Chuck: A Winner of a Would-Be Finale

Wow. The would-be finale of Chuck’s third season (the episode was originally intended as the season’s last) was a pitch-perfect blend of action, comedy, and romance. It was also the most satisfying hour the series has offered to date. Here’s our glowing report card for Monday night’s episode—you’ll want to put this one up on the fridge.

Spy Training: This is the Chuck we’ve been waiting for all season. After all the talk of Chuck the real spy vs. “the old Chuck” (to borrow Sarah’s overused phrase), our hero found the middle ground. He was able to find and rescue Sarah using his innate abilities—as Casey pointed out, he was smart long before he was a spy. And to save the woman he loves, Chuck did finally fire a real gun, but only as a last resort. This was an integral moment for the character, showing that he will not compromise his ideals but that he’s learned to act quickly in a life-or-death situation. Nice work, Agent Bartowski.
Grade: A

The Handlers: Sarah’s about-face felt a little abrupt to me, but honestly, I’m ready to forget the wishy-washy Agent Walker we saw for much of this season. She’s smart and capable, but she’s also willing to admit her feelings. How satisfying to hear her admit that she’s been in love with Chuck for a very long time. And Casey once again showed how far he’s come: He was able to calm Chuck down with insightful and well-chosen words. In the end, he even got Morgan a gig with the government. I almost feel like he’s ready to hug it out.
Grade: A

The Romance: Look, it was no surprise things would end up this way. Chuck’s cast and crew reminded us to be patient and assured us that things would work out in the end. I never doubted Chuck and Sarah would share a curtain-closing kiss, but I did underestimate how good it would feel. While I’m not saying I agree with how the relationship was handled up 'til now, I will admit that the consummation feels earned. And those scenes of a newly coupled Chuck and Sarah working together on a mission—complete with light smooching—gave me a good feeling about the upcoming episodes. They can be lovers and spies. Finally.
Grade: A

Morgan: In a move that sounds too good to be true, Morgan was officially welcomed by Team Bartowski. I’m hard-pressed to believe General Beckman would ever let him in on things, despite Casey’s “blackmailing,” but I’ll go with it—if only because this new development gives Joshua Gomez more to do. Besides, the previews indicate that Casey will be training Agent Grimes, which should provide great comedic moments.
Grade: A

The Buy More: I’m allowed one complaint, right? (Actually, if I had to pick one, it would be that Shaw’s Ring takedown was obviously fake. I can’t believe it took Morgan to see that. But I digress.) The Buy More isn’t entirely working for me. I like Big Mike. I like Jeff and Lester. Still, these scenes always feel extraneous. The episode could have worked without Morgan quitting then asking for his job back. That said, I’m amused by the idea that the store now employs three undercover government employees. How long until Big Mike gets drafted?
Grade: B-

The Guest Stars: I was delighted to see Mark Sheppard pop up again as the leader of The Ring. I was so worried he’d get killed off—first by Shaw, then by Casey—but it looks like he may be sticking around for a while. Sheppard is adept at playing a villain while retaining his charm, a blend that works especially well on a show like Chuck. And then, of course, there’s Brandon Routh, who felt like more of a regular than a guest. It appears as though his stint is over at least, and so to him I must say good riddance. Shaw just didn’t appeal to me after his first couple episodes, in part because Routh was, well, flat. Sorry, Brandon. I liked your Superman!
Grade: B+

Overall Grade: A


Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

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I can see Morgan as kind of an assistant to the others. But he'll have to stay in the car.
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comedy, action, romance and hot babes..what more could we ask for?
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The best episode so far.
And it seems that we all fans agree!
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Agreed! Can't wait for the next episodes!
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Chuck is so much fun. I am 69 and love this show..We need more good adventures and I am glad supeman is gone. I didn't like his character. He didn't fit the show. Bring on more chuck!
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Great show, so funny and has action and hot ladies sometimes besides Sarah
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"Actually, if I had to pick one, it would be that Shaw’s Ring takedown was obviously fake. I can’t believe it took Morgan to see that." My problem with that scene was the logic behing the 'stages fight.' A couple of episodes ago, Agent Casey gets a tooth yanked out by Chuck for his country, and now a couple of Ring cronies can't just take a real punch from Superman just to make the 'fake fight' look real?
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Chuck is just such a great show
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Gr8 episode loved it...
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"Actually, if I had to pick one, it would be that Shaw’s Ring takedown was obviously fake. I can’t believe it took Morgan to see that." I completely agree. I know the show has the (very) odd bad camera angle during a fight (Chuck-Intersect 2.0/Season 2 final ep fight scene: I'm looking at you), but this was SO obvious, there's NO way it would of been missed by Sarah + Chuck + Beckman, only to be noticed by Morgan. One of them maybe, but all three?!?
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Chuck is a fun show and the two female leads, Sarah and Ellie, are the best on TV. In fact the show would be even better if those two women had more film time. Sarah Walker could remake Alias as Sydney Bristow and be great in the role.
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So excited about last night's episode of "Chuck" - can't wait for more.
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Loved the eppy, wanted to see the Casey fight tho!
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Great Episode. I thought it felt like a finale as I was watching it. I still think Shaw is alive and will be brought back in the future. I love what thev'e done with Casey and Morgan.
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@cachomp Chuck have a REAL gun instead of a tranquilizing gun, because Casey "forced" him.

