Today I write the final review ever of a new network run episode of CHUCK. It has been quite a run. What a way to finish. You can check out my review of episode 5.12 first by clicking this link.
By that, I don't mean what a great way to finish, nor do I mean what a crappy way to finish. Though, depending on the comments I have already read all over the Internet, you'd think this was the best possible finish or the worst. I don't think it is either of those.
It is a finish.
Could they have done it differently? Yes. Should they have? I think so. But will it ruin the entire show for me now that it is over? I doubt it, but then I'm not hyperbolic enough to allow these things to ruin a whole series for me. Plus, I didn't think it was done terribly or anything. I just don't think it reached its maximum potential.
Launching off from the previous episode, Sarah is on the hunt for Quinn, who is running around shopping for pieces of some device that will allow him to update and manipulate the Intersect in any way he wants. There may be some issue with canon here since the Intersect has been updated and changed a few times already. Why are these three separate elements that make one key of power so necessary? Not that it really matters because the Intersect as a overarching story device has never seemed all that thought out anyway.
So, Quinn is on a plane, with Sarah as a stowaway, buying another piece of this device from a former Fulcrum agent played by the brilliant Mark Pellegrino. Probably the best line of the season is delivered here, only because it is so true.
Edgar: You do realize it's only one part of the key. There are two other pieces.
Quinn: I do. My sources tell me a former member of The Ring acquired one from Volkoff a few years back.
Edgar: The Ring. [pause] What amateurs.
YES! THEY WERE!
Can I just say how I love watching Pellegrino in pretty much anything? The guy is a master at his craft. He could make George Lucas' dialogue seem brilliant.
Anyway, so Quinn notices that Sarah is on the plane and they have a little shootout that results in Sarah falling out of a perfectly good airplane, unconscious, to her death.
Alright so she lives and lands at a beach.
Back at home, Chuck wakes up with Morgan in bed with him (I guess the bearded one needed to snuggle) with Awesome and Ellie there to motivate him to find Sarah and turn her back to loving him.
We see Casey and Beckman discussing him going soft, which is not a sexual metaphor. The general wants the ruthless colonel. He wants to grunt.
To find his dearest love, Chuck gets the now totally in on it Jeff and Lester to utilize their super stalker strike force of Buy Morons. This is of course ridiculous but it made me laugh and gave some of those background actors who have been on the show for years a moment to shine and get some dialogue.
Sarah shows up at the Nerd Herd desk, like some bizarro universe callback to the first episode, and Chuck agrees to team up with her to find Quinn, who is on the quest to put together the one key of power.
That search takes us back to a restaurant much like the one Chuck and Sarah went to in the pilot episode (more callbacks) and it then results in them having to dance on the ballroom to get some intel (callback to episode 3 of season 3). That intel then takes them to a Wienerlicious (callback to season 1) where Sarah displays not just residual memory of the past but also demonstrates how deadly she is with two tiny wooden sticks (callback to episode 2 of season 1).
Quinn escapes when Casey's helicopter of armed-to-the-teeth operatives is accidentally shot down by Chuck when he fires a warning shot into the air. It's stupid, but I laughed.
Casey: Hey! Is that my Desert Eagle? You shot down my helicopter with my own damn gun!
So Casey arrests the team, or something, and puts Chuck and Sarah in separate cells (a kind of callback to season 2 episode 21?) where they discuss things, as a tied up Morgan argues with his future father-in-law about gaining his edge back.
Morgan: Your team was your edge, you giant jackass! What is wrong with you, man? You wanna find Quinn? You know who to call. But don't you dare try to blame this on us because you're afraid! That's right. You're afraid that with us that's when you're the best! And that's the truth, man.
I get it, a scene created to inject more drama into the show but it feels like it takes something away from Casey to have him somewhat turn on his friends just to get talked into doing the right thing. Haven't we already gotten past this stuff?
Casey releases the gang and Sarah tries to run off on her own but is stopped by a gun wielding Mama B. Here we get what is probably the cutest and funniest moment of the night (and maybe a top cute/funny moment of the season, if not the series) when Awesome and Ellie walk in on the happening and Devon covers baby Clara's eyes.
Awesome: Gramma, what did we say about baby Clara seeing firearms?
Mama B: [putting the weapon down] It's a no-no. I'm sorry. [to Clara] Your Meme loves you!
Too damn cute.
So Ellie tells Chuck that the ability to modify the Intersect could give them the ability to make Sarah remember everything. This of course means one of two things. Chuck will get the Intersect back and use it on Sarah, or something totally stupid will happen to keep him from doing it. Obviously the writers went with option two.
