, if only it weren’t the finale…

      Interesting thought on some other mastermind. Maybe Ted Roark. He’s just as alive as Orion. More so than Shaw.

      • aalleess says:

        If Ted Roark was the mastermind it would be another “we thought he was dead” situation. I think ressurection of Bryce in Imported Hard Salami was enough.

      • atcDave says:

        Well as I said, just as alive as Orion. I was thinking maybe an AI mastermind. That seems reasonable for a Chuck story.

      • aalleess says:

        Oh, ok. I think get it now.

      • thinkling says:

        Roark could have been the MM, and when he died, the guy in the plane (Roark’s associate that Quin was talking to) took over. I see the master mind, as described by Decker, as a contemporary of SJB — or maybe one of his superior’s at the time.

      • thinkling says:

        Ohhh, and AI mastermind … love that idea. But I suppose ultimately there has to be a man behind the curtain.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I would agree we need human agents and lackeys. But I am now thinking of Winter Soldier and Dr. Zola. What a profoundly creepy and terrifying AI/villain! I could easily see that working on Chuck for Roark. And that loopy, amoral sense of humor on top of the literal inhumanity of it. Oh man I’m really liking this idea!

      • authorguy says:

        Then you should read Anthropocene’s story with exactly that plot! He really got the loopy villainy of Roarke down too.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Roarke Instrument’s RIOS free operating system (remember how important it was to stop it’s release) has been gathering information for years for the new intersect 3.0. The omen was a Trojan horse to enable RIOS to download everything to the super-secret RI intersect facility. Chuck was to be the unwilling recipient of said intersect, as he was identified as having the suitable brain. Sadly said intersect would have erased said brain (flashback to Phase 3). Unfortunately, the RIOS intersect becomes sentient and in a very 2001 sort of twist seeks to eliminate all other intersects to prevent them from contaminating it’s “pure” version.

        The climax comes with Chuck dropping in to “the intersect room” and destroying the HAL intersect ala Bryce in the pilot.

      • authorguy says:

        Maybe I’ll use that, when I get around to doing my rewrite of S5! Lots of good ideas here, but maybe I’ll haveto rethink my Ultimate Bad Guy and his Evil Plot.

      • atcDave says:

        Dang I knew that idea came too easily, of course Anthro already used it. And used it quite well too.

        I like Ernie’s version though; that would be a fun story!

      • oldresorter says:

        What’s Next (my story) had a bit of that too, with the AI being called ‘Manchurian’, and the behind the scenes people being the first Orion like character, named Joe Young and Gepeto (Vivian’s mom) – her real name was Faith – LOL. Joe Young was named after this site’s Joe, and resembled Frigne’s Walter, he was the first of the intersect scientists, Orion’s mentor.

      • thinkling says:

        Fun stuff. And I love Anthro’s S6. His AI was great.

      • anthropocene says:

        Thanks, Marc and thinking…and I’ll add that Chuck “unplugged” the Roarkbot in 6.03…but it’s not at all clear that he destroyed it!

      • anthropocene says:

        *thinkling! oops

      • anthropocene says:

        and thanks Dave too!

    • Mine too! I actually have been writing a follow up story and decided per many people’s suggestions to title it “Chuck and Sarah” as we all thought that should have been the show’s title from the get go. The 1st Chapter is FINALLY done and now I’m revising it for a final draft. I’ll have plenty of the stuff we wanted more of; albeit not from the get go but like Dave I believe Sarah would accept Chuck as a regular part of her life again quite quickly memories or not, because as I’ve said before her attraction to Chuck is involuntary and I have always thought that:)

      I really do love S5! The idea that the Intersect is the source of the teams problems makes total sense, even if the details didn’t necessarily add up. I’m always the kind of viewer who appreciates cast performance and metaphorical finales over continuity or closure and thus the finale arc and Santa Suit rated very highly for me and while I still don’t care for BR I thought his performance in Santa Suit was better than any point in S3! The exception to this rule is if I find a plot terribly ridiculous, for that reason I now loathe “the misery arc”, just horrific writing by JS; so much so that I’m disappointed in myself for taking so long to notice how awful it was…

  9. garnet says:

    The best I can say is that the finale managed to bring out many great new (and some old) FF writiers to carry on the dream. I know we are supposed to “know” that Chuck and Sarah are out there happily together. I know that Sarah 5.13 was not Sarah 1.00, but neither was she 5.11. She has a long way to go. 2 years on, I think I see that they must be OK, but it took a couple of reads of Thinkling’s story and a few others (less expensive than therapy) to get to that point. Really it was a writer’s (or critic’s ending) rather than a fan friendly one. And given just how much the fan’s supported the show, it was more than a bit unfortunate.

    Mr. Fedak I believe was reported to have said “in what universe would they not end up together”. To him I respond, I can think of several FF offerings that show what happens when Sarah or Chuck make the wrong decision and definitely don’t end up together. Open ended finales are great for those who are on the same page as TPTB, but there are some that felt the ending was just “that much” too open for their liking and wished they had stopped at Chapter 7!

    • atcDave says:

      I think fan trust could never be the same after S3. Perhaps if they hadn’t abused our trust so badly then, we would have trusted them more with the ending!

      I agree with all of that Garnet.

    • authorguy says:

      It’s worse for those of us who cannot accept anything less than a full restoration. The fact that any version of Sarah will love Chuck isn’t relevant.

      • But that’s basically the defining factor in true love; accepting the person no matter what I certainly acknowledge your POV but it seems overly pessimistic to me, could I ask why you feel that way I’m just curious?

      • authorguy says:

        Sarah without her memories returned in full is basically a zombie, animated by the ghost of her long-lost twin sister. Chuck should either be in mourning for his wife, or working to get her back. Dating the relative who inherited her body is grotesque. Restoring her full memory was too easy to do, to let her stay that way. (I’m not at all pessimistic, I know it’s an easy story to write because I wrote it.) As an analogy, consider Sarah’s reaction to Eve’s reappearance in nine2five. At first she was shocked and stricken, but in the context of a world where Bryce was brought back to life, there was a good precedent for Eve being restored too. It’s not voodoo or necromanct, it’s science and technology. Similarly, knowing what they do about the Intersect, there’s absolutely no reason to think that Sarah’s memories are gone for good.
        I’m okay with stories like Thinkling’s and some others, where she has a cascade event. but even there I’d prefer that there be an objective standard, such as the Intersect itself. Sarah’s not an amnesia victim, she was subjected to a specific process with a specific methodology, so there’s no need to suppose the effects are irreversible unless you want to. Orion removed the Intersect, after all. Using the Intersect to fix what the Intersect broke is too obvious a solution. The only reason I think more people haven’t used it is that they like exploring the ‘inevitability’ of Sarah’s love for Chuck, however unrealistic it actually is.

      • garnet says:

        Not sure if you were responding to me or not, but True Love requires two people to be invested in it. If one person “loves” another and it is unrequited, we call it a crush or something similar. It isn’t love. What we were shown on the beach was the possibility of love with the potential (or likely) need for Chuck to win Sarah over again. While I agree that the most likely scenerio is that they will work it out, there are so many variables that could affect the situation I am less than comfortable in saying , “they MUST be together.” And after 5 seasons anything less than MUST seems lacking. Although Sarah fell for Chuck early on, it was their shared experiences that cemented the deal. They are not in the spy world now, so what are the experiences that they will need to share to bring them back together, and without the spy world, is it even possible? Again I hope so, but I don’t KNOW so. Sad to think that we had much the same feeling at the end of Best Friend.

        My other point was that inspite of what CF said, there are clearly many others who have envisioned a wide varitey of pairings based on their takeoff point ( Chuck/Carina Sarah/Bryce Chuck/Casey Sarah/Shaw Chuck/Jill Sarah/Ellie). So clearly there are a multitude of AU’s out there where Chuck and Sarah do not end up together. That being the case, there is a need for some clarity as far as exactly what is going on. A quick thought. If Sarah met Shaw now, not remembering him, could he play her the way he did in season three?

      • thinkling says:

        My thought while reading your comment, Garnet, was that CF himself said that in some universe Shaw would be perfect for Sarah.

        Your question: would Shaw be able to manipulate memory challenged Sarah as he did Sarah in S3? I say emphatically no. Sarah’s growth — Sarah Bartowski — was still in there. (It’s also important to remember that Sarah had no neurological damage, as might be the case in alzheimers patients or accident victims or stroke victims. That was the whole point to Ellie’s examination of Morgan — to know the effect on Sarah.) We saw the invisible Sarah Bartowski’s influence on Sarah throughout the finale. There was an emotional pull toward Chuck (the Sarah Bartowski influence) during her eavesdropping on the cold feet discussion, in the white room, in the house, returning to the Buymore, during the dance, and in the Berlin Wienerlishous. The emotions were still in there exerting their pull on an initially unaware Sarah. I believe Sarah finally became aware of this other woman inside — became aware that she wasn’t the Agent Walker she remembered. That, I believe, is what prompted her statement that she had to find herself.

        Back to the Shaw question. Emotions are more accessible to an amnesia patient than episodic memory. Often amnesia patients will meet people they used to know but no longer remember. Even without any conscious memory of those people, they will have an emotional response to the person that corresponds to their prior relationship with them. I’m not a neurologist, or even a biology major, but that’s what some of my research for my story dug up.

        So, I believe Sarah would have had a negative visceral response to Shaw, even without remembering him.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well her first instinct with Quinn was to throw him out the window.

