Shaw’s Evil Plan

Certainly the most discussed story element for the last several months has been the impact of Shaw on the story and characters.    We’ve seen interviews, clips, and spoilers of every sort telling us how much we’re going to hate this character.   Well, finally we’ve had our first glimpse of the man, so I thought it would be in order to start a discussion on how things actually will play out.   We will use whatever mix of show history, interviews and spoilers fit the purpose.   No one will be moderated for guessing too close.   Obviously, as the weeks go by we’ll be able to get more precise.

We’ve been told Shaw is the foremost expert on The Ring and is there to lead the battle against them.   But it already seems his real purpose to help Chuck gain control of his emotions, and make him more capable of independent action.    We don’t know exactly how much information about Team Bartowski group dynamics he started with, but he seems to have formed certain opinions quickly.   He obviously believes Casey and Sarah are over-protective and stifling Chuck’s growth.   On a related note, he may think they are a little too chummy (my conclusion, based on him viewing the dinner party at the end).   He may have been surprised by Sarah’s comment about knowing what you have to loose; but surprised or no, he clearly doesn’t agree or approve.   The wedding ring he put on the end strikes me as particularly ominous; he has presumably lost his wife, possibly by base betrayal, maybe even by his own hand (hence the dislike of guns).   We can expect he will show no mercy or tolerance of Chuck and Sarah’s affection for each other; in his eyes it is pure weakness.

We know next week Hannah makes her first appearance.   We’ve been told little about how she will really fit into the story, except that Chuck, Morgan, and the Nerd Herders will all like her; and Chuck will have an intimate moment with her in the home theater room.   My thought is, she’s a CIA agent who will be under Shaw’s orders to start driving a wedge between Chuck and Sarah.    Shaw may tell Chuck he thinks she’s a Ring agent (or has critical info or some such) and Chuck needs to get close to her to find out what she knows.    Now I might enjoy seeing Chuck try every variation of friendly approach, short of seduction, to accomplish his mission; to Shaw’s growing frustration.   Until Chuck finds out Morgan is interested in this “bad” girl.   Then Chuck will heroically prove she is no darn good for Morgan’s benefit.   Of course this finally gives Shaw the bit of video footage he can accidentally let Walker see.     If I’m right on more than one element of this I will claim a major victory and be generally insufferable for weeks!

Next up, we know Shaw will be making a move for Sarah.   I doubt he will actually care about her in any real way, his objective is purely to shake Chuck loose from her influence.   This ties back to his view the relationship is a weakness for Chuck.    We know from previews and spoilers ad nauseum that he will have some success.   Its way too early to be sure, but my guess would be Sarah is on to him all the way; she may lead him on in her own attempt to get information, or find out his agenda;   but  I really can’t see the Sarah Walker we’ve all known for two seasons, the same woman who won’t get involved with Chuck because its unprofessional, or feelings get you killed, or spies don’t fall in love; suddenly falling for the new spy stud.    I think we will see a game, or battle of wills between them.    Of course, Chuck may know nothing about this.    I would love to see Chuck and Sarah working Shaw for information, but I’m pretty sure Chuck will have to suffer in ignorance for a while.   When he finally learns the truth will be an epic moment near the end of the arc.

The last element I have no idea about the timing on.   But most spoilers indicate Casey will be suspended or fired at some point.   I’m sure Chuck won’t be happy about it, but it won’t cause the sort of shut down/melt down just dismissing Sarah would have; so I think Shaw will feel he can act more boldly with Casey.   Naturally, Casey won’t leave Burbank, he may make more of a nuisance of himself at the Buy More.   I’m sure he will try to provide distant (um, “unsanctioned”) cover for Team B; I’m sure most of us have seen the stills of Casey in spy garb with Devon and Morgan.   This could actually be the most entertaining consequence of Shaw’s plan, Casey being forced to rely on even less capable associates than Chuck.

What will the final fallout be?   I think the easy answer is “good things”.   Somehow, Chuck will come out of this with more control than he started with.   And Chuck, Sarah and Casey will all learn how much they can count on each other.   Shaw may turn out to be a villain; but I strongly suspect he won’t be.    At some point, he will be forced to admit Team Bartowsky (especially Chuck and Sarah) is stronger because of their attachment, not in spite of it.   That’s right, I think the lasting epic lesson will be Broken Heart revisited.

Update: 1/21: I just wanted to add a comment based on the spoiler Sarah’s real name will be revealed in 3.08.   There’s any number of ways it could be brought up, but I think the most likely scenario is she tells Chuck.   This could accomplish two obvious things:

1)   Causes Chuck to flash.   Chuck has flashed on  tidbits of her in the past, but he may suddenly learn a lot about how she came to be Sarah Walker.

2) Sarah uses it to prove her sincerity to Chuck.   If Chuck is having problems or doubting Sarah is manipulating Shaw, but has real feelings for Chuck; a reveal of this nature could convince Chuck that he’s the one who truly has her heart.    (Oh, that and the flash that confirms she’s telling the truth about her name).

