'Chuck' Series Finale Review: Laughter, Tears and Subway Sandwiches
'Chuck' Series Finale Review: Laughter, Tears and Subway Sandwiches
Laurel Brown
Laurel Brown
Senior Writer, BuddyTV
What can I say? The ending of Chuck is awesome.

When TV shows reach a planned conclusion, there's always the danger of not giving fans the payout they've anticipated for years. This is not the case with Chuck. Instead, the two episodes that make up the Chuck series finale deliver laughs, tears, action, callbacks and some of the best product placement you will ever see.

Unfortunately, there is little that I can say about the plots of these episodes. That would give away too much. And you, the fans, deserve to be surprised by all that the Chuck series finale has to offer. This review will thus give only some impressions of an incredible pair of episodes.

"Chuck vs. Sarah," the first episode to air in the Chuck series finale, is definitely the darker chapter. Coming directly off the events of last week's "Chuck vs. the Bullet Train," the episode focuses on what happens when a spy -- Sarah Walker -- loses her past and turns against her friends.

The second of the episodes, "Chuck vs. the Goodbye," continues this story but also manages to incorporate themes from throughout Chuck's five-season run. As the episode builds to its climax, I can honestly say that almost every major theme of Chuck gets its moment.

Some shows would get bogged down in all this history. Not Chuck. Although the callbacks to earlier seasons had me giggling and saying "Oh, right..." repeatedly as the episodes progressed, none of those moments seemed forced or extraneous. On the contrary, it felt totally natural for the finale to echo multiple plot points from Chuck's pilot episode, "Chuck vs. the Intersect." Each memory seemed only like the natural progression to an ending that, in many ways, takes us right back to the beginning.

The same goes for the characters. Every member of the show's main cast does, of course, make an appearance before the end of "Chuck vs. the Goodbye," but the finale is not overburdened by the use of unnecessary guest stars.

There are a few blasts from the past, of course. In particular, watch for Mark Pellegrino (known best for his recurring roles on Supernatural, Lost and The Closer) to reprise an amusingly tiny role: in the season 2 episode, "Chuck vs. the Fat Lady," Pellegrino played an unimportant Fulcrum agent. And that's who he is in the Chuck series finale. The casting choice is as brilliantly random as Chuck itself.

Are there a few loose ends that might have benefited from a few more episodes of Chuck? Of course there are. But it's possible to look at these unfinished stories as a good thing. After all, Chuck is a show that has had multiple potential finales over the years -- when the show came back (again and again), it followed whatever plotlines had been introduced in the "finale."

In this, the true Chuck series finale, we get more closure than usual, but there are still paths and stories that could, in a miraculous alternate universe, bring Chuck back yet again. The show won't, of course, return. But it's nice to know that it could.

The ending of Chuck is, essentially, a bittersweet love letter to its most devoted supporters (and yes, this includes Subway). Fair enough -- few shows have had the laughs and stories to inspire such devotion, and none have survived on fan support as long as Chuck.

Now, Chuck gets to go out with a bang. And the series has been worth every moment that led to its awesome end.

(Image courtesy of NBC)




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