gallery Shaw’s Training of Chuck Part II

While discussing with fellow Chuckaholics about how Shaw’s came to Burbank and was a useful character from a trainer/handler role he assumes in Season Three, we saw Sarah take a step back because she had qualms with Chuck becoming a spy.

There are many reasons I shall save for Rewatch Season Three, but for now let’s focus solely on Shaw’s role in Chuck becoming a great spy. It is no secret from anyone perspective how the Intersect was an important role in Chuck becoming a spy, but let’s not forget the first Intersect was not capable of doing what the 2.0 could do. Thus, the need for Casey and Sarah to protect him.

However, the role of his handlers would change. No more was Chuck going to be a man that happened to get an email one day. Now he was in the front lines with his handlers. Casey accepted with open arms. chuck301_00134Casey was super excited for Chuck, and we as a viewer can tell Casey’s shock had worn off. The same can’t be said about Sarah. This takes in account the great acting from Yvonne, but we can see the event inside the Intersect Room had not subsided yet. chuck301_00139Casey was willing to train when he went to spar with Chuck. Sarah wanted to be reassigned because she believed she was more of a problem then a solution. chuck302_00385The dysfunction from a team perspective was great as a unit, but individual was lacking. The training of Chuck became a session of wondering rather than teaching the ropes of the trade while realizing Chuck wasn’t like Casey and Sarah.

However, it also would prevent the intersect from working. When Shaw arrives his first order of business was to evaluate the team, and I always felt the team held Chuck back, and Shaw saw it too. However, Shaw isn’t interested in feelings or potential. Shaw wants results because of the threat The Ring have become for the agency.  He is interested in facts. He wants to know if Chuck was a liability. Notice who he asked? chuck305_00053

The question Shaw asked could of be ascertained in the reports. He didn’t need to come to Burbank and start fielding questions about Chuck’s liability. Shaw could of asked Casey too. We all know Shaw wasn’t stupid. His moves were calculated and with purpose. The very arrogance he had was the same as Larkin except Shaw was more up front about it. Shaw also said it himself. Chuck missions were either like Bond or a Jerry Lewis movie. chuck305_00056 chuck305_00054The fact he asked Sarah was because he knew Sarah spent the most time with Chuck. The move is fine with me because while Casey and Chuck have a relationship, they never were as close compared to Chuck’s relationship with Sarah.

When he has the team together, Shaw was writing down notes. Chuck tried to speak up, but we knew right away Shaw wasn’t going to give Chuck a chance to protest because after all Shaw was not interested in feelings. His focus was getting the Intersect working sufficiently. Shaw separated the man from the machine in his head. The machine he was going to use to defeat the Ring.

Prior to their meeting, Chuck complained how the review of his performance really should include him, a fair point, but again this wasn’t about Chuck, but Sarah’s training. Shaw put into question her dealings with Chuck from a spy’s purpose not on a personal level yet. Chuck also wanted to prove to Shaw he wasn’t a civilian who got a computer dumped in his head.

The initial meeting sums up the problem between Chuck, Sarah and Casey in a nutshell. The problem Shaw was looking to eradicate right away. Shaw made it clear on this being his meeting. This of course was after Chuck was defending his spy career thus far.

Shaw never shows any disdain in working with Chuck, but as great spies do uses the information he has and uses it to get the most out of his marks. What would urk Sarah more? Shaw sending them to get the key? or breaking the hold on Chuck? They protested saying Chuck wasn’t ready, but my question would be if he wasn’t ready then? When would he be? Certainly, the 2.0 wouldn’t be much use stuck in a van now would it? chuck305_00085 chuck305_00088 chuck305_00089

You can tell in Chuck’s expression he was tired of his team not having faith in him, but Shaw ends that with a very real and honest voice. “The problem is them.” Shaw does not have a bone in this fight. His evaluation is much like Forrest’s was in Broken Heart. He took the information he was given and came up with a decision. Sometimes those decisions may not be a popular one, but even so they need to be made. Unlike Forrest, Shaw was a leader and can make judgment calls without consulting with Beckman.