      • atcDave says:

        I think Quinn was able to exploit the period of vulnerability for Sarah, yet even so, the whole point to chattering in her ear that whole night she was home was to protect his plan from Sarah reconnecting with her husband.
        Left alone, Sarah will naturally gravitate back towards Chuck pretty quickly.

        Again, I needed more, but I have become convinced there’s only one likely outcome from the end we saw.

    • uplink2 says:

      I agree Garnet and remember Chris said this as well.

      Ryan: I know, it gets deep. I have to be really honest with you, I found Shaw to be stiff and cold and I found that as the season went on, the character just dragged down the parts of the show that he was in. And I guess the question is, was it the intention to make him unlikeable? And if so, how could Sarah fall for him?

      Fedak: The intention wasn’t to make … [pause] To me, Shaw is the epitome of a classic spy. You know, the kind of broad-shouldered hero/spy. And in some ways, that’s the kind of dynamic — on another spy show, Sarah and Shaw would be the heroes of that show. In some ways, like [Bryce] Larkin and kind of like Beefcake last season, Shaw’s the type of guy who has lived within her world. He is a spy much like herself, they’re cut from the same cloth and in some ways he’s the type of guy she should be with.

      Did we see any of Fedak’s response to a fantastic Mo Ryan question actually on screen? No. What we did see is that there is no universe where Sarah/Shaw works as written and performed. That is what she is saying and he stumbles actually answering the question honestly at first but catches himself. So how could you trust his later comments either? Spin baby, spin. I think it’s pretty clear that Chris many times believes that what is on the white board in the writers room is the actual story and it’s like he never watches what’s actually on screen and how the viewers are reacting. Never once did they show Shaw was any of those things he described. And in the case of the finale what’s on screen doesn’t lead a very large group of viewers to the same conclusion he does. Some feel that way because they want to feel that way and not because it was definitively shown.

      • Thinkling

        while I agree there was no damage to Sarah’s brain, I think Quinn caused exasperated neurological/physical/physiological stress. My feeling has always been that regardless of what’s happen to her Sarah would be drawn to Chuck, I just think that would be something that happens even if she has to get to know him all over I firmly believe she’d be enticed to be around him because Chuck is Chuck. Like I told Dave it would be involuntary. Do I think they’d be back to bullet train status quickly of course not but I FIRMLY believe she’d want to recover her suppressed memories ASAP and that her and Chuck would resume a relationship immediately albeit Sarah would stay in the guest room for a couple weeks but I think its evident in goodbye that she has S1-early S2ish feelings for Chuck.

        As for the possibly of Sarah being duped by Shaw I agree completely that it wouldn’t happen.. Quinn got to her but she WOULD NOT let that occur again, she’d do her homework!

      • atcDave says:

        I think the end is too different to directly compare Sarah’s emotions or maturity with any earlier period. Emotionally she was free and honest in a way she never was until S4. But she was still lacking first hand context. And she was working on that, she wanted it.
        I really wanted, needed to see Chuck and Sarah together and happy in the end, but I have to conclude they got there pretty quickly.

      • thinkling says:

        Agreed, Dave. Memory wiped Sarah may only remember her pre-Burbank self, but her Sarah Bartowski self, though forgotten, is not gone. So we get a layered or fragmented Sarah, who is trying to act like the woman she remembers, but is constantly influenced (against her will or conscious nature) by the woman she doesn’t remember. Yvonne did a great job with that I think.

        Josh, though I think you’re right that they would still fall in love with each other, even if they were starting over under other circumstances (the starting point of much ff), I think of their future from a different premise: namely that they are not starting over. With the growth and emotions of the last five years still inside Sarah (still influencing her, at first subtly, then more strongly) it’s more of a reconnecting with those emotions than falling in love all over again (from zero). I really don’t think she has to go through another iteration of S1 and S2 (or heaven forbid, S3) in order to get to her admission that she loves Chuck. In fact, we see that reconnecting, that had been subtle before, begin to accelerate on the beach as Chuck tells her their story.

    • revdr says:

      Garnet; I couldn’t have said it any better that!!! I don’t see 2 years by any stretch, but I didn’t see them going home together from the beach either. I, like Dave, believe that they (TPTB), gave up a lot of goodwill from fans by the poor plot/story decisions made through the first 12 plus episodes of season 3, even though they made a great strides in correcting those mistakes in the final 6, and all of season 4. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done, and it became difficult to totally believe in their judgment, and trust them going forward. Season five has it merits, and some fairly great episodes, but the final act still left me, at least wanting, and ultimately feeling a bit underwhelmed.

  10. CaptMediocre says:

    You know. I’ve come to realize that the best seasons (and episodes) of Chuck are the ones I don’t have to think too hard about.

  11. Thinkling

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!! Its not starting over…its picking up the pieces!

    Dave

    I’m sad next week is the last scheduled post:(

    • atcDave says:

      I’ve had a bit of an epiphany for another “Alternatives” post too. But that’s always a different sort of thing, appeals to a much smaller audience. I’m sad too about this all wrapping up.

  12. bubbasuess says:

    I have wanted to post a comment for a while but I have been under a deadline with my publisher and haven’t been able to do anything other than take the Jeffster quiz. How’s that for priorities?!

    I’ll throw out my biggest gripe on season 4 briefly before moving on to season 5, since it does have a bit of relevance to the last season as well, though not nearly as much. Like most others, I thought the season was really good, largely because of the Chuck and Sarah dynamic. What really hurt it was the feel of the setting and, related to it, the production values. This was the case in season 3 as well. All that to say, I think Chuck worked best when it stayed local in Burbank, or at least in southern California. This would have accomplished multiple things. First, the need for foreign sets would have been negated because they would not have had to mock up stuff in Russia, Morocco, Prague, Japan (though I did like the chicken button gag) or wherever. Some of those sets just looked cheap and goofy and pulled me out of show. Second, this would have kept the feel of the show closer to the first two seasons, when it was arguably at its best. Most of the stories that were told could easily have been told in the greater LA area. Maybe change things up a bit with trips to SF and Vegas, but keep it local. From the very beginning Chuck just seemed like a LA show. This would also have had the benefit of making it easier to tie the Buy More into the plot. I loved the Buy More but it definitely felt like it was tossed in the last 3 seasons.

    So, regarding season 5, I thought it was pretty good overall. I had no problem with Shaw coming back and getting outsmarted and his butt kicked. In some ways it felt like they were trying to stick the thumb in the eye of season 3 as a catharsis. I am sure there will be plenty of disagreement with that.

    As far as the finale, I have a bit of a different take on what happened. I have mentioned this before, so I apologize for covering old ground here. First off, I had no problem with the ending itself. I thought it was good and made a good, emotional moment that matched the bittersweet feeling that Chuck was over. It was good, hopeful and happy but it was over and that hurt. It also avoided the grand gesture device that became somewhat commonplace over season 4. To me, that was a relief. I also had no problem with the amnesia plot. I think that fell legitimately into the Chuck universe, given the nature of the Intersect. Sure, it could have been done earlier…

    Where I think the finale failed was in its emotional punches. In particular, I think that the low, low point where everyone was left at the end of 5.12 was never countered effectively in 5.13. The emotional register dipped very, very low at that heartbreaking scene. Sarah leaves Chuck heartbroken at the fountain and man, Your Hands is now the most depressing song ever, in my book. That emotional low was never met or surpassed by an equal or greater emotional high. I think (and y’all will probably disagree) that the somewhat ambiguous ending regarding Sarah’s memory would not have been so hated if there had been a moment that pulled the emotional parabola above the break-even point. They failed to do that and so everyone was left needing that last fix to counter the heartbreak and it never came. It could have been something like Sarah reaching out to Chuck or a comment about going home, or it could have been something earlier in the episode. It just needed something to counteract the end of 5.12 and when the fade to black came in 5.13 there hadn’t been anything that had really accomplished that.

    Looking at it from a different angle, it seems to me that the thing that upsets people is that there is a question as to whether Chuck and Sarah end up together versus whether Sarah got her memories back. In other words, even if Sarah never, ever got her memories back, but she and Chuck stay together and this was shown or at least strongly indicated on the show, folks would have had less issue with the final scene. Que up arguments regarding wiping out character development…

    So those are my thoughts. I am sad that this is the end. It has been fun reading everyone’s thoughts over the last 1.5 months!

    • atcDave says:

      I agree completely about the impact of the lower production values, although I’m less sure keeping the show local would have helped much. The studio back lot has been used for international locales for almost a hundred years, and I think it has often been done very effectively. But I do agree some of the very cheesy sets broke our immersion. I just don’t know if there is really a fix for that other than more money. I’ll guess in the future we’ll see more show’s getting around this with CG enhancements. Some scenes, like the infamous tram car from Fear of Death look so bad I think the awfulness was intentional.

      Interesting observation on the emotional tempo of the finale. I agree the ending could have been better received with some pretty small changes. I normally focus on the end itself, but I do think earlier tweaks could have helped just as much. One idea I’ve kicked around some recently (hmmm, you may have started this!) is with the end of 5.12 instead of Goodbye. If that scene had instead had Sarah professionally rejoining Chuck to track down Quinn, it certainly would have felt more upbeat. Of course they clearly intended desolation as the feeling, but I think that was a serious mistake. A less devastating end to 5.12, and a more congenial professional pairing where we clearly see Sarah falling for her husband all over again would have worked much better for me. In fact, I think that lack may have been the single biggest grievance of the whole arc. They put almost the entirety of Sarah’s recovery off for the closing seconds and post series. It just needed to be more visible all the way through. I do feel better about the extended cut, but it still suffers for trying to keep too much in suspense until the very end. And that just isn’t very satisfying to me.

