Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Goodbye (5.13)

NBC Synopsis: CHUCK’S FINAL MISSION BRINGS HIM BACK TO HIS ROOTS AS HE FIGHTS TO SAVE HIS FUTURE – ANGUS MACFADYEN AND LINDA HAMILTON GUEST STAR — Chuck (Zachary Levi) enlists his family, friend and some unexpected allies as he races to stop Nicholas Quinn (guest star Angus Macfadyen, “Braveheart”) from destroying everything Chuck has built over the past five years.

Chuck This Ranking: 38
Dave’s Ranking: A little lower

First Impressions: Chuck vs Sarah and Goodbye – First Impressions

Full Write-Ups: Chuck vs the Goodbye (5.12) by Dave and Joe
A Grief Observed – A Hope Retained (Chuck vs The Goodbye) by Thinkling
Coming to Terms with Goodbye by Dave
Chuck vs Goodbye (Review) by Faith

Alternatives: Finale Alternatives and Epilogues by Dave



About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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36 Responses to Episode of the Week: Chuck vs the Goodbye (5.13)

  1. garnetflint says:

    Well, I guess it has all been said!
    A little more indication at the end would have saved it for me. I can live with the finale, but it will never be one of my favouite episodes. I think that , in general, I am going to avoid finales in the future as the showrunners more often than not seem to feel the need to go out with something “noteworthy” when fans would usually appreciate a chance to say goodbye. I can appreciate that the finale show us just how far Chuck has come on his journey and the symmetry of the beach scenes from the pilot and the finale is nice, but I will forever feel that we last saw Sarah Bartowski, the one who had a major journey of her own throughout the series, in Baby. There are hints that things will work out, but after 5 years, fan renewal campaigns, and hundreds if not thousands of posts, I really wanted more than the “possibility” of Chuck and Sarah falling in love again. Yes the beach scene does suggest that they will try to make it work, but without the spy life to bring them together, it isn’t clear just what will keep season 1 Sarah in Burbank. Magic kiss…there is some evidence they were pushing for that to be the answer, but they played it “cute” and couldn’t bring themselves to give us the closure we wanted–Especially after going so dark at the end of a fairly light-heated series.

    Thanks Dave for taking us through this rewatch of the series. It is hard to believe that it is over 4 years post finale. It seems like a year at most!

    Time may heal most wounds, but I find I don’t invest much in any show currently on air. Chuck was the first , and now likely only, show that I truly felt passionate enough about to post on blogs/forums/tell my family-friends about/pledge to a NerdHQ campaign/ buy a music CD/ eat at Subway… Perhaps we will be treated to a movie at some point, perhaps not. I wish all the actors on the show all the best in their careers.

    I thank you and the staff at ChuckThis for their dedication and devotion to a wonderful series. The Blog has brought a great deal of entertainment and perhaps some therapy over the years. I hope there is something in the works for after this….it has been a while since a FF update. Personally, I’d like to see a FF Hall of Fame post…who knows, I may have missed a great story at some point!

    • atcDave says:

      You may be right that its all been said!
      I agree almost exactly with that assessment GF, although I may feel a little more optimistic about Chuck and Sarah together again than you seem to. But I sure wish we’d seen it. For me the show pretty much ends at Baby.

      You know its always been a labor of love for all of us here, we’ve gotten as much out of the writing and community as anyone has. I think “community” is the hardest thing for me to let go of, and is the main reason for this last series of posts.

      Looking ahead, I’m planning one more “Overview” post to be up next week. I’ve heard from one reader who has an idea for a guest post, so that’s TWO more postings for sure!
      I would like to open it up to more guest posts from the community. I’ll get into more details about that next week.
      Another reader suggested doing something for the ten year anniversary (9/2017) and I think that’s a safe bet. I even bet we can get most of the principals back to write for that! I would also plan on another “Episode of the Week” sort of series to start at about that time. I mean seriously, do we ever NOT need an episode of the week?!
      New fan fiction has also slowed down a lot. New stories seem to emerge in groups, so its quite reasonable to think I’ll get the occasional ff post put together. A “best all time” is a fun idea. At this point I think everyone know my favorites pretty well, but maybe I’ll do a poll with guest reviews too. I’ll think more about that in a few weeks.

      Of course I sure do hope for new canon material eventually too! But obviously with nothing going on for now that could be a while.
      Thanks for commenting regularly! Its that commentary, the agreements and arguments (!) that make it fun for me to keep things going here.

      • garnetflint says:

        The FF Hall of fame would possibly be more for some of the newer people who may have missed out on some great stories /authors, but it might be a way of revisiting some of these “what if’s”. Perhaps a vote off much like the Awesome awards from several years ago on FF dot net???

