Monday, April 27, 2009

Chuck: "Chuck vs. the Ring": Greatest American hero?

Extremely long spoilers for the "Chuck" season finale coming up just as soon as I get my backup hosiery from the car...
"Sometimes, I think you have super powers." -Ellie
"Yeah, I wish." -Chuck

"If, in two weeks, that is the last episode of the show to ever air, it will be one of the least satisfying finales of all time." -Josh Schwartz, 4/20/09
Far be it from me to disagree with the almighty Schwartz, but I have a hard time attaching the phrase "least satisfying" in any context related to "Chuck vs. the Ring."

I will be beyond frustrated if NBC doesn't renew the show a week from today, and I sure as hell want to see how (of if) Schwartz and Chris Fedak (who had a lot to say about the finale and the season in our interview) can maintain the series' brilliant comic tone now that Chuck appears to have superpowers. But if this should unfortunately be the last episode of "Chuck" ever -- and I hope enough people did their part, followed Zachary Levi's lead and went to Subway tonight -- then dammit, they went down swinging with the best episode of "Chuck" to date, even better than last week's stupendous "Chuck vs. the Colonel."

I'll get to Chuck's "Matrix" moment (and has it really been 10 years since Keanu Reeves said "I know kung fu"?) in a bit, but I feel like any discussion of "Chuck vs. the Ring" has to start -- has to -- with "Mr. Roboto."

When I wrote my open letter to NBC, I focused more on the business reasons than creative ones, because arguing purely for quality rarely has an effect. ("Friday Night Lights," great show though it is, simply wouldn't be on the air without the DirecTV deal subsidizing much of its cost.) So now, as I write my last "Chuck" review of the season -- and, hopefully, not ever -- I want discuss the reasons why I love "Chuck," and the "Mr. Roboto" sequence neatly encapsulates all of them.

There are deeper shows on TV, more complex shows, shows with tighter plot logic, possibly even better comedies -- though I find that last statement hard to believe after an episode that featured a line like "Why are you letting Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian wreck your wedding?" -- but none features as much pure, concentrated fun as "Chuck." It's overflowing with joy, as if Schwartz, Fedak and company (in this case, Allison Adler, who co-wrote the finale with Fedak) repeatedly ask themselves, "What else can we put into this scene that's awesome?"

The "Mr. Roboto"/wedding shoot-out sequence features so much concentrated awesome that it might be illegal in certain states, summing up "Chuck" while at the same time exceeding anything the show has done before. I know I just did a list of all the wonderful things in last week's episode, but these are all wonderful things in the same scene, so please indulge me. It combined:

• The macabre '80s prog rock of Jeffster! (and the horrified gasp of the wedding audience as they get their first look at the duo makes me laugh every time), and Jeff invoking Marty McFly as he tells the wedding orchestra to "watch me for the changes";

• Chevy Chase at his absolute smuggest, telling Chuck, "Just think: that terrible pun is the last thing you'll ever hear";

• Sarah trying to find a weapon in the stack of wedding gifts (And the only conceivable way the scene could have been any better was if Sarah couldn't find the knives and had to kick ass with some other stereotypical wedding present. If Casey could fight with a radiator last week, surely Sarah could have found a creative use for a juicer or a salad shooter.);

• Morgan telling Awesome "Listen to me: if you hit me, know that it only teaches me to hit," followed by Awesome's complete change of mood upon realizing he can help Chuck with a spy mission;

• More Jeffster!, including Jeff singing into a vocoder and Lester dancing the robot;

• Casey and his commando team descending through the skylight and shooting up the entire reception hall, and Casey delivering one more cheesey kiss-off line;

• Chuck's most girlish screams yet as he watched the ice sculpture shatter;

• Scott Bakula punching Chevy's lights out (southpaw!) and relishing the moment;

• Bryce entering the reception hall as the soundtrack shifts to an orchestral version of "Mr. Roboto" that, like the use of Jeffster!/Toto's "Africa" over Morgan and Anna's kiss in "Chuck vs. the Best Friend," stripped away the song's corny reputation and made it sound really cool;

• Jeffster! playing so loudly that none of the wedding guests could hear the shootout;

• Ellie (the only truly normal character left) doing yoga to avoid dealing with what's being done to her wedding; and...

• Jeffster! setting off Roman candles inside the church.

Frankly, it's all I can do just to keep from watching the sequence for the 50th time so I can finish writing the review. DVR technology may cease to exist, and I'm still going to have this episode saved at Keep Until I Delete status just so I can watch it whenever I'm having a bad day.

But here's the thing: if "Chuck" was just a collection of in-jokes and '80s references, then... well, then it'd be "Family Guy." And while "Family Guy" has its place, what makes "Chuck" so special -- what suddenly has this storm of bloggers and Tweeters and sandwich aficionados doing all they can to help it get a third season -- is that there's a fundamental warmth and humanity underneath the jokes about "Back to the Future" and "Tron," and then cool action and high stakes piled on top. It's a cast of appealing characters played by very good actors, and so the laughs feel more satisfying, the action cooler, then if it were all just a big joke.

When Chuck thanks Casey for "saving my life once a week," it's a hilarious meta gag, but works even better because we just saw the two of them strut side-by-side, like partners, through the Buy More to tender their resignations to "fuh-laming heterosexual" Millbarge. Chuck's terror during the wedding reception shootout is funnier because we know he's not just scared for his life, but upset about his spy life ruining his sister's wedding. Casey and his team planning Ellie's do-over wedding with military precision ("No, no! That clashes with the bunting!") works not just because they're such obvious macho men, but because of the amount of time the show has devoted to showing how vigorously Casey attacks any assignment.

Similarly, "Chuck" gets a pass from me on a lot of things that drive me nuts when other shows do it, partly because the show and its characters are so likable, but also because the execution in and around those things tends to be so good. Most series drive me nuts with how they drag out the Will They Or Won't They? sexual tension between the two leads. But the chemistry between Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski is so palpable that these big teases the last two episodes (the condom IOU coitus interruptus last week, Papa Bartowski interrupting Sarah's "I want..." with news of Bryce's abduction) somehow only make me happier. Like, if the actors are this good when they aren't getting together, and the timing on the near-misses so elegant, that I have no doubt their eventual coupling(*) will be even better.(**)

(*) From here until the end of the review, I'm going to avoid the obvious "assuming there's a third season" disclaimer, both because it's understood and I don't want to face the idea of a world without "Chuck" right this moment.

(**) And for the people who think that resolved sexual tension equals creative death, I have four words: Jim. Pam. "The Office."

Similarly, where I might be deeply concerned with another show that ended on this kind of cliffhanger, Schwartz and Fedak have enough credit banked that I'm going to assume they know what they're doing in fundamentally altering the main character in this way.

As Fedak talks about in our interview, Chuck the kung fu fighter is the exact thing that he and Schwartz always insisted they weren't going to do. But then Schwartz suggested it in a brainstorming, and they realized it had real possibilities. As I point out to Fedak, a whole lot of the show's appeal is in seeing a relatively average guy, who doesn't know how to fight or hold a gun or any of the other things that are second nature to Casey and Sarah, still find a way to save the day through his knowledge of "Call of Duty" or Eastern European porno computer viruses. If Chuck has that, and the Orion wrist-cuff, and all the powers contained inside this new Intersect, well... doesn't that take all that fun stuff away? When I asked Fedak about this, he said:
No. It doesn't take away. I'm going to answer your question rather cryptically. I'll say that the show is not going to lose its sense of humor.
Note that he also ducks my question about "The Greatest American Hero," where the main character had all these super powers that were incredibly unreliable. Sure, Chuck may be all Neo-meets-Bruce-Lee-meets-Bruce-Leroy in that one moment where he's facing off against Casey's traitorous team member and the other guys from the Ring, but who's to say it'll work that well every time?

I'm disappointed that we may wind up skipping over the whole "Chuck learns how to be a spy" idea, which there was a lot of potential mileage in, but I also can see them getting as much out of this idea, while still letting "Chuck" be "Chuck." As Fedak also promisingly notes:
He's not suddenly going to become Jack Bauer.
And thank God for that. But, frankly, if there isn't good news from NBC next Monday, I may have to go all "TELL ME WHERE MY SHOW IS!!!!" on somebody. Because this show is too smart, too entertaining, too damned happy to say goodbye to.

Some other thoughts:

• Rest in peace, Bryce Larkin. Matthew Bomer's USA series got picked up, so he likely wouldn't be available much for a season three. Beyond that, though, it felt like time for Bryce to leave the picture. Whatever complications are created by Chuck becoming the Intersect 3.0, Sarah has committed to Chuck as her guy, and Chuck now appears to have all of Bryce's moves and then some. And after being written as a more abrasive rival to Chuck back in "Chuck vs. the Break-Up," Bryce gets every inch the hero's death, selflessly offering himself up to Roark to save Ellie and the other wedding guests, and later revealing that he knew Chuck's dad was Orion and specifically destroyed Chuck's college career (keeping him from being recruited into the CIA) at Orion's request.

• Rest in peace, Ted Roark. I doubt Chevy Chase was going to be in this long-term, but they made brilliant use of him in these last two episodes (particularly in his recreation of Cyrus' speech from "The Warriors", but also here with the disgust in his voice as he told one of his agents to stop chewing gum) before killing him off -- and more or less killing off Fulcrum in the process. Now we have a much larger organization -- "the Ring" -- to contend with, which Fedak says "has a very specific goal" that's different from whatever it was that Fulcrum was doing.

• Rest in peace, Buy More? Fedak isn't willing to let go of it yet, but now Morgan, Chuck and Casey have all quit, Tony Hale's in a pilot (Fox's "Cop House") that's probable for a pick-up, and Chuck doesn't appear to need as much protecting as he used to. I'm sure the show will find a way to justify the continued use of it -- the CIA did build a multi-million dollar base underneath the place, after all -- and I certainly wouldn't want to lose Jeff and Lester, but it does feel like time.

• Even by Josh Schwartz/Alex Patsavas show standards, the music in the finale was incredible, so much so that I want to point all the tunes out. "Mr. Roboto" you know, and they played The Cure's "Friday, I'm In Love" at the start of the reception in the apartment building courtyard. The others: "Now We Can See" by The Thermals (Chuck and Casey stride through the Buy More on their way to quitting), "Looking at the Sun" by Gramcery Arms (Chuck getting ready for the wedding, and then Chuck walking away from Sarah), "Christmas TV" by Slow Club (the montage of the beach wedding and Roark's death), and "3 Rounds and a Sound" by Blind Pilot (Chuck and Sarah dance at the reception). Most of this review has been written with those songs (and the rest of the latest Thermals album) on heavy iPod rotation.

• And speaking of music, composer Tim Jones was also on the top of his game, not only with the orchestral "Mr. Roboto," but with the superhero movie-style music playing throughout the final act, which nicely set up the moment when Chuck discovered his powers.