      • bubbasuess says:

        One thing I forgot to mention regarding the emotional arc of the finale was the beginning of 5.13. They knew they hit the bottom of the register with the end of 5.12 and so started 5.13 much more upbeat. Chuck wakes up and everyone is there to support him and he determines to get Sarah back. This was the tone they needed to open 5.13 but then once Sarah show up in the Buy More they never really pursued it anymore. It was as if the payoff was promised with an emotional spike but it never came and people were left wanting what had been promised.

      • atcDave says:

        Well I don’t really think there’s anything, any character other than Sarah, could do to lift the mood at that point. Although the reverse is not true, and the timing of Ellie’s goodbye at the end was horribly unsatisfying. As I’ve mentioned before, the end would have been a 1000% better for me if they’d structured the end more like Honeymooners, with Chuck and Sarah returning from the beach together to say goodbye to the Woodcombs. But obviously, this is getting into bigger changes on the ending itself.

      • uplink2 says:

        But can you imagine how much lower that emotional low point of the ending of 5.12 would have been had they included the deleted scene where Sarah takes her rings off never to be put back on again? That would have been devastating and I think made the reaction even worse. But if you look at things, Chuck VS Bo was the last time Sarah said I love you to Chuck and for the entire Goodbye episode she does not wear her rings. It’s pretty clear that they wanted us to think at our lowest point that there was a real possibility that they were over and never going to get back. They pushed that emotional button very very hard but bubba is right they never pushed an equivalent button that they were going to be ok and Sarah would return whole with all of her character growth returned. I keep coming back to the fact that there was not one returned memory with context, no memory of Chuck himself and what he meant to her. I love the idea of the parabola of emotion you used bubba as I have always thought that the beach is just the very first point with an ascending Y-axis we see in the entire finale and it is the only one we got. So for me there is no way can I derive the right equation for where that parabola ends with just that one point.

      • atcDave says:

        The only way to fix it either not make 5.12 such a low point (I like an agreement as partners in hunting down Quinn for an end scene) OR a higher end point for Goodbye. Apart from ideas I’ve mentioned before, maybe just Sarah taking out her rings and having Chuck slide them back on her as the screen fades to black. I think I would have liked that end a lot.

      • thinkling says:

        Interesting observation about the emotional tenor of the final arc. There’s sort of a dividing line between upbeat/happy/sweet/fun and downbeat/depressing/dark/sad. (And admittedly people’s thresholds vary.) Most of the time Chuck’s average stayed well above the line. Dipping below the line was often used very effectively. S5 in particular dipped into the dark really well in the front 9, with the Decker threat, the end of Business Trip, the end of Bo. I found it very powerful and effective. But (as Bubba said), there was always a balance with the light/happy/sweet side of the show. A Chuck trademark was its ability to run a sweeping gamut of emotions all in one show. It was amazing.

        For me, as long as the CS relationship stayed mostly above the line, I was fine. This is why I didn’t like S3. Even though the episodes themselves maintained a balance, the CS relationship stayed below the line pretty much for 12 episodes, and that brought down everything else, regardless of whatever fun or humor was there.

        The final arc took a sharp dip below the line mid Bullet Train and never really came back far enough above the line (for many of us). The final arc is really all about Chuck and Sarah. Yeah, there’s an evil bad guy, and we want him defeated, but we wouldn’t care so much, except for what he did to Sarah … and by extension Chuck and Sarah.

        So, Bubba is right about the down swing. I guess the end of 5.12 is the nadir, in that it looks like there won’t be any upward trend, where we really needed one. And Chuck’s renewed determination does give us hope, but if there’s to be any real upswing, it does need to happen with Sarah (as Dave pointed out). And keeping that from happening until the end was just too much dark for the series finale, and then too little payoff for many fans. With a couple more episodes to bring back Sarah and solve the conspiracy, the amnesia arc would have been powerful and kind of awesome, but to end on such a short, subtle upswing after such a torturous, lengthy trek through the darkness left many of us in the dumps (which we already were, because Chuck was ending).

        So what were the glimmers of hope — the upward movement in emotional tone? Sarah’s anger at Quinn for stealing her memories and “ruining her life.” That showed Sarah was not ambivalent to the life she lost, but that she still valued it and would have wanted it back if she thought it were possible (At that point she thought that life was gone and beyond recoupment). Sarah’s return to Chuck, asking for his help, and letting him go with her on the mission showed the Chuck’s pull on her inner SB. She couldn’t quite leave his orbit. The other scene that to me really shone a ray of light into the gloom was the dance scene. The straightening of the tie was so Sarah. And Sarah’s breathless attraction to Chuck was quite evident, after a brief spin on the dance floor, as Chuck got her ‘closer.’ Then her declaration that she needed to find herself showed an awareness on her part that she was not merely the Agent Walker she remembered, but that she was someone different — someone else — someone she didn’t remember or know but wanted to find. Obviously the beach scene is meant to show the reemergence of Sarah Bartowski — not to full recovery, but well on her way. By the end of Chuck’s rendition of “their story,” she has made remarkable strides toward reconnecting with herself (SB) and her husband. Her request for a kiss seals it. (No version of Sarah that we have ever known would kiss Chuck (for real) or ask Chuck for a real kiss as some sort of desperate experiment to see if there might be something there. She’s been quite honest about her feelings all through the finale — a decidedly SB trait, btw.) There IS something there, and she wants to act on it and kiss her husband. She’s not leaving. They are going to be okay.

        So I do see an emotional crescendo, but was it enough to bring us back above the line? On first viewing, for me … no. After subsequent viewings … a qualified yes, but it’s more of a light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel thing. I see it as hopeful, reassuring, and victorious, but not unequivocally happy nor totally satisfying. I needed more.

        Sorry for the length. I got carried away. Not that that ever happens. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Don’t apologize for length, that was a great read!
        I would agree with saying the end scene works a lot better for me now than it did the night it ran. But I’ll always wish we’d seen something more plainly joyful as a final moment.

    • revdr says:

      Bubbasuess; I completely a that an emotional is what that beach scene, or the ending in general, needed to convey that a satisfying end result was more than a hopeful notion. Anything to show that beyond the fact that Sarah was indeed ready to be Mrs. Bartowski, and not just someone wanting reconnect, would have made a HUGE difference for me. As is was, I came away unfulfilled, and disheartened, because while it was hopeful, there was something missing, an emotional beat, to indicate more of an emotional connection. I always understood the significance of the notion of Chuck and Sarah being destined to be together, but without a more visual indication, it just felt a bit lacking. Dave; your idea (s) of showing real progress earlier in the episode might have been the difference needed, and I had hoped, upon on seeing Sarah hit head falling out of the plane was the first sign that there would a somewhat steady indication that we would at least see a more gradual reflective, and emotional connection between, throughout. Those missing elements are what the ending so unsatisfying. See, Dave, I’m not that stubborn, just greedy (or is that needy?)……..

  13. bubbasuess says:

    What I meant by everyone there to support Chuck at the beginning of 5.13 was that it was up beat about him going and getting his wife back. The team was getting together and they were going to help him find her and when her back. Then she walks into the Buy More and it is more about the mission and less about him getting her back. The, “she’s the best spy in the world but I’m Chuck Bartowski” tone was never followed through.

  14. oldresorter says:

    Great timing with the season 5 / series ending overview coinciding with so many shows season endings, along with a few series enders. Of all the shows I power watch thru, and a couple I watch seriously, I found that most the endings did OK for me.

    One reason for me to be less angry about my response to Chuck’s s5 final arc, is in general, my two least fav endings this season were both shows much like Chuck, Castle and Bones. I watch those shows to be amused, and I don’t like when they go dark. In many ways, I think I like darker shows more than the lighter ones, which probably puts me in the minority here. But by darker, I mean really dark, like Game of Thrones, or Homeland, or House of Cards, or 24, not a comedy that jerks me around, especially at the end of seasons. As a fan, I want my end of season eps to be the epic ones, not the middle season bottle eps. The Mentalist, another more comic type show, sure nailed the season ender. Could have (maybe should have) been a series ender?

    Still, of my usual shows (shows I watched a season or more of), possible the worst eps, or eps I hated the most, of the thousands of eps I’ve watched, were all from Chuck, Pink Slip, Mask, Fake Name, Beard, Final Exam, Hero, Shaw’s Xmas ep from hell in s5, and Goodbye / Sarah. Does anyone else have multiple eps of Chuck among the worst eps of TV they ever watched from their usual tv shows they watch, or am I the only one?

    • atcDave says:

      Well you know I feel that way about much of S3. I think that’s not really surprising; to me its about investment. Because I care more about Chuck, I’m more affected by both the highs and lows. Because I am so enthused and excited about how good Chuck is when it’s at its best, I’m more likely to get cranky when I see significant failings. When watching other shows, it’s a lot easier for me to shrug off the occasional episode or scene that rubs me wrong. And when a show starts turning directions I don’t care for, it may take me a few episodes for it to really register.
      I try to apply this in dealing with casual viewers of Chuck I know too. Whether they agree or disagree with me, their reactions are often tepid compared to my own.

    • uplink2 says:

      Well for me it’s hard to say because there has never been a show I was as invested in as much as Chuck. I love 24 and have for a number of years but there never was a single episode that I hated or really disliked like almost all of the ones you mentioned. I love TBBT and the only episodes I didn’t really like were almost all of the Priya episodes from season 4. Though I didn’t hate them I didn’t like the OLI story and didn’t like the way she treated Leonard. Plus she was just a boring character and relationship obsticle. Though I did like when she dismantled the roommate agreement. The first season of Homeland I loved up until the finale which I disliked with the strangely enough almost memory wipe. I guess the closest episode to my dislike for the Chuck episodes mentioned was the Homeland from last season with Carrie in the institution and Brodie in the Caracas skyscraper. It felt like they wanted me to hate the show in that episode.

