Chuck Versus the Dream Job

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"Chuck Versus the Dream Job"
Chuck episode
Stephen J. Bartowski and Ted Roark in "Chuck Versus the Dream Job"
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 19
Directed by Robert Duncan McNeill
Written by Phil Klemmer
Corey Nickerson
Featured music "High School Hoodlums" by The Datsuns
"Around the Bend" by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
"Luisa's Bones" by Crooked Fingers
"Daddy's Gone" by Glasvegas
Production code 3T7269
Original air date April 16, 2009
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Chuck Versus the Broken Heart"
Next →
"Chuck Versus the First Kill"
List of Chuck episodes

"Chuck Versus the Dream Job" aired on April 6, 2009. It is the 19th episode of the Chuck series' second season. The protagonist Chuck, played by Zachary Levi, interviews for a job at Roark Industries with the goal of hiring on to investigate a possible computer virus, while his father, Stephen J. Bartowski, (Scott Bakula) returns home.

Plot summary[edit]

The episode opens with Chuck and Sarah meeting with Chuck's father. Stephen catches up on his and Ellie's life, and Chuck confronts him about coming to Ellie's wedding. Stephen is reluctant, but finally agrees to return home. Chuck brings him back to the apartment, but the reunion with Ellie doesn't go as planned. She retreats to her room after being overwhelmed by seeing their father again, but Chuck persuades her to forgive him for leaving. The reunion becomes more awkward when Stephen rants about many things he claims to have invented that were stolen by Ted Roark (Chevy Chase). Among his father's possessions is an advertisement for a major tech show where Roark's latest computer operating system is to be released, which Chuck flashes on.

At Castle, Beckman briefs the team. Chatter has led them to believe a virus is being released in the operating system, and she orders them to investigate. A job interview is arranged for Chuck, under his own identity. The next morning Chuck arrives at Roark Industries and performs well at the interview. He is immediately hired and introduced to Roark, for whom Chuck had dreamed of working since Stanford. As he's leaving, he's spotted by Jeff and Lester, who will be attending the launch. They tell Morgan they just saw him leaving Roark's headquarters as a new employee. That night at dinner, Morgan lets slip about Chuck's new "job," which upsets Stephen as he believes Roark destroyed his life.

At the launch the next day, Casey and Sarah attempt to break in to stop it, but are unable to bypass security. The situation becomes more serious when Chuck flashes on a Fulcrum agent on stage with Roark. With no other options, Chuck bursts on stage in an effort to warn Roark that his operating system is believed to contain a virus, but he doesn't believe him. Chuck grabs the controls that will initiate the launch and attempts to escape, but fails. Stephen and Ellie were watching the conference on Stephen's laptop when Chuck attempts to disrupt the launch, and Ellie is angered because she believes Chuck threw his dream job away for his father, even though Stephen denies putting him up to it.

Upset with the way the Intersect has ruined his life, Chuck goes through the documents left to him by Orion to piece together what he was supposed to do to free himself of the Intersect. Stephen interrupts to tell him he didn't want Chuck to ruin his own career just for him, and if he wants to work for Roark it's okay with him. As he leaves, Chuck notices that the layout of Roark's offices matches the diagram in Orion's documents. He realizes that Roark is building a full-scale Intersect system for Fulcrum, but Casey and Sarah don't believe him without solid proof. He takes it upon himself to infiltrate the office to investigate himself after tranquilizing Casey when he tries to stop him.

Chuck breaks into Roark's campus, but before he can get far, he has to hide when his father barges in, demanding to speak to Roark and set things right for his son. Roark tells the Fulcrum agent Chuck flashed on earlier that he'll deal with Stephen personally. After the agent punches Stephen in the gut, Chuck bursts from his hiding place and starts shooting with his tranquilizer guns. He runs out of ammunition, with Roark's security staring at him for a moment before they all collapse. Chuck tries to get his father to leave when they encounter Vincent, (Arnold Vosloo) who tells them it's good to see them both again. Stephen then takes control of the security door with a wrist-mounted computer and uses it to incapacitate Vincent before revealing the truth to Chuck that he was Orion all along, and that he left Chuck and Ellie to protect them once he realized what the government wanted the Intersect for, and that there were others who wanted it just as badly.

He leads Chuck deep into the heart of Roark's complex and teaches Chuck that he can flash intentionally to open a door locked with a cipher. There they find the nearly complete Fulcrum Intersect. Stephen prepares to use it to remove the data from Chuck's brain but they are interrupted by Roark and Vincent. Roark is about to have Chuck killed when Stephen steps in on his behalf, telling Roark that Chuck is his son, he and promises to help as long as he's allowed to walk away. Roark agrees and lets Chuck leave while Stephen is taken to a helicopter. Just before the door shuts between them Casey and Sarah arrive, and Stephen tells him he was wrong when he told him not to trust his handlers.[1] Back at Castle, Beckman makes clear the consequences of Roark escaping both with the Intersect and Orion, but tells them that she will put the government's best team on it. Chuck stands up to Beckman and tells her that Operation Bartowski is her best team, and he demands to be part of the effort to rescue his father. Beckman relents when Casey sides with Chuck, but he warns him not to allow his personal feelings to get in the way.

