09 January, 2012

21-Days of CHUCK! Day 5: Computer in da Brain, Driving Peeps Insane!

The Intersect!

Such a devious little device. Meant for a super spy but ended up in the brain of an underachieving genius working as a techie at an electronics store. And thus began the show named CHUCK.

How does it work? And how can Chuck have it in his head? How can he even utilize it at all? What makes him special? Or is he special? Can anyone have the Intersect? Are there side-effects? Can it be upgraded? What if it falls into the wrong hands?

All these questions, and likely more, were either posed or answered over the course of five seasons, 91-episodes. Throughout that time, Chuck not only got the Intersect, he also received updates, an enemy data version, a removal, a new version, a bug, a reboot, a suppression, a refresh, and another suppression of its use. Meanwhile, we saw other forms of the Intersect being utilized by others.

Chuck's dad had a version that could "flash" on old data only useful during one perfect moment at the end of season 2. Alexei Volkoff had another version that fried his brain. An enterprising young man named Manoosh had one built into glasses that was a per-use device that didn't require a download into the user's brain. Daniel Shaw, once friend and mentor to Chuck, turned evil, had an advanced version that afforded him data and abilities. Later, a couple of GRETA agents would be given the Intersect 2.0 (or later?) but fail in its use. And Chuck's bestest buddy, Morgan, would accidentally download the Intersect 2.0 (or later) and use it until it it caused him problems. And finally... oh, never mind.

Here are the different versions of the Intersect, who got them, and what they could do.

Intersect Test
Downloaded by Chuck Bartowski as a child. Apparently had no data but somehow gave Chuck the ability to later reboot the Intersect 2.0.

Intersect Prototype
Downloaded by Stephen Bartowski. Had some pre-90s data. No abilities.

Intersect Beta
Downloaded by Hartley Winterbottom. Never shown to have data or abilities but it caused a problem that changed Hartley's personality and made him believe he was Alexei Volkoff.

Intersect 1.0
Downloaded by Chuck Bartowski via an email sent to him by Bryce Larkin. Contained all of the government's important data that Chuck could "flash" on whenever he saw or heard some trigger element. Was also shown to have the ability to decipher or control electronic devices (only in episode 2.19, Chuck Versus the Dream Job).

Intersect by Fulcrum
Downloaded by Chuck Bartowski while on a mission. Added more updated data about Fulcrum agents within the CIA. Would flash red in Chuck's mind, indicating when it was different from his normal CIA data.

Intersect 2.0
Downloaded by Chuck Bartowski shortly after having the Intersect 1.0 removed. Added data and physical abilities. Eventually required a "governor" to prevent Chuck's mind from frying. Later, this story element was either dropped or a new version fixed this glitch, but the writers never addressed it. A version of this type of Intersect was also downloaded by Daniel Shaw (as a Ring agent), Captain Richard Noble (GRETA), Captain Victoria Dunwoody (GRETA), and Morgan Grimes. A version that worked by putting on glasses was created and used by Manoosh Depak.

Intersect 2.0 with Virus
Downloaded by Morgan Grimes but meant for Chuck Bartowski. Added data and physical abilities but also added a virus that slowly changed Morgan's personality and had to be removed/suppressed.

Intersect 3.0
Attempted download by Daniel Shaw but foiled by Chuck Bartowski who added corrupting data to it which also removed the ability to use the Intersect 2.0.

Intersect 3.1?

Which version was your favorite? Did you like Chuck with or without one? Data flash or abilities flash? How would you rank the people who had the Intersect?

Anonymous commenting is enabled below.


  1. I think the best Intersect it's Intersect 2.0, because with him Chuck was so cool. Real spy. Although.. And without him in season 5 Chuck is a awesome!

  2. I liked 2.0, but I noticed that, in the beginning, the writers spent some time coming up with creative abilities. For example, he played flamenco guitar and salsa danced. That was fun.

