After a couple seasons of build up, Chuck finally tracked down his father this week. “Chuck versus the Dream Job” not only had the family drama, but a lot of revelations with regards to Orion and the Intersect and a nice build of momentum for the season finale.
Before I get into the good stuff, I do have a couple of complaints to make about the contrived way the episode was set up in the first place. For one, the CIA/NSA were already well aware of the threat Roark’s new operating system posed, so it felt like the only reason that Chuck, Sarah, and Casey were given the mission was because Chuck brought it up; otherwise, it would have gone to someone else. If Chuck’s flash had told the government something they didn’t already know, it’d have made sense for Chuck to be assigned, as it was, it was kind of random.
Speaking of Chuck’s assignment, the choice to send Chuck in as Chuck Bartowski was also unbelievable. They knew going in there was a very good chance that Chuck would have to do something that would bring him under scrutiny from the bad guys; why would they ever have him use his real name? As it turned out, it was pretty fortuitous that he did use his real name since he was spotted by Jeff and Lester, and made an appearance on TV, but it still made no sense for Chuck to go in without a cover story.
While I don’t think any of us were terribly surprised to learn that Chuck’s dad was Orion (though when Orion first appeared I entertained the theory that Orion could really be Chuck’s mom given that we didn’t get a good look at Orion at the time and the voice was digitally altered), it was still good to see things play out (plus they managed to slip in an “Oh, boy!” moment for Scott Bakula). Chuck’s dad was placed in a situation very similar to the one his son now faces, he had to hide things from (and let down) his loved ones for their own safety.
Of course, we all knew there was no way that Chuck was going to succeed in getting the Intersect removed as that would basically end the series. It was just a matter of seeing exactly how it would fail. The way it failed was a good one; Roark’s whole operation was basically just one big elaborate trap for Orion.
I really liked the stuff with Ellie, Chuck, and their dad, Steve. Steve, while he had good reason to do so, really hurt his kids when he ran off without warning all those years ago. It was good to see the family have a chance at healing some old wounds, even if the episode had to end with Steve disappearing again (though on a less voluntary basis this time, of course).
I was less happy with the Awesome and Ellie stuff. Don’t get me wrong, Awesome’s speech to her at the end about how he will never leave her was sweet, but her attitude towards him was odd. At the end of “Chuck versus the Bachelor Party” she was really angry with Awesome, this week though it seemed like she only had lingering resentment about it. If we had gotten a scene with Ellie trying to forgive Awesome, then Ellie’s somewhat hidden hurt and anger would have made a lot more sense.
There was also a Buy More plot this week, but it was really just a subset of the main plot (with Jeff and Lester spotting Chuck working for Roark and then showing up at the NextExpo). It was nice to see Jeff and Lester willing to help Chuck out even when he’s doing something completely out-of-left field like running off with Mr. Roark’s OS-launching button.
All in all, “Chuck versus The Dream Job” was a solid episode that has me pumped to see how the rest of the season will unfold. Nicely done.
Trevor MacKay is the sci-fi/horror/fantasy/cheesy/random geeky stuff guy. If something is geeky and/or unbelievably cheesy, he’s there.