Recap – Chuck 3.19 “Chuck vs. the Ring: Part II”

NUP_139544_0004Did you miss the first hour of the two-hour Chuck season finale? Click here.

“Chuck vs. the Ring: Part II” begins with Ellie following after the truck containing Chuck, Sarah and Casey. She flashes back to 1991, when she and Chuck were children. Young Ellie discovers that Chuck has broken their mother’s necklace, and tattles on her brother to their father. Stephen tells his daughter that there is nothing broken in the world that she and her brother can’t fix together. He admits that Chuck has a knack for getting into trouble, so it will be up to Sarah to protect him as his big sister. Back in today, Ellie calls Devon and tells him that she lost the truck. Inside the truck, Sarah tells Chuck that he can’t blame himself for his father’s death and the predicament they are in. Chuck laments that no one knows that they are there. Cut to Devon and Morgan (sporting some awesome fingerless driving gloves!), who have a visual on the truck, which has now stopped. Shaw opens the doors and throws them the keys to their handcuffs. They need to uncuff themselves and run away so it looks like they escaped when Shaw shoots them dead. Devon and Morgan wonder what they can do to save the agents. If only they had a spy manual. Then again, they are in Casey’s car, and if he had a spy manual, it would be in the glove compartment. They check there and find a gun that each gingerly handle. Morgan sees a button and pushes it. A computer display materializes on the windshield. The push of another button arms and fires a rocket at the truck. The explosion knocks Shaw out and tosses Team Bartowski inside. Devon runs up and announces that he and Morgan are there to save Chuck, Sarah and Casey. The heroes make their way to Casey’s car (who is miffed that they used his rocket) as Shaw staggers to his feet. Chuck flashes his kung fu, but without the Governor, his brain starts to short circuit again. Sarah ushers him into the car and they speed away, with Shaw firing his gun after them.

The group meets up with Ellie. They agree that they need to disappear, but Ellie protests. She is going to call the police to arrest Shaw because her father was murdered, and that’s what normal people do. She and Devon and all of them, are normal people. Chuck gets into the car with Ellie and tries to explain to her that they need to run, but she doesn’t want to hear it. Sarah approaches the car to see if everything is OK. Ellie asks if Devon will be safe with them, and when Sarah replies in the affirmative, Ellie announces she and Chuck need to talk, and speeds away. “Great! Now we have two Bartowskis to deal with,” comments Casey.

At the Buy More, Big Mike is enjoying an egg white omelet from Subway when a phone rings. It’s not his office phone however. It is a secret phone, simply marked, “Moses.” He takes the call, and then moves out onto the sales floor. He asks Jeff and Lester if they have seen Chuck, Morgan or Casey. Unable to find his best employees, he tells his lesser ones that the store’s numbers are down. Moses, the Buy More founder and Mike’s old friend, called to tell him that they need a spike in sales, or that the branch will be shut down. Lester suggests that they just tell the truth, and have a Going Out of Business Sale. Mike agrees, and they set off to save the store.

Ellie asks Chuck how he could have kept so many secrets from her for so long. Chuck wanted to tell her badly, as she raised him, but he also wanted to protect her. Chuck remembers when their mother left right after Chuck broke her necklace, and he thought that it was his fault she departed. Ellie says that their crazy father was the reason she left, but Chuck insists that he wasn’t crazy. Stephen was a hero and a great man. That was the secret Chuck most wanted Ellie to know. Ellie asks what Chuck’s plan is, so he tells her: he’s going to take Shaw and The Ring down. Ellie agrees, but on one condition. Chuck has to quit the spy business afterwords — she is not going to lose Chuck like she did their father. Chuck promises her that he will indeed quit after he eliminates The Ring. The next morning, Chuck tells Ellie that she and Devon need to leave the city, but not to tell him where she is going. She asks if she should take Morgan with them, but Chuck says Morgan is helping Casey hide away Alex.

Chuck meets with Sarah, Casey and Morgan in his apartment. He says that when he was being held, he noticed that there was remote interrogation equipment in the cells. He taps into the system and finds General Beckman. He informs her that they are all safe and plan on taking down Shaw, but don’t know how to do it. She tells them that the Conference of Joint Security Summit is taking place at the Grand Ambassador that day. The General was supposed to speak, but that Shaw is planning on taking her place. The Summit is a cover for the meeting of top government, military and intelligence officials, many of which are likely associated with The Ring. Further, the Ring Elders will be in attendance. Upon hearing this, Chuck flashes (and short circuits again). Casey says that it is a suicide mission to try to take out Shaw and The Ring at the Summit, to which the General agrees. Only the best spies in the world will be successful. Morgan thanks the General for the kind words about his spy prowess.

