Shaw’s Training Part One
A second topic of discussion that came to me was the possibility of Chuck actually being a better spy than Sarah. We know Casey said Walker was the best partner he ever had, but one could question that fact when we take in account how fast Bartowski moved in his training and performance on tasks like burning an asset. Once Chuck focused on his training, Chuck was a star in the making. One that started to come up with plans that even Beakman had private sessions with him (Couch Lock). However, the reality is Chuck never reached his full potential until Daniel Shaw made it a personal mission to get the Intersect 2.0 working properly. Some will argue Shaw had nothing to do with Chuck’s makeup as a spy, but Walker, Casey and Beckman all didn’t capitalize on Chuck both as a Nerd Herder and spy instead they treated him like a fragile flower. Chuck aka the Pirana, who had a virus called the Bartowski Special.
Imagine Jack Bauer without Chloe O’Brian, who was also very talented computer hacker much like Chuck was. We sawJack Bauer use the strength Chloe had all the time. We saw how smart Chuck was from the Pilot. A skill that was never utilized by his team. They seemed like it was the best way to keep Chuck safe was in a car.
The first scene of Chuck’s potential was in the very first episode. His unique skill told him where and when the bomb was to go off, but it didn’t provide him information on defusing it. The defusing part came from Chuck not the machine in his brain.
There was no time to train or time to think. Casey and Sarah didn’t want Chuck near the bomb, but we are talking about Bartowski and he went on his own. Casey wasn’t going to let Chuck touch the computer until Walker said he was their best shot under the circumstances, but even Sarah also didn’t believe in him from the outset. Remember Sarah didn’t want him to tag along because of how valuable Chuck Bartowski was to the country. We move to some other key scenes that showed the potential of Chuck and also saving the bacon of Casey and Sarah. For example, in just a few episodes Chuck would risk his neck by helping his handlers. They told him to go home when the Triad took them hostage. In just a small sample, Chuck showed he had the adaptability to perform under pressure, but while Chuck never asked for his new post, he didn’t shy away from it either like most would have under similar circumstances, but Chuck also understandably had doubts about what he was doing.
He would freak out sometimes, but it wasn’t enough for Casey to call him a liability or Sarah showing doubt by trying to talk him out of dangerous situations. If one’s team doesn’t show faith in him, how could he progress or block out emotions that are bottled up. How can Chuck proceeded as the Intersect if there was no confidence in him.
It took a long time for his team to come around, but still Sarah was trailing Casey and Beckman. Casey spotted his talent and saw potential as analysis, but let’s be real for a moment. The computer in Chuck’s head was not suited for desk work. It needed to be in the field to trigger the files in his head. Thus, there was no way he was going to be analysis.
Once Chuck’s side mission (Tron Poster and search for Orion) was exposed, Beckman no longer was interested in losing Chuck Bartowski. It’s why she offered him a job in Ring II, but he declined, still Sarah was not amongst those that wanted him to be a spy in the field. Her experience told her he was going to change. He was going to lose himself because she had. She became a killer and enforcer for Langston Graham, and that’s all Walker can base her reasoning on.
With so much at stake, How could Chuck succeed. I chalk it up to Chuck’s self doubt in his quest to land Walker on a normal basis. Thus, the need to enter her world, but his teacher didn’t show any belief in him as a spy. She didn’t side with him when Chuck could crack the chip Cole was trying to score.
The team instilled Chuck couldn’t do things on his own, which caused problems because Chuck became to dependant on Walker saving the day. The problem with this theory comes with Chuck saving Sarah and Casey just about the same amount of time they save him. Did Chuck perform with perfection like some of the other polished agent, no.
All Chuck needed was the keys to Castle and training. Did they mind him being bad ass during this moment? Bryce Larkin thought it was too late for Chuck to return to his normal life after one mission working with him. Vincent complimented Chuck on luring Orion out of hiding and was pleased with the work he heard about one Charles Carmichael. In fact, the Fulcrum leaders didn’t sanction Vincent in heading to the Buymore for Orion’s computer because of losing agents there.
Roan Montgomery showed more respect in Chuck’s ability as a spy when he trusted Chuck to perform a task like leaping off the Buymore to save Sarah. All these moments I am going through under the tutelage of Team Bartowski showed how Chuck’s training was irregular and spotty at best Outsiders believed in Charles Carmichael, but not Sarah.
Sarah would say he was a good spy, but only when Sarah wanted to get Chuck to focus on the mission , which if you ask me is a negative on Sarah not Chuck. Sarah’s presence was very distracting in a sense. The idea Chuck wanted to hash out problems between them while conducting a mission would only prove how much Sarah was affecting him and his performance.
The icing on the cake was in Prague. Chuckaholics has plenty of articles discussing this matter. We term Prague as the Prague Incident as a result. When we state the Incident we are referring to the train station. All Chuck fans know what incident we are talking about.
No one was the same after the incident, Chuck was all excited about training, but he mad a promise to Sarah about meeting her, and something happened during the two weeks between the night of Chuck becoming a machine before Casey and Sarah’s eyes. One use of the new intersect showed how powerful this new version was, but something else happened to Sarah that night. Something that often gets lost in the shuffle because of the events that happened after this, but put yourself in her shoes for a moment.
