Season 3 Episode 11

Chuck Versus the Final Exam

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Mar 22, 2010 on NBC

Episode Fan Reviews (12)

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out of 10
515 votes
  • I had an epiphany watching "The Final Exam" and realized what could have made Season 3 great.

    While watching this episode I realized what had been missing all season long. A believable motive for the "Dark Side Intersect". Let's be honest, casting Brandon Routh was a mistake. He's not believable as a super spy, neither ruthless or charismatic enough. He's got zero on screen chemistry and he seems two dimensional in comparison with just about everybody else in the cast.

    Had I been the show runner, I would have done things differently. The character of Shaw should have been a woman. Someone that exudes charsima, experience, decisiveness, ruthless manipulation. I would have cast someone like Heather Locklear as an older, better, more experienced Sarah Walker to run the team and move Chuck off the dime as the intersect. Someone that Chuck idolizes, is intimidated by, is attracted to, fears, loves. She would have ordered Sarah to revive the cover relationship with Chuck but Shaw would have been Chuck's personal trainer. Then I would have an multi-episode arc where Sarah is positioning herself to leave as part of an overall plan where Shaw (because of similar features) would replace Sarah as Chuck's cover girl friend. But, here's the twist, Beckman contacts Walker and Casey off the grid (more on that in a second) and reveals that Shaw is a Ring agent, a master manipulator and is trying to false flag Chuck to work for the Ring. Beckman orders Walker and Casey to get evidence that Shaw is Ring to prove to Chuck that she's Ring and prevent Chuck from turning dark. But, the kicker is, they must let the training go on as much as possible to get Chuck fully operational and to not let him know what's going on. Sarah has to continually try and convey subtle things that all is not as it appears and that she still loves Chuck, while keeping it all from Shaw and appearing to go along with the overall plan.

    I'd have done an episode, where instead of set piece actions and explosions, we see Casey and Walker, separately use old school trade craft to really disguise themselves to meet with Beckman. And no, not some cheesy glasses. Instead of spending tens of thousands of dollars on explosions, spend a couple of thousand on wigs, masks, prosthetics so they really don't look like themselves. Then build up the suspense as they try to figure out who Beckman is, when she's also in disguise. And a shocking reveal when they find out Beckman is the one fingering Shaw and the reasons.

    Final episode. The climax is a scene where Sarah and Shaw battle for Chuck's very soul as he's torn between the woman he loved (Sarah) and the woman he worships (Shaw).

    Just my ..02
  • Superb episode! Go Chuck!

    Wow! What an awesome episode. At first I was so bummed out with the previous episode, it was a cool episode but I thought they were getting rid of our favorite badass hero, Casey. But after watching this episode its all clear now, when Chuck becomes a full pledged spy after returning from DC he's going to get his own team and he'll get Casey back. Now, because Casey was a Colonel, he can't possibly get him in his team because of his high rank, he'll have his own missions and stuff. BRILLIANT! I love the episode, especially the part where Chuck got into a knife fight, it looked like it was Kali Fighting Style! Haha! Still, questions arises, will Chuck become Batman? A man who saves the day without killing a single soul? or will he have no choice when Sarah is on the line between the thin line of life and death.
  • Since I am still reeling from the episode, I am having trouble making complete sentences that resemble normal English syntax (it's taken me 2 minutes to come this far), so I will be short and to the point:

    This episode cannot possibly be improved upon in any way. This embodies every single aspect of Chuck condensed down into one episode. I am only realizing now the lack of McPartlin/Lancaster/Gomez (Awesome/Ellie/Morgan, respectively), but the episode was so perfectly planned out and flawlessly executed that I cannot imagine a single frame could have been sacrificed. Every sentence, camera angle, and pause was just so perfect that I am at a loss for words with which to express this episode outside of "perfect;" anyone reading this review should feel free to replace any subsequent use of the word "perfect" for an equal or greater word.
    Insomma, (whoops wrong language), in summation (of a summary, which seems a little oxymoronic, but who cares; it's 3:00): this episode further solidified my belief that one would be hard-pressed to find a better show on TV in this era, or any previous one. Chuck is just that good.
  • wtf lolz

    So the entire series, every last annoying 'will they or won't' scene AFTER they already admitted their feelings for each other, after all of the BS and dumb ass reasons to keep this shows "Romeo and Juliet" apart.

