Throwback Thursday
Chuck Series Finale

Chuck's Series Finale: 5 Years Later, Does That Kiss Still Make You Weak?

Five years ago this Friday, on Jan. 27, 2012, NBC’s Chuck left viewers with a goodbye kiss — but was it “magical,” or a miss?

To recap, on this Throwback Thursday: Sarah entered the two-hour series ender (titled “Chuck Versus Sarah” and “Chuck Versus the Goodbye”) with amnesia, having briefly hosted the Intersect. And her husband’s initial efforts to reconstitute her memories and rekindle their romance came up empty.

The action-comedy’s very final scene (literally) mirrored one from its pilot, as Chuck, on a beach, implored Sarah to let him help her. To that end, Sarah asked Chuck to tell her their story — and he launched into a flashback-filled, “Rivers and Roads”-scored revisiting of the unlikely romance between Buy More nerd and bombshell spy. Chuck then shared BFF Morgan’s idea that with “one magical kiss,” he might be able to give Sarah’s memory the reboot it needs. “Kiss me,” she responded, smiling, leaving us with a liplock that either restored the pair’s “happily ever after”… or didn’t.

But it probably did. Officially, series creators Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz declined to confirm the outcome, telling TVLine that night, “The ending has a bit of magic to it. People should believe in how they wanted it to end.” Series lead Zachary Levi, however, has been more bullish.

“So many fans were apoplectic,” Chuck’s portrayer notes in the TVLine video below, at the 6:30 mark. “The show for so long was about this romance… and for there to be even an outside chance that they were not [together in the end], people were really, really bummed. But I’ve always interpreted it as, ‘Absolutely Chuck and Sarah end up together.’ They’re on their way to falling in love again.”

TVLine readers gave the series finale at the time an average grade of “B+.” Ratings-wise, the two-hour farewell averaged 4.2 million total viewers and a 1.3 demo rating, rising week-to-week to season highs.

Rewatch the final scene above, then tell us how you, five years later, remember Chuck’s beach buss?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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96 Comments
  1. Mark says:

    It was a good episode. OF COURSE they had a happily ever after.

    • Annie Sisk says:

      Also people keep missing what to me is the most important point: She *wanted* him to kiss her. Doesn’t that kinda tell you everything you need to know?

      But I gotta say, for my money, the best scene of the entire finale was Jeffster! performing “Take on Me.” You can’t argue with true art.

      • ss says:

        Jeffster was amazing! And all the little things that were for the fans (like the porn virus) was great.

        • Annie Sisk says:

          I know right?! I turned my daughter on to Chuck a year ago, and we watched them all together but I admit, the finale was special – I could not WAIT for her to see that sequence, as she turned out to be as big a Jeffster fan as I was – we even got matching Jeffster! t-shirts, like the dorky mother-daughter duo we are.

      • Sarah says:

        I hope Jeffster is closing each show in Reno (or Reneaux!) with that number. I still miss this show so much!!

        • Annie Sisk says:

          Bwahahahaha! I always imagined they had a great tour but then got chased out of Germany due to an unfortunate incident involving the daughters of mid-level bureaucrats, a llama, and a stolen Porsche.

      • 134sc says:

        Jeffster had the best ending for any of the characters. And as much as I love them, thats just wrong.

        • Annie Sisk says:

          Oh I think it’s exactly right. But I don’t think the other characters had bad endings, frankly. I loved the finale. It was perfection – left somewhere to go, but hopeful and bright.

  2. Silvy says:

    It’s time they pick up this show once more, I’ll take a made-for-TV movie even. It would be lovely to see the whole gang back together again and certainly better than most junk on TV today!

    • Annie Sisk says:

      Y’know, I started to reject this notion but then I thought … wait, I actually kinda wanna see that. I think Chuck, more than most old(er) shows, would lend itself pretty darn well to a reboot/reunion.

  3. Eric says:

    The series was great in season 1 and 2 when he was just a normal guy…and relatable. After they retooled the show it was kinda bad.

    • Pedro says:

      I kind of hated season one and two. Very procedural and by the numbers.

