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"Chuck" Finale Recap: Eventually, That Reset Button Will Break

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 17, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | May 17, 2011 |

Look: I’m still watching “Chuck.” As much as I trash-talk the show, and as much as many of you get sick of me whining about the show (and “Fringe”), I’m still hanging in there. I quit “Glee.” I quit “Harry’s Law.” And “Breakout Kings,” and a dozen other shows that I could only muster an episode or two of this season. But I’ve stuck with “Chuck,” out of loyalty to the first two seasons, out of loyalty to the characters, out of loyalty to Yvonne Strahovski’s wardrobe choices, and because every once in a while, they take the show in a new direction that has the potential to resurrect what was great about it. It never does, mind you, and I get burned every half-season with another pointless reset, but I still hold out for the potential that the show once displayed.

Now that the show has been picked up for a final, 13-episode season, I expect I’ll get burned again by last night’s reset, a reset that I thought they were taking at the end of last season. At least this time, it’s more clear: Chuck and Sarah, et. al, are finally going freelance.

How did they get there? Because, for reasons that make little logical sense, the CIA attempted to prevent Chuck from saving Sarah’s life, specifically by using an antidote procured from Volkoff’s daughter (who put Sarah’s life in danger in the first place) after the original intersect was extracted from Volkoff, rendering him a meek nice guy who had apparently agreed to be the intersect for his daughter, who then used her evil Russian forces to prevent the CIA Agents from preventing Chuck from saving Sarah. Along the way, Chuck lost the intersect, quit the CIA, and eventually came into an $800 million inheritance from Volkoff Industries, which he used to purchase the Buy More and upgrade the gadgetry. Oh, and the intersect was uploaded into Grimes. Now he knows kung-fu. TWIST.

The wedding itself was anti-climactic, but for the fact that it took place after a commercial break that left us believing that the antidote had not worked on Sarah. The real ceremony took place in the flashback moments and, specifically, Sarah’s vows, which Chuck countered at the actual wedding with rambling non-vows. There were some moments in those flashbacks in during the wedding that might have been sweet had I not been rendered numb by the last 23 episodes.

All of which is to say: I appreciate that many of you still enjoy the show for what it is. My expectations for “Chuck” are clearly too high. I expect too much, and each plot turn leaves me more and more disappointed. I want more than simply a spy procedural blended clumsily with each stage in the progression of Chuck and Sarah’s romantic relationship. What I want is “Veronica Mars” with spy gadgetry and karate moves. That’s too much to ask from this show, and maybe this last reset will allow me to reset my own expectations going into the final season. But if the intersect stays in Grimes more than three episodes, I’m bailing. If anyone deserves the interesect, it’s Awesome. He’s the only person in this show besides Strahovkski’s bare midsection that deserves more screen time.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.