In Which Frea Expresses a Bunch of Unpopular Opinions

I think I should write down my thoughts on the ending and everything right now. Warning, there's some profanity ahead.  This isn't replacing mxpw vs. Frea, either. These are just my thoughts.  After the break.

I get that a lot of people hated the finale, and trust me, I understand why, and I certainly don’t begrudge them that. You come into a novel or a movie or a TV show with certain expectations and it’s the writers’ job to either keep to those expectations or keep you around with THEIR expectations.

The writers changed the gears on us, guys. For five seasons, we’ve always had epic build-ups that basically led to neutered resets. The one time anything was lost was when they pulled the trigger on Orion, and you could argue that every single person on the show has come back from the dead at some point, so you can’t even trust that. Therefore, the writers have set up this expectation in their fans, unwittingly, that they’re going to build up epic stakes (I’m trying to use the real word for epic here, not Fedak’s) but we all know it’s going to be a ride into the sunset.

This didn’t happen here. They actually pulled the trigger and they made the mistake of pulling the trigger on the fan-favorite character of Sarah Walker. They didn’t shoot her and kill her; they did something that’s arguably much worse. They killed what made us fall in love with her and teased us that that quality might be there or might not be.

So three episodes before the end of the show, the writers changed up their game. I watched Angel, though I hated David Boreanaz with a passion. Two episodes before the finale, Spike and Angel took off to Rome to try and woo Buffy. It was kind of a closure episode, I guess? Anyway, I hated it. I loathed it. They were building toward a finale, so what the F*#! are they doing, wasting time in Rome? I want all my characters to get their closure, dammit. The funny thing about that episode is that it’s hysterical. It brings back Andrew in a way that made me giggle (hi, Tom Lenk!), Spike and Angel were riding a moped, so on and so forth. But the fact that it was so close to the finale, when I felt they should be focusing on other things, means that I hated it. And I see a lot of the same thing happening here. The fact that Sarah’s losing her memories right before the finale? Who besides Jeff has a flame-thrower? This is not a story you tell at the end of the run; it’s something that goes at the beginning of a season if you’re going to do it at all.

In addition, I’m going to get personal here. I lost somebody in my life who had Alzheimer’s. It is all kinds of devastating for everybody. There’s nothing that can really match the feeling of being forgotten by somebody you love. In my situation, a stroke took him before he truly forgot everything, but it’s still hard. It was hard on my mother, and it was hard to watch.


That said, once I put the fact that they robbed Sarah of her memories aside, I actually enjoyed the series finale. My friend Ayefah said that it was like watching Sarah completely rebuild herself in two hours, and honestly, I agree and I enjoyed that. I loved the fact that the memories were there somewhere (how could they not be?), I loved watching Sarah analyze her life and make decisions on what information she had and be smart about it. I loved watching Sarah kick ass in ways we haven’t seen in awhile (she didn’t need an Intersect). There were some great call-backs to the Pilot and Helicopter, Tango, all of the early stuff. Do I wish they hadn’t had to cannibalize their own show to make a great finale? Yes. But that didn’t stop me from enjoying it.

Now, we get to the end. The open-ended “Did the kiss fix everything or not?” Everybody’s arguing because they want a concrete happy ending rather than just the possibility of a happy ending, nobody’s happy because they wanted the book happily closed on Charah rather than left open to write a new chapter they’re not going to get on the screen.

And that’s exactly why I love it.

I’m going to be straight with everybody. I hate the Charah relationship. Now, don’t get me wrong: I love the idea of Chuck and Sarah together. Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski have chemistry that I’m amazed hasn’t melted TV sets. But the Charah relationship for me has been fundamentally flawed since Pink Slip. There’s a reason mxpw was the one to write about most of the later Charah moments because honestly for me, the relationship was soured and it never regained its momentum for me. I hated the “Do you love me?” in Other Guy. Honeymooners was a chore to get through because it was like un-earned fluffy Charah fanfic. My favorite moments are actually Chuck and Sarah just working together because that’s when I could see more of the relationship that I loved rather than these big schmoopy Charah moments. And yes, I turned to fanfiction mostly because I wanted to see a Chuck and Sarah that actually wanted to be together and would be without being walloped without the stupid stick.

Most of the time, I’m left wondering, Why do you two even want to be together? I don’t get it. And that’s not coming out of the PLIs of Season Three or anything. If the person you’re in love with has said no, I think you have a right to try and move on and ensure your own happiness. It’s just a general feeling of “Wow. Chuck is lame. Wow. Sarah’s passive and dismissive again.” Simply put, they were not Mr. and Mrs. Darcy.

And then... in this episode they were. It was amazing. We finally got a mature Chuck that was awesome and I could see why they wanted to be together. We got a rapid evolution of Sarah remembering things and slowly coming back to the Sarah Walker I love (still kickass, still smart, not hamstrung by the idiotic Sarah of seasons 4 and 5), and Chuck actually having a spine. It was fantastic. And even better, they left me with characters I could care about again, and they left me this great story just waiting to happen. If they’d gone the picket fence/golden retriever angle, I could have walked away from the showing going, “That was fine. Kind of lame, but whatever.”

