Inane Chatter - 5.12-5.13 - Chuck vs. Sarah/Goodbye
Max here, letting you guys know I owe you and our minion Shoe an apology. I got this review from the lovely and talented Shoe days ago, but only now managed to get it up now. So my apologies for that. Also, this is unedited by me, so you guys are fortunate to get Shoe, raw and uncut. ;-)
Here, Shoe provides her thoughts and feelings about the controversial series finale of Chuck.* Click the link to see more.
*As Frea mentioned in her last post, we are still planning to post an mxpw vs. Frea review of the finale soon.
Hey y'all, Shoe here and I'm going to try and not blubber my way through my review of the Chuck series finale. I'm going to combine both episodes, so this will be a two-for-one review or something like that. I will try not to be too verbose as well.
Part I: Chuck Vs Sarah
Team B - expanded to include everyone except Big Mike - is actively on the search to bring Sarah home after being kidnapped by Nicholas Quinn. However, somehow Sarah has survived her ordeal and come back to the Bartowski residence. She claims everything is fine and dandy - but Quinn has unfortunately brainwashed her into believing her husband is the enemy and out to steal the Intersect for himself. It's the little things that Chuck picks up on that maybe Sarah isn't who she says she is. Ellie and Awesome receive job opportunities in the Midwest that are hard to pass up on.
There is so much to cover in both episodes and I will try to get everything in here about my observations. Of course, I do focus more on Charah but the others were great too.
Alright, in this first hour of a roller-coaster ride, Chuck knows something is not right with his wife. For one thing, she really goes after that poor chicken carcass before he makes a phone call to Morgan about his misgivings. He tries to make Sarah comfortable again by offering her a massage. While it seems weird that he wouldn't be in the room with his wife, but I think he was a little scared about his suspicions of Sarah not being Sarah.
This season has been a good Ellie/Awesome relationship showcase, so it makes sense that they would be wooed away from California to Chicago. Not to say that Chuck was part of the reason holding Ellie back, but it was nice to see another one of the strong couples of this series to get a happy ending of sorts. I have always admired that relationship and I could see why Chuck looked to his sister's relationship as something to aspire to with his relationship with Sarah.
Some comedic highlights of this first hour came from Morgan and Casey. Morgan says how much they've all changed in the last five years, even though Morgan still eats taquitos without a plate. Casey wearing the World's Greatest Dad apron was funny and a nod to how he's changed.
I have to say my favorite Morgan and Casey scene was with the Cloak of Invisibility at DARPA. The Harry Potter remark was apt and Casey was still the one to reign Morgan in. Five year plans seem to be working out alright for some of Team B. Side note: how awesome is that sequence Sarah did to break into the Intersect Room? It's the reverse sequence, almost shot for shot, of what Bryce did in the Pilot.
The scene where Sarah looks like she is going to go through with killing Chuck after finding the glasses was an odd mix of emotions. For one, Sarah seems intrigued for a brief second about the man sleeping next to her. Of course, that quickly goes away when she turns away from him after her stirs a bit. I love how Chuck does something that we haven't seen as much between those two by trying to keep her feet warm. This Sarah doesn't understand the significance until she eavesdrops on Chuck and Ellie's conversation. Chuck knows his wife and this is not his wife. Ellie comforts him by saying she's been through an ordeal and just be patient with her. When Sarah asks for him to make her warm, Chuck seems a bit relieved. That look and lighting on Sarah's face though just warn of the start of what's to come for Charah.
Chuck's suspicions are confirmed once he stumbles upon the Intersect glasses in her bag. When she turns on them in the Intersect room after the Intersect has been downloaded, Chuck tries to appeal to her feelings about him. However, Sarah has no recollection (at this point) of her life with Chuck. What comes next is the start of a heart-wrenching twist in the Charah relationship. Chuck doesn't understand why she would do this - not remembering that Morgan became the same way for a short time. Sarah, not entirely an emotionless agent though, hesitates pulling the trigger on the explosive she planted outside and later on Chuck. I have to believe she was starting to break down those walls because of him but automatically put them back up - especially after she finds out Chuck is still alive.
