Chuck Round Table: "Chuck Versus the Goodbye"

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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 Midwesterners" I lost it.  There's something about Ryan McPartlin's delivery that always cracks me up.

Chuck RT New!

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.

Ready to Live Happily Ever After

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.


Is no one realistic enough to see that although she did let Chuck to kiss he it still means very little....he memories are GONE. Sure, she might get them back but what if she doesn't? Chuck has to win the girl again? Come on. That ending ruined 5 years of character growth and spoiled what could have been a perfect ending. For TPTB to say (after the fact) that Chuck and Sarah are together is a crock. Why should it be left up to our imagination to see that. I loved this show but this open ended finale ruined it for me. I can't even watch it anymore.


The finale was great TV because it really pushed boundaries and took the audience on a true emotional roller coaster. Chuck was always great for that. Make no mistake though, Chuck's finale is a tragedy. I'm honestly shocked that anyone would think otherwise. Also, anyone who disagrees that Chuck got the worst ending needs a reality check, because they clearly don't understand how truly devastating it is for your loved ones to forget you. Ask anyone whose spouse suffers from Alzheimer's. A truly awful thing to do to your protagonist. The hints of hope that Sarah's willing to start over don't make up for the monumental loss of 5 years of history. Trying again will be hard and brutal on them both. Chuck can't help but have expectations given their long history, despite what he claimed on the beach, and if we believe that Sarah really doesn't feel it, then she can't help but fail to live up to those expectations. What a recipe for disaster. We didn't even get any real hints that Sarah was being charmed by Chuck all over again during this trip down memory lane. At least that would have been something. She didn't cover a chuckle after his bumbling warning shot that took down Casey's helicopter, she didn't seem enticed by his dancing, or crack a even a hint of smile at any of Chuck's babbling attempts at levity. She didn't find his unwillingness to kill commendable, even after their talk about that. We just got a lot of Sarah looking uncomfortable at Chuck's pushing, and her basically considering him incompetent and a liability. She barely even reciprocated the final kiss, the pivotal moment that's supposed to convey hope to the audience. Perhaps they will still persevere in the end, but it'll be a long, tough road, and Chuck has already suffered so much. Sarah too, but at least she has the small mercy of not being able to remember what she's lost, even if she's seen evidence of it.


liz howeth - GREAT puteircs! sarah, you totally have a little basketball. you look awesome! on the 3rd photo down, for a split second i thought she had bleach stains on her dress! ha. as always, awesome job shan


You almost knew the ending was going to be slightly bittersweet, though the fairytale ending would have beed great! One thing thougyh, since Chuck/Carmichael Industries owned the Buy More does this mean Chuck has enough money for the house? Couldn't Beckman give back the money the rogue CIA agents seized? Maybe we can lobby for a 2 hr Chuck TV movie to get the ending we all wanted.


(sigh) I've been avoiding this round table because this is my final goodbye to the show I loved so much. 1. It's definitely a tie between "unleash the perverts" and the invisibility cloak. 2. My favourite callback was Sarah in the Buy More wearing exactly what she wore the first time she met Chuck. Because that was the moment in the pilot that sold me on the whole series. "Vicky Vale, Vic-Vicky Vale, vickity vickity..." 3. All the endings were perfect, but the idea of Jeffster being German pop stars gives me special joy. 4. The first speech in the house broke my heart and made me cry. The one on the beach brought tears of love. 5. I LOVED the series finale. I like that the writers think highly enough of their audience to allow them to think and imagine the ending. And really - who doesn't want a romance like Sarah and Chuck's? A man that will wait through a second lifetime for the woman he loves? 6. Final season gets an A-. Series gets an A+.


Great round table! What was the funniest moment from the two hours?
Couldn't stop laughing at Morgan's cloak antics also Casey's reaction to Chuck shooting down the helicopter. More touching, Chuck's first speech to Sarah about their story? The final one on the beach? Or Casey's Russian hug of Chuck?
I'm with Eric on this one but I really couldn't control the tears during Chuck's first speech. Best ending?Worst?
Was really happy for Morgan getting the girl even though it felt rushed. Still sad for Chuck and Sarah! Give the series a grade.
Despite the slow moments and feeling like it lost its way occasionally, it's still one of my favourite shows. I have to give it a very biased A. So glad Chuck was given the opportunity to have a proper send off. Thank you for the past 5 years cast and crew!


Final season: B; Series: A. The broad outlines for the final season were fine, but the writing, particularly of the Quinn arc, was disappointing. As I mentioned in my comment in the Review column, this ending is VERY BITTERSWEET. What I found most sad was a family so into each other splitting up with the three Awesomes moving away to Illinois. Sure, this happens in real life, but still very sad.


I kinda agree with Mike, I wanted to see the "normal" Sarah too, but in the end, I think this finale is great, because it shows that these two are meant to be together, no matter what happens. I admit I cried a little. Not as much as for Six Feet Under's ending, but almost. So I'm gonna give the final season a B+. And the series a big A. I only started to watch the show a year ago, and it instantly became one of my favourite series ever. I never thought a series could mix love, action and humour without being ridiculous or stupid, but Chuck did it. Thanks for this amazing show!


I've got to agree with Chuckie. The finale spent too much time assaulting the Chuck/Sarah relationship and not enough time mending it. And not getting to see the Sarah we've all come to know was a real downer. For me, this series ended after season 4, with the Sarah we know, her love for Chuck and her memories all still intact!


Grade: D-

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