• Also doing some of their best work of the series: director Robert Duncan McNeill, keeping a tight handle on the comedy and the action and even the quieter moments like Chuck apologizing to Ellie; visual effects chief Dan Curry, who made the new Intersect room look several million times cooler than the one from the pilot; stunt co-ordinator Merritt Yohnka, who made Zachary Levi look plausibly like a martial arts master despite no formal training; and editor Matt Barber, who helped cut it all together so that everybody else's work (particularly the fight stuff) looked that much better.

• Even outside of the "saving my life at least once a week" line, Adam Baldwin made Chuck and Casey's apparent farewell scene sing with the look of confusion and rage on his face when Chuck finally forced a hug on him.

• It doesn't look like we'll be seeing Orion again anytime soon. Scott Bakula did a nice job of shifting back into the crazy man pose -- which turns out to not be that much of a pose -- upon Stephen realizing that the danger to his son and himself is far from over.

• Do they teach female agents how to properly rip up a bridesmaid's dress to optimize it for combat? Because Sarah made a pretty clean break with the hem, didn't she? It reminded me a little of the custom ballgown Carey Lowell had as the Bond Girl in "Licence to Kill," though on that one the skirt was designed to detach.

• Seriously, go watch that "Last Dragon" clip, particularly from about the 5 minute mark, and compare it to right before Chuck decides to activate the Intersect. Something tells me Fedak and/or Adler and/or the entire "Chuck" staff recently had a viewing of it. Yet another reason to cheer for a third season: because at this rate of the show's plundering of '80s movies that were on HBO every five minutes, you know the "Just One of the Guys" pastiche is inevitable.

Okay, so that's "Chuck vs. the Ring," more or less.

Right now, I'm not sure what to think about the show's future. I'm impressed by the passion and the thoughtfulness of the Save Chuck campaigners, and I've let myself be sucked into it, in a way I didn't think I could anymore.

This is my 13th season as a professional TV critic. The very first pilot I ever watched on the job was CBS' "EZ Streets." It blew me away. It was essentially canceled after two episodes aired. I learned an early, painful lesson: this job will break your heart if you let it. I gave in and got hurt a few more times in those early years, but by the time "Freaks and Geeks" rolled around, I had trained myself to spot the heartbreakers early, and to create enough professional distance so that, when the inevitable cancellation came, I could shrug and say, "Well, I'm glad I got to see as much of it as I did."

With "Chuck," though, I'm having a hard time doing that. Even in this splintered TV universe, even in that suicidal timeslot, it just doesn't make sense to me that "Chuck" hasn't done better than it has, and that it's future should be so precarious at this point. "Chuck" should be a hit. Maybe it could still be a hit. But in today's narrowcasting landscape, at Ben Silverman's NBC (where product integration seems at least as important as ratings), maybe that doesn't matter. It was a good show in its first season. It's become quite a bit more than that this year. And these last few episodes have taken the series into new creative stratosphere.

Distance be damned, I'm not ready to say goodbye to "Chuck" yet. I wrote the open letter. I took my family to Subway tonight. I'm going to keep a good thought between now and next Monday. And if I hear anything concrete before then, I'll let you know. And until then, I imagine I'm going to be watching the "Mr. Roboto" scene a lot.

So, go read the Fedak interview, and then let me know: what did everybody else think?

190 comments:

Anonymous said...

Awesome!

fgmerchant said...

I second that Awesome!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I thought the wedding guests couldn't hear the shootout because of silencers?

Anonymous said...

That was AWESOME! I loved it! Way to go Chuck -- the new intersect is going to make season three epic!

Steve B said...

That was an hour of pure glee.

Anonymous said...

One problem with a great great episode- they have a rendition of "Mr. Roboto," and they have Tony Hale as a member of the cast. How on earth could they NOT cash in on that opportunity?!

Michael said...

The best part about Jeffster is that even though it is a comedic gimmick they work it so perfectly that in both of the scenes we've seen them (Toto/Africa ad tonight) the song's humor sort of fades away and the song turned out to be the perfect choice to create the emotions of the scene .

Just perfect execution. Perfect.

Mike said...

Alan:

I'm a mess right now. I will say that I wouldn't have given Chuck a second thought without your praise, and for that I thank you. I sure hope we get a third season. And if we don't, we'll always have that finale.

Mike Mac said...

Alan, you have perfectly captured the essence of the show. There is not a more happy, fun, entertaining, escapist 40 minutes of television on any channel. I would watch Adam Baldwin, Zachary Levi, and Yvonne Strahovski in any iteration of Chuck.

The potential for growth is endless with a new spin on the intersect and "the Ring". I'm cautiously optimistic for another round. Now I will go tear apart my living room.

And thanks, as always, for a great review.

Dave said...

What a great episode. What a great show. If this is the last we see of it, you all can consider my living room burned to the ground.

Now... to line the walls with asbestos!

Linda said...

I am currently fulfilling a professional obligation and haven't seen it yet, but seriously? Blind Pilot and the Thermals after Bon Iver last week? I swear, they're getting all their music from my best friend's iPod.

Alyson said...

Alan, you swore it would be epic and it did not disappoint. I lost track of how many times I said "OMG!" followed by "AWESOME!" or a variant thereof, tonight. I will greatly miss checking in on Mondays over the summer, but we'll all meet back here in the fall, hopefully in a better timeslot.

Cheers to Josh, Chris, Zach, Adam, Yvonne and the rest of the cast on a job well done.

Anonymous said...

Great episode!! Great interview, too.

I have to let it sink in more before commenting, but a quick question about Chuck and Sarah: wouldn't they have hooked up the night before, after the rehearsal dinner?

Anonymous said...

I'm tearing up while reading your review. You captured how I feel about Chuck perfectly, and I've had my share of TV breakups and should also know better. I drug my family to Subway for dinner, and we all watched Chuck turn into my favorite movie here of all time...Neo. This show better not end.

Chris Littmann said...

Alan, you're dead on in describing why I love this show so much. It's just FUN.

And I commend everyone who has done their part to save Chuck (Tweeting/Writing Letters/Going to Subway). Good for you, for stepping up for good television!

If I'm picking a favorite moment from this one ... I mean, how do you even top the Jeffster soundtracked shootout sequence? If that wasn't the best part, I'll of course take the whole final intersect scene.

Here's hoping we've got great news within the next week.

Catherine said...

Two words: Chuck me!

Anonymous said...

Chuck ME.

Wow, that was great. I know Schwartz said we'd torch our living room furniture if this wasn't renewed (and I would!) but this was a really satisfying SEASON finale. I loved it -- Chuck chose the spy life, Sarah chose Chuck, Casey chose his people ... it was great. Loved how Casey came back and kicked massive butt because Chuck needed him. Bromance.

But who sat there wondering who would die?? When it came down to Casey, Sarah and Chuck I thought one of them would be shot and that would be the cliffhanger. (That's what I thought was going to happen when the Marine killed everyone, then spared Casey.) I'm glad that wasn't the cliffhanger. I think Chuck won't have complete command of his skills. I think we'll see Casey and Sarah helping to train him to match what's in his brain with what his body can do, turning him into Charles Carmichael, super spy!

So who thinks the General is corrupt? That's lingering in the back of my mind.

erin said...

I squealed when Chuck pulled out his kung fu moves. It wasn't pretty.

I hope Ben Silverman isn't short-sighted on this like execs are with so many other great (and now long gone) tv series. It's a wonderful addition to the NBC roster, and they shouldn't let it go.

Just--wonderful. Jeffster! The little Indian lesbian screaming Mr. Roboto at the end just made me howl. The whole thing was just fantastic.

Pamela Jaye said...

we watched the episode live, we read the blog to each other.
I think I still need time to absorb, but, what *is* that thing Orion had on his arm?

Baylink will be along to say something that actually makes sense, soon

MikeS said...

Ohhhh, Chuck me...

I can't say that I saw THAT one coming, but I can't wait to see more.

Seeya all this fall, for Season 3.

Texany said...

Chuck: "I know kung fu."

Perfect!

Joyeful said...

Alan, perfect review as usual. I have nothing to add. Chuck me...that episode was amazing!! I can't even begin to describe how much I enjoyed it.

Quote: Schwartz and Fedak have enough credit banked that I'm going to assume they know what they're doing in fundamentally altering the main character in this way. I hear that!

If Chuck gets canceled, I may never watch television again.

Pamela Jaye said...

so, who won the word count - you or Dan?

Anonymous said...

Wow. . . what an end to the season (and a start to Season 3). Amazing job with your reviews and support!

And, thanks for planting the horrifying and/or amazing possibilities of _Just One of the Guys_ in my head. The actress from that is still around, maybe she can pop up next season.

Jay said...

I want a "Chuck Me" t-shirt. Badly.

Should we take the commercial for Ellie and Awesome's wedding album, coupled with a pitch for Jeffster t-shirts, as a positive sign?

Or is this something NBC does for all its shows?

Ian S. Frazier said...

DIZZYINGLY awesome.

And my tasty sub only improved the viewing experience. :-D

I disagree with Fedak that this was a bad note to end on, though--if the show is indeed cancelled, I can't imagine a better way to go out than this.

Baylink said...

Wow.

I think I'm just stickin' with "Wow."

No, what the hell...

I gotta say that if they cancel it, it won't be *my own* living room I burn down. I'm personally all about the "aw...", so I actually almost liked "vs the Colonel" better, but as a 2-parter, it was every bit as good as the "real" 2-part finale to Enterprise -- y'know, the one Manny wrote; not Berman's and Braga's piece of crap.

They have left themselves room to "do it right", even as hard as they've made it to do it right *well* -- and like you, Alan, I hope they put a little more effort into avoiding the deus ex they're prone to *in the drama*... but I'll be right there waiting for them.

Only thing is: he's going to be working with Sarah again, which means they now have to generate a *plausible* reason for Sarah to be a bit less hard ass about not being in a relationship with him... since he's back to being her asset, even though he can protect himself a bit, now.

I sure hope they don't screw that up.

J said...

That was fun. Who hasn't longed to watch Chevy Chase get shot?

If they renew it, I will watch because I love the characters... and to see if I can keep loving them with the supersylarintersect in play. If they don't renew it, I will assume that Chuck and Sarah are safe and happy off some place where the drinks come with little umbrellas.

I've actually been reading you since EZ Streets, and I think I still have those VHS tapes (though I no longer have a VHS player).

And the previous Thermals record (The Body, The Blood, The Machine) was their best. (Though they'll never write a better song than "No Culture Icons," because who could?)

Haya said...

It was awesome! A perfect SEASON finale.
This blog post sums up all my thoughts exactly.
But I do get the creeping suspicion that NBC is only taking it's time to renew the show to build up hype and get some more viewers. It's not like chuck's ratings are so bad, less than half a million below Heroes. The difference between Chuck and Heroes is the critical acclaim. I think chuck has a VERY good shot at a third season.

T said...

Best
Show
This
Season.

"to be continued"???????

KHAAAAAN!
Chuck...me!

