I did this with LOST. I tried to wait for a while to give everyone time to watch the finale and to give those of us who are hardcore fans time to soak it in before discussing it. So obviously there will be spoilers aplenty here. If you haven’t watched it yet, if it’s collecting digital dust on your DVR you may want to wait to read this article. If you haven’t watched the series at all then this article may not make much sense to you because I will be writing from the position of assuming that you’ve watched the show. In other words I will not be taking 500 words to synopsis the plot of the series.
Chuck is the little show that should rather than could. Chuck should have been a bigger success. Chuck should have gotten more episodes and more seasons. The fact is the show just never made a mainstream connection. It should have made that connection though. Chuck wasn’t nearly as fanciful as something like LOST or even more so something like Once Upon a Time. Chuck was also really funny, the romance was generally handled with a lot less melodrama than you’d expect, and the show was filled with some of the best subtle little moments on TV on any show during its run. Oh and there was tons of humor and the action was generally very exciting and well executed. It’s just one of those shows like Firefly that just never finds a large enough audience to push it over the top. With that said NBC has to be given a lot of credit for keeping the show around as long as the network did because the audience was extremely small. The showrunners did find creative ways to pay for the production though; not the least of which was the Subway sponsorship. Chuck had some of the funniest product placement of any show on television ever.
Chuck was a fairly light hearted show but the character of Sarah had a good bit of darkness around her. She is one of the best agents the CIA ever had. Part of the reason she was so good as an agent was because she just had no family or friend ties to drag her down. For years she simply immersed herself in being a badass. When she gets assigned to Chuck an almost Moonlighting style romance begins. As much as you eventually feel like these two characters will be together you almost feel like this sort of regular relationship just isn’t in the cards for Sarah. It’s with that in mind that the creators brought us a really solid two hour season finale. The last two hours of the show should be watched back to back to properly tell the final story of the two characters. The two hour block begins with Sarah assigned to kill Chuck by the show’s last super villain. Her use of the damaged intersect took her memories so the villain took advantage of that and convinced her she was working for the CIA again and her current gig was to take out the man that was responsible for destroying many parts of her life.
Zachery Levi (Chuck) and Yvonne Strahovski (Sarah) had fantastic chemistry throughout the run of the series and that chemistry is really put to the test in these last two hours. One key scene finds Sarah ready to kill Chuck and Chuck refusing to fight her almost insisting he’d rather her kill him than hurt her. The emotional beats from Levi were fantastic TV drama and more impactful than you’d expect from a comedy. Chuck does have one opportunity to save Sarah by using the last remaining intersect to restore her memories. There are some aspects of this cure that are a little too extreme and really force the suspension of disbelief but it’s obviously a tool to progress the emotional story arc that’s being cultivated in these last two hours. In classic Chuck formula Chuck has to use the final intersect to save the day pretty much guaranteeing that Sarah will never get her memories back unless Morgan’s plan is right. Morgan insists throughout the final hour of the show that if Chuck would just kiss Sarah that the chemistry between them would restore her memories. It is very fairy tale and sweet but unrealistic. At the same time in Morgan’s eye’s he’s seen a lot of unrealistic things sense he was finally brought into Chuck’s spy world. After defeating the final bad guy the team splits. Morgan moves in with Casey’s daughter, Casey leaves to find the woman he loves (played by Carrie Ann Moss), Chuck’s brother and sister get great jobs in Chicago, and Jeff and Lester get a record deal in Germany. Everyone leaves Chuck home alone because Sarah also leaves to find herself and to try and figure out who she is now that she truly has no memories.
Even though her memories are gone Chuck knows just where Sarah will be and he finds her weeks later. Finally she asks him to tell her the story of their lives from the last five years. One of the best tools in the toolbox of this show is the use of random sounds or songs to cover up important conversations. These audio divergences leave the actors to tell portray what’s happening simply with facial expressions and body language. In this conversation the two obviously reconnect and the showrunners take advantage of the opportunity to show a few quick scenes from the last five seasons of the show. Finally Chuck tells Sarah about Morgan’s plan. Her reply is for Chuck to kiss her. At the point of the kiss the show fades out. The decision to not show the results of the Morgan plan was a brilliant one and absolutely fitting for this show. As I said early in this article it always felt obvious that these two characters would end up together but based on Sarah’s track record it couldn’t happen easily or in anything close to a typical way. If the kiss worked, then fine things would happen normally, but if it didn’t the two characters were already reconnecting. They’d just have to start all over, this time not as secret agents though because they have left the business.
Not all of these last two hours is perfect, just like the series overall there are bumps in the road but the chemistry between the characters makes it all very watchable. The series ended as perfectly as it could have ended and the closing of the two main characters was absolutely perfection. Chuck should have been more popular than it was but at least now there are five seasons of fantastic fun to be had and a series ending that is absolutely satisfying. Now at the end of all of this Chuck has the final remaining intersect inside him, Casey is still in the CIA and even with her memories gone Sarah still has her skills as they have become instinctual. Wouldn’t it be great if NBC took advantage of their other network, Syfy, and gave us an occasional Chuck movie? What’s Chuck gonna do with that intersect in the meantime take out the garbage and paint the house? Well why not I suppose….