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About atcDave

I'm 54 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 31 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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71 Responses to Shaw’s Evil Plan

  1. Ernie Davis says:

    Dave, I’ve certainly thought your case has some merit, but looking at the synopses I think Hannah is someone who Chuck rescues from the assassin on the plane and then turns as an agent. Given that the writers seem to like role reversal my guess is that Chuck will be playing the Sarah role, as protector and/or handler and may go a little too far in having to win her trust.

    • atcdave says:

      I don’t think Hannah being a damsel in distress precludes her involvement in other ways. Certainly Chuck being ordered to protect her while working at the Buy More is one way it could play out, and still be mostly consistant with the rest of what I said. Obviously, this all highly speculative for now.

      • Gord says:

        I also think it is just a little to coincidental that on Chuck’s first solo mission (that Shaw assigns to him) he comes across Hannah, who then ends up working at the Buy More.
        I subscribe basically to the same theory about Hannah and Shaw. Also, you mentioned that when Chuck finds out what Shaw is up to it will be epic. That is what I think the clip of Chuck decking Shaw is all about. It is not because he kissed Sarah, but because he has been doing things to destroy the Chuck/Sarah relationship, without love as his motiviation. We have seen Chuck’s reaction to Sarah kissing other guys before – he is heart broken, but doesn’t aggressively act because just like Sarah when Chuck was with Lou and Jill, her happiness is what is important to him.
        I also think that Shaw will not be an enemy agent, just a cold-hearted bastard.

      • atcdave says:

        Good point about the way Chuck and Sarah have reacted in the past. It also seems unlikely Sarah would make up with Chuck too fast if he just barged in and decked Shaw while they enjoying some off time.

      • herder says:

        My suspicion is that Shaw arranges for Chuck to arrive when he and Sarah are having a moment. My guess is that the punch is because Shaw overplays his game. Sarah cerainly looks shocked in the trailer, could be because of what Chuck does or because of what Shaw said or a combination of both.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, that goes back to something being missing from this equation. We really may not know until the moment of the reveal.

    • Zsjaer says:

      Ernie…don t you think that is a bit supicious in the clip we saw, that Hannah almost forced Chuck to notice Steve Austin character? can be a coincidence..but it really was suspicious 🙂

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think it could go either way, as a setup for Chuck to flash, that is either intentional or unintentional on her part. They did also show her and Chuck playing the who is that game. I think the initial story will be what I outline. What she turns out to be may change later.

  2. lou federico says:

    Ok I know I am going out on a limb and becoming the William Wallace of the Chuck boards without the muscles and the real cool big sword. I Think Shaw is going to be a good thing! Yes I said it. It much like a new football coach as we have had a lot in Detroit. First you have to see what you have to work with. We saw this in the last episode where shaw saw the dynamics of the team and was able to pick out their weaknesses.

    Second, instill confidence.. With the next episode Shaw is sending Chuck out alone to take on Stone Cold.. no more Casah to bail him out.

    Third, id and isolate the problem. With chuck it is his emotions. So maybe the Kiss between Shaw and Sarah was done to make both of them face their feeling and make chuck learn how to control and channel his feeling so he can flash on command. “Every time you want to flash think of me kissing Sarah.”

    Much like Cole I think Shaw is going to be a great influence on Chuck and help him with his performance issues! Mark it done !

    • atcdave says:

      I sort of agree Lou, that he may not end up being a bad guy at all. But I think we will have cause to hate him for a while. Certainly, when the dust settles, Chuck will be better off. I tried to present a fairly low-angst scenario. Based on the spoilers we’ve seen, that wasn’t easy!

    • joe says:

      I just heard the latest Chuck You Tuesday podcast (it’s excellent, btw). And Magnus brings up exactly that point. Shaw, he says, is going to be the best thing for Chuck, and for Chuck & Sarah.

      I think I’m coming around to that point of view.

  3. Ernie Davis says:

    OK guys and gals. Here it is. The nightmare jump the shark scenario. The ring at the end indicates Shaw was/is married? It’s Sarah.

    And Fonzie sails over the shark tank.

    I need to watch this episode one more time tonight.

    • atcdave says:

      You’re not making friends you know!

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I’m basing this on very little at the moment. But in an odd way, it could actually minimize the angst of Shaw’s play for Sarah. It would be Bryce v4.0 and little more. It will of course devastate Chuck at a crucial time. It is also one of the most overused WTWT “shocking” twists in the WTWT cannon, which is why I fear it is exactly what is likely to happen.

    • herder says:

      You’d have to have Chuck and Sarah saying “I do” at the end of the episode to have a chance of the fans ever forgiving TPTB after that one. Even at that you’d still have a big chunck of the audience switching the channel. Short version not going to happen.

    • Faith says:

      There is absolutely no recognition when Shaw was introduced by Gen Beckman in Castle. Even if it’s an ambivalent relationship there would be this spark of anger/recognition/connection…you know the way there was when Bryce was introduced. Even Cole got a “connection” look/moment.

