Netflix’s The Chair begins with the promotion of Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim (Sandra Oh) to the titular position of chair in the English department of the fictional Pembroke University. Over the show’s six episodes, viewers got to see how Dr. Kim navigated the ups and downs of a department struggling with a funding crisis, recalcitrant professors, and issues with promoting new talent. On top of that, she is also dealing with Bill Dobson (Jay Duplass), a rolling disaster of a human who creates controversy simply by existing in proximity to air. With so much drama, fans are bound to wonder: Will there be a The Chair Season 2?
Warning: Spoilers for The Chair Season 1 follow. Dr. Kim’s struggles over the season run the gamut from small indignities, like longtime professor Joan Hambling (Holland Taylor) being put in a basement office, to significant crises, like Dobson’s ill-considered Nazi salute in a classroom. But the biggest problem is that she actually hates being the chair. She’s taken the position because it’s everything she’s worked for in her career, ever since burying herself in her work when her fiancé left her. But now that she’s here, it’s one long massive headache that’s got her careening from one crisis to the next.
So, when the older professors stage a coup at the end of the season, Ji-Yoon doesn’t protest to giving up her position. In some ways, it’s a relief. But she’s not going to step down and let one of these old white men take back over, oh no. Instead, she does the right thing and nominates Joan, a woman who suffered 40 years of sexism and belittlement and never managed to shatter that glass ceiling herself.
As Season 1 ends, Joan steps into the office she deserves, smiling to see herself in charge of the department. Meanwhile, Dr. Kim is back in the classroom teaching Emily Dickinson, where she’s always been happiest. She’s also perhaps embarking on a relationship with Dobson, because some women find rolling disasters entertaining? Anyway, it’s a cheerful ending for now.
But is that the end of The Chair? Or will there be a Season 2 in which Hambling takes the reins and lays down the law the way it ought to be laid? As the first season’s breakout character and chief scene-stealer, Joan going front and center for another round of six half-hour episodes seems like a no-brainer.
Netflix has not yet renewed The Chair for a second season. The streaming service’s usual tactic for new series is to wait for 30 days, see what the audience reception is like, and then renew or cancel. But there’s good news for fans who are concerned this might be a one-and-done thing. Unlike shows like The Queen Gambit, which were designed as close-ended stories and billed as limited series, The Chair is neither. Netflix is currently billing the show as a “half-hour dramedy,” which suggests there will be more to come should it be a hit.
All six episodes of The Chair Season 1 are streaming on Netflix.