Chuck vs. The Ambiguous Ending

827chuckvstheambigiousending Separator

by Andressa Mota

As I sit here, intent on writing a blog about Chuck’s ambiguous ending, the words are unexpectedly just not coming. You see, I’ve been thinking about this an unnatural amount of time, and thought this review would practically write itself, but staring at my blank computer screen, all I can think is, “Chuck was such a good show.” Before nostalgia really kicks in and I revert to watching tribute videos on YouTube, there are a few things I need to say.

First and foremost, the final arc of the show was brilliantly thought-out and performed. It was such a treat to see the Weinerlicious as well as Berlin’s version of El Compadre make a final appearance. There were other delicious Easter eggs, but if I begin to list all the awesome that was packaged inside the final two episodes, it will only just peer past the openings pages of the epicness that is Chuck. All in all, the writers nailed it when bringing the show full circle. Bravo!

That being said, I was at the precipice of rage when the final scene (the mother of all Easter eggs) came and went, and Sarah didn’t magically regain her memory. I’m sure you guys have seen the infamous YouTube video where Hitler reacts to Chuck’s finale, right? If you haven’t yet, I highly recommend it. Besides it being funny, it conveys the precise emotions I felt. I had invested so much on this show, ate so many Subway sandwiches, signed every online petition, and that was my reward? I felt robbed of my Ross-Rachel happy ending.

When Friends ended, there was a general sense of finality. Ross and Rachel were together, Monica and Chandler had their babies, etc… There was no room to ponder, no more will-they-won’t-they. I understand Friends also had a billion seasons, but they didn’t have to keep Ross and Rachel together. They could just as easily have let Rachel move to Paris. (Gasp!) But they chose to tie all loose ends (and avoid WWIII).

That’s not what happened on Chuck.

My sister, who’s also a big fan of the show, hadn’t watched the finale when it first aired. As soon as she did, she called me and the first word out of her mouth was, “Why?” My reply was, “I don’t know.” Only after the adrenaline pumping through my veins subsided and the small mounds of tear-soaked tissues were thrown out was I able to answer her query. It does take some time to digest and understand the brilliance of that ending. If you’re like my sister, who will only watch The Notebook until Allie returns to Noah, you might not like what I have to say, but hear me out. You might even agree with me.

Had the show had ended with Chuck and Sarah’s wedding, turning a blind eye to Morgan getting the intersect, it would have been a more satisfactory final chapter, wouldn’t it? If you asked me this question on that dreary January night, I would have said yes without batting an eyelash. But I’ve gone rogue.

Chuck couldn’t have ended any other way. Well, it could, but wouldn’t have had as much impact as it did. (We’re still talking about it, right?) Before I say anything else, I just want to express how grateful I am that the show was able to end on its own terms, rather than not returning for a final season. I would have hated for Chuck to have the same ill fate as some great shows, like Firefly.

The beauty of that ambiguous ending is that there is still room for interpretation, room for (heated) discussions, but more importantly, room for continuance. (Chuck vs. The Movie?) In all fairness, the final episode did tie a few loose ends, but it left the viewers wanting more. If you Google “Chuck movie,” the second suggestion offered is “Chuck movie petition,” and if you then click on that, you’ll see Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, Tumblr blogs,  and even petitions titled “Chuck Movie: A Proper Goodbye.” Granted, the show was epic and fans would have fought for a movie regardless, but in my humble opinion, I think the end provided extra room for us to continue rallying for the show. And one thing Chuck fans know how to do is rally.

For many of us, Chuck isn’t over, and that’s the greatest achievement a show can attain. The legend of our favorite nerd-herder and his team will remain alive for years to come. Boom! What more can you ask?

It is totally acceptable if you still yearn for a miraculous moment when Sarah regains her memory (and tells Chuck the “consequence” of their rendezvous on the bullet train is due in nine months). What? You thought about it too. But in my own interpretation, I absolutely think that Chuck and Sarah remain together. It hurts to think that Sarah won’t remember their first kiss, the proposal, or even their wedding day, but let’s not dwell on that. Instead, imagine that those events were just the beginning of their journey and there are still many special moments to come. Agreed?

Now, excuse me as I go watch tribute videos until Chuck vs. The Movie is released.


    15 Comments

  1. mikej32August 27th, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I HAD to come to terms with the final episode. I HAD to find a way to get past the ambiguity. Otherwise, it was just too painful and unsettling for me. Yes, that sounds melodramatic, but it’s true.

    The good news? I have come to terms with it.

    I’m now convinced that she was going to get her memories back. There were four clues in the last couple of episodes that convinced me of this:

    1. She remembered the “Chuck + Sarah” that she scratched into the wall.
    2. She remembered how to stack the cups correctly at Wienerlicious.
    3. She remembered the Irene Demova virus.
    4. She remembered that that particular beach was important.

    That was enough for me to now be confident that the outcome I wanted to see would be happening.

    ALSO…

    There was at least one more strong hint that Sarah would remember her history with Chuck and fall for him again. If you’ll remember in S03E13, Sarah said she fell for Chuck a long time ago — after he fixed her phone and before he started defusing bombs with computer viruses. That means that she fell for him in the very first episode when she was a hard-core spy and he was just Chuck.

