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#1

TWoP Tennison

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Posted Nov 24, 2007 @ 6:30 AM

Topics may include... Double crosses, double lives, Sarah and Casey's training and work, the importance of finding bullet-proof foundation wear, the various government agencies, the intricacies of the Intersect, espionage, and more.

#2

sharpasamarble

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Posted Nov 25, 2007 @ 2:52 PM

Copied over from another thread:

But Sarah and Casey, the two closest to the action and the people through whom the information getting back to the general and the US government, consider Chuck himself to be an asset and not just a tool to be used. At the end of the day, the CIA and the NSA have to trust the agents they have down on the ground. ... As long as Sarah and Casey continue seeing Chuck the person as an asset and not just Chuck as a wrapper for the Intersect, Chuck gets his freedom


While the good opinions of Casey and Sarah certainly could influence the decisions of their higher-ups, they do not always take them at face value. Sarah has expressed opinions that the general disagreed with twice in the last two episodes (indicated by lines like "Chuck isn't wrong very often", the general saying "I don't like this at all.") Like any command structure, higher-ups will often take the opinions of subordinates into consideration, and can choose to ignore them as well.

In short, I don't believe it's that simple.

Considering the timeline for the new Intersect, I doubt the NSA and CIA anticipate Chuck being alive or worthwhile for much longer than six months. I doubt they are planning on locking him up in room for the reason that Chuck will become obsolete sooner rather than later -theoretically.


I don't think the NSA and/or CIA plan on locking him up, but I also expect that they have considered how they would handle that scenario should it become necessary.

#3

petpluto22

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Posted Nov 25, 2007 @ 3:16 PM

While the good opinions of Casey and Sarah certainly could influence the decisions of their higher-ups, they do not always take them at face value.

True; but if the issue at hand is Chuck not listening to and following every unexplained order by his handlers as we were discussing previously, then the handlers are the ones who would be the ones to impart that information -unless there is a couple of agents assigned to watching the agents. If Chuck isn't listening to every order given by Sarah, he still isn't in danger unless Sarah or Casey decides to spill. The higher ups can make inferences about how deep Chuck is getting into missions, but I don't think Chuck is ever in danger of having the NSA or the CIA taking Sarah off the case or locking Chuck up because Chuck isn't listening. If they develop a more romantic relationship and Casey decides to spill or some other event alerts the higher ups to it, then I agree that it is more than possible for the agencies to remove Sarah and place Chuck in a more sterile environment.

#4

tjl

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Posted Nov 25, 2007 @ 3:26 PM

I don't think the NSA and/or CIA plan on locking him up, but I also expect that they have considered how they would handle that scenario should it become necessary.

At least the NSA has considered what they would do to Chuck. In the second episode, it was implied that Casey would be ordered to kill Chuck. However, they may have changed their minds (see below).

The higher ups can make inferences about how deep Chuck is getting into missions

In most of the missions, the higher ups are making the explicit decision to involve Chuck in the missions. In most of the episodes, they explicitly tell Sarah and Casey to take Chuck along to help in case he flashes on something. In some cases, this is over the objections of the agents. So, it certainly seems that they see the value of having the Intersect in the field. So, since they seem to see the value of Chuck, I wonder if they will try to feed Chuck new intelligence in the future rather than killing him.

#5

sharpasamarble

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Posted Nov 26, 2007 @ 12:58 AM

So, it certainly seems that they see the value of having the Intersect in the field.


I think everyone sees the value of having the Intersect in the field, and the higher-ups are right to try to make that work. That's not what I'm trying to debate.

My point is that Chuck could prove to be ineffective (either through being a clumsy spy or disobedient in the field) to the point that the higher-ups become more concerned about the loss/capture of Chuck than the benefit of having him in the field.

Let's examine some of Chuck's decisions in the field to this point:
(1) Nearly getting abducted by the professor (didn't stay in the car).
(2) Chuck doesn't stay at the bar; ends up kidnapped by La Ciudad (disobeys order from Sarah).
(3) Giving the diamond to Carina (disobeys directive of higher-ups).
(4) Follows Casey/Sarah to Chinese restaurant (disobeys order from Casey).
(5) Ignores orders to stay away from/distrust Laslo (disobeys orders).
(6) Brings Laslo to NSA supercomputer in Buy More (incompetence).
(7) Allows Laslo to get control of the modified Nerd Herd car and its self-destruct feature (incompetence).
(8) Gets former professor shot by putting personal info ahead of getting him to safety (incompetence).
(9) Refusing to take the truth poison antidote (disobeys order from Casey/Sarah).
(10) Protects romantic interest from incriminating herself, which later puts Sarah and him in jeopardy (bad all the way around).
(11) Staying in proximity to what he thought was a bomb that was going to blow (disobeys direct order from Sarah).