"Shaw: I guess the gun was his idea ( talking about casey )...good"



and then they fight.
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Nice episode and a great first time for any couple. :)
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I liked the episode, mainly due to casey and morgan, who i think are the strongest characters in the last episodes in development and making their job( nice civilian/ funny dork) And also Chuck who never fails BUT i had 2 problemas: one being the incredible fake "scam" shaw made to Chuck and Sarah, i mean, c'mon, sarah can notice when things are to easy, i mean, to find the director alone in the base with no and not shooting them, after all she's a hell of a spy right? And a MAJOR plot hole i found was that Chuck always carries a tranquilizer instead of a real gun, even the director said that, then why on earth didn't he have that gun when he found Shaw, thus tranquilizing him and not having to kill him? Why did Chuck change to a real weapon knowing he would'nt use it? All for the drama...
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Well, Chuck's finally on Paris, like he always wanted, and he probably won't leave the room =).

Nice episode.
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Loved this episode
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I had my issues with Shaw's setup and the fake fight as well as the carryover of Chuck saving Sarah from last episode. Why would Shaw have had his gun drawn and aimed at Sarah? Sarah saw it. That just got written off. Anyway, I'm loving the new Casey more and more. I'm not a huge fan of Morgan being in on Chuck's spy life but considering that everyone and their brother is finding it then it had to happen sooner or later. Chuck truly proved himself this episode going from his wallowing and emotional self to being quick witted and self-sacrificing. I always knew he had it in him to fire a weapon but I also knew it would take a threat toward someone he loves to do it. This does not, however, mean he will be able to pull the trigger the next time. For a season finale this would have been good. What somewhat troubles me is this, to me, was clearly a series finale. Chuck got the girl... finally! They are both in love and admitted their feelings. They ignore General Beckman. Casey gets back into the CIA and gets Morgan recruited. They caught the Ring leader. All the loose ends are nicely tied up. That disturbs me a bit even though I know more episodes were ordered. Will there be a new season next year? No idea. Lastly, there is one very glaring thing to look at. Sure, Shaw was shot. Sure, Shaw fell in the water. Who says Shaw is dead? No body. While they may have captured the Ring leader there is nothing to say that Shaw isn't still alive and it will become his mission to take down the NSA/CIA, Sarah, Casey & Chuck. Maybe he will even become the next Ring leader. As much as I hate Shaw as a character because he was nothing more than an annoying 2 dimensional role that could have been played by a cardboard cutout, were I a writer for the show this would a definite story arc we'd encounter not far down the road.
More+
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great *unofficial* season finale! let's hope the next 6 episodes are like a mini-series with an either great finale or a cliffhanger if and only IF the show goes on for a 4th season (which is what I hope but some idiotic people who rather watch some crappy reality tv show might not).
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This was an awesome episode. Very rewarding for the long-time chuck fan.
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I celebrated with a subway. Not a Lester version, just a regular footlong.
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oh finally, so great to see the lovebirds back together.
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I like this show but Chuck is getting to be a little needy and a p***y of sorts!
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Is it a Hollywood requirement that Mark Sheppard has to be on all SciFi type shows? Just wondering
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loved it I couldn't stop smiling when the ep was over it was great nail bitting and funny and really sweet
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AMAZING!!!!!!!!! THIS WAS SUCH A GREAT EPISODE!!!!!!!!!!! I HOPE THIS DOESN'T GET CANCELLED!
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FANTASTIC!!!! Loved how the writers came up with this episode. Worth a whole 10 in my books as ratings go. Can't wait for those three weeks to be over.
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AM MAZ ZING! I even missed the first half of the show! But STILL we have a winner! I was disapointed the past couple of episodes with Sarah's character arc as well, but Chuck came through in a MAJOR way, with NOTHING to apologize for! Although I totally saw Morgan's game-changing status coming as Casey's ultimatum, I still couldn't believe it was true! Morgan and Casey will make a hilarious pairing! I also adored when SARAH turned Beckman away on the computer to kiss chuck! I couldn't believe she would ignore official orders even for a moment to enjoy love without the angsty subtext looming over her! Way to GO!
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Pitch perfect review as well.....nice job.
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I loved this episode. I'm so happy to see that chuck got the girl in the end, but I can't help but wonder if Shaw is really dead. How many times did Brice come back from the dead? I can't believe they decided to make Morgan a spy. Then again the general did say keep you job at the Buy Moore as a cover. We'll see how long his new career last.
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I kind of wish that this was the last episode of the season. It was a nice way to wrap it up and if needed, wrap up the series. My fear is that in the next episodes Sarah and Chucks happiness is going to get challenged. I just hope that this happy ending is not ruined for the sake of drama. I say let Chuck and Sarah be together and shift focus onto how Chuck, Casey and Morgan are going to keep hunting for the Ring and keeping up at the Buy More especially with Big Mike being so close to Morgan. Plus how Anna will factor into things.
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I enjoyed the episode, but I'm still wary as to how the whole Morgan thing will work out.
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Overall it was great, but there was something that bothered me and it was Morgan. No offense but one geek turned spy is great but two is just boring and ridiculous. And the fact that he gets to be a spy just because he knows Chuck and that he is his best friends is kinda silly. Like might as well turn everyone who knows Chuck into a spy. I know its a comedy show in which realism is not really taken into account but come on. Another thing was, is Chuck and his tranquilizer gun. Its too ridiculous. I know he doesn't like killing but they shouldn't show those red darts in his vest. And why the heck he didn't use it to traquilize those people in the elevator. Like come on.