      But I guess my answer is similar in that I have never been invested in a show as much I was/am in Chuck and yes I have never hated an episode of TV as much as certainly Fake Name and most of your list. I won’t include the finale episodes as I think they are good episodes, it’s as a finale I hate them and that’s a big difference for me.

    • thinkling says:

      I would respond similar to Dave. If I weren’t so invested in Chuck and especially the CR, those eps you mention wouldn’t have bothered me all that much. Bones had some terrible episodes and turns I didn’t like, but I wasn’t that invested, so … meh. I put it at the bottom of my dvr list for a while. Covert Affairs started going dark and was to go even darker, so I just tuned out — no big deal — but it wasn’t a show I was really invested in. I can’t say that any Chuck episode was one of the worst I’ve ever watch on TV. What I can say is that I took it worse than other episodes I didn’t like, b/c of my high level of investment.

      • atcDave says:

        We did exactly the same with Covert Affairs. It was an occasionally fun show, but when it turned darker, it was pretty easy for me to just let go. I think that is the very definition of a casual viewer!

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah. I watch a number of things regularly, but I’d say I’m firmly in the casual viewer category on most.

    • thinkling says:

      My take on recent season finales.

      The good ones : Mentalist (great growth for Patrick, Person of Interest (intriguing reboot), Arrow (A good ending, but, yikes, getting there was a little too dark).

      I’m glad Mentalist will return. I like the shake up and the new people. They were smart how they did the ended Red John … mid season, rather than at the end.

      The ok-to-meh ones: Hawaii 5-O, Elementary

      Then there was Castle. I loved the penultimate episode. Great episode for Kate’s victory in a long fought battle, with Castle’s faithful support … and her acknowledgment that she couldn’t have done it without him. The finale: I had been spoiled, so I knew what was coming, so it wasn’t so bad. Plus that’s just how Castle does finales. I don’t like it, but I’ve come to expect and accept it.

      Haven’t gotten to Bones yet, so thanks for the warning.

      • atcDave says:

        It’s funny that Castle so consistently does downbeat finales. I think I was partially spoiled, I knew it was broadly unpopular before I saw it.

        I have to bring up Grimm. There had been a season long build up to very popular secondary characters getting married; well it ended with them married, but everything else going spectacularly wrong.
        This is another show that’s a reasonable Chuck replacement for me. It is campy, insane goofy fun. Think Sleepy Hollow with a sense of humor. There is virtually no way to explain or categorize it. Like Chuck, it’s quite a mash up; Grimm’s fairy tales gone wrong, a monster hunt every week, a police procedural, and a demented soap opera. It makes me laugh harder than anything else on television.

      • thinkling says:

        If I were really invested in Castle, I would be mad. Can you imagine if they had done that in Cliffhanger? That would be like ending on the funeral sign in front of the church. Torches and pitch forks indeed. But the thing is, since I’m not soo invested, the big dramatic moment is mostly an eye-roller. We know it has to be a bluff. I mean the name of the show is Castle, right. So it gets a big “Oh brother,” but that’s about it.

      • thinkling says:

        It’s really just a huge waste of a finale.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree completely.

        Funny too, the network voice over immediately said “Castle and Beckett will return with more cases in September”.
        Uh. I was thinking maybe “after Castle’s death, Beckett will return as the catatonic detective.” Like the female Monk. Oh, and she won’t take off her wedding dress all season! What a great hook!

      • thinkling says:

        Good one, Dave.

        I may have to try Grimm.

      • oldresorter says:

        Think – 3 things

        1 – I’m going to try Grimm too, sounds much better than I thought it was
        2 – Bones, it was a better ending than Castle, you might like it. Technically, the ending of Bones paid off the story told that night and during the season. I think many here use the term ‘organic’ to describe something that fits. I’d use that. Plus, the ending did not change the rating of the ep for me, the ep still was excellent.
        3 – Conversely, the Castle ending took away the season, did not pay off the season long tease, and was not organic. What did Mo Ryan say to the showrunners b4 S3, “Shenanigans?” Minimally, they should have paid off the wedding, then somehow or other wisked Castle away, leaving Kate holding the knife ready to carve the wedding cake alone. So complete your story, then transistion to a new one. I have no interest, none, in a Castle wedding again, that ship has sailed, and the showrunners ruined it. Bones, no problem like that really.

        Bonus comment – I like the direction Arrow is heading with the final, but that show could go off the rails so easily. Its sort of like Chuck for me in that I love the show, but for me I feel they have a narrow window they need to shoot thru each week, each arc, each season. I watch with a please don’t screw it up too bad POV.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree with all of that OR. I just watched Bones finale and made pretty much the same comments to my husband, comparing the two finales. I liked the Bones finale ok, but the warning helped.

        And you’re right about Castle. At this point, the show runners have made the wedding anti-climactic. My best guess is that he was kidnapped, but better to have had the bad guys bust into the reception and kidnap him at gunpoint after the wedding. That way they could have had a sweet wedding, some fun at the reception and still had a pretty good cliffy/hook for next season.

      • atcDave says:

        I really think they mess up with that sort of finale. It sucks all the fun out of the show. Resolve the season long arc, then add a hook for the next season.

        I honestly know more people who dislike finale time of year than anything. And I don’t know anyone who is impressed by a “hook” that leaves us hanging for four months. I think its poor technique.

      • Castle finale moments have been relatively upbeat the last two seasons. I didn’t think the episodes themselves weren’t very good, but they were well received. This season. The episode and the finale moment have been eviscerated.

        For the fanfic readers who want the quick episode fix: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10345912/1/Don-t-Give-Up

        To me, the Bones finale felt rushed like the Castle penultimate episode. Too many plot points shoved into one episode. Both had very exciting moments. However in the Castle finale, Kate was OOC, and they cheapened the wedding. Bones cheapened the Hodgins/Angela but at least they got the Bones/Booth one right.

        If Cliffhanger put off the wedding the same way, it still would have been better because of the practice wedding (which was even better than the real one).

        Off topic of the off topic… that Universal Resorts commercial was just on with ‘Cobrastyle’ from the Chuck pilot.

      • resaw says:

        A little late in responding to this, but if you haven’t watched The Americans on FX, that is an outstanding series. I won’t say anything about the finale other than that it was full of surprise twists that were nevertheless organic to the series as it unfolded.

  15. Selena says:

    Things that people say rub off on me, but you’ve reminded me of the good in this season. People hate this season because they feel like it’s pointless–Morgan hogs the spotlight, and Charah could be ca-put for all that the audience knows.

    I don’t completely agree with that, but I do a little bit. What I don’t like about this season is that the plot-lines of the episodes seem to be way too straight-forward at times, especially if they’re featuring Morgansect, to the point where I don’t care if a character falls off a cliff and dies (Meaning that it’s too straight-forward to the point of boring me out of my mind.). Also, Chuck acts foolish, like you mentioned, in episodes like Curse and Kept Man, and sometimes I feel like hey, who cares if Chuck is all confident and “perfect” now and all handsome, what made him likeable died with this change. I do find myself missing the sweet, clumsy, nervous-wreck Chuck from season 1–the one that Sarah fell for, but Chuck is still Chuck, even though he has changed a lot.

    What I LOVE about this season is how freaking amazing Sarah is, how she’s willing to sacrifice everything for the people she loves. To be quite honest, this is the only season where I truly feel like I like Sarah, in the other seasons I think of her as that ol’ hot blonde that Chuck is head-over-heels in love with for some reason. In this season, Sarah surpasses Chuck on the favoritism scale, but that’s another issue: Sarah is all amazing and wonderful, but Chuck is..average, in comparison to her.

    I mean really, all Chuck can talk about is him and Sarah’s relationship status, but what about SARAH? He seems to be more into their relationship than her. Just once, why couldn’t there have been an episode where it’s CHUCK’S turn to sacrifice everything for the people he loves, particularly Sarah. Chuck has never been capable of this before–in the earlier seasons he’s loved Sarah a lot, but he can never save her properly because he’s not..equipped for that, but now he’s this kickass, muscular spy dude, so why does he never save her? In Chuck versus the Santa Suit, Chuck hardly seems to care about Sarah, even though he saw it all, but then when it has to do with THEM, and not just HER, she’s got his attention. DX, idk, maybe I’m just over-analyzing, but you’ve got me thinking, and now I have this weird vibe about Chuck from season 5..

    • Wilf says:

      Hi Selena. In fairness, Chuck did go all out for Sarah in Cliffhanger. I agree with you, as many here have, that his apparently detached attitude to Sarah’s in Santa Suit just didn’t play right. And I agree that Sarah has always been way more amazing than Chuck, as has her growth through the seasons.

    • atcDave says:

      Well. I agree with a lot of that Salena, but definitely not all! Chuck saved Sarah many times, right from 1.02 he was the one who urged Casey on to find her, then in 2.02 Chuck jumped off the Buy More to save Sarah. Wilf mentioned how big Cliffhanger was.
      I actually thought Sarah was the best character on the show from quite early, certainly by S2. But initially I found it easy to relate to Chuck, which was a solid hook for the show. But as early as S2 (a little in Sensei, a lot in Third Dimension) they decided that whiney Chuck was somehow funny, and that always bothered me. I was very disappointed to see that show up again in S5 ( Curse). Fortunately, it was mostly confined to just a few episodes, episodes that I don’t like very much!