      • Youry De Jong says:

        I liked the evolution. Going from the guy who spends two years getting into the game hiding under tables, to the guy who suddenly does it all and is still very unsure of himself. It just worked exceptionnally well, in my view.

        • ashleytwo says:

          It was one of the weird benefits of being constantly on the bubble, it really pushed them. I recall early on the said Chuck wouldn’t hold a gun until season 7.

      • 134sc says:

        I still mantain season 2 of Chuck was fantastic. About as perfect a season of television ive ever seen

    • Mike C. says:

      I have to agree. The show started him out as a nerd who worked in an electronic store. Then a couple seasons later, he dropped the nerd role and started acting like a bad a**. The nerd role is what made his character.

  4. Faith says:

    Of course they’re in love. And that kiss was magical. Disney movies as Morgan would say.

  5. ndixit says:

    This ending still leaves me really bitter. I cannot get what the execs were thinking. Chuck was always such a cheerful and fun show so to leave it on a bittersweet note was just bizarre. Was there anyone wanting who wanted the cynical ending where Chuck and Sarah were not together. If not, then why even entertain that possibility. Anyways, still miss the show like crazy. Zachary, Yvonne, Adam, Josh etc… created magic.

    • Patrick says:

      Ditto. Don’t try for a “clever” ending. Just tie everything up in a bow and make the viewers who supported you happy. It really isn’t that hard.

    • Christina says:

      I feel like they tried for a happy ending every other time they were almost cancelled, and when they finally got a great ending and it was official, they decided to throw the happy ending out the window. Still mad.

    • suznewbie says:

      That’s how I feel…well, maybe not bitter, but very disappointed. Despite the fact that Chuck was my favorite show ever, I’ve not rewatched any of season 5 since this finale. I just can’t.

    • imrickjames says:

      Yeah it was a great show until that Sopranos style bitter taste in your mouth, slap to the face ending

  6. Missy Kelly says:

    where does Chuck stream? Think it would be nice to have it on in the background! Such a good show!

    • dannyzeff says:

      It used to be on Netflix, I guess they removed it a few months ago. Hopefully it will come back or move to Hulu.

      • Sarah says:

        Noooooooo! I was counting on Chuck to take me to my happy place again. I’ve gotten so used to streaming, will have to go back to archaic DVDs.

  7. I remember myself back then. Sat behind my PC as tears covered my face. I couldn’t believe it.. it took me some time to understand what happened.

    I would be so happy if Chuck were to come back. They would have to upgrade some things but I’m sure it would still be epic. One can dream

  8. Buy More shopper says:

    Always a great show. I’d love a reunion movie, but I have NO doubt Chuck and Sarah and happily together in their house

  9. gcw07 says:

    5 years later and it is still one of the worst endings of a show ever. They completely wiped out 5 years of progress of Sarah’s character and started over. Horrible ending.

  10. Jasonbres says:

    Well, Sarah did show signs of her memory returning, including remembering how she did her undercover job at Wienerlicious, and she also remembered the Irene Demova virus from the very first episode.

  11. Wordsmith says:

    It seems to me like you can look at it one of two different ways:
    either A) They kiss, the memories come flooding back, and they pick up where they left off;
    or B) They kiss, sparks fly, and they get to fall in love all over again.
    Seems pretty romantic in either case.

    • ndixit says:

      Case B) seems bad when you look in terms of Chuck. He has to try and win over his wife from scratch. Eventually he would succeed but given that they were on the verge of starting a family, it seems sad for Chuck.

      • Wordsmith says:

        Only if you look at wooing as work. And it’s not really like he has to win her over – she asks for the kiss. She wants to get there with him; the only question is whether they get to take the shortcut or have to go the long way around.

        • ndixit says:

          It’s not work but it is painful. Imagine basically being a complete stranger to your wife and having to rebreak those walls that she had when you first got to know her. It’s definitely not a romantic experience for him.

        • Sarah says:

          I’m with @Wordsmith: it is still an epic romance, and they get to rediscover each other again. Of course, I still sob through the entire episode, but I did look at it optimistically after reviewing it a couple of times.