They track Quinn to a symphony where Beckman is wired to blow up once the music ends. Chuck and Sarah track down Quinn as Casey and Morgan try to figure out the bomb. They discover it is set to go off once the music stops and so Jeffster puts on their final performance, of Ah-Ha's Take On Me, to save the day, with Morgan directing the orchestra. Yes, it is totally stupid but I laughed and enjoyed it.
On the roof of the building, Sarah kills Quinn and Chuck has to Intersect himself with the glasses Quinn had so he can defuse the bomb. Oh no! He has to sacrifice his ability to get her memories back to save his friends! He Intersects himself and then is able to open up the bomb but only to realize he can't defuse it. Oh no! He is going to lose his friends and his wife for no reason! But then Sarah suggest he use a porn virus (callback to episode 1 season 1) and Chuck saves the day with Sarah's residual memory!
And they lived happily ever after.
No? Not yet. Okay, apparently there is more angst to go around because the show needs those ratings to go up so we can get... oh wait... the show is over? So why are we spending this much time on a McGuffin?
Back at Castle, Beckman and Casey say their goodbyes, as if the show is coming to an end. Casey hugs Chuck and then goes off to find his Gertrude. Beckman goes off to sit in a comfortable chair.
Jeffster gets a record contract in Germany.
Big Mike gets one scene.
Subway has apparently bought the Buy More.
Morgan and Alex are moving in together.
Ellie and Awesome, with baby Clara, are moving to Chicago to work at a new hospital (well, baby Clara is probably going to just chill out for a few years before she starts working at the hospital).
Chuck finds Sarah on the beach (callback to the end of episode 1 of season 1) where he tells her about their life together and we get a fan-video montage of events from the series. Chuck and Sarah kiss and the camera pulls out as we fade to black.
Now let me just point out the biggest problem I have with this episode. It is too centered on how Sarah's memory loss affects Chuck. And essentially, ONLY Chuck. What about her relationship with the rest of the family and friends? What about five seasons worth of her gaining the love and respect of these people? Why do they all seem so detached from the experience of losing someone they care about? It's as if she is just some girlfriend of Chuck's that they didn't much like.
Ellie is supposed to be a neurosomething doctor thingy. Why doesn't she hypnotize Sarah? Why doesn't she seem more concerned about what is going on? Everything is too conveniently written to move those two toward the beach so we can have an open ended callback moment that is kind of satisfying.
Watching Ellie in her final scene, it was like "Oh well, I'm a neurowhatever but I'm kind of over this Sarah chick... okay, I could put on the wedding DVD and refresh her memory but frak that gotta go to Chicago bye!!!"
Seriously? Not even an attempt to refresh her memory? Really, playa?
Plus, by going out on the need for the audience to imagine that Sarah eventually got her memories back and they lived happily ever after, the writers put it in the hands of those who don't like to have to imagine these things to get over the fact that their final moment with Chuck and Sarah was one where Sarah most likely didn't remember the last five years, only knowing what happened based on what Chuck told her. To those people, it feels cheap. A cheat even. A slap in the face to some. And it wasn't necessary to end it this way. The writers could have satisfied all camps by adding a line where Sarah admits she remembers... something from his story telling. So, I can sympathize with people who feel the ending is terrible, even if I don't agree with them.
If I had to rate this episode, I'd give it:
83 out of 100
It didn't leave me feeling totally satisfied at the end. The episode spent most of its time setting up a spy story that really didn't have much weight or importance to it in the grand scheme of things. I would much rather have seen the writers spend the final half hour wrapping up satisfying and powerful moments between all our characters than what they delivered. Though, I'm not unhappy enough with it to burn down my living-room and break all my DVDs. It's just a tad underwhelming while still leaving me with a bit of satisfaction.
Still, I'd prefer a RETURN OF THE KING, or LOST, or BATTLESTAR GALACTICA extended character ending any day to this. And I feel like the writers didn't deliver the best they could have done. Though, this ending actually helped make the finale easier on me. I will miss it, but not as much as I would have had it been better executed.
Edit: The podcast we did for the finale is out. WARNING, lots of filthy dirty language. Not for kids, just very mature adults who like horrible language.
Click on the player below to listen...
OR, right click and save this link to listen to a much higher quality version which is super duper superior to the crap in the player above which sounds like poo-pie tastes!
UPDATE 2: ATTENTION PEOPLE COMMENTING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111one
If you can't see your comments, it is because we went over 200 and now you have to click "Load More..." below the comment box. Yes, it is super annoying and stupid but Blogger changed how it works and I can't do anything about it.