***In Lexington, NBC is analog channel 8, satellite 382, and high def cable 906.***
NBC’s Chuck is the little show that could, chugging along long after its been assumed dead, multiple times. With next season just announced as Chuck‘s fifth and final, last night’s season finale, “Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger,” should be yet another game changer for a series known for such. It does not disappoint. Fired from the CIA, and with the Intersect computer removed from his brain while trying to save Sarah’s (Yvonne Strahovski) life, Chuck (Zachary Levi) also takes the time to repair the relationship between Hartley / Volkoff (Timothy Dalton) and his daughter, Vivian (Lauren Cohan). As a wedding present, the dangerous duo leave Chuck and Sarah an empire worth nearly $1,000,000,000! Who needs a career when you have money? Hiring Casey (Adam Baldwin) and Morgan (Joshua Gomez), Chuck and Sarah buy the Buy More and open their own freelance spy agency. And then Morgan gets the Intersect in his head.
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It seems the threat Vivan and Alexei Volkoff pose is now at an end. With Alexei restored to his peaceful self, and father and daughter pursuing the quiet life, they are not likely to be a threat, though one hopes they will be pop back up before series end.
Instead, Clyde Decker, as well as what he represents, will be Chuck’s biggest worry. Decker tells Chuck in “Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger” that everything that has happened to Chuck is part of a master plan. Chuck has faced down a number of villains, and fought with his family and himself to be who he ultimately has become. Now Decker says that’s exactly what he wants. Will Chuck find out who is behind everything and why? How will that impact Chuck’s life going forward? What is the end goal of such a plot?
Whatever Chuck faces, it is nice to know that the Buy More is secure. When Chuck turned more serious in the spy game, the goofy electronics store with its bizarre employees, including Jeff (Scott Krinsky), Lester (Vik Sahay), and Big Mike (Mark Christopher Lawrence), continued to be a grounding presence. No doubt, now that Chuck owns the franchise, he will be drawn closer than ever to the demented trio. They are not just comic relief, though, but also provide a tether to the real world, even when not appearing to live in it themselves. The Buy More is a quirky element that sets Chuck apart from any other series on the air, and it’s a relief to know that will not be changing.
What will be changing is Chuck’s relationship with his family. Ellie now not only knows what Chuck is up to, she also knows her family has always been involved in espionage. Despite her new baby with her husband, Awesome (Ryan McPartlin), Ellie probably will not want to close the door to that part of her history, especially with mother Mary (Linda Hamilton) back in her life. Look for Ellie to come into Castle from time to time to help out Chuck’s new team. Especially with the plot of the master plan going back years, Chuck will need Ellie’s help to decode what is happening.
The last thing to expect from a final season of Chuck is a lot of closure. Many things happen in “Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger,” but none take Chuck in majorly new directions that haven’t been broached before. While the rules keep changing, the game stays the same. As Chuck goes on his final missions, look for a lot of tie-in to past seasons and events. Rather than a new unfurling of further net, the final season of Chuck should begin drawing the loops closer, making connections where there were none before. Given four years of brilliant writing, the odds are in Chuck‘s favor that the writers will be cooking up a genius ending. Do not miss it.
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Chuck will move to Fridays at 8pm next season, as it presents its final season on NBC.
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Article first published as TV Review: Chuck – “Chuck Versus the Cliffhanger” on Blogcritics.