‘Chuck’ Series Finale Review & Discussion

Published 2 years ago by , Updated July 31st, 2013 at 10:48 am,

chuck series finale Chuck Series Finale Review & Discussion

In 2007, Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak’s geek-inspired spy series Chuck premiered on NBC and the notion of a fan-driven series was forever defined. Battling continuous intents of cancelation, as well as nasty writer’s strikes, television’s proverbial ‘little series that could’ proved that a cult show can not only be saved by its fans, but it can also evolve into something wonderful, if only given a chance.

Starting out as a series about the geek-turned-spy Chuck Bartowski (Zachary Levi), NBC’s Chuck quickly took hold of all the geek cred that it received from fans and championed on for 5 years. Turning a series about one reluctant man against a world of bad guys into a hilariously referential ensemble series, which saw the entire cast join in on the fight – including Jeff (Scott Krinsky) and Lester (Vik Sahay).

And now, after 89 episodes, it’s finally time for the world’s greatest spy (no, not John Casey) to walk off into the sunset – but not before taking on the most important mission of his life.


Wrapped in a thoroughly enjoyable, outwardly comedic styling, Chuck still maintains its roots as a pseudo-drama series. At times, the goofball premises and pop-culture one-liners may serve to mask this element of the series. But for those who dare to completely accept a series that bases many of its storylines around a pair of plastic sunglasses, an endless string of beautifully heartbreaking and emotionally impactful character moments await.

Like other television series that revel in its propensity for hilarious absurdity (i.e. Psych), Chuck knows its audience better than the majority of shows still on the air. For a show that has been continuously threatened with cancellation – yet always saved by its fans – a familiar bond emerges between a series and its viewers.

Yet unlike any of the aforementioned series of the same vein, Chuck never once accepted its position as a singularly categorized series. For all intents and purposes, Schwartz and Fedak never once wavered in their intent to emotionally grow the series and its characters into something more – something that was never outwardly demanded from its audience.

By continuously delivering beyond its audience’s presumed expectations, Chuck not only maintained itself as the enjoyable comedy that fans once fell in love with, it also further evolved itself into something more tangible – which by and large helped stave off the tendency for diminishing returns as a television series ages.

Presenting itself as a two-tiered conclusion, the Chuck series finale – a combination of two single episodes – clearly defines the stories it wishes to tell. “Chuck Versus Sarah” and “Chuck Versus the Goodbye” perfectly establishes the final two chapters of the series by leveraging the profound relationship between Chuck and Sarah to help drive the series home.

As with any episode of Chuck, the situations presented are always heightened to a degree that many would deem unbelievable. Yet it is in fact that the series remains so emotionally grounded within its characters (while other things may not be) that allows these moments to be enjoyed without regret.

chuck series finale jeff lester1 Chuck Series Finale Review & Discussion

Establishing Sarah as the unwitting villain for the first half of the Chuck series finale provides viewers with an earnest emotional reaction to want the story of Chuck and Sarah to end happily, yet the knowledge that it would was never certain – and perhaps it still isn’t, even after watching the final episode.

Providing an emotionally profound start to the two-hour finale, “Chuck Versus Sarah” highlights the series’ unique ability to brilliantly mix intrigue, comedy and, more importantly, emotional honesty. While “Chuck Versus Sarah” serves to be a heartbreaking conclusion to the series’ penultimate chapter, “Chuck Versus the Goodbye” begins with an emotional turnaround that reminds viewers that Chuck’s intentions to win back his true love remains resolute.

Proving to be the more comically rich than the first half, ‘Chuck Versus the Goodbye’ presents a much welcomed optimistic hilarity to the unfortunate events in the first half, though not without its fair share of emotional moments. With the intended storyline focused on taking out the villainous Quinn, the final chapter of Chuck is much more about the characters we grew to love over the course of the series than any type of vendetta against an enemy that thoroughly deserves to be “taken care of.”

chuck series finale awesome ellie Chuck Series Finale Review & Discussion

While many elements of ‘Chuck Versus the Goodbye’ can be labeled hit-or-miss, one has to give credit to Schwartz and Fedak for attempting to reference the series’ origin in an even more heightened reality than Chuck already resides.

