After a somewhat slow Season 3.5, which revolved mostly around Chuck and Sarah’s deepening relationship and, lately, how the Intersect is killing Chuck, last night’s two-hour season finale ratcheted it up seven notches and matched Season 3.0’s finale earlier this year. That’s a season finale, folks. And so far, it may be the best finale of the network television season. It did everything a season finale should do: It wrapped up the 3.5 plotline, had a lot of great action sequences, it had one huge “Nooooooo!” moment, and it perfectly set up next season. (Bonus: It didn’t completely negate more than half of the series.)
The long and short of it is this: The Ring resurrected Daniel Shaw, via some sort of cellular regeneration device, inserted their own Intersect into him and made him The Ring’s ringleader. And who knew that Brandon Routh could be such a fun supervillian? That deadpan, listless muahahaha was brilliant.
The Ring’s plan was for Shaw to infiltrate the CIA, acting as a CIA double agent inside The Ring (when in fact, he was a triple agent for The Ring), dismantle the Intersect project, have Sarah, Casey, and Chuck arrested and killed, and take over the Intersect project himself, allowing The Ring to have control over the CIA for whatever nefarious purposes they have (for an organization that’s been an integral part of this show all three seasons, it’s surprising how little we actually know about the The Ring or what its purposes are, outside of attempting to build its own Intersect).
Shaw got as far as setting up Chuck and having him imprisoned (as well as Sarah and Casey) after outing Chuck’s debilitating Intersect, but Chuck’s Dad freed him from CIA lock-up and fixed his Intersect with the Governor, only to return with Chuck in an attempt to free Sarah and Casey. That’s where last night’s huge “Nooooo!” moment occurred, where the show finally got enough balls to kill off a likable character in Chuck’s Dad. How good is Scott Bakula, too? In only four episodes during the entire series’ run, Chuck’s Dad felt almost like a major character. When he was killed, it definitely felt like a huge sucker punch. And Jesus fucking Christ, who saw that coming? Shaw pulled out his gun and shot him with no warning. That was cold, people. (Shaw also stole The Governor).
After Chuck was recaptured and transported, along with Sarah and Casey, out into the middle of nowhere to be shot and killed while looking like they were attempting to escape, there appeared — to them, at least — no one left to save them. Enter Ellie, who finally learned of Chuck’s secret, as well as that of her father, namely that he disappeared in order to protect his family and not because he was a bastard. She, in turn, recruited Awesome and Morgan to her aid, and those two sprung Chuck free with a missile from Casey’s car (and really: How great would a Morgan/Awesome/Casey spin-off be? This needs to happen).
In the end, Chuck — using a lot of Buy More gadgetry — exposed Shaw and The Ring, leading to the dismantling of the organization. Shaw, however, escaped only to return to the Buy More with a bomb, setting up one final Shaw/Chuck showdown (during an awesome Jeffster video performance of “Blaze of Glory”). Chuck took out Shaw, but notice that he didn’t kill him (and presumably, Sarah only knocked him out), leaving plenty of room for Shaw to return next season. He’s the best villain this show has ever had, and I’d love to see Brandon Routh reprise his role next season. (It’s not like there’s a Superman sequel waiting for him, either.)
Oh, and Morgan — thumbs broken — accidentally blew up the Buy More. I think we can say officially goodbye to the Nerd Herd. The show had little use for them anymore, anyhow.
After promising Ellie that he would quit the spy business after he took down Shaw, Chuck followed through on it. But, the show had one last card up its sleeve this season. A great one, too. Chuck’s dad left a video message for Chuck, telling him what he’s been working on for the last 20 years. Steven was a private spy; his job, apparently, was to protect his wife (and Chuck’s mother) from some very bad people. And that, essentially, set up next season: The gang is going to go private with a mission to find and protect Chuck’s mother, while warding off a number of other villains.
I like the new direction, too. The show, so far, has been able to alter the dynamics significantly with a lot of success in the past without running off the rails. The new direction will take them out of the CIA (and likely mean the end of General Beckham), but having their own secret organization gives the entire cast something to do as part of the private spy network. I’m sure that Chuck will run it, along with Sarah and Casey, while Morgan and Awesome do additional spy work and Ellie handles logistics or something (since it’s for the benefit of her mother, she’ll of course join up). And because every private organization needs techno nerds, I’m guessing that’s how Jeffster (and maybe even Big Mike) will be utilized in the new organization, too (once Chuck clears them of arson charges). It’ll be more like a cracklier “Alias” with a sense of humor and, hopefully, no Rimbaldi.
More shows should learn to reinvent themselves once every year or two.
Because there are no clips available yet of Jeffster’s “Blaze of Glory,” I leave you all with their “Mr. Roboto” performance from last season’s finale.
We’ll see you next year, Chuck.