Here’s the mantra I repeated when started this week’s season finale, “Relax, take a deep breath and enjoy because this is a season not series finale.” Either way – it was a fitting end to another fantastic season of Chuck.

chuck versus the cliffhanger recap

The episode starts with a flash back to five days before. Chuck and Sarah are in bed both freaking out a bit over their impending nuptials a week from that day. Being the professionals that they are, they decide the smart thing to do would be to have a dry run. Not a rehearsal (which is also in front of people) but just the two of them trying on their vows. Sweet.

Then boom – into the hospital where Sarah is dying. Ellie and Devon put Sarah on ice trying to bring down her fever and slow down the poison while they work out how to save her. Sarah starts to wake up and sees Chuck is worried. She echoes her statements in the flashback, “Don’t freak out. We’re read for anything” and then passes out again. Chuck, ever her hero, tells her he will fix this and that he love her as everyone tearfully looks on. Realizing the only person who has the antidote is Volkoff, Chuck and Casey decide to get him. But as Casey points out, they aren’t allowed to just walk into a maximum security prison like that. So Chuck suggets they break out. Casey responds with a grunt which translates to, “I concur and I’ve never been so proud of you.” Casey’s grunts say many things.

When Casey and Chuck break-in to Volkoff’s cell they find it is already open and empty. Then a voice comes over the loud speaker and Casey gets pale (a bad sign). It is basically a very evil version of Casey (pre- Sarah, Chuck and Morgan making him a big ol’ softy) – Clyde Decker (Richard Burgi). Being a basketball fan, I kept thinking Clyde Drexler in my head. Anywho, Clyde says that the Agent X and Team Bartowski missions are being shut down so Chuck and Casey need to stop. He doesn’t care that Sarah is dying. As you can imagine, Chuck doesn’t take this very well. They take this mission rogue.

(Side note – this episode is so serious they don’t have the theme song. No time for your short skirts and long jackets, Cake, Sarah is dying!!)

When Chuck calls Ellie, she says Sarah has about 12 hours, so time is of the essence. Beckman rolls up in front of the hospital (where is she when she is talking to them on them on the TV screen that she makes it so quickly to the hospital in person? I like to think she is just in a room adjacent to Castle). She tells them that Decker has Volkoff and is on route to a safehouse. She tells them that to go after Volkoff is to go against the CIA, but Chuck says he doesn’t care as long as he saves Sarah. So she gives them her ID card to get into Castle. Chuck goes and finds The Nighthawk – a super duper fast motorcycle – so he can catch up with the transport vehicle. Mama Bartowski is very upset that her baby boy is going to be on such a dangerous piece of machinery, but he does just fine. (In real life, Zach Levi has several motorcycles, so I bet he loved these scenes)

On the truck, Decker tells Volkoff that he isn’t really a big Russian villain, but just Hartley Winterbottom, a sweet scientist for the CIA who had an experiment go awry. And then, right as Chuck approaches, he un-intersects Volkoff. Now he is just Hartley and he has no recollection of the past 30 years. Chuck gets on board, and despite being disappointed to find Hartley and not Alexei, he still takes him away on the Nighthawk and Decker continues to yell threats at Chuck.

Back at Casey’s apartment, Chuck, Casey and Mary try to tell Hartley the short version of what happened. The short version doesn’t include that he spent the last 30 years being a very bad man. Chuck stops storytime and asks Hartley if he knows about the Norseman. Thankfully he does- it was his invention meant to take down bad guys. A “Reagan-smart” plan, according to Casey. Hartley says he can make the antidote. As they go off, Casey mentions Vivian, and they tell Hartley he has a daughter and she is he one who did this, but it is really all just a big misunderstanding.

At this point I was getting nervous that Hartley would pull a Vivian and start to lean towards evil because the family member did. So thankful it didn’t turn out that way. Hartley makes his antidote and as they inject Sarah, we flashback to their dry run. Sarah gives her vows, which are of course, simple and perfect.

Sarah: Chuck, you’re a gift. You’re a gift I never dreamed I could want or need and everyday I will show you, that you’re a gift that I deserve. You make me the best person I could ever hope to be. And I want to spend and learn and love the rest of my life with you.

Take a moment and dry the tears. Go on, I’ll wait…..Better? Okay. Chuck is in awe and then realizes his vows (including a costume change, natch) probably need to be toned down. Back to the now – the antidote only kind of work. Of course, because the episode isn’t over. It bought them about a day. Turns out when Hartley was Volkoff, he decided to make the Norseman extra evil and upped the potency of the poison, so now they need a stronger antidote as well. Chuck and Hartley need to go to Moscow to get it. But when they try to leave the hospital, Decker is there with his men. And lots of tasers. Uh oh!

chuck recap

While Decker is taking in the team, Morgan sits with Sarah and tells her stories of how Chuck has always been the hero. Seriously… enough with the making me cry! Sigh. Decker tells Chuck that he is fired and then unintersects Chuck. Sad face. He then tells Casey to be the good soldier he is and convince Mary and Chuck to stand down. Casey says he knows it is a trap because Decker knows he would never let Walker die and go against his team (awesome) so Decker tries to kill him and Casey just takes them all out. Because Casey is a BAMF. Casey calls Morgan telling him to take out the CIA guy watching Sarah’s room and then gets Chuck, Hartley and Mary. Chuck is freaking out because he doesn’t have the intersect anymore.

