28 January, 2012

CHUCK Vs. Sarah: 5.12 - The Penultimate Episode


The second to last episode ever of CHUCK, and the 90th in series history, gave us one of those story lines that fans can argue about or rage against for the next twenty years, or more.

Sarah, having had her memory suppressed, or having lost them, or whatever we are supposed to think (like the writers spent much time thinking about it, they're too high on sandwiches and cookies anyway), is told she has been undercover for five-years and has been pretending to be in love with Chuck Bartowski. Her handler, Quinn, does get thrown through a window when she doesn't believe him but he survives long enough to show her evidence of her personal video logs where she seems to confirm his story.

Back at home, Chuck and gang are getting ready to go find Sarah when she suddenly shows up, bloody, beaten, and barely dressed, having seemingly escaped her captors. Her story is essentially the truth minus the part about her accepting Quinn's mission to find the Intersect glasses and to eliminate Chuck Bartowski.

Somewhat surprisingly, stalking predator Sarah Walker who could perhaps kill Chuck is fun to watch. Yvonne Strahovski really made me believe Sarah could do it. I mean, I knew she wouldn't but still, it takes a solid performance to make me forget the obvious. And a couple of times I felt a touch of fear for Chuck and the gang. I can only imagine how the general, more naive viewer felt.

There is a sequence here where Chuck tries to massage his wife that is at times very funny to kind of intense. She believes he is a dangerous agent who might be onto her and has a knife tucked away within hand's reach. It's probably one of the better scenes of the final two episodes.

Chuck begins to suspect something is wrong and goes to his sister for advice. Sarah follows and overhears their conversation. This is another good little scene where we have brother and sister just having one of those conversations that were sometimes the foundation of this show in earlier seasons.

Anyway, let me jump ahead. The gang breaks into a cool James Bond type CIA research facility where the next Intersect room is, and are betrayed by Sarah who thinks she has stolen the device from them. But Chuck outsmarts her and she has to somehow get the Intersect back.

Cut to her kidnapping Ellie, a low-speed car follow that results in Ellie purposely crashing the car (is Sarah an idiot?), and Chuck carrying Sarah back to their dream house that no one can sell now that they carved their names into it. Here Chuck tries to turn her away from the dark side with his love. She kicks his ass a little bit but he won't fight back. Sarah starts to remember something when she sees the carving. Before she can remember too much Quinn arrives and tries to kill her but Chuck jumps in the way of the bullet. Not surprisingly, he is wearing a bullet proof vest. Sarah goes after Quinn.

We then see Sarah, back at her apartment packing up. Casey arrives, having been given the mission to kill her, or something, but instead gives her the whole video log that detail her changing feelings for Chuck through the years. Sarah then goes to see Chuck and tells him she believes they were in love but that she doesn't know those feelings. She then leaves to go get Quinn.

If I had to rate this episode, I'd give it:

92 out of 100

It was mostly very well done and "evil" Sarah was far more entertaining to me than I ever expected she could be. It wasn't one of the best episodes they've done, and I don't think it was the best episode of the season (breaking the penultimate episode streak of previous seasons) but it was an entertaining hour of television. However, it could be one of Yvonne's best episodes. She got to be all things that I love about her as an actor but in a different way than we have come to expect. It was such a unique choice for the writers and the actor to deliver that any issues I may have had with the episode as a whole, are mostly background noise.

Let me also mention that these two final episodes are a reminder of what the show looks like when they have some money to spend. Oh, if only this show could have had season 2 money for five seasons. Imagine what they could have done. Maybe in ten years when the CHUCK phenomenon has taken over the planet and we get a Netflix series or a movie (or eleven).

One final thing, I would usually do quotables but I have to write another review and record a podcast today. Go quote the episode yourselves in the comment section. Thanks!

CLICK HERE for my review of Chuck Versus the Goodbye.


27 comments:

  1. do u really believe there is gonna be a movie or something like that?

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    1. Sure... eventually. But not any time soon. Maybe in five to ten years. But first fans are going to have to buy a lot of DVDs, Blu-Rays and other merchandise to give WB a feeling that they have an audience willing to pay to go see a movie.

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    2. I'm hoping for a Perry Mason-style revival with dozens of made-for-TV movies down the line. :P

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    3. Perhaps many years down the line. I don't think WB is rushing to do anything any time soon.

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  2. but arent 5-r 10 years many? i mean the actors will be older etc etc...i think if there is ever goin to be a movie that would be up to 3 years from now.. do u have infos that make you believe its gonna be in 5-10 years or its just your opinion?

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    1. Don't hold your breath. The show wasn't successful enough to justify doing a movie that quickly.

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  3. For once I didn't spoil it for myself. I watched the entire 2hrs and sat through every single commercial. I too was definitely impressed that at any moment Sarah could have ended our beloved Chuck. But where would she be to finding out the truth. Sarah or Evil Sarah still has good instincts but like Season 1 of Chuck she doesn't fully trust Quinn..either way it wouldn't be a great story if the leading lady off'ed Chuck so early.

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  4. Some reason I can't access the chuckgasmic comments, :S I click to load more, but not loading.
    So. I hoping there is an extended version of the Massage scene :).

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    1. Try a different browser. It might be some java script issue.

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  5. I really think Sarah watching her video diary is the best scene in this episode...completely unexpected and very powerful.

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    1. I don't know about the best scene but it was more powerful than what happened in the next episode.

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  6. i very much appreciated the callback to the pilot with the bryce larkin intersect room action scene.

    As soon as I saw the same hallway, I fist pumped in the air out of excitement.

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    1. Yeah, I totally missed that while writing this review. I mean, I missed referencing it.