    We find out THE reason why Sarah "loves" Chuck and thus the reason for much of the dumb ass-ry in the show -is because he hasn't killed anyone. . .well if that ain't true love, I don't know what is.

    This is like a prostitute being "in love" with a virgin solely because she hasn't had sex- it is pretty screwed up imo. . .like 'in need of therapy due to self loathing' screwed up.

    What is even more troubling -is that a crap ton of people from executives and producers to writers and directors actually thought that this type of relationship constituted the "true love" of the show.

    And it is the influence of people like that we let in to our homes and our minds. . .
  • Chuck a spy? very emotional

    Very emotional indeed.. The Chuck and Sarah web has now officially spun out of control! Chuck is now entering a world he cannot return from. Or is he? I was quite relieved to see Casey came through for Chuck and later let down to hear he could never tell Sarah even though we ALL know Sarah can be trusted with that information.

    Sarah's last words :O. That was one of the saddest things she has ever said. Chuck you have to hurry! She needs to know the truth!!!

    That was a fantastic episode regardless of its outcome. I only hope now that Sarah can see chuck is unchanged.
  • Superb but doubtfoul

    A very strange episode. First, Chuck wants to be a spy to be close to Sarah, but when seen on the ground, staggers a bit. So Sarah does not like Chuck for having made him a spy.

    I think Sarah's red test appear at some point, and that woman would have any involvement with any character, because the writers do not write anything because if, that is, to fill two minutes of a chapter, or at least they haven't given me that feeling so far.

    On the Buy More, simply spectacular John Casey / Crazy and the Subway scene ... as well as the same Casey spectacular saving Chuck's spy-life, because Casey has trained him hard and wanted to see him passing the test. Besides on, how would Casey know about that dinner, did he follow Chuck?

    Now, wait a week and I don't know what It would happen with Chuck in DC,If the episode begins there, and as the plot unfolds.
  • Chuck becomes a spy... finally.

    This episode was so awesome, in so many ways. Definitely, a huge amount of development on Chuck's part. In this episode, the general says Chuck is ready to be a spy. He just has to do one thing: Kill a man. Sarah completely disapproves, and claims that Chuck is changing, which is changing her feelings she's had for Chuck. In the meanwhile, Chuck tries to confess his love for Sarah. They even have some past references such as their first stakeout: reenacted. Which was nice to see. Chuck has the mole in the end, and Casey ends up killing to mole for Chuck, now Sarah thinks Chuck is a killer, which is why she can't be with him. Quite a situation since Chuck can't tell Sarah the truth since Casey is a civilian now. The only letdown in this episode would have to be Casey's BuyMore plot, that was kind of annoying. With all the Subway product placement, it really made the B plot unlikable. In the end, Chuck becomes a spy, but what does that mean for Chuck & Sarah? Guess we'll have to find out in the next episode. Great episode.
  • Fun episodes with plenty of laughs and tough choices for Chuck

    Plenty of laughs and more foreshadowing of the future with Chuck. It is sad to see the group getting smaller but great that they still support each other. I hope the show returns but seeing how it is progressing makes me think not. Tough to watch but one of my favorite shows with the different dynamics between the characters.
  • Chuck is tasked with with final exam.

    Chuck is a wonderful show, that seems to consistently put out good episodes every week. The cast of characters make the show wonderful, and this episode isn't an anomaly. The characters mesh so well together. Adam Baldwin tends to stand out in a lot of the episodes with superb performance. His interaction with Jeff and Lester in the Subway was classic Chuck. In most comedies, a scene like this would be looked at as awkward and unusual. That's the beauty of this show, it can make something rather corny and out of place into something that is extremely humorous. The biggest problem I have with the show Chuck also came out strongly in this episode. I wouldn't matter much to me if it didn't consistently happen. It sometimes feels as if the show writers are afraid to take large leaps with Chuck(the character). Often Chuck is tasked with something that creates a great dilemma for him(in this episode he was tasked with killing a government mole). He could either choose to kill the mole or not and fail to become a spy. It usually ends up with Chuck finding some loophole instead of having to make a choice. In this episode, I was really wanting Chuck to finally pull the trigger and do something "gritty". I have hopes that it will happen eventually, but Chuck is still a great show with this flaw because of the great characters and the foundations of the show.
  • Chuck is sent on his "Final Exam" as a spy. First to ID a traitor and then to kill him. Sarah and he are going to be split up. Casey is trying to adapt to life as a civilian. Big Mike has taken him under his wing, but not being a spy is hard to do.

