‘Chuck’ Series Finale Review & Discussion

Published 3 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

Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio

TAGS: Chuck
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  1. Everyone’s ending was good, but serious crap that Sarah still didn’t get her memory hopefully though the kiss worked.

    • it was great but I didn’t like that sarah still didn’t have her memories but chuck won her back anyway! But what happened with the intersect that chuck now has again????! They didn’t say anything about it unless I totally missed it. Loved it though. One of the meat series finales I’ve ever seen. At least NBC let them finish it properly unlike with heroes!

  2. The ending was pretty good, but there wasn’t enough closure. It really felt like a rush ending and I get it there budget and time constraints, but everything just felt rushed. Ok, last mission now everyone PEACE OUT! Oh btw, Sarah doesn’t remember much. However, throughout the show we noticed that Sarah is picking up remnants from the past. I wonder if that’s to elude to the fact that given time and with Chuck’s help, she will ultimately return.

  3. I thought it was great. I loved because it was all unexpected. I’ve also never seen a television series come fully around. Everything in the finale was just like the pilot. I dont think I’ve ever been this sad that a tv show is ending. Aces Charles, Aces!

  4. The ending was satisfieng but they should killed Morgan or kasey at the end sarah should have got her memory back and his dad should have got in it again

    • I agree! Interestingly, most of the interviews said that the viewers will receive closure but I feel the opposite with Casey going away and especially Sarah not having her memory. Was expecting more cameos from the past, but anyways. Was glad to see that Jeffster are going to get their fame in Germany :D!

  5. I’m gonna miss those Quirky base-tards, it was a really good show. But I’m glad that it’s going out on a good note, and not a drawn out, re-hashed, over-done sit com. Take care and be well cast and crew of “Chuck”!!! From a loyal fan…

  6. Also, It might keep open the possibilities of future TV Movies (hopefully), especially since Chuck has the intersect again… Who knows????

  7. I hated it because we did not know if sarah got her memory back. I hate it when shows do not give us closure. NBC(as much as I hate them because of what they did to CONAN) gave Chuck more time than I expected them to give it. So, I hated the fact that they did not give Chuck and Sarah the closure they needed to get. I don’t like wondering what will happen, I want closure.

  8. So the intersect is in chuck’s head, Casey went to find Gertrude, and Sarah’s memory is lost. Where in the world is the closure? Let’s hope she slowly regains it just like she was during the show.

  9. Glad I’m not the only one upset about not getting full closure on the whole Sarah memory thing. Also I wish they had gotten a full season with 22 episodes that way they would have reached 100 and also had more time to develop story, but I have to say I do hate Quinn the most out of all the Chuck villains for what he did to Sarah. Well I take that back it’s tie between him and the dude who killed Chuck’s dad (the villain’s name is escaping me right now). But I am happy they were allowed to end things on their terms considering this show has almost been cancelled like a million times.

  10. iheard short skirt long jacket the theme song to this

  11. At first i was disappointed, but then i realized something… They could have easily ended it with the flash backs on the beach and chuck and sarah laughing… it COULD have just faded out… it probably would have been easier… BUT the thing is, IT WAS PUT IN THERE FOR A REASON. The kiss TOTALLY worked, because if it didnt, there would have been no reason to include it. And NO WRITER ON EARTH WOULD WRITE THIS ENTIRE SCRIPT, THEN, AT THE END PUT (by the way, the kiss didnt work) BECAUSE THEY KNOW PEOPLE LOVE A HAPPY ENDING! they would make sure they put enough in there without saying so to convince the audience that THE KISS DID WORK! Plus, they repeated it in the episode so many times that it HAS to mean something! Finally, Sarah and Chuck have always been a “magical” couple that have OVERCAME the odds to be together. Why would their kiss be any less than magical? :) What I KNOW happened is they kissed, They pulled away and sarah smiled at chuck passionately. He smiled back passionately (that beautiful,favorite smile we ALL LOVE) and Sarah whispers “I love you Chuck.” he smiles bigger and kisses his wife all over again. She’s back, and she’s back to stay. They then have multiple children, and LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.


