Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Season Finale: Chuck-"Chuck vs. the Cliffhanger"

Chuck and Sarah practice on "Chuck"
Credit: NBC

My thoughts on the season finale of Chuck are after the jump.

I really don't know how to say this other then that was fucking awesome. Chuck has proven in the past that it can do kickass finales (I'm including Other Guy and Push Mix in that list) and this episode deserves to join the ranks of those episodes. It was a well written and well performed finale that was all I could have expected from the episode. It had so many twists and turns that held my attention better then many episodes of television I have seen this season. It left me glad that this wasn't the series finale, because that cliffhanger would have had me screaming if NBC hadn't renewed it. It set up a great status quo for season five (the final season).

Let's start off with that super-mega-awesome cliffhanger. I have to admit that I read NBC's upfront press material before the episode, so this was completely ruined for me. But I have to admit, Morgan becoming an intersect is an ingenious plot twist. I would have never guessed that would ever happen on the show. What that does is it sets up the show to return to its season one roots. Chuck had to deal with learning how to control the Intersect, and now Morgan will have to deal with the same thing. Joshua Gomez should have a lot of fun getting to do all kinds of crazy things that he never would have expected in the first season. He was amazing this season and this should give him more of a chance to show off his dramatic range.

The rest of the episode before that was pretty damn awesome as well. This week could be considered Phase Three, Chuck edition. I don't think I've ever seen Chuck be as badass as he was in this episode. He was driven by love to do absolutely anything and everything to save his loved one from the grasps of death. And boy what a twisty turny mission it was. Chuck runs around trying to cure his future wife. The Eraser proved to be a very formidable threat who gave Chuck a lot of trouble. Heck, the eraser deintersected Chuck. But what I loved more then anything about Chuck being a badass in this episode, was that he did everything without the Intersect. He was able to walk into Volkoff industries and take on Vivian Volkoff as well as walk in front of the Eraser and beat him without the Intersect. This is something that the writers hinted at at the beginning of the season, but they finally give this plotline justice with Chuck saving Sarah in a completely plausible way.

If there's one thing that the mission of the week did right is that it returned Volkoff back to Hartley and gave Timothy Dalton a chance to play a side of the character that didn't get nearly enough time at the beginning of Volkoff's arc. Timothy Dalton was clearly having fun playing all the complex material that he was given in this episode. Not many people would be able to play a character who finds out that his alter ego had a daughter and turned her over to the dark side with a sense of having fun. He killed playing scared to meet her in the Volkoff lobby. But he's killed everything this season. Dalton has brought a level of acting that I've never seen before on this show. He takes it up past ten on the dial every single second that he's on screen and brought a presence to both sides of his character. He made this season of Chuck as good as it was.

Another aspect of the episode that the writers nailed was the relationship material between Chuck and Sarah. The scenes where they were practicing the vows were absolutely amazing. Levi and Strahovski were hitting it out of the park in those scenes. But the best Chuck and Sarah scene in the episode is obviously the wedding scene. There was a sense of beauty and nostalgia in this scene. It was the scene I would turn to if the show was cancelled as the perfect ending to the show. I admit I had tears rolling down my face when the flashbacks were playing. The emotional impact of that montage was huge. The scene was truly beautiful and it was a perfect example of why I watch this show.

Some other thoughts:

  • I'm not sure that Vivian ever completely clicked for me as a villain, but Lauren Cohen did a great job in this finale.
  • This must be the first episode ever not to feature the opening credits. It gave a sense that the episode means business and needed 40 more seconds for story
  • Damn Adam Baldwin was amazing in this one. He delivered some fantastic lines really well and with a true sense of emotion. He has turned a heartless character into someone who genuinely cares for his team and will do anything to save them (including flipping over a table).
  • I don't need to say anything more the "Russians, so many Russians!"
  • I wonder what the other two aspects of the cliffhanger mean. I'm interested in what working for themselves would do, and who's that outside threat 
  • There wasn't too much from the Buy More crew this week besides one small scene with Jeffster. 
That was a brilliant way to bring season four to a close and set up a final season that should be kickass. Boy am I glad to say that this isn't bringing the series to a close. 

What did everyone else think?

1 comment:

  1. Every time I see Adam acting this well on screen I wonder why someone - anyone - hasn't offered him his own series as lead. Or, perhaps even better, his own name-above-the-title blockbuster. He's got the acting chops, the looks, the physicality, plus he's a huge fan favourite.


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