Chuck vs. a fond farewell

The end is here.

In this day and age of reality shows, sitcoms, and procedurals, it’s an event whenever an original concept manages to last for any extensive period of time — especially long enough to actually get a season finale. When this show is “Chuck,” you may as well multiply this feeling of pride by a trillion and buy a box of hankies.

More so than any other show of a generation, “Chuck” wasa show kept alive by the fans, and made specifically for the fans. The fact that the show even made it five seasons is a surprise in itself, and we have everyone to thank from Subway (who agreed to help sponsor the show after season 2) to NBC’s various programming heads over the years for actually bucking a trend and listening to what the diehard fans wanted. Who knows if we would be sitting here today if this was ABC or Fox — the network that sent “Firefly” packing after airing the episodes out of order throughout one season.

Even from a personal and professional perspective, “Chuck” has been a joy to cover when it comes to everything from posting news to interviewing cast members. The fans are among the most caring of any TV community, and even during some low points there were still reasons to be excited. After all, there are really few shows that have tried so many genres, made so many references to geek lore, and included everything from a man named Captain Awesome to a band named Jeffster.

The finale ultimately played out in a way that just about every fan could be happy with — there were frequent references throughout to past moments from the season (including Weinerlicious and LargeMart), ballroom dances, tragedy, action, and of course humor. The first hour of the two-part finale made it appear as though Sarah Walker was about to destroy Zachary Levi’s Chuck completely after being brainwashed by Nicholas Quinn to do so — and there a few moments along the way where we started to really doubt whether Ellie and Casey were going to make it out alive. This was easily the darker hour of the two, with Chuck’s teary plea to an emotionless Sarah inside the house she had wanted at one point being a particular moment where the sniffles started to come in waterfalls.

By the time we got to the second hour, we started to see a more determined hero out of Chuck — he had managed to convince Sarah that he did in fact love her and that Quinn had lied in an effort to destroy her life. Unfortunately, the problem here was still that she could not tap into the feelings that were once there for Chuck, and her mission was then to take down Quinn and then go into hiding forever — and thus allowing everyone the opportunity to move on.

For a show that was consequently about underdog stories, this episode ended up being the best one of all. Casey realized that he was better off when he realized that he was with his band of misfits, and there were some shout-outs to such notable people in the past as Chevy Chase’s Ted Roark, Chuck’s mother Mary, and just about everyone from “evil organizations” Fulcrum and The Ring. The pivotal scene included a performance from Jeffster, which served as a distraction while Chuck eliminated Quinn, and ended up using the last upload on his intersect to save the lives of the entire auditorium. As for our hero’s relationship with Sarah, there wasn’t much hope since he couldn’t get her to actually feel the way that he did.

During the closing minutes, the show did everything within its power to tie together every loose end we could ask for. Jeff and Lester finally found themselves a career opportunity in Germany, Casey decided to chase after Gertrude wherever that took him, Morgan and Casey’s daughter Alex moved in together, and Ellie and Awesome made the bold decision to take off to Chicago so they could take a more lucrative job offer.

After all of these partings, we had our final scene — Chuck finding Sarah on the beach that she once comforted him on so many years ago, and he proceeded at her request to tell her the story of how they first met and fell in love. With the kiss to close things off, we didn’t seemingly have the euphoric moment Morgan suggested earlier in the finale where Sarah suddenly remembered everything — but we did have a fantastic ending that gave us all the hope we needed that these two would find their way back to their dream house.

At the end of the day, we all knew that “Chuck” was always about more than a show — it was about getting away from the world for an hour and feeling good about life. Few shows have brought so many smiles, and few finales have managed to better encapsulate an entire series in just two hours’ time.

Goodbye, “Chuck.” We’ll miss you.

Photo: NBC

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