      • atcDave says:

        That could work. This could be a lot of fun!

    • Wilf says:

      I, too, want to thank Dave and others for keeping the Chuck flame alive for so long and for providing therapy to get me and others over the disappointment of the finale. Did I say disappointment? That’s too weak a word. Devastation would be more appropriate and the therapeutic help offered via this forum was, well, awesome.

      Like you, GF, I never previously invested any time at all on a TV series beyond just watching it, so the ending was something which would not previously have affected me in any significant way. Chuck was different and I’m glad to have become to invested in it to the extent I did, since it was so very good. Equally, I’ve not invested more than pure watching time on any series since. But I do read Chuck fanfiction and it, too, as it has for others, has helped me come to terms with the finale.

      • atcDave says:

        I think Chuck will always be special for how completely I engaged with it.

        Thanks to other commenters here I’ve started watching Limitless. Fun show, my wife and I like it a lot. But its clearly a lesser Chuck in a few key ways; especially just to say Brian Finch is no Chuck Bartowski. He is fun and likable, but too much the slacker. Chuck was easier to respect, even in a dead end job he made the best of it and was respected by his peers. And of course the two leads have nowhere near the chemistry of Chuck and Sarah. So far its not even clear if they’ll ever be a romantic pairing or not. And it hardly matters to me. I LIKE the show, but it just doesn’t generate the passion for me.
        That may be the final impact of Chuck for me, nothing can compare and I’m not really eager for anything to.

      • thinkling says:

        YES! Dave, thank you so much for keeping this going. You’re stamina and faithfulness have been amazing. I’ve been quiet of late, but I’ve read every thread and will sorely miss the ChuckThis community. My Chuck energy is low, but the love is still strong, if that makes sense.

        Aside from the crazy addiction to Chuck, itself, it was the community experience that added to the Chuck pleasure exponentially. So a big thanks to all the contributors (I’ll miss you), and to my fellow bloggers … words fail me. Dave and his wife and my husband and I have met IRL, so there’s an almost normal friendship there. The others I haven’t met, yet I think of them as friends. I hope we can still do some posts from time to time, even if it’s to share other stuff we’re watching. We do seem to share similar tastes in television.

        I ditto all that Dave said about Chuck. I’m sure nothing else will come along and suck me in, and really I’m not sure I want it to.

        And yes, Limitless is Chuck lite on so many levels. Side note: check out “Jake 2.0” for another Chuck lite – a little better (imo) than Limitless. Short lived, unfortunately. The lead is Christopher Gorham — Auggie from Covert Affairs. I was really liking it, but then it came to an abrupt halt.

        Chuck changed the way I watch TV and the extent to which I’m willing to invest, particularly in the romance side of shows, given the propensity of show runners to mishandle relationships. Chuck TPTB finally came through, but not without mega-bumps along the way. And then they couldn’t give us a straight-up happy ending. It’s disheartening to me how television yanks relationships around, when it would be so much fun to see some good ones.

        So thank you Chuck and ChuckThis.

      • atcDave says:

        Unfortunately love of the community isn’t quite enough when I feel like I have nothing more to say!
        At this point I know of two more posts coming, but then not so much until maybe a ten year anniversary post.
        I do hope readers will continue to check from time to time. You never know when something new may be posted, and of course, there’s still hopes of more Chuck someday.

      • thinkling says:

        Oh yeah. I get that we’ve said all we have to say, so the posts will be few and far between. But still welcome on that basis.

      • atcDave says:


      • CaptMediocre says:

        “Chuck changed the way I watch TV and the extent to which I’m willing to invest, particularly in the romance side of shows, given the propensity of show runners to mishandle relationships.”

        Ever since Chuck, I too seem to have less tolerance for shows with no likeable characters or “questionable” (imo) storyline.

        That being said, (and given the fact that Chuck seems to have changed how a lot of us view TV now) if the Chuck we know debuted in Sept 2016, would we watch all 5 seasons or bail on it at some point?

        I’m not sure I’d make it through all 5.

      • atcDave says:

        Well in hindsight I’d just skip most of S3. And it’s funny, I recently just did almost exactly that with Castle, I disliked an arc so I quit the show until I had reason to believe the worst was passed.
        It may be fair to say knowing better how things are structured, and knowing how to find what I want to know are things I learned from watching Chuck. But I absolutely won’t watch a loved show and characters come off the rails again.

