Is it wrong of me to feel disappointed by last night's Chuck season finale? After last week's episode of change, last night felt as much like a step backwards as a whole new world. Spoilers!
In a strange way, a lot of "Chuck vs. The Ring" felt like the writers were patting themselves on the back for packing so much into last week's episode.
So we got things like the reappearance of Jeffster! felt self-indulgent (that said, good version of "Mr. Roboto," Lester). and Chevy Chase's return was oddly anti-climactic following the tease at the end of the last episode, particularly when it came to his death (because that's a hell of a coincidence, the one traitor on Casey's team being the man he asks to guard him).
Awesome and Ellie's wedding gone wrong also felt half-assed, especially considering how quickly and easily it was solved, as if the writers were ticking off the things they'd meant to get around to, but couldn't really be bothered about now that they'd gotten there.
That's not to say that the episode was completely pointless; I was perfectly happy to see the death of Bryce, and enjoyed watching Scott Bakula ape Zachary Levi when he revealed that he, too, had an intersect in his head (So why wasn't his removed when Chuck's was, last week?). And, for a second, I was hopeful about what seemed to be the new status quo... and then the old status quo jumped back in at the last moment.
On a practical level, I can see why the writers wanted Chuck to put the intersect back in his head - It keeps the show's original concept around, after all, and gives them a reason to keep Casey around - but I have to admit, I was much more interested in watching Chuck try and be a spy without a supercomputer in his head (and definitely without a supercomputer that can now upload new skills into his brain as the plot demands, deus ex machina-style - although I did like the "Guys, I know kung fu" last line - and just using the skills he'd learned over the last couple of years than basically circling back to where we were when the series started.
Add to that a new mysterious bad spy organization, the Ring, who're the organization in charge of the previous mysterious bad spy organization, Fulcrum, which just feels ridiculous; we never really found out what Fulcrum was after beyond getting the intersect, and already they've been replaced with something even more vague, just to make a show of raising the stakes when we didn't really know what the stakes were to begin with.
It's not that last night's episode was a bad episode, just that it wasn't as good as last week's, and felt as if everyone involved was getting cold feet at all the big changes they'd made so quickly. If we get a third season - and I really hope we do, despite poor ratings for last night's finale - then I'm hoping that some of the changes we've seen stick. Let's not have Chuck and Casey and Morgan return to the BuyMore, please. Keep Scott Bakula around as the eccentric intersect expert helping behind the scenes, and don't let Awesome forget that he knows about Chuck's double life. Actually, I could easily do a Wish List for next year right now, but I'll just keep my mouth shut and hope that it gets renewed, first. Until then, though, what did you think?