      -ChuckNewbie8 aka Jem

    • weaselone says:

      Unless Shaw underwent some major reconstructive surgery, I don’t think Sarah even knows who he is let alone was a past spouse.

    • joe says:

      I saw you introduce this idea in the boards last night, Ernie. I don’t think many are buying it.

      But I see why it’s a floatable idea.

      If something close to this (can’t imaging what “close” but not there would mean in this context) was to happen, that would be the single biggest failure as theater I’ve seen on television (much less on Chuck). I mean, it would be atrocious acting and the lowest form of story telling (as bad as the worst of soap-operas) that we’ve seen in a lifetime of TV watching.

      Oh yeah, more people would forget about Chuck than just the “crazy” ‘shippers, if that was to happen.

      But never fear. The writers are far better than that. And had they tried (ala Melrose Place), the actors would have not led us to where we are already, but some place different. They’re that good.

      Oh, and Sarah does not have an evil twin sister either! ;>

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joe, I introduced it in hopes someone could quickly shoot it down. It came to me in a horrifying second when I was re-running Shaw’s line about connections being a weakness and his being so assured that Sarah would back him up, then a seeming surprise that she would answer that having something to fight for helps sometimes. We’d all speculated about possible history and the depressing thought came to me, what if the Shaw and Sarah exchange was about their history and not Chuck. That is just the kind of soapish cliche I could see JS thinking was a clever twist, just as he thought the “traumatic event” was something “really great” we hadn’t seen before. Gee, Sarah couldn’t express herself enough to allay Chuck’s doubts and fears about their relationship and heartbreak ensues when Chuck, acting on what he perceives as mixed signals unintentionally hurts Sarah causing her to withdraw and Chuck to have to peruse her and win her back, again. Wow, where do they get this stuff?!?

      • joe says:

        Hum…
        You’ve identified a place where they might have slipped it in, Ernie. Oooffff!

        Okay – you got me. It’s plausible now. Still awful, but plausible.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Joe, check the clip I was pointed to. It pretty much makes my theory impossible. Thank God.

      • Gord says:

        I think the ring means one of two things – Shaw has a wife back home, but for her own protection he is hiding that fact from everyone; or Shaw’s wife was killed by the ring and that is why he is so cold-hearted.

        The second possibility might actually garner the character some sympathy (from Team Bartowski and the fans), or at least explain his behaviour, if we find this out later in the arc.

        At this time, I just see Shaw as a character we will all love to hate. I know for one I will give out a big cheer when I finally see that scene where Chuck decks him.

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Casey and Sarah don’t also take a swing at him.

    • kaybee2517 says:

      I sort of felt like Sarah and Shaw had some sort of history, or at least just prior knowledge of one another…..how is this for irrisponsible speculation – he was engaged to another ‘Chuck’ character, but it was Carina, not Sarah…..like I said, irrisponsible speculation (with absolutly no evidence to back it up).
      But again, on first watching I thought there was some connection there. It was probably just that Shaw has learned everything possible about Team Bartowski and knows the right things to say to get to them.

  4. herder says:

    I don’t know where he’s likely to go, I think we’ll have a better idea after next episode as I think 3.06 & 3.07 particularly are where Shaw starts to go too far with his machinations and starts a rift between him and the team. Whether he is evil or just a fanatic (but a well meaning one) or just seems that way I’m not sure. But I do think that Casey is the one that will twig to it first. In the end maybe he is the one that Chuck has to shoot for good or tragic reasons, after all they do like to come back to scenes and Shaw and Chuck’s first scene is Shaw begging Chuck to shoot him, maybe the last is too.

  5. Ernie Davis says:

    Nope, relax. I posted on the NBC boards to see if I’d get moderated. I was directed to this video. This pretty much kills off my theory and my worst fears, and I am happy to have it do so.

    http://nbc.epk.tv//_tape-room/chuck-season-3/episodes/chuck-versus-first-class-guest-star-kristin-kreuk-stone-cold-steve-austin/clips/clips/Chuck_EpsChuckVsFirstClass_12.wmv

    Oh, and my apologies.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Haven’t watched the link, but my assumption is that the wife of Shaw is dead – based on the little speech he gave about feelings/emotions/etc., etc., getting people killed. His wife got killed because of something he did. Part of why he says to Chuck “I hate guns, too.”

      He’s grieving the loss of his wife – and may turn to Sarah to fill the void.

    • atcdave says:

      Yeah, that does blow apart the Ernie theory pretty effectively. We also clearly see Shaw trying to wean Chuck from, shall we say, his most protective handler. I’ve always liked Sarah as the ferocious lioness, I hope when all is said and done that hasn’t changed too much. I mean, Chuck and Sarah as equals, taking turns looking out for each other would be awesome; but if Sarah becomes too much the junior partner, I would be disappointed.

    • joe says:

      Whew! Thanks, Ernie.

      I was worried there for a second – not about Shaw & Sarah, but about spoilers that I’ve been (successfully) avoiding.

      That was – awesome!