Baylink said...

And one of the many Anons made a point I meant to, but forgot:

the symmetry was nice (and I'm sure Chris and Allison would enjoy knowing that we got it):

Sarah chose Chuck over being a spy.

Chuck knew it.

And because of that, Chuck chose being a spy over his "other" life.

He *could* have *just* destroyed it, you know.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I thought the wedding guests couldn't hear the shootout because of silencers?

Except that lots of stuff was breaking, too. A skylight was smashed, tables were being toppled, stuff was being broken, and all the crowd could hear was Jeffster!

--Deb said...

Exactly. You said it exactly. I wouldn't change a thing. I don't know why more people don't realize what an amazing show this is, and tonight's episode? Honestly, how DID they come up with a better one than last week's??

And thank YOU for doing what you can to save it. I've been so happy every time I've opened my morning paper and seen you writing about Chuck in the Today section, and even happier with your blogging about it. I have to, but, um, you have a lot more credibility than I!

Oh, and thanks for the music list--every song was perfect, and now I don't have to go trolling the internet trying to hunt down all those titles--I can go directly to amazon.com and get them and start listening! So thanks for that, too.

My fingers are crossed until the 5th....

alex said...

utterly, utterly incredible. i'm with you alan -- i stood idly by when they cancelled veronica mars. this would actually be worse.

chuck is amazing.

55 said...

3 Moments where I almost lost it:

-Morgan stepping up to the mic. I felt it coming, and I still did a fist pump when he announced "Jeffster!"

-Sarah telling Bryce she wasn't coming.

-The reception outside the house right before Chuck gets the Intersect, reminding me of the opening scene of the series (where Chuck is hiding on his birthday party before checking his email). I almost lost it thinking that they might end the show the way they started it. It just has to be back.

RSR said...

Beautiful review. Absolutely incredible episode. In my dorm the "Chuck" fans (who I essentially created, thank you very much) had a party filled with Subway sandwiches, chips/salsa, cookies, etc. We ended the season with a bang.

The only thing I have to add, is the pure awesomeness of the reactions of Casey and Sarah's faces after Chuck's king fu sequence (and during). The actors of this show are incredible. The writers are geniuses. The fans are devoted. And the critics' support has been amazing. Now all I ask is, NBC, can you be AWESOME??

Anonymous said...

It was even better than I expected, and my expectations were high. I bought Subway, I wrote NBC, and I'm hoping for the best.

Stephanie said...

I don't think I can add anything to what's already been said. I loved this episode from start to finish, particularly the shout-out to "The Matrix".

I'll second the desire for a "Chuck Me" t-shirt. In fact, I think I might inquire after one when I write my plea to NBC...

ksquard said...

I too want a Chuck me shirt.

Once Jeffster kicked in, I spent that whole period up to the commercial break with my hands clasped over my wide open mouth because I just couldn't even say AWESOME quickly enough. It just kept getting better every single second. And then the wedding was over, and IT STILL WASN'T done. So, so many good lines. I love this show. I ready to be heartbroken when told that we've seen the last new episode of it, but I'd still like to be surprised by Silverman as he discovers his spine and sticks with this fabulous show rather than chucking (Ha!) it for a crappy reality thing or more Leno or whatever nonsense he comes up with.

Alan, I really appreciate how eloquently you sum up the Chuck love and I've linked to you or referenced you when gushing about the show to friends, family, and co-workers because you encapsulate all that is Awesome about Chuck so well. Thanks!

I did my Subway duty tonight, but when I asked for a comment card or something like it, I was told that that Subway didn't do such things. I'm now headed to the send a comment via the Subway Web site.

Save Chuck!

Mac said...

You think advance-ordering the DVD would help with renewal?

Anonymous said...

It was amazing...on all levels. Just as you said, I give it a pass on the will they or won't interruption b/c I just love it so much..when otherwise I'd be groaning. Zach and Yvonne seem to have real chemistry that transfers to the screen and makes us cheer them on as a couple and they seem like genuinely nice people from what I've read and that makes me want to support the show even more. Mr. Roboto made me laugh out loud. The 80s references are fun, smart and give Chuck a hip,retro feel. My only nipick is I wish Sarah had been trying to save Chuck..that she had been yelling "don't you touch him" about Chuck b/c for me that is one of the highlights of the relationship, that the woman kicks butt and gets all protective of her man. I wonder if that will be lost now that Chuck has superpowers and is clearly going to be a spy. I can see how they could still work that in though so I won't fret yet. I have never been so attached to a show that was on the verge of cancellation. I bought Subway today, I am holding out a good thought and if we're lucky we'll get to see where all the brilliance of tonight's episode leads.

Mac said...

Heck, I'd advance-order the Blu-Ray ($71.99 at Amazon) if it would help.

Richard Hoeg said...

Alan,

I feel like I'm always being negative when I comment on your blog, and I do want to preface this by saying that I thought the episode itself was outstanding, but regarding the ending twist I find myself echoing the concerns you stated with your "devil's advocate" position in the Fedak interview.

The show we signed on for was about a guy without any special abilities (save for the intersect) making his way in (a comic rendition of) the world of high espionage. How are we to relate to a main character that suddenly has a magic power gauntlet, more fighting prowess than Col. Casey, and who knows what else?

I worry that such a game changer might just change the game too much for me. Maybe I'll feel different in the morning.

Great review as always.

MattB said...

Season 3 needs to start airing ASAP

Anonymous said...

Did you change the picture accompanying the review?

mjryan said...

NBC, I need you to be awesome. Can you be Awesome?

The only observation I would add to yours, Alan, is Casey and Sarah's expressions when Chuck was unleashing the kung-fu on the bad guys. Chuck me, indeed.

I want a Chuck Me t-shirt.

Anonymous said...

By the way, guys, Subway.com has an online comment system where you can make a note about their products and service. I sent an email to them through that system after buying my sandwich tonight.

Mac said...

Seconded on Sarah and Casey's reactions, plus Casey's muted "uh" at the end -- what else can you say, really?

Nancy/mizenkay said...

Because my brain nearly experienced an overload of AWESOME, I am going to essentially post what I did at TWOP. Plus, I'm lazy like that.

I hope the suits at NBC read this cause, if this show doesn't come back, I may learn some kung fu of my own.
Sweet Jesus, Mary and Joseph. That's what a season finale looks like people. I was nearly twitching there at the end. And no, my living room isn't on fire Mr. Fedak.

Echoing the love for the Indian lesbian line, Chuck me, and OMG, Casey as the wedding planner: No, no, that clashes with the bunting. I was dying.

I was glad to see Bryce go out (or maybe not) in a way that gave closure to Chuck. The reasons were all there from the beginning. He did it for Chuck's dad. And for Chuck. Awwww.

I totally teared up at the wedding on the beach. That was just so lovely.

The editors, music folks, writers and all the producers deserve some kind of shiny gold award for the way the Mr Roboto shoot 'em up was done. Seriously brilliant stuff there. And I loved the call back to the pilot with Chuck dropping from the ceiling of the Intersect room. Just wonderful.

Chuck knowing kung fu is a game changer, and frankly, I LOVE IT, and I never saw it coming. I was worried about how much of the premise was going to change, and while it does take the show someplace new, KungFu!Chuck was still seriously geeky and awkward during that whole thing. The looks on Casey and Sarah's faces were hilarious.

I have no idea how the BuyMoria kids will figure into it, but if they lose Jeffster and Morgan, they'll lose a lot of the charm and opportunity for humor and geeky references. It can't go all spy all the time, IMO.

Oh NBC, please continue this show. Please. Pretty please. And thanks again Mr. Sepinwall for all your awesome support for the show.

AppleJill said...

I agree with everything you wrote. That Mr. Roboto scene was pure joy. I want it on computer and ipod and any other video device to watch over and over again.

Thank you for your enthusiasm for Chuck. You have expressed everything I love about this show in your columns. I hope to read them for another season!

Nikki said...

To Be Continued? What The?!?!?!? Where exactly are the NBC executive offices? I may need to go pay them a visit, maybe bring my really big friends who also know the way of Kung Fu.

This is hands down the best show on TV.

I stopped breathing for a few seconds it was such a great episode. I knew Sarah was going for the knives and I was so okay with that.

"How do you spell Begonia? Sound it out"

I love this show.

Jen said...

Not gonna lie, when I saw that Sarah unwrapped my Cuisinart wafflemaker, I was really really hoping she'd use it on Chevy Chase and his minions. A fine piece of kitchenware, that wafflemaker. (Cuisinart, please send my check.)

The wedding sequence was so unbelievably great. I would happily let Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian wreck my wedding anytime as long as they do so scored by Mr. Roboto. (In 4/4 time)

I think this just goes to show how much promise the show has, that they can take it in this direction and have it be such an exciting prospect. I'll gladly make subway a regular part of my week if it keeps Chuck on the air.

NickR said...

Amazing Chuck me!

Chuck doing what "no normal guy would do for his big sis was great"

Sarah telling Bryce she wasn't going with him.

Chuck attempting to drown his sorrows, then Ellie trying to do the same

Jeffster... wow
Milbarge... flaming heterosexual?

I've got a feeling that the intersect may only work for Chuck in extreme situations when he needs it...ie 5 guns pointing at him... anybody else agree?
Alan- thank you for you blog i open it up immediately after watching Chuck

PS- I took my girlfriend to subway tonight for Chuck (shes a fan too) and i want a chuck me t-shirt as well

David said...

Yes. This episode was fantastic. The last few really raised the bar. My only thing is that Levi needs to do some training to make the fights look a little more real. Strahovski and Baldwin makes it look so good, if Chuck's now Neo, he needs to be more convincing. Otherwise, I did my Subway part and am hoping for the best like everyone else.

Andrew said...

Awesome.

Awesome.

AWESOME!

In that last scene, Levi played the fight brilliantly with a mix of kung fu grace and Nerd Herd awkwardness-- as if his conscious brain was fighting the subconscious skill that intersect uploaded to his brain.

Todays word verification: ateata (or ate at a). I didn't think anything would get me to eat at Subway again, but I ate at a Subway for Chuck.

Michael said...

Stupid frickin' storms in my area knocked out my DirecTV reception with 10 minutes to go.

I saw Casey and Sarah having a shootout, they told Chuck to get help, he saw the air duct, then all of a sudden he was in the intersect room with Bryce. A flash of the DVR and Chuck was getting Intersected, then that's all I saw.

How did the last few minutes go down? I will have to wait hours before it's up on Hulu.

Jenn. said...

Awesome episode and awesome recap.

Andrew said...

If NBC cancels Chuck I am boycotting all of their new shows for next year, especially Leno's show.

Memphizmike said...

Chuck me !! this was one of the best season finales i have ever seen i was like every other chuck fan just overtaken by the Awesomeness of the show i have posted comments on NBC's site and wrote a letter to the execs too we all just want them to do the right thing and be Awesome!!!!! Save Chuck!!!!!!!!!!!!1

Buzz said...