The plan is for Chuck and Sarah to pose as members of the Russian Delegation, identify Shaw, and then Casey and Morgan will take over and find Shaw’s room. With Sarah in a brunette wig, and Chuck disguised as a 70-yr old Russian with a full beard and cane, the couple enter the Summit. Chuck bumps into Shaw, drops a tracking device into his pocket, and makes some small chit-chat. The two depart, and Chuck turns the mission over to Morgan and Casey to track Shaw. Casey lifts Morgan up to tap into the hotel’s security system. During the boost up, Morgan drops a piece of paper. Casey retrieves it, and finds Alex’s phone number. Morgan insists he didn’t ask for it; she just gave it to him for her protection. Casey gives Morgan an awesome “don’t touch my little girl” grunt, but the conversation is ended when Morgan discovers that Shaw has made a headquarters out of Room 752. Outside, Chuck and Sarah take off their disguises, but are approached by Shaw and Justin. “Your accent could use some work,” Shaw informs Chuck. Chuck wastes no time, and smacks Shaw in the face with the cane. Chuck flashes his kung fu, but the short circuits become longer, and more debilitating. Sarah takes out Justin, but Shaw runs off, so Sarah leads Chuck away. She wants to call off the mission, but Chuck says that if he can get the Governor, he will be fine. Sarah must stop Shaw.

Back at the Buy More, Jeff reports that there is a line around the store to take advantage of the sale. Lester asks if during the sale, they can play Jeffster!’s new music video. Mike agrees, but toward the end of the evening so as to not scare patrons out of the store. At the Summit, Shaw speaks in front of the gathered attendees. His phone rings with some strange mariachi music. He takes the call — it’s Chuck. Chuck is in Room 752 and is there to take Shaw and The Ring out. During the call, Shaw uses his Ring phone to communicate with the Elders to evacuate. After the call, Shaw tells the attendees that the remainder of his speech will commence in a few minutes time. Casey continues to interrogate Morgan about Alex’s number. Morgan says they are just friends. “Anything else?” Casey presses. When he sees Morgan’s sheepish grin, Casey grunts, “You like her!” and grabs Morgan by the throat. Sarah interrupts them and says Shaw and the Elders are on the move. Casey hands Morgan a machine gun, noting, “This is not a toy, Morgan,” and they head off to grab the Elders while Sarah goes after Shaw.

Shaw enters his room and finds Chuck sitting behind Shaw’s desk. Shaw asks what Chuck has planned, but Chuck balks. “Are you asking me to make the classic villain mistake and tell you my dastardly plan?” Chuck queries of Shaw. Chuck continues, telling Shaw that he didn’t know who the Elders actually were, until Shaw texted them. “So, thank you from the CIA, NSA and your local Buy More.” Cut to Casey and Morgan stopping the Elders trying to escape with Justin down the stairwell. Morgan threatens their quarry to not move, lest he pump them full of lead, but Casey informs him that there are no bullets in his gun. Back upstairs, Chuck says that The Ring has now been captured, he can check that off of his to-do list. Next up is to have Shaw arrested. Shaw wonders on what authority could Chuck have Shaw arrested? Who would believe that he, Shaw, killed Stephen Bartowski? That he was a double agent working for The Ring? In response, Chuck asks if Shaw knows that the Nerd Herd can also help with any of Shaw’s videoconferencing needs. “Smile, Daniel. You’re on TV.” Chuck spins around the computer on Shaw’s desk to display that Shaw’s confession (a classic villain mistake!) was just broadcast to the entire Summit. Chuck demands Shaw five him the Governor, “Don’t make me take it from you.” “I’d like to see you try,” Shaw retorts. Chuck flashes his kung fu, but short circuits again. Shaw grabs Chuck and pushes him up against the window, shattering the glass. Sarah busts into the room, so Shaw leaps from the window, grabs the American flag flying outside the room, and swings into the room below. Sarah tends to Chuck, but he insists she chase after Shaw.