Here, though? I felt like there was going to be more to the story, and I loved it. I know a lot of people don’t, that they wanted to see it all neatly put into its own capsule, from start to finish. But I’ve never felt that relationships have an end, and the picket fence/golden retriever would have been a definite end. Here, it was a beginning, and I loved that.

Look, we can argue until we’re blue in the face about whether or not Sarah’s memories are going to come back completely. Here’s the thing: nobody’s ever going to be right in that argument. Nobody’s wrong, nobody’s right. For me, personally, I’m going to assume the memories will come back. They laid enough out throughout canon and season 5 that I don’t think the Sarah Walker everybody loves is gone forever (I don’t think she was even gone in the episode, even). I’m genuinely sad for Yvonne that she didn’t get the victory lap that others like Josh, Adam, Sarah, and Ryan got, of course. But the story could have been much, much worse, and I’m glad it wasn’t.


  1. I made clear where I stood, but let me say.. after a night of thought, I don't *hate* the way it ended. I'm just..disappointed I suppose? It's sad that it had to go out like that, but I can understand that there's hope that things will be okay. We just won't be able to actually see said things be okay, and that's what I wanted.

    Still.. nicely written Frea, and thank you for this.

  2. Good post, although it seems like you're dissecting the groups in a faulty manner. It's either you wanted the completely over the top happy ending and were left disgruntled with this one, or you were fine with this ending.

    To me, the ending would've been absolutely fine if we'd had at least some form of response after the kiss. Yes, the hints are there, but then again, there were plenty of hints that Sarah's pregnant and no one said a thing after Kept Man.

    I'm completely fine with the removal of the house/fence/kid angle. I didn't watch Chuck so I could see them attain domestical bliss. I watched it to see an unlikely love blossom, characters being funny and action being entertaining.

    And I think that's the common thread with people who disliked the ending. It wasn't that they didn't get the main LI's to their end goal, it was that it felt like a rushed reset with a resolution that left too much into the air to be able to say: "They'll make it." Because hints are just that: hints.

    But I think the worst issue for me is that I'm trying really hard to love it. And it's ridiculously hard because my mind can't accept what we've seen as enough to satisfy me. I've seen the arguments, and I totally agree with all of them. But it still lacks for me. And that's my main issue.

    Then again, I completely seperate the ending from the episodes. The episodes in itself were great. I've thoroughly enjoyed them and they were a definite highlight of the season. The ending just lacked and that's especially painful considering the fact it's a series finale.

    Great write up though.

  3. Frea, thanks for this review. As an intellectual exercise, I see Honeymooners differently than you, but I certainly do agree about "mature Chuck". His maturation, and Sarah's, were about the "facts of life" we all have to face, as was the anguish in the end. Not fun, but very real in a very personal sort of way.

    Sarah's memories are mostly gone, but not her emotions. She asked Chuck to tell her their story to provide her with those memories. I choose to believe his love connected to her heart once before and will again because that is unchanged.

    I think you're right - there's more to the story. I do hope we'll see in a movie. From a story-telling POV, they certainly left us in a good place for that.


    1. Joe, with all due respect, if there's a movie at some point it needs to be done without Fedak. He's had ample opportunity to earn credibility as a storyteller yet he persists in producing shallow, puerile, dysfunctional fare.

      If he's involved in a movie it's just going to be more of the same junk food to sort through looking for something edible. And, frankly, I'm kind of fatigued from the effort.

    2. Fedak can be there for the process, just as long as Schwartz is there to rope him in when he goes looney.

    3. But dont you think it is more Schwartz idea to muck around with Chuck and Sarah more than Fedak. I know Fedak has always said the ending would always leave it open but I think this was just a bit 2 open.

  4. I'm really glad you wrote this. I feel much better about everything having read it.

    I in no way hated the finale. I thought they were both pretty great episodes. But I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending. And that has almost nothing to do with the finale and everything to do with the end of Bullet Train. To go through watching the excruciatingly painful and heart wrenching sequence of Sarah losing her memory and not have an equally happy moment to balance that out didn't sit well with me.

    Would I have liked a more concrete ending? Sure. Did I need it? Probably not. I think I would have been happy if I just got to see Chuck and Sarah smile at the end. They spend so much of the finale in pain, it would have set my heart at ease to see them really, truly smile at each other.

  5. Henry28.1.12

    I agree with almost everything that you say here (well, I don't hate Honeymooners and I never watched Angel) but mostly one thing I don't agree with: you say that you're sorry for Yvonne because she didn't get the victory lap that others had. For me, instead, these two episodes confirm once again that she is the most talented of the whole bunch. She played her character (and the old self in the Video log) so well, and you remarked well that there was as much character development (both of Chuck and Sarah) in these two hours as in the first two seasons.
    So, count me with the happy ones: I wouldn't change this finale for the the "white house, red door, picket fence and a dog", not that I can, now... :)

  6. Ayefah28.1.12

    Count me as someone who was surprised and pleased by the ambiguity of the ending. I admit, that wasn't a very Chuck move to pull - this is a show that usually tells its stories very...emphatically. But it's cool that this time they explicitly left what comes next up to our imaginations.

