Chuck Season Finale Review: I Know Kung Fu, Too

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Before finding out that Chuck was renewed for a fifth and final season, I was worried that "Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger" would live up to its title and leave us all upset when the show was canceled by NBC. Fortunately, we will get 13 more episodes to conclude the series in a way seen fit by creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz.

So when "The Cliffhanger" ended the way it did, with Team Bartowski all fired by the CIA, the group as freelance spies, Chuck being told all that has happened to him was an elaborate plan, and Morgan downloading a new intersect, I thanked my lucky stars that it didn't all end like this.

Chuck Wedding Photo

As a season-ending episode it was fantastic, but a series finale? It would have been disappointing. Never to see Morgan show off his kung fu skills, which he so perfectly uttered to the crew in Chuck season two finale fashion, would have been brutal. Now we will get to see our favorite spies go rogue, and they will do it with the help of an intersected Morgan Grimes.

On the other hand, if it all had ended around 8:50 p.m., I probably would have wished it had been axed. Immediately following Chuck and Sarah's wedding, everything was wrapped up quite nicely, and I was satisfied with it ending right then and there. Sarah was saved from the Norseman, the two love birds got their happy day, and the Volkoff story also came to a nice conclusion.

One of my main concerns was that they weren't going to be able finish the Volkoff/Hartley business before the end of the season, but stick a pair of sunglasses on him, and it makes things a lot easier. Having Clyde Decker* swoop in and take Volkoff away did two things: It sped up the "Chuck has to save the man his father ruined" story, and it also created a nice obstacle for Chuck and the gang to overcome in order to save Sarah before the end of the episode.

*Decker was played perfectly by Richard Burgi, who is a household name in the Forcella household because I was a big fan of his roles on past favorites Las Vegas, Harper's Island, Point Pleasant, and his infamous time as Kevin Carroll - aka Alan York - on the first season of 24.

And the fact that Chuck was trying with all his might to save the woman he loved was one of many reasons why "The Cliffhanger" was just a great episode in and of itself. It covered all of the bases of the Chuck Triple Threat, and for the first time managed to make me believe in Vivian Volkoff as a character.

The scene in which she is struggling to figure out who she is and what she should do next as Chuck and Hartley plead with her was very well done. Lauren Cohan played scared - but in desperate need to please her father, and yet also with a new found love of power - extremely well. I'm glad Vivian made the right decision and gave Chuck those 50 or so Russian spies, so she could leave this show on a high note.

That moment when all the Russians came down from the sky was momentous, but it was not as nerve racking as watching Sarah fight for her life in an ice cold tub at the emergency room. The honor for best action of the night was once again held for John Casey after he took care of Decker's men with the old table flip move.  

Speaking of the Colonel: how funny was that Reagan bit?  Here's a question. Who loves Reagan more?  John Casey or Jack Donaghy of 30 Rock? Tough one. While they didn't try too hard to land a bunch of jokes, they didn't have to because Timothy Dalton playing an innocent scientist just episodes after seeing him as the ruthless Alexi Volkoff was comedy gold. Add a bunch of great Morganisms, like the fact that he likes to improvise his spy moves and getting choked up during Chuck and Sarah's ceremony, and it was a very funny episode.

Those flashbacks? Come on! That's why I kind of wish they ended it right there. How are they going to be able to top that from a chills stand point? It must have been much colder in my apartment than normal because the hairs on my arm started to stand up during those Chuck and Sarah moments. It was a very sweet wedding, but the memories of a simpler time, and a not so simpler time, were what made it that much better.

Moving Forward
So where does the final 13 episodes go? It goes wherever Morgan Guillermo Grimes says it to go, thank you very much. Now that he is the intersect, he will lead the way. Are we all on board with the fact that Chuck should have no intersect in the final season? It will just be the perfect way to finish his evolution as a spy. Like Casey said, he's the second best spy that the Colonel ever worked with. He is a great spy now, so he doesn't need the help of the intersect. Morgan still does.

What did you all think of "Chuck Versus The Cliffhanger?" Did it satisfy you as a season finale? Would you have been upset if it was the series finale? And what do you expect to see next season?


Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (106 Votes)

Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


To all those people who think it would be good for Morgan to have the intersect, then you've got no clue... If your so worried interested In laughing at stupidity and clumsyness like my 3 year old siblings then go back to preschool.


Okay, I didnt like Morgan becoming the intersect either. It's just the writers listening to the stupid fans. Regardless, we all know that it will be switched back to Chuck. He's the show's namesake after-all.


First of all, I'm a big fan of chuck, and I think all fans out there would agree for the wedding to be at least an episode by itself (if not two). It'll be interesting to see Orion there (Yes, I have faith that he's still alive! The Intersect designer must be the first version of intersect!) and some of their enemies trying to ruin the wedding where team Bartowski (including Ellie and Awesome) came to the rescue. The wedding in this season finale was somehow a bit messy and "rushy". With Sarah not wearing her chosen dress, and Morgan being a priest?? And Jeffster not trying to entertain the guests (or hitting on them)?? Surely this can't be the real wedding! Hate the idea of them being rogue spies and Morgan to be the intersect. What's the point?
Beckman must've sent the glasses for a reason (not just for them to play around with it), so somehow I think she still expects Chuck to work for the CIA (secretly). But anyhow, I think I'll be happy if all of this (starting from the wedding) would be just Sarah's hallucinations (soap-opera style), and re-do the wedding properly, with actions of course. The wedding after all is the climax of the whole Chuck-Sarah storyline. OR Sarah wakes up with an amnesia, wohoo that'll be a whirlwind. I agree with Chuck not having the intersect next season, I think it's about time for him to be a human-spy, even if it means he's not as good as he was. Beckman did admit he's still an asset with or without the Intersect in season 2/3?


There was an interview for one of the earliest episodes where ZL and producers were joking around about how they could kill off the lead , with Chuck dead and the show now called Morgan ! I think that maybe this is a bit of an in-joke for people who might have seen that and remember it ...


I loved Casey's line: "You're Chuck Bartowski, the second best spy I've ever worked with. Now...let's go save the first." Awww, that's as close to a profession of familial love that Casey gets. And, to Sarah, too! For Chuck's final season, I want to see: 1) Morgan know kung fu.
2) The final shot be the Bartowski-Awesome clan all moving into houses on the same cul-de-sac, w/Casey getting a corner property for security purposes, and having a Neighborhood watch sign next to his mailbox.


@Jim Robson - Yes, those glasses were for chuck...but they were not "Made" only for chuck and anyone can sure as hell put them on... and if they don't have what it takes to become an intersect they either go insane or die... where did you even get the idea that those glasses were made only for chuck? grimes being able to handle the intersect isn't very unrealistic given his and chuck's similarities in thinking and capacity to retain information and the fact that they've been doing almost everything the other does for a very long time, then i'd have to say that morgan's brain has had quite a workout almost to the level if not equaling chuck's.


>The honor for best action of the night was once again held for John Casey after he took care of Decker's men with the old table flip move. < THIS!


I love Chuck, the ending not so much... so that means anyone can pop on those glasses? well then why not have Chuck put them on .. hell have them all put them on and be an intersect team.. Naw.. that won't work, those glasses are "Made" for Chuck.
"the intersect could be used on others as we saw with Stacy Keebler, but he Glasses are Chuck's" I think they will make it that the intersect will not "stick" in Morgan, it was "made for Chuck" so I think they may get 2 or 3 episodes with Morgan but he will slowly "lose the intersect" since it was not made for him. The episode that they caught Alexi and the Baby was born was the highpoint of the season in my opinion, the series could of ended there. Now that they are married it will be like "Get Smart" :) But whatever, I am Happy Fringe and Chuck are back!


I hope the first words of season 5 is i know kung fuu to morgan


I am now dying to see the next season, and I am sad it is going to be over. Every one of the characters in the show was integral, even the ones that were not in every episode. I love Chuck's and Morgan's dynamics. And Jeffster is the best. They are just so quirky, and I don't think Chuck would be the same without any of them.

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Chuck Season 4 Episode 24 Quotes

That guy might think he's a hard ass, but I'm the intersect.


We're gonna get married and be together, forever. I love you.