      And now, I’m more curious than ever to find out what Shaw’s secret is! (Or pluralize that last part!)

  6. NoWayOut says:

    Okay, It took me 24 hours of solitude, a look at some of the episode 5 spoilers and some key scenes in E1-4 to get my Chuck mojo back. I think I know EXACTLY what is happening here now. I will lay money (proceeds to a Haiti charity) that this is where we’re going.

    Shaw is, literally, the embodiment of what TPTB had to do to the show to keep it alive. To sell NBC on a Season 3, they had to deliver a Chuck central character that became a real spy. To make the fans happy, TPTB had to put Chuck and Sarah together, too. Shaw is the vehicle TPTB use to do both.

    For example: his little spiel in E5 about the team being dysfunctional for two years because Sarah and Casey held Chuck back is stupid, of course, because Chuck hasn’t had the super-powered Intersect that long and he didn’t want to be a spy in the first two seasons. But TPTB rewrite/ret-con Chuck into super spydom by using the Shaw character to do all of the things two years of backstory couldn’t allow Sarah or Casey to do.

    Whenever Chuck moves forward this year, it will because of something Shaw puts into motion. It allows TPTB to keep the Sarah and Casey characters essentially unchanged (although tweaked). Every tough step forward Chuck makes is via the Shaw character. Every change that moves Chuck to super spydom comes via Shaw.

    Chuck and Sarah will be together at the end of the 13th episode, too. I get that now. How, exactly, Shaw and Sarah have their moment (and it is clearly just a moment) on the way to that, I dunno. But Shaw is the catalyst of the relationship, too. Chuck becomes superspy and gets the girl via Shaw. (And I guess Sarah’s desire NOT to be a spy is kicked into Season 4 or something.)

    Finally, we can also assume this: Since the Shaw character has served his storytelling purpose–make Chuck a real spy to keep the network happy, put Chuck and Sarah together to keep the fans happy–Shaw dies at the end of his arc. His job done, he sacrifices his life to ensure that Chuck and Sarah live happily ever after. Or, at least, into the mini-arc of six…

    That’s where we’re going, folks. Book it. Its Screenwriting 101. Well, Intermediate Screenwriting.

    • weaselone says:

      I agree with the basic premise, but with a couple of caveats.

      1. I actually agree that Chuck’s handlers have held him back. Obviously, he didn’t want to be a spy and lacked the necessary skills to handle himself in many situations, but there were many episodes where even Chuck’s technical and intellectual skills were marginalized by the team. Plus, they could have trained him in self defense, the use of non-lethal weapons, etc, but failed to do so even though he’d demonstrated an inability to stay in the car.

      2. I’m not certain Shaw will die, although it’s a possibility. Shaw’s personal tragedy has left him a lone operator. Presumably, he could just leave once he feels his work with Team B is done. Given all the gun foreshadowing, my suspicion is that Chuck shoots and kills an enemy operative to save Shaw’s life at the end of the arc, coming full circle to Shaw’s shooting of Sydney.

      • NoWayOut says:

        Shaw doesn’t HAVE to die, but probably will for three reasons:
        1) They introduce him as dying, so given the way this team writes, he’ll depart dying.
        2) Since the Shaw character is literally the (ahem!) intersect of commerce (where the network wants the show to go) and art (plot/character development), sending him off in any other way makes no sense. In a way, he’s Bryce. His purpose has been served so he dies.
        3) This show supposedly is more dark now and since dark to TPTB means more gore (seeing the Casey and Shaw wounds) and death (Emmett’s offing), Shaw dies to remind you that the show is “darker” and supposedly “major” characters can be killed.

      • Gord says:

        Suggesting Sarah’s desire not to be a spy will kick in during S4 I think is an error. I personally think what we will see is that Sarah comes to the realization that she doesn’t need a normal life as long as she has a real relationship with the man she loves.

        Just as Chuck came to the realization that he doesn’t want a normal life as long as he has a real relationship with the woman he loves.

        By the way you do know that the man Sarah loves is Chuck and not Shaw right and that for Chuck its Sarah and not Hannah?
        Just checking to make sure we are on the same page.

      • atcdave says:

        I agree Gord. I think leaving the spy world was a passing fancy for Sarah; normal was only appealing because of Chuck. I don’t think it will ever be an issue, possibly never even mentioned again in this context. If it ever comes up again, it will be about how to ensure something like “normal” for their kids.

      • AngelTwo says:

        How can leaving the spy world be considered a passing fancy for Sarah. It was in the original pilot. It got to the screen as far back as Crown Vic. Pay attention, people, Sarah has always been a less-than-totally committed spy. It’s part of the character’s charm: She’s a great spy, but has always dreamed of a normal life.

      • atcdave says:

        I don’t recall any mention of it in the Pilot. She seems fine with “boring” in Wookie, but that’s already under Chuck’s influence. Crown Victoria is her first clear expression of wanting normal; but that’s exactly what I’m talking about, its completely because of Chuck’s influence.
        But apart from the occasional, wistful “what if” sort of moment, I’d be surprised if she ever seriously considers leaving her profession again.

