It's been said that this week's Chuck was written as a potential series finale, and it certainly did feel as if it could double as one. "Chuck Versus The Push Mix" certainly packed a lot into one installment, but thankfully, it's not going to be the last.
Casey is in the hospital after last week's tumble, but even that doesn't stop him from making sure that Chuck gets the Hydra fragment that Sarah instructed him to deliver. Now that's dedication. Chuck's own commitment to his orders is wavering as he sees everyone in his life falling apart because of the machinations of Alexei Volkoff. He's not content waiting anymore, and enlists Morgan to help him find Roni Eimacher, the man who designed Hydra. This does not go particularly well at first, but eventually leads them to information that helps them meet up with Mama Bartowski and Sarah in an unusual location.
The two women have temporarily disabled Volkoff's security and are busy poking into his database, which is how they find out about something called "The Contessa." Volkoff stumbles onto the tampering, but believes it to be the work of Orion. "Somehow a dead man broke into my computer system last night," he tells his latest thug before deciding he's going to visit The Contessa himself. This is not a woman, but a full-size carrier that may or may not have ice cream on it, if you believe the spiel he gives Mama Bartowski and Sarah when they arrive. (Hey, even bad guys like dessert.) Aboard the boat, Mama Bartowski tells Sarah that "tonight, it ends" so history doesn't repeat itself. I know I've said this a few times this season, but Linda Hamilton was truly an inspired casting choice, proving the Chuck fans are a smart bunch when it comes to knowing who belongs on their show. I'm seriously going to miss her when she departs.
The stage is set for a final confrontation between Team Bartowski and Team Volkoff. The latter finally realizes that Sarah and Mama Bartowski are double agents, and he's not a happy camper. He confronts Mama Bartowski with his belief that Papa Bartowski is still alive, and she tells him that he's half the man her husband was. This only motivates Volkoff to want to kill him. Yet when he goes to Papa Bartowski's cabin to do so, he's met by Chuck, who cold-cocks him and ties him to a chair. He's come a long way from being a hapless geek; he's got a gun, and he's angry. "I can't believe you haven't figured out the solution yet," he says, and reveals that he's about to unleash a virus that will transfer the entire Hydra network to his father's computer. Not only that, but General Beckman and her army are waiting outside. It is pwnage of the highest order, and the whole sequence is some of the best acting Zachary Levi has done all season.
Outside the spy world, Ellie's water breaks, leading Awesome to enact his very detailed plan for the arrival of his first child, with the help of the CIA. His wife is much more together than he is. Alex finally gets a chance to bond with her father, and tell him how much she needs him in her life, which is the bad guys' cue to try and kill him (and everyone). We know they won't succeed, but it's certainly tense, and who doesn't love seeing someone clocked with a bonsai tree? Not only do all our heroes escape their predicaments, but there's an Awesome baby and the unwanted, slightly mortifying appearance of Jeffster, to say nothing of the fact that Chuck and Sarah get engaged (damn floor cleaner). What else could you want?
In other words, the episode doesn't leave a single thing on the table, perfect for a series finale - and also for launching the show into a brand-new direction in its back episode order. I have to hand it to the Chuck writers; they set their sights very high this season, and in this episode, they delivered on every single thing that they promised all season long. So many shows can't or won't do that, but the Chuck team has always been very cognizant and respectful of the show's audience. They're to be commended for both aiming high and following through. This is exactly the payoff episode I wanted, and I can't wait to see what the show does next, because literally anything is possible now.
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