Scott Bakula’s role as Stephen J. Bartowski, code name Orion was one character, who had more meaning to the show than any other character outside of Chuck, Sarah and Casey. A role that should have never been killed off the show. Whatever the case may be on why Bakula only lasted for 7 episode is one decision that should have been prevented.
A man who created and built the Intersect, and knew its shortcomings was essential to the overall story of Chuck. He not only was a genius, but his absence from the Bartowski siblings was significant throughout the series.
We also have his connection with Mary Bartowski, who was his wife and mother of Chuck and Ellie, but also was the driving force behind the creation of Alexei Volkoff However, that would not be the case because we learn in the episode Chuck vs the Cliffhanger that he was asked Hartley to implant the data into his brain as an experiment, but went terribly wrong.
We also have Orion’s connection with Ted Roark and Fulcrum, which was a significant battle and reason why he left Chuck and Ellie, and his explanation was of protection . As the story continues we figure out that he also sent Bryce to look after Chuck at Stanford. The groundwork for Chuck has Orion included in pretty much all of the characters that helped shape Chuck and Ellie specifically.
However, Orion’s character would continue to impact the show even after his untimely death by the hands of Daniel Shaw. He helped Chuck with the overwhelming of his brain by creating the governor, which helped cool the brain from the amount of force each flash would generate. Something I feel would have worked for Sarah at the end. He left behind his laptop so Ellie could find and fix the problems that he couldn’t figure out.
Ellie finding out about the computer was a blessing in disguise and prototypical of Orion. The same can be said on how he allowed Sarah to find him, and in a nonchalant way tell Chuck that Roark created an Intersect.
His impact also educated Chuck into knowing that his invention was meant to help people, and he thought that the way the government was going to use it as a tool to create an Intersect army went against everything Orion wanted for the program. Orion knew how dangerous the computer was and warned everyone including Chuck. Chuck would not listen though, which is what lead to his demise.
Chuck blamed himself for it too, but at the end of the day Chuck did what was right and went after the very man who killed his father. And how he helped Chuck with the brain problems and in particular memory loss prevention. This is why I feel that the character should have never been killed off the show. His need by the characters was essential to the development.
If Orion didn’t die may be he could of have been around to help solve Sarah’s memory suppression or Morgan’s for that matter. Ellie fixed the problem, but she was still new to the science and not as familiar with it like Orion.
The other area where Orion played a role was how Chuck used his name to lure Alexei Volkoff to the cabin and get the Hydra computer system uploaded to his dad’s computer. It was a brilliant plan. Orion’s death didn’t end the need for him. Especially for the problems that came about in season 5. It also would have been nice to see Him reconnect with Mary.
There is something else I love about Orion. The way he reentered Chuck’s life seemed to be a lot better than the way Mary Bartowski approached it. It’s like what he said in the end of Dream Job. Orion said “ If after 10 years of being out of your life. I just show up and tell you that I built the intersect how would you react?” Of course I am paraphrasing the line, but it’s still a great speech by Orion. It’s being honest and direct with Chuck.
There are very few character that are not included with the main characters that impact a story like Stephen Bartowski does . He is not a main character, who you will find listed in the opening credits, but he still was a major player. Someone who needed to stay on the show rather than be referred to. It would have been nice to see Papa Bartowski be a father figure for Sarah as well. After all Sarah is his daughter in law