CHUCK “Chuck Versus The Cliffhanger” Review (Season Finale)

CHUCK “Chuck Versus The Cliffhanger” Season 4 Episode 23 – As a season finale, this would have been a decent send off. But this isn’t a series finale. This is a season finale because NBC renewed Chuck for a fifth and final lap of 13 episodes. Yay!

Frankly, I would not have mind had this been the series finale. Chuck is a television show I really like, but season four has been hit and miss, and Chuck suffers for being an hour long show when every episode (including this one) really only has enough juice for twenty minutes, and usually the final twenty minutes.

This episode was pretty lacklustre. We all knew Sarah was not going to die, so there was no suspense in that. There was suspense in seeing how far Chuck would have to go to save her, and it turns out, not very far at all. CIA turned evil on him (which I sorta predicted in an earlier review, not that that matters) he broke Volkoff (now the innocent Hartley Winterbottom) out of the CIA detention facility, brought him to Volkoff Industries to reunite him with his daughter, had a really cringe worthy debate with him in the reception of the freaking evil lair where apparently nobody recognised either Chuck or Volkoff himself (that part was so stupid) surrendered himself, pleaded with Vivian, Volkoff showed up, kiss kiss, exchange identities for antidote, Chuck arrived with Russian reinforcements and the Cat Squard (one of my least favorites episodes of Chuck, though I was glad to see them here to help out their friend) gave Sarah the antidote and that’s it.

Chuck did not do one thing wrong. He didn’t turn evil, the CIA did. Just as Volkoff turned good. When I think back to one of my all time favorite episodes of Chuck, “Chuck Versus The Santa Claus” I realise that Sarah did so much more to protect Chuck-and she wasn’t even engaged to him! If Chuck shot Volkoff or Vivian, it would have been dark, twisted and awesome. Instead Chuck went badass without really doing anything badass.

It was still entertaining to watch (especially Casey’s reaction to the Russians landing, which was just priceless) but that’s because I love these characters. I love Chuck, Sarah and Casey (I discount Morgan, I don’t care how the show tries to lump him in with the core trio of spies, and despite the Intersect cliffhanger which I thought was pretty disappointing). Chuck and Sarah deciding to go freelance, probably coming in contention with the CIA? Okay…maybe that will work. Morgan becoming the new Intersect? Please, just no.

Before this episode my number one critique of Chuck had to do with the Buy More, and everything that happened at the Buy More, from Jeffster to Big Mike to obnoxious product placement. It was like a separate television show my screen kept flicking to. This week established that the Buy More is here to stay as Chuck and Sarah, with the money they received from Volkoff (no tax deductions?) buy the Buy More. For me this is a disappointing development. The writers are, once again, cowarding out of changing their show by getting rid of the fat. If they need to have a funny subplot to fill up ten minutes of every episode, why can’t they give Awesome and Ellie something to do?

A few random thoughts.

Vivian’s excuse for why Sarah was not killed by the Horseman: “Never mind that.” No, let’s just jump over that entire loophole. Details, smetails.

If Volkoff lost his memories and returned to being a Winterbottom when he slipped on the shades, why didn’t Chuck? Was this explained?

Awesome knocking out a guy? Awesome.

From searching for, finding and rescuing Chuck’s mother to taking on Timothy Dalton’s Volkoff to turning Vivian Volkoff into from friend to foe to rescuing Sarah, this season has had its fair share of ups and downs. If Chuck were twenty five minutes long, I’d give this season an A-. It’s not, and I cannot erase Jeffster, the sexism of episodes like the Cat Squad, and lying to Ellie (again!) from my head. As a season, I’ll give it a solid B.

What did you think of the season finale of Chuck? Sound off in the comments below.

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