After a very solid first half of the season, Chuck really begin to shift into high gear in the latter half. Schwartz and Fedak began adding more heavily serialized elements, which included the introduction of two important characters played by two important guest stars - the long lost father to Chuck and Ellie (Sarah Lancaster), Steve Bartowski (Scott Bakula); and the ominous presence of billionaire computer developer Ted Roark (Chevy Chase). Both actors were very good in the roles, and Chase, who mostly played it straight (and dangerous) gave his best performance in years ÃÂ¢Ã¢âÂ¬Ã¢â¬Å of course, it didn't hurt that this was his best role in years.
Perhaps most importantly, Season 2's later episodes did a terrific job of really pushing Chuck forward as a character and making him pro-active. Previously, Chuck had been very frustrated and exasperated by his situation, but, as far as we knew, hadn't really been doing much about it. But eventually, we began to find out that in fact, Chuck was working harder than it seemed to gather facts and do what he could to get the Intersect out of his head and get his life back. It was a really important and well done shift for the series and the character, as we saw that he wasn't just the guy being yanked along on missions, even when he was very funny in that role.
The inclusion of the Buy More and Chuck's family -- represented by Ellie and Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) -- on the show has always been a tricky one ÃÂ¢Ã¢âÂ¬Ã¢â¬Å how much time do you spend with them before it seems like too much time, while also keeping them as a vital part of the show? For the most part, Chuck's producers have managed to juggle these different elements in a satisfying manner, and the Buy More characters were notably stronger in Season 2. Morgan (Joshua Gomez) was dialed down a bit from his over the top Season 1 portrayal, with Gomez able to make the character truly sweet in his dorkiness and loyalty to Chuck. We also got an amusing dynamic in the Buy More hierarchy, as Big Mike was joined by new assistant manager Emmett Milbarge (Arrested Development's always great Tony Hale).
Meanwhile, Jeff (Scott Krinsky) and Lester (Vik Sahay) became a go-to source of hilarity on the series, with some of the most unusual and inspired moments week to week. Morgan and his sometime girlfriend Anna (Julia Ling) were both key to another standout episode this season, "Chuck Versus The Best Friend," which also introduced the world to the musical genius that is Jeffster. That episode was also a reminder of how impressive the action on Chuck can be, as Sarah fought a very bad girl by the name of Smooth Lau (Jennifer Jalene) inside the confines of a car, in what was simultaneously one of the coolest and sexiest fight scenes on TV this past year.
It all led to a truly game-changing two-part finale, that left things in a very different place for several characters, and raised plenty of questions about where the show will go now, having upended some of the core situations. These episodes were extremely strong and surprising, and included a longtime character being let in on Chuck's secret (or at least a good portion of his secret) that was an inspired choice going forward.
Of course, as I write this, the question remains if it will go forward, as NBC still has yet to officially renew the series. We hear that chances are very good, but in the meantime, it's hard not to be anxious as a fan of this show. Chuck is easily one of the most entertaining series on the air right now, consistently delivering a hard to pull off blend of action, comedy, romance and drama. We need more shows like Chuck, not less. So let's make sure to at least keep Chuck itself on the air, okay NBC?
Edit: As of 17th May Chuck has been renewed for 13 episodes on NBC