    These days Mondays are one of the few days of the week I actually watch what is on when it is playing. Chuck is one of those shows that makes that happen. I am a little disappointed with the direction the show has taken the last few weeks, but I have to say the acting is still great and we've been through these rough patches before a number of times.

    The constant battle to break Chuck and Sarah up has been complicated by the situation with Casey. Now this well oiled machine is down to one wheel and it seems that it is about to fall off. It is interesting to see where the characters have gotten after all of these years. Unless something really drastic is occurring to shake things up we'll see how things work themselves out in the end. Let's face it, they had an opportunity to break Chuck and Sarah up for good with Hannah, but they choose not too. So you'd have to think there is a different direction they are taking us.

    The acting was great as always, but the climax was predictable to this weeks story. Enough said if you haven't seen it. They set it all up pretty cut and dried. I do wonder why they keep intimating that there is something going on with Sarah and Daniel as there is no chemistry there and the fans would revolt over that move.

    I enjoyed the Subway sandwich shop meeting. It's nice to see them get a little promotion from Chuck and visa versa.

    I'm looking forward to next weeks Chuck to see where they will take some of my favorite TV characters. What will be revealed and how will it be? That's is the question. Thanks for reading...
  • You can't go around conkin' heads at the BuyMore!

    Yvonne Strahovski was particularly good this week. She played Sarah with a wonderful amount of conflict and conviction as Chuck came across his final spy test.

    As I said last week, many of the recent episodes have been carrying a lot of impact and emotional weight. It's been a real treat for fans because most shows normally save this kind of material for the end of the year. But we viewers are being rewarded with the best kept secret on TV: Chuck is delivering season finales every week! Versus The Final Exam was no exception.

    It was cute and admittedly standard fare seeing Chuck go undercover solo again. He got a fun fight scene in a sauna, and a humorous eavesdrop scene hanging off the edge of a building window. Basically naked. But the core of the episode was that Chuck needed to make his first kill (something the show has entertained before) and the second half of the show is where things really picked up.

    If there's one thing Sarah appreciates about Chuck, it's his innocence, so to speak. She doesn't want him popping that kill cherry, because there's no turning back, you become a different person. Chuck did come on pretty strong in resuming his pursuit of her, (I did love the champagne in the spycase- pimpin) but Yvonne stayed strong, and really sold the emotional complexity of the situation. On the BuyMore front, Casey didn't have time for Jeff and Lester's b.s. and physically assaulted them. It was fun seeing the two boneheads try to fire back with a lawsuit and force Big Mike to do some Casey damage control (the two so few times get to work together). Chuck's Subway restaurant tie-in was all over the place, but I kind of liked it. If this means more tuna/peperoni sandwiches, I say bring it on!

    Casey ended up taking Chuck's kill for him- discretely though, because Sarah needed to believe that Chuck pulled the trigger so he could be an official licensed spy. It was great staging to a great climax, and now Chuck has to deal with the phony lie, while Sarah has to believe the man she knew is gone forever. That's a great, character-driven storytelling combo.
  • Monday's the best day of the week :)

    (Spoiler alert)
    Almost a perfect episode!
    One thing that bothered me is that Joshua Gomez (Morgan) does not appear in this episode and that the writer tried to cover up his absence by making an awkward excuse that Morgan is "at a leadership seminar." It is the same lame excuse as the one used in "Chuck v Fake Name."
    Just how many leadership seminars is an assistant manager at an electronics store expected to attend??
    That being said, I liked almost everything about this episode and the direction to which the show is progressing.
    But did you find it believable when Sarah says all her feelings for Chuck has gone just because he (apparently) shot a man for a mission (as a self-defense)?
    And if Chuck has to leave Burbank in an hour and never come back, will he take time to say goodbye to Morgan, Ellie and Awesome? Would that affect Chuck's decision at all? He seemed perfectly happy when Beckman said he will be stationed in Rome, even though it was implied that he would never be able to see his family again. Didn't it seem odd to you?