The only way for Shaw to find out how much training Chuck needs wouldn’t be a mission with his team, but alone. He sends Chuck on his own mission with the purpose of evaluating Chuck as a spy. After all, files and reports only say so much, but the truth is in action. Something his team was against, but Beckman agreed with Shaw.


chuck305_00104 chuck305_00105

It also meant Sarah wouldn’t be there to distract Chuck. A win/win for Shaw and his would be training of Chuck.  In showing support, Shaw establishes a connection with Chuck now, and furthermore Chuck’s team still shows no faith in Chuck’s ability in becoming a real spy. chuck305_00117 chuck305_00114 chuck305_00119One of the driving forces in life is belief. Shaw shows he believes Chuck could as he said, “evolve.” The importances of the mission was to get the key, but Shaw uses his own spy craft to manipulate the truth.

Shaw wasn’t up front about the mission being on an airplane, but does Shaw have that responsibility? need I remind you what Beckman said in Broken Heart?

Beckman: We disclosed everything that was pertinent to you.
That’s the way the National Security Agency operates.

Shaw used the same technique orchestrated by Beckman in Broken Heart. If you argue Shaw was CIA, you’re arguing semantics when you think CIA and NSA don’t operate under the same umbrella. The same method was used towards Sarah in Marlin.

They never informed the team how Longshore was a CIA transporter. The method used by Shaw was nothing we never saw before in the series. Shaw wanted a moment with Chuck so he could talk to him. A conversation minus Sarah and Casey. There is nothing wrong with that decision either. Is it alienating the handlers? Sure, but the conversation was supposed to be.

Shaw’s first few interactions with Chuck were under a leadership role. Thus, there was no leveling moment between Daniel and Bartowski. This was a conversation Shaw needed to calm Chuck down by not belittling his efforts instead spoke truth again. “You have been on more missions than most spies have in a lifetime.”

The truth was in the amount of missions Chuck went on in two years. Shaw was talking about the amount of exposure Chuck had endured in just two years.

The Intersect provided the platform, but the man still had to follow through after the flashes. Shaw saw that fact and used it as well. Ty Bennett tried to find Casey’s calm center. Shaw was looking for Chuck’s calm center as well. chuck305_00157

The next part will discuss the mission and the remaining episodes that points to Shaw’s training as helpful in Chuck maturing both as a man and spy. Shaw’s role in Chuck’s maturation process into the spy world was significant, which would prove Chuck may be a better spy than Sarah.

Think of this while you wait for Part Three, did anyone notice how Chuck functioned rather smoothly after his first solo mission. The Intersect was working and Chuck was taking on more of a leadership role. 2.0 was supposed to be that way. Is there any credence to the faith Shaw showed in Chuck.

Before answering rewatch the episodes, and wait for my next article to be released.

For those that celebrate Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving to all Chuckaholics who visit this site. Remember to eat well, but drink responsibly.

I also wanted to take the time to send my prayers and condolences to those who suffered a lost or injury during the Paris terrorist attacks. A good portion of my readers come from France, and let it be known how your families are in my prayers.


  1. I’m going to repeat here, neither Casey or Sarah was ever told to train Chuck. Their primary mission was to protect the Intersect. I think the mission on the plane in “First Class” was too soon for Chuck. In the end, Sarah’s piloting and Shaw’s threatening conversation with the Stewardess/agent had more to do with the success of the mission than Chuck really did. I will also repeat that Sarah will always be a better spy because she has fewer limitations than Chuck. Without the intersect, his objection to killing, admirable as it may be, would have disqualified him from becoming a field agent. Sarah’s objections of course have the undercurrent of her not wanting Chuck to become a spy. Shaw is driven by his grief and impatient, not really a good combination for a trainer. This was aptly demonstrated in “Awesome” when he refused to let Sarah and Casey go to Chuck”s rescue. Chuck really did almost get killed. I think Shaw thought if he put Chuck in a life threatening position, Chuck would shoot to kill in self defense. He was wrong and Chuck nearly got a knife in the gut for his hesitation. Chuck needed someone like Shaw, but it should have been someone with no ulterior motives. PS, I have just re-watched all the episodes in Shaw’s arc, so I’m ready for ya! 😉