    • SarahWalkerFan says:

      But she also lost her personal growth over the 5 years, as well as her friendships with Casey, Ellie and Awesome. Only Chuck, Morgan, and Alex would have been around while Sarah recovered. That’s the saddest and most frustrating part of the finale to me (how little Sarah seemed to matter to anyone other than Chuck).

  12. Joey Padron says:

    It was a good series finale. I miss Chuck so much. Hope a reunion movie will happen someday.

  13. M3rcNate says:

    Not a fan of building something up (a key romantic relationship), then in the last season to be “smart” and “interesting” tearing it down, only to in the finale give a teeny tiny bit of hope to the audience as you end the entire series.
    .
    It hasn’t happened so it won’t happen but the show critically needed a made-for-TV-movie (like how Sam Axe got one from Burn Notice on USA) where we skipped forward ~5 years and Chuck and Sarah are married with at least one kid.

  14. William says:

    The story of Chuck and Sarah continues happily ever after! Never has a show fused action, comedy, romance, music, and relevant pop culture in such a mesmerizing magical concoction. The memories are returning to Sarah as the screen fades to black…there is no doubt in my mind.

  15. Chris says:

    Worst ending in recent memory to one of my favorite shows. I felt like they took away everyone’s happiness at the end. Bad final couple episodes, to be honest.

  16. veronica says:

    one lil “i’m getting my memories back” montage would have salvaged the whole show! i still feel bitter. that was 90ish episodes of support!

  17. Jennifer says:

    I miss this show. So. Much.

  18. James D says:

    Why you going to do me like this Matt, and bring up all the feels from that show and its finale. I still miss Chuck it was such a great show. I agree with Zach i think they probably rekindled their love affair. TV movie Please, or a limited series. If 24 gets one Chuck should too. same goes for Fringe.

    • Chris says:

      Fringe ended perfectly, the only way you could do a good fringe revival is if we see more of the invasion before the time jump for season 5. I would love to see more of Olivia and peter together we never really got much time to see peter with real Olivia. Never mind in writing this I changed my own mind give me a fringe revival!!!

    • Ana Margarida Picoito says:

      Wait… Someone commenting about Chuck AND Fringe? You are awesome!
      Two of my favorite Tv-Shows of all time…
      Yay for a Chuck and a Fringe revival!

  19. mmp207 says:

    I hope someday have a a new season or a “tv movie”. Chuck is the best serie ever!! Netflix buy chuck for us LOL

  20. This show needs to have a revival!!!! It was a F-U-N show. It never took itself to seriously. A TON of today’s shows could take a note on THAT.

  21. Libkat says:

    So many things to love about that show. Best for me was that they didn’t string out the will-they-won’t-they until it became who-gives-a-frak. We had plenty of time to really invest in Chuck and Sarah as a committed couple. Without that time, this ending, love it or hate it, wouldn’t have mattered to anybody

  22. CaptMediocre says:

    “So many fans were apoplectic,”

    Check.

    Best two hours of TV I wish I’d never seen.

    Sarah Walker was killed off in Bullet Train and never returned.

  23. Evan says:

    I’m still trying to figure out why Chuck was never told Sarah’s real name and told her he knew it cause he heard her say it to Brandon Routh’s character but never him. Or why her parents always had no problem just calling her Sarah.

  24. uplink2 says:

    Though the last episodes were great performances by the actors, especially Yvonne, the ending has ALWAYS felt incomplete and a big disservice to the amazing Sarah Walker character. Like the writers were trying to be too cute for their and loyal viewers own good. An amnesia plot could be a great season finale but not a series finale unless you take the time to give the viewer the ending the characters deserved after 5 great seasons and they didn’t do that. I’ve mellowed a little bit on the ending but I will always be disappointed that I never got that moment where I could say goodbye to these characters that meant so much to me and know they were happy. All things being equal the finale was a big miss IMO.

  25. SarahWalkerFan says:

    The finale reduced Sarah to nothing more than Chuck’s love interest, who was a prize to be won. Sarah’s memory loss seemed to only effect Chuck and no one else, with Ellie packing her bags and leaving. The finale portrayed Chuck as Sarah’s only important relationship, when she had made so many friends. So as a Sarah/Yvonne fan, it’s the most disappointing series finale ever.