Back at home, Ellie is heartbroken thinking that their father has left them again, but Chuck tells her not to give up on him.


"Chuck Versus the Dream Job" continues on the arc begun with "Chuck Versus the Lethal Weapon," particularly referencing Orion and furthering Chuck's quest to have the Intersect removed from his head. It also advances the general arc of season two, which has focused heavily on Fulcrum's desire to obtain the Intersect for its own purposes. Additionally, Arnold Vosloo reprises his role of Vincent from "Chuck Versus the Predator."

Bakula and Chase were announced to be playing the roles of Stephen Bartowski and Ted Roark, respectively, in January, 2009 as part of an extended arc to close out the season.[2] Besides their resemblance to each other, Bakula was cast for Stephen Bartowski because Josh Schwartz and Chris Fedak consider themselves "huge Quantum Leap fans, and found Bakula's ability to jump from comedy to drama to action reminiscent of Zachary Levi's.[3]

Numerous small references are made to previous episodes, especially the pilot:

  • Chuck tells Sarah he's "freaking out" while they're in his dad's trailer. Chuck previously used this line Chuck Versus the Intersect; first when Sarah has to point her gun at him when Casey catches them, and later at the end of the episode.
  • Pancakes as a late-night snack or dinner were previously mentioned by Casey in the same episode.
  • Also from "Chuck Versus the Intersect," when Chuck asks Ellie how he looks before his date with Sarah, she tells him "Aces, Charles." Chuck identifies this as a "dad line." When Stephen and Chuck are breaking into Roark's office, we hear Stephen use the line himself, telling Chuck "That's Aces, Charles" after Chuck retrieves the code for a security lock from the Intersect.

Roark's company is called two different names during the episode. The majority of the time, Ted's company is called Roark Instruments. For example, when Morgan first confronts Chuck over his 'new job', he calls the company Roark Instruments, as does the side of the file Chuck received when he started at RI. At the unveiling of RIOS, the caption of Ted's presentation on the webcast Ellie and Stephen watch says Roark Industries.


  • Chuck flashes on the flyer for Roark's OS launch.
  • When Roark consults with one of the men on stage at the launch, Chuck flashes and identifies him as a Fulcrum operative
  • Chuck intentionally flashes to crack a Feistel cipher[4] in order to unlock the door to Roark's Intersect room. This is the first clue that the Intersect can grant abilities other than recalling intelligence.[5]


"Chuck Versus the Dream Job" has received overall positive reviews. rated the episode a 9/10, praising the gravity Chase brought to Ted Roark, and the offbeat and semi-crazy angle Bakula uses to approach Stephen Bartowski. Chuck's proactiveness in taking control of his situation was also appreciated, as were the character-building moments between Chuck and Ellie, and that the events of Devon's bachelor party weren't just thrown out.[6] The Futon Critic also praised the renewed focus on Chuck and Ellie's relationship, and the additional complications of Stephen Bartowski's return,[7] while Televisionary similarly praised Bakula's performance, citing him as ideally suited for the role.[8]

References to popular culture[edit]

  • Scott Bakula says "Oh boy!" when confronted by Ellie about how he abandoned them after promising her pancakes for dinner. This is in reference to Bakula's character Dr. Samuel Beckett on the series Quantum Leap.
  • Quantum Leap was also referenced in the opening promotion before airing, when Bakula announced the start of Chuck by mentioning he'd "been here before, but that's quite a leap." Quantum Leap also aired on NBC.
  • Bakula joins the list of actors, including Tony Todd, Robert Picardo and Robert Duncan McNeill who have been connected to the Star Trek franchise. Bakula played Captain Jonathan Archer in the series Star Trek: Enterprise.
  • Ted Roark is a caricature of various business and corporate technology leaders including Apple Inc. founder and CEO Steve Jobs, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and industrialist Richard Branson. Roark's mention of "ballooning across the world" is similar to the adventures of Branson while the theatrics of the "launch party" for Roark's RIOS operating system is similar to events given by Jobs, known as Stevenotes. In particular, the style of headset, the dramatic countdown, and the informal attire worn by Roark are similar to Jobs, along with the awe and deference shown towards Roark by his fans. The accusations of theft made against Roark by Stephen Bartowski are similar to those made by Steve Jobs against Bill Gates.
  • While welcoming two Japanese attendeers at the RIOS launch conference, Ted Roark greets one of them saying "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida", a reference to the popular song. It also references Chase's own movie, Fletch, where he threw out nonsensical foreign phrases throughout the film.
  • When Stephen tells Chuck that he can control his flashes and intentionally access the Intersect database, rather than relying on random triggers, is a reference to the series finale of Quantum Leap, where Sam learns that he can subconsciously control his leaps.
  • The episode ends with the track "Daddy's Gone" by Glasvegas


  1. ^ "Chuck Versus the Predator"
  2. ^ Cast Update: January 16, 2009,
  3. ^ Development Update: January 26, 2009: From Inside the Box
  4. ^ Star-Ledger: Chuck Co-creator Chris Fedak Q&A
  5. ^ What's Alan Watching? Chuck: Chris Fedak vs. the finale
  6. ^ Review: April 6, 2009:
  7. ^ Review: April 6, 2009: The Futon Critic
  8. ^ Review: April 3, 2009:

External links[edit]