:::Distance be damned, I'm not ready to say goodbye to "Chuck" yet. I wrote the open letter. I took my family to Subway tonight. I'm going to keep a good thought between now and next Monday.::::

If NBC doesn't renew, it won't be because of a lack of effort on your part Alan. As am sure you're aware, you are the go to guy for Chuck reviews on TWOP, Chucktv.net and even stahotski.com.

I haven't let myself fall for a show since the X-Files. After it began its slow sad decline, I too learned to emotionally distance myself from anything good on TV.

But this damn show has my heart in its hands. If, God & NBC willing, it comes back, I have faith they can make the new premise work. (Although I don't want to see Chuck as Neo or Paul Atreides).

Memphizmike said...

Oh ! I almost forgot to say this Alan thanx your reviews give us all hope for another great season of Chuck


P.S everybody we need NBC to make Chuck Me t-shirts

geekily said...

This episode was either the best season finale I've ever seen or the worst series finale ever. So We'll have to see about that. Regardless, I feel I've tried harder to save this show than any other show before - actually, now that I think about it, I've never actually participated in a Save Our Show campaign beyond signing useless internet petitions. But for "Chuck", I wrote to NBC, I bought my sandwich, I "watched" several dozen times on Hulu, I lent out my DVDs and I told anyone who would listen on Twitter or Facebook or LiveJournal and even real life to watch the show. I gave it my best shot, and I think a lot of other people did. Hopefully that will mean something a week from now.

Excuse me while I go watch it again. (And again.)

nams said...

This episode was, without a doubt, awesome. There was definitely some quiet fist pumping going on when Jeffster came out. That entire sequence was ingenious. WHEN season 3 rolls around, we had better get a bunch more screen time with those two!

joe said...

I'm torn. I thought it was a satisfying finale, so much so that I won't be burning anything should the bell toll.

But I'm not sold on this game changer. It could make for an interesting premise, for sure, but, considering Chuck's home life and Buy More life are supposed to be just as relevant as the spy world, the show sort of ruined both of those once and for all. Jeffster aside, Morgan's storyline feels done. Chuck has no reason to live with his sister or the Captain anymore, and the secret's out to everyone but Ellie, the "only normal character left," anyway.

I love me some Sarah and Casey, but part of what made the show's dynamic was Chuck's role as the middle man between these hardcore spies and his ridiculous friends.

Of course, I'd be silly not to want to see how all this turns out now...

amysusanne said...

Oh my god.

There are no words...mostly because Alan already took most of them for that review.

There's nothing else to say that hasn't been said, but again: wow. Wow, wow, wow. Fighting and Styx and the Awesome family and poor Bryce and Casey's private phone number and "Back to the Future" references and more intersects and...kung fu. Because apparently Chuck knows kung fu.

Chuck me, indeed.

Anonymous said...

I agree! They should use The Office as an example in Season 3 of how breaking the seal on the sexual tension can create more! It will lose some credibility with me if we go an entire season 3 and Chuck and Sarah don't finally get it on. Then of course there could be an obstacle or 2. But they wouldn't put it off much longer, working together or not. They desserve it. I was so happy they had Sarah make a choice. Chuck had made his, it was her turn. Of course Chuck doesn't know it first hand, but we do. She would have seemed cowardly and Sarah is no coward. I guessed before watching that Chuck, like the Jedi Knight he has clearly been moving toward becoming, would re-intersect of his own volition. But Jedi Knights need training and I think there's room for plenty of Chuck missteps even with the new intersect in his head. Plus Ellie and Morgan don't know he's a spy, Awesome does, and all of that leads to some wonderful comedic possibilities. I don't worry at all that "Chuck" will stop being "Chuck" now that Chuck has powers. It was a bold move really. How much longer could we have watched Chuck at the Buy More, screaming like a girl on missions. It was time for him to get out of the car!! It trust Schwartz, Fedak and Co. to honor "Chuck" as they always do and to take us on a fanstastic voyage next season.

filmcricket said...

@ Joe

I have kind of the same reservations you do - the crossover between the two worlds was so effective and now it seems like that might be gone.

But I'm not gonna lie: my jaw literally dropped when Chuck threw his first punch and I don't think I breathed again until that sequence was over. Regardless of what comes next, that was AWESOME. Great end to a great season, and a great way to kick off the next one (I refuse to contemplate any other possibility).

And put me down for a "Chuck Me" T-shirt, too.

bonitobroth said...

I hope, if the show gets picked up, they show the aftermath of scenes like the "i know kung fu" one, where chuck finds out that even though he suddenly knows *how* to do martial arts, his body isn't maybe in the kind of shape you need to do that and not be sore for three days afterwards. in a funny way, of course.

Eldo Owens said...

Did the wedding take place on the Planet of the Apes "Oh my God...you blew it up! You really did it....Damn you all to hell!" beach?

Sure looked like it.

KateGee said...

I bought my Subway sandwich today, left an online comment. I love this show! This was the best episode of Chuck yet. They cannot possibly cancel it. If they do, Chuck You NBC.

writersblock said...

Alan - that was a wonderful review of a simply phenomenal episode of an excellent show.

NBC deserves all of the disdain and criticism the fans will throw its way if it does NOT renew "Chuck" for a 3rd season.

And after the "To Be Continued..." my husband declared which piece of furniture we'd set aflame ;-) if NBC bails out on "Chuck."

I'm hoping for renewal because the show and everyone involved with it, as well as the fans, definitely deserve another season of FUN-DRAMA-ROMANCE-ACTION-INTRIGUE.

Thanks for supporting the show!

aimee said...

Alan, your review - especially the closing - almost brought tears to my eyes. I've never been this attached to a show before, and I'll feel like a piece of me is missing if it's not renewed.

Chuck me!

Ben said...

Jeffster rules!!!

So does this show. Wow, please come back Chuck. You are our only hope...

Baylink said...

There's another aspect of the writing that I don't see many people comment on, so I will...

You could see it when Sarah shook her head no to Bryce, knowing he'd be watching. You could see it when Bryce yelled out "Sarah! Take 'em", not even knowing she was in the room, much less heeled.

And they do that a *lot*.

It's very similar to some of the badinage and interaction between Spenser and Hawk, which is expounded on in a couple of the novels, most notably the scenes in _A Catskill Eagle_ after Susan is recovered.

And I like it. It's nice. It's "if you didn't get this, it wasn't *for* you".

yellowwallpaper said...

Great review! Re: the tearaway bridesmaid dress, I figured all of the bridesmaids' dresses must have come like that to make them ready for the reception (rather than combat). I believe that is actually done in real life sometimes.

Robin said...

You said it all, Alan.

It was amazing and awesome and I will cry if they cancel this show.

I went to Subway for lunch today, emailed their customer service website, and I'll keep my fingers crossed for next week. Really, I've been disappointed by cancellations before, but this one would just hurt.

Matt said...

I absolutely loved the ending, and all of the possibilities it opens up for the future of the show, but my brother (and Chuck watching buddy) is a little more torn on it, basically taking Alan's "Devil's Advocate" position. But I still think that there's a lot of fun to be had - this drives an even bigger wedge between him, his family, his work and his friends. And there's still a lot of comedy to be mined from him mentally adjusting to his new physical abilities (I'm reluctant to refer to them as "superpowers" just yet).

Either way, I think that functions perfectly as a season or series finale. I could see more adventures, but if they leave it here, I'm satisfied with Casey, Sarah, and Kick-Ass Chuck taking names and saving the world.

RE: Buy More, didn't Fedak say in your first interview that he wanted to bring Buster back next year? I can't imagine them jettisoning Big Mike and Jeffster completely, and there' no other plausible way to keep them in the show if not through the Buy More. Excited to see how they work that out.

Alan Sepinwall said...

You could see it when Bryce yelled out "Sarah! Take 'em", not even knowing she was in the room, much less heeled.

Bryce knew she was in the room. They made eye contact when he entered, and they nodded to each other to confirm they were both prepared to fight.

Matt said...

Oh, also... I've always kind of scoffing at Show Saving campaigns... but I'll be mailing in my Subway receipt tomorrow.

Stacey said...

Just some quick thoughts on some smaller moments not yet discussed...loved Sarah's military reaction to taking over the post from Dr. Awesome and loved Capt. Awesome's little head bop toward the end of the Jeffster performance.

I suspect that the super skills are triggered by incredible emotional distress as Chuck didn't flash until the gun was pointed at Sarah

Whiskey said...

great writeup, Alan. Wow, my husband and I really LOVE this show! Brilliant, just brilliantly written!!! Loved every scene, every facial expression, every inside joke...

Count me also in for a "Chuck Me" tee.

Dan said...

If it goes away, I'll miss "Chuck" almost as much as "Arrested Development". What an amazing pair of final episodes, which I watched back-to-back tonight (reading last week's discussion in between, of course).

Usually I'm pessimistic about beloved bubble shows, but I'm pretty confident we're safe. Ben Silverman must be salivating at the check he can get from Subway for an entire episode revolving around a crime ring at a local franchise... Chuck and Sarah will go undercover as sandwich artists and there will be lots of in-jokes!

snacktime said...

Great post, Alan! Your review expressed what I was feeling! This show has gotten so great over this season.... and...

I ate my subway sandwich while I was watching the episode tonight.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for listing all the songs used in the episode. I can't remember a single episode of any TV series that had a better all-around music selection.

Dean Winchester said...

Since we know the show's creators are avowed comics nerds, I wonder if "the Ring" is the Culper Ring. If not, I would imagine the name is at least a nod to Y: The Last Man.

cgeye said...

I know I should be happy, shiny and hopeful (and I probably will be, tomorrow), but I think I need to say something that needs to be said:

Bryce Larkin? I'm glad that bastard is dead.

Cause y'see he might have gotten his instructions to get Chuck kicked out of Stanford direct from Orion (and how's about Orion infiltrating the CIA so thoroughly that General Beckman didn't know one of her men was compromised?), but did Bryce had to do it so well Chuck couldn't transfer to a comparable institution?

That he was viewed as a cheater/college dropout, whose best job would be a minimal wage one, far below his abilities?

And since both Bryce and Orion worked in that dim-lit, shadowy world where money-laundered cash decorated their black budgets like tinsel, neither one of them could work any money back to Ellie or Chuck, as a sweepstakes prize, car rebate, insurance benefit from a distant relative? Those kids scraped their way up to the middle class, and they're hanging on the best they can.

Orion orphaned his kids through his arrogance and naivete, and never checked whether Chuck's disgrace or loss of reputation would lead to alcohol, drugs, depression? Even now, Chuck's graces and gifts are given and taken away by a capricious network of government officials, none of them really giving a damn whether Chuck or his family lives or dies.

But, still, because of all the character developments we were bombarded with, we'll probably never see Chuck process just how frakked up and manipulated his life has been. The frakking Count of Monte Cristo was based on a less dramatic premise.

