And all good things must come to an end…
When I sat down to watch a new show on a Monday night in September of 2007, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I’d just moved 3000 miles from home a few weeks earlier. I was starting over, and looking for some comfort and escapism. An hour later, I had found all that and more, and had embarked on a journey the likes of which I certainly never thought I’d take, all because of a television show. It was definitely with sadness that I sat down in front of my television last night to bid my favorite show goodbye. In addition to sadness, I was (am) also filled with gratitude that Chuck was able to finish on its own terms, rather than just not returning or ending well past its prime, as I’ve seen happen to other shows. This show will always hold a special place in my heart!
Chuck vs the Goodbye picked up two weeks after the events of Chuck vs Sarah. Quinn is aboard a private jet with another man, Edgar, who was slightly familiar as a Fulcrum agent (and very familiar as Jacob from LOST). Edgar has a piece of a device, the Key, that he got from Ted Roark. Quinn wants to buy it. Edgar tells Quinn that it’s useless without an Intersect and Quinn tells him that he has one, but it’s glitchy – it fries your brain or your memory – and he needs the Key to fix it. Edgar tells Quinn that it’s only one part and there are two other pieces needed to assemble the Key.
While they talk, Sarah is in the baggage compartment, unfolding herself from a large piece of luggage. Quinn sees her as she enters the cabin with a large gun and they have a stand-off. Hector hits an emergency button on his seat and the plane tilts dramatically, throwing Sarah off her feet and making her lose her weapon. Sarah blows out the cabin door with a grenade and all three hang on desperately as the plane depressurizes. Sarah is the first to lose her hold and hits her head hard on the side of the plane before being sucked out into thin air and plummeting unconscious towards the earth.
Back in Sarah and Chuck’s apartment, Chuck’s alarm goes off – 11 am. Clearly he’s settled back into his S3 moping over losing Sarah, only this time it’s sans facial hair and cheeseballs. He rolls over to find Morgan is in his bed next to him, watching him. It turns out that it’s intervention time. Ellie enters the room and opens the blinds. Devon and Clara also show up and they all tell him that it’s time that he get out of bed and fight to get Sarah back. Chuck thinks it’s hopeless – he’s not a spy, he’s lost his wife, and he’s right back where he was 5 years ago. They try to convince him that he’s come a long way in 5 years. Ellie tells him that if he can find Sarah, he might be able to get her to remember and fall in love with him again.
Ellie’s words motivate Chuck to get out of bed. He puts on his Nerd Herd uniform and gives himself a pep talk. He can do this after all – he took down the Ring and Fulcrum and is a “very impressive spy for hire”. For the first time in two weeks, he dares to think that maybe Sarah can fall in love with him again and that he can get her back.
Sarah, meanwhile, comes to her senses and pulls the ripcord on her parachute allowing her to safely land in the ocean. She walks out of the water wearing her catsuit/wetsuit, no doubt turning a few heads in the process.
In Washington D.C., Casey is in Beckman’s office and she has tasked him with taking out Quinn. She wants to make sure that he’s up to it, however. He assures her that he can be “old Casey” and then to prove it to himself, he ignores Alex when she calls.
Chuck, Ellie, Devon and Morgan try to come up with a plan for getting Sarah back. Morgan suggests that kissing her will bring back her memory – one single, magical kiss. Chuck, Ellie and Devon are a bit skeptical of this “plan”, however. At a loss as to how to find Sarah, Chuck enlists Jeff and Lester and their team of stalker-perverts. They find out that Sarah got into LAX and is headed towards Burbank. At a matter of fact, she is standing at the Nerd Herd desk right now!
Chuck goes to the desk, and there she is, looking almost exactly how she did in the pilot. She tells Chuck that she needs to use Castle. She knows that Quinn wants the device called the Key. There are three pieces and Quinn has the first and another agent, Renny Deutch, has the second and she needs Chuck’s help to find him. While Chuck uses his hacking skills (bottle of Chardonnay at his side) to find Deutch, Sarah wanders around Castle. Chuck soon finds the agent in Berlin. Sarah tells Chuck that her plan is go to Berlin, kill Quinn and then disappear forever. She only knows how to be a good spy, not be part of Chuck’s life. Chuck convinces her to let him and Morgan go along although she’s not entirely sure of his competence, especially when he tells her that he is well-versed with one of Casey’s big guns. The three of them head to Berlin.
