Review: "Chuck Versus Sarah"/"Chuck Versus the Goodbye"

By | January 28th, 2012
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

It’s been a while people. “Chuck” has been surviving through smoke and mirrors for years, but last night, its series finale, the last episodes of its fifth and final season, played on NBC. “Chuck” used to be a show I reviewed weekly on Multiversity, and while I never was able to keep up with reviewing it as much as I’d like, I tried to share my love for it as much as I had time for because let’s face it: I have a lot of love for the show.

With the finale airing though, it felt only right to check back in with Team Buy More, the Bartowski Clan, Jeffster!, and the rest of the cast of this show I’ll dearly miss. You can find my thoughts after the jump, but really, it’s just an ode to this show that I’ve loved for five years.

The thing about Chuck is that, if you really wanted to, you easily could make a compelling argument that there are a lot of shows better than it. Names like “Homeland” or “Boardwalk Empire” are pristine examples of that, combining big budgets with flashy casts and high production values to make great television (my fellow MC writer could list out at a litany of British shows out there that do the same).

The true greatness of Chuck isn’t in its explicit quality, although it is a damn fine TV show with one of the best ensemble casts around. The greatness that I speak of is that, unlike those aforementioned shows, it can elicit true joy out of you as a viewer.

When I was watching the series finale last night, particularly in the second half, I was overjoyed by the relationships between the characters and major moments like Jeffster! saving the day or Beckman needing ruthless Casey or any number of other top sections. Save perhaps Parks and Recreation, no show has ever made me feel better while watching it. We’ve had five years of relationship building with this cast, and like the characters to each other, we’ve developed a connection to them that can only be properly represented by a huge hug (like the Russians do).

For that reason, I’ll freely admit it, these last hours made the Harper household get a little dusty. The final two hours found Chuck (and team) trying to help Sarah find herself again, having her memories been wiped out by the same Intersect that made Morgan think frosted tips were a good idea earlier in the season. Really, when you get down to it, this show ultimately is a boy meets girl story with an elaborate high concept that made it appealing to a wider (but still not that wide) audience.

But, as I said, it’s still just boy meets girl. Thankfully, you have leads like Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski as Chuck and Sarah, who make their love not just believable but palpable. These two episodes make that all the more obvious, and both are given their time to shine. Levi, in particular, absolutely nails every moment. The pain and anguish he is going through because the thought that he might be losing the love of his life is worn on his face all of the time, but when the deck is stacked against them, Levi makes it believable that he would do the right thing and save the day instead of possibly saving his relationship.

Strahovski is given a number of great moments, in particular her report videos to the CIA that Casey shares with her, as you see her daily status reports tracking the path of Operation Bartowski and her feelings for Chuck. Strahvoski is so expressive with her face in these sequences that you can actually see the realization of her love for Chuck well before she ever admits to it.

That’s the point of the show though. There are missions. There’s Fulcrum, The Ring, Shaw, Quinn and Volkoff. There was the Buy More, Wienerlicious and Carmichael Industries. There was action, there was comedy, there was any number of genres mixed into the blender of awesome that was this show.

When you get down to it, it was always about Chuck and Sarah. This show ends the way it should: with Chuck and Sarah, hope for tomorrow, and a whole lot of joy for right now.

I’ll miss this show, perhaps more than any other that I’ve enjoyed watching previously. I always knew that, no matter how I was feeling, this show was sure to make me happy. If that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is.

//TAGS | Chuck

David Harper


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