    • Th Intersect did not work perfectly after the solo mission. As a matter of fact, it completely shut down when Sarah started her romance with Shaw. It completely shut down when Rafe broke into the hotel room. It completely shut down when Shaw was taking Sarah in Paris. So you’ll have to take another tack on that line of thinking. Additionally, see my other comment in the first part of this series. Separating Sarah and Chuck to get the Intersect working makes no sense, since it worked even worse with Sarah hooking up with Shaw ( and he was in no hurry to end that relationship to get the Intersect functioning again.) Plus he was willing to blow Chuck up as well. Sure doesn’t seem like the Intersect was all that important to Shaw when you consider that …he was more interested in keeping Sarah functioning than Chuck. That’s probably why he sent Sarah to give Chuck his Red Test ….the final exam was her’s …. get her totally unattached from Chuck so SHE can go back and function as the stone cold killer she used to be. She was getting her ass whupped while so emotional over Chuck becoming a spy…… he needed the old Sarah.

  2. Guys, don’t you find it strange that is was so easy for Shaw to snap and join the Ring. We can argue that once he lost Eve; his desire for revenge led him to take advantage of his CIA position and use all its resources to get back at his wife’s killer. Shaw always had one mission no matter what he needed to do and who he need to use to get his revenge.

    In Chuck vs the Other Guy the director mentioned that “The CIA believed that Eve had been turned by us. Your boss Langston Graham assigned you to kill her” If Shaw was such a great spy after hearing the previous statement “how did he think the CIA got the intel from?” Special agent/American hero was blinded by his vengeance that he was willing to kill Walker, surrender the intersect documents that the Ring needed & do whatever to bring down the CIA.

    If we go back to Chuck vs the Mask, we can really see the true Shaw which for one split second Sarah was able to read, mistrust and challenge. I agree that Shaw was after Sarah. He also needed the old Sarah to come back; Langston Graham’s enforcer. If he got the intersect to work it was a plus. What he did not count on was the emotion attached both Chuck & Sarah had plus Casey was a surprise for him too (sempre fidelis). Casey was now a friend and knew that Chuck and Sarah had his back.

    Shaw misread the Bartowski team’s unity personally & professional that was part of his downfall.

    • What was strange was that Sarah spent all that “alone” time with Shaw at his hotel rooms and his secret apartment, yet never saw a picture of Eve. The CIA should have had a picture of Eve as well ….since it was the worst day of Sarah’s life, I’m sure she would have recognized her. And speaking of Eve being Sarah’s Red Test…why did Sarah get to be a “spy” for almost 6 years before she was tasked with completing her Red Test ? Seems like an awful long time to be out in the field without having to kill anyone.

      Anyway Carol, I have to agree with most of what you said …. Shaw turned to the Ring VERY quickly. It doesn’t make much sense, given his sexual proclivities, which seem to put a bit of a damper on the idea that he was absolutely heart broken over Eve’s death.

      • Well, although I also think that these a valid points and also still have a hard time to ignore them, it helps to assume a few things:

        1. Shaw had no pictures of Eve in his appartment because he invited Sarah there (Would you leave pics of your Ex in your appartment if you bring someone to have sex with)

        2. Since Shaw is a special agent I guess he could have managed smth that nobody without a high clearance could access Eve’s file. Thus Sarah couldnt know how his wife looked like. I mean Sarah and Casey made a background scan on Shaw and couldn’t find anthing. This clearly indicates that they were not able to obtain Eve’s file.

        3. Was is to fast? I don’t believe he ever loved Sarah anyway. So it was just Sex. Spies are trained to seperate this anyway. So Eve was actually Shaw’s only love and he was still in love, don’t forget his ring. And he was determied from the beginning to avenge her death. By any means necessary.

        I have to admit I don’t 100% believe what I just wrote, it just helps me to get over some of these terrible plot holes in the 1st half of S03.

