And that's how you do a finale. This season's last episode of Chuck has it all: romance, drama, fight scenes, Jeffster!, intrigue, nostalgia, and a good deal of promise for — please, oh please — a third season. And despite warnings from the show's creators, I'm not exactly burning my living room over it; I'm just excited that I got to see one darn fine hour of television. Ready to talk about it? Just
Chuck knows kung fu! He knows kung fu and heaven knows what else, because he puts the Intersect back into his brain, and it turns out to be more powerful than anyone knew. It may be too powerful, as his dad suggests — and, if we're lucky, we'll get to find out. But for the moment, all we need to know is: Chuck voluntarily downloaded the Intersect, and he's not only a hero for it but potentially an action superstar.
And I suppose he'll be needing those powers to take on The Ring — if, indeed, that's what they're called. There's something big and bad beyond Fulcrum, some organization of spies that's never been defeated (except, apparently, by Chuck's magic martial arts skills). Their mission and motives seem shadowy so far: they shoot Roark, let Casey live, and kill Bryce Larkin (I assume, this time, for good). What do they want? How do they fit in? Will we ever get to find out? NBC, call me!
And I've only talked about the last 10 minutes! Honestly, "Chuck vs. The Ring" is exhausting: it's a big cycle of happiness followed by disaster, rinse, repeat. Chuck and Casey quit their Buy More jobs, but then Chuck learns Sarah is heading on a mission with Bryce. Chuck's ready to get his sister married, but then Ted Roark shows up. Casey manages to immediately make good on a promise and parachute in to take Roark down, but then Ellie's perfect wedding is reduced to a pile of torn silk and melted ice sculpture. The happiest moments in the episode, as it turns out, come smack in the middle, when Chuck realizes he can still give Ellie her dream wedding, thanks to a fat government check and a team of the most detail-oriented wedding planners around. The next time you need a secluded beach location, nonclashing bunting, and begonias on short notice, just give the NSA a call.
Maybe my sense of happiness is screwed up, but I find a lot of joy in this episode, even when bad things are about to happen. Take, for example, Jeffster!'s vocorder-laden rendition of "Mr. Roboto," which ends up becoming the score to one of the greatest throwdowns in Chuck history. Or Sarah telling Bryce that she won't be going away with him after all. Or Chuck's dad clocking Ted Roark. At the 40-minute mark, when Awesome and Ellie walked down the makeshift aisle to Chuck's whoops and cheers, I thought Chuck had already delivered one of the most fabulous finales I've ever seen. And that's even before the new Intersect came along to change everything.
Some other thoughts:
- Nice that Sarah's bridesmaid's dress apparently came ready for action. Also a good thing that knives are a fairly traditional wedding gift.
- "Why are you letting Sam Kinison and an Indian lesbian ruin your wedding?"
- Chuck's dad has an Intersect, too! Not entirely surprising, at this point, but I was pretty excited to see him flash.
- One of my favorite sequences involves the wedding fight, Honey Woodcombe taking a swig out of a flask, and Ellie meditating cross-legged in her wedding dress.
- Yeah, I totally still don't get all of what the Orion wristband does.
- So if Morgan, Chuck, and Casey are all gone from the Buy More, is there even a Buy More if there's a season three?
- One more time, for posterity: Chuck knows kung fu!
So now we wait. May 4 — that's when NBC has to announce its Fall schedule. I just hope that when the news comes, it'll be that we get to see how Chuck uses his new powers, rather than just imagining scenes like that closing kung fu one over and over. In the meantime, let's chat about Chuck's new powers and everything else that went down in this finale!
Photos courtesy of NBC