  16. This post is about comparable finales (spoilers for HIMYM ahead:caution!)

    I know several people have brought up the similarities in the controversy of CHUCK’S and HIMYM’s finale and having finished the latter yesterday I got to say I thought it was PERFECT! I never believed Barney would stay committed to anybody except his eventually born kid(s) and so where they took him made total sense. As for his and robins divorce I pretty much knew that would happen for the afore mentioned reason, plus Robin was always meant to fulfill her career goals before attempting a long term committed relationship. Traci…how to sum up her role in the show, well I’ll say this much…I believe the point of the story (for the viewer) was to show that even if your love life has tragedies or difficulties you will experience happiness as long as you think love is worth finding. That’s how Ted felt about love itself. Traci and Ted found the strength to keep looking for love despite the tragedies and difficulties of the search. So here’s what I think…they each wanted to build a full life with someone AND fall in love, but circumstances only let them experience the latter, that is until they met each other and finally experienced both. Proving that fate gives people what they most want., I predicted that kind of finale before even getting there, I said Ted will get everything he wants by the end and sure enough he did!:)

    I compare Ted’s love life with Peter Parker’s: Peter fell in love with MJ and marred her but before MJ he was very much in love with Gwen Stacy before her death. The situations are very similar.

    Overall I thought HIMYM’s finale was much better than CHUCKK because nothing was left unsaid and they stayed true to their characters despite the fan backlash that followed. CHUCK didn’t accomplish ether such thing…and still had backlash sadly .

    • revdr says:

      Josh, I somewhat agree; however,the backlash w/HIMYM was primarily because they not only spent then entire last season on Barney and Robin’s wedding and got everyone (invested in Traci (the mother-and she was delightful btw); then within the first 15 mins of the finale they were divorced and 40 mins later Traci had died. I had no problem with the ending, but instead of tying up everything in the last 40 odd mins, they should have used more of the 22 episodes they wasted with the wedding storyline…that’s where I see similarities w/Chuck because the ending seemed rushed and not well thought out, especially when the HIMYM ending had been planned (and partially filmed) 7 years prior. And I don’t see that much in the way of similarities between Ted and Peter, because the circumstances were entirely different. Gwen died because of Peter and by Peter’s hand; whereas Ted’s love for Robin was pretty much unrequited for the most part. But, both Chuck’s and HIMYM’s finales were hopeful and the symbolism of life going on and overcoming tragedy was a common theme between both.

  17. Selena says:

    Sorry, what I said might not have made sense since I was up late at night when I wrote it. Plus, I was feeling emotional–what started out as doubt that Chuck doesn’t quite return the same amount of love Sarah has for him, turned into believing that Sarah deserves better. That might not be true though, I think I just need to watch some episodes where Chuck really shows his love for Sarah and then I’ll remember what it was that I loved him so much for. XD, I feel like Sarah–I’ve forgotten all those memories of Chuck at his finest, and why I loved him so much, and it’ll take me some time to remember..

    I was only thinking about the numerous times Sarah saved Chuck, but that isn’t to say that Chuck hasn’t ever saved her. Seriously, Sarah has saved Chuck like 100 times and Chuck has saved her like 5 times.

    It’s not just the lack of saving, I wouldn’t judge Chuck so harshly for that, I mean, even though he is a man and he’s technically stronger, Sarah outranks him largely because she’s an assassin who is trained in over 100 ways to kill people–in high heels! Anyways, what really bugs me is the times when I feel like Chuck doesn’t give Sarah the affection she deserves.

    I always shrugged that off, I always believed that Chuck just thought “Oh, Sarah’ll bounce back, Sarah’s not some pathetic sap, I can’t physically freak out over her just because she almost died of hypothermia or something.”, but now I’m worried. In Chuck versus the Cougars, poor Sarah has to get strangled and beat up by her old high school bully, and then when she comes out looking like crap and having to take the crown that bears the title of Prom Queen, all Chuck can do is offer her a small smile. I guess that cute hamburger scene at the end of the episode sort of made up for it, but this continues in the form of Chuck versus the Santa Suit and Chuck versus the Baby.

    Chuck’s detachment in response to Sarah’s situation honestly freaked me out, so I asked some Chuck-loving friends for advice and they just said he was just trying to me gentle on her because she was probably in shock. This is true, but being gentle doesn’t have to involve not even GLANCING at her twice, I mean, it would’ve been normal if he just wrapped her in bubble wrap and acted over-protective, that would’ve been HUMAN. I know he also had Ellie’s party to take into consideration, but you’d think that your wife almost dying of hypothermia would have been a LITTLE more important than your sister wanting her baby to have the off-chance of remembering the perfect Christmas, which is probably not even possible unless the baby develops a photographic memory. Idk, maybe they spent too much time showing Shaw torturing Sarah and too little time showing Charah.

    In Chuck versus the Baby, I mostly blame the writers for this, but I can’t help but wish Chuck provided some sort of emotional support for Sarah after that whole choking and stabbing episode. I know I’m going to get bashed for this, I know people are going to be all “That’s unfair! How was he supposed to know unless she told him!”, but seriously, this is the same thing all over again–put Sarah through the worst crap ever and then there’s not even the tiniest bit of Charah to cheer the audience up.

    On a final note, I agree that Sarah has always been a better character than Chuck, I mean she’s been my favorite in seasons 1, 2, 4, and 5, and the only reason she’s not my favorite in season 3 is because the silly producers portrayed her as some personality-less, ditzy damsel in distress who has no taste (*coughcoughcoughShawcough*), which made Chuck look all amazing in comparison.

    Okay, final FINAL note. I never understood what an incredible woman like Sarah Walker saw in Chuck, from when she first saw him I mean. Oh hooray, he’s a handsome, sweet nerd who loves kids, movies, hot girls, music, and his sister. If it were up to me, I would have chosen Bryce over Chuck in that episode where Bryce and Chuck were calling her at the same time, I mean really. Chuck has his perks, but Bryce is in the amazingness league as well as Sarah, sooo..

    Anyways, I’m not saying I don’t like Chuck at all, I mean, I LOVE him in season 3 and 4, because he’s such a sweetheart :), but that’s only two seasons. In season 1, he’s just a nice, funny nerd who has sweet smiles, in season 2, he’s a whiny guy who can’t see the amazingness that’s right in the front of him (Sarah), and in season 5, he’s a detached guy who seems to be more into him and his wife’s relationship than his actual wife. Okay, I DO like him in season 1, but I don’t LOVE him, I mean, if I was Sarah, I would love it if he was a good friend of mine that I could go to whenever I feel sad or angry, or even if he was my best friend, but not my boyfriend.

    (Sorry that this post is so freaking long, btw, and I hope I’m not distracting you from making these great blog posts. ;))

    • atcDave says:

      Well I think right from the Pilot what we’re supposed to see is that Chuck is perhaps the first really decent guy Sarah has ever known. Bryce is quite narcissistic by comparison; he likes to make unilateral decisions FOR people, compared to Chuck who actually bothered to get to know Sarah and her interests and character. Those first two seasons, when love was official “forbidden” and Chuck could only hope Sarah felt something for him, I think they did a pretty nice job of developing a good friendship.
      I think this was shown best in the first season, a little in S2. But continuing in to the later seasons we do have plenty of examples of Chuck making Sarah the number one priority in his life. Now I certainly do wish they’d made the main relationship even more overtly romantic and adult at times. But ultimately this was a multi-genre show with a lot of stuff going on, and pretty much every aspect getting a rush treatment to some degree or another.

  18. Selena says:

    Um, never mind, I don’t like Chuck in season 3, because I still don’t understand why he didn’t run away with Sarah..

    • atcDave says:

      I absolutely disliked Chuck in the misery arc, and many viewers feel the same. Of course Sarah is hardly any better at that time.

  19. For about three months I have been living & breathing “Chuck”. From watching “Chuck” to reading the episode analyses on ChuckThis to reading stories on FanFiction/TV/Chuck, I have truly enjoyed the characters and their stories. I thought S5:13 was well done but I was disappointed with the final scene. Five seasons of getting Chuck and Sarah together through trials and tribulations and it ends with a possible reconciliation; I’m not happy with this. I watched the series for the adventures, relationships and the characters. I did get some closure reading various versions of the finale on fan fiction. I do want to thank everyone for their comments on ChuckThis. These analyses have been extremely helpful in watching the 91 episodes. I did buy the DVDs and I’m sure I will watch Chuck many more times. Thanks to all!!

    • atcDave says:

      You know we all feel your pain!

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the show, this site and fan fiction. It’s awesome to hear from more Chucksters. Feel free to chime in anytime.

    • thinkling says:

      Welcome Jdmartin, and thanks for the kind words. Ditto what Dave said. Hangout with us anytime. Glad you enjoyed all.

  20. oldresorter says:

    Since the official analysis period is almost over, I’d like to say something positive about the final scene. IMO ‘KIss me’ is a complete and total call back to how other guy ended, ‘Shut up and kiss me.’ I know all five words might have been a stronger call back, but the same two words were still the last words spoken in both stories. I’m going with that is not a coincidence. We all know what took place next after the first ‘ … kiss me’. I’m going with the same sort of events took place this time, only even better this time! Happy Memorial Day everybody!