    Later, they relied mostly on two types of flashes: kung fu or gymnastics/parkour. It got repetitive, particularly in Season 4. I don't know if it was because they got lazy or if having other abilities presented more challenges. If you watch the first episodes of Season 3, the types of flashes are more diverse.

    I have enjoyed Chuck without the Intersect. But, I'm wondering if an Intersect 3.1 will show up when the shit really hits the fan near the end of the series.

  3. Rather than do a 2.0, I'd rather have seen them play more with the hidden abilities of the 1.0. Unfortunately, because they had no clue whether the show was ending that season, they accelerated the story and went right to 2.0. If they had security, I bet they would have instead revealed more of the power of the 1.0 and then introduced 2.0 in season 4. Especially since season 4 is so weak on the Intersect front. Nothing all that new happens other than the suppression device.

  4. I am looking forward to 3.1 if it ever happens. What I miss is the Flash/Zoom moments as a storytelling or Gag set up device "I know Kung Fu". We shall see what is to come.

    Great article man!

  5. I wanted Shaw go all nuclear with the Intersect 3.O, and Chuck too somehow. That's actually what I was expecting to happen. BUT my guess is that the show just didn't have the budget to give it real justice. Like their fight in the season 3 finale, it was good but not great.

    My fave version was the 2.0 during season 3. The writers really got creative with it in the first half especially. I really loved the mythology, including how the Interesect worked, during the first 3 seasons. After that, things just went downhill. In fact, there was no mythology during season 4.


  6. I am glad you decided to include the Intersect in your 21Days of Chuck Magnus
    over the course of the show it was the original premise and a source for entertainment,controversy etc.

    My favorite version of intersect is 2.0 when Chuck used it
    My answer is 2.0 mainly because of Zachary Levi's great acting ability, he might not be the next Brad Pitt but one of the things i always appreciated about his acting is the wide range for genres
    He can perform funny scenes(like playing guitar while dodging darts) sexy scenes(sexing up Sarah all over the dance floor) badass scenes(performing his own stunts,fight scenes while looking believable) etc.

    I know some people like Chuck without the intersect(for some reason they constantly feel the need to be reminded Chuck is special on his own)
    Well, i am not one of them we got to see Chuck handle himself and save his loved ones without the intersect many times therefore he is god damn special on his own : )
    So for me seeing him use the intersect, performing spectacular fight routines or stuff like that is a plus and i enjoy it(when you have an actor with good physical abilities its a shame not to use them)

    My number 2 after Chuck would be Shaw because(just like Zac) Brandon Routh is an athletic actor who can perform his scenes at a quality level
    As a plus with Shaw downloading the intersect we got to see a Nemesiss situation that created some spectacular Chuck/Shaw showdowns

    Some issues with the intersect mythology are :

    - Manoosh and his glasses
    Since Manoosh was left in the CIA custody and his technology was per-use the Gretas story line doesn't make much sense(why wouldn't CIA just build an army of intersect glasses when they had Manoosh in custody?)

    - Shaw and the governor
    Once Sarah knocked him out in the season 3 finale she took his governor and gave it to Chuck
    Therefore it makes absolutely no sense he can come back fully functional 2 years later, his brain should have been fried and he shouldn't have had the opportunity to flash on Decker for intel without the governor

    My final ranking for intersect users would be :
    1.Chuck(thank you Zac)
    3.Greta(Stacy Keibler is so so hot)
    -100.Morgan(no offense to Josh Gomez but he works in comic moments,Morgan having the intersect was one of the worst things of the series)

  7. As always, for the dumbest opinion, we have Adrian'S. ;)

  8. "- Shaw and the governor
    Once Sarah knocked him out in the season 3 finale she took his governor and gave it to Chuck
    Therefore it makes absolutely no sense he can come back fully functional 2 years later, his brain should have been fried and he shouldn't have had the opportunity to flash on Decker for intel without the governor"

    I don't have a big issue with that because my guess is that Shaw didn't have the need to flash much if at all (except with Decker) during his time in jail, unlike Chuck who flashed all the time when he had the Intersect. Also, there is a good chance that the CIA could have build some type of Governor by then and Decker gave one to Shaw. I actually think that Shaw coming back with a functional Intersect and his whole plan to take down Chuck and his company was one of the best things the show has done in a long time. It had lots of potential for even more story. But as usual it had to be rushed. This happens a lot in this show. It'a good thing and a bad thing.


