This may have been one of the single best “Chuck” episodes ever, and was (IMHO) definitely the best episode this season.
The most obvious place to start would be the quality of the guest stars. Scott Bakula as Chuck’s addle pated father with delusions of grandeur (and an opportunity to say, “Oh boy,” just like he used to say on NBC a long time ago)? Or how about Chevy Chase as an evil clone of Bill Gates? The only downside of having such big stars in guest roles is that it I kept seeing them as their previous roles.
The episode picked up where the previous episode had left off: with Chuck and Sarah at the Windstream trailer where—we were led to believe—Chuck’s Dad lived. For the opening minute or two of the show, we only heard the voice of Chuck’s father, not seeing his face (as if he were a neighbor of Tim Allen). It would have been a better conceit had they not spent the last week advertising that Scott Bakula was playing Chuck’s father. [And one little quibble: the advertisements for this episode gave away too much, even if one of their give-aways was a red herring.)
Anyhow, Chuck brought his father home to surprise Ellie, but Ellie was not happily surprised. She was still mad at their father for disappearing ten years before.
In the meantime, the NSA has intelligence indicating that Rourk Intel, a major Microsoft-like software giant, is about to release a new OS that will bring the computer world to its knees. Chuck is given his first solo assignment, which is to infiltrate Rourk and find out the truth about the operating system. Once he gets inside Rourk, he flashes on a Fulcrum agent who is apparently part of the software launch. Meanwhile, Chuck learns that his father’s old college roommate was Rourk (Chase) himself and that, according to Dad, Rourk stole all his ideas.
I can’t tell much else without giving out some major spoilers. Let’s just say that the commercials, which led us to believe Dad was part of the CIA (which should have begged the question of why Chuck didn’t flash when seeing a picture of his Dad) were misleading. Dad’s not part of the CIA, he’s something much more important!
We also learned that Chuck can, if he tries hard enough, make himself flash on certain intel, a new feature that I’m hoping will come up again later.
One thing that struck me about this episode was that, when Chuck went to the launch party for the new OS, they were very clear that the year was 2009. This surprised me as most shows have always eschewed telling us the year knowing that to do so would date the episode once it hit reruns—or, as is the case now—DVDs.
Also, I like Morgan and Jeffster and the others, but the best episodes seem to be the ones that focus the most strongly on Chuck himself.
And, finally, there was a scene very early on where Chuck talked to Ellie about the need for families to be forgiving. It was a touching and well-done scene in that it seemed authentic and wasn’t over-done (a scene like that can so easily be maudlin, patronizing, or just too long). This was just the right touch, and then move on.