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Chuck Series Finale

January 28, 2012 by staff 

Chuck Series Finale, Wasn’t the answer Sarah got so much better than an upload from Intersect glasses?  I’ll go on record right away as saying that I was very pleased with the “Chuck” finale, and I think the last 30 minutes of the final episode rank up there with the absolute best the show has ever done. It got dusty in my house many times during those last two hours, and as a sustained, well-earned sentimental farewell, the finale was everything I could have hoped for.

I needed to be convinced, however. When last week’s episode ended with Sarah’s memories gone, I was alarmed (even though I thought “Chuck Versus the Bullet Train” was a good episode). We’ve spent five years investing in the relationship of these crazy kids, and right here at the end, they were going to take that away from us? That was a hell of a risk to take in the show’s final hours.

But you know what? I think that risk paid off, for a few reasons.

The “recovering Sarah’s memory” story gave real stakes to the finale because we are that invested in Chuck and Sarah’s hard-won happiness. There was part of me that wanted the gang to have one last victory lap, in which they would defeat some amusing or mildly scary villain and then ride off into the sunset; but at its best, “Chuck” has woven real emotions and real consequences into its best spy stories.

Sure, Quinn was another in a long line of bragging villains with eeevil intentions, but he was a mere device to get us to care about whether Chuck and Sarah would rebuild their relationship. On some level, I knew they would get back together by the end of the series finale, but the show gave me two hours of a broken-hearted Chuck, and Zachary Levi plays that so well that I was very much invested in his quest to win Sarah back. I knew in my logical brain that the quest would be successful, but damn it, in my heart and in the non-logical parts of my head (which are vast), I was rooting like hell for the good guys to win and for the couple I love to be happy again.

And that was really the key to why the “recovering Sarah’s memory” story worked — Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski played the hell out of every single scene they were given. In the hands of lesser actors, the whole memory-wipe story might have played out like a sci-fi cliche; but they gave us so many levels and layers of pain, hope and heartbreak. Sarah’s face as she watched the video files, recounting her relationship with Charles Irving Bartowski; Chuck’s face as he sat in their dream home, talking about the first time they really kissed; the two of them as they sat on that beach at the end, talking and laughing and crying and just being so right together — that all worked like gangbusters.

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