  9. The way I figured it, Chuck built his own governors after his Dad died--shown in 401--and shared the technology with the CIA. That way they had it for their own Intersect project.

    Decker gave one to Shaw.

  10. Honestly, I think I've been most happy with the Intersect-less portion of this season. And I actually kind of enjoyed Morgan having the Intersect. But after that I would say that I too liked the early days of the Intersect 2.0 when they gave Chuck more absurd skills- Chuck's face when he realizes he can play the flamenco guitar in that scene is awesome.

  11. The season 3 finale fight looked sucky because let's be honest....routh is a bit of an oaf. Zach did a proper round house that cleared routh's head....routh tried to do the same and he barely got it half way....lol.

    How come the karma sutra was not in the intersect? Or maybe it is and that is why Sarah has been smiling so much since 3.13.

    Intersect 2.0 was the best.

  12. Chuck get a Intersect update in episode 2.03
    from Intersect 1.0 to Intersect 1.1

    Shaw download the Ring Intersect of the Intersect 2.0 in season 3

  13. You have no idea what version number was assigned to anything... or even if one was assigned to it.

  14. @Amrit: Routh is very athletic and fit. And he delivered a great round house in Other Guy. He also sold his kung fu movements in Santa Suit, if that was him. Any way it looked very believable. I thought he did well in the season 3 finale overall. Zac Levi does a good job too but he's not as fit as Routh, especially in season 3 (he looked too skinny sometimes. Watch American Hero), so that made him look a bit weird in the fights sometimes. Never as bad as Gomez, though. ;)


  15. Shaw should escape ( AGAIN ) and download the 3.0 . Then Chuck downloads the 3.0 and they battle it out in animation like COMMUNITY did with the Jeff/Shirley football ep . Otherwise what other possible upgrades could the 3.0 have that they could show off ?

    I agree with MediaSavant about early S3 intersect the best.

  16. Zach is a lot more athletic than routh! I am not talking just about strength but flexibility. Zac can do the backflip from the ground up.....a stunt double did routh's ! All the good fighting that shaw did was done by a stunt double. Zach does basically all of his fights, the backflips cartwheels, cheographed fights, etc.

    Routh is a lug....has anyone noticed why small chinese people are the best martial arts fighters? Flexibility and movement. Power is generated from the technique...but you have to have certain flexibilities.

    Meritt Yonker has said that they are lucky to have zach who is a wonderful athlete. Routh is a fat knacker.

  17. How are people commenting on BR's athleticism? Do you somehow know something the rest of us don't? From appearance alone, he's clearly in very good shape, arguably better than Zac. What other magical sense are you folks using to tell that he can't do his own choreography or is unathletic? I mean you can plausibly comment on whether Shaw is a good character or Routh is a good actor based on what's on the screen, but this is ridiculous.


  18. LOL! Zac in better shape than Routh? Hilarious! Zac would be rolling on the floor laughing right now if he read that.

  19. Better shape than zach? Lol. Ok as a character Shaw is boring, as an actor he is kind of really wooden and bland. But he did make an ok villain when all he had to do is have a bland look and talk crazy...basically doing nothing that pushes his acting skills too much.

  20. Flexibility wise! Yeah zach does not have a six pack or is built like an ape but flexibility wise he is I think more bendy. Also I think routh is not great at fight scenes.

  21. I don't even think he has more flexibility. Zac is built like a nerd... and exercises like one too.

  22. Daniel Shaw is an AWESOME villain. And Brandon's acting has a lot to do with that. He can play creep and menacing extremely well just like he can play the nicest guy in the world: Superman.