    • Emily says:

      Incorrect. Ellie told Sarah “you were in my wedding. you were at the hospital when my baby was born. we’re family”. it clearly affected her as well. as a yvonne fan, you should love it as she did.

  26. Ben says:

    It was pretty clear to me. Her memories were already beginning to return, Morgan came up with a way for them all to come back, that way happened, Sarah got her memories back, and that was that.

    Even if it wasn’t instantaneous, it was abundantly clear the memories were coming back, so the idea that the whole thing had to start over doesn’t hold much merit to me as an interpretation.

  27. DT says:

    CHUCK was my favorite show and I miss it immensely. The more time goes by…the more I doubt that a movie or revival will ever happen. Now that it’s off Netflix, I’m afraid it will just fade away. I truly hope not, because it was a unique show in that had a little bit of everything and a really special cast. I’ve watched the show through 5 times and still can’t get through the Bullet Train, Chuck vs Sarah, or Chuck vs the Goodbye without balling.

  28. A. D. says:

    This is the show that needs a revival comeback! Loved and miss this show!

  29. JAH says:

    Yes that kiss still makes me weak. After Chuck went off Netflix I bought the DVDs and have been watching them with my daughter. We’re down to the last 3 episodes – Bullet Train, Sarah, and Goodbye, and will probably watch them tonight (completely coincidental to the 5 year anniversary.) I think that in Seasons 4 and 5 the character of Chuck lost a little of what made him so lovable, but Zac acts those last 3 episodes so beautifully that I fall in love with the character all over again. I don’t think the writers owe the fans a particular kind of ending -what they did was brave and interesting and I’m down with it. Does she get her memories back, or does she start over again? I don’t need that question to be answered. I love that: Chuck respected her boundaries and let her leave; that Sarah went for it in the end and was willing to see what a kiss could do. (Don’t love that the way he told her their story was “the story of a guy who worked at Buy-More” i.e. it was his story and she was a player in it. But then again, the series is named Chuck, not “Chuck and Sarah.”)

  30. Aw, I still miss Chuck. It is one of the very very few examples of couples getting together and it still working.

    I think of the show as a mobius strip. You get to the end and all you want to do is start over with the pilot to catch all the allusions you only vaguely remember. It’s the love story that never ends.

  31. tracy Gallinghouse says:

    Love a tv movie – LOVE CHUCK! Of course, they were falling back in love – nothing else is possible

  32. katsssblog says:

    Oh,I miss this show. I was huge fan. Love Zach, he was such a geat Chuck.

  33. Susan says:

    My husband and I really miss CHUCK. It had such a terrific cast! We would love to see a movie, or series, to update us on what everyone is up to. How about an 8 or 10 wk. series, Netflix?

  34. Josh says:

    The issue was it made Sarah’s growth all about chuck. Like “she falls in love again” but Sarah’s development was super interesting

  35. Christina says:

    I’m STILL BITTER about it. I’m someone that doesn’t like to infer. If I had my way, the whole story arc wouldn’t have happened.

  36. hank ronson says:

    buy more crew for eva

  37. peterwdawson says:

    Absolutely hated the needlessly ambiguous ending. I mean, I get you could argue it doesn’t matter if she remembers or not since the ending kiss and such imply that, if she remembers or not, they’ll still find a way to be together, but it just felt unnecessary regardless. Didn’t help that our final badguy was fairly unremarkable, after having solid villains like Volkoff and Shaw.

  38. Brandon Brunson says:

    I would literally do anything to get a reboot of this show.

    Zachary Levi, name it.

  39. Goldenvibefan says:

    Man, I miss this show. It had a little bit of everything. It is by far my favourite show ever, and I’m sure it’ll stay that way.

  40. Coop says:

    Generally I hate series finales that make you put the pieces together yourself, but it was pretty obvious that her memories came flooding back. At the conclusion of the finale, I hoped they would have tied everything more directly, but I can look back on it fondly today.

