Chuck Round Table: "Chuck Versus the Goodbye"
We have all had some time to digest what happend in the Chuck series finale last Friday, and we have also had the time to cry about the fact that Chuck will never air another new episode.
Now our super-sized panel is here to discuss the callbacks, the emotions, and that ambiguous ending in the final installment of TV Fanatic's Chuck Round Table.
Join Eric Hochberger, Kris Hekmi, Nick McHatton, Carla Day, Dan Forcella and special guest Jill Mader - whose Couchtime With Jill recently placed first in the Pop Culture and Entertainment category of the Best Canadian Weblog Awards - in the discussion and leave your own answers in the comments!
What was the funniest moment from the two hours?
Jill: General Beckman’s face during the entire Jeffster performance and bomb diffusing. Morgan and the Invisibility Cloak is a close second.
Eric: In an episode with so many serious moments, how could the funniest part not belong to Morgan and the Buy Morons? Since I'm sure everyone else will pick Jeffster's riveting performance, I'll have to give it to Morgan and his fun with the Harry Potter invisibility cloak. Fugitive jokes in 2012? Still not old.
Kris: I too would mention the invisibility cloak. I cracked up so much. Also Jeff's line of "we can find women off the remnants of a blooming onion" was the best.
Nick: I absolutely loved when Chuck took down Casey's helicopter with the desert eagle. It was nice to see Chuck do one last silly mistake before the series took its final bow.
Carla: You have all mentioned some of the funniest moments. Another I loved was seeing Casey in the "World's Greatest Dad" apron and then scrubbing the floor. Who would ever have imagined that as a possible and plausible scene after the pilot?!?
Dan: Morgan with the cloak was great, but I have to give some love to Captain Awesome. When he claimed that he and Ellie were "being wooed...by Midwesterners" I lost it. There's something about Ryan McPartlin's delivery that always cracks me up.
What was your favorite callback?
Jill: There were so many great ones, but my favorite for many reasons was when Sarah suggested Chuck stop the bomb with the Irene Demova virus. It was a fun callback to their first ever mission, and it showed that Sarah’s memory wasn’t entirely gone.
Eric: I know Subway only goes back a few seasons now, but having the franchise that saved the show buying the Buy More was amazing to me. I love how they shamelessly plugged their sponsor to the point of making it hilarious and a part of the finale. Way to go Chuck, and way to go Subway. You've secured your place in television history with forever changing product placement.
Kris: Please don't make me choose. It's like Sophie's Choice (except not as serious). I loved them all. They reminded me of seasons past when I didn't critique the episodes as much, so they're extra awesome.
Nick: The montage at the end. It reminded me of why I fell in love with this show in the first place. I may have shed some tears during it too.
Carla: I loved the way that they replicated shot-by-shot Bryce Larkin's action scene from the pilot when Sarah was escaping from the white room at D.A.R.P.A. In particular, I enjoyed watching her crash through the glass window to escape, well, and the wall bouncing action!
Dan: My favorite had to be Sarah in the Weinerlicious uniform. It doesn't get much better than that.
Which character was given the best ending? The worst?
Jill: I don’t know that any of the characters got a bad ending. Maybe Big Mike, but he’s never wanted anything more than working at the Buy More, and having a Subway move in is like winning the lottery to him. Even though Sarah didn’t easily get her memory back, everyone got some kind of happy ending. I think the best was our boy Chuck’s, because he managed to save the world and get the girl. He and Sarah are out of the spy business and together, just like they wanted.
Eric: So much of the ending was to your imagination, but I was quite happy to see Jeffster, Morgan and Casey get their dream job and women respectively. Very sweet. So I have to say worst goes to Chuck and Sarah. Sure it's left to our imagination, and I'm positive he'll land Sarah, but I hate the two steps backwards the two had to do. I wanted to see them with baby Charah in hand, not starting their whole relationship over and flipping the reset switch on the five years we all put in.
Kris: Best was probably Jeffster, unless it ends with Lester found in a German motel room having asphyxiated himself. Oooh! Look at me making my callbacks! Worst is Chuck and Sarah, and Sarah even worse than Chuck. They'll eventually be fine but not at this ending.
Nick: Ellie and Awesome were given the best ending. They finally were offered jobs (and pay) that suited their skill sets, and they get to continue their family in Chicago away from the potential danger the Bartowski name brings. Sarah wasn't given the best ending out of any of them (I have no doubts in my mind that she will regain her memories), but for me all of the characters were given decent sendoffs.
Carla: They were all given pretty good endings. In a way the best and the worst ending are the same for me. Chuck and Sarah. It sucks that Sarah lost her memory and the love that she had for Chuck. But, it was the best ending too because she picked him. They can now fall in love all over again.
Dan: I think the best goes to Jeffster. They had a fantastic final season arc, and by saving the day with their final performance before heading to Germany, they were certainly sent off in style. The worst for me was probably the Awesomes. It's great for the characters - like Nick said, it's wonderful to see them safe and getting what they deserve - but as an ending it was way too abrupt. Why are they moving now? It was kind of out of left field.