NUP_139544_0111Later that night, Morgan returns to the Buy More and the big sale. Jeff and Lester see Big Mike and say that it is now time to debut their video. Lester places the disc in the DVD player, but before he can close it, Big Mike pulls Jeff and Lester to the floor. Moses has entered the store, freaking out about the sale. All of the merchandise was supposed to be sent to the Beverly Hills Buy More and the Burbank branch was to be shut down. Back at in Castle, Chuck lies on a bed, and tells Sarah that Ellie is going to be so mad if he dies because he had promised to quit after taking down the Ring. At that moment, Shaw enters the Buy More, and is spotted by Morgan planting bombs throughout the store. Morgan tries to call Sarah to warn her about Shaw, but Shaw interrupts the call. Shaw gets on the phone and tells Sarah that this isn’t about her, so she should send Chuck to the store. Sarah agrees. Shaw locks Morgan up in the storage cage in the back of the store, but when he leaves, Morgan is able to tip himself over, spilling his phone from his pocket. Using his nose, he dials Casey. Sarah rushes upstairs and sees Shaw. Casey tells Morgan that he needs to get everyone out of the store as quickly as possible, but Morgan informs Casey that he is tied up. Morgan needs to break his thumbs in order to free himself. Morgan can’t believe what he is hearing. Casey says that spies are willing to make such a sacrifice. Morgan needs to break his thumbs and get those people out! “Yes, sir!” Morgan replies. He bends his hands with a sickening crack, breaking his thumbs, and is able to escape.

Sarah enters the store and finds Shaw. He asks where Chuck is because he really wants to kill Chuck. If he kills Sarah too, that would be nice, but really he’s there for Chuck. Right then, Morgan pulls the fire alarm, sending patrons fleeing for the exits. Shaw grabs Sarah as downstairs in Castle, Chuck hears the alarms, which short circuit the Intersect again. He gathers himself and sees Shaw handcuffing Sarah to the Nerd Herd station. Shaw asks again where Chuck is, but Sarah tells him that Chuck can’t come. At that moment, Chuck (clad in a white shirt, opposite of Shaw’s black shirt) strides in with a gun in hand. The two raise their weapons, but neither want to end their confrontation with a shootout. “Do you have one good flash left?” Shaw asks Chuck. “I saved the best for last,” Chuck replies. The two men flash, with Chuck’s Intersect shorting out again. Chuck staggers, bracing himself against the DVD player, starting Jeffster!’s video for the Bon Jovi hit, “Blaze of Glory,” set in the Old West! Chuck gathers himself again and the fight commences.

Matrix-style, Chuck blocks a number of Shaw’s punches at first, but then a few blows land. The two agents exchange kicks and punches, with Shaw gaining the upper hand as he throws Chuck through a television. Shaw grabs a large metal bar and slams Chuck with it. Chuck’s mind flashes back to 1991. As a boy, he enters his father’s workroom, and sees an Apple IIE computer surrounded by a number of monitors. He sits down in front of them, and when asked to press “enter,” he does. The monitors spring to life, displaying a number of different images. Young Chuck has just downloaded the original Intersect! Once the download is complete, Stephen enters. He sees what has happened, and after Chuck says he is OK, Stephen tells his son that he is very special, and always will be. This memory stirs present-day Chuck, and flips up, seemingly fine. “Chuck?” Shaw says with awe. “Sorry,” Chuck replies, cracking his neck, “I just needed to reboot.” Shaw swings the bar at Chuck, but Chuck is able to grab it. Shaw reaches for the detonator for the bombs he planted earlier, but Chuck swings the bar and knocks it from his hand. Chuck throws down the bar and grabs Shaw by the neck, but he won’t kill Shaw. “That’s what makes you weak,” Shaw taunts. Sarah swings the metal bar and knocks Shaw out cold. “No, that’s what makes you great,” Sarah tells Chuck. Chuck grabs the Governor off of Shaw’s wrist, and puts it on. A wave of relief cascades over him as he and Sarah embrace.

Outside the store, Big Mike, Jeff and Lester hide in a van. Mike knows that they are going to get fired tomorrow, but Jeff suggests there might be an answer: they could burn the Buy More to the ground. This is the last straw for Big Mike. He has had enough with the two of them. Jeff has been answering phones that don’t ring, and Lester has a singing voice that is a vocal felony. Mike gets out of the van, yelling back to his employees, “Goo night. Good riddance. Goodbye!” Inside the store, Casey is looking for the detonator. Morgan, both hands completely wrapped in bandages, asks if Casey has told the General about his contribution to the mission. Casey says he will if Morgan admits why he has Alex’s number. Elsewhere int eh store, Chuck tells Sarah, again that he’d promised Ellie he would quit after the mission. He wonders if Sarah is OK with Chuck being a normal guy. “I fell in love with a normal guy,” Sarah replies. Morgan finds the detonator and gingerly holds it between his wrapped hands. Casey asks him to slowly bring it over, but Morgan drops it, starting the bombs’ detonation sequence. The gathered people sprint for the exits and dive for the door as the Buy More explodes! Looking back from his car, Big Mike notes, “Those crazy nerds blew up the Buy More!”