  7. George the FIRST28.1.12

    I really liked this episode. Really, really liked it. Both in fact. I don't usually like open endings, but I found this ending to be the best I could think of (based on that arc). You are right Frea, the open ended-ness of it is perfect for the Chuck fandom. There is a lot you can build upon. Many stories that be written because of it.

    I do agree with singlewalkrun. A smile at the end would have been nice. Thank you for the thoughts.

  8. Kevin R.28.1.12


    First off I want to publicly thank you for your great stories and work on this blog. In fact I can safely say that Fates is one of the best derivative works out there regardless of genre.

    Like probably a lot of fans, the romantic story arc of Chuck and Sarah is central to the show and was portrayed with brillance by Yvonne and Zach. If they hadn't done such a stellar job and meshed so well together on screen, Chuck would have been just another goof-ball network spy show that wouldn't have gotten the fan devotion to survive. That being said, on to the finale:

    I actually thought it was very good for an ending. The secondary characters story arcs were basically resolved, but the main characters were left somewhat open-ended. That's not to say that I wasn't floored by the possibility that Sarah might have permanently lost her memories; but after exhaustively reading reviews and series end retrospectives (Sepinwall, et al) I'm of the opinion that she does slowly regain her memories and in fact probably gets quite a few back after kissing Chuck - at a minimum she loves him again and they can build on that. That provides me with the "happy ending" that I really wanted the Chuck and Sarah romance to have (see my comment above).

    I think a lot of the anger over the finale might stem in part from a sense of loss that the show is gone. I know I'm feeling that I've lost something pretty special that might not be repeated. That being said, I hope that you and all the other fan fiction writers don't abandon telling stories in the Chuck-verse. The core of the story (romance, growth, action/adventure, awesome pre-visualized characters and locations) should provide fodder for many more great stories.

    Thanks again for all your time, effort, creativity and (plea) please don't let your anger the finale keep you from finishing your epic story....

  9. Anonymous28.1.12

    I thought I was going to hate the finale if it looked like she might not have her memories back. I didn't I thought parts of it were beautifully done, especially by Yvonne. It makes me sad, but I don't hate it. I kind of hope that they do a short comic something in the future.

    I remember think during the episode, especially the last scene. Damn Yvonne is an incredible actress. I remember thinking that a lot during season one and two, but I don't know if the writing had really let her shine that much in recent seasons. So it really striked me.

  10. Anonymous28.1.12

    This was actually the kind of ending you could see the Fandom taking in both hands and running with - Anything is possible at this point. Sarah is once again a kickass spy doing things we all knew she could do without the need of the intersect (oh my god, that bothered me! Bothers me still, if I'm to be honest about it) and looking fantastic while she does the homage to Bryce when they go for the intersect. All of a sudden she's got the skills again that the writers seemed to think that she had somehow lost.

    I'm getting off track. But can you blame me? Sarah was fantastic.

    Back on track.

    What they've managed to do is rather remarkable, really. They've salvaged the show in my opinion. It had been doing some really crazy things that didn't make a jot of sense, and as Frea said, here was all the character development that they should have had crammed into just under two hours. They were (apart from Sarah's memories being mislaid) the characters we always knew they could and should grow to be.

    I actually have one small reservation with all that. Chuck's a mad-awesome hacker: why did he need the intersect to do things we're pretty sure that he could have done anyhow? I can see *why* they did it that way - it was necessary to show that Chuck was the awesome hero who put the needs of the many ahead of what he wanted. And ahead of Sarah. It was a selfless hero moment. But akin to how Sarah's skills were undermined when she got the intersect, I think Chuck's native skills weren't given the respect they should have had with this move. But what's done is done.

    The point that I was trying to make, in this long-winded and twisty comment, is that with the open ended ending, they've left what happens up to you all to decide. No one is wrong. This is an opportunity for everyone who writes Chuck fanfic to imagine how things go on for themselves. It's an opportunity for the makers, too, to return to the story with a movie if they ever get the chance.

    Anything else would have made that far more problematic. And I think it would have been disappointing in a way this wasn't.

    1. Anonymous12.5.12

      Michael Mann did a "Miami Vice" movie 20 years later after that show was canceled. It sucked. All the main characters were 20 years older. A new younger generation not knowing about that great cast. If they wait 10 years for a Chuck movie all the main characters will be in their 40's too old to hold the interest of a new younger generation. Don't wait to long to do the movie. Just my 2 cents.