In Berlin, Morgan and Chuck are in the back of a van. Chuck is trying to figure out what to do as he told Sarah that he could use this huge gun when he really can’t, plus there’s the whole issue that he doesn’t really shoot people. Morgan reminds him that Sarah fell in love with him for not shooting people and that he should not, under any circumstances, shoot someone. Sarah comes back to the van and her and Chuck leave.
Chuck and Sarah enter a Mexican restaurant where Deutch is having a meeting. The restaurant is very similar to the one that they went to during their first date in the pilot. Chuck tries to get Sarah to remember, but she tells him to stop talking and focus on the mission. Deutch has a change of plans and leaves the restaurant with Chuck and Sarah following.
They all end up at a fancy gala, with Chuck and Sarah in formal clothes. Sarah tells Chuck that she is going to find someone to dance with to get close to Renny. Chuck is offended and tells her that he can dance – she taught him. They dance closer and closer to Deutch but before they get to him, he gets a phone call that the meeting location has been changed again.
The final meeting location turns out to be the Berlin Weinerlicious! Sarah and Chuck infiltrate it dressed as employees. Sarah finds herself absent-mindedly cleaning and straightening up the counter. Chuck tries to trigger her memory but just then Quinn shows up and everyone draws their weapons. Quinn grabs the second part of the Key and shoots Deutch and his man. Quinn’s goons come into the Weinerlicious with Morgan in tow and Chuck and Sarah are forced to drop their weapons. Quinn is about to shoot Chuck when Sarah throws a corn dog stick and impales his hand. Chuck, Sarah and Morgan all start fighting Quinn and his men and in the melee, Quinn manages to escape. Chuck chases after him, with the big gun in his hand.
Meanwhile, Casey is also in Berlin (and still ignoring Alex’s calls). He’s in a chopper hovering above the Weinerlicious, waiting for his chance to take out Quinn. Chuck has a clean shot at Quinn out in the street, but refuses to take it, instead shooting a “warning shot” into the air. Unfortunately for both Chuck and Casey, the shot hits the fuselage of the helicopter, forcing it to land in the middle of the street. Needless to say, Quinn once again escapes and Casey is furious.
Back in Castle, Casey has arrested the whole team. Sarah and Chuck are in cells and he has handcuffed Morgan to a chair in the main room. Sarah can’t believe that Chuck screwed everything up and tells him so. He reminds her that she always liked that he wouldn’t shoot people and she encouraged him not to change. Back out in the main part of Castle, Morgan can’t believe that Casey would do this to them, and to Alex. He tells Casey off for ignoring Alex and shames him for abandoning the team. Casey tells him that he got soft, lost his edge. Morgan calls him an ass and tells him that he is just afraid that he isn’t the best anymore without his team. Casey considers this and seems not to care, but then he relents.
Casey removes Morgan’s handcuffs and they go to release Chuck and Sarah. When they get to Sarah’s cell, she’s in the middle of an escape attempt and Chuck is hurt that she’d do this without him. She tells them that she wasn’t thrilled with Morgan’s whole pep talk and thinks she would be better finding Quinn on her own. She walks off towards the entrance and Casey and Chuck tell her that she can’t leave…because Mama B is blocking the hallway and she has a gun.
As Mama B stands there with her gun pointed at Sarah, Ellie, Devon and Clara show up and Ellie and Devon admonish her for having a gun out where Clara can see it. Turns out Mama B has intel on the Key. It is used to program the Intersect and Roark, Papa B and Hartley (Volkoff) split it into 3 pieces so that no one could alter the Intersect without their agreement. Papa B gave his piece to someone in the government and it has one more upload on it. If Quinn gets the entire Key, he can do nearly anything with the Intersect, including adding new skills.