Lastly, did Orion approve of Bryce saddling Chuck with Intersect 1.0? If he did, why didn't he help Chuck sooner? If he didn't, then why did Bryce live as long as he did, considering Orion ruined Chuck's reputation precisely to avoid this event?

I know, serious questions, don't mind me, #eatfresh, #savechuck...

Tony said...

Im just curious how the writers will bring back Jeffster, and Big Mike if Morgan, Chuck, and Casey left.

Chuck can't kill off Jeffster or Big Mike, I wouldn't watch season 3 if they did.

Sonia said...

Wow!

Biggest laughs for me:
Colonel Casey the wedding planner "no no, that will clash with the bunting";
Freakin' Jeffster! "watch me for the changes";
Mrs. Awesome "Get my backup pantyhose out of the car!!";
Capt. Awesome NOT hitting Morgan when he realizes he can help Chuck with the spy stuff;
Ellie looking SO gorgeous...TWICE!;
Millbarge -- fuh-laming heterosexual! LOLOL

There are too many wonderful moments from this show!!

I don't share the concern that Chuck is going to be fundamentally changed with his new abilities. See, they are almost like reflexes. He doesn't think of doing it, just happens. So i think he's still going to scream like a girl, be socially inept at every opportunity, and he'll still mess up missions b/c he's still Chuck (and he'll also save the day b/c he's Chuck). And it will be hilarious!

Great SEASON finale!

Cindy said...

I'm going to avoid the C word until (god forbids) NBC really uses that word. It was an amazing SEASON finale. I'm here hoping that season three will (but not limited to):
- not drag out will-they-won't-they. Yes, Strahovski and Levi have great chemistry, but it still won't be enough to keep viewers happy for long.
- not be starting the season with Chuck reverting back (with the new super powers somehow removed) to the bubbling, clumsy average guy.
- break Fedak's promise that the show won't lose its charm with Chuck with the new ability.
- still be oozing with characters developments. I love me some of those.

I dragged my boyfriend out to Subway today and we both left our comments on their website. Now, we can only hope for the best. Especially, for tonight's numbers that come out tomorrow morning.

Jason Snell said...

Alan, watch that scene with Bryce and Chuck in the Castle. They were clearly not in the same room at the same time, and several other Bryce scenes were likewise disjointed. (He and Chevy Chase, for example, obviously weren't there at once.) They tried to cover it as artfully as they could, but....

Loved the episode though!

mq1986 said...

I theorize that Chuck's "instant kung fu" will have severe physical repercussions. Although his mind understands the movements of martial arts and can force his body to perform them, his body is not trained or adapted to them. I think that kind of physical taxation could strain his heart and body to the point that he becomes severely ill--like any person who engages in physical activity that they are not used to and is far above their ability to do. Most likely, in the third season (God willing), Chuck will have to train his body physically so that he won't pass out or overtax his muscles and bones to the point of crippling/incapacitating him. That way, the Intersect won't become a deux ex machina to solve every problem the team gets into. This is the only way that makes sense to me, from a writer's point of view.

David J. Loehr said...

Domo arigato, Mssrs Schwartz and Fedak. Quite simply awesome.

It's one of the few shows on tv that just makes me smile, and one of the few shows of this kind that also has such heart. Even "Buffy"--which this is often compared to--didn't have this kind of heart or quite this ability to both choke me up and make me laugh all at once.

I can't buy a Toyota--and that was a sly "got your Toyota washed" moment--but I and my family have had quite a bit of Subway today. (BLT with red onions and baby spinach, mayo, on Italian for me.)

And after "Nothing Sacred" ten years back, I've avoided "save our show" campaigns. Of course, there hasn't been a show I wanted to save in all that time. But this, this is smart fun, pure and unalloyed joy.

As for the ending, they've built up enough trust for me that I'll go along with them wherever they want to take these characters. He may have special powers, but he's still Chuck. Which means he's not Ralph Hinkley/Hanley, and he's not John Casey.

Great review, as always...

Anonymous said...

I know Chuck has lots of plot holes but most are easy to overlook because of the brilliance of the program. What I cant figure out was how Chuck got into the "All White" room that housed Bryce and the Interect 3.0. He looked up at fan, but yet appeared to fall down into the room. Any ideas?

K said...

Incredible. I can't express how upset I'll be if this doesn't come back!

I took some notes on which advertisers aired during the show, just in case anyone wants to contact them and thank them for sponsoring Chuck. Maybe if they get enough email they'll let NBC know that they're willing to continue sponsoring Chuck.

Volkswagen
Listerine
Burger King
Home Depot
Chevrolet
Canon (camera)
Bank of America
Gillette
Domino's
Lowe's
Dodge Ram
Frost Bank
Ford trucks
Dove (soap)
Verizon Wireless
Monistate
Pepsi
Nasonex

GabbyD said...

great review! season 3 please!

JD said...

Oh my...if I smoked, I surely would have gone through half a pack after getting "Chuck"ed this amazingly tonight.

AWEsome season finale. There better be a "Chuck Me" t-shirt on sale at the NBC website in 24 hours, or someone needs to get their graphic artist's hat on and git on over to CafePress and whip something up for "Chuck" fans.


Funniest line: "Are you going to let Sam Kinison and the Indian lesbian ruin your wedding?"

zach said...

With the way Fedak sounded in Alan's interview things look to be on the upside for a Season 3 of 'Chuck.' I'm still crossing all the fingers I could cross, but I'm cautiously optimistic.

And I agree Alan: 'Chuck' is the most purely entertaining show on television. While 'LOST' is the show I always look forward to week after week, 'Chuck' is the one that I end up enjoying the most while watching. It has an unbelievable balance of comedy, drama, romance, action and mythology that no other show has. How is this show not a bigger hit?

I can only hope NBC renews 'Chuck' as they did 'Scrubs' for so many seasons when it never had the best ratings. The fanbase is loyal. We have proven that over the last few weeks. And I really think if they heavily promote this next year it has a chance to reach a slightly larger audience. I'd never expect huge numbers, but certainly it could do more than a 6.05 share, right guys?

I can go on and on and throw a million and one superlatives at this show, but I will end with this:

I was home for the night from college and watching in my den. My Mom comes in the room halfway through the episode, sits down and watches. It gets a bit annoying when I have to explain who is a spy and who isn't, but she gets the gist pretty quickly. And by the end of the episode when Chuck was kicking ass she was sold.

She was shocked when I told her it might not get picked up for a season 3 saying, 'I've seen half an episode and I think it's great.'

Now my mother is a perfect example of part of a larger audience they can reach. She is a middle aged woman who has two favorite shows: American Idol and LOST. LOST has managed to keep viewers over the year beyond the 18-49 demographic and reach into different ones. My mom like I said is an example of this. She loves LOST, for both it's characters and the crazy mythology behind it.

NBC should really just sell 'Chuck' for what it is: pure joy. It's fun. It has characters you really care about and pulls off the drama and action as well as the laughs. The fact that we had Jeffster! perform in the same episode that Chuck and Sarah come so close to telling each other what they both really feel and Chuck learning kung-fu is a testament to the team behind the show. Chris Fedak, Josh Schwartz and the rest of the writers and cast and crew should be extremely proud of what they have accomplished with this show.

I am interested to see how 'Neo-Chuck' (as I am now referring to him) will play in Season 3. Does it take away a little from the original premise of the show... yes. But at the same time Fedak has said recently in interviews that Chuck is more Luke Skywalker than Peter Parker. And as we all know, Luke was much more than a simple farmboy from Tatooine who has decent skills as a pilot. He had a destiny, laid out before him before he was even born.

Chuck has taken his first step into a larger world... as Ben Kenobi would say.

Bring on Season 3.

- Zach Goldberg

Brian said...

The Matrix is one of those movies I've always resisted, because at a certain point it became so ingrained in the pop-cultural landscape that I felt I'd absorbed all I needed of it through osmosis. So I did not know that the "I know kung fu" line was a Matrix reference, and now I'm kind of pissed off. I thought it was a pretty awesome cliffhanger line to go out on, but now I hear it's just a cheap reference. Boo.

That minor complaint aside, this was a ridiculously entertaining and exciting hour of television. It's so strange and cool that what began as a quirky, inconsequential diversion turned into the most fun and exciting piece of longform storytelling on TV. I'll be sad if there's no third season, but even if it doesn't get renewed... Chuck is in the culture. It's out there now, and no one can take it away, and people will be discovering and enjoying it for generations to come.

Felipe said...

Oh My God... what an ending! I was laughing from the comedy situations and also having that nervous chuckle when something is too awesome to be true! I kind of knew when Chuck flashed that he had to know how either steal a gun or kick the ass of everyone.

So many new possibilities for the show... although the stuff of the Buy More worries me more, and the fact that Ellie is married will take her out of living with Chuck... how will that work? will Chuck live with his dad? with Sarah?

Chuck on NBC, or CW, or Cable or a Movie!

Holly Martins said...

This is how good "Chuck" is: it's somehow gotten an entire fanbase to not only tolerate but enthusiastically embrace product placement.

I'm not complaining - I DVR everything and avoid ads whenever possible, but there's no such thing as a free lunch (or footlong sub), which I guess means there will be some clumsy in-show ads from time to time. And if that's the price I have to pay for more "Chuck," so be it. But it is interesting, given how much I (and most people I know) usually loath obvious product placement, that in this case the show has managed to generate SO much good will that people are going out of their way to support Big Mike's chicken teryaki habit. That's impressive.

Great episode, great show, great review as usual, Alan. I just thought that was interesting (and maybe a tiny bit disturbing).

Mo Ryan said...

Yes, yes, yes.

I had a horrible week last week. Last Wednesday was seriously, epically awful. I got home that day, I watched this season finale a few days early (best FedEx delivery ever), and honestly, it made me feel 1000 times better.

So, any attempt at critical distance for me is long gone. They had me at "Mr Roboto."

Fingers crossed for a Nerd Third.

Oh, and one more thing -- how funny would it have been if Sarah had been able to use a George Foreman grill and echo Michael Scott's foot burn on The Office? I'm sure that would have presented all kinds of logistical difficulties though.

And all things considered, I wouldn't change this finale. Bro, it rawked.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. I'm torn. The whole episode was absolutely awesome for the most part (and especially for Mr. Roboto) but that last line "I know KungFu" is a bit disappointing. Sure, I'd still burn down my living room if this wonderful show isn't renewed; but I was hoping for something more.....dramatic, that would make me want to throw something at my TV for ending such an awesome episode. On the other hand, I thought this ending would be at least satisfying if the NBC decides to pop Chuck's bubble. Then again, I would still go Chuck me!