      • AngelTwo says:

        Dave-In the december 2006 pilot draft, Sarah has several lines of dialogue that talks to her missing not having a family life. My point being is that the reluctant spy angle has been part of Sarah’s character from its inception. It wasn’t an invention for Pink Slip.

        I don’t think they’ll drop this entirely because the sacrifices a spy makes has been a constant theme in the show. Besides, these guys never throw ANYTHING away. The same themes, good and bad, always return.

      • atcdave says:

        You may be right about that, they do like recycling ideas. But things that never aired don’t count (aren’t canon). I think it would be an interesting dispute for a later episode, sorting out how “normal” they can make their lives. But Sarah has always had a strong sense of mission and duty too, and I really think once they’re over the major hurdle of how to have both love and career, they will both be pretty fulfilled; and the issue drops from important, to interesting.

    • atcdave says:

      Really well written post NoWayOut, and some good food for thought.
      The idea of Casey and Sarah holding Chuck back for two years is indeed ludacris. There may be a few things they could have done better, but prior to 2.0 AND Chuck’s willing acceptance of the calling, there was truly not much they could have done. If we want to say two years of baggage make it hard for them to see his full potential, well, that might be a better argument.

      I think I would describe Casey and Sarah’s growth as a little more than tweaks; especially Sarah, if she will now be capable of having a real relationship, that is major growth. But admittedly, Casey and Sarah will still be recognizable from the Pilot; compared to Chuck their growth is subtle.
      I don’t expect them to ever make a big deal again about Sarah wanting out of the biz. I think that desire was tied closely to Chuck; and if a path emerges that really lets her have it both ways, I expect Sarah to go for it eagerly.
      I do agree, killing Shaw off seems most likely. Simply for practical reasons; Routh is a fairly high profile guest star, and he is likely too busy in the next year or so (I believe the next Superman movie is starting production); so it would make perfect sense if they closed the door on dealing with him again. But I hope we’re wrong. I would love to see him emerge wiser and better too. Sarah’s line laid down the challenge, “sometimes its better to know you have something to loose.” Even if Shaw remains the loner; it would be great to see them get his blessing, when he admits they truly are better together than apart.

      • NoWayOut says:

        Dave–
        I think Shaw is the disposable character that won’t spend too much time keeping open-ended for growth. He’s got too much a load to do in the storytelling and may be irretrivable as a “likable” or “growing” character. And, as you say, he’s expensive because of who was hired to play him…

        As for my point about keeping Casey and Sarah fixed, I meant mythologically. For the triangle ot function, Casey has to be the guy who thinks and talks little but acts quick; Sarah has to thinks lots, say little and act wisely; and Chuck has to be the integration of those two to be the hero. Sarah’s emotional growth, needless to say, has to be maintained. But bringing in the Shaw character as the outside catalyst for the story movement spares the writers from having to tinker too much with Casey and Sarah’s places in the spy triangle..

        Finally, as for Sarah’s unwillingness to be a spy. Well, two salient points:
        1) That was there in the original pilot. She has dialogue in the original pilot that expresses her admiration for a real family life. (And she had dialogue that explicits states she knew who Chuck was based on conversations with Bryce.) Whether that was dropped for time or because the writers didn’t want to deal with it in what was a complex plot already, I dunno. But her anti-spy leanings have been part of the character since before the beginning.
        2) It’s a GREAT plot point. Chuck and Sarah were both, in their own ways, reluctant spies. I think that is what made these two characters so appealing. If they drop it when Chuck and Sarah couple, well, then they are just spies. Keeping them as reluctant spies on some level is the kind of useful angst that makes the show distinctive.

  7. OldDarth says:

    Yep. Don’t agree with all the details you have deduced, and the reasons behind Shaw, but the main purpose of Shaw – which was apparent as soon as his character was announced – and his arc are oft used story/character tools.

    Shaw is used to mature Chuck professionally and the PLI angle allows Sarah to mature emotionally.

  8. OldDarth says:

    Joe and Ernie the first part of my article sparked by Ernie’s Geometry 101 article is now up.

    You can read it here – http://tinyurl.com/yf6jrz8

    You may expect a tic more traffic in the next few days.

    Enjoy!

    Lou

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Man, now I’m going to have to reply to your reply to my reply. Of course we are arguing about something yet to happen.

    • joe says:

      Wow! Can’t thank you enough, Lou!

      And that’s a great article. You’ve taken a concept that I haven’t quite been able to articulate (always it feels like it’s on the tip of my tongue) and got it out there clearly.

  9. OldDarth says:

    The joys of speculation, no? 😉

  10. joe says:

    Here’s a thought.

    From the moment I saw it, I assumed that the ring we saw was a simple wedding band. It left plenty of room to wonder about Shaw’s history, and what we didn’t know about him.

    And btw, my wife’s immediate reaction was to ask “Is he married to Sarah?” She decided pretty quickly the answer was “no”).