Chuck refuses to give up on his Sarah, despite what everyone else says. I love seeing this kind of Chuck, the one that will not give up on the love of his life no matter what. He tries to trigger her memory by taking her to their "house" but it backfires until the last moment. This scene made me cry on the second watch of this episode. Not to say it didn't break my heart the first time watching it, but damn Zac Levi crying is not something I could handle as much watching the second time through. Thanks to those two - I had the ugly cry face about how it was starting to unravel and still hoping for Charah to come out of this alright.
While Sarah claims she did her job to make him believe the lie that she now thinks their relationship is, there is a bit of an emotional slip. There was a brief moment when Chuck was explaining how she fell in love with this adorable, bumbling nerd where she does feel it. It was hard seeing Sarah beat the crap out of Chuck, and in true Chuck form, he does not fight back. He is still in a bit of denial that this is happening to them, that everything they have been through is for naught.
When Sarah sees the door jamb with their names carved in, this is when I think she starts to believe that she did love this man. Maybe that was the start to her beginning to trust Chuck again, especially after Quinn comes by and tries to kill Sarah. Chuck, in true Chuck form, jumps in front of the gun to save Sarah. Sarah seems a bit shocked that someone would do this for her because he loves her. Because he loves her so much, even though it pains him to let her go, he knows he has to. He's not giving up, more like he's believing in her to make the right choice.
Sarah does leave Chuck, but not without a little hesitation at first. In some small way, she cares about what is going to happen to this guy who doesn't want to give up on his wife. But she's not his wife, or at least the one that we've come to know and love after five seasons. I wasn't too keen on the writers taking away her memory and years of seeing her grow, but those feelings she had are still there for Chuck.
When Casey comes by and gives her the mission log DVD, she knows that she has to believe she did love this nerd at one point. I do love that we get callbacks to previous Charah moments, especially the Imported Hard Salami one. She had lied to Chuck that she didn't have feelings at that time, and in someway she was lying when she said she didn't feel it at the end of the first hour.
Now, she's scared because this man knows her and loves her for who she was and the only thing she knows is to get away from these confusing feelings. I don't know if any of y'all have read Tynianrex's fanfic called Chuck Versus the Pond - the way he has written Charah reminds me of what is now happening between our favorite TV couple. That Sarah does not know Chuck but she feels a connection to him for some reason. Also, she tells Chuck she cannot be that Sarah he knows. Maybe that's why I was okay with what comes next.
Part II: Chuck Vs the Goodbye
Two weeks after Sarah has said goodbye to Chuck to pursue her mission after Quinn, Chuck is a wreck. His family steps in to kick his ass into gear and go after her. Meanwhile, Sarah has found Quinn, who is on the hunt for the three pieces of the Key to the Intersect. However, she loses sight of him again and returns back to Burbank to utilize Chuck's spy base. Chuck volunteers his help, mainly to try and win her over again, for this mission to Berlin. Things don't go according to Chuck's plan but he does make some difficult, bittersweet choices in this final installment of Chuck.
While he did not get to full beard and cheese ball status over letting Sarah go - you can feel his pain and emptiness about losing his true love (for a lack of a better word). I laughed when they revealed Morgan and then later everyone else in his room. I got a kick out of "How many people are in my room right now?" line and baby Clara being on board with Chuck getting back Sarah. Awesome with baby Clara really did steal some scenes in this final hour.
I'm glad that it was Ellie reminding him that Sarah is special and he's a Bartowski who won't go down without a fight. I know those weren't her exact words but you still get that feeling from her towards Chuck. It's great that Chuck has a family to remind him that he does love this woman despite her not remembering him entirely. And that Lester and Jeff use their stalker skills to help Chuck find Sarah. "Unleash the perverts," was a great line and I have been a closet fan of Jeffster since the beginning. I was so glad they got to shine more in these last couple of seasons.
Meanwhile, Sarah is on her own mission to bring down Quinn in a plane. I will say that Sarah has amazing flexibility to fit into that bag and she reminds me so much of a cat - they sometimes like to stow away in bags too. After not seeing any Fulcrum agent for almost three years, we get Jacob...I mean Edgar who has the piece of Roark's Intersect key to give to Quinn. I find it funny that the pieces of the key went to those that were related to the Intersect somehow - though Roark and Volkoff kinda went to the Dark Side for the Intersect.