Now, while I won't argue that Chuck hasn't brought any value, that's not a great track record if the higher-ups decide they are worried about the Intersect being in the field.

True; but if the issue at hand is Chuck not listening to and following every unexplained order by his handlers as we were discussing previously, then the handlers are the ones who would be the ones to impart that information -unless there is a couple of agents assigned to watching the agents. If Chuck isn't listening to every order given by Sarah, he still isn't in danger unless Sarah or Casey decides to spill.


Unfortunately, we don't know what Casey and Sarah share when they debrief. There is little doubt Sarah would put a positive spin on Chuck's involvement (and Casey could tend this way as well now), but there are certain things they just wouldn't be able to hide without outright lying. This is a big gray area that we can only speculate on, but I suspect that at least some of Chuck's missteps are in the mission reports.

Again, to be clear, I'm not saying that the show is necessarily going to head in this direction; I just see it as a very real possibility.

#6

petpluto22

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Posted Nov 26, 2007 @ 3:47 AM

there are certain things they just wouldn't be able to hide without outright lying.

Unless the higher ups asked something like, "Has Chuck disobeyed any direct orders", I don't think so. Chuck's track record is easy to mask because he generally perseveres in the end. The list you compiled is compelling, were it not for the fact that there is no evidence Sarah or Casey (a) reports it, or (b) thinks of those moments at the end of the day when they go to report. By that time, Chuck has usually saved someone or/and the day, and so the end results are what are normally reported and on the forefront of their minds. I don't doubt that there is the possibility that the higher ups could decide that having Chuck in the field is too risky; I just don't find the situation to be very probable, events being what they are and Sarah and Casey being who they are.

#7

Ebongreen

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Posted Nov 26, 2007 @ 12:40 PM

While I love this discussion (and I do - it's very well-considered), I wonder if this sort of thing rises to significance in the mind of the writers.

We've already talked about how the CIA would not have agents operating on domestic soil, yadda yadda. These are really pretend-agencies that happen to be using the names of the real ones, because the real CIA and NSA do not (by all reports) operate like this, and sure as heck wouldn't under any circumstances I can imagine.

From my perspective, if I put too much effort into wondering why the Chuck-verse spies and agencies don't work like real spies do, I'm going to inevitably be disappointed. I'd rather be happy, because this show is such a blast playing fast and loose with espionage-as-we-know-it. It's not Alias or The Sandbaggers, or I Spy or The Avengers. It's Chuck, and it's wonderful. :-)

I don't think we can know what the Chuckverse agencies will do, because they're mostly not acting like real agencies would. It actually adds some welcome uncertainty to the show for me, because I don't know when the writers will choose to have them act realistically and when the writers will choose to have them act otherwise, whether that's for plot reasons or meta-reasons.

Furthermore, I think the agencies are being written in a way that's relatively consistent with the Chuck ethos. Big organizations like Buy More and the US Government aren't necessarily run with high degrees of competence in middle or upper management in the Chuckverse, and the people on the ground do what's necessary to get the job done and pretend to do things by rule when the reports get written up. Tech support, espionage, it's all the same racket in the end. *does something important* "Yes, Boss, sure, Boss, whatever you say, Boss." *returns to doing something important* :-) That provides a lot of "creative freedom" for our heroes and heroines on the low-end of the org-chart, and the show is taking full advantage of that.

#8

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Posted Nov 26, 2007 @ 3:05 PM

The list you compiled is compelling, were it not for the fact that there is no evidence Sarah or Casey (a) reports it, or (b) thinks of those moments at the end of the day when they go to report.


I would be shocked if Casey and Sarah didn't think of these moments when they go to report. For example, how do you give a mission briefing about Laslo almost blowing up a pier of people by activating the Nerd Herd-mobile self-destruct sequence without mentioning Chuck? You're forced to either lie/spin or tell the truth.

You are correct that there is no evidence that Sarah or Casey actually reports any of that, but there's no evidence that they do not either. From a writers' perspective (not that I am one, but putting myself in their shoes), that just leaves the possibility open.

While I love this discussion (and I do - it's very well-considered), I wonder if this sort of thing rises to significance in the mind of the writers.


It may or may not. At the end of the day, I truly have no idea whether the writers plan to go down this road. However, given that this show has a relatively small cast of characters within the spy world, it only seems natural that there will be contention between the higher-ups and Chuck at some point, and the simplest way to do this is over his field performance.

From my perspective, if I put too much effort into wondering why the Chuck-verse spies and agencies don't work like real spies do, I'm going to inevitably be disappointed.


