Chuck: Shaw Thing

The spy game just got a lot more crowded. Monday’s episode of Chuck, "Chuck vs. Operation Awesome," brought a new player into the mix—Brandon Routh’s mysterious Agent Shaw—while amping up the role of Chuck’s brother-in-law Captain Awesome. We even got a new (and apparently one-shot) villain, Ring bad-ass Sydney, played by Law & Order’s Angie Harmon. And we’re starting to see our man Chuck ball up.

The dynamic between Chuck, Sarah, and Casey was set up in the first episode of the series: Sarah and Casey are Chuck’s handlers. They protect him from outside threats while helping him use his special skills effectively. But we were thrown a curve ball when Chuck downloaded the Intersect 2.0, which gave him impressive fighting abilities in addition to his encyclopedic knowledge of the spy world. So then the question became: Will his emotions be his constant foil? Are they his ultimate weakness?

Monday’s episode made the case that maybe they’re his strength. Having his bro-in-law in trouble with the Ring brought out Chuck’s strong sense of loyalty and protectiveness for his friends and family. And the mysterious Shaw, cool, calculating, even ruthless, was the perfect contrast. Shaw, who got one of the coolest introductions ever, immediately dominated our happy little trio. As a formidable expert on the Ring, he seemed to know more than Chuck, Sarah, and Casey combined. And he showed a personality not only vastly different from Chuck’s, but from Casey’s and Sarah’s too. I liked that we were ladled out tasty hints about his background without learning too much (what was up with that ring he put on at the end?!). And I liked—OK, loved—that Shaw was played by the undeniably hunky Routh, who never got his proper due for a surprisingly good portrayal of Superman.

When Awesome was forced into performing a mission for the Ring, Chuck stepped it up, getting his enjoyably spazzing brother-in-law through it. Maybe Devon’s not cut out for full-time spying after all? Shaw’s “death” and return to life was also fun, especially with the violent needle-to-the-heart nod to Pulp Fiction.

And then later Chuck basically went rogue, luring Sydney and her goons to the Buy More... where, OK, he had no real plan and spent a good deal of time hiding. And then he couldn’t pull the trigger when he got the drop on Sydney.

But it’s a start, right?

With all due apologies to Chuck/Sarah worshippers, I’m kind of hoping Shaw swoops in and picks up Agent Walker. It would be nice to see Chuck get his mind off Sarah. For a few episodes, at least.

Shaw and Walker off to the submarine races. What do you think?


Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

Comments (19)
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i love this show and chuck& sarah always the 2 act amazing in the same scenes such chemistry
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In that case maybe chuck would have space to learn to control the flashes....but dude Chuck and Sarah, they're great together..Great show
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Seems like an article of trolling. Praising Superman Returns? Shooting down the Chuck/Sarah vibe? If you don't like the show then don't write about it.
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Are you freakin' crazy????
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no freaking WAYYYYY........Sarah and Chuck are like MOST awesome couple couple...i would hate to see Sarah being fetched by any other person...+ that spark between Chuck and Sarah is what makes it interesting after all...i mean besides all the other interesting stuff...
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I regretfully agree that Shaw should step in and stir things up a bit for Chuck and Sarah... not too much stirring though... just enough to get them wanting each other so much to actually do something about it... and just to be fair, it's good that Hannah shows up too.
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i just want to say that i loved the fight club tribute.
it was aaaaaaaawesome!
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I love Brandon Routh...I hope that he sticks around for a while
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I mean he won't shoot anybody with a regular gun. Just a tranq gun.
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I love seeing Chuck go into spy mode. He didn't even flash very much in this episode. He learned to shoot by playing Duck Hunt. lol. But I like it that he still won't shoot anybody. BTW, I'm glad they didn't have him flash very much. All that animated stuff going through his head every time he flashes could get old pretty quickly.
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It's kinda easy to "hope" Shaw swoops up Sarah when the promos have already clearly established that he does. If you're going to comment on that, do so, but don't play it off as intuition.
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I am not down for a Shaw/Walker relationship. I really liked the fight club and when Awesome lied to Eli it was hilarious.
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The fight club storyline was hilarious. Love it.

I don't like Routh's character. From the previews he's going to be another obstacle in the Chuck/Sarah relationship and they have dragged out that storyline too long!
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eh it was a pretty bad ep. his entrance was cool but thats as far as his character went for me. and its obvious he's evil or something. considering he's a trained agent with the goal of the mission to capture the operative alive it didn't make sense for him to kill them. really overall compared to the last ep this one was crap.
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it was the worst episode of the 3rd season but it was still really good. i thought the fight club at the buy more was pretty over the top.
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I didn't particularly like Routh's portrayal of superman. I thought that Shaw seems very similar to Bryce Larkin from last season. As of right now I am not really a fan of Routh's character, but I have to admit his entrance was bad ass.
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I liked that they used the Fight Club under-theme. I just wish they would have used some Fincher direction style in those moments.
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Chuck is actually a better all around person when he isn't with Sarah. The episodes where he isn't whining about Sarah, he's flirting with other girls and getting his job(s) done. Soon as Sarah is in the mix he completely gives up his independence and becomes needy. I have a feeling Routh's character isn't what he seems to be.
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Hm, I actually thought that Routh's portrayal for Superman was one of the worst performances I've ever seen, so for now, I don't expect much good coming from him in Chuck either ... Sorry for that!
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