Over five completely unexpected seasons – the show was always on the bubble – NBC’s little show that could, did! Chuck [Friday, 8/7C], wraps up its fifth and final season with a two-hour finale that will make you laugh, cry and laugh some more [before you cry some more]. If any other show wraps its run like this, it would be a crime. For Chuck to wrap this way is perfect.
In the second hour of this big, big, big series finale, Chuck vs. The Goodbye, the teaser ends with an unconscious Sarah [Yvonne Strahovski] falling from an airplane after a Bond movie-worthy action sequence. Oh, yeah!
How she gets there is explained in Chuck vs. Sarah, in which the brainwashed Sarah is order by her ersatz handler, the mighty evil Quinn [Angus MacFayden] to retrieve the last usabale pair of Intersect glasses from Chuck and kill him.
Of course that doesn’t quite go as he planned it – though almost…
So, let’s talk Chuck.
From day one, this was not your average spy show. In fact, it was not your average anything. The main character was a computer specialist in the Nerd Herd department of the Burbank Buy More [think a certain big box appliance, TV and computer store with a blue décor – only in green and yellow]. An e-mail from an old college buddy plants something called The Intersect in his brain and suddenly he can do all sorts of amazing things.
Flamenco guitar? No problem. Tango? You bet!
Before you can say ‘Jake 2.0 written by the gang at Get Smart,’ mild-mannered Charles Irving ‘Chuck’ Bartkowski finds himself working for the government as a quasi-spy, shared between the CIA and NAS. His handlers are the ruthless Col. Jon Casey [Adam Baldwin] of the NSA and the beatuiful, deadly CIA Agent, Sarah Walker.
If they’d stayed right there, chuck would’ve been a good show, but instead, the show evolved – Chuck didn’t just fall for Sarah, for example, she fell for him, too [and, in fact, she kissed him first!]. Over the five seasons, while the characters remained the same people, they grew.
Casey went from being cold, ruthless and alone to enjoying being part of a unique team. He even loosened up enough to reconcile with his estranged daughter and fall in love! Chuck’s best friend, Morgan [Joshua Gomez] went from being just a nerd to becoming a semi-confident management person at the buy More and, eventually, a member of the spy team and a temporary host for a flawed version of The Intersect – and Casey’s roommate!
Flouting the ‘Moonlighting Curse,’ Chuck and Sarah actually got married and the show didn’t die. In fact, it got stronger [apparently there’s plenty of drama, comedy and pathos to be milked from a team of married spies… who knew?].
Finally, in its fifth season, Quinn came along and tried to destroy everything Chuck and Sarah and their team had worked for because he’d trained to receive The Intersect and chuck had gotten it. And it all comes down to this final two-hour, no holds barred, action-packed, final act.
What can I tell you?
Chuck vs. Sarah sets the stage for a final hour that will amaze and amuse you – and make you mist over [or full out bawl]. That teaser for Chuck vs. The Goodbye, with an unconscious Sarah falling out of a plane? Not the biggest stunt of the finale. There are gunfights, unarmed combat, chases, hugs, tears and laughs.
Jeffster gets to save the day – well, once, anyway – in an unexpected manner. Mama Bartkowski [Linda Hamilton] makes a timely appearance – and gets a stern talking to from Captain Awesome [Ryan McPartlin], for good reason. Mark Pellegrino reappears as the Fulcrum agent from the pilot, with a slightly more substantial part to play in the proceedings. We get to see Sarah’s original Mission Log – updated and particularly moving.
Heck, there are even reflections of the past in a dance, a fast food franchise [no, not Subway – though there is a cool Subway bit near the end], and a certain NSFW computer virus. And did I mention the bomb? Oh, and a flashback to many of Sarah’s outfits [part of the Mission Log, but worth mentioning in its own right].
Finally, there’s Morgan’s plan to bring back Sarah’s memory. Good call, buddy!
Chuck vs. Sarah was written by Rafe Judkins and Lauren LeFranc and directed by Jay Chandrasekher; Chuck vs. The Goodbye was written by Chris Fedak and directed by Robert Duncan McNeill [who has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it part as ‘Operative’]. The two teams create a satisfying final chapter for a show that survived against all kinds of crazy odds – one of the few spots of quality programming on NBC during its fall from grace, and proof that the network really did want to schedule quality shows if it could.
You might want to grab a pint of Ben & Jerry’s [If I Had A Million Flavors, or Chocolate Fudge Brownie would work particularly well] and a box of tissues for this, but you’ll laugh, too. I promise.
Final Grade: A+
Photos courtesy NBC