Obviously Chuck requires a certain suspension of disbelief; that's an excellent point. I will say that the show has managed to keep the number of instances where I need to suspend my disbelief surprisingly low. But to your point, the more carefully I think about the show, the more holes I find, and so I'm happier not worrying about a lot of this stuff.

That said, we're talking about issues that would lead to conflict between the higher-ups and Chuck, forcing both Casey and Sarah to choose sides. That type of thing is right in the sweet spot of "Chuck".

There are certainly compelling arguments as to why this plotline may never come up. However, I suspect that, at some point, Chuck will either (a) find that his field performances are a concern to the higher-ups, or (b) find out that Casey and Sarah have been omitting details of his misadventures in their debriefings to protect him.

Edited by sharpasamarble, Nov 26, 2007 @ 3:06 PM.


#9

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:10 AM

I was a little confused about some of the CIA/Intersect mechanics in this episode. If Fulcrum was a secret, rogue organization within the CIA, then why would they be in the Intersect? Wouldn’t that mean that the CIA knew about them? Huh? My brain really wasn’t in spy plot mode this evening, so I probably misinterpreted or missed something. Help?

#10

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:12 AM

I was a little confused about some of the CIA/Intersect mechanics in this episode. If Fulcrum was a secret, rogue organization within the CIA, then why would they be in the Intersect? Wouldn’t that mean that the CIA knew about them? Huh? My brain really wasn’t in spy plot mode this evening, so I probably misinterpreted or missed something. Help?


Damn you and your intuitive reasoning, Jubi. I hadn't thought about this at all!

#11

dealan

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:50 AM

I was a little confused about some of the CIA/Intersect mechanics in this episode. If Fulcrum was a secret, rogue organization within the CIA, then why would they be in the Intersect? Wouldn’t that mean that the CIA knew about them?

From the sounds of it, Fulcrum was originally envisioned as a black-ops (meaning that they function outside the normal CIA operations). As a black-ops unit, nobody but people with the highest level of clearance would know about it, so that it could perform and do the government's dirty work while still allowing the CIA to have plausible deniability. That's why Bryce believed them when he was told he had to sever all ties with the Agency.

However, once inside, he realized that Fulcrum had gone rogue. Assuming he's not the first patriot to figure this out, he also would not be the first one to try to get this information to the Agency. There might be a handful of double agents who are gathering information to figure out who in Fulcrum still thinks they are working for the Agency and who at Fulcrum is knowingly working against the Agency. These agents would all have files. They'd be scant and hard to find, but they'd still be there.

Chuck has the advantage of being triggered by certain words. Once he's got a key word search going on in his flashes, it's easier to pull things up. Also, you might also have the NSA and FBI collecting information about Fulcrum, not realizing that they are CIA. So it still could be the catch all answer that the Intersect holds all the files of the NSA, CIA, and FBI- three organizations that are notorious for not sharing information. If they all would just share their information, they might be able to piece it all together as fast as Chuck did.

#12

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:57 AM

I was a little confused about some of the CIA/Intersect mechanics in this episode. If Fulcrum was a secret, rogue organization within the CIA, then why would they be in the Intersect? Wouldn’t that mean that the CIA knew about them? Huh? My brain really wasn’t in spy plot mode this evening, so I probably misinterpreted or missed something. Help?

I haven't watched the episode again yet, but didn't Bryce say that Fulcrum was supposed to be a section of the CIA, but he discovered that they had their own plans for the Intersect? So, while they are apparently a rogue group, they're also a legitimate part of the CIA. Or, I guess they're as legitimate as a shadowy black-ops type CIA group can be.

Now that I think about it, I'm not even sure that they're a CIA group. Bryce said they had people everywhere, in the NSA, CIA, FBI, etc. Fulcrum could be something that was put together by high-ranking people in the military or the Security Council, or by politicians, or all of the above. Direct funding into projects within the various agencies, then essentially knit those projects together into a separate task force. Something like that, maybe.

#13

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 2:21 AM

I think where I'm having the problem is with the concept of Chuck only "flashing" on them if they're part of Fulcrum. So the super-secret rogue spy organization is in the Intersect, but the regular, non-rogue spies aren't in the Intersect? That was the impression I was left with, and it seems counterintuitive. It may make sense if I put a lot more thought into it, but it shouldn't require that much though in the first place, should it? I've only seen the episode once, though, and probably won't be able to watch again until the end of the week. Maybe it will make more sense then.

Also, how on earth did the Fulcrum guys fool the NSA and the CIA about Bryce's death? Casey knows he shot Bryce, but they accepted that Bryce was dead without a body? Huh?

I usually pay very little attention to the spy stuff, so I don't know why I noticed any of this stuff in the first place.