Yes, Chuck shooting down Casey’s helicopter was a bit much, and a bomb rigged to explode when the symphony stopped playing was more of a setup to a completely wonderful Jeffster punch line – but this is the final episode, so why not shoot for the stars. Hit or miss, NBC’s “little series that could certainly” earned that right.

Of course, if there’s one complaint that some fans will have with the Chuck series finale, it’s the conclusion (or lack there of) to Chuck and Sarah’s story.

That notwithstanding, it’s hard to say that the final 5 minutes of the series finale wasn’t a heartbreaking reward for a series that remained, even when up against all odds. As each character made their exit, the glitz and glamour of a television series melted away.

chuck series finale chuck sarah Chuck Series Finale Review & Discussion

It was no longer about seeing characters bid farewell to each other, but about watching a group of actors that became a family sharing one last scene together. The tears are real and the goodbyes are sincere. For those watching, that is the conclusion of Chuck that should resonate… not whether or not Sarah got her memory back.

The kiss at the end highlighted her intent of wanting to be with Chuck – but it was the tearful moments that came before all of that where the real ending of the series lies.

Not for Chuck and Sarah, or “Awesome” and Ellie, or Morgan and Alex, or Casey – or even Jeff and Lestor… but for Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Ryan McPartlin, Sarah Lancaster, Joshua Gomez, Vik Sahay and Scott Krinsky.

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Chuck aired on NBC from 2007-2012

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  1. Come on guys, can’t you see it?

    It’s very obivous that there is going to be a movie, the writers proably wrote this ending, so the fans can expect a movie in the future, in a finale interview zachary and yvonne said that they wanted to make a new movie of chuck,so they probably already discussed the lack of an ending of Chuck with the producers.

    Why would the writers piss off the audience after 5 long years? Bad ending = bad dvd sales

    • My wife said the same thing about a movie. Makes sense to leave it open then and have Chuck be a spy/Intersect again.

      Also, I disagree with the review: shooting down Casey’s helicopter with his gun was hilarious. My favorite scenes (aside from the ending where I cried like a baby) were Morgan’s speech to Casey and Chuck’s mom’s entrance “What did we say about firearms around baby Clara?”

    • I doubt it now.. They haven’t been looking onto Chuck for a while now..

  2. I thought it was a brilliant ending. I’m devastated to see chuck finish, infact im really sad that chuck has finished but it had to some day. I keep making up in my head what happens after the kiss and where everyone goes from there but unless they bring out something else I’ll never know. Great/different ending.

    • so true..i started watching chuck some 15 days bfr and i am in love with the series. m so goona miss it

  3. i just cant stop watching the final episode, im not sure why, i just feel…sad if im not watching it! things feel reaaly different/ weird now that chucks finished! i need a movie soon!

  4. The ending is NOT awesome!

  5. As much as I would like it, I doubt there is going to be a follow up movie. The ending pretty much summed everything up. The audience is not supposed to know whether or not Sarah gets her memory back. Its the wonder and the hope and the beauty that makes the final scene profound.
    Ending a series, especially one like Chuck, requires extensive literary finesse. More often than not, the ending of a great series makes a lot of people very unhappy. However, Chuck seemed to leave some of the ending to the audiences imagination. In other words, a singular ending cannot satisfy every viewer, but every viewer can imagine an ending that satisfies himself.
    All in all, I think the series finale was the perfect ending to a perfect story.

