The beginning of the end
Well, at long last, our 5 year shared adventure is nearly over! This episode has been highly anticipated since the title was first revealed, with some fans really excited to see how it played out and others very apprehensive.
The episode starts in Burbank, where Chuck is desperately trying to find Sarah. He decides that the key to finding her is to find the Intersect, so he hacks into the CIA network and discovers that there is an “Intersect white room” at DARPA headquarters (yes, this agency does exist and yes, they do some pretty frickin’ cool things!). Casey, Morgan and Chuck head for the door to go check it out but as Chuck opens the door, a weak, bruised, and bleeding Sarah stumbles into his arms.
Flashback to Sarah’s hotel room/apartment. Quinn gives her a dossier on Chuck and the people in his life. Sarah is very suspicious of Quinn and attacks him and they fight. Eventually Sarah beats Quinn, wrapping her coat around him and throwing him out the window (clearly her new MO for taking care of bad guys).
Back in their apartment in Burbank, Sarah finishes telling her story to Chuck, Sarah, Morgan, Casey, Devon and Ellie while Devon cleans and bandages some cuts on her shoulder. She tells them that Quinn is dead and she no longer has the Intersect. (I’ll admit that in a moment of insanity, I totally fell for it and for a minute or two I was disappointed that the whole huge plotline was going to be resolved so quickly.) Then we hear Quinn talking into Sarah’s ear and realize that things have *definitely* not been resolved!
Flashback to the hotel room and Sarah is hanging Quinn out the window by her coat. He convinces her to pull him back in so he can show her proof that he’s not lying to her. He shows her a video log that she kept (very “captain’s log-esque”) that has her reporting the first day of her mission with Chuck. Quinn tells her that the agency has decided that Chuck is a threat to national security. He also tells her that both Bryce and Graham are dead and that Chuck and his team are thought responsible for both of their deaths. Quinn wants her retrieve the Intersect glasses from Chuck and then kill him. (Did anyone else notice that Sarah has several obvious scratches on her chest in this scene, and none on her shoulder when Devon cleaned up wounds on her shoulder and there were clearly none on her chest?)
Back in their apartment, Sarah is very aggressively chopping a chicken and otherwise acting abnormal, which doesn’t escape Chuck’s notice. Chuck calls Morgan who dismisses his concerns saying that she’s been through a lot. He suggests that Chuck help Sarah relax, so decides to give her a massage. Sarah suspects a trap and despite Quinn’s insistence that she continue to play her role, is very uncomfortable and soon suggests that they just go to bed, further upsetting Chuck.
While all this has been happening, Ellie and Devon have been going through their mail (Ellie does the bills and Devon the social events) and they both find letters from a medical center in Chicago, offering them both lucrative positions. They love the idea of a change, but Ellie doesn’t want to leave Chuck. Devon assures him that things are fine now that Sarah is back.
While Chuck is sleeping, Sarah gets out of bed and searches for the Intersect glasses. She finds them and gets back into bed. Chuck tries to cuddle with her and she moves away. He is shocked by her reaction and gets up and goes over to Ellie’s apartment to talk. Sarah follows, and eavesdrops on Chuck and Ellie. Chuck tells Ellie that Sarah isn’t right – she always likes him to help keep her warm – and gets very emotional. He tells Ellie that he has to destroy the Intersect for good this time to protect everyone that he loves. He’s going to sneak in and plant a virus into the Intersect computer. Ellie agrees that he should do it.
Sarah is given orders to go with Chuck and download the Intersect onto the glasses and then kill Chuck. She runs back to the apartment and climbs back into bed before Chuck gets back. When he gets into bed, she cuddles up against him and tells him that she’s cold, just like she always used to do.
The team makes a plan to destroy the Intersect. Casey doesn’t think it’s a great idea, but he’s willing to go along. They plan that Sarah will plant the virus. While checking supplies, Chuck finds the Intersect glasses in Sarah’s bag, once again arousing his suspicions. They proceed with the plan, however. They gas the DARPA employees and find the Intersect white room. While they debate how to get past the guards and get into the room, Sarah using nearly identical moves in nearly identical rooms to that Bryce used in the pilot, makes quick work of the job (does she still have the Intersect?).
While the others stand guard, Sarah uploads the Intersect to the glasses. She then pulls a gun on Morgan and uses him to disarm Casey and Chuck. She tells them that their lives of crime are over and they will never hurt anyone again. Chuck approaches her and tries to convince her that they are not who she thinks they are, but she hits him and runs, locking them in the Intersect room and putting an explosive on the door. She does have some attack of conscience outside the facility, however, and suggests to Quinn that they don’t need to set off the explosive – they can just leave them there trapped to be arrested. Quinn disagrees and detonates the bomb.
Luckily, Chuck, Casey, and Morgan had a few moments to take cover before the blast and they climb up out of the floor into the destroyed Intersect room. They are unharmed, but Casey is disgusted that Sarah got away with the Intersect. Chuck announces that actually, she didn’t. He switched the glasses on her when he approached her as he had been suspicious because he found the glasses in her bag and she had been acting strange.
Sarah meets with Quinn. She’s pissed because Quinn just blew up a government facility. She punches him, but then hands over the glasses. Quinn quickly discovers that the glasses are fake. Sarah realizes that Chuck must have switched out the glasses. Just then, Sarah’s phone rings and it’s Chuck – he’s still alive! Quinn reminds her that this is the kind of stuff that makes Chuck so dangerous. Sarah vows to get the glasses back, no matter what it takes…
Chuck, Morgan and Casey go back to Castle. Casey and Morgan aren’t sure that Sarah can be salvaged but Chuck is sure that the real Sarah is in there somewhere. Casey reminds him that Sarah is a trained assassin and knows everyone Chuck cares about. Chuck gets worried and calls Ellie and Devon. Devon answers and tells him that Ellie and Sarah went out for a cup of coffee. Chuck calls Ellie’s cell and Sarah answers. She tells him that she will trade the glasses for Ellie’s life. The team calls Beckman and she sets up an operation and promises to try her best to bring Sarah in alive.