Sarah lost her first real boyfriend in Bryce Larkin. This time it was for real as Larkin body laid there. It was like her soul was ripped out of her. This was the moment when we lost Sarah for a while, but she still had Chuck right? Not really because while Larkin was gone. Chuck’s old way of life would drastically change as well.In a matter of moments, Sarah became scared with what she just witnessed. The two men she cherished were lost in her mind. How could she not watching Chuck perform Kung Fu with a simple flash. Casey also was shocked by what he saw. Despite all of this. Despite Chuck’s eagerness to join the CIA so he could be with Sarah. We come to the conclusion of Chuck’s training from his team and Beckman, what was the result. Well, this. Chuck was a broken man when he was fired from the agency and presumably lost Sarah as well. Thus, Chuck spiraled into depression. He tried to recapture the magic he had with his team, but again failed.
Most people are going to hate what I am going to write from here on out, but the focus of this article isn’t about Shaw and Sarah because that topic I agree with everyone. IMO, I feel that portion of the story was written for Bryce Larkin, but we shall save that for when we get into Rewatch Season Three.
I have had numerous discussions with other Chuckaholics about this topic and some agree. Shaw’s motivation was revenge, but also to weaponize Bartowski. His revenge was what drove him for five years and having the Intersect at his disposal was like a kid in a candy store. A quest to find the one who killed his wife with the help of the Intersect.
A man who was hell bent on taking down the Ring. The problem from Shaw’s perspective was the fact he didn’t want to be in Burbank. Beckman begged Shaw to go and prepare the team for an even bigger battle with The Ring.
Beckman knew what she was doing. She needed the Intersect 2.0 working. She needed Chuck to focus on his training and become the spy 2.0 was designed for. Beckman knew she failed in preparing Chuck for stopping the Ring, and needed an outsider to train Chuck. Enter Shaw.
Shaw said he read every file, which meant he knew about Chuck and Sarah’s relationship. He knew Chuck wouldn’t use a real gun, and most of all knew his emotions got the better of him. Shaw was prepared for his dealing with Burbank as well. Why would Shaw needed to read a file on Jeff? So, Shaw can get the most out of the Intersect 2.0
Shaw needed to know what made Chuck tick. Sarah was the first obvious part of Chuck’s existence. Shaw didn’t include Casey in his training because he read the reports. He knew Casey was training Chuck the right way, but the only glaring issue Daniel saw was Sarah.
The initial meeting was a test. Shaw knew Chuck wasn’t going to use the gun, but it was a ploy to get Devon up to the top floor. Shaw knew he was going to shoot himself, which is why Shaw was prepared for it. Did Shaw act nervous in shooting himself. No, he didn’t.
Chuck doesn’t shoot him, but like most trainers, Shaw used the information he just heard like Chuck telling him about not liking guns. Shaw later would inform Chuck how he didn’t like guns, but it paid to use them.
I don’t know why Chuck fans hate it, but I never thought what Shaw said here to be terrible. While it was admirable Chuck didn’t like to kill, but we all know sometimes he needed to be lethal just to survive. Later, when Chuck took it upon himself to lure Sidney to the Buymore, which was brilliant, but again Chuck’s dependency on his team was in play. Shaw wanted to trust Chuck in seeing through this by saying “If you want to start things on your own, you better finish it on his own.” I don’t see anything wrong with this either.
It’s Chuck doing what spies do, Sarah did the same thing in the pilot. She was ordered to return to Washington, but resisted and assumed the role as his handler. What would’ve happened if Chuck turned out to be a baddie? Do you remember what Graham said, “I can’t help you if things go wrong.” Shaw was just reiterating what Graham said to Sarah, but of course Chuck panicked. It’s because Chuck didn’t have faith in himself yet. He didn’t remember he took out five guys with Kung Fu six month prior. He became too emotional, which is a hindrance due to the coddling Team Bartowski did prior.
Beckman told Chuck and Sarah to not storm the embassy to save Casey when he was in the Costa Gravis Consulate. As a result it made Charah act alone, so what would’ve happened if Charah was caught? They would of received the same treatment no one would of came to help them.
Casey: You’re signing his death warrant, You know that, don’t you?
Shaw: Ye of little faith.
Sarah: This is crazy. I’m going in.
Casey: So am I.
Shaw: I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you two to stand down.
I don’t like guns much, But when necessary, I will use them.
Do you remember what Daniel also said,
Casey: What are you doing? Without us, he doesn’t have a chance.
Sarah: He’s gonna start to panic And then he’s not gonna be able to perform properly.
Shaw: Yeah, happens to lots of guys. Or so I hear. Besides, I’m kinda curious about what his plan is.
Once again, his team belittling him, and an outsider giving Chuck a chance to perform. Cole did the same thing. He said, ” It’s time to be a hero.” I am paraphrasing but Cole believed in Chuck potential as well. “It’s not about wanting to be a hero, it’s needing to be.”
Chuck was trying to be a hero by protecting Devon from any further danger. Shaw knew he had to use Devon because of the mission. Chuck argued Devon’s involvement, but when Casey and Sarah shot Chuck down. Shaw was the one who asked Chuck if he had a plan, but with Casey and Sarah shooting him down once again. Why would Chuck want to offer the idea of hacking into the Ring phone instead he did it himself. I applauded him his efforts in this episode. Shaw was going to let Chuck come up with plans. I am sure Daniel was open to an idea like hacking the phone.
We shall continue this discussion by exploring how one mission alone gave Chuck a lot more confidence in future missions plus Shaw questioning Sarah’s loyalty and a line Shaw used in First Class would come into reality in Season Four. Stay tuned for some more of Shaw’s training of Chuck would ultimately surpass Sarah as a top spy.
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