  11. Anonymous28.1.12

    your idea about the relationship is what I thought as well, nice write up, and I agree with the idea that a romance/relationship doesn't end. So for once I can say I like your take on things exactly

  12. Divine29.1.12


    Being a regular reader of this website, I don't know, but I kind of guessed that you would at least like the finale and where our lead heroes landed. I am not familiar with the art of writing, but I learned from you and the other writers here that a storyteller should always commit with the story they're trying to tell. And that's what our show did for Chuck and Sarah.

    I'm still on the fence about how I feel about the finale. I don't completely hate it, but I can't say I'm absolutely in love with it. But I'm happy. It was literally bittersweet as far as the story arc went. What it did for me was it made me genuinely care and root and wonder for our couple and their future. I'm not sure if 'haunting' is the right word to use, but this kind of finale did that and it's been bugging me but in a good way. I think if they pulled a Harry Potter route as an ending, the more concrete kind, I would be satisfied but it would not make that much of an emotional impact. Am I weird to feel that? Like most, I don't need that white house and red door, but I would be COMPLETELY sold with it if there was a line, a touch, a look, or whatever micro-expression from Sarah's part after the magical kiss. Something more re-assuring. I'm greedy like that.

    I'm sorry to bring up Fedak, but I loved what he said about Chuck on that beach. The idea of what he said was for all his goofiness, Chuck handled himself well there. He didn't plead, he didn't beg, he was just there for his wife. I absolutely loved that. He stayed true to his wedding vow, that Sarah can count on him for anything. That left me with hope. With a husband like that, we know that our Sarah will be back. You have to envy the girl though. While she'll be slowly remembering what they've been through and why she's in love with Chuck, Sarah's going to experience it again like it's the first time. Familiar yet new.

    Ok, so I guess what I'm trying to say is that this finale left me wanting more. Is that a bad thing? Maybe. I don't know. But it made me feel and care and hope. This finale reminded me of exactly why I love this show.

  13. Anonymous29.1.12

    As far as the C/S relationship goes, I think after a while I can be ok with the finale. It's strongly implied that they get back together and her memories come back.

    The writers wanted to pay homage to the plot and season 1 etc, and they needed to find a way. I disagree with the way they chose. They basically "reset" a character and showed us the barest glimpse that she was on the path back to "finding herself". I don't like what they did to her. If they had just confirmed that she indeed got anything back (baring extremely small details ie order of cups in a restaurant) I would have been alright with it. But they left it open, so for all we know, she still cant/doesn't love him.

    It feels like we missed a chance at seeing our friends off. What we got was a new character who 'maybe' could turn back into the old character but it doesnt tell us if she does.

    That being said the episodes themselves were fantastic, I just wished this had been the season 4 finale.

    God I hate this amnesiac arc, I really do. Nothing good came out of it.

  14. Well I don't have a problem with this finale once they introduced memory loss angle. In fact, this might have been best possible way to end it under the circumstances.

    But I really hate that they choose memory loss for final story arc. It would make a great season finale but as series finale it's rather disappointing and unsatisfying. To me at least.

    Personally, I don't think Sarah is getting her memories back but she does get back something that might be even more important: feelings and emotions. Because, as Ellie put it, memories alone are meaningless without feelings and emotions that came with it. And that while Sarah's memories could be gone forever, feeling and emotions that came with them might not have been. And as we saw in finale she get some of those back without any context as to what they mean [she knew beach is important to her but not why].

    Do I think they end up together in the end... I do. But it wont be easy. And the problem wont be with Sarah, it will be with Chuck. Sarah could fall in love with Chuck once again [after all, she didn't need that long first time around] but could Chuck grow to love THIS Sarah without comparing her to the one he lost? Could he love her for who she is and not who she once was? Because if he can't do that it really wouldn't be fair to THIS Sarah.

    From a certain point of view, Sarah is about to start dating a widower and will have to fight for Chuck's love with ghost of his dead wife. Fact that "dead wife" was actually her will only make things harder for Sarah. But I believe Chuck made a step in the right direction at the beach where he simply explained why beach is important without getting overly excited about it [like he did in Wienerlicious when she felt setup is wrong]. He made that scene on the beach about "this" Sarah and what she need.

  15. Anonymous29.1.12

    I do believe that she will get her memories back. They left enough clues to make me believe that the question is not if, but when.

    That said, that doesn't how it affected me emotionally. The end left me kind of empty and sad. Sad for how much was taken away from Sarah. And in the end there was really no one there for her, except Chuck.

    Honestly the end would have played better for me if we had got a little more proof of her remembering in the end.

  16. malamoo29.1.12

    Frea, are these really unpopular opinions, because I agree with you. Thank you for writing this, because until I happened upon this post, I couldn't describe in exact words why I wasn't content with the way Chuck ended. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.

    I really enjoyed Chuck vs Sarah actually. It was fun to have pre-season 3 Sarah return and the storyline actually held my attention for the whole episode unlike others this season and last.

    The last episode however...I felt like in order to have the story come full circle, they laid waste to the Chuck/Sarah that they built on for the last five years. I think it's tragic that Sarah will now have to compete with the Sarah that once was (as Ripe mentioned earlier). Even if she's to recover her memories it can't be the way it was. It's just not possible. And I guess that's why the ending disappointed me a little; not to say I didn't expect something along the lines.

