What a year it’s been for the little show that could, Chuck. After NBC picked up the series for another season, team Bartowski had a lot more on their plate than large quantities of subs from Subway. With The Ring at every turn, Chuck has had to be on his toes. Thankfully, he’s had help from the Intersect 2.0 and team Bartowski – with their newest addition, Morgan.

Unfortunately, things didn’t always go their way as Sarah became involved with Daniel Shaw (Brandon Routh), a man whose wife she previously assassinated.  After a romantic tryst, Sarah’s life almost comes to an end as Shaw turned rogue operative for The Ring and planned on killing her. Luckily, Chuck caught wind and showed up just in time to save her life and, in the process, reigniting their relationship.

Although happy endings are short-lived when Chuck begins having dreams of things that may, or may not, happen in the future as the Intersect is now interacting with Chuck’s subconscious while he’s sleeping. While a diagnosis such as that doesn’t sound too alarming, it is soon revealed that the Intersect will eventually destroy Chuck’s brain. With the return of Chuck’s father, Stephen, our favorite would-be spy might have a chance at surviving.

In tonight’s third season finale of Chuck, The Ring is closing in and Chuck’s father is working hard to save his son’s brain from the Intersect. With Shaw returning and Chuck appearing to go crazy, things couldn’t be any more serious for our rag-tag team of spies.

Good think we’ve got a two-hour finale…

Review

Fans of Chuck can breathe a sigh of relief because the third season finale was an absolute masterpiece. If this does not prove the show’s worth to NBC, I don’t know what will.

At first glance, it was the promise of a showdown between Shaw and Chuck in the finale that had fans excited to tune it – but it quickly became apparent that the finale is all about family and it’s that theme which really helped take this episode to the next level.

From start to finish, the episode was fantastic. Ellie finally finding out Chuck’s secret was a wonderful reveal – one that was played out in a simple, yet impactful scene. Many other series would have built up that moment until the last minute, but considering how many equally as impactful reveals are contained in this finale, there was no room for that – and, for this, I couldn’t be happier.

Side note: (The butt kicking spy work that is always at the core of everything might, at times, over-shadow Chuck and Ellie’s relationship. That being said, chalk it up to good writing, great acting or me being sucker for NBC trickery, but Chuck and Ellie, in my opinion, have the most realistic brother-sister relationship on television. )

In the end, the cowboy-esque final fight between Chuck and Shaw was pretty great, but made so much better by the Jeffster! music video playing in the background. Morgan and Casey as the new power couple are hilarious as ever, but made even more so by the fact that Morgan is going after Casey’s daughter. When it comes down to it, Chuck can be defined as a series that takes each and every storyline, character and idea and makes it better in every single way.

With as much closure as the third season finale provides fans, there was equally as much foreshadowing of things to come in the fourth season. What makes it even better is the fact that Chuck has literally reinvented itself – the term “game changer” has never been so appropriate.

The promise Chuck made to Ellie that he would retire out of the governmental spy business surely puts the fourth season in an odd predicament. Luckily, everyone loves a good loophole and one is wonderfully provided through Papa Bartowski’s secret vault where Chuck, as a spy now working for himself, can take on as many evil organizations as his heart desires. Oh, and then there’s his mom!

People talk about how character development is integral to the success of any show, but often they forget to mention that the development and growth of a series itself is just as important. If you look at television today, you’ll see many series (Read: CSI, NCIS, Law & Order) that, week after week, deliver cookie-cutter programming. Thankfully, Chuck is the antithesis of that type of show and is the perfect example of a series that continuously grows and develops along with its characters.

With an amazing fourth season already slated for a fall premiere, I have no reason to believe this series is going anywhere.

What did you think of the Chuck third season finale? Are you excited about next season? Who do you think should play Chuck’s mom?

Tune into the fourth, and hopefully not last, season of Chuck this fall on NBC

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