      • It wasn’t only Shaw sexual proclivities towards Sarah…he had a book shelf full of Kama Sutra and Tantric sex books ….obviously, Sarah wasn’t the first of his conquests after Eve’s death. At the same time, he told Sarah the story of Eve, so it wouldn’t have been a big secret he was trying to keep from her ….you’d think at some point in the relationship, he would have shown Sarah a photo of her.

        As far as something happening “fast”, we were talking about his switch to the Ring. The sex with Sarah, IMHO, seemed to occur that first night , after Chuck saved them at the museum. After Chuck asked Sarah if it was OK to pursue a relationship with Hannah ( and Chuck assumed Sarah was already with Shaw ), that’s when I believe Sarah went to Shaw’s hotel for the evening. The next morning was the stakeout at the cafe outside of Rafe Gruber’s hotel, and Shaw and Sarah were pretty cozy in a “morning after” way. Then Sarah mentioned that they should end their relationship. If nothing happened between the museum and the cafe…there would be nothing to “end”. So I think at that point, Sarah sort of regretted jumping into the sack with Shaw.

    • Carol,

      We had discussions on this site about how much of role was Shaw in working with the Ring or was he as he said a double himself. There are so many questions still about so many characters of the show, and that is the problem with letting go. Nothing really resolved. It’s like reading a book, you read all of the wonderful stories of the characters and yet you throw the book on the floor and say WTF questions shouldn’t be answered by one’s own feeling, but more to the point we should of a sense of closure.

      I usually use Cheers as my analogy when the show ended we saw Sam had to make a choice between two women Diane or Rebecca, but Sam choice his true love which was his bar. For me that’s closure, do we love it no, but to be honest I don’t think hollywood really knows how to finish a story well. Sopranos finished with a black screen.

      back to Shaw, I think if you were chasing a killer for 5 yrs for an agency who told you that the killer was in the Ring, and it turns out to be false. The partner/girlfriend was the one who shot EVe. I think it’s hard to fathom what someone would do in that situation. We all can sit here and say. I would do that, but we don’t know. I agree with Gary, I find it hard to believe that a man who was so devoted to his dead wife would not have pictures of her still up or anything of EVE for Walker to see, but then again Shaw was particular about detail. So there could of been a purpose too.

  3. I don’t think Shaw’s switch to the ring was that fast considering the facts. If he just wanted to kill Sarah then sure it makes no sense. But since he decided to go against/destroy the CIA he had to join the ring. I mean the ring was the biggest threat to the CIA at that point, so his biggest chance to bring them down was to join. He was arrogant but not so stupid to believe he can go against the CIA alone.
    And from his character point of view it also makes sense: when he made a decision he always acted directly without delay or second thoughts.

  4. Definitely there are holes in the story. Why shouldn’t Shaw have a picture of Eve when Sarah came over; after all he was a widower and most women don’t mind. I think this was error on the writers and scene personnel. You guys say that Sarah had sex with Shaw after the museum that is hard to believe because I don’t think she was going to act out immediately just because Chuck picked Hannah at that point. She still had feeling for Chuck and the fact that door was being shut was not going to cause her to run to Shaw. She needed at 24 hours to see that Chuck was not going to be hers. The cafe since was just an answer to her realization that Casey was right that she falls for the guys she works with although Shaw was just a rebound relationship. Emotionally she was also using him to try to get over Chuck but like she told Chuck in the stakeout its not the same.
    Yes, he was decisive but all times he had his own sub-mission disregarding who he would put in danger

    • Eating her pie… leaning in towards one another…..Hmmmmmm. Don’t know about that. This was the morning AFTER the museum…why would she say to Shaw that she had to “END” her relationship with him ? If all he did was allow her to lean on him while she recovered, what type of relationship is that exactly? Also, the next day, Sarah knew where Shaw’s hotel room was, since she showed up unexpectedly. How do you think she knew where Shaw’s room was if she hadn’t been there before ? And why would she confide in Shaw unless she felt some bond with him ? I can’t believe she would forge such a tight bond with him by just leaning on him while recovering from a toxin …..

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