    You're right; my expectations were not high either and it could have been much worse. Anyway, thanks for the post!

  17. ladycat71329.1.12

    I think my favorite future for rest of the cast was Jeffster's. I've always had a soft spot for dreamers. And it rang true that Lester looked a little afraid to leave the Buy More.

    I'm assuming that she'll get back her memories and maybe learn somethings about seeing her own behavior for a second time.

    I'm a little disappointed that we got Mama B back but did get a little post script where she had a "friendly little visit" with Shaw in his cell and made sure he regretted killing Papa B.

    And they really should have had them get together more slowly and rebuild trust in season 3.5. Unfortunately that's one of the shows flaws, like when they had Chuck hiding things at the end of Predator from Sarah , it should have had a rebuilding of trust there but they went quickly to Broken Heart.It needed at least one ep between them to have the trust come back.

    And speaking of Buffy , what they did to her in the comics makes me a lot more forgiving of other shows.

    You can look at Chuck and think because of the Buffy comics disaster , they could have done so much worse. Also they can't hurt them anymore.

    Bring on the fanfic!

  18. Anonymous29.1.12

    The reason for that I don't like the ending is that it really left Sarah in a terrible place. The two people that she's closest to are dead (Bryce, Graham). Her family (Ellie, Awesome, Morgan, Casey) doesn't seem interested to reconnected or what is happening with her. Really after 5 years?

    All she's left with is a man she really doesn't know or why her life has changed so much.

    Listening to Fedak/Schwartz it's clear that she will regain her memories, so why not show that?

    1. Ayefah29.1.12

      Sarah's not totally bereft of friends - she still has Carina and Zondra, and her relationship with Verbanski was new enough that I think she can reform it without having to deal with the latter's memories of her previous self. Her mother and father are still out there, too, and so's her adopted sister. (Who, again, hardly has any memories Burbank Sarah, so no expectations there.)

      Do I think Sarah's been screwed royally? Hell yes. But...in terms of personal connections, she's not much more screwed than she was right before the pilot, when she'd apparently lost her mother and Bryce in quick succession.

    2. awelle31.1.12

      I used exactly the same words on another site. So I completely agree with this anon.

      And you are right about the state of her personal connections Ayefah, but even if she is not much worse off than right before the pilot, that´s still a much worse position than the last two seasons. And that kinda sucks.

      I didn´t completely hate the finale and I actually enjoyed 5.12 a lot. And I get that everybody, who didn´t much care for the way Sarah was written for the most part after season 2 might love that ending. I don´t begrudge anyone that.

      That would be a strange motivation for the showrunners to write it that way, though. If they hated how Sarah was written before she lost her memories, they should have just written her better and not resorted to a mindwipe at the very end to fix it. (I don´t think that was their motivation, though. ;))

      In the end they not only denied Yvonne the victory lap, but they also denied the Sarah they created the same. I don´t like that.

      The possibilities for fanfiction to come out of it is a plus, though. :)

  19. JustCallMeDave29.1.12


    I agree with most of what you said.

    (If these two episodes weren't the finale, I would have been impressed as all heck, because they were two really well-written, tight, logical, compelling episodes of TV. However, the show I really fell for was FUN; in the first season, I thought Chuck was the most fun hour of TV I had seen in a long time.)

    The finale really, really wasn't fun - it was really, really bittersweet and it just left a not-good taste in my mouth.

    (However, Yvonne really owned those two episodes and she's the main reason I've been watching the show for the last three years, so there's that.)

    Of course, the other thing I felt was that malamoo did a much better job with this theme in Chuck vs the Second Chance. (I'm surprised no one's mentioned that yet.) If there's anyone out there who hasn't read that story, I encourage you to do so.

    And, finally, the part I really hate is that there won't be a new episode of Chuck to complain about next week, or ever - and the unlikely TV show that had six (count 'em), six, finales is finally gone.

  20. Weaselone29.1.12

    Count me in as one of the fandom that liked to see Chuck and Sarah working together effectively, who prefered it when the writers showed us why Chuck and Sarah would choose to together as opposed to just inundating the audience with insipid schmalz.

    I was trying to piece together why I liked the ending of the series while so many other fans appear to have been left cold by it. I assumed that it was the symmetry and the feeling of having come full circle coupled with the nearly infinite universe of possible futures it left for Chuck, Sarah and the entire cast of characters. Having reflected and read your post, I have to say that it was because the writers gave us back the Chuck and Sarah we knew from season 2 in exchange for Sarah's memories. The show ended with the characters much as they were when I was most fond of them. It's difficult not to appreciate that despite whatever flaws there may have been in the final arc.

  21. Frea,

    Your comments are very similar to what I feel.