    • atcDave says:

      OR I agree completely. I too wish they’d used the entire quote. But I’m reasonably satisfied with it for now. Well you know, still waiting for the movie…

    • thinkling says:

      Yup, OR. If you think about it, real kisses were never cheap in Chuck. They were watershed events, every one of them (think: Hard Salami, Colonel, Am Hero, Other Guy). I can only conclude that the final kiss was also a watershed event, portending only good things to come.

      • Don’t forget seduction, phase three, gobbler and cliffhanger! All 100% real!

      • thinkling says:

        All true. I was thinking more about the real kisses before they were together, b/c that’s the state in which they began their last scene on the beach.

        The seduction kiss, one of my favorites, was a hybrid of sorts. It started out as a fake/cover kiss, but it ignited real feelings. So, yeah, it became and epiphany/watershed event.

      • anthropocene says:

        “Seduction” had two great kisses. I’ve always been partial to the “we have a national security emergency and I need to speak with you privately” kiss. Chuck has that little pre-kiss fantasy and then…Sarah sort of fulfills it with a sweet tie-grabbing kiss. (There was always something subliminal about Sarah messing with Chuck’s tie.)

      • atcDave says:

        It sure was funny how often she made excuses to do so!

      • thinkling says:

        Thanks for that reminder, Anthro. I loved that line. And of course the tie-messing is classic … and another glimmer of hope before the dance in the finale.

  21. garnet says:

    Sorry to be a bit off topic, but I am looking for the FF story with the robot bunnies and the hallucinogenic darts. I am hoping someone will recall this one.

  22. Selena says:

    Why do people still worry about the ending of Chuck? We’ve seen Chuck and Sarah together enough times to know that no matter what, that’s the way it’ll always be. To be honest, I love that episode, because I think it just goes to show that Chuck and Sarah’s love is boundless, even if Sarah forgets who he is and why she loved him for a time. That’s quite beautiful and special, so it made me very happy. 🙂

    My life motto is “As long as Chuck and Sarah are together, everything in the world is right.”. 😛

    • atcDave says:

      I think for a lot of viewers your statement seems more like a question. The ending leaves us to infer and assume too much. They needed some assurance the ending was fully as positive as you just made it sound.
      And I have to still say, for myself, although I’m convinced all is well; I remain very disappointed we didn’t see it. I’m even more disappointed at not seeing Sarah Bartowski again from late Bullet Train until the end. I got to say “Goodbye” to everyone except my favorite character.

  23. Selena says:

    The ending is rather depressing, now that I think about it, I mean, Sarah lost all those beautiful memories of her and Chuck, so, essentially, she lost every single sweet moment they had with each other. Five years of almost-dangerously passionate love, just so they could have one kiss on the beach.

    I suppose that’s kind of a beautiful thing, you know, in a bittersweet sort of way, but still..

    P.S. IT DRIVES ME INSANE THAT CHUCK COULD’VE JUST USED THE IRENE DEMOVA VIRUS ON THE BOMB AND KEPT THOSE GLASSES FOR SARAH, BECAUSE HE DIDN’T EVEN USE THEM!

    P.P.S. I’ve made one final decision about Chuck: He’s always been a sweetheart, with the exception of the third season and sometimes the fifth season. 🙂

    • atcDave says:

      The end was a bit melancholy, but I think we can have confidence all was well. Sarah had remember little bits of things, and I think as she gets back into her home environment she’ll start remembering more things. We were left hanging in a way, so we can’t know how long it will take, but my bet is she remembers most of what’s important in a few weeks.

    • authorguy says:

      If I remember corretly, he needed the Intersect to open the box to access the computer before he could use the virus. He says something about not having flashed in a while. I haven’t seen the last episode since it aired so I don’t have the exact line.

  24. Selena says:

    Am I the only one who doesn’t like Chuck and Sarah’s early kisses? I mean really, they’re a bit too lusty for my taste.

    I know that I’m just a 13-year old girl (Nobody freak out, the show’s rated TV-PG.. :P), who probably doesn’t know anything about how people should express their love, but I would much rather see Chuck and Sarah sharing soft, tender kisses, than Chuck and Sarah smooching each other to the death.

    ..Whoa, okay, that was a bit melodramatic, I must admit, but maybe in the end I’m just biased because I focus more on hugs and cuddling than I do kisses. 😛

    • atcDave says:

      Well I know when I was 13 I wouldn’t have been very interested in the kissing either! Believe me, it gets better as you get older.

    • authorguy says:

      I prefer them to the later kisses. The Bomb Kiss, or the Barstow kiss, at least look real and passionate. In later seasons they just sort of put their lips together and make a sucking sound I find repellant, no real feeling there. I liked the spooning in Barstow, their hands clasped even in their sleep, and certainly one of the best images is them just cuddled together at the end of Honeymooners.

  25. Selena says:

    OMG WAIT I REALIZED SOMETHING ELSE..

    WHY DID SARAH KILL QUINN? THEY COULD’VE TAKEN HIM AND THREATENED TO TORTURE HIM IF HE DIDN’T GIVE HER BACK HER MEMORIES!

    WHY DOESN’T ANYONE THINK?! DX

    • anthropocene says:

      I don’t think Sarah had any choice but to kill Quinn, as he was pulling out his own gun to shoot her and Chuck. And I don’t think Quinn could have helped Sarah anyway. He didn’t take her memories so much as suppress them, in a brutal way. By removing or suppressing Sarah’s bad Intersect after he suppressed her memories, he might have even set Sarah on the road to gradual recovery. But Sarah needed Chuck to help her recover.

    • atcDave says:

      I’ll agree with Anthro on that, she really had no choice. And Chuck is the one who will fix Sarah, not Quinn!

  26. Selena says:

    Well, a producer said that her memories aren’t really GONE gone, and that instead of mourning the fact that she’s lost them temporarily, we should imagine the time when Sarah can finally piece everything together, and how happy she will be, and how happy Chuck will be. Damn, somebody should write a fanfiction of this, it would make me a feel a lot better about the ending..

    • authorguy says:

      There are very many fanfics about Sarah getting her memories back. Fir the type of story you describe try Thinkling’s only effort in the realm of fanfics so far, Sarah vs Finding Herself. There are others that don’t match your criteria but also end up with her fully recovered. Chuck vs the Epilog is my effort, and Angus MacBab’s Chuck vs the Lost Years are two that use the Intersect itself to fix the problem. There are many others where her memories come back on their own, as well.

    • atcDave says:

      I would second AG’s comments about some good choices being out there. I would recommend our own “Epilogue” post as a source of many recommendations.

    • Selena

      I’m in the process of writing that kind of fan fic but it’s been a grueling process because the story is strictly off the top of my head, Im on Chapter 2 at the moment…

  27. Selena says:

    At least I HOPE it was a producer, but I love the idea that they’re suppressed instead of gone, and I’d like to believe that..

    • authorguy says:

      Morgan supposedly got his back, and he’s supposed to be the model for Sarah’s recovery. None of which will change the fact that our favorite show ended with the most popular character not on the scene, and only the vaguest hint of a happy ending.

      • Sorry but wether or not people see it as a happy ending depends on their level of pessimism, yours is very high obviously, which is fine I just think that only best possible version of Sarah ended up on that beach!

      • authorguy says:

        Not really a question of pessimism. Sarah Bartowski wasn’t there. Kind of hard to argue with that. Whether the Sarah Walker sitting on the beach got those memories back or not, she didn’t have them there. Since it would have been extremely easy to get them back, witness all the fanfics that do it fairly easily, I have no reason to be pessimistic. Just annoyed.

      • thinkling says:

        Actually, I can’t agree with that Josh. I’m a pretty optimistic person, and it took me a while to see the happy in the ending. Nor do I think the best possible version of Sarah is still in such crisis, with most of her memories still missing. When such a large segment of hardcore fans are disappointed to the extent that they were, you can’t lay the blame on the fans or pass it off as mass pessimism.

        Now, that said, I’ve been very clear that I DO see the happy in the ending, and that CS end up together living the life they were planning in BT, but it wasn’t crystal clear for a lot of people in the beginning. Still isn’t for some.

      • uplink2 says:

        One important thing. Morgan never got all of his memory back. He lost the Star Wars movie memories so if he was the template then Sarah, who was much more grossly damaged by the faulty Intersect and Quinn doesn’t get all of them either and probably loses more. They can’t have it both ways and canon states that not all of Morgan’s came back, so the same has to be said for Sarah.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually Uplink that’s not quite true. All we know from canon is that a few months later, Morgan didn’t have all of his memories back. He had recovered in all ways that seemed to be important, and he had recovered all of his relationships. So maybe he had to re-watch a few movies… or maybe a few months later he had completely regained everything. We can’t say for certain either way.

        I’m still not claiming I’m completely satisfied. But we can’t really know the negative any more than we can know the positive.

      • oldresorter says:

        Given that TPTB sort of fumbled with ?’s in Sarah’s recovery area, I don’t think we know. But generally, I think they did say everything is still in there, at least that’s what I recall. The answer really is whatever and whenever you want it to be for the future, unless some sort of creative followup is made, be it a series, mini series, movie, or some sort of Levi-let of his own creative vent that answers the ?. That scares me in some ways, as I don’t want future projects to deal with this subject or solve it, I’d rather it be 100% ignored, with chuck and Sarah at some point in the future, living happily ever after, as the story starts.

      • atcDave says:

        OR I mostly agree. I’d be fine with a passing mention that Sarah recovered quite quickly, but at this point I would mostly hope they just leave it in the past and show us a completely recovered character.