    • Because she had the intersect removed by quinn i think

  13. they should have ended it with the kiss and some sort of Flash of their relationship ending with the red door

  14. It looks like it was written with the intent to do a made for web movie.

  15. The finale had everything!! Man im gonna miss this show so much one of my all time favorite shows. Gotta love the part were morgan refered to harry potter with the invinsibility cloak lmao laughed so hard lol and jeffster saved the day!! I just hope that sarah regains her memory later in the future man its been a great 5 years watching this

  16. I don’t know what I feel about this ending really. I know they want us to just take it on some magical faith that everything will be fine but how.

    The first and obvious is the long term potential success for lasting romance and love with Chuck and Sarah. Doubtful.

    I mean think about it. Chuck and Sarah evolved and grew as both individuals and as people over those 5 years through their experiences together as well as from the experiences with those closest to each other. Now Sarah is set back to the beginning pre Chuck while Chuck retains his current state. The more I think about it the more devastating and horrible it is. It is not simply that Sarah does not know or love chuck anymore. She has no love or feelings of sisterhood with Ellie or anyone else associated with Chuck. No sense of that big warm family life she felt she gained but never had. (Which is why they didn’t bother to keep everyone together)No memory of resolved conflict with her old team and gf’s. Nothing! All growth as a person lost. The idea of letting her emotional guard down lost. Able to no longer feel the need to keep secrets from everyone including Chuck, lost. Think of all the back and forth of her internal conflicts over the years of who she was and if she could ever do anything other than be a spy etc. All those decisions and growth lost. Most importantly who’s to say with out the same set of circumstances helping to form and guide those decisions and opinions that she will make the same ones. In simplest terms the scene in the bedroom when Ellie gives chuck the verbal pep talk telling him he is not the same guy anymore is key because it’s true however Sarah is the same girl as back then. How quickly will it get old and annoying for Sarah every time something happens like the scene in the diner where Chuck giggled about looking at her in that waitress outfit but Sarah being like what cause she has no idea. Chuck is going to know everything about her but she knows nothing about him. Knowing how guarded she was from the start, that will drive Sarah crazy. I suppose that’s why the huge trust me scene at the end though. I have to stop because the more I think about it the more depressing it is because it would be doomed without some sort of total, natural, recall. I say natural because i am glad they did not try to flash a memory into Sarah that was built from her bio, wedding album photos etc.

    OK off my soap box and to some questions.

    1) Just how far back does Sarah’s memory loss actually go?
    2) Did the Quinn have a suppression device? How did Sarah get the intersect out of her head? When they went in to retrieve the download from the CIA Sarah didn’t flash yet moved and did things just like she still had the intersect. Why?
    3) What was the significance of her wailing her head in the plane? Was that suppose to be the trigger for the later organizing of the cups in the diner and the porn virus memories?
    4) So does Chuck now have a fully functioning intersect in his head forever?
    5) Not sure how the whole intersect business can be dead. First you know the CIA has stuff going on, extra copies or whatever. You can never trust them. Chucks mom and Ellie both having an amazing amount of knowledge about it. Chuck himself knowing everything about it as well as still having it in his head. Heck he had built a new pair of delivery glasses on the bullet train on the fly.
    6) Is everything cleared up/explained with Gertrude and the CIA now. She no longer needs to be on the run because that other guy was corrupt and blackmailed by Shaw so her killing him is ignored?
    7) What’s the deal with Subway buying the buy more. Chuck(Carmichael industries owned it right?) They had a plan to do high tech security which Chuck could still do with Morgan and other nerds even if Sarah and Casey wanted to leave. What does he do for a living now? Just live off the sale of the buy more for now while hoping Sarah will fall in love with him again?

    I guess we have to just hang our hat on her sort of having some sort of reaction to the name carvings in the house. The implied sexual tension of her fixing his tie while following the bad guy and then finally going in for a 2nd kiss after the initial one at the end.

    Chuck and Sarah still got hozed if you ask me.

    • While I can’t answer all your questions: Gertrude was already cleared and was off on a 6-month assignment somewhere (can’t recall where), and has asked Casey to join her. At the time, he declined, but now with other things wrapped up, he decided to stalk his prey. (He’s John Casey, he doesn’t run after his woman).