  6. The ending was not your typical fairy tale ending but all in all, i thank CHUCK for the good company through all those years. As they say ,it’s not the destination that matters most, it’s the journey

  7. Well, we miss Chuck and everyone… hoping there will be some movies someday in the not to far future…

  8. I am surprised from the “votes” way out numbering with the “I loved the ending”; yet from the posting contradict that?
    For myself I found the ending sloppy and severely lacking in closure. Despite implications the reason is due to a possible movie?
    yet nothing to that effect is even hinted at..
    The ending was “lacking”. The article written was trying to cover that up.
    Through out the whole series as the characters matured; myself and those I know wanted and expect a “fairy tale or happy ending”
    So WTH was wrong with giving that?
    THAT was how the “old” B westerns ended… The cowboy got the girl and rode happily off into the sunset?
    The canceling of Eureka was a disappointment as well; BUT at least the ending did bring closure and made sense.. Carter and Choe leaving Eureka and seeing them selves giving the idea they have come full circle and the future and the new mysteries it will bring. I really liked it when they were at times merging Eureka and Warehouse 13 characters together; except they didn’t bring any characters from Warehouse 13 into Eureka?
    Warehouse 13? They are screwing with that allot and giving the long times between showings makes it clear they are deliberately killing off the fan base..
    ALL of this for stupid WWE…
    The powers to be at SIFI oh sorry SYFY (stupid of them).
    Many interesting show used to be on that channel and I am not talking about Ghost Hunters and other idiotic stuff. Myself and millions of others just want SIFI…

  9. I think that chuck is thee best series ever,as how it started and how it ended,chuck is a romance,action and comedy. To all those haters out there of chuck……………get a life,for all I no ur’ll shoud be wathing spy kids[•_•]

  10. I think the best ending to the series would be after they kiss Sarah’s eyes widen and she says chuck? Then it cuts off. That would have been so much better in my humble opinion

    • Agreed. In a warmer, more heartfelt manner…

  11. Throughout the episode Sarah started to get flashes (Not intersect flashes) of her memory’s with chuck so Im pretty sure Sarah got her memory back in the end :)

  12. Exactly what a MORON, IDIOT and STUPID spy should NOT BE!!!!!

  13. I think that the final episode of Chuck was a completely mess.For example,why Chuck didnt give the intersect glasses to Sarah ? I know that he needed them to disarm the bomb but if he can do it with the intersect so Sarah can do it with them too + that she could renew her memory.Be free to comment..

    • I dont think you understand. She wouldnt get her memory back by getting the intersect. Chuck had to get the glasses back to castle and modify them, so that they would be able to restore Sarah’s memories. The problem was however that they only had one upload left. Chuck was torn between saving a full concert hall of people (including all is friends and Beckman) and restoring Sarahs memories.

      • What angers me is that the never elude to the notion of getting another pair of glasses. I mean,they have to come from somewhere.

    • the problem was only one upload left so they could either use it now to disarm the bomb or leave t until the create the file of Sarah’s memories and change the purpose of he intersect

  14. Lets face it – what got us stuck on the whole Chuck-universe? Right, the fight for Sarah and him to finally become a couple.

    The greatest emotions came from that plot-line and after they became a couple, the show got a bit, lets say ‘less interesting’. Still good, but that special feeling was gone.

    Which brings me to that brilliant ending.
    The writers managed to transport that ‘special feeling’ onto the last two episodes: ‘Chuck fighting to win Sarah´s heart – again” and with the last scene, that special feeling will always be connected with Chuck, because we will never know, if he wins her (back).

    And even though that hurts and leaves a strange feeling in ones stomach – it is exactly what made me watch Chuck for 5 years (and more). For me it is just plain genuine writing.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. Bringing back the ‘will they/won’t they’ feel from the beginning made for the most compelling episodes of the last two seasons. It had grown a little tired, with those great moments fewer and farther between. The finale episodes made me sit up and take notice in a way seasons 1 and 2 had so often done.

  15. I just miss chuck soo much.. I can’t believe im watching the whole thing all over again…. well the ending is sad and quite unexpected but I hope Sarah got her memories back because I keep thinking how it will be explained to their mutual friends and enemies or their kids for that matter… Thanks to the whole chuck cast u did excellent…

  16. Almost two years later and I still have that ache in my chest whenever I think about this amazing series. But I’m thankful for the time we did have.