  2. Well, after I don’t know how many rewatches of the finale, my bewilderment at the final scene has given way to weepy hope. Why is the screen so blurry? Dust in the room, perhaps…. I’ll maintain my initial desire for more from the finale than what we actually got, but the final scene on the beach now strikes me as full of hope rather than just faintly hopeful. I guess I wrote more or less the same thing the last time we went through this, but I’m struck again by how emotionally open and willingly vulnerable Sarah appears at the end compared to how she was before then.

    If I recall correctly, in an interview Zac suggested that for that final scene, when Chuck was sharing *their story* with Sarah he suggested that they just turn down the sound and Chuck and Sarah were simply filmed talking to each other as Zac and Yvonne. In other interviews, Yvonne had indicated how much crying she had done in the last days of the show so I’m sure it was easy for her to shed a few tears, as well as to smile and laugh as Zac recounted stories of their five seasons together. When I watch that now, I can shift back and forth in my perspective and see both Chuck/Sarah and Zac/Yvonne, and I enjoy both those points of view.

    I guess the thing that strikes me the most about watching this was the assertiveness with which Sarah says, “Chuck, kiss me.” She has decided to trust Chuck, as he implored her. She had said she needed to go away and find herself. I believe that, by the time of that kiss, she had found enough of who she was that she was willing to commit herself to getting back the rest of the life that Quinn had taken from her.

    As I watched that final montage, I thought to myself, oh good, I get to go back to the beginning and watch it again! Apparently, I’m not tired of Chuck yet! So, I’m glad to read that there are plans in the works to continue on with this blog in some fashion or other. Thank you, atcDave, for shepherding us through another viewing of the series.

    • atcDave says:

      That was well put Russ.
      I think that “kiss me Chuck” really is so important. She is so open and ready. Can you see her reacting like that in late S1? No way! She was the opposite of vulnerable.

    • Angus Macnab says:

      Here you go, Russ. This is my answer to the final scene. It’s a challenge. I’d like to think this blog reaches this far. Something like this would seal the deal for many of us.

      As I mentioned last week; after a recent rewatch and last week’s discussion of these last three episodes, a funny thought popped into my head. It happened as I was thinking again about that kiss Chuck and Sarah shared in their final scene on their beach. I know that I’ve said this numerous times here, but there’s a reason I’m repeating it: that one little thing would have made that kiss far less ambiguous to see.

      Yes, it was cold that day; but Sarah, if you’d only taken your hands out of your lap. Chuck wouldn’t have minded at all, even if they were popsicles! LOL. Boom. Ambiguity much less severe (but still artfully present).

      Which leads to my solution to what I thought would have been that better lip/story closure. I think, four years after the series ending they could get away with this; and in my humble opinion, it wouldn’t affect a real sequel via TV or film in the least. In fact, it could inspire it; foreshadow another ending to what so many of would like to see.

      Zac and Yvonne; I know you are fans of Chuck and Sarah’s story too. Make some fan fiction for us, your dedicated fans. Get some of your Chuck family together and go back out onto your beach. Of course, Devon would be holding a video camera like the one he used in Seduction Impossible.

      Chuck and Sarah’s family would sneak up behind them; Devon recording while they share that kiss again. Except this time, Sarah, take Chuck’s face in your hands – preferably along with a fistful of his hair – and unabashedly swap some spit. Stronger than that tongue-tangled kiss in front of the Brycebomb on the docks. Get a little crazy. Have some fun with it. Make it steamy and hot. Bowl Chuck over in the sand. Tell him you hope Morgan didn’t leave an IOU in his wallet this time. : D

      Devon – “Whoa, Sarah; welcome back.”

      Ellie – “Uh huh…*wow*…an IOU, Morgan?”

      Alex – “Yeah, just what kind of an IOU, Morgan?”

      Morgan chokes, visibly shrinking as Chuck and Sarah look up in less than embarrassed surprise, brushing the sand out of their clothes with broad smiles on their faces while their family claps…or something to that effect.

      Post this fan fiction video on YouTube for all of us to see. It would go viral in an hour. Makes me giddy just thinking about it.

      Now *that* would be a love letter to the ardent fans of Chuck.

      • atcDave says:

        Wow, that would be awesome!

        (and Jeffster’s version of “Take on Me” just came up on my playlist as I’m typing this! Its an 11000 song playlist for what its worth.)

      • Agreed! That would be wonderful to see. Sarah recalling Morgan’s IOU would confirm the hope we all have that Sarah’s memories are on their way back. And you’ve managed to throw in some great Chuck humour as well. With this little vignette you’ve reminded me once again, Angus, about how much I enjoy your writing. Thanks for this.