After a scuffle, which shows that Sarah is still a badass without the Intersect, she still chose a bad spot to pick a fight on a plane. I think when they did the slow mo of her hitting her head while falling out of the plane was another clue to her regaining some memories. It started slightly in the Dream House but I think that was the catalyst for her remembering some memories. Others of course, I believe had something to do with Chuck and her feelings for him.
The last hour has plenty of callbacks to the pilot and first season, starting with Sarah coming up to the Nerd Herd desk at the Buy More in a similar if not same jacket. Chuck is so happy to see her come back, albeit cautiously so since this woman is still warming up to him. She needs his spy base and help; probably doesn't know what to do with her mixed emotions towards Chuck. Morgan doesn't help much aside from his push to help Sarah - even though it was for the Disney kiss ploy initially.
Chuck may have had his ups and downs as a character this season, but in these last two episodes he really brought the "Chuck" back. He is still the bumbling, sweet, caring nerd who gets nervous around his beautiful wife. He doesn't want to push her too far but he still hopes she remembers their life. He will give her the support and help she needs always.
The mission to find the other pieces of the Key and Quinn takes them to Berlin. I don't know why a Mexican restaurant that looks like the one Chuck took Sarah on their first date is in Germany, but it was a nice touch. Chuck retelling their first date story makes Sarah uncomfortable and Chuck has matured enough to just let it go and let her come to him on her own terms. The fact that Quinn has three different meeting places is funny and odd but it gives us so many great callbacks to season one.
We haven't seen a tango between Chuck and Sarah since season three at least. This dance was sexy and emotional between those two. It has to be their best dance yet and Sarah's hard exterior is now starting to crumble. You can feel she is trying to keep her distance from this man who loves her, but at the same time she wants to capture that love for him again. I have to say it's one of my favorite Charah moments and maybe even sexy times - even though they didn't kiss.
It was great before hand that Sarah fixed his tie without realizing it was a natural gesture for her. Also, the Disney princess kiss thing is brought up before they even go on this mission which just made me laugh and squee at the same time. I was so hoping for a kiss at the end of that tango. It did seem to lead up to that but once the episode started going, I knew that the final kiss would have more emotional impact for those two.
I can't say how much screaming went on at the finale party I went to in Austin when the Wienerlicious made a reappearance. Chuck looked hilarious in the get up Scooter wore in the first season and he was totally checking out Sarah in that uniform. Since she doesn't remember working there, the response she gives to him is a bit annoyed. Then some of her memories are starting to leak through all because the cups were in the wrong spot. Chuck is starting to feel that there may be hope for getting his wife back after all.
Quinn shows up at the Wienerlicious and insults Chuck for being a gentle soul (sorry I cannot write the word that Quinn says) which in turn sets Sarah off. In a callback to her fight scene with Casey in Helicopter, she stabs Quinn in the hand with the corn dog sticks. Even though she may not remember her husband, she is feeling a protective instinct towards his safety.
Later on when Chuck accidentally shoots down Casey's helicopter, Sarah is now confused as to how and why Chuck is a spy. I love that Chuck stuck to his morals and did not shoot Quinn and it was typical Chuck for him to "shoot down" Casey's helicopter with Casey's gun. And the bickering between Chuck and Sarah in the holding cells reminded me of when they were in the cells towards the end of Pink Slip - except Sarah decides to leave without him which hurts. I think she is hurting too since she has all these emotions but no way of being that person Chuck fell in love with. Chuck still loves her but she's not quite there yet to reciprocate and can only think of running away from it.
Casey believes he has gone soft being in Burbank for so long but Morgan soon snaps him out of that lone wolf mentality. Morgan definitely sees John Casey as his friend and partner to look up to. Like Chuck with Sarah, Morgan is not going to give up on Colonel John Casey. Nor is Morgan going to let him bail on the rest of their team. He really has come a long way from the jealous and possessive best friend of Chuck's.