    Also, note that she had already remembered the Irene Demova virus again (which Chuck used AFTER she had previously claimed she fell for him). I believe it was only a matter of time before the other memories started coming back – especially those that occurred prior to memories she had already regained (i.e., Irene Demova). Even if the memories didn’t come back fully (which I’m convinced they were going to) — note once again that Sarah fell for Chuck even when she was nothing but a spy and he was just Chuck.

    I can now have peace with the show.

  2. mrjroc83August 27th, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Here! Here!!
    I concur with your thoughts on the issues that still linger from the final episode. A good book would leave the reader wanting more, so then why would a good TV show not aim to provide the same feeling for the viewer? Chuck leaves every viewer and fan of the show wanting more, better yet it allows the viewer to use their imagination to ponder up new missions and continue the story arcs.
    I didn’t like the ending much at first, however at least Chuck and Sarah are together at the end and she still loves him. And that is the foundation that this great story arc can continue to be built upon.

  3. ArthurAugust 27th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I agree. I really liked Chuck before its final four episodes. But those last four, and especially the finale, rank as easily the best television I’ve ever seen. I think all of the fans were expecting a victory lap for a finale, and instead, the writing crew took the biggest risk they’d taken in the history of the series. And in so doing, they managed to restate and reaffirm all of the core promises of the show. The ending is only ambiguous to people who didn’t understand the pilot, or even the opening lines of the show. “I’m Chuck Bartowski. It’s not like she’s too good for me.”

    The show has always been about how Chuck, in all his geeky semi-normalness, was able to achieve his greatest dreams, and earn love, by growing into a man, more than anything else. And the show goes out of its way to show us that, even without any of her memories, Sarah becomes drawn again to a man who, while the same person she fell in love with, has grown into somebody completely worthy of her. It’s a beautiful ending, and completely unambiguous – they go so far as to literally state the outcome by playing “Rivers and Roads” as they fade to black. Brilliant and fulfilling.

  4. KiaraphoenixAugust 27th, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    I loved the ending it was so poetic and unexpected of a TV show. Chuck really is a one of a kind show and it will always have a special place in my Blu-Ray collection and in my heart. Thank You for the wonderful series and great ending. Good job Chuck crew!

  5. Tommy Jr (Beefyamazeballs)August 27th, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Who’s Chuck? (come on…someone had to do it)

    Anyways, awesome article. I remember the night, when us nerds met up at the Finale in Anaheim screening. It was probably the saddest moments I had to live with (Besides Zac’s crying moments). Chuck meant a lot to me when it first aired on TV. What made me love it even more, was the love is had for Tron. Seeing the poster and hearing the references made the show too awesome. And what made it more awesome, was meeting all of the nerds at the WB Chuck Tours to Chuckfest3, and of course the famous 5th season panel at SDCC.

    Never will there be a great show as Chuck. Chuck meant a lot to us all, and it still does til this day. I’m always grateful for this show and what it provided– a heart-warming , compassionate, breathtaking….love letter.

  6. DakotaAugust 27th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I don’t think, I’ll ever be a huge fan of the ending or even be some what happy about it. Yet, in the end I just tell myself that it could have been worse. I’ll just try and convince myself that Sarah got her memories back.

    And then Chuck and Sarah went on to make beautiful babies.
    Haha.

    In all honestly, I was just very grateful they were allowed to have another season that allowed them to wrap things up.

  7. AnieliAugust 27th, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    I agree with chuck everything was just great, and if we do not remember everything Sarah is she just go buy more and buy in all seasons of Chuck and watch with him so she will see how the chuck love, and peace will return to reign joke hahaha: D

  8. JeanneAugust 28th, 2012 at 3:37 am

    I would like to say that CHUCK is and allways will be the best show ever. I have never cryed at A shows ending before.Chuck was the first. I have seen many shows and never cryed at the end.Yes like alot of people I was not happy at the ending but I got over it fast. I will miss Chuck alot. But maybe someday they will make A Chuck movie, and get to see Chuck and Sarah again. Thank you Admin for this Artical. it was Great.!!! ok it was AWESOME!!!!!