  17. Just watched it again. For those who do not like the ending, think of it this way: we all got the ending we want.

    If you wanted her to regain her memory, well then in your world she did.

    If you are sadistic then just imagine she looked at him and said, “Nope, sorry.”

    It was the perfect finale.

    • i have whatch the series 1 – 5 about 10 times got them on dvd but i have to agree it was very sad to see a good show end

  18. If i had the money to buy over the show, i would make it that after they kissed, Sarah leaves. after a year she returns to the apartment to find chuck feed up on cheese balls and guess who she brings with, his father orion. and her memories is returned with help from orion, and to top it off she brings a baby with. she was pregnant with chucks baby but never knew. Chuck is happy dad isnot dead again, sarah is back, he is a dad and assum an ellie with chucks mom returns and to top it off orion and chucks mom is reunited

    wouldnt that be the best ending

    • Absolutely not. That’s about the worst ending possible. Orion, as sad as it may be, is dead. Bringing him back would turn Chuck into an implausible soap opera. Secondly, it would mean Sarah would not only have walked out on Chuck, but was forced to return because of some unwanted baby. She won’t be happy, she hypothetically no longer loves Chuck. Thank goodness you weren’t the director because you would have ruined this great show and its impressive finale.

  19. I don’t think it matters if she gets the memories back or not. Like Ellie said, the emotions are still there. The laughter and tears as Chuck tells the final story, to me, says that even if they have to start at square 1, they will

    • YES! Yes, this is what I believe too! Even though the memories are hazy, the feelings associated with the memories that did come back are there — they showed that when she recognised the carving they made in the doorframe of the house.

      Plus, I read something that the writers of the show (Josh Shwartz and Chris Fedak) said… And both of them believe that they gave enough clues throughout the last two episodes to give the viewer one of two options with the ending… And both of them are happy! Option 1 is that Morgan’s idea of the ‘magical fairytale kiss’ worked. Boom. Memories back. Option 2 is that she regained some (or alot or all, depending on how you see it) of her memories back, and fell in love with Chuck all over again. Both writers had different ideas about the kiss vs falling in love again, but for Chuck and Sarah, I think those are the only options there. I prefer option two, as it’s the more romantic version (in my opinion) and like you said, I believe that even if they had to start again at square one, the beach scene tells you that they will.

      • I like option 2 better. Option 1 is too clichéd, IMO.

  20. having gone thought the whloe losing memories thing myself the way the show ended just wasnt good enough

  21. Spent the last weeks watching all 5 seasons on netflix. I must admit. The ending made me cry like a baby. I thought that once he showed her the drawing about their dream house and a baby she would remember everything. But they didn’t show the picture after her memory was erased.

  22. I admit, i never watched the series on while it was still running. I checked it out on Netflix a couple weeks ago and finished all 91 episodes! The Chuck and Sarah story was some of the best television i’ve ever watched. I can’t go on enough about this show. It brought out emotions that i never thought television could evoke.

    • I agree wholeheartedly with Jay. It was the absolute best show. I got interested and watched all of the episodes in 2 weeks. I would be ecstatic if they made a movie or even a another series. Although, truthfully, it would be very hard to top this. I cried and that is something I have never done. Well done! But…Bring it back even if its only 1 show a month…………

  23. I just finished watching the final series on Netflix. To be honest i skipped episodes 9 and 10 cos I was getting so fed up and wanted to get it over with. I enjoyed the first few seasons, but after that it really felt like they were flogging a dead horse with every episode. Nothing new ever came along. I think it really should have ended after season 3. It was fun but far too repetitive.

  24. I just watched the entire five seasons on Netflix in less than two weeks. I fell in love with the characters and themes, and was consistently astonished and challenged by the ever evolving world of Chuck.