NUP_139544_0031Later that night, as a news report puts out a warning that two Buy More employees (Jeff and Lester) are wanted in connection with the Buy More explosion and should be considered dangerous, Chuck, Sarah, Morgan, Ellie, Devon and Casey toast to the memory of Stephen Bartowski. He believed, as Chuck does, that nothing is more important than family. There is a knock on the door. It is Alex. She enters, and shares an awkward, but loving hug with Casey. He is glad to see her, as is Morgan, earning the evil eye from Casey. Ellie asks Chuck if he is out of the spy business, and he replies that he told the General that evening. As he helped her get her job back and freed her from her cell, she obliged. Ellie turns back to the party when Chuck gets a text message saying he should go to his computer. He does, and finds a message simply saying “Press Enter.” Having learned nothing from the last three years, he does. A video of his father begins. If Chuck is watching this, Stephen must be dead, for which he is sorry. He has always done everything he could to protect Chuck and Ellie, but he has been keeping a secret from them. He, Stephen, has actually been a spy for the last twenty years; not for the government, but for himself. The video gives Chuck instructions to go to their old house, where Chuck finds a hidden room in the basement. The story of Stephen’s work is only beginning. Chuck and Ellie are not safe. As Chuck walks through the lair, really, he sees a number of files with case and project names. At the end, there is a table. There are people that will be coming for Chuck and his sister that are ruthless and cunning. Chuck sees that there is a necklace on the table. He picks it up. It is his mother’s broken necklace. “It is time you learned about your family,” Stephen message says. Chuck sees the necklace charm of a boy, clearly broken from its other half. “I did it all for her,” the message ends. Cut to the back of a woman picking up a phone. She raised the receiver to her ear. On her wrist is a charm bracelet. Attached, is a charm of a little girl, similarly broken to the boy charm found by Chuck. “We’re going to have to move you,” the voice on the phone tells the woman. Chuck looks next to the bracelet and sees a file titled: “Mary Elizabeth Bartowski: Missing.”

Commentary

Wow! What a fantastic season finale. All of the elements that make Chuck a great show were at play. Some great comedy from Morgan and Casey, love between Chuck and Sarah, some kick-ass action sequences with Chuck and Shaw, drama with Stephen’s murder, an awesome Jeffster! video, and a big twist ending with Chuck’s mom being alive and possibly a spy! Further, each of these elements was handled remarkably well, and balanced throughout the two hours. Such a balance kept the pace brisk and light. Two hour episodes can feel laborious in most cases, but the time actually flew by quite quickly. So, just from an “episode of TV” standpoint, I thought the finale was dead on.

As a season finale for Chuck in particular, I thought it couldn’t have been better. The final showdown between Chuck and Shaw was played perfectly. The fight choreography was spot on, and I was glad to see Zach Levi and Brandon Routh do most of it themselves. Yes, Sarah was kind of pushed to the side into more of a “damsel in distress” role, but the fight had to be between the two men, one light and one dark. The creators were clearly aware of this as they placed the characters in those colors, and had the Old West shootout-styled Jeffster! video playing in the background. Good stuff all around on that front. Also, I loved the plot developments that are going to propel the story forward next year. Everyone close to Chuck is aware of his status as a spy, so no more secrets of that nature, but it will be interesting to see who Chuck brings into the Circle of Trust regarding his mother. Obviously, he will tell Sarah and Casey, and likely Morgan, but what about Ellie and Devon, or General Beckman? Will he tell Ellie right away, or wait until he has more information? I love the idea of Chuck’s mother being alive (not that we were ever told she was dead, right?) and possibly a spy. Moreover, she may be an enemy spy, which would be even more intriguing. I honestly didn’t see that twist coming at all, so kudos to the creators for throwing us a delicious curveball. Lastly, the Casey/Alex/Morgan triangle is going to be hysterical. Casey as an overprotective father?? That’s comedy gold, plain and simple.

So, as you can tell, I absolutely loved the finale to what was a great season of Chuck. Thankfully, it will not be our last. As you likely have heard, NBC has renewed the series for at least thirteen more episodes, and hopefully more, starting this September. Please leave and questions, comments or theories below, and be sure to check back here at TVOvermind for any news that comes up regarding Chuck over the summer. Also, I will be attending this year’s International Comic-Con in San Diego this July, so I will be certain to report any news made at the Chuck panel and other exhibits at the Con. Until then, I’m off to play Perchik in Fiddler on the Roof.

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