Chuck vs. the Cliffhanger comes at us from all angles. Picking up from the rather nasty cliffhanger from the week before where Sarah was left dying after being struck by the Norseman, a deadly DNA tracking device at the rehearsal dinner.
It’s Chuck, we know Sarah is going to be okay, she has to be. Despite what we think we knew this episode manages to play with our expectations throughout the entire episode, actually creating some serious suspense as Chuck races against the clock, breaking all the rules and more to save her. Intercutting slow, sweet romantic flashback scenes of Chuck and Sarah leading up to the wedding, with them practicing their vows all with sunny soft lighting, almost dreamlike, made the current story being told feel all the more urgent and harsh.
Like the end of each season the entire story is torn down and started afresh for a new season. With Chuck downloading intersect 2.0 at the end of the 2nd leading into season 3, then burning the Buy More to the ground at the end of 3 allowing it to become an official CIA base for the 4th when more of our characters were spy focused moving out of the civilian comfort zone.
This could have easily been a perfect series finale. With Sarah’s life in jeopardy Chuck stops at nothing to save her. He breaks every rule, crossing the most dangerous man in the CIA , Agent Clyde Decker, that even Casey is afraid of, when project intersect is cancelled and all his resources are taken away it still doesn’t stop him. With every step Chuck takes towards finding the antidote for the Norseman poison we see more of the old CIA structure of the show crash behind him.
That guy may think he’s a hardass, but I’m the Intersect.
This season ender was so satisfying because it allowed the story of Chuck’s development to really bloom and in a way he was able to finally truly prove himself as a spy. He now not only had the skills, but the confidence in himself to be able to pull something off, even without the intersect.
This was not the old Chuck who got nervous despite the skills in his head. This is the new Chuck, a spy who is capable and fearless, and happens to have a computer in his head. He jumped on night? Without a moments hesitation riding along mountain highways and straight into a truck carrying Volkoff/Agent X. He drew up plan after plan after backup plan and got through the whole thing because he’s smart, he’s confidant and he’s a great guy, who has turned into a great and resourceful spy.
Chuck spent a great deal of time the past few seasons trying to prove to Sarah, and to a lesser extent Casey and General Beckman that he was more than just a guy with a very valuable computer in his head. We’ve seen this in small doses, in the first season using his impressive duck hunt skills to have fantastic aim in nabbing baddies, this season we see him use out of the box thinking to disarm a bomb using a juice box.
As recently as Chuck vs. The Fear of Death Chuck was still struggling to prove to Sarah that he was a real spy, his gallivanting on solo missions with Jim Rye (Rob Riggle) ended up with his capture, followed by Chuck vs. Phase Three where Sarah has to go save Chuck’s life after his solo mission went south. This season was a coming of age story for Chuck as a spy. His successful mission to save Sarah despite having to overcome lost identities and a scorned Vivian Volkoff, and having to fight the CIA tooth and nail to get there was his proof, his moment that he is a spy, him and not the computer that was in his head.
Chuck vs. The Cliffhanger would have made an excellent series finale. The bridges were all but burned with the CIA, the gang is moving on to new adventures as freelance spies, and Chuck & Sarah finally tied the knot.
Fun Notes & Quotes:
- “Reagan-smart” Casey’s reaction upon learning the intended use for the Norseman, technology from the 80s meant to gather the DNA of all of America’s enemies to keep them in line
- Dude sweep the leg? Come on! In real life you just make a fist and hit him as hard as you can. – Awesome, being awesome.
- “Russians, so many Russians.” Casey seemed rather shaken when he saw the sky littered with paratroopers borrowed from Volkoff Industries to run Operation Magnet
- When I saw Morgan holding a gun with the rest of the gang up to Decker I thought, who gave Morgan a gun!?! Now that he has the intersect it seems like it just might be a lot more common
- So glad to see General Beckman staying on the side of Team Chuck, even lending him her passcard on the sly so he can access Castle.
- by the power vested in me by the Intergalactic Federation of Planets I pronounce you man and wife
- Chuck jumping on Knight Rider … and his mother, a spy, was worried about him riding a motorcycle, and this was still with the intersect intact
- Completely random note: Having Chuck & Co. take over Volkoff Industries (at least the assets) and going into private business reminds me of the game-changer in season 5 of Angel where the gang takes over Wolfram & Hart… anyone?
- As you wish
See you in September for Chuck’s Final Season (for real this time) – remember to change your DVRs and reschedule the parties because Chuck will be returning on Fridays at 8 on NBC.