Terrific work from the talented cast. Adam Baldwin's Casey's confused look when Chuck went in for a hug was an absolute gold. Vik Sahay and Scott Krinsky's Jeffsters performance was, dare I say, epic (thank goodness for that wonderful song). Sarah Lancaster finally was given something more to work with, and was wonderful as the nervous-but-is-about-to-have-a-breakdown bride and the drunk Ellie in the tub. Zachary Levi' Chuck has great physical comedy, even in the fight scene (and with more practice, and given the chance to improve those moves, it'd be even better). Lastly, Yvonne Strahovski's Sarah has been such a superb anchor to this spy dramedy show (her emotional ranges are amazing, especially in the whole scene where she tells Chuck she's leaving the next day. Woah.) And the guest stars? Amazing. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely right. The best part of this show is how FUN it is.

The biggest thing, for me, is that the characters are so easy to relate to. There is a little bit of Chuck and Sarah, Casey and Awesome, and yes.. even a little bit of Lester and Jeff in all of us. You feel for the characters and care about them.

I, too, try not to get attached to a show but Chuck had me from day one.

Chip said...

Loved the episode and your review and praying that Chuck comes back...but please tell me you watched Heroes and there's a scathing review coming.

David said...

Some really interesting directions they can go.

Like does Chuck know Kung Fu all the time, or did he "flash" the ability because he needed it? There is a lot of potential for Chuck getting abilities in stressful situations - and not always the obvious choices. Or Chuck wanting/expecting an ability but the intersect not giving it to him because the situation doesn't warrant it.

We need a 3rd season. And a 4th...

LoopyChew said...

Most everything I wanted to say was encapsulated by Alan in either this or the post-season pep talk with Fedak, and everything else has been covered in these comments here. The only thing left I want to know is, is The Morgan one of the deadly moves indexed in the new Intersect?

CAPTCHA: "tosses."

Anonymous said...

Direct TV needs to jump on this ship stat. Save Chuck, save the (blogosphere) world!

Yeechang Lee said...

"Like does Chuck know Kung Fu all the time, or did he "flash" the ability because he needed it? There is a lot of potential for Chuck getting abilities in stressful situations - and not always the obvious choices."

Dingdingdingdingding! NickR and David both got it in one, I'll bet. This is why Chuck will still need handlers in any season three.

JackiWhitford said...

Alan -

Thanks for all you did to help save Chuck. Because of TV critics like you we know the best shows to watch and the ones worth campaining to save.

And if Chuck is not renewed, NBC is dead to me. Chuck is what got me watching TV again, and to see treated so badly by a network who needs great shows is just unbelievable.

Sean said...

In a perfect world, here's how I imagine the next season would go:

- Chuck has to learn how to deal with his newfound spy powers, and that means intensive training from Casey (handling firearms, faking documents etc) and the finer arts of spyhood from Sarah (seduction, coercion, fabrication etc).

- Chuck's mission(s) end up taking him to Hawaii where he can re-unite with Morgan at culinary school!

- Jeffster quit the Buy More and move to Hawaii with Morgan and begin their rise to rock stardom by playing gigs at Hawaiian tourist hotspots.

- Continuing with the theme, Ellie and Awesome go to Hawaii for their honeymoon.

- As Chuck develops more into the spy he was always fated to become, he and Sarah grow closer together and actually find working together to be an aphrodisiac.

- Chuck continues to unravel the mystery of the Ring, which may or may not include finding out more about his long-lost mother (who may be a villain; it's working on "Prison Break!")

/sigh, it's fun to dream.

adam said...

Jeffster - Mr. Roboto
http://tinyurl.com/c48s7x

Joe Cobb said...

I just need to add my own... "AWESOME!" to the mix...

and yes yes yes to the "Chuck Me" T-shirt.

Kudos Alan, this show is all about fun, and in this day and age, we need all the fun we can get.

Ingrid said...

"Why are you letting Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian wreck your wedding?"
Best line of the whole episode! This was so much fun. We have watched the Mr. Roboto wedding shootout scene like five times already. I keep my fingers crossed, hoping NBC will bring Chuck back.

jennilynn said...

You can SIGN THE ELLIE/AWESOME WEDDING GUEST BOOK at:
http://www.nbc.com/Chuck/exclusives/wedding-album/
to show them how much we love Chuck too (and there's a wedding photo album!!!

L. Urde said...

Liked it but I have a question: isn't any premise where chuck's dad stays away a flimsy way of not having to hire Scott Bakula for the season? Why would he not be with his family?

linda said...

Nothing more to add, but, I wanted to post in support for a third season, which I can't believe is being questioned. I think there would be a lot of tears if it doesn't happen.

And, yes, has it really been 10 years since Keanu said "I know kung fu?"

Woah.

Drew Barnes said...

There is a thread on Whedonesque linking to a "save only one show" online poll. As of this time there are 38 comments on the thread. 12 of those are from people who voted for Chuck instead of Dollhouse in the poll.

Some of the Chuck-confessing people even talked about the improvement of the last two episodes.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Stupid NBC website refers to this as the "series finale." I'm sure that's a mistake put up by a page designer -- NBC likely hasn't made up its mind yet, and even if it has, that's not the way the information would be disseminated -- but it's no doubt going to cause even more panic today. Sigh...

Kara said...

Love love loved it, and thank you for a fantastic summary, Alan. We too went to Subway last night, and frightened the manager when the first thing we asked for were comment cards. Guess they hadn't heard about the campaign in Ardmore, PA...

Does anyone know what the turnout was at Subway yesterday? I'm just wondering if all the "Chuck" fans made a difference in the chain's daily sales. Here's hoping they'll be back for season 3!

hpfric said...

Stupid NBC website refers to this as the "series finale."beat me to it; i was just about to post this rather disappointing news.

i have a hard time believing it's a mistake. my guess is that, internally, the decision's been made. if not, why hasn't it been changed?

Anonymous said...

Stupid NBC website refers to this as the "series finale.If Chuck was a stock, this would cause a massive selloff. It's the Steve Jobs rumor of Chuck.

Alan Sepinwall said...

i have a hard time believing it's a mistake. my guess is that, internally, the decision's been made. if not, why hasn't it been changed?

Because the people on the West Coast who actually make all these decisions aren't even awake yet.

I'm not saying the decision hasn't been made, but the guy who programs the "Chuck" official website wouldn't be in the loop on it.

It's like when a pre-packaged obituary accidentally runs prematurely.

Mandy said...

You've got me all teared up reading this. I hope that good news is in the future for Chuck. It is one of the few shows that my husband and I both love, love, love.

Alan Sepinwall said...

It's a typo. But they probably need to get approval from 16 different people (again, most of them just waking up in LA) to fix it.

DamnYankees said...

Chuck me!

I gotta say I was really depressed after last week. With the incredible episode Chuck v. The Colonel I couldn't believe this show would be cancelled - it had so much story to tell.

But after this week my inner despair is settled. This episode was fantastic, but I actually think I'd be slightly more at peace if the show didn't come back, because it didn't really end on a mystery. I was expecting the finale to end with a question or a huge standoff or something. But it didn't. Rather, the episode ended with possibility, which is really different than mystery. While I'm excited to see what might happen, the show ended in such a way that if canceled, I can just sort of imagine what happened. In some ways it reminds me of the ending to Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Five card stud. All in. And the skies the limit.

Linda said...

My favorite part of the whole finale was at the end, when Chuck had done all the kung fu, and Casey goes, "Uhhh..."

There's something about the delivery of that "Uhhh..." that is so funny to me, I cannot tell you. It contains a certain, "The hell?", but it also contains a certain, "Okay," as well as a certain, "Not bad." It's very layered, and 99.8 percent of shows would just have shown Casey and Sarah staring slack-jawed in the first place.

The entire promise of how very, very good I think a third season could be is contained in that, "Uhhh."

hpfric said...

It's a typo.a typo?....

so two official but seemingly disconnected sites (one nbc.com, the other a facebook page) have now termed it a series finale.... like i said, it doesn't bode well, imo.

DamnYankees said...

Here's something subtle for all of you. Rewatching the last scene, when Chuck flashes, he sees 2 Chinese characters for a second or less:

功夫

It means "Kung fu". Very nice work by the show people for putting that in there. Unless you can read Chinese you'll never notice it - maybe Julia Ling helped out.

Cindy said...

I wouldn't be surprised about the typos on nbc.com. They've made mistakes before, like when they were all confusing about the airing date an episode of was preempted.

Stephanie said...

I think it is a typo, since the NBC site also has "Watch the Season Finale" on the same page.

AnonAnon said...

Typo:
It's hard to imagine it's a typo considering the solid operation they're running at NBC! Mr. Sepinwall already explained, but if people want to see it as an omen....

Appeal to his vanity:
Can we sweeten the deal by offering to watch all future cameos Ben Silverman makes on Entourage and other drecky shows? Entourage, it's a big gesture. Think about it.

My baseball stadium sign:
NBC - Nothing Beats Chuck

Grunt said...

I will start with the obligatory love this show, loved this episode, desperately want it to be renewed...BUT...

The Kung Fu part of the Intersect clearly was the piece that Papa Bartowski -- a/k/a Orion -- did not program into the Intersect himself (part of those extra scripts). That being said the Gov't must have put it in. But then that begs the questions who was it created for. Bryce clearly already had those skills.

So does anyone else think that perhaps this new Intersect was specifically designed for Chuck and that, in fact, Agent Redhead wanted Chuck to be re-intersected?

Just a thought. Hopefully all of my questions will be answered next season.

Linda said...

The "series finale" thing reminds me of the part where everyone thought Gervase won the first season of Survivor because there was something about pictures with red Xs that were buried deep within the system, and only Gervase didn't have a red-X picture, etc.

They don't immediately give major decisions like this to the web design people. You'd have to believe (1) that they gave this information to the web design team for essentially no reason; and (2) that the web design team was so careless that they momentarily forgot -- despite working on the Chuck site, where a renewal campaign is the hottest topic -- and wrote "series finale," because they secretly know.

"Guy stupidly types common phrase 'series finale' instead of common phrase 'season finale'" is much, much more logical to me.

Dave S said...

Nothing to add, other than this is my favorite show on television and it has eclipsed Lost in my "best show on television" list. With a season three, we could be looking at an all-time show.

Whatever happens, season two of Chuck was television at its most joyful.

A Pragmatic Bengals Fan said...

Hey Alan, Craig_Conrad fron twitter here. Great, great, great review. Thanks so much for your wonderful support of all of our favorite show, and here's hoping we'll have at least thirteen more discussions we can all have later this year!

Michael said...

Alan (or anyone),

How is the rest of that Thermals album? I have watched the video to "now we can see" five or six times since last night and really dig it. Is the rest of the CD as good?

amysa said...

Fortunately, it looks like the place where people are most prone to lose their minds over the tiniest little thing and/or overly rationalize (that place being livejournal) is calm and logical about the "series finale" thing, so maybe the headache normally felt by something like that can be avoided all together. Because, yeah...with all due respect to him or her, the dude who updated the site isn't gonna be breaking any news.

Didn't NBC do that same thing with something last season? I know they've done it before with other things, but I specifically remember some confusion over a promo or internet something or another where people were puzzled by whether it was really the final ep or just the final ep of that season.