      • thinkling says:


  3. anthropocene says:

    I still feel like a relative newcomer to this blog community, but this concludes my third complete series rewind. ¡Muchísimas gracias, Dave! As others have noted, plenty has already been written about the finale, much of it still just as resonant after the third group rewatch. I have nothing significant to add (and my own little coda to the series is still out there in fan fiction). But a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled over another blog page that some might find sweet at this freshly traumatic moment. If you’re interested, search on “Sarah and Chuck engagement photos Pacifica CA,” click on Images…and you’ll see what I mean.

    • atcDave says:

      Your “own little coda” is a much appreciated contribution and epilogue! It is linked from the “Alternatives” post listed up top.

    • Anthro, did you notice this: So, I googled “Sarah and Chuck engagement photos Pacifica CA” as you suggested, and one of the results further down in google was “Sarah and Chuck maternity,” starring the same couple and done by the same photographer, from about a year later than the engagement photos. The engagement photos at the beach could quite reasonably fit into a version of an extended finale. I wonder if they or their friends were fans of the TV series. With their combination of names, someone must have mentioned something!

      • anthropocene says:

        Russ: yes, I saw the maternity photos too! So many interesting coincidences, including the couple’s superficial resemblance to the TV Chuck and Sarah in the silhouetted beach photos.

  4. oldresorter says:

    dave I too add my thanks for all the time, patience and persistent you demonstrated in not only this rewatch, but for the entire while. I would add a personal thx for you letting me compare so often to other shows, one of my fav things to comment here on.

    I rewatched Goodbye last night, watched closely. I found it better than I recall. Instead of a 30-40 ranked ep or worse, I think it is one of those eps more in the top 15-20 range. As I watched Goodbye, it dawned on me, several of the s5 eps, I haven’t watched very often, the 7 / 12 th eps, possibly only once, 6, 9-11 only 2-3 times maybe. And even Goodbye, I haven’t watched completely while concentrating very often. It is a pretty solid episode on its own for me, esp if the baggage of the gruesome vs Sarah amnesia episode is fresh in my mind.

    I will give a few examples. 1st one, fresh and live that first view night, I hated the early scene with chuck and his family waking him up. Or even b4 that, Sarah the spy on the jet was not the wildcard enforcer, heck she really screwed that mission on the plane up, the old Walker would have killed them all b4 they even knew what hit them. I also thought the morgan / Chuck water fountain scene to be awful the first time, this time I sort of liked it too. And I did think the beach scene always was pretty good, but when I watched last night, the room got slightly misty, which is a sign of a great ep for me.

    A will voice one new complaint about he beach, has anyone ever mentioned the abrupt change when Sarah asked to tell her their story. It seemed like it was shot a different day, completely out of the flow of the moments prior?

    anyhow, thx again. Well done Dave and everyone else.

    • atcDave says:

      I’m pretty sure the beach was all shot on one day, but perhaps there was a rough edit.

      I do think there’s a lot good about this episode, even the ending would have been terrific, like top ten terrific if only it hadn’t been the very end. It left me almost hurting for just a little bit more, and that is the show’s legacy now, i didn’t quite get the closure I needed; at least not from canon.

    • Oldresorter, I didn’t really notice an abrupt change, although perhaps the editing was less than smooth, as Dave suggested. What I did notice, or I believe I heard something, and I think this has been said before, was that Yvonne’s true accent slipped through when she asked Chuck to tell her their story. My thought is that, with emotions running high in the final days of the series, her throat got a little tight, and she was hard pressed to speak “American.” I wonder if that might also be the source of the rough edit. She was having a hard time getting the words out…. All pure speculation on my part, of course.

      I’m glad to read that your room was also misty. Must have been some kind of weird phenomenon of climate….

      • Martin Traynor says:

        For the beach scene, I clearly noticed both the abrupt cut and the Australian accent, esp. on ‘our story.’ They weren’t enough to take me out of the moment the first time, but now they stick out like a sore thumb that won’t heal, much like my feelings for the “conclusion,” (in quotes because I don’t consider what we got any kind of a conclusion).

        I’ll agree with most everyone that it was well acted all around.

        My biggest gripe for these last two eps., outside of the nebulous ending, was that the episode just didn’t fit in with the lighter, more fun fare we got 99% of the time (excluding season 3.0). It’s like when sitcoms throw in the obligatory dramatic episode every season. I don’t watch comedies to get drama. I watch dramas to get drama (one of the many things I liked about Seinfeld the series was that it knew what it was and it stuck to it throughout its run).

        These last few eps. threw silly moments in here and there, but it was all overshadowed by the question of Sarah’s (and by extension, Chuck’s) fate. In my book, you don’t end a series on the 1% type program, you end it on your bread and butter. They didn’t do that.