    • 1)Sarah’s memory loss seems to go back some 5-6 years. This is because Quinn convinces her that he is her handler, which would not have worked had she remembered the Budapest baby incident with her last handler.

      2)Quinn must have had one of the many ways of getting the intersect out of Sarah’s head. For the sake of the plot, the writers seem to stretch to workings of intersect removal. Sometimes, as I’m sure you have noticed, you just have to ignore the logical discrepancies and go with the show haha. On the other note, yes, Sarah does have the intersect out of her head when they infiltrate DARPA. I can see why this would be confusing, but the way she moved and the things she did were a reenactment of what Bryce Larkin did in the first episode. In other words, the writers referenced the very first episode in the very last episode with Sarah breaking into the very intersect room Bryce was breaking out of, kind of clever is you ask me. I love this show(:

      3) Im fairly certain that scene was just part of the action when the plane was tilting. It was emphasizing how Sarah hit her head and dropped her gun and was then pinned down by three gunman facing certain death. Obviously, she weaseled her way out of it, but I don’t think her hitting her head on the plane was indicative of anything other than her immediate danger.

      4) Yes it seems that Chuck has the intersect in his head. Though, the possibility of it being removed at some point is still there. Some say that the intersect being in Chuck’s head is leading up to a Chuck Movie, but personally I think the intersect belongs in Chuck. Orion designs it for Chuck, he builds the governor for Chuck, Chuck beats Shaw with identical intersects, Chuck shows up the Intersect Gretas, etc, etc, etc… Everything points to Chuck being the only person fit for the Intersect. I think the writers were just putting the intersect back where it belonged.

      5) Yeah, you’re right this seems unlikely. Really, you just have to go with the show on this one. If you wanted to get technical, there could really have never been an intersect business to begin with. Remember Orion’s last invention: the Governor. He made this because the intersect was causing brain deterioration. In Chuck vs Shaw’s epic intersect battle, Chuck wins and takes the governor back from Shaw. In theory, this should leave Shaw’s brain to deteriorate while he rots in jail. This way Shaw would have never been able to plan his vendetta with Dekker and the Omen virus and taking over the CIA BECAUSE HIS BRAIN WOULD BE MUSH! For the sake of the story, the writers decided to overlook this just like they overlooked brain deterioration. They did a pretty darn good job, so I’ll cut em some slack(:

      6) Yeah the charges against Gertrude were dropped when Chuck, Sarah, and Casey stopped being fugitives. Remember the PANTS incident?

      7) I think that was just another subway promotion joke, which, frankly I enjoyed throughout the series. Big Mike and Subs just cracked me up. Also, I know Big Mike said “the new owners,” but it looked like to me that Subway was just moving into the Buy More like a joint operation. Or maybe Chuck sold the Buy More. Either way I don’t think it was all that important.

      Hope these cleared some things up for you. About the ending, I don’t think it was that depressing. Yeah it was devastating how Sarah lost her love for Chuck, but I don’t think their future romance is doubtful. First, Sarah still has some abstract memories of the deeply rooted love for Chuck like the carving the the wall and the beach. Also her mission logs allowed her to watch the her feelings for Chuck manifest in herself. If anything, I think the fact that she knows that she loved him before her memories makes her more inclined to love him again. The fact that she asked him about their story is very poignant, but in the way that’s both beautiful and romantic. This allowed her to relive the memories vicariously through Chuck. The Kiss represents the start of a brand new Sarah + Chuck romance. Yeah its sad and depressing but when you think about it, it allows them to have these romantic moments again. It operates on the same poignant but romantic logic of 50 first dates. And remember the other Spy Couple? As they said good bye to them the older spy said “I wish you many happy marriages.” That was just marriage number one.

  17. I liked everything but the end. I hate it when shows just end w/out letting you know what ended up happening. I know they wanted us to use our imaginations, but come on, I watch to see what happens, not imagine what happens. I wish they would’ve done a full season, but hopefuly there’s more to come, maybe in a movie, later on!