Casey: Shut up. You’re Chuck Bartowski. You’re the second best spy I’ve ever worked with and now you can go save the best one.

Cue me getting all misty again at Casey saying nice things. Casey sends Chuck and Hartley on their way, but first gives Chuck something very important – completely clean brand new identities for him and Sarah. If this works, they will be on he run forever. So Chuck says goodbye to his mom and leaves.

At the hospital, Morgan, Ellie and Devon come up with a plan to take out the CIA guy. Ellie thinks Devon should take him out – he is Captain Awesome, afterall. But Morgan, being the only spy(ish) in the room, thinks he should be the one and Devon will act a distraction. Long story short – Morgan starts to freak out and Devon just punches the guy. Yay Awesome!

Chuck and Hartley arrive and Volkoff Industries. The plan is Chuck is in diguise and Hartley just needs to be Volkoff and ask to go up to Vivian’s office. But Hartley isn’t a spy, he’s just a scientist, so he freaks out and leaves Chuck. Without any plan left, Chuck takes off the disguise, announces himself as Chuck Bartowski and asks to see Vivian. When asked what it is regarding, he says “She wants to kill me.” Bold.

Vivian is understandably shocked to see him. Chuck says he has no surprise plan, he just wants the antidote. Vivian isn’t having it. She has been hurt and confused by Chuck, and doesn’t trust him. But just before she can kill Chuck, in walks Hartley. He explains that Chuck was telling her the truth about him not being evil, but just a scientist. He tells her that Vivian was his grandmother’s name – she rode horses and looked just like her. Hartley apologizes for making her life such a mess. Chuck knows this isn’t really her and she can change, but Vivian doesn’t see how. So Chuck shows her – the new identities. So they make a deal – Chuck gets the anti-dote and Hartley and Viv can go live brand new non-evil lives.

At the hospital, the Cat Squad arrives to help save Sarah. Chuck parachutes in and the whole gang surrounds Decker and his men. Until an army of Decker’s men arrive. But Chuck knows that move – cue all of Volkoff’s men descending on the hospital.

Casey: Russians. So many Russians.

Decker surrenders and Chuck shows him that he has a file all about Agent X and if Decker or his men hurt any of Chuck’s friends or family he will leak it to the press. Then he quits the CIA. He runs to Sarah to give her the antidote as we see more of the dry run – their practice kiss. Ellie gives Sarah the antidote, but it doesn’t work and we cut to commercial as Chuck stands over Sarah begging for her to wake up.

Come back to commerical and are outside the First Church of Saints. On the sign it reads “Funeral and Viewing 3pm” AHH! Pan down…. “Bartowski Wedding 4pm”  Evil sons of ….. But come on. It’s not like Sarah was going die!! The wedding is being officiated by Morgan who is crying like a wee little girl. And we finally get to hear Chuck’s vows

Chuck: It’s just… I’m sorry Sarah. How do I express the depth of my love for you? Or my dreams for our future. Or the fact that I’ll fight for you every day. Or that our kids will be like little superheroes with little capes and stuff like that. Words can’t express that. They don’t do it justice, they just don’t cut it. So no vows. I’ll just prove it to you every day for the rest of our lives. You can count on me.

Sarah: Perfect.

Fan Favorite Chuck & Sarah Moments

The perfect Chuck vows. So our happy couple are now married and as they leave the church we see a montage of their journey to this moment over the seasons as they pan across all the friends and family outside – an obvious “we don’t know if we are getting another season” moment, but I’m glad it was in there! Morgan is their driver, because he can’t let go. But he makes a Princess Bride reference as he closes the partition, so I let his need to hold on so tight pass. The phone rings, and it isn’t Morgan, as Chuck assumes – it is Hartley. He says he left a present under the seat for the newlyweds. If he was still Volkoff I’d think bomb, but since he is good now, this surprise under the seat is more the Oprah “everyone gets a car” variety. But we’ll get to that in a minute…

Two weeks later, Chuck returns to the Buy More to find a lot of sad faces – the Buy More just sold (the CIA got rid of it since Team Bartowski was fired). Chuck isn’t sad though. He goes to the now empty Castle and finds a box of his stuff from Beckman. Decker pops up on screen and says that Chuck was just a pawn in some big plan

Decker: You think it was all a coincidence? The intersect. Fulcrum. The Ring. Shaw. Agent X. It was all just part of the plan, Bartowski. Pieces on the puzzle board.

Chuck is not happy, especially because people were hurt, his father killed, and it was all part of some plan. So he and Sarah get Morgan and Casey together and decide to go into business. How? Well, that present from Hartley – it was all of Volkoff’s assets – $877 million dollars!! Wait, I think that needs a few more exclamation points: !!!!! So Chuck and Sarah are now the proud owners of a Gulf Stream, tons of new upgraded tech and, of course, The Buy More. They start their team of freelance spys. Morgan gets excited, and puts on sunglasses from Chuck’s box. Bam – guess who knows Kung Fu, now?

What did you think? And how excited are you all that we get a final 13 episode season. I actually think if the show had ended there I would have been able to make peace because the cliffhanger wasn’t anyone in trouble – it was allowing the characters to start fresh. BUT, now Chuck can get vengeance for his father. And we can get closure for all the characters. Maybe see some more Shaw. I do love me some Brandon Routh… just saying.

It’s going to be a long summer, but in the mean time – how do YOU think Chuck should end?

Written by Melissa Miller. Find her on Twitter @serrae and read her blog I [heart] tv