    What if the ring was a symbol for “The Ring?” You’d have expected something ornate (like what we saw in White Collar last night), but – uh – not necessarily.

    I really don’t think that’s so, yet. But it’s possible.

  11. OldDarth says:

    Shaw and Sarah do not know each other.

  12. weaselone says:

    I had something more articulate partially written up on my reactions and interpretations of Daniel Shaw, but regrettably lost it so you’ll have to suffer this more hastily and haphazardly written contribution. We caught our first extended glimpse of Shaw outside of spoilers and previews during the last episode, and although some questions were partially answered, the man remains as much if not more of an enigma now then he was earlier.

    We know his ostensible reason for joining team Bartowski. He’s spent five years dealing with the Ring and is the CIA’s expert in that area. With his addition to the team, team Bartowski will become a mean, lean Ring fighting machine, particularly once his second objective is completed; transforming the bumbling, emotional Chuck Bartowski into a spy. What other motives he might be concealing remain hidden. Is he secretly working for the Ring? What exactly are he and Beckman hiding from the team regarding the weapon and what is to come?

    What we’ve seen of Shaw reveals a cool spy who is nearly all business. He doesn’t like guns, but he knows how to use them and is willing to turn them on his team in order to guarantee his orders are followed. He’s cracked once, when he joked with Sarah regarding Chuck’s flashing abilities. Unlike his handlers, Shaw’s willing to cut the apron strings and allow Chuck to grow, but he pushes it to extremes. How far he is willing to go is anyone’s guess, but attacking Chuck’s emotional connections to his family, friends and a certain female spy by any means necessary is a likely course of action.

    Shaw’s portrayed as a lone operator in his first episode, hence the great deal of turmoil experienced in the initial episode and hinted at in previews of future episodes. This causes Shaw to push Chuck in developing self reliance and his own abilities, but leaves Chuck dangerously exposed when Shaw denies him the expected help. Team Chuck’s success has always stemmed from the diverse strengths of its members and the trust they have in each other. This is likely something that Shaw is going to have to learn to tolerate or he’s going to be a less than effective leader going forward. Of course, it may be a long term stressor which is only resolved in the final episodes when Shaw is forced to rely on the team to come to his rescue.

    We’re given a hint as to the reason for Shaw’s loner status as he dons a wedding band while watching Team Bartowski and family share dinner. There have been numerous interpretations of the scene and the ring, but it’s probably safe to conclude that Shaw wasn’t always this way. He was likely married at one time and at lost his wife through some failure on his part. Unlike many, I don’t think Shaw was critical of the display he was witnessing on the monitor; rather something touched him prompting to think about his past connections.

    Shaw’s relationships with the team members are rocky at best. Chuck is probably the fondest of him, but even he’s torn into Shaw regarding the importance of his family relative to the mission. Sarah’s irritated because he’s an unknown, outside interloper who has repeatedly exposed Chuck to needless risks and is pushing Chuck in a direction she doesn’t want him to go. He’s CIA, which by itself would be enough to make Casey dislike him, but he’s also a smug, overly confident, pretty boy who has usurped Casey’s unofficial position as team leader.

    Any discussion of Shaw would be incomplete without a sizable segment devoted to his future relationship with Sarah Walker. We know they kiss, we know courtesy of Yvonne that Sarah will be comfortable sharing things with Shaw that she can’t with Chuck. There are multiple forecasts of events, which can be broken up into three major categories, the double cross, the one-sided , and the mutual attraction.
    In the double cross, Sarah and Shaw are both faking it. Shaw seeks to drive a wedge between Chuck and Sarah, and Sarah is attempting to determine Shaw’s goals and motivations. It’s a complicated dance between the two of them to accomplish their objectives with little real love lost between them. Advocates point to Shaw’s all business personality, declaration that personal attachments are a weakness, and his previously married status to show he would never fall for Sarah. On Sarah’s side, supporters point to her coldness in the first episode and future previews, her continued affection for and protectiveness towards Chuck, and her long term faithfulness to him over the prior two seasons.

    Advocates for the one-sided believe that Sarah is playing Shaw, or vice versa. One individual lets their guard down and feels something real, while the other pursues the objective above. Obviously, the scenario where Sarah seduces Shaw for information is the more popular version among fans of the Chuck and Sarah relationship.

    Then, there’s the last option. It’s real, or at least it becomes real. Even though Sarah loves Chuck and Shaw professes to an all business, attachments get people killed philosophy something eventually develops between them and animosity turns to passion. Sarah never stops rolling her eyes when Shaw kisses her neck, but she starts rolling them for a different reason. There’s support for this idea. Shaw is classified as a PLI by the executive producers. We also have Yvonne telling us that Sarah is able to share things with Shaw, she can’t with Chuck which clearly establishes that the animosity between the two of them isn’t maintained indefinitely. That opens the door for something real, particularly if Shaw has utilized Hannah to torpedo Chuck’s relationship with Sarah.