The comedy of the show is what kept me coming back to this show, aside from the Charah romance, but now that everyone is in on the secret there is more comedy coming from Ellie and the spy business. Much like when Chuck told his mom about the benefits of tranq guns, Ellie and Awesome admonish Mama B for having a gun out in front of Clara. Isn't it funny that Awesome, who claimed he was over paternity leave, carries baby Clara around a lot? Not to say that Ellie doesn't hold her kid, it is just an observation in these last two episodes.
When Mama B explains that the Intersect was designed as a teaching tool, as some other reviewers have pointed out, it makes sense why it worked in Chuck's brain. He was not using it as a weapon of mass destruction and he could analyze and piece together intel from seemingly random things - both with and without the Intersect. Of course, now with the possibility of creating a new identity with the Key - Ellie uses her neurobiology background to come to the conclusion they can use it on Sarah. Chuck now has even more of a drive to retrieve those glasses from Quinn since it could bring back the love of his life completely. Yet, since this is Chuck we are talking about - this situation is not going to turn out the way they hope it to.
The final scenes of this series are a bit tough to write about since I had so many emotions running through me. I was nervous for Beckman being strapped to the bomb and I knew Chuck would do the right thing for the greater good. Of course, he was intending to have Quinn alive and use the glasses to help Sarah, but Sarah saves Chuck by killing Quinn. Now Chuck knows what his sacrifice will be when he re-downloads the Intersect, but he knows he can save many with it. It was sad that Chuck has to apologize to Sarah for not being able to use the glasses to bring back her memories after Sarah shoots Quinn. In a great callback to the Pilot, Quinn uses a sonic bomb that is powered by a Prism Express laptop. To those who say Sarah won't ever get her memory back, how does she randomly remember the Irene Demova virus to kill the bomb? There are pieces of the puzzle to her former memories everywhere however small they may be.
I find it funny and heartwarming that the two bozos whom Big Mike thought blew up the Buy More at the end of season three, help save the day in this last episode. For some stalkers, I was surprised they hadn't caught on earlier since they were close a few times to unveiling the secret. A-Ha's Take On Me was a good choice for Jeffster to go out with a bang and a clever foil to Quinn's sonic bomb.
Like I said earlier, I've always had a soft spot for Jeffster and when I really lost it in tears was when Lester silently cried. He has always been a misanthropic person, so seeing that emotion about moving on from the Buy More to better things was great. And even though Big Mike was let on to Chuck's secret life as a spy, he doesn't buy it since it came from Jeffster. At least Big Mike has the Subway franchise to boost sales in the Buy More now. Casey is off to see Gertrude while Alex moves in with Morgan. Beckman leaves the offer for any more adventure on the table should Carmichael Industries ever feel the need for it. Everyone seems to get a happy ending except Chuck. Or does he?
Chuck has now reached a point where he must accept that the wife he married may never come back. She even says she needs time to sort things out and find herself again and sort out her feelings for Chuck. It is heartbreaking to see this couple which has overcome Bryce Larkin, Shaw and other various things, look like they won't come together again. I was about ready to throw in the towel on these two until I realize that a great ending would be the bookend to the pilot - the beach scene.
I would have been ecstatic to have an ending where they flash forwarded several years and Chuck and Sarah have a family - I'm still not convinced she wasn't pregnant even though they don't show it. Yet, I am good with the ending we got because to me that was an ending of hope and love for those two. While I am not sure "one magical kiss" will solve everything, but the fact she wanted him to kiss her is saying something. She wants to be with Chuck and loves him - which is a promising second chance for those two. She knows the beach is special and now that beach is even more special because the trust and love is still there.
I know open endings leave a lot of speculation, but it is a great set up for a movie or web series for these two. There have been happy endings and not-so-happy endings for these two on fanfic already. I am in the camp that they will be together forever because they are soulmates. It may not be a smooth road to happiness, but it's still a path to explore.
I hope y'all are still with me after this arduous review. I did enjoy the finale and understand why others didn't. It is bittersweet leaving this great show behind. It was never perfect but it had so much heart and such an amazing cast that it worked. Like someone said in another review, it was like "lightning in a bottle." This show would've failed otherwise if there wasn't such a welcoming cast to their fans. I do adore this fandom and have made many friends through it. I don't know if I'll ever find another show like this that I'm so connected to.
What are y'alls thoughts on the finale?