Back to the subject of last night's show: I thought that the excitement might have been clouding my whole "most awesome episode ever" judgement and that I'd wake up this morning and be a little more critical when it came to the usual plot holes and such, but no. I'm good. Still loving it to the point where I'll watch it again tonight.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Fedak and Schwartz say it's, as I assumed, a mistake. NBC.com is fixing it. They've already removed the "series finale" phrase from the site.

Kung Fu Fighting said...

The future’s obviously unwritten (and typos aside, hopefully it will be), but I’m with those who think that Chuck doesn’t necessarily know kung fu now, but he can flash kung fu (or safe-cracking, bomb-defusion, every spoken language, etc.) when properly triggered just like the rest of his Intersect flashes. Chuck’s emotional growth as a spy is much more interesting than his physical growth, although I’m sure we’ll get some fun training montages.

Also, check out this old promo from S1 of Chuck in training (Chuck: “Kung fu is easy.” Yes, Chuck, yes it is.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=na_D1RI2jeU.

Anonymous said...

Alan, your post, as usual, was fantastic - riveting! I almost felt like I was watching it all over again. I really cannot shower enough praise for this show and really hope it is renewed for a third season. It really offers unparalleled entertainment, and last night I found myself laughing out loud, grinning from ear to ear, holding my breath, and sitting on the edge of my seat. Thanks for your *awesome* blog!

Jennifer said...

I'm not upset at the kung fu, though when they made a big stink about GAME CHANGER, I was assuming they'd kill Morgan or Ellie or send Sarah to jail or something. Mainly I just think, "It's about TIME Chuck got some skills."

I do wonder about the Buy More crew in a third season, but mainly I wouldn't miss it too much, other than creepy Jeffster action. Unless Jeffster/Big Mike quit and find some other employment and we follow them over there somehow. But I don't really see how you'd tie them into the spy action now. Get them jobs at the Orange Orange?

I'm not going to worry about that until official news comes in one way or another, though.

Anonymous said...

This episode of Chuck rivals Lost, Season 3 ender "We have to go back!" for best season finale.

Pamela Jaye said...

did I mention that the kid at the Subway I went to yesterday had never heard of Chuck and doesn't watch TV but plays video games (he apologetically added that he does it with friends. guess he didn't want to sound like "a loner")

other experiences of the Bakula Fan Forum posters were also not too exciting.Sub was not $5 but *was* footlong and yummy. My fridge did not get to enjoy its presence for any appreciable time

Anna said...

another great review allan. i really hope our efforts to save chuck will fall on the nbc powers that be. i really appreciate you writing that open letter.
the episode was awesome. the great thing with us audience is now we know sarah chose chuck over being an agent, chuck said goodbye to his "normal" life because he "loved" her. i'm really hoping & looking forward to season 3 where we see them pining over each other not knowing what we know.
great jeffster! moment. if their write-off becomes a reality after season 2, i couldn't imagine a better send off.
lastly, i can relate to allan. i'm feeling like chuck on vs the Marlin - i'm not ready to say goodbye (to Chuck), not yet.

OldDarth said...

Chuck Vs The Ring aka To Spy Or Not To Spy That Is The Question!

There is a new force present in the spy world, Chuck Bartowski.

After two seasons of desperately grasping at every opportunity to reclaim his old life, Chuck Bartowski finally acknowledges that a greater path lays before him. After being told time and time again that he is a spy, Chuck is faced with a choice and though his primary motivation may have been love, a force which guides much of his decisions, in the end it is the realization that he does indeed have the 'Right Stuff.'

The Ring bears many of the trademarks of the preceding episode - Chuck Vs The Colonel - a breakneck pace, major revelations of story and character, humour, action, drama, all laced with nerd references that end with significant changes for the series.

Whereas the Colonel closed off issues for the Second Season, the Ring delivers exactly what Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz said it would - a game changing episode that culminated in PONRs for Chuck and Sarah.

Throughout the episode the wonderful cast shone in every respect. Major kudos to the three leads - Zac, Yvonne, and Adam who work off of each other so well and each having their moment to shine.

Casey's, 'Chuck Me!' could replace BattleStar Galactica's, 'Frak Me!' as the curse word slogan du jour.

So many great things happened in this episode from Casey's team rappelling into the wedding, Sarah frantically searching for the wedding gift knife set, PapaB putting the smack down on Roark, Morgan's willingness to take the blame for Chuck at delaying the wedding, Devon's acceptance of the delay once he knew Chuck was behind it, and all the way to the game changing sequence at the end in the Intersect Room.

Chuck not only decided to become a hero but one with 'superpowers.' Of course having such a moment in the Chuck Verse can only lead to awesome comedic opportunities. Especially if Chuck cannot control what power he flashes on and said power arises in a non-spy moment.

So a pretty great finale. The pacing of this episode suffered the same relentless, high speed tone of the Colonel but not quite as frenetic. As a lover of stories and their structure, great stories need room for the characters, and the readers, to reflect on what has happened, what is happening, and most importantly - what is to come. More quiet moments would have turned awesome episodes into amazingly, awesome ones.

These last two episodes could have been 2 hours each.

Finally, another small caveat, given that this could potentially be the last episode would it have hurt to give a small bone to those to whom the relationship is the raison d'être for watching the show? A quiet moment where Chuck and Sarah exchanged verbal affirmation to one another seems like such a small thing to give. Even more so, when everyone else in the show knows and/or has heard how the one feels about the other.

For me there was enough there that I am content with where the relationship stands in terms of expression. For others a moment of open, direct communication between Chuck and Sarah seems like an unfair thing to have withheld.

With an eye to the third season, I am very excited to see what further adventures await Team B and seeing Chuck comedically struggle with his new found powers.

To the cast, crew, showrunners etc, and those all important writers a big THANK YOU! for a fantastic season.

Here is to continuing Chuck's journey - Cheers!

Larry said...

I have the last three episodes of Chuck on my DVR and I cannot bear to delete them. Want to rewatch them with my wife. She hasn't seen a single episode of Chuck, so maybe will wait for the DVDs to rewatch Chuck from the beginning with her. Ratings don't look great (again) for Chuck last night. Should I buy another sandwich at Subway tonight?

Anonymous said...

I like how Casey's reaction to Chuck doing kung fu was so similar to his reaction to Chuck hugging him earlier in the episode.

Rick said...

Why is it that the season finale aired last night already? Is there no longer any such thing as May Sweeps?

I know why things were weird in February; did that screw up sweeps for the reast of the season?

Zach said...

I just cannot believe that nobody is mentioning the pure penultimate awesomeness that is Chase/Roark's Dick Cheney Haircut (complete with glasses, dead flat mien, the works!).

I here predict that the Cheney 'Do is the new Nixon Mask, that very simplest visual signifier for Implacable Amoral Evil In Our Time..

You saw it first on Chuck!

amysa said...

@ Rick: sweeps started last Thursday. The period doesn't always start or last the entirety of the month that is used as shorthand to describe it.

Dave said...

I've read through most/all the comments, and I didn't notice anyone mentioning this...

I just watched the last 5 minutes again, from Chuck entering the Intersect room through the vents.

For a show that uses music so masterfully, I think the most powerful moment of the episode, if not the series itself, was made powerful by the silence.

As soon as Bryce dies, the music stops, and it's silent. Just Chuck and the Intersect. Ordinary Chuck vs. the thing that has made his life hell for the last two years, but also brought him Sarah. Here's a guy who has great teams surrounding himself at all times, whether at Buy More or at home or on missions, and he's all alone. This is Ender Wiggin vs. Bonzo Madrid. And Chuck steps up to the plate.

It probably felt a lot more powerful to me than others, but I thought that one moment between Bryce dying and Chuck deciding to put his hand on that pad was as powerful as this show can get.

Rachel said...

Something that I'm sure was an 80's reference, but can't quite place. Help?

At the beginning when Chuck quits, Millbarge screams "WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE?" as Chuck walks away, smirking.

What the heck is that from? Hale's tongue was planted so deep in his cheek I thought he was going to poke a hole.

Pamela Jaye said...

did anyone see this comment at Whedonesque? I especially liked the ending :-)

I went to my closest Subway (92nd St. and Via Linda in Scottsdale AZ) today and took our entire office staff with. When I explained that we were there to save CHUCK, I had to explain the campaign to the Subway employees because they had no idea about it. When we left the lady that greets you and takes your order was handing out comment cards to everyone walking in and asking them to fill them out to save CHUCK.

madmolly | April 27, 20:08 CET

Girish said...

Chuck me.

So much awesomeness in one episode. And you know when you are expecting something to be awesome and it actually turns out that way, it sometimes slips you that it was infact doubly awesome to be able to meet your heightened expectations and then some!

Most important to me was the impeccable balance stuck by the writers for a show on the bubble. It gave some closure to long time die hard chuck fans like me while leaving the field open for a whole new adventurous season. To illustrate even a great show like VM wasn't able to provide any kind of closure to its cult. Here I was extremely satisfied by Chuck leaving the buy-more & Sarah and Chuck finally getting together (implied - she chose him over her job), Casey & Chuck becoming friends. Kudos to the Schwartz, Fedak & the whole team. Great job guys. Hope to see what you have up your crafty sleeves next season.

Again, Chuck me.

Baylink said...

> I'm not upset at the kung fu, though when they made a big stink about GAME CHANGER, I was assuming they'd kill Morgan or Ellie or send Sarah to jail or something

There was a game changer. Though, admittedly, as much of it came in "Colonel" as "Ring": Sarah let go.

She's clearly (this is how good an actress Yvonne is; I would speculate that this wasn't formally in the stage directions or anything -- though it would be incredibly fun to see the scripts for this finale) been fighting a battle with herself all season, (and even before), where love and duty collide.

Sarah going AWOL, well... would have been a game changer if Casey hadn't covered her butt.

But even though her but was covered, she is now *officially* out of the closet WRT her feelings for Chuck, at least to Casey, and to Chuck himself.

And Casey, for his part, has granted this his approval, probably to even his own surprise.

I, personally, consider these things to be a game-changer, even more than any of the directly Intersect related stuff like the kung-fu.

The Sis and I are likely going to sit down some weekend this month and marathon the first 2 seasons; I find that always gives me a better gestalt of What Has Gone Before.

Baylink said...

I believe "What are you gonna do with your life??!?" is from (the music video for) "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister.

ISTR Dee Snyder either yelling it at someone, or someone yelling it at him....

Anonymous said...

Since Alan mentioned Freaks and Geeks and has done such a great breakdown of that entire (one season!) series, my question is: Which do you like better, F & G or Chuck? This for Alan or anyone out there.

PS I realize they are different types of shows but still...the quality!

Michael said...

Here's the Twisted Sister video from 1984. The father in the video, Mark Metcalf, played Neidermeyer in "Animal House" (and this character is a takeoff of Neidermeyer; see also the Wikipedia link), and is the one who said "What are you gonna do with your life?"

(Incidentally, Metcalf also played The Master in the Buffy/Angel series.)