    The passion is already there. It may be animosity, anger and a general butting of heads, but there is passion. At this point, Sarah falling for Shaw would be par for the course. Two people who can hardly stand to be in the same room together fall in love. It’s the second item in Hollywood’s bag of cheap, overused plots, the first being love polygons. Plus, we’ve already established that for Sarah Walker, anger and attraction are closely associated. Yvonne’s already informed us that the Sarah comes to confide in Daniel Shaw, and Zach has pointed to Chuck reacting in a snarky and childish manner to the interaction between Sarah and Shaw. At some point, some sort of peace is reached between the two characters and they begin to interact in a far friendlier manner outside of any sort of established cover. So Sarah finds someone she can talk to, someone she views as a peer, someone she doesn’t need to protect, someone she enjoys spending time with, and someone who already knows about her past. Sarah taking the next step doesn’t seem particularly implausible at this point.

    As for Shaw, we know he’s been married once, so the man is certainly capable of deep feelings for another person, regardless of his speech about attachments. He’s already lightened up and told a joke to Sarah at Chuck’s expense, which would seem to indicate some sort of attraction, or at least comfort level with her. We see him watching Chuck’s family get together while donning his wedding ring. It seems like he may already be remembering a different time and place where he wasn’t alone. Maybe a combination of Chuck and Sarah Walker manage to get Shaw to budge from his all business mindset and he comes to see Sarah as the second chance at the happiness he forfeited earlier in his life. That could be why he blasts Chuck so hard for blowing his chance right before Chuck puts his lights out. He made the same choice, hates himself for it, and directs his own self loathing at Chuck. Besides, is it really that farfetched that a male spy would fall for Sarah Walker?

    The whole relationship could be Sarah’s first attempt at finding something real inside of the spy world and Shaw’s second chance at something he lost. Would you like some wine with that angst?

    • joe says:

      An excellent analysis! Well stated, too.

      One relatively minor thing struck me.
      “I don’t think Shaw was critical of the display he was witnessing on the monitor; rather something touched him prompting to think about his past connections.”

      True, but he took the wedding band from a ring box. It is, apparently, something he carries with him at all times. It looks like it doesn’t take much prompting to get him to think about his past connections!

      • weaselone says:

        Carrying a wedding ring around in a box is somewhat silly for a spy. I can just imagine the night when Shaw’s seduction of Sarah Walker has almost succeeded. He removes his pants and a black velvet case bounces to the floor. Sarah picks it up, opens it, and Shaw bounces off the wall a couple of time before being thrown out the window.

    • atcdave says:

      The real romance possibility is certainly there, I think for many of us, its our worst fear about where this story is heading. My own scenario at the start of this is an attempt to reconcile known tidbits with a more palatable story. I have some problem with the rapid rebound that would be required if the worst pans out, yet Chuck and Sarah are going to be in a good place by 3.13. I think the most we’re actually likely to see is a brief moment, a la Beefcake, followed by regret. If Chuck actually catches them in the act of something, how do we rebound to a happy ending so quickly? Unless it can be quickly dismissed as a nothing.
      We are approaching that point where plausible scenarios are getting difficult to imagine; and yet we’ve been assured it will be great. Either the writers are utterly clueless and are about to ruin the show; or things will unfold in ways that are hard to imagine yet.

    • Gord says:

      Yes Shaw was labeled a PLI. So was Gilles, the mark in the first episode.

      Nevertheless, I could see some genuine feelings develop between Shaw and Sarah, just as I think she had genuine feelings for Cole. However, we have seen that everytime she has had genuine feelings for a PLI – Bryce or Cole, when it came time to make a decision she always chose Chuck.
      I think she is still feeling hurt and vulnerable by Chuck’s rejection at the train station, even though she knows why he did it and is cautiously easing her way back to Chuck. I think she feels that she can’t show her vulnerability again until she is sure that they are back on track.

  13. kmed says:

    wow, i think you should seriously be a writer for chuck! haha, i hope it turns out like your saying cause that would keep me interested for sure…if sarah ends up having real feelings for shaw, then like you said, it will take away from her character and make the show somewhat frustrating

  14. Lucian says:

    I personally am past the point of caring what happens between the PLIs and our favorite couple. The relationship angst is a major distraction from what makes the show fun and entertaining. Last season was supposed to be the transition from boy to man for Chuck. It seems that last year was “the early teens” and this season is “the late teens”. Maybe next year we get to grown up behavior. I’m hoping.

    • weaselone says:

      Next year is the college years.

      In all honesty, Chuck seems to be doing OK, it’s the relationship that appears stalled in middle school.

      • atcdave says:

        Yeah, at best. I do still care, but not as much as I did; they’ve already undermined the characters so much. And while I may understand ideas like Shaw will facilitate character growth, it all seems very juvenile. Last season we saw Chuck accept his destiny, and Sarah choose love over career. Further complications are pretty obvious time wasters. In understanding what the writers are up to, it seems likely this season will actually end where it should have begun.
        It will be sad if they give us one more round of diminishing their characters (or at least, their relationship), before they grow up (meaning the writers and their characters). But just remember, 9 out of 10 times we get worked up over nothing (or is it 7). I think they took a little jab at us! Too funny.