      • authorguy says:

        My only desire is for closure, so I have no interest in a movie if it doesn’t provide that. I would have liked to actually see the recovery, that’s the main plot of the Epilog and the story I prefer. But it’s too long since the end of the show and they’re too old now to look like they did then. I don’t want movies just for the sake of making a movie, not if there’s no further character development. Just let them have their HEA as they should have and let them go.

      • atcDave says:

        I’m more than okay with movies just to do movies! My interest has always been in seeing the further adventures of Chuck and Sarah. I don’t particularly care if the past is dealt with, as long as its clear the recovery happened quickly.
        My one fear about a movie is that they would decide to go into the recovery in too much detail, and every that passes from the end of the series that option gets worse and worse.

      • oldresorter says:

        AG – I hesitate to engage on this, but what the heck, here goes. My take is the past story is told, and the HEA for 5 seasons of Chuck is done, book closed.

        I’m wanting a new Chuck and Sarah story, not a rehash of an old plot, or more dealing with the old plot. I think this gives the most chance for new viewers, and it keeps them beholding less to old canon, or raising old issues, be it amnesia, or Shaw, or Bryce, or lying, or her name, or whatever. All part of the book that closed on the beach, with the ending it got. The writers best shot, which many people really liked.

        So with the new movie or creative endevour, I want new. But within new, the kiss the whole while, I assume you mean have fun, have comedy, have minimal angst, a get smart type movie.

        I would actually say no to that, the most fun thing for me, would be if they tackle something tangible, like how can a couple have a family and be spies, or anything real life that didn’t involve soap opera angst. I’d really like to see them work together, rather than one save the other or such type plots. I’d like to see the drama evolve from the happy family starting point, to the real stresses and strains of the spy life actually testing them, their love, and those around them.

        At the end, I wouldn’t need a fairy tale end, but if their love, their telling the truth, their trust, their ‘stuff’ allowed them to win, even at a cost, I’d be OK with that. And at the very end, I want to see them actually ‘win’. In a refelctive, water fountain, happy, tangible, we did it sort of way, not up for debate in any way. shape or form.

      • authorguy says:

        Actually, when I said just kissing and having breakfast, I was being pretty literal. Most of the flaws in S4 are forgiven or ignored simply because they kiss a lot, and it’s not S3. It’s a lot worse than S3 in most ways, but it smells nicer.
        I like the Get Smart Movie, and I like Notting Hill, but we already have those, so I don’t need to see a Chuck movie if that’s all they’re going to do. As for the win, we saw that too. with the Baby.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah OR I pretty much agree with that. I’m fine with some drama related to protecting family, and securing the future they want. But mostly I want a new story, something fun, funny, exciting. I think the outrageous extremes they’ll go to too protect each other, their whole family/friends, and ultimately do the right thing is what makes the characters and show special to me. So that’s what I would want to see more of.

      • anthropocene says:

        If a “Chuck” movie is ever made, I think its relationship to the series will be similar to that between the movie “Serenity” and the series “Firefly.” There will be some callback to the series but also a whole new story to tell, possibly intersecting with the timeline of the series (again, as the plot of “Serenity” did). Simply picking up where S5 left off might please us diehard fans but it would not appeal to a new audience. It could be very satisfying for all concerned if done right.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Anthro I think the farther removed we are from when the show ran the more important it becomes to consider new viewers. I like the Serenity example a lot; that’s a stand alone product that completely honors the source material. That’s what I want to see.

    • atcDave says:

      It was the head writer/executive producer Chris Fedak who went on record as saying that. So although I would also agree with AG in saying that ending was too vague for my taste, it seems as though we were supposed to be more sure of the happy ending than many of us were.

  28. Selena says:

    I read Sarah vs Finding Herself, and the first two chapters are great–I think you all ought to read them, maybe you would find comfort in the idea that something along those lines happened off-screen..

  29. Selena says:

    I feel like an idiot for not knowing, but why is that charm bracelet that Chuck gave Sarah so special? I forgot. XD

  30. Selena says:

    I’m curious because it meant a lot to Sarah for Chuck to get it back from Shaw for her, and I really want to know why because that poor thing was beaten, harassed, and tortured for almost the whole episode, so I want to know if it makes up for it or not..

    Idk, sometimes I feel like Sarah just smiles at everything Chuck says to be polite. I mean, I know she loves him with all her heart, but you know..

    • authorguy says:

      The bracelet used to belong to Chuck’s mother, and she gave it to him, to give to the girl he wanted to marry. He gave it to Sarah in the first Christmas episode (Chuck vs Santa Claus, in season 2), when the two Fulcrum agents took over the store.

      • that’s in my greatest hits list the first time we see for certain their relationship goes far beyond just a mutual attraction, aided by that heartwarming scene and its dialogue. When she insists he save the bracelet for a “real girlfriend” and he simply says “I know” just makes me smile every time!

  31. Selena says:

    Aw. 🙂

    Still, I wish Chuck did more than RETRIEVE a present for Sarah on Christmas. *sigh*

  32. Selena says:

    You know, I feel like in the first couple seasons people don’t really respect Sarah, I mean, whenever they talk about her it’s always something along the lines of “Damn, that girl’s one hot blonde.” or “How on Earth did Chuck bag THAT? How do you get lucky like that?”.

    It’s really annoying, like the only reason people pay attention to her is because she’s “hot”, but she’s not “hot”, she’s beautiful. “Hot” is a petty slang term that crazy fangirls use to describe Edward Cullen or Justin Bieber, and honestly the only people who seemed to care about what was underneath her appearance were Ellie, Casey, and Chuck. Obviously more people care now, but you know..

    Ellie described Sarah as an amazing, nice girl, Casey described Sarah as a good woman and one of the best damn agents he ever met (Actually, I don’t think he ever told her she was pretty except when she picked out a wedding dress in Castle and said “Nice dress.”.), and Chuck MAY have described Sarah as “amazingly beautiful” numerous times, but he also described her as funny, smart, cool, and really kickass.

    No “hot comments” are made anymore, which is ALSO annoying because it means people might think she’s ugly now with her short hair, thicker eyebrows, and average clothes. I, on the other hand, think she’s MORE beautiful, because instead of an object of desire, she’s a settled-down wife who has so much love to give for Chuck, his family, and her family. A kind, respected woman, not a “hottie” to be “bagged”. 🙂

    • atcDave says:

      Well I think the most disrespect always came from the Buy More crowd, especially Lester. And he was a piggish jerk to the very end. Chuck, Ellie, Casey, Devon, even Morgan always treated her better. Of course they are the more respectful, decent people on the show to begin with (well, Morgan is questionable!).

      I think Beckman may have changed the most, she treated her like a child until late S3.

      • Well I’m definitely not going to condone Lester or Jeff’s behavior and IDK about anybody else but I’d be happy never seeing them or Buy More again! (I’m actually excluding both from my fan-fic) This is because the people we leave at the end of Goodbye are mature adults so there’s no need for ether of these elements anymore.

        Sarah is an empowered person and Yvonne always succeeded in showing that. She never took crap from anyone, I love how she immediately frightens off Lester when he attempts to ask her out.

        it took Morgan a little while but Morgan eventually grew to respect Sarah.

  33. Selena says:

    With this in mind, it kind of ruins the sincerity of Chuck and Sarah’s starting-out-relationship for me, because it feels kinda nerd-trying-to-bag-a-hottie-centric. Also, this might sound ridiculous, but it’s also their size difference that bugs me..

    I mean like Chuck is so tall and big compared to Sarah so I think it looked weird when they kiss, but somehow now it looks normal..

    The only romantic moments I can think of in the first couple season are when Chuck covers Sarah’s eyes after Casey pulls up Fulcrum’s intersect on fast-mode and fries all the agents’ brains, when Chuck tells Sarah not to worry about him being sent to a bunker, when Chuck jumps off the BuyMore roof to rescue Sarah, and their first date.

    Sorry, maybe I’m just WAY too picky when it comes to romance. XD

    • atcDave says:

      Well I think the whole point was that they were in an impossible situation those first two seasons. So we got glimpses of affection, the growth of friendship, waiting for something to boil over. I thought it was quite wonderful. But it was very understated as a “romance”.

  34. Selena says:

    Somebody said that Chuck should’ve ended on Sarah and him driving away in their wedding limo, and that is so true. I’m forever heart-broken. 😦

    • atcDave says:

      I do agree “Cliffhanger” was the most completely acceptable finale of the series. But I’m forever glad we got to see S5. Chuck and Sarah as the real power couple; Chuck “in charge”, and Sarah as the power behind the throne. Chuck’s Enforcer maybe? But no longer the “Wild Card”.
      Even if the end was lacking, there was a lot of excellent material.

    • thinkling says:

      Yeah, what Dave said. S5 is, in many ways, my favorite season, and I am very grateful we got to see CS finally get to that place. If I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t have known what I missed, but having seen it, I sure am glad we got it! I just wish we could continue to see them married and running their business and starting their family.

  35. ok so I have been reading comments about the himym finale and I’ve got to say their wouldn’t be so much backlash if people paid attention to what they were watching: The writers give the viewer a huge clue that the mother died, wait for it…5EPISODES PRIOR TO THE FINALE!!! They also gave a glaring clue that Barney & Robin wouldn’t last in the episode right before the finale! So yeah I get upset when people call the finale terrible (mainly professional critics) because their supposed to be professional critics but they’re to dumb to see what’s right in front of their faces! All I’m saying is that was a brilliant finale sheesh! Sorry if I spoiled anyone!

    Fans (those who are) have right to be upset or disappointed but professional critics should pay more attention!!

  36. Selena says:

    I just realized something about the last episode..