    The worst recent series finale remains How I Met Your Mother and I can’t think of any shows that have threatened to overtake it.

  41. Jason says:

    It was the kiss that makes me long for a reunion. I feel that things probably worked out, but I still want more.

  42. Sarah says:

    Chuck is the only show that I can binge watch over and over. When the show ended, I had trouble with them wiping Sarah’s memory, but now the finale is one of my favorite episodes. (My fav is “The Ring” with Ellie & Awesome’s wedding.) While Season 5 is the weakest (Intersect Morgan, yuck! Boring villain Quinn?) the arc of the show is amazingly well done. No Tomorrow was looking like my new Chuck, but I’ll be surprised if it’s renewed.

  43. Anonamous says:

    For me personally my official ending for the series is Chuck vs the baby.

    We finally meet Sarah’s mom and everything has come full circle. The beauty of that show is how much Chuck and Sarah both changed eachother.

    To undo half of that in the final few episodes was a really terrible creative choice

    • Sarah says:

      Agree, that felt like the real ending. The episodes after that ignored Sarah’s family. But if that had been the ending we wouldn’t have the great Jeffster symphony :)

  44. albatrossoup says:

    At the time, despite the fact that I was heart broken over not getting a “sure thing” happy ending, I tried hard to appreciate the finale as an ode to the Chuck/Sarah love story…

    But now 5 years have passed and anytime I’ve tried to rewatch the series I’ve never made it to the end because I know what is waiting is going to make me sad and frustrated. I think that says it all. It’s an ending I don’t want to revisit despite Chuck once being my absolute favourite show.

  45. mpsutts says:

    I’ve rewatched the series a few times. That finale makes me tear up each time. I agree, I always read it as a happy ending too.

  46. Tamim says:

    I have a kind of reaction to the kiss that, it didn’t need to give her back her memories, but it did get them back together. And maybe it even put them back on a journey where they get to start all over again, but without the secrets? But I do feel that the kiss totally brought back enough of the love for them to stay together and really start their future.

    Though if they do a reunion show, not having her memories would probably be the better narrative thread.

  47. Partisan says:

    “Make up your own ending.”
    It was a cheap jack way to end things then and it still is. And worse it was unnecessary. Why leave it hanging at all. This was never a big heavy drama show, it was a fairy tale. Without the happily ever after it felt like the producers were giving a finger to the fans and then acting like we were the ones that didn’t get it. It’s like somebody insulting you and then pretending to soften it by saying “just kidding”.
    Two words. “I remember” as they fade to black would have saved the show. Worst ending EVER!!! Until HIMYM.

  48. Patty Stamps says:

    c’mon—-now i want to start the series over again. I so miss the magic and fun of Chuck.

  49. imrickjames says:

    It’s still one of the worst finales ever. Series that purposely end in massive cliffhangers are the worst series endings. I’d say Sopranos was the absolute worst and started that trend.

  50. 134sc says:

    5 years later I can have a much more objective less emotional viewpoint on the series finale. It was a good season finale, but a terrible series finale. If it went on into season 6 we wouldve seen Sarahs recovery to the eventual recalling of her life (like Olivia had in Fringe season 4) but since it was a series finale they basically pissed away 5 years of fantastic character development for Sarah. As a viewer I shouldnt have to come up with my own interpertation of what happened. As a storyteller, you should finish your story, especially for a show such as Chuck. This isnt exactly a deep, intellectual series. The ironic thing is the two episodes leading up to the finale were great, its just the resolution was horrible. Even though admittedly the final scene on the beach was beautiful.

    • uplink2 says:

      Completely agree with you. The trashing of the Sarah Walker character and her amazing growth over 5 years just to give us a trip down memory lane was wrong on so many levels. If they didn’t plan to give her the redemption she deserved, it was an insult to her and the amazing work Yvonne had done over those 91 episodes. Finish the damn story you have told for 5 seasons. Sarah was the most important character on the show for me, without her and my belief in the love story I would have left the series in that awful early season 3. But she never got the ending she deserved.

      Agree the final scene was beautiful but I still hate Rivers and Roads lol. Such a depressing song. ;)