  18. This finale much limke inception is all about Ur perception glass half empty Sara doesn’t get memory glass half full she remembers as a fan I believe she remembers I still wissh it weren’t the end. I loved chuck name me one non comedy show on nbc that stood the test as well as it did. I will own the complete series and always be sad we didn’t get more. Movie we would all love but will we get it. So much character development in seasoning five we have so Michael we could have

  19. Am I the only one who really enjoyed the finale, even though they Sarah didn’t get her memory back? I think it shows that the show has evolved into something more dramatic throughout the years, and that they don’t want to be like other TV shows where you can expect what’s going to happen at the end. Although I really would like to know what happened at the end, if Sarah gets her memory back or not, I still really enjoyed it. Also, if she remembered all these things during that short span of time, like the porn virus or the carving something on the wall, I’m feeling confident she got her memory back. A real tear-jerker. I loved it. First time ever for me to cry at the ending. I rated it “Hate it,” ’cause I hate it had to end so early. Doesn’t NBC cancel all their good shows? I hate you NBC. Chuck, you will be missed. I will not replace you with another TV show with a nerdy spy, not in my entire life, I’ll promise you that. Kudos, and thank you for all the great laughter (at Jeffster) and tears a long the way. It’s been a long journey, hasn’t it? Goodbye, Chuck. Wow, I really can’t stop typing. It’s like I can’t let go of Chuck. Okay, here it is. Goodbye Chuck.

    • I thought it was a great ending. They gave us plenty of clues that everything will be alright without hitting us over the head with it. It would been easy and lazy for them to just give Sarah her memory back. Whether the kiss was magical or not isn’t the point. I really felt that all would be good and I think that points to the strength of the writing on the show. I’m sorry the show is gone but think it went our very well.

  20. I found Jeffster’s ending to be the most unexpected and satisfying. All of the other characters felt rushed and incomplete.

  21. In 5 days i watched 3 last seasons of Chuck. I like this show more than any other ever. I am just really sad that it is ending like this. There is too much things that isn’t finished and few that are disappointing. I think that producers leave space for more seasons of chuck in some case. They can easyly make it happened with this ending. I just loved Chuck, and with whole my heart I am hoping that it will be continued.

  22. I don’t really understand why so many people are upset because they didn’t get a black or white ending. The show, whether you call it sci-fi, spy-fi or nerd-fi worked because it struck a chord with our imagination. The ending allows us to use our imaginations a little bit. It’s reasonable to imagine that Sara will eventually come around, and the kiss marked that beginning. I don’t need to see a flash forward scene of a happy family in their dream home to provide closure. I’m glad it went out by paying tribute to its roots and reminded us why we watched the show to begin with…

    That said, I’d be all for a Colonel Casey spinoff. ;)

    • I support this post 100%. This final episode encapsulated everything this series was, comedy, action, heart, nerdliciousness. I honestly cant think of a more fitting finale for a show that ive seen. If you have watched the past five seasons of Chuck, you know that all ended well for Chuck and Sarah, why do you insist on being clubbed over the head with the cookie cutter ending rather than the different heartfelt ending that left everyone with tears in their eyes and the knowledge that all would be well? Goodbye, Chuck and thank you for everything!

  23. I was glad the main characters all had an ending and that was satisfying but (being a romantic) I as hoping Sarah would remember CHUCK with that final kiss. I will really miss this show and hope all the actors will have a chance to work on more series but it still won’t be the same as having them on CHUCK.

  24. I will surely miss Chuck. I was a bit disappointed in the ending that Sarah didn’t regain her memory.

    With that said, I’m so happy that I NEVER have to watch that network again! I’m sick of the “cancel everything” policy NBC has followed over the past several years. So many shows I fell in love with only to have them snatched away without any kind of closure.

    Nothing But Chuck is now Nothing But Cancelled. Goodbye and good riddance to NBC!

  25. i liked the ending but they should have done something to let you know that sarah got her memories back. Now lets have a chuck movie

  26. I’d like some closure too. After all this years I think the characters and the fans deserved a better ending.
    We all watched the (pardon me for the romantic cliche) love between them grow and, at the very end, it’s gone?? WTF??

  27. I like the last two episodes ok I suppose except for the ending. I hated that. I can understand probably why they did it but I hate it anyway.

    I don’t care if them getting a truly happy ending would’ve been corny because after watching all 5 years I wanted corny.