    I also love Zac as Chuck, he makes the character very endearing and charming, WHEN he's not too whiny! :D


  23. With the 2.0 they could of done a dream sequence like in scrubs. Chuck is a lounge singer serenading sarah. As usual casey would play a bar tender. He would wake up in a sweat.Thus bringing the humor back to the show. They asked zac if he wanted to sing and dance like glee but he didn't want it to get too cheesy. If you think about it, chuck has the intersect test, the fulcrum intersect, and the 2.0 all suppressed. He's johnny mnemonic , neo. Awesome. party on dudes. baby levi bartowski will inherit the intersect 3.0

  24. On a show like Chuck, it's more about how fast you can learn the choreography of the fight. They don't get much time. Yvonne and Zac are said to pick things up quickly and, I'm sure, the stunt coordinator plays to their strengths from working with them so long.

    Guest stars aren't necessarily accustomed to that, particularly if they come out of the movie world where they get to work on this stuff for a long time.

    You can't judge a person's athleticism purely on these fight scenes.

  25. Interestingly enough, the same guy doubles for both Zac and Brandon.

  26. "Interestingly enough, the same guy doubles for both Zac and Brandon."

    Haha, SO TRUE, and it showed in Ring II. :P The stunt double has curly hair.. lol


  27. Intersect 1.0. It forced Chuck to get more creative in his problemsolving, which we've seen again in s5 with him being Intersectless.

    I agree with the comment that 2.0 started out more diverse with flamenco and Korean and medical knowledge, and slowly just became almost entirely Chuck Fu and other martial arts type stuff which felt like a crutch to me. Chuck didn't need creative or geeky problem solving when he could just kick the shit out of bad guys.

    It also made Sarah and Casey suddenly less necessary as his protectors. Good news for Sarah, since it potentially helped accelerate a natural arc for her to move from being his handler to his partner/lover. Bad news for Casey since they'd just really started to have him start opening up to a place in Team B as a friend, and it gradually made him feel sort of irrelevant; s4 in particular it often felt like they really didn't know what the fuck to do with him aside from assuming the Morgan role of "occasional comic relief".

    I'd agree more 1.0 and a gradual phase-in of 2.0, or at least some of its abilities, would have been more ideal and probably made the transition less jarring.


  28. "Guest stars aren't necessarily accustomed to that, particularly if they come out of the movie world where they get to work on this stuff for a long time."

    MediaSavant, good point there. I remember reading an interview with Carrie-Anne Moss about her coming onto the show and she said compared to "The Matrix" where she had months to learn the fight scenes, she only had a few days for "Chuck".


  29. Some movie actors can't do TV because they find it too hectic. Some actors who have done soap opera work find it much easier to go to prime time, though.

  30. Bryan Cranston said on one of the Breaking Bad podcasts that when he did Soap Opera acting they were shooting 40-50 pages a day, lol. That is insane considering that a breaking bad episode consists of 50 pages (1 page = one minute of an episode) and they get 7 days to shoot those 50 pages.

    So I suppose for soap opera actors prime time is a breeze and for prime time actors movies is nirvana! Yvonne has said many many times that she is suprised when she does movies how much time she has to work compared to Chuck. I think she joked that at first she thought they were breaking the law on the hours they had her doing, lol.

  31. "Bad news for Casey since they'd just really started to have him start opening up to a place in Team B as a friend, and it gradually made him feel sort of irrelevant." Cor. Think of Casey as Chuck's bodyguard. Adam Baldwins first movie role. Always there as a backup when you need him. Plus he shot Bryce twice the first time killing him. Comforting thought.

  32. Yeah the lack of stability in the show and the criminally low budget really took its toll on casey and a lesser extent sarah. If they knew they actually had time at the end of season 3...they could have used season 4 and 5 to create stronger arcs for both of them. But no worries.

  33. Sarah has the intersect, Sarah has the intersect. Awesome Dudes.....

  34. Ohh! Ohh! Sarah is dangerous now everybody hide....Chuck :O