Other than that issue. It was great. I'd like to see more Sarah character development in terms of her father and her past. I don't want to see anymore Fulcrum/Ring as their enemies. Like instead of a different agency, they should think of something else.
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I think Routh's performance was perfect actually. Yes, Good Shaw was boring. But Crazy Shaw was not. And I think Good Shaw was more like Crazy Shaw all along just hiding beneath that wooden mask. I think his wife's death made him more than emotionally cracked and that his focus on ending the Ring, the supposed killers, kept him from appearing insane and more like he was under complete control. When he found out that the woman he was currently seeing was actually the killer and that the organization he trusted was behind it all along well...Crazy Shaw gave up any semblance of sanity.
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I really liked this episode a lot. They put a lot more Morgan than usual he is my favorite character with Casey at close second. Seeing those two together training is comedy genius. Also the banter between Morgan and The General was funny as hell "Ay Captain, Captain"
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best episode of the season and one of the best of all series
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gotta agree glad he's gone and they can finally get off the wishywashy relationship plot. and morgan being a spy now is a major bonus
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Yeah - see how good episodes *where things get resolved* are?? And all we had to do was wait for the apparent demise of the series.Imagine if the writers did that before? There would not be an apparent demise.
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Great episode. The promos for the next 6 look pretty good, too.
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In the maybe 10 minutes he'd been in American Hero and Other Guy, The Director has proven to be maybe the most fascinating villain the series has done. He VERY strongly reminded me of FarScape's Scorpius, incidentally from my OTHER favorite show of all time.
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I really loved how they used Kettering by The Antlers during part two of the showdown. I got chills at the exact moment the gun went off and the guitar came in at the same time. I love it when a show does that, and Chuck once again became my favorite on-air show.
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Last night's episode was fantastic! Finally Shaw is gone and not too soon! Finally Sarah and Chuck are together! Finally the romance is back! Finally Casey is back on Team Bartowski! Finally I am a happy happy girl! I was afraid that with the romance coming this early and not as a season ender that the writers are gearing up for no season four. I sure hope that is not the case and we get another season. I can't wait for the remaining episodes but THREE WEEKS!! Oh man!
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I wish I had watched this show. I'll just have to catch up online.
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I agree...with all of it. Most importantly, I'm a happy happy girl! :) I'm looking forward to the 6 remaining episodes and am hoping for confirmation of a 4th season...and soon!!!
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Loved the episode. It feels nice that this was the closure episode and everything else from this point out is like the best bonus feature ever. Agree totally on the romance grade, Sarah and Chuck were cute and romantic while still being professional and getting the job done
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Nice report. I can't do anything else but agree with you. Nice work.
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Awesome! Renew Chuck for Season 4 :)
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HOORAY. Best episode to date. I ditto the fact I can't wait to see Charah spy missions minus all the angst, and instead happy couple-ness. Not to mention, I hope the team gets more awesome. and I hope the team eventually gets Awesome as well.
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