'Chuck' Finale Recap: The Indescribable Heartbreak of 'Chuck vs. Sarah'
'Chuck' Finale Recap: The Indescribable Heartbreak of 'Chuck vs. Sarah'
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
This is the beginning of the end, Chuck fans. One last (long) night of Chuck before the show goes to that big Buy More in the sky. So let's make the most of it -- keep reading for a full recap of the first part of the Chuck series finale, "Chuck vs. Sarah."

Click here to read the recap of the second part of the Chuck series finale, "Chuck vs. the Goodbye."

When we last saw our favorite Burbank spies, they were in a seriously dark place. Chuck and Casey failed to rescue Sarah before Quinn was done with her. And Sarah herself ended the last episode, "Chuck vs. the Bullet Train," without memories and tasked with a mission to kill Chuck.

Nowhere to go but up, right? Right??? Maybe not...

Someone Returns... But Is It Really Sarah?
Chuck begins "Chuck vs. Sarah" in an understandable panic. Being Chuck, this means babbling to Casey and Morgan, while apparently somehow finding the time to hack into the CIA's mainframe. All this panic is, however, proved unnecessary when Sarah -- barefoot and bleeding -- appears at the door.

Yay! Right?

Sarah tells the others that she managed to fight off and kill Quinn, making her escape back home. While her friends and family happily believe this, but we soon learn otherwise. The lost Mrs. Bartowski is, instead, taking orders from a very-much-alive Quinn via earpiece.

How did he survive? It seems that Sarah only threatened Quinn with death before letting him talk her around. Even that might not have worked, except that Quinn somehow got his hands on Sarah's own video log from five years ago. Speaking right after her very first contact with Chuck, Video Sarah is all business. Present-day Sarah does try to get confirmation from either Langston Graham or Bryce Larkin, but unfortunately they're dead. So that doesn't work.

Quinn pins these deaths on Chuck and the gang and sends Sarah on her merry way to a) steal some Intersect glasses and b) kill Chuck.

This makes a quick cut back to the happily embracing Mr. and Mrs. Bartowski somewhat awkward. And very ominous.

Poor Chicken! Poor Chuck!
A short time later, Chuck is surprised by the vigor with which his wife dismembers a chicken. The somewhat weirded-out Chuck leaves to phone Morgan, giving Sarah ample time to search her husband's Star Wars collectibles for some Intersect glasses. Such searching is only foiled by Chuck's return and subsequent efforts to "relax" Sarah via massage.

Because Sarah is evil (and hiding kitchen knives under pillows and stuff), the massage doesn't work, and the unhappy couple goes to bed. Sarah waits only until Chuck is asleep before resuming her glasses-search. Alas for happiness, she locates the glasses and is ordered by Quinn to kill Chuck. His wakefulness and Sarah's decided disinterest in playing footsie are all that save Chuck for the moment.

Chuck pays a midnight visit to Ellie and shares all of his worries about his wife's condition. Ellie is her consoling self, but it doesn't work. Chuck is still concerned and is ready for drastic action: He is going to track down that last Intersect program and destroy it, thus saving his family and friends from more brain-scrambling trauma.

Sarah and her knife, secretly listening from above, hear this news with shock and confused emotion. But this only feeds into Quinn's evil plans -- instead of killing Chuck immediately, Sarah is to help Chuck get that Intersect. And then she can kill her husband.

Back in the Bed of Lost Hopes and Dreams, a scheming Sarah cuddles right up to Chuck. But nothing has changed.

Taking D.A.R.P.A.
Never one to waste any time, Chuck enlists Sarah, Casey and Morgan in his plan to storm the CIA's secret-weapons lab. But wait -- all is not well. When looking for extra tranq darts for Morgan, Chuck happens upon the Intersect glasses stolen by Sarah. Does he know what this means?

It initially seems that he doesn't. Which is probably good, because there's a mission to take care of.

Chuck and company deploy knock-out gas upon the busy scientists of D.A.R.P.A. and their inventions (Laser robots! Invisibility cloaks!) and quickly find the White Room in which government Intersects always seem to live. All goes according to plan -- not counting Sarah's sudden and suspicious ninja attack on the room's guards -- and Chuck and Sarah make their move to infect the Intersect with a virus.

But it doesn't work.

Instead of uploading a virus, Sarah is secretly downloading the Intersect program onto her stolen glasses. The second she has it, evil Sarah grabs Morgan as a human shield and begins to back away from those she once called friends. Emotions take hold, causing Sarah to spill the beans on Quinn's continued existence and on how she believes Chuck and his friends are pure evil.