Chuck goes to the restaurant and offers to take Sarah to the glasses, but Ellie has to be left out of it. Sarah insists that her and Ellie will follow in a separate car. She makes Ellie drive and they follow Chuck, heading to the plaza where Beckman’s operation has been set up. Casey assures Chuck that he will protect Ellie, but tells him that he can’t protect Sarah if she resists. Chuck freaks out and removes his earpiece, deciding to go with his own plan.
Ellie tries to reason with Sarah, but it doesn’t work. Realizing that Sarah isn’t wearing a seat belt, Ellie crashes her van into a parked car. Sarah is knocked unconscious by the impact. Chuck stops, and after making sure that Ellie is okay, takes Sarah to his car. Ellie pleads with him to turn Sarah in, but he won’t do it and drives off with her. Ellie calls Casey and tells him what happened and that she knows where Chuck would have taken Sarah.
We see Chuck and Sarah upstairs in their “dream house”. Sarah is tied to a chair (this seems to be a theme for her this season) when she regains consciousness. She tells Chuck that their whole relationship was a cover. Chuck tries to convince her otherwise and they have a heart-wrenching scene where Chuck tells her about their life together through tears. He unties her and offers her a choice – she can take a chance with him and they can start over, or she can take the glasses and never see him again (sniff!). Sarah apologizes for “doing her job too well” and reaches for the glasses. Chuck grabs them and she attacks him, but he won’t fight back. Sarah beats him up pretty thoroughly and throws him down the stairs. She then grabs the glasses and pulls a gun on him. As she goes to pull the trigger, she sees the “Sarah + Chuck” carved into the door frame and has a flash of memory.
Just at that moment, Quinn arrives and Sarah gives him the glasses. Chuck is furious at Quinn for using Sarah and lying to her. Quinn admits that he isn’t CIA and that Sarah has outlived her usefulness. He raises his gun and pulls the trigger. Chuck anticipates this move and throws himself in front of Sarah. He gets shot in the back and falls to the floor. Sarah shoots at Quinn as he escapes, but misses. She bends over Chuck, concern in her eyes. He is obviously in pain, but tells her that he is wearing a vest and will survive (call back to Nemesis). They hear sirens and Chuck tells Sarah to run and she does.
Casey, Morgan and Ellie arrive at the house and take Chuck back to Ellie and Devon’s place. Chuck is pretty despondent, hurting both physically and emotionally because he is starting to accept that he’s lost Sarah forever. He rests on the couch under the watchful eye of Ellie and Devon.
Meanwhile, Sarah is back in her hotel room, packing hastily. Casey shows up and Sarah knows him only by reputation, not remembering their time together. Casey comments on how different their lives used to be like before Chuck – he’s made them both soft. He tells Sarah that Beckman has a new job for him, but he wanted to say goodbye because against all odds, they had become friends. He leaves Sarah an envelope. Inside, she finds a DVD with her video log on it, only this version contains her entire log, from every day of her mission until she and Chuck got together. She watches it and sees herself fall in love with Chuck, day by day.
Chuck leaves Ellie’s place and is outside in the courtyard when Sarah approaches him. She tells him that she now believes everything that he says about their relationship, but that she just doesn’t feel it. He asks her why she’s come, and she tells him that she wants to apologize and say goodbye. Quinn stole her life and she needs to find him and kill him. She walks away, leaving Chuck standing alone in the courtyard….FADE TO BLACK
Prior to this episode, one of my favorite Chuck episodes has always been Chuck vs the Subway, because of the intense emotional performances from each member of the cast combined with believable life-or-death peril where it seemed like no character would be safe. This episode had both of these characteristics but it really upped the emotional ante. Both Levi and Strahovsky gave Emmy-caliber performances (if only shows like Chuck got nominated!) and there is no doubt that their tears were every bit as real as those of the fans watching the scenes unfold.
Amidst these tense, emotional scenes, we did get occasional moments of levity and lots of subtle and not-so-subtle references to earlier seasons and even controversies (like the various potential love interests!) that devoted fans could recognize and appreciate, while still providing a good story for newer or more casual fans.
And what may look like…a normal five-year old mattress, is in fact, a luxurious massage table – Chuck
Think about it. In five years, I went from pip-squeaky sidekick to THIS – Morgan
Babe, I think we’re being wooed. By midwesterners! – Awesome
Deep down, I knew it was true. My wife never came home – Chuck
She tried to kill us, Chuck, we can’t pretend that everything is as it was! – Casey
You can kill me, but I will never hurt you! – Chuck
Call Backs, Shout Outs and other Awesomeness
Casey scrubbing the floors on his knees while wearing rubber gloves and a “World’s Greatest Dad” apron
Invisibility cloak at DARPA – “you’re a wizard, Harry!”
The Fugitive – Morgan’s one-armed man
Blown-up Intersect room looked identical to how it did after Bryce took it out
“awkward back and forth, and even dating other people” – great shout out to fan angst and my favorite scene from Other Guy – Chuck in his boxers with the plastic guitar
50 First Dates – Sarah’s video log
Sarah’s very Bryce-like moves to get into the Intersect room (see video below)
What did you guys think? I’ll post my recap of Chuck vs the Goodbye later, so if you can, please keep the comments mainly directed at this episode and we can talk about the big picture in the comments for that recap as well as the forum.