    I think that the real problem was that the quality of the entire show went down in season 3. The spy missions weren't fun because the Ring was an even dumber MaGuffin than Fulcrum. They had even less of a purpose than Fulcrum and seemed to even dumber.

    I really think that the Intersect 2.0 may have ruined the show. Chuck couldn’t be stopped except by his own feelings. It is tough to have an entertaining show when the only thing that can stop the hero is a little depression. Nothing kills a show like watching the main character complain about his feelings.

    Before the 2.0 I always wondered a cool it would be if Chuck learned to be a super spy like Bryce or Cole. I thought it would be amazing to see the former nerd kicking ass alongside Casey and Sarah. Sadly we never saw that in season three or four because of all Chuck’s ass kicking was done by a computer. Chuck had to use his own skills far.

    My last big problem was Chuck’s refusal to kill. If he wanted to be pacifist he shouldn’t be a spy. His refusal to kill not only put others in danger but passed the awful burden onto to someone else. It was both dangerous and selfish.

    Then Chuck and Sarah were ruined by Prague and Sarah acting like a wimp.

    I was still interested in the show because I was so emotionally invested in Chuck and Sarah from season 1 and 2. Once they got together I went from being obsessed to casually interested.

    There was no other conflicts to explore because the spy world had lost any stakes with Morgan getting involved, the Ring being ridiculous. and Chuck was superman.

    Season 4 was awful. Mary Bartowski was a boring and unsympathetic character who helped ruin the first 13. The back 11 were doomed by stunningly dull Vivian and preposterous retconning. Additionally the writing simply wasn’t very sharp.

    I actually enjoyed most of season 5 though by this point the show did not have the ability affect me emotionally anymore. As for the last two episodes, taking away the main character's memory then leaving her fate to the imagination of the fans was a bad move. It is not the job of the fans to finish the writer is supposed to do that

    1. Anonymous29.1.12

      That no killing thing, not to mention suddenly being unable to handle a real gun with any confidence, was one of my few problems with the finale. We already saw Chuck learn this lesson in season 3. Why did the writers feel the need to revisit that particular "quirk" near the climax of the last episode ever? All it did was make him look incompetent, and he didn't even get a chance to recover from it in the final, anticlimactic showdown with Quinn.

      Actually, I could have done with more badassery in general in the finale. Most of the really exciting stuff happened in "vs. Sarah". I know Quinn wasn't much of a villain, but it still would have been awesome to see Team B take down one last bad guy before the show ended.

      As for the final scene on the beach, I was a little unsettled by it the first time. It seemed like the kind of ending you get when a show is cut down prematurely, and that's not what happened here. But I liked it more the second time. Maybe that's just because Zac and Yvonne really sold it.

  22. Anonymous29.1.12

    I enjoyed the ending, if only because the possibilities it leaves for the fandom to continue on its own. In other words, the potential for fanfic's. Thank you for the write up.

  23. JustCallMeDave29.1.12

    sk85 - I thing you've hit a lot of things on the head! I'm reminded of Chuck's ComicCon presentation between seasons two and three, whch started with a skit of Schwartz and Fedak getting the news of renewal and assuring the network brass on the phone that they had lots of great ideas for next season. Then they hung up, looked at each other and both said "I've got nothing." Little did we know that they weren't kidding.

    Also, I forgot to mention the part of the finale that had me slapping my forehead: Sarah's vlog.

    Season one Sarah hated to talk about her feelings. How are we supposed to believe that she confessed her feelings on a vlog that she must have known that her bosses would see? (After all, it was Casey who gave her a copy - where did he get it?)

    Not only that, it was season one Casey who asked "I'll give you one more chance to come clean. Did you compromise yourself with the nerd?"

    There's just no way that someone who was afraid of being transferred away from her asset would confess her true feelings in a way that could be used against her.

  24. I think that part of the problem was how many things were thrown in the last six episodes. Here is a partial list.

    Chuck finds his dad.
    Chuck searches for and finds Orion.
    Sarah gets reassigned.
    Devon and Ellie have relationship problems.
    Ellie and Chuck meet and freak out about their dad.
    Chuck becomes a man and breaks into Roark.
    Chuck makes peace with Jill.
    Chuck "kills" two people
    Sarah runs away with Chuck.
    Sarah and Chuck almost have sex
    Casey gets promoted.
    Casey betrays the team then reedems himself.
    Chuck defeats Fulcrum
    Chuck gets Intersect removed.
    Sarah rejects Bryce for the final time.
    Bryce dies.
    Stephen has an Intersect.
    Chuck downloads Intersect and gets Chuck Fu.

    If they knew the show was coming back TPTB could have saved some of these stories for the future. However the precarious status of the show meant that they threw everything into the last few episodes that they could of think of.

    They spent one episode on some issues that could have been spread out over several episodes or even a whole season. For example Chuck's search for Orion could have lasted for a whole season. Every so often we would get a glimpse of Chuck, the government, or Fulcrum trying to find Orion. In reality this search last for about 15 minutes of actual air time.