Karen said...

@adam: bless you for posting the YouTube clip of Mr Roboto! The full glory of that scene requires multiple viewings--you miss the sheer beauty of Morgan Fairchild grabbing Boxleitner's hip flask or Awesome taking a moment to bop to Jeffster! while the music plays on or Chuck warning Roark not to make Ellie mad, as that would be highly undesirable. Or Chuck surveying the initial wreckage and moaning, "Oh, just shoot me now" as the perfect setup line for Roark. Or Bryce walking into the room in hero slo-mo.

The whole episode was just...blissful. If *I* were stressed out by wedding juju, and needed to focus on a happy place while sitting in lotus position, I would focus on this episode.

Fedak and Schwartz (and all the writers): you have brought me great joy. Alan? You have too, with your unequivocal support and fanboy glee. This show is just so good that it buggers the mind that anyone would consider not renewing it. This should have been a no-brainer.

The sight of Casey's confused and impressed face as he watched Chuck unleash his king-fu was worth the price of an entire season. Do you think he suddenly realized that the moron could kick his ass?

About "I know kung fu": although I've watched The Matrix about a dozen times, I actually didn't pick up on that as a reference. But, you know what? That's OK. It doesn't demote it to "just a cheap reference." Knowing that Chuck (and his writers) live in a world where geek classics are so deep in their DNA that quotes come up unwittingly, for me at least, enhances the experience.

CAPCHA: rechings. Add a "t" in the middle, there, and you'll have what I'll be doing if NBC doesn't renew this show.

Anonymous said...

I feel like one of the unofficial themes in Chuck is the hidden depths of ordinary people. Chuck doesn’t succeed because he is the intersect, he succeeds because he’s Chuck. The Buy More employees are the pinnacle of incompetence but occasionally reveal a weird sort of super competence: even they have superpowers. Jeff clearing at room at will by being so disgusting, Big Mike taking out the toughest enemy agent with a tackle, Anna really does know Kung Fu. When Chuck needs them for something important they can be bizarrely effective in their own strange way, even the ordinary can be extraordinary. They even have their own spy van.

Chuck prevails thinking outside the box: by doing things the CIA wouldn't have done. Not by singehandedly beating up a team of elite enemy agents.

It is nice to see Chuck be less of the passive, bumbling, fool... but Kung Fu in a pill feels a bit unearned and cheap.

I can't help but feel like the gamechanger goes against the spirit of the show. With the new intersect Chuck saves the day not because he's Chuck, but because of the intersect giving him Kung Fu.

That said, I agree that Schwartz and Fedak have shown they know have a handle on things so far.

Anonymous said...

They did really need a reason to get Chuck out of the car on every mission, but Kung Fu?

Baylink said...

> I feel like one of the unofficial themes in Chuck is the hidden depths of ordinary people

As it was on Buffy. Excellent point.

Anonymous said...

"Chuck" and "Dollhouse" are the two shows I most want to see renewed, but honestly, "Chuck" is the one I get more excited to see every week. "Chuck" is the post-"Veronica Mars" heir to "Buffy" -- an improbably balance of moving characters, relationships, exciting action, comedy. Joss said it's all about emotional resonance and rocket launchers -- nobody's getting that done on TV right now like "Chuck".From Whedonesque- they're having quite a good discussion over there about the merits of Chuck vs. Dollhouse and about the nature of unwilling heroes (i.e. Chuck, Buffy...)

Pamela Jaye said...

from chucktv.net or zachary-levi.net

Send a Video to CNN Telling Them Why Chuck Should Get a Third Season

April 28, 2009 by Mel
Filed under News

8 Comments

CNN is working on a story about campaigns to save shows and they’ve asked Chuck fans to submit videos of themselves telling them why Chuck should be renewed. If you’d like to participate, go to CNN’s iReport page and submit your video. The deadline is tonight!

Please remember that you could be picked as a representative of the fanbase as a whole, so be respectful and well-spoken. We recommend that you write down what you want to say ahead of time, then record it for submission. And if you get chosen, let us know!

thought this went thru before i went out! darn

Anonymous said...

Greatest blog post ever.

Henry said...

I'll be extremely upset -- EXTREMELY UPSET -- if NBC decides to pull the plug on the show and it ends like that. You can count on me to possibly even boycott NBC (sacrificing The Office and 30 Rock) altogether if they cancel it. What a finale! For the record, I loved that look of surprise Big Mike has at the wedding when Jeffster starts playing.

(And keep in mind that I don't usually give up on networks because they cancel a particular show)

JackiWhitford said...

Hey Rachel -

I am pretty sure that is a reference to the season finale of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Once the vampires were defeated in the Hellmouth and they all stood over the huge pit, someone asked Buffy what was she going to do now and she just smiled.

FlopEJoe said...

I rarely buy TV DVDs anymore and usually rent or borrow from friends. But I'm definitely plunking down for season 1 and pre-ordering season 2 hoping that will help the decision for season 3.

Anonymous said...

OK ALLL the love for Mr. Roboto and only one actual mention of Styx? (Granted it's the song that broke Styx up and I'm sure Tommy Shaw dies a little every time he hears it)

As a seriously devoted Styx fan, that five minutes was truly the best in tv I've had in a long long time. There just wasn't a better song to use, ever.

Please don't go Chuck!

-EmeraldLiz

Anonymous said...

Oh and I hope knowing kung fu doesn't stop us seeing The Morgan in action again! :)

Pamela Jaye said...

anyone still here?

okay.

My friend - who never watches primetime - wrote the best notes in support of Chuck (3 of them). She sent me copies.

I thought there should be a better place to post them (she already snailmailed 3 people at NBC) than Addicted to Chuck on facebook.

And I've been looking for places - mainstream media online places. Any ideas?

My friends are so tired of listening to me blather about Chuck that what I should do is - make more friends

Now where can my friend post her posts to not "preach to the choir"? (she's hit nbc.com too)

The upfronts *are* Mnday, right? cause I've seen some places say "we won't know for a *couple weeks*")

John said...

All I have to ask is: "Why are you letting Sam Kinnison and an Indian lesbian wreck your wedding?"

I am still cracking up at that line.

Write to NBC via their website. This show has to be renewed. It's too good.

botherer said...

I'm certain the mistake was the 3D episode. After keeping the show off air for almost two months, they come back with an episode a vast percentage of the audience aren't going to be able to watch. I adore the show, and I was so damned pissed off by having to watch a blurry mess to keep up with the story I almost didn't bother.

It seemed a really concerted effort by NBC to shed a couple of million viewers.

Jimmy said...

The 3-D Episode brought in the highest rating of the season... with 8.47 million viewers. This came after a steady progression throughout the course of the season from low 6's to mid to high 7's.

Unfortunately, NBC didn't capitalize on that by running an episode of Medium the week after. Medium pulled in 7.8 the week after.

The next week, Chuck fell off to 6.89 with the subpar Suburbs episode, and never seemed to rebound, remaining in the high 5's to low 6's... not that Dancing with the Stars returning helped.

Phil Scott said...

That was an awesome review and as others have stated, it did indeed sum up my feelings for Chuck. It's my favorite show and the thought of losing it when it ended so awesomely is just sickening. I've already written to NBC, and I can only hope and pray that it is renewed. If not, it will break my heart.

Alan Sepinwall said...

It wasn't that NBC ran an episode of Medium the following week; it's that one of President Obama's press conferences pre-empted Chuck, so all the momentum of the Super Bowl episode was lost, and the show went from its best-ever ratings with the 3D show to its worst-ever ratings with the suburbia episode.

Jimmy said...

I thought Obama's speech that evening was on from 7-8, Heroes ran 8-9, and Medium ran 9-10? Or is that not EST?

At least, that's what I've been able to find online. It makes no sense then, why Heroes ran an hour early in Chuck's place.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like the Central or even Mountain time schedule to me. Obama's speech started at 8 p.m. Eastern.

nams said...

What a fabulous finale that was. I'm keeping all my fingers and toes crossed until NBC announces the fate of the show!

No Subway in support of Chuck for me, as I'm across the Atlantic. But a friend and I did compose a short Ode to Chuck. If this show can inspire song, surely it's meant to be renewed.

Abhimanyu said...

This was really a wonderful episode and finale but I have to say, Levi's fighting looked Terrible. Stiff and awkward beyond belief and some of those punches missed by so much they made the Sonny Corleone beating his brother in law scene in The Godfather look like The Bourne Identity! They had to edit the hell out of the sequence to make it look even halfway believable.

Chuck with superpowers is a bit of an iffy idea for me even though I did cheer at the time.

Regardless, here's hoping they do renew it. It's a great show

Baylink said...

It seems like a good idea that I should point out here, that while you're waiting (or, if things go poorly, crying), there is something you can use as a palliative...

I'd recommend you start here:

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4881609/1/

Anonymous said...

Love the show, have the 1st season DVD and the 2nd season on my DVR, it's one of the only TV shows I watch. But the last Matrix Neo scene just didn't work for me. I feel they "jumped the shark" - disappointed.

Baylink said...

Ok. I just went back and rewatched the last 2 eps, courtesy of Hulu (and AT&T who gave me the finale with only *one 30 second spot, total* -- limited commercial interruptions, indeed -- and it was even *good*), and I can't escape how much, especially the second wedding sequence, it felt like a Grey's Anatomy episode.

And that's a compliment, for me. Excellent editing and pacing.

And I learned something else. Almost everything you think you remember from watching the ep once... is wrong. If you want to make critical judgements about it, go watch it 2 or 3 more times. And really, all 3 of the final eps of the season.

Pamela Jaye said...

I spent last night on Big Bang, HIMYM and House. I have Grey's playing in my sleep (and still now. think I stacked too many eps). Which scene? I still haven't read all the comments here (still working my way thru) - and the cutting off of the frst 20 seconds of Every Ep Of HIMYM is driving me nuts. Hulu. Maybe Hulu could help me.

Baylink said...

And this author is Even Better: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4136242/1/

ucandoodle2 said...

I love this show too! I think by now, my family thinks I am crazy and some of my friends too! But somthing about this show brings me back to my childhood and gives my such joy! I hope that Chick is renewed and now know that Monday won't be the day....But I am trying to stay positive. The SAVE CHUCK campaign might just work! Look what we can do...so I will send some nerds to NBC - in my final way to support Chuck!

Anonymous said...

CHUCK RENEWED!!!!
http://www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com/nbc-renews-chuck-medium-law-order/

Amyabn said...

Loved the epidsode! We started a new charity campaign to support renewal efforts. We partnered with the American Heart Association for the "Have a Heart-renew Chuck" campaign. For details, check out www.weheartchuck.blogspot.com

Help two great causes!

HC said...

Took you for your prescription Alan, Had a bummer last few days and re-watched this episode. Worked like a charm

Still awesome. Am I rally going to have to wait until 2010 for part two of this episode?

FilmFan said...

Am I right in thinking the wedding shoot-out was part homage to Dynasty?