Ellie pulls Chuck aside and tells him that she thinks that they can use the Key to restore Sarah’s memories. They decide to try it. Casey calls and tells them that Quinn has been spotted at a symphony performance where Beckman is entertaining a foreign dignitary. Chuck realizes that Beckman must have the third part of the Key. He and Ellie leave the home theater room and we find out that Jeff and Lester were hiding behind the couch listening (of course!). They decide to also head to the performing arts center to see if they can help.
At the arts center, Beckman is engrossed in the music when Quinn sneaks up behind her and places his hand on her shoulder. He shows her the bomb under her seat. If she gets up, it will explode. He then takes one of the ribbons off her uniform. Inside it is the third part of the Key.
Chuck and the team arrive and Beckman shows them the bomb. They realize that the bomb will detonate when the music stops. Mama B sees Quinn heading up to the roof with the Intersect glasses on the security feed that she’s tapped into. He’s got a helicopter headed to pick him up. Chuck and Sarah go after Quinn as they need him to disarm the bomb and Chuck needs the Intersect glasses for Sarah.
While Casey and Morgan try to come up with a plan, Jeffster arrives and Morgan has an epiphany. On the rooftop, Quinn tells Chuck and Sarah that the bomb can’t be stopped and will explode when the music ends. Seconds later, they hear the last notes of the orchestra and then, before the hall goes entirely silent, a different kind of music starts playing – it’s Jeffster, performing Take On Me, by A-ha. Quinn is frustrated that he keeps getting foiled by the Scooby gang and tells Chuck and Sarah that if he dies, they are going to die with him. He draws his gun, but before he can aim it, Sarah shoots him.
Chuck grabs the glasses from next to Quinn’s body. He tells Sarah that he had a plan to retrieve her memories using the Intersect glasses. However, there isn’t enough time and he needs the Intersect to disarm the bomb. He tells her that he can’t help her because he has to save everyone else and he puts on the glasses and uploads the Intersect. They run back down to the seating area, where Jeffster is still playing and the orchestra has joined in with some encouragement from Morgan.
Chuck flashes on the bomb and manages to unlock the control unit, but the laptop is old and could be tricky. Sarah suggests trying Irene Demova but doesn’t seem to appreciate the significance of this memory. Chuck finds the virus online and uploads it to the computer as Jeffster’s song reaches its climax. Just like it did in S1, the virus kills the computer, disarming the bomb. The audience, still oblivious to the danger they were in, gives Jeffster a standing ovation.
Back in Castle, Beckman congratulates the team for their work. She tells them to come find her if they ever want to save the world again and leaves. Casey follows behind her because he wants to avoid the weepy, emotional stuff. Chuck follows him, though, and Casey gives him a big hug (aww!) and shakes hands with Sarah before leaving.
Once they are alone, Chuck asks Sarah about Irene Demova, but she doesn’t know where she got the idea. She tells Chuck that she needs time to think, to be alone. Chuck starts to tell her about Morgan’s “magical kiss” theory, but stops and lets her go.
Upstairs in the Buy More, Jeff and Lester excitedly tell the whole story to Big Mike, emphasizing how they saved the day. Big Mike’s not buying it, though. He’s kind of preoccupied as the store has new owners – a giant Subway sign is being hoisted into place at the back of the store. He tells Jeff and Lester to get back to work, but before they can, they are approached by a German record producer, who wants to make them famous in Germany. They decide to go to Germany and try their luck.
At Morgan and Casey’s apartment, Alex and Morgan break the news to Casey that they are moving in together. He’s not surprised, though, because he’s still a spy. Casey tells them that the place is all theirs because he is leaving. Morgan assumes that he’s going to Gertrude and he confirms. Alex gives him her blessing.
Devon and Ellie are in the middle of packing to start their new life in Chicago while Mama B takes care of Clara. Ellie tells Chuck that she doesn’t know how to leave him, but he assures her that she’s taken care of him for too long already and that he’ll be okay. Devon asks him about Sarah and Chuck tells them that he doesn’t know.