    Another example is Sarah. Her being compromised was dealt with in 1.5 episodes. Beckman's suspicions could easily have played out more slowly.

    I don't blame the TPTB for using up a lot of good stories. Maybe if the last part of season two hadn't been so strong there never would have a season three, four, and five to complain about.

    On a side note. Anyone who wants to get over frustration from Friday should watch their favorite season one and two episodes. You be magically transported back to a time when you fully loved the show.

  25. I've already thanked you on twitter for this write up, but I judged I needed to make it official & record my comments on CI. Somehow, that makes it real.

    As you have said in the past, we don't always agree on canon (but we don't disagree as much as you might think), but you & I are spot on about the ending of this series. Watching Sarah rebuild herself was painful and exhilarating at the same time.Seeing the maturity in Chuck throughout 5.13, being the husband he promised to be for her - proving it every day. Watching this episode, I finally understood what Zac meant when he said there might not be tears of joy, but instead tears of love. That doesn't mean that it is completely evident that the two of them are falling in love with each other - no, I now take it to mean the unconditional love that Zac portrayed throughout the episode. He believed in her when no one else did and he would be there for her, asking nothing in return. No strings attached. No, I will only love you if ....
    I am a hopeless romantic and frankly, watching Zac & Yvonne's performance in the episode and especially at the end, was incredible for me. BTW, you'll be interested to know that Mr. Fedak thinks very much the same way. In case you missed it, in an interview in TVGuide he said: "But the other thing about that ending is that in the final moments of the show, it's the emotional toughness. Chuck is there and he's not telling Sarah, remember me, please remember me, he's not crying, he's not pleading with her. He's just telling her that it's going to be OK, that he's going to help her. He's there however she needs him. That was a big moment. Zach and Yvonne knew exactly what they were doing. We've been doing this for five years now. We talked about it for a second, and he knew this was the maturation moment. This was something totally internal and was Chuck being a real husband." I realize this may be very conflicting for you, but had to share it ;)
    Finally, I like that there is more story to tell. I know we'll get it in FanFic - hell, we're already getting it. And it would be nice to have these actors play these characters again somewhere down the road. But really, what is more important is that in my mind, I will always have a never ending story of characters I have grown to like as friends.
    I'm glad - really glad - this episode left you with "characters I could care about again, and they left me this great story just waiting to happen" I honestly believe you deserved that.
    So again thanks Frea. You are Aces!

  26. Anonymous30.1.12

    Frea, I applaud you for being honest!

    Did I love the ending? NO! Did I hate the ending? NO! I didn't think it was the worst ending but I didn't think it was the best ending. And that's what upsets me -- that Fedak and company didn't give it a best shot and give the show a total and complete ending.

    It seems that every time a TV series ends, they don't "end" it but rather leave it open. And I think that's wrong. After watching a series from the beginning, I want an ending, not something left open. But that's just me.

    I did love the Chuck versus Sarah storyline. Notice that it was Chuck The Nerd besting Sarah at times and NOT Chuck The Intersect?

    Question: one fan told me of a rumor that there is almost an hour's worth of cut scenes and unaired footage from the last one or two episodes. Anyone know if this is true or just some rumor? If it is true, it would be great to get a "director's cut" final episode on the DVD.

  27. Anonymous - There was an interview in which Fedak stated that Goodbye ran long and there was nearly an hour of extra footage. He said they were going to put some of it on the DVDs. However, he said the extra footage they were including was going to be only about eight minutes.

  28. I have to say that my original reaction to the ending was WTF Fedak I will never forgive you for this and never watch a show you are involved with as I dont trust you. I should also say that I live in the UK and it was 3.00 in the morning when I watched it live (for the first time ever).
    We had Fedak et all telling us it was a love letter to the fans, they knew Chuck and Sarah were the Heart of the show, and that it focused on the Chuck and Sarah relationship.
    While watching I loved seeing kick ass Sarah it was uncomfortable seeing her threaten Ellie, and then Chuck telling Ellie that 'people keep telling him his wife is gone but she is not she is right here,' just really got to me and then the emotion in Chuck when he is talking about the fact that there relationship was real was gut wrenching although I also thought he could have gone a less emotion filled way telling her about what he knows about her, her name, her parents, the mission in Hungary and the baby, she had been distrustful of Quinn and that could have proven to her that Chuck was right.
    We could see from that moment that Sarahs memory started to come back and obviously we got more later with the Wienerlicious, Irene Demova and of course lastly the beech. On first watch I thought that the PTB would have Sarahs memory coming back after her head injuries when coming out of the plane
    We know that Sarah fell for Chuck in the pilot, this is that same Sarah she is in the same position she was then and she sees things in these episodes that keep the idea if him that many people think made Sarah fall in love with him, ie helping the ballerinas dad. In these we see that he saves her life, after she almost kills him (and how hard was that to watch) he gives up the possibility of getting her memories back to save people and at the end he is still willing to be there for her with no expectations. You also have to remember she had 3 occasions in vs Sarah when she could and indeed was told to kill him and she did not so there must have been something stopping her even then.
    At the end of Vs Sarah she tells him she does not feel it. I defy anyone to look at the dancing scene and not see that she is feeling something, In Wienerlicious when Chuck asks her to try and remember she does not shut him down she looks to me like she is trying. After leaving Chuck in castle and she has to find herself she goes to their spot on the beech! When Chuck comes and she asks to here there story she wants to know, she wants to reconnect with herself and him, during the story she is displaying lots of feelings Happness, Laughter and Sadness. This is not old Sarah this is S5 Sarah and then telling Chuck to 'Kiss me' is her accepting that they are in love she feels it now even without all her memories and whether the kiss is magic or not to me it is definitely a loving Kiss.
    I think the ending was very good and very emotional I can’t watch it without crying. The performances by Zac and Yvonne in both of these episodes are brilliant, and once again it shows the chemistry they have had since day one and that is probably what makes it doubly so for me as I know that this is probably the last time I will see them on screen together (although I would support any plan to get a tv/online movie any way I could)
    Although I am sure that Chuck and Sarah will be fine, and that Sarah will get her memories back but I still would have preferred a couple of changes to the final scene, Sarah being into the kiss more eg her touching his cheek or pulling him to her, the kiss breaking and them smiling honestly at each other, or some dialogue after the kiss could be either 'I love You,' 'I remember' 'now i feel it' or even 'That wasn’t so bad was it' (call-back to wookie).