More touching, Chuck's first speech to Sarah about their story? The final one on the beach? Or Casey's Russian hug of Chuck?
Jill: The speech on the beach, but that hug was really damn close.
Eric: I don't think there was a scene that Zach Levi didn't manage to tug on every heart string of mine. I'm not sure who had more tears in their eyes, me or Chuck.
Kris: That beach scene gutted me. Someone sew me back up because I've come undone. :(
Nick: The beach scene, definitely. That was the one spot that I've wanted the show to go back to before it closed out. I was very happy to see it one last time.
Carla: The beach. I watched the finale twice and cried more than I'd like to admit both times I watched this scene. My eyes might just be getting misty just thinking about it...maybe...
Dan: As great as it was to see those two laughing it up on the beach, it was Chuck's first speech to Sarah, when Zach Levi absolutely murdered the emotions that my allergies started acting up.
What did you think of the series finale overall?
Jill: I loved it. I felt like all the characters were given their moments to shine, and they gave us enough closure without wrapping everything up with a pretty little bow. It was bittersweet, just like much of the series has been.
Eric: Again, I hate the fact this show loves doing the two steps backwards, one step forward for Charah. Bur since everyone got their happy ending and enough was left to my imagination, I'd declare it successful. It was just tough to say goodbye no matter how things ended. But I think the show did a great job of making so much left ambiguous, forcing you to use your imagination and think about the show even more. Great impact.
Kris: The series finale was wonderful, and I loved it. I'm one of those who just lapped up all the call-backs. I'm not ashamed to admit I'm a shipper and so those moments between Chuck and Sarah were great! I also liked everyone's endings and the direction their lives were heading towards. In my head, Chuck and Sarah will be just fine. Just a few more kissing sessions and a Nina Simone "Feeling Good" marathon and they'll be having a second honeymoon in Paris in no time.
Nick: It wasn't what I was expecting at all, but I have to say I really liked it. I don't need to know all the details of how everyone lives the rest of their lives. Fedak has said in many interviews he likes open ended series finales, and that's what I was expecting (just not in this way). This ending gives the fans a lot of room to imagine their own ending. Chuck has the intersect back in his head, he has to win over Sarah again, and they have the chance to go back to being spies - which is my favorite part of the show. Also, I have to admit, watching Chuck and Sarah in a will they/won't they situation again was really fun to watch.
Carla: It is one of my favorite series finales ever. I'm not sure that Sarah losing her memory would have been the direction I would have taken for the finale, but it worked. It was set-up and was Chuck-like. The callbacks were fun and the ending was precious.
Dan: Like I said in my review, through flashbacks Chuck's speeches, the finale hit every emotional trigger for me. If I had any issue with it, it was how slowly some things went, and how quickly others did. Between the second part of "Sarah" and the first part of "The Goodbye" it felt very repetitive. Then by the end it felt like everybody moved a million miles a second and was leaving town. Structurally it did mark a perfect score, but emotionally it sure did.
Give the final season a grade. Give the series a grade.
Jill: A for both. I was nervous about the first couple episodes of the season, but once I realized how Morgan with the Intersect had been setting up this final Sarah plotline, I thought it was really good storytelling.
Eric: Thanks to a great final two episodes, I'm giving the final season an A. There were definitely some weird moments this season like the passing around of the Intersect, but it at least gave Jeffster, Morgan and Casey some final directions. I just wasn't a huge fan of where it sent my leads. Overall, my favorite spy comedy will end with a B+. I am glad I watched all five seasons and would never regret recommending the series to a friend. Sure, there were some tweak seasons after the first two, but it all came back together in the end. Thank you cast and crew for a great five years of entertainment!
Kris: Final Season B. Series A. It defies logic...I haven't enjoyed seasons four and five in general relative to one and two. Three was okay. But I love the characters so much I can't give this show in general anything less than an A. Viva la Chuck!
Nick: Final Season: B. Series: A. Although I didn't feel the show was as strong in seasons four and five, compared to one, two, and 3.5 (who needs the Shaw Arc?). Chuck has had such a positive impact on my life it will always get an A from me. Without Chuck I wouldn't have met Kris or many other amazing people nor would I have this awesome job reviewing television. Five seasons and a movie?
Carla: The final season wasn't at all what I expected, but that was a good thing. It was action from beginning to end. Unlike some shows, it kept its integrity in style and storytelling until the end. It never slowed down to close out. Final Season: A. Series: A-.
Dan: I'm right with Carla on this. The final season, whether because they knew it was the last one, or because it was only 13 episodes, had a lot of purpose. The directive it took with all of its characters was a pleasant improvement from season four, so I give the final season an A. The series overall did have times when it slacked a bit, so overall Chuck gets an A- from me.
Dan Forcella is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.