    While one may nitpick about changes in theme (the Intersect was originally supposed to be a physical computer that Chuck became the first, unexpected human version, with Chuck being unique or of a small number of people who could be one, to anyone could be an Intersect), they can be overlooked since the series remained true to the emotional core of the characters as they developed.

    The foundation of the whole series is the Chuck-Sarah relationship and its evolution. It’s the wish fulfilment that all geeky/nerdy guys have: The perfect woman would fall in love with us if she got the chance to really know us. Sarah, through constant exposure to Chuck as part of her handler duties, came to see the fundatmentally great and decent guy and love him, and all in the face of macho competition from more capable, far stronger, more handsome, stronger men.

    That’s why the finale and closing scene was a big fail for me. Instead of concluding that fantasy that nice guys could get the hot girl, we get a Chuck version of The Average Joe finales: The hot girl does not end up with the nice guy. In this, they veered completely off-track and left me severely disappointed.

    • Literally, my thoughts, exactly.

  25. Anybody who has seen all five seasons and doesn’t know whether Chuck and Sarah end up together isn’t paying attention… It doesn’t matter whether she remembers every single detail with that kiss or not. What’s important is that Chuck asks her to trust him and she decides to open up and make an effort to sort it out together rather than running on her own as Sarah “the solitary spy” would have done.

    From there, there are many details in the last episode that shows you that her memory is not wiped out but “blocked” and that, as soon as she relaxes, she will remember.

    As the creator of the series said: “It is a happy ending. You can clearly see two people in love in the beach”.

    • I could’nt agree with you more. As much as I would love to see either Chuck: the Movie or one more season of Chuck, I think it did end pretty good.

  26. I like alot of you have just watched the series on netflix since I was in the hospital.
    I also saw a fans alternate ending on youtube and thought it was perfect. Like harry Potter it showed Sarah and Chuck one year later in front of the house they wanted to buy. It doesn’t say wether she got all of her memory back but it did show them together. I really don’t see a movie anytime soon but maybe a one time final tv series ala 24 befor they all get too old. Also Yvonne Strahovski just started filming a new movie.

  27. Just watched it all on Netflix – don’t think it showed here in the UK. Fantastic series start to finish. Loved all the characters, the way they all evolved and changed, Chuck & Sarah’s relationship getting a conclusion unlike so many series that just drag out the will they won’t they forever until it gets boring, Morgan getting the girl, Casey learning to love, the Awesomes and Jeffster moving on! I think the ending was perfect avoided being cheesy, or just plain stupid (Dexter?!). All the way through the last episode Sarah was remembering things, and her feelings towards him were already beginning to change – Chuck telling their story at the end flashed up on screen like an intersect upload. For me, her memories return and they definitely stay together. Chuck is now one of my all time favourite series and I too think they left it wide open for a movie – if they did that it would be Awesome!

  28. must admit to a binge watching of chuck over the last week (all 91 eps). i was disappointed with the ending because the beauty of the show was how both characters changed to make each other better; and even though we can assume she gets her memory back, we never got to see any of the tender moments that made chuck the powerful show that it was. traditionally, the show was really good at giving us a peak at the little detailed moments that made the us, the audience, fall in love with the couple…we just needed 5 minutes more of her remembering and maybe them going home to talk and snuggle, they were such a cute snuggly couple! basically, i just felt a little cheated that they didn’t let us see how sarah would have handled coming back to reality and realizing she tried to kill her husband, and how much she loved him, instead we ended with a kiss where she didn’t even put her hand up on chuck’s face or arm to reciprocate the affection.

    but i will say i believe she does get her memory back eventually…i mean chuck is his father’s son and has the intersect 3.0…he could totally build her a new set of glasses. just sayin’.

    also let’s get that movie going.

    • Amen.

  29. Anyone looking for an insightgul literary analysis covering all five seasons of “Chuck” should read Unpacking “Chuck” by G. Walter Bush, an ebook on Amazon and the only book to be written on the show.