    The ending made me feel so much more than just a typical happy ending would and has definately left me wanting more, would as many of the fans be wanting a Movie if it had all been wrapped up in a bow. Isn’t that a rule for show business generally, leave them wanting more?

  29. Anonymous2.2.12

    ArmySFC says,

    I posted this on another blog. I think it explains peoples reaction to the finale perfectly. It's from Pretty Woman.

    Edward says, “People’s reactions to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic; they either love it or they hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul.”


  30. alladinsgenie4u2.2.12

    @Frea - Read your post. Thanks for a different point of view. :)

    Count me as one of those fans who was very disappointed at the ending we got. Almost a week has passed, but I still find myself slightly pissed but mostly dejected. There are a lot of thoughts that I want to write but I just don't have the heart for it anymore. One thing I can feel for sure - the story of Sarah Walker is a tragic one, nothing less. :(

  31. Thanks for the post, Frea. I just saw the ending last night for the first time and I loved it. For me the picket fence ending brought out no emotion in me and would have been mostly forgettable.

    I agree with you that they did very little of showing why Chuck and Sarah would love each other in much of season 3, 4, or 5 (with some exceptions). This ending showed me those reasons and did it an a visceral way that has me continuing to think about it. The ending brought back that emotion from season 2, that feeling that these two should be together and the enjoyment of watching that discovery between them. The ending left them in a place where that discovery and adventure was still in front of them. I watched this show for the adventure and escapism aspect, not for a reminder of the domestic life that I'm familiar, which the picket fence ending would have represented. Even though I'm happy with domesticity that doesn't mean I want to watch it on TV.

  32. BigKev675.2.12

    A week in and 2 rewatches later my view is pretty much unchanged - I loved the episodes but found the ending an awful disappointment. I have no problem with the amnesia arc per se but I think to finish your show with even a hint that your most popular character might not remember some of the very scenes that you've loved and invested in over 5 years is IMO an egregious mistake. And it's so totally out of tune tonally both with the show and their previous finales - I felt like the last 2 seasons were a B52's gig and then they finished the gig with a Cure instrumental!
    To paraphrase Frea from the CNN podcast, if a writers' job is to convince me that the ending they wrote is a better choice than whatever I may have wanted, then they failed quite spectacularly to do that.

    And that's a pity. I've loved this show like no other since I first saw it 3 years ago and it deserved an ending in keeping with that. I have 5 (mostly) wonderful seasons to rewatch and remember - but I suspect the ending will always remain a huge disappointment.

  33. JustCallMeDave5.2.12

    Well, so far I've re-watched the Pilot and Hard Salami (one episode of my absolute favorite arc of the show - Truth, Hard Salami, Nemesis and Crown Vic) and I feel much better than I did just after the finale.

    sk85: I agree with your point about how much action TPTB crammed into the second half of Season Two. I think they were desperate to get the ratings back up and turned the show into much more of an action show whereas I really liked the first version of the show where developments in Chuck's spy life would be echoed by developments in Morgan's Buy More life and Chuck and Sarah would have quiet moments together to figure out where their "thing under the under-cover thing" was going.

    It's a shame more people didn't like that version of the show.

  34. To be honest, from what I gathered from seeing various forums, Frea's opinion on the ending seems to be the popular one. I for one thought that the arc felt shoehorned in at the end, and that it didn't really feel like a resolution at the end. Maybe if the producers gave one or two more episodes to dealing with Sarah's memory lose I would be fine with the ending on the beach, but instead I feel that the hopeful tone they were going for wasn't really earned.


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