      • atcdave says:

        Sorry, I didn’t finish the previous thought! I think there is a good chance we’ve been worried over things that will be nothing, but right now its really hard to imagine how the spoilers we’ve seen will anything other than aweful.

      • weaselone says:

        I still have hope for Chuck that the only thing that will happen is a little light flirting and either an unfortunate and immediately regretted Intersect glitch or moment of indiscretion, or Shaw makes him seduce Hannah/he steps in to prevent Morgan from dating someone Shaw makes him believe is dangerous.

      • atcdave says:

        I’m hoping for something similar (see main entry above!), and we have seen when the 2.0 kicks in it can take control for a bit. Sarah feeling anything at all for Shaw is harder to swallow. That’s what seems like the biggest stretch to me. We’ve seen some very conflicting information in the spoilers (I’m sure that’s no accident!); I guess all we can do is try (TRY!!) to enjoy the ride, and hope for the best.

  15. herder says:

    One of the things I’ve been trying to do is to come up with a nickname for Shaw, something that fits, is fun and is easy to work with sort of the way that MI-6 for Cole Barker and Agent Imhotep came to life last year. Agent Ominous sounded too portentious, Super Agent Shaw doesn’t quite fit, Agent Killjoy doesn’t seem right either, maybe it’ll take another episode to get enough of a handle on the guy to give him a nickname.

    • Readyset says:

      Well, the obvious meta joke would be for Casey to call him “Agent Superman” in a moment of pique.

    • weaselone says:

      Beckman – Tool Master
      Sarah – Tool Handler
      Carina – Tool Polisher
      Bryce – Original Tool
      Casey – Heavy Duty Tool
      Chuck – Useful Tool
      Jill – Tool Stealer
      Cole – Bonding Tool
      Lou – Tool Feeder
      Shaw – Super Tool
      Hannah – Tool Whisperer?

    • herder says:

      I thought of “the man of stool” but that seemed a bit harsh at this point.

  16. atcdave says:

    I just added a brief update to the main text.

  17. Ernie Davis says:

    I think my Shaw speculation comes down to the basic question. Is he a CIA or Ring? If he is going to be out and about that means the Ring (who apparently think he is dead, or so we’re told) doesn’t know what he looks like, except for Sydney, which would explain why Shaw killed her. I know we’re all assuming he’s a good guy because we saw him with Beckman and she introduced him to the team. But there is a way he could still be another Shaw. The real Shaw shows up and proves who he is to Beckman. The Ring thinks he’s dead and a mole will soon appear using his identity to try to infiltrate and gain control of the intersect. Allow him to do so, there is another plan in place to turn the intersect back on the Ring, and it has to do with the weapon we saw but Chuck didn’t. This would explain Beckman’s pleading to let them know the danger, after all this plan requires exposing the intersect to a Ring operative. It also explains why we don’t see Shaw’s face at this point. That or they couldn’t afford Routh for one more episode. His manipulations will be both to test, and to try to turn if possible, the intersect. The reason will be because of the weapon. Either the intersect will know how to use it, or how to defeat it.

    If Shaw really is CIA then his main interest in the intersect is using it, ready or not, to get to the Ring. This is also going to hinge on the seen and unseen weapon, either how to use it, or how to defeat it. It may not be the only one.

    Either way we’ll see in the big reveal that he was trying to use both Chuck and Sarah as pawns, and pushed Casey out because he needed to divide and weaken the team to get to Chuck.

    • Mike B says:

      I think the unseen weapon may enable the user to gain control of the intersect.

      Also, unfortunately, as we travel down the PLI road you know that Chuck will think that Sarah and Shaw are sleeping together, although they won’t be. Similar to the way he did with Jill and Bryce and he didn’t find out until years later.I hope I’m wrong and the writers come up with new material.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Mike, you are right that was the other possibility I meant to allow for, and is sort of hinted at by Beckman not letting Chuck look at it even though Carina, Casey and Sarah have all seen it. Suffice to say that weapon and the intersect are the two sources of power for Mordor the Ring.

      • atcdave says:

        I do think that’s where Sarah revealing her name will come in to play; Chuck will flash, and know she’s telling the truth, and that very few other people know it. I think that will be a really nice moment.

        But the down side is, how crazy is Chuck going to have to get before Sarah decides that’s what she needs to do to calm him down. Hopefully it will be more of a warm and fuzzy moment all around, but I do suspect it may be more of a total meltdown moment (maybe after Chuck decks Shaw), and Sarah is just doing damage control.

        Which leads to my next thought, maybe that’s how we start to see Sarah helping Chuck get the control he needs, when Shaw couldn’t do it. Which would lead to what I was saying earlier about Shaw being forced to admit they’re better with their emotional bond, than apart.

        There actually are a few possibilities that would play out in an acceptable way. I just hope we get to see Chuck (and Sarah) act more like adults as this unfolds.

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