    While Chuck and Sarah kiss, you see flashbacks of some of their best moments–what if that’s Sarah remembering? OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD!

    ..Wait, were the flashbacks occurring when Chuck was telling Sarah their story, or when they were kissing, or both times?

  37. Selena says:

    But, but still.. She could still be remembering, that could be why she asked him to kiss her..

    Oh, I can dream can’t I? XD

    Hey, you know how Sarah is always talking about how Chuck’s an amazing person and she would be nothing without him? Like, he made her into a better person. That’s so very true, but I think Sarah changed Chuck more and SHE was the amazing person that Chuck would be nothing without. (GAAAH, EVERYTHING JUST MAKES THE LAST EPISODE MORE HEART-DESTROYING..)

    I’m not anti-Chuck, I assure you, although it might look that way from my posts, but no. I’ll admit it, Chuck was more than a nice nerd with sweet smiles in the beginning, he was someone that you could rely on, someone that could make all your pain go away with a single smile. He was funny, smart, quirky, and great to be around. That’s probably why Sarah thought he was amazing, but I can’t believe she doesn’t know that SHE’S amazing, and sometimes I feel like Chuck’s only that perfect man when he’s around Sarah..

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that they complete each other, but Chuck wasn’t always incredible. Some people think that the show is about a nerd getting the girl, but I think it’s about becoming a much better person and making sacrifices for the one you love. 🙂

    • atcDave says:

      Salena I think you’re exactly right about the show’s greater theme. Chuck and Sarah both grew in important ways over the course of five seasons, but I think Sarah grew in a more clear and profound way. And part of what was so appealing about her was she never considered herself better than Chuck.

  38. Selena says:

    I might’ve already said this, but I think Chuck’s actually nicer in the beginning. I think the spy life has hardened him a bit.. :/

    • atcDave says:

      Some of that hardening might be all bad. But yeah I mentioned that in The Complete Series Overview post, I think in some ways Chuck was his best in the first season.

  39. I disagree somewhat…first of all first of all I don’t like that we hold Chuck to a higher standard, it comes across like he’s not aloud to make mistakes. Maybe that’s what S3 was about…a flawed Chuck that had good intentions (Hannah aside) that turned out badly. Of course JS took that thread overboard but seeing as I’ve got a massive case of writers block right now, I don’t really have right to judge his mindset.

    I maintain that S4&5 are my favorite, I like the somewhat overboard PDA it shows a more softer side of Sarah it’s like the little girl from various flashback came bursting to the surface, a happy Sarah, sure they have hurdles to climb but I take s4&5 over the first 3 any day because of the product! I also must maintain that the people we leave at the end are mature (Jeffster aside) especially Sarah. Any season prior version of herself would’ve ran the moment Chuck showed up on that beach…or deflected and kept her guard up, that’s why I’m certain that she’s much closer to Sarah Bartowski than various people think and Chuck well, he ends the show as the best possible version of himself:)

    • atcDave says:

      I don’t think most complaints are really about Chuck not making mistakes, well apart from S3. But really it’s the buffoonish behavior, it’s about ACTING like a doofus. It’s the whining, and panicking. And especially annoying, not trusting Sarah to have his back (in Curse).
      At least for me, things like Chuck trying too hard to prove himself in Fear of Death doesn’t bother me at all, I like that he rises to the challenge, even if in the end he screws up. It’s when he lies or acts the fool that I get annoyed.

      • Most of that is bad writing but like I said we’ve really no right to judge JS or CF because writing something may seem easy but if there’s one thing I’ve learned writing a story is no easy task. They clearly had a great idea but they got carried away, focused too much on the less important aspect of the show…

      • atcDave says:

        Actually I think we do have the right to judge. We are the audience and ours are exactly the opinions that (should) matter most.

        It would be exactly like food. I don’t have to know how to cook to know what I like.

        To say I should appreciate the effort is sort of a separate issue. Of course we should. And even more than effort, there is much that’s good, even magical about what we got with Chuck. But it wasn’t perfect, and its okay to have complaints too.

  40. All true and honestly if any show were perfect there would be nothing to talk about! But I always try to judge without getting angry, of course that’s a difficult thing when S3 was so ridiculous…

  41. Selena says:

    Sometimes I feel like they change in two separate directions.. 😦

    Sarah was actually pretty mean in the first and second season, and cold, and I have no idea why. CHUCK was really nice though, and even my dad thought this and temporarily preferred Chuck with Jill because Jill was more passionate.. Hell yeah, she wasn’t just more passionate, she was THE passionate one. Dear god, the only episodes she was nice in were the first episode, Chuck versus the Santa Claus, and the episode where Chuck almost gets sent to an underground bunker

    Meh, Chuck and Sarah were only equally nice in the fourth and fifth season (sometimes)..

    • It depends on how you define nice/mean…I think S1&2 have quite a bit of of the “I like you but can’t do anything about it bickering.” S2 has much more “caged passion” that comes to a head in Barstow. S3 is bad writing we consider an A/U Chuck & Sarah. S4&5 have “regular relationship ups and downs” but plenty of romance too and heartfelt moments so it all balances out.

    • atcDave says:

      I saw plenty of “nice Sarah” in the first two seasons. And really lots of great Charah moments; from the make up at the end of Helicopter, to pretty much all of Tango, to the end of Wookiee, much of Sizzling Shrimp, all of Sandworm….

      I thought it was pretty rare for Sarah to be anything other than a complete sweetie to Chuck.

      • This may sound odd but one off my favorite moments Is in the finale when Sarah objects to hearing their story Chuck is clearly taken aback and yet she gives the most genuine “I’m sorry” I’ve ever heard, I believe it’s in the extended cut and it’s a beautiful moment. It still floors me that NBC didn’t air the extended cut…

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, I agree that I didn’t ever really see Sarah as cold. That was part of the point of Wookie … to show how different she was than Carina. Sarah was an agent doing her job, which called for a professionalism that she had trouble maintaining when it came to Chuck. She was clearly able to pull of duty and professionalism, but Chuck brought out all of the long buried softer qualities.

  42. Selena says:

    Chuck and Sarah hardly interacted in Tango, so I found it kind of annoying to hear Chuck talk to Ellie about how Sarah might be too agile for him when he had spent the whole night with La Ciuadad. I’m just saying..

    It doesn’t matter though, I don’t care if they had a rocky start, I don’t care if Sarah was “cold” back then, what matters is now. Sarah and Chuck are completely different now, and Sarah will never be that hard-hearted agent ever again because she lost that life–all she has is Chuck now, and Chuck has her. Plus, thinkling said that he felt like Sarah BARTOWSKI was truly on the beach with Chuck, so basically Sarah WALKER is gone..

    P.S. I guess I just thought Sarah was mean because the fictional girls that I like are always total sweethearts. 😛

    • thinkling says:

      Actually I use Sarah Bartowski to mean the Sarah of S5, to mean the person that Sarah became in relationship to Chuck. Not to mean someone completely different from Sarah Walker (who is definitely not gone). Sometimes I use Agent Walker to mean the agent side of Sarah, but again, not someone different. My position is that that the Sarah of S4 and S5 was inside Sarah all along but never really got to develop because of the life that her dad and the CIA forced her into.

      I don’t see the characters as completely different in S5 … not at all. I see them as whole, whereas before they were somewhat broken because of circumstances beyond their control. Sarah is still the agent she always was … think Baby (I’m going to kill him, Chuck). But the agent is softened by the inner person who flourished in relationship with Chuck.

      We are relational beings. Relationship is the context of self-definition and the canvass of self-expression. Who we are is experienced, expressed, and tested in relationships. Hustled from one town to another and one name to another, Sarah had little opportunity to figure out who she was. She was a prop for her dad’s cons. She was the new kid in school. She was invisible. She lacked the roots and human connection necessary to develop or give expression to The Girl On The Inside … until Chuck, who saw her, knew her, and loved her.

      Likewise, Chuck always had the ‘hero’ in him, but the circumstances of his life never gave that aspect of Chuck a chance to develop — or a context to develop and flourish. The Intersect provided that opportunity, and in relationship with Sarah, that side of him grew and developed.

    • atcDave says:

      Quality over quantity…

      Through the first two seasons Sarah is consistently a source of encouragement, sympathy and support to Chuck. So many of us were committed ‘shippers before S2 even started because we loved the strength of affection and friendship between these two. S4 and later is satisfying because it pays off what was being built up at the beginning.

  43. Selena says:

    Thinkling, you’re so wise. :3, now I just feel stupid.. XD

    But I honestly didn’t see such affection, just a nice friendship and some random, passionate kisses every now and then. Idk why, but I only realized I NEEDED Chuck and Sarah together by season 3, even though season 3 was terrible. I guess their interactions were more clear-cut and Chuck was somewhat better.. I have no idea why I started liking them together in the misery arc. DX

    What I was trying to say though, is that the past is in the past. They may not be completely different, but they are different still. Actually, if I had to pick one memory for Sarah to remember, it would be her and Chuck’s wedding. It was such a beautiful scene–it almost brought tears to my eyes, and TV NEVER makes me cry. *sniff*

    • anthropocene says:

      It brought tears to Sarah’s eyes when Chuck recounted it for her on the beach.

    • Don’t feel stupid, we don’t always notice things until it’s pointed out to us by somebody else. Take me for example, I didn’t notice how awful S3 was until I read Dave’s “I hate S3 rant” in its overview and his anger is perfectly acceptable, that was some of the worst writing ever!!

      I haven’t encountered anybody who didn’t really feel the affection of S1&2, it’s interesting and shows everyone’s experience with the show is different:)

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