Chuck, although visibly hurt, takes this turn of events surprisingly well. He even manages to get close to Sarah, reminding her of what they had and reaching out to touch her. For a moment, we even get to think this might work. And then Quinn, jerk that he is, orders Sarah to get out. She punches Chuck, races through the door and plants a bomb to obliterate the others.

Has Quinn won? Although it would seem that way -- Quinn himself explodes the White Room after Sarah hesitates -- it's not quite that easy. Sarah reluctantly (and violently) hands over the Intersect glasses, but (yay!!!) there is no Intersect on them.

How? That would be Chuck. Knowing that Sarah had brought Intersect glasses in her bag (but not wanting to believe what that meant), Chuck knew to switch a pair of fake glasses for the ones with the Intersect attached. But even after the sad switch -- and even after only barely surviving Quinn's bomb -- Chuck is only barely able to face the truth: "My wife never came home."

Can you blame him?

Sarah Makes It Personal
Team Bartowski returns to Castle only to realize that Sarah is likely to go after their family and friends first. And she has -- Sarah has taken Ellie out for a pleasant coffee and hostage-taking. Cold, hard Sarah demands that Chuck bring the Intersect glasses to her, or else Ellie will be getting a few bullets to the brain.

Although Chuck, obviously, wants to race off and save everyone, General Beckman (called in to help with the situation) has another plan. Chuck is to lure Sarah to a designated location where a CIA team will neutralize her. In any way possible. For obvious reasons, Chuck is not excited about this, but he has no other choice.

They reckoned without Sarah's cunning. Instead of going alone with Chuck, Sarah insists on Ellie driving her to the new location. Chuck goes along with this, not comforted by Casey's promise to keep Ellie safe during the takedown. Soon, Chuck's emotions get the better of him (as they always do), and he abruptly changes the route.

Ellie follows along, desperately trying to reason with Sarah. That doesn't work. What does? Violence. In a fit of pure badassery, Ellie deliberately crashes her car to knock out Sarah. She is then shocked when her brother, instead of calling in the cavalry, drives away with an unconscious Sarah.

Home Sweet Home?
When Sarah awakens, she finds herself in what was once her dream home, a sad but earnest Chuck by her side. Chuck reminds her of their love -- their first kiss before a supposed bomb detonation, Sarah telling Chuck she loved him, Chuck's proposal in the hospital, their hopes for the dream house. He then offers Sarah the glasses and his death if she can't believe him.

She does believe him. Sort of. Alas, Sarah just thinks that her undercover mission was successful enough to trick Chuck into love. And then she goes for the glasses.

It turns out that Chuck isn't totally ready to give them up though, and the couple begins to fight. Or, at least, Sarah begins to fight. She soon learns that Chuck, while refusing to release the glasses, will not fight back in any way. By the time she has thrown her husband against a mirror and kicked him down a flight of stairs, Sarah is truly beginning to believe that Chuck might indeed be honest in his feelings.

No matter, cold-hearted Sarah pulls a gun on Chuck. But then... Remember how, a few episodes back, Chuck and Sarah vandalized their dream home by carving their names into a doorframe? Apparently, that was a great choice. Because Sarah recognizes it. And lowers her gun.

Unhappy Endings
It's really too bad that Sarah didn't have that spark of memory just a little bit sooner, because all the fighting has given Quinn the chance to track her down. He arrives at this point, cheerfully admitting that he was lying through his teeth about Chuck being evil. He takes the glasses, shoots Sarah, and leaves.

Sarah is only saved from Quinn-inflected death by Chuck, who dives in front of her to take the bullet. Chuck fortunately has a bulletproof vest on and therefore doesn't die or anything. But the CIA is coming, so Sarah has to make a run for it. No reconciliation yet...

Later, while Ellie and Devon deal with a heartbroken Chuck, Casey visits Sarah's apartment with an envelope and a farewell. Sarah pauses in her feverish escape-packing to open the envelope and to watch the DVD inside.

It's a collection of her mission logs, chronicling Sarah's changing feelings for Chuck -- first as an asset, then as a complication, finally as a lover -- over several years. The tears have begun for Sarah even before her Day-564 self proclaims, via video: "I love Chuck Bartowski, and I don't know what to do about it."

Present-day Sarah does. She meets Chuck outside of their apartment and tells him she believes everything he said. Only problem? She doesn't feel it. And she can't.

Instead, Sarah has to leave, to find her life. Chuck barely manages to speak his own goodbye, but his heartbreak is not enough to keep Sarah there. And she's gone.

Need more? Click here to read our recap of the second part of the Chuck series finale, "Chuck vs. the Goodbye"!

And that's the first part of the Chuck series finale done. Indescribable sadness aside, what did you think of it? Share your sorrows and comments below!

(Image courtesy of NBC)