        But I still watch every now and again, and love Fan Fiction (Thanks, Dave, for the recommendations), so Chuck lives on (with Sarah), happily…

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Martin, the change of tone for the finale is among my bigger gripes. I would have loved a single epilogue episode afterwards that was more laughs and fun.

  5. noblz says:

    Here we are at the end again. atcDave and crew thanks again for letting me play.

    My thoughts on this episode are that it was well made and well acted by both of our principals (Russian embassy dance scene was great). It went 80-85% of the way to being a good finale, so I guess it was OK. I just needed an extra sentence or, hell, a sentence fragment that indicated everything was going to be fine.

    Some said the story was done. I have always disagreed. I thought there was still more story to tell and that TPTB had set up a redux version of the show and were trying to peddle it right up to the end. I would have watched the redux version happily, despite Morgan being one of the four regulars left.

    I love this show and will keep it in my casual watch rotation.

  6. Martin Traynor says:

    I know the site is called “Chuck This,” but there seem to be a lot of other shows that we all gravitate toward, at least to some degree. There are a lot of “Castle” watchers, some “Limitless” viewers, “Scorpion,” etc. What are thoughts about coming to here to discuss them, especially as they either related to, or remind us of, our favorite Chuck?

    By the way, someone a little bit ago mentioned a Canadian show called “X Company” about WW2 spies in the twenty-something age range, and compared it loosely to “Chuck.” Sorry I don’t remember who it was, but I’ve been watching, and I am hooked. They just completed 2 seasons (about 12 eps. each), and it had me hanging onto the edge of my seat each episode. There are characters that remind me of (or that I associate with) Chuck counterparts, to a degree, and they are extremely deep; the drama is organic, the acting above par, and though I hear it gets a bit anachronistic, i love the time period and don’t let a few sloppy details bog me down.

    Another great Canadian Sci-Fi show was Continuum. It just ended it’s four season run last year – I still have to catch up on Seasons 3 and 4, but 1 and 2 were equally fantastic. It’s a bout a female cop in the future who travels back to our present to stop some criminals from her time, who also time jumped. But the thing is, they may not be the criminals after all.

    Anyway, just some thoughts. Love the site, love you all, and I’ll keep checking in!

    • duckman says:

      I just recently bought s1 of X Company myself based on what I read here about it. Have not gotten around to watching yet,but looking forward to it.

  7. mr2686 says:

    Well, even after all this time I still love this episode, and it’s still my number one. As stated above, it’s all be said before, but for me this episode is such an emotional rollercoaster with so many great callbacks. The ending has always worked for me, and although initially I would have liked even more, I no longer feel that way. I’m actually so happy with it that I would go so far as to not want a movie if it screwed up those feelings.
    On another subject, for those of you watching Scorpion, do you feel like it’s getting better or worse? The situations they get in to are almost cartoonish, and Walter is really unlikeable. It’s watchable but will never be a favorite of mine.

    • atcDave says:

      The one thing I will agree with is a big concern about what may happen with future content. To my mind, Chuck and Sarah left that beach together and were able to happily overcome the challenges they faced. If some later writer decides, ten years later, he HAS to show how Chuck won back Sarah; well, I truly don’t want to see that story (I think it already happened, but this why I dislike the so called “ambiguity” of it, some later writer could disagree with me).

      Scorpion is pretty weak. I like several of the characters, although not Walter. But the biggest problem is the missions are pretty lame. The actions of the “geniuses” are pretty outrageous flights of fancy. It’s hard to do a show about geniuses when the writers are morons. But this is a common television problem, writers are typically not our best and brightest. Of course it’s always possible the problem starts with the writers assuming WE are morons, but if so, that just puts a double dose of stupidity on them.
      That show really doesn’t do much for opinion of humanity…

  8. Paul says:

    I think the ending was good but left you thinking what’s going to happen next. I think a a special season would be good where you see that chuck and Sarah have moved on and they have found there love for each other again, after Sarah loosing her memory. In the season you see Sarah pregnant with chucks baby and dealing with chuck going on missions well she has to try, and I mean try and stay out of it. But later in the season made harder when chuck teaming back up with cassey and Morgan. The end of the season would see Sarah having the baby and agreeing to give up the spy game to have a life that She never had…just an idea. You could even have a brand new intersect with new abilities, also bring back some old villains so connect with the old seasons…

    • atcDave says:

      No doubt I like the idea of a new season! In the end, I think Chuck and Sarah need to be free, done with it. But in the mean time it would be fun to face off with some baddies from the past.

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