Some viewers complain that the final episode makes a big deal of using the Intersect to restore Sarah’s memories and shows the incredible sacrifice they both make by using it instead to save other people, only to waste it all because the Intersect plays no part whatsoever in the final solution to the problem of Sarah’s memory suppression. This turn of events leaves such viewers unsatisfied because they think it was all a useless sacrifice.
But the idea of not using the Intersect to restore Sarah’s memories is actually crucial to the final arc. In fact, the whole final arc is an exploration of this very idea.
Why is that so? Well, let’s listen to the characters. They tell us the reason.
At the end of 5.10 Chuck Versus Bo, Quinn taunts Chuck that he would never get a woman like Sarah without the Intersect. So, the final arc accepts the challenge and uses the Intersect to take Sarah away from Chuck.
At the beginning of 5.13 Chuck Versus the Goodbye, Ellie tells Chuck that sparking emotions in Sarah will cause her to remember, that he will get her back by being himself. Morgan adds that a magical kiss will seal the deal. Ellie and Morgan are the Intersects on Chuck (hint, hint), and they give Chuck a three-part key (hint, hint) to get Sarah back: find her, be yourself, and kiss her.
Later on the rooftop of the concert hall, Chuck is tempted by the events to use the Intersect to restore Sarah’s memories but tells her he can’t do that because he must use it to save all the people at the concert hall. Chuck is put in this heroic and self-sacrificial situation, of course, because, if he uses the Intersect to get Sarah back, he will only prove Quinn right—he would never get a woman like Sarah without the Intersect. Thus, the Intersect is used once more to take Sarah away from Chuck, but Chuck uses it instead to open the box with the laptop that will stop the bomb.
On that rooftop, Chuck sparks emotions of hope in Sarah by telling her that he had a very good plan to use the Intersect glasses to restore her memories. These emotions spark Sarah’s memory of the Demova virus, as Ellie predicted at the beginning of the episode (“Spark emotions. She’ll remember”). Sarah then leaves Intersected Chuck because she needs to find herself, and the Intersect fails once again to get her back, but Chuck now has the pristine copy of the Intersect, courtesy of Quinn who did all the legwork, and Chuck has it because he has shown time and time again that he’s the only one who can handle the power of the Intersect without abusing it, so he deserves it. The Intersect is his reward.
Chuck is then reminded by Morgan to use his heart to find Sarah1The previous episode was about Sarah believing Chuck with her head. This episode is about her trusting him with her heart. The head and the heart., and he finds her at the beach (the first part of the key), sparks a mother lode of emotions in her (the second part of the key) by telling her their story, which she asked for because she is finally ready to hear it, and then kisses her (the third part of the key) after she asks for the kiss because she wants to be with him.
And so, just as Chuck gets the pristine version of the Intersect back after the three parts of the key to the Intersect are put together, he also gets the pristine version of Sarah back after the three parts of the key to Sarah are put together, thus proving Quinn and the spy world wrong once and for all; even though everybody keeps telling him that a woman like Sarah is way out of his league, Chuck will get her without the Intersect, even under the worst possible scenario, just by being Chuck through the magic of love (the magical kiss) because it was always love, not technology, that brought Chuck and Sarah together.
Again and again. And again.