  9. Edward MaxAugust 28th, 2012 at 5:55 am

    Well,i agree with you,but still would it hurt to make a happy ending,like after the kiss Sarah could tell Chuck,something in some episode,she says Chuck after seeing him and then she knows who he is,that could have been the ending,but even if you pass the moment and think that she would remember,and yes she has remembered him,if you see he kisses her,for 1 second,and then she kisses him,that’s when she remembered,and yea that is true.And The Chuck Movie can be made but from what i’ve heard NBC doesn’t want to.So here i have something.First Chuck could be on another network CBS,where Two and a half men is,They work too with Warner Bros .And what’s left is the actors and the money,i was thinking that it would be needed like 50.000.000$ give or take from that,for the movie and another for actors and crew who would maybe sponsored by Subway.Next it would have to be some time because you cant make a movie in 1 year
    and the actors have work in progress so it would be after 3 years,but instead of making a movie i would say make more seasons,continue with the story and stop counting only US views,because Chuck is all over the world even Japan,and dont tell me that even than it has only 10.000.000 views it really is like 50.000.000 besides the blu ray’s bought,and yes it’s better to buy a Blu Ray than DVD.So last words The ending could have been Sarah remembers.And it would be nice to be more seasons than movie.And my personal opinion is that not really the Intersect was the problem,it’s like in computers the more you overclock them the more fast they are gone,but why it didn’t happen to Chuck,the answer is that Chuck being intelligent,And having more neurons that anyone else it takes a lot of time for him to forget his memories.If it was like that,Chuck would not even know how to walk.So a brief of this plan :
    1.Move Chuck to an other network(CBS).
    2.Talk to Warner Bros. and Subway for the set and the crew and the money.
    3.Get all the actors back.
    4.And for the S06E01 i was thinking like Chuck VS The Goodbye???
    5.Have fun.

  10. Nerd HerderAugust 28th, 2012 at 6:23 am

    oi boy, did i tear up at the end of the last episode. i have also heard if the petitions to produce a CHUCK movie and i thought that it was the bestest idea ever because CHUCK is such an amazing show and there is still more loose ends to tie! IT IS THE BEST TV SHOW EVER AND FOREVER!

  11. JeanneAugust 29th, 2012 at 7:19 am

    I don’t know Edward Max. see Chuck on another network? It would be hard for me to do that .But I think Chuck has ended on A Great note. And I hope someday there will be A Chuck movie. Look we all miss Chuck Alot, and Iam very happy that actors are doing other acting jobs. Look Chuck will and allways be in our hearts forever!!!!!

  12. ChrisAugust 29th, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Comments with grammar correction, sorry. I have come to see the finale as a very loving moment between Chuck and Sarah. However, upon first viewing I had a profound sense of sadness beginning from the moment when Sarah left Chuck in the courtyard. I never regained that sense of happiness the show had demonstrated throughout its 5 years. And I will never get the “first viewing” back. I do now see what the writers intended, but only after several re-viewings of both the finale and the pilot. Now maybe the overall sadness is that the show has ended. I do believe the Zac and Yvonne did a spectacular job and am looking forward to their next projects.

    I’ve read several fan fiction stories on what happened on that beach and after. One particular story is outstanding, “Sarah Finding Herself” by Thinkling. I recommend it to all Chuck fans. I believe it would translate to a great movie.

  13. Stephen McKeonSeptember 25th, 2012 at 8:07 am

    Please dont forget that at the end Chuck did say that Morgan had the idea that one magical kiss would get her memory back. Once Chuck told Sarah that she told him to kiss her. She probably didnt get her memories back from that kiss but she wanted that kiss, she wanted it to work, she wanted to remember the whole love story, she wanted to be Chuck’s Sarah again. That one fact right there let me be okay with the ending of the show, I knew she probably will never have those memories again but she will always want to be with Chuck no matter how many times her memory gets wiped.

  14. Tim MurphySeptember 30th, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    Not sure anyone will read this but…I totally agree with Stephen. I’m not sure it really matters that Sarah regained her memories, or at least all of them–what matters, and I believe what the show clearly conveyed, is that she has made the choice to move forward with Chuck. That her feelings for Chuck persist and as Stephen posted, are finally revealed at the end when she asks him to kiss her…she “wants” to remember.

    Her story arc in the last two episodes is really amazing. Even after she returns and views “Bartowski” as the enemy, it is apparent that Chuck’s entreaties to her have an impact–she appears honestly confused when the Intersect glasses are stolen and only Quinn’s direction to her to “get out of there” stop her, I think, from re-assessing her situation. She recognizes that Chuck is in love with her and, in kind of a dramatic and disturbing way for all of us, forces him to show it by beating him and holding a gun to his head–only stopping when she remembers the carving in the house AND that the carving was not an “act” on her part. She hesitates to leave Chuck after he took a bullet for her and though she says goodbye at the end of “Chuck and Sarah”, she voluntarily returns–something draws her back. At this point, she is still resistant to “stories” of her past–even though she knows they are true–and remains so really until Quinn is killed. When she leaves “Castle” and Chuck starts to tell her about Morgan’s idea, it is apparent that she is looking for something. I think it is also significant at this that her plan to go away after “Chuck and Sarah” is changed to a plan to “Find Herself”. Where is she searching to “Find Herself”–at the beach that is so integral to her relationship to Chuck. From that point, and after Chuck once again demonstrates that true love demands nothing from the other partner by saying he doesn’t “want anything from” her, she asks Chuck to tell her “our story”…something she was so resistant to previously. Asking Chuck to kiss her–and the way it is done–lets me conclude that they really are together now–(which is obviously what the writers and the actors thought). As for a reunion (Chuck vs the Reunion?) there will probably be one in a decade or so—after all, if “Growing Pains” and the “Facts of Life” got a reunion show…CHUCK will definitely get one!

  15. JordanMarch 22nd, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I’m actually still laughing at the Hitler youtube video. I guess it balances out my emotions of the finale.

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