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What Happened/What Should Happen On Chuck

by  in TV News Comment
What Happened/What Should Happen On <i>Chuck</i>

NBC’s Chuck returns tonight for its fourth season – But if you need a quick reminder of what happened last year, or want to know what we want to see this year, here’s our quick look back and ahead at the superspy series.

Chuck Bartowski
By the end of last season… Chuck had watched his father – the inventor of the Intersect that makes Chuck a superspy – been killed by the bad guys, remembered that he had downloaded an early prototype of the Intersect into his brain when he was a kid, and retired from the spy biz after (a) defeating the bad guys and saving the world one more time and (b) coming clean to his sister about everything after she had finally discovered his double life. Of course, he retired before discovering that there’s more to the disappearance of his mother than he’d first suspected…
What’s coming up this season? Obviously, a reversal of his retirement (But does this mean another secret life kept from his sister? I hope not, but that may be something the show doesn’t want to lose so easily), and searching for the truth about his mom, the newly cast Linda Hamilton.

Sarah Walker
By the end of last season… Sarah has finally ended the will-they-won’t-they faux-concern about whether she’d be able to make things work with Chuck by making things work with Chuck. Yes, she’d flirted with Shaw, but come on: It was clear that Chuck was the guy she’d give her “spy will” to in the end. Oh, yeah: She moved in with Chuck, as well.
What’s coming up this season? Hopefully a plot that doesn’t revolve around Sarah’s relationship with Chuck, now that creator Chris Fedak is promising to keep the couple together this year. Ideally, we’ll get to know a little more about Sarah’s past – We finally found out that her name was Sam last year, as part of the ongoing character arc about Sarah’s growing ambivalence about spying and the way it effects people – and maybe, just maybe, seeing Sarah have the courage of her convictions and leaving the spy game behind to try something new with her life.

Nah, that’d never work.

John Casey
By the end of last season… Casey had gained a daughter. No, really. He’d also bonded with Morgan, and come to accept his place in Team Bartowski, even if it means ignoring or outright disobeying orders. Oh, and Adam Baldwin had done outstanding work making the growl into a multi-faceted expression of emotion.
What’s coming up this season? If it wasn’t for the growth the writers gave the character last year, I’d have said “More of the same.” As it is, I’m uncertain where he’s headed next – Surely you can’t do too much to him before you break the character?

Morgan Grimes
By the end of last season… Morgan has not only learned Chuck’s biggest secret, but he’d become a secret agent himself. Apparently, the CIA’s hiring standards are getting lower all the time. Oh, and Casey’s daughter gave him her phone number, which will inevitably lead to hi-jinks down the line.
What’s coming up this season? I’m expecting more pairings with Casey, based on the chemistry that developed between the two last year (and the fact that the other half of Team Bartowski are, you know, a couple and all), giving the two a chance to bond over their love for Casey’s daughter. Or, you know, maybe not bond exactly…

Chuck the show
By the end of last season… Chuck had broken a lot of its own rules, and all for the benefit of the show. Chuck’s secret life was revealed, his relationships with his family, friends and (most importantly of all) Sarah were solidified after all the jeopardy and the bad guys seemed, for once, completely defeated (Although we’ve seen that last one before). The last episode of the third season could easily have been a satisfying series finale, it provided enough closure for everything we’d seen to date. Which raises the question… what now?
What’s coming up this season? Well, exactly: Does the show reinvent itself after bringing everything to a close last year, and if so, to what extent? One of the things that annoyed me about the end of season 2 was that it hit the reset button so quickly: Chuck had no Intersect, and then he did again, and there wasn’t any time to explore the story potential in between. Although Chuck knows not to waste any time getting to what fans want to see (Comedy, action, hopefully at least one ridiculous undercover activity), I’m hoping that the fourth season of Chuck mirrors the growth of its characters by slowing down enough to catch its breath and offer a glimpse at what its stars are like when they’re not fighting for their lives and/or their happiness…

Chuck season four premieres tonight at 8pm on NBC.

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