Out in the courtyard, Morgan and Chuck sit on the fountain and talk about Sarah. Chuck tells Morgan that he has no idea where she is. Morgan tells him to look into his heart and ask himself where she is. Chuck thinks about it and has an idea.
We see Sarah sitting on the beach as the sun sets. Chuck arrives and sits down in the sand next to her. She knows the place is important, but doesn’t know why. Chuck tells her that on that very beach, 5 years ago, she told him that it would all be okay and to trust her. He assures her that he will always be there for her, no matter what. She asks him to tell her their story, and he starts at the beginning and we’re treated to flashbacks of their lives together interspersed with scenes of the two of them sitting on the beach, with Sarah smiling and laughing at Chuck. At the end, Chuck tells her that Morgan has a theory that one kiss will restore her memories. She looks at Chuck and asks him to kiss her.
And so it ended, like it began, with Chuck and Sarah (and the Intersect), sitting on the beach together, wondering what the future holds for them.
I thought this episode was a very fitting and beautiful end to a really unique show! Although I had my doubts about Quinn, I think the character was much more believable in these two final episodes and I liked the additional back story on the Intersect that Mama B provided, even if I’m still a bit confused by “Intersect lore”. It was very poignant that the Intersect, the very device that tore Chuck’s life apart repeatedly but also brought him Sarah and a sense of purpose, was the tool that he realized that he needed to restore her memory. However, on the rooftop, with everyone’s lives on the line in the performing arts center, Chuck made the very difficult choice of saving everyone even though it meant possibly losing Sarah forever. This choice reflects the true character of Chuck – his complete selflessness and devotion to his family, friends, and the common good.
From the live chat and comments posted online and on Twitter, I know that many fans were unhappy with the ending and some even felt “tortured” or “betrayed” because although the other characters all found some sort of closure, Chuck and Sarah remained in limbo. Admittedly, part of me would have liked the series to end with the two of them getting into bed together on their first night in their dream house, but the rest of me thinks that a storybook ending like that would have felt rushed and a little too tidy, potentially undercutting the gravity of their emotional struggles.
I’m satisfied with the ending because there’s not a doubt in my mind that Sarah will eventually regain both her memories and her love for Chuck (if it didn’t already happen on the beach) and their relationship will be all the stronger for it. Someday, when they are both ready, there will be a family as well. I don’t need to see this scene play out before me, I just know it will happen. There’s just no way the story could end otherwise, even if the last episode may have. How can I be so sure? Because Chuck, at its heart, has always been a story about a good guy with a great heart who overcame adversity and made a difference in the world – the nerd who really did get the girl!
The Ring….amateurs! – Edgar, the Fulcrum agent
Saaaarraaaah, you’re upset, and I can tell – Quinn
Every impossible mission starts with what? James Bond taking that giant leap and getting out of bed! – Morgan
She may be the best spy in the world, but I’m Chuck Bartowski. It’s not like she’s out of my league. – Chuck
Five years in Burbank could turn a man to butter – Beckman
And yes, I’ve been watching a ton of Disney princess movies with baby Clara – Morgan
Unleash the perverts – Lester
I read your profile, and you’re good with computers? – Sarah
Yes, I’m small, but I’m worth 3 spies on a mission plus I’m a good listener – Morgan
You, your wife, and my little roommate are going to help me track down Quinn – Casey
What did we say about Baby Clara seeing firearms? – Devon
It’s a no-no, I’m sorry. – Mama B
Women and men will adore you! – German record producer
I’m a Casey, I don’t run, I stalk my prey – Casey
Call backs, shout outs and other awesomeness
Chuck getting back the Intersect
The Mexican restaurant (“I’ll be your baggage handler”)
Morgan and Chuck heart-to-heart at the fountain
Flashbacks during Chuck’s story
Sarah’s outfit when she came to the Buy More to ask to use Castle
Sarah’s dress in Berlin
Sarah’s video journal
I want to thank you all for letting me share my thoughts with you over the past year. It’s been great fun getting to know you all through the comments and during the Live Chats. All of you have been part of my Chuck experience and I can’t thank you all enough for sharing this journey with me!