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  7. I really don't understand why ratings weren't here, this show has everything to please, i followed many series, but this is the only one I really loved.
    And with NBC who only thinks about money, for sure that series with such ratings, can't be kept long time, but the end makes me think that this is not really the end, that's weird ...

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  8. Uh...dude... there was no low speed car chase. Ellie was to follow Chuck to where the glasses were???

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    1. Uhhh dude, I said "follow" not "chase."

      Perhaps paying more attention to the words typed would help.

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  9. I feel emotionally cheated and manipulated. I could accept this ending for CS if they hadn’t spent all season showing and telling us that CS dream is to settle down in that house (which they showed repeatedly) and raise a family. Now I’m left wondering if they ever did.

    I mean on some level and its clear form interviews that the “someday” did happen and that whether or not the kiss healed her immediately, Sarah will remember and love Chuck forever and ever.

    But I wanted to see that. They had a final season and series to show and build up to it and yet they didn’t. Why am I being left wondering after 5 seasons and on a show like Chuck that has ALWAYS delivered when it’s come to emotional resolutions? Why? So that Fedak can be all “arty” and “cool” and get people talking? That’s the love letter to the fans? He says he wants us to decide what happens next, but that’s what frakkin fanfic is for. I get that on some shows the open ended is suitable (hell I thought it was perfect on Skins S2 when we didn’t see if Sid found Cassie) but not for this show. Not after 5 years of watching CS overcome obstacles.

    I wanted closure. It didn’t even have to be seeing them with the white picket fence.
    After the finale I felt heartbroken. If this was a season finale it would have been great but as a series finale? I wanted to feel sad the show was ending but happy and hopeful for the characters. Instead I just feel sad. How is that a happy ending? When you leave the open ended to people, you’ll have some saying Sarah left straight after that kiss or changed even if she fell in love and while we know she didn’t...that possibility is still there because the writers left it there.

    And all this I haven’t even touched upon my favorite character losing all her memories and development outside of Chuck. Sarah deserved better. WE did deserved better. We didn’t see OUR Sarah in the final two eps. She was robbed of that and again so were we. It won’t ruin the entire series for me since I have no choice but to imagine my own happy ending (though on re-watch I’ll always be at the back of my mind, nagging me). I’m disappointed. You knew this was the end, and you gave us that and then you say it was satisfying. Well I’m sorry but that didn’t leave me satisfied.

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  10. I liked this episode it was scary, intense, funny, dramatic with some action sequences.

    I thought Casey cleaning the floor was funny.

    It wasn't among the best episodes of the series but it was a good episode that was better than the finale.

    Which i expected because this shows penultimate episodes are always better than the finales.

    I don't know about getting a movie or fans buying DVD's because i'm not sure how big the Chuck fanbase is at this point or how passionate they are.

    It's dropped due to viewer fatigue that you see with almost every single show.

    I think the thing with Firefly fans was that they only got 14 episode so that left them really wanting more out of the show.

    If Firefly had gotten 3 or 4 seasons i don't think they'd be as hardcore with buying the DVD's.

    With Chuck you've have 5 seasons with 91 episodes that had tons of stories and lots of character development.

    That doesn't seem to be the only path to get a movie because i'm not sure how Arrested Development is getting one.

    I haven't heard about the fans doing anything to get a movie.

    I've read reports on the internet recently that the low rated cancelled Cable series Party Down might be getting a movie.

    If Party down and Arrested Development can get a movie why not Chuck.

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    1. "If Party down and Arrested Development can get a movie why not Chuck."

      I actually answer this on the podcast I just recorded.

      Because those shows were Emmy winners who went out while still critical darlings. CHUCK kind of went out at its low point.

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    2. "CHUCK kind of went out at its low point". Sure, kick the show when it's down. Some shipper you are. Chuck was a feel good against all odds show and right now I don't feel good.

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  11. If they do a movie (and show a PROPER no open end happy ending) this finale wouldn't bother me but why take their chances on a movie when the show doesn't rate that well at all/DVD sales are low and they were given en ep order of 13 eps to close everything out? You had a series finale, why not use it? Or at least film a epilogue that you release once you know for sure you won't get the chance to ever tell another Chuck story again? Though I hope Zach finds a way to even make that online movie he mentioned because CS deserved a happier ending. They are the main characters, I wanted to see their dreams come true and know for SURE they will be ok not just imagine they will. Chuck was a feel good against all odds show and right now I don't feel good.

    In an interview Fedax made it seem like a movie was out of the question when Josh said that maybe in 10 years if someone younger wanted to do it. I dont want to wait 10 years for a maybe continuation when this finale should have been the end END.

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    1. Movies, like Star Trek. Franchises like Fast Five (Jordana Brewster) .

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  12. Arrested Development won some emmy's i don't think Party Down won anything.

    I was thinking along the lines of we seem to be in an era right now where all these cult television shows can possibly get a movie made.

    Before then it was only the really popular television shows that ever got movies made.

    Chuck's audience is probably bigger than Arrested Development and i'm sure it's bigger than Party Down.

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  13. I don't know it's right for Sarah she believes everything about them but never feels it... that's ridiculous. She cried a lot watching the video log. What does that mean then?

    Anyway.. I love the ending... i'm not surprised.. i was expecting it along.. i'm not a sucker for happy ever afters anyway.

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  14. She cried a lot watching the video log. What does that mean then? Quinn stoled her memories for 5 years.

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  15. I really enjoyed this episode. It could have been great, if they had started this storyline much much earlier, I think. Evil Sarah was kind of fun and the stakes were extremly high.

    And they even managed to make it funny. The massage scene was great. I would have loved to see that much earlier and then have a few episodes to explore Sarah slowly regaining her trust for Chuck and somehow reconnects with everybody. I would have loved that.

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