Chuck 3.18/19 ‘Chuck vs. the Subway’ & ‘Chuck vs. the Ring, Part II’

We should’ve known at the end of last year that Chuck would have to take the good with the bad when he downloaded Intersect 2.0. Whereas before when he had been forced into the spy life by Bryce’s email and then used by the CIA and NSA for his flashes, this time it was his choice. He was endowed with amazing powers, and he wanted to help save the world. Plus, he got the girl! It seemed perfect.

But, sadly, Chuck had to face a hard truth–being a spy has consequences. That’s why it made sense for Season 3 to take a bit of a darker turn. It was still fun, but Chuck’s struggles were more real. His new Intersect was more dangerous and so were the people trying to hunt him down, putting himself, his team, and his family at risk. He had to learn to balance his emotions and humanity with the skills it takes to be an effective spy. He grew through those experiences, and all was well.

The Intersect was malfunctioning and causing harm to his brain, but his dad helped him overcome that problem with a watch he built called “The Governor.” The Ring wanted it, and they had a secret weapon in the form of traitorous superspy Daniel Shaw, now with an Intersect 2.0 of his own.

As a viewer, you can get into a habit of assuming that everything will turn out right–good will triumph over evil. Chuck and his loved ones will continue on happily living their lives, evading bad guys, and saving the day. So when Shaw shot Chuck’s father at the end of “Chuck vs. the Subway,” it was devastating because we’ve never seen these characters hurt in such a real way. The great thing about Chuck and Ellie having such a close group of friends and family, though, is that these people love each other and can be there to support them.

We might not have been able to count Casey among that group in the first couple of seasons, but amidst the grunting and the ass-kicking, he has shown that he truly cares about his partners. He discovered that he had a daughter named Alex in “Chuck vs. the Tic-Tac,” and we only saw in these final episodes that he has been going to the pie shop where she works just to spend time with her. What a softie!

Except, when he feared for her safety, he threw her over his shoulder and basically kidnapped her. Like father, like daughter–she managed to get away with a few of well-aimed defensive moves. That’s when Casey revealed who he was and gave her a key to his locker at the Buy More, telling her to use the contents to flee town with her mom.

The surprises kept on coming in this two-hour finale. Chuck, Casey, and Sarah infiltrated what they thought was a base for the Ring but was actually a CIA office. So I was wrong about Justin putting on a very elaborate ruse just to manipulate Ellie–he was a CIA agent, as was Shaw. The Ring had operatives throughout all the government agencies, which put a big target on Team Bartowski since they were the only ones who knew the truth. Even General Beckman got locked up.

Even though Sarah warned him that he would be hunted down for not cooperating, Chuck went on the run with his dad to fix things: “I’m sorry, Sarah. I’m sorry, but if I have to choose, I will always choose to protect you.” The only person who could help was Ellie. Without knowing it, she had seen where the Ring headquarters was.

Brandon Routh is much more interesting acting as a bad guy because his stiff demeanor is chilling instead of machine-like. Chuck and his dad had found the proof they needed to show the CIA about the Ring when Shaw arrived to stop them: “You can’t function when your emotions have been compromised.” “Don’t worry about that,” Chuck growled. “I’ve never been more calm.” “Really? How you feelin’ now?” Shaw asked, as he whipped out his gun and shot Daddy Bartowski straight in the chest.

Chuck held his dying father in his arms as he uttered his last words: “Always remember…that you’re special.” After that, Chuck gave up. Pushed into the back of a van with Casey and Sarah, he completely shut down, knowing that they were going to die and nobody could help them. But heroes often come in the most unlikely form. Ellie, Capt. Awesome, and Morgan stopped Shaw right before he was about to kill Chuck and the others.

Morgan was more lucky than anything when he pressed the button in Casey’s Crown Victoria that blew up Shaw’s van. What happened later showed pure nerve. Shaw was placing explosives on the shelves around the Buy More, and he tied Morgan up in the cage. He knocked himself over and used his nose to dial Casey (unlikely, but just go with it), who told him that he would have to break his thumbs to get free. Morgan didn’t even whine–he took a deep breath, said “Yes, sir,” and did it!

Of course, he wouldn’t be Morgan if he didn’t mess things up a little bit. With his bandaged hands, he dropped Shaw’s detonator and blew up the Buy More. Oops.

Chuck’s final showdown with Shaw was like a Mexican standoff, complete with a Jeffster music video playing on all the screens in the background, in which Jeff and Lester dressed as cowboys were having an actual Mexican standoff. Shaw had stolen Chuck’s Governor watch, so he had the definite advantage. Chuck tried to fight, but his kung fu flashes were crippling him.

Bloodied and lying on the floor, he remembered his father telling him he was special, as a boy, and then just before he died. As Shaw was about to kill him and Sarah, Chuck jumped up and easily defeated Shaw, blocking his moves like Neo did in The Matrix after realizing he was “The One.” He said his brain had just needed to “reboot.” Chuck could’ve killed Shaw (again), but he chose not to because this time he didn’t need to.

So with Shaw and the Ring Elders in prison, that looks like another enemy bites the dust. It’s just as well because Ellie made Chuck promise to quit the CIA. She doesn’t know how to protect him if he’s running around fighting bad guys. Chuck fully intended to keep his promise, until he got a message that his father recorded for him. There are so many more evils in the world other than the ones we’ve seen in FULCRUM and the Ring. Daddy Bartowski left all those years ago to protect his family from those things, and now Chuck needs to carry on the mission–most importantly, searching for his mom.

The Buy More is blown up. Jeffster is on the lam because they are suspected for arson. Chuck doesn’t work for the CIA anymore, but he will be secretly investigating and hunting down other organizations to make the world a better place. And his mother is out there somewhere…. All in all, Chuck had an even more momentous finale this year than last. The season renewal couldn’t have happened to a better show.

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