#14

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 3:11 AM

I think where I'm having the problem is with the concept of Chuck only "flashing" on them if they're part of Fulcrum.

Yeah, that was a bit of a flaw. I guess the writers were too short on time to have Chuck flash on the clean CIA guys' records as non-Fulcrum agents, but it still bugs.

I usually pay very little attention to the spy stuff, so I don't know why I noticed any of this stuff in the first place.

Did a former friend send you any crazy emails lately? Has a ninja burglar tried to destroy your PowerMac?

#15

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 7:51 AM

Yeah, that was a bit of a flaw. I guess the writers were too short on time to have Chuck flash on the clean CIA guys' records as non-Fulcrum agents, but it still bugs.


To me, it looked like there was quite a bit of redacted text on the flash images related to F.U.L.C.R.U.M. Lots of blackout marks, classified stamps, etc. Since Bryce is going undercover ala Bristow to attempt to take down F.U.L.C.R.U.M., it sounds like there is at least some level of investigation into them, which explains why the F.U.L.C.R.U.M. agents were in the intersect, but not the regular CIA agents.

#16

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 8:50 AM

I think where I'm having the problem is with the concept of Chuck only "flashing" on them if they're part of Fulcrum.

A wild attempt to reconcile this plot hole: the Intersect flashes occur because of a subconscious sifting and combining on Chuck's part, when fresh information in his environment kicks off a cascade of memories of the Intersect data. Something in his environment reminds him of something in the Intersect, and his subconscious spits out a bunch of information which Chuck's intuition has put together. I'm guessing that's how it works, anyway.

So, on some level, Chuck's own mind is an integral part of this process. He isn't just recalling a bunch of data that he memorized, he's using that data in new ways, to form conclusions which are pertinent to his current situation. When Bryce was turning himself in, Chuck wasn't worried about CIA agents; he was worried about Fulcrum agents disguised as CIA agents. He subconscious could have been focused on that source of danger, to the exclusion of other information.

Maybe that's close to truth, maybe not. Maybe the writers didn't even bother coming up with a logical explanation for it. I guess the only way we'll find out is by learning more about how the flashes work.

#17

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 9:09 AM

Well I think we can stablish, from previous episodes, that apart from an extremely good memory Chuck is also an extremely intelligent guy. How else did he get into Stanford? So I can easily see him interpreting and connecting those images in ways we wouldn't be able to.

#18

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 12:53 PM

I posted a couple of the same things in the Nitpicks thread.

Like Jubi, I could buy that Fulcrum was a legitimate agency that had gone rogue (which is why they are in the Intersect), but I cannot believe that regular CIA agents would not be. The really annoying part is that this is completely unnecessary: Chuck has spit out information on individuals before, so why couldn't he have just seen the files on each of the agents?

Like AcornArmy, I think that eventually it will be Chuck's ability to interpret/connect the information in his head (along with being in the field rather than in a room with a hundred flat screen TVs) that will allow him to stay active within the CIA rather than get killed off. We have no idea how the Intersect (as a computer) was designed to be used, but it seems like Chuck is the perfect operator ... excepting the lack of spy skills and tendency to scream like a girl during a fight, of course.

I also could see Chuck's mind adapting and becoming better and better at using the Intersect information as time goes on. Of course, he'll need an information refresh at some point, so I'm betting he'll be in the CIA's good graces at some point down the road and get more current info uploaded.

#19

arc

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:11 PM

Yeah, consider that Sarah's in the Intersect. Chuck's had at least two flashes of her previous exploits: once killing multiple bad guys at the end of the pilot, and once about poisoning a bunch of (later turned out to be) bad guys in the middle of the second episode.

ETA: my big problem is still ep 4's claim that everyone in the spy game adopts a new alias at every job. Maybe plausible, maybe not, but it creates a ton of problems with Sarah and Bryce. Bryce because "Bryce Larkin" is his real name, it's what Chuck knew him as years before he was ever recruited to the CIA, and Sarah because it's ostensibly not her real name and yet everyone, including Bryce, calls her that.

Edited by arc, Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:13 PM.


#20

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:17 PM

It appears that right now the CIA/NSA's plan is to kill Chuck once the new intersect is up and running. I'm curious to see what, if anything will change their mind.

I think everyone is aware of the fact that his intel has a shelf life at this point. (One of the writers or creators has mentioned in an interview that this will probably come into play sooner or later, so they're not oblivious to it either. (I didn't tag this as a spoiler, because it's just a vague suggestion of where their heads are at. Mods, if I'm wrong, humble apologies.))

#21

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:28 PM

arc I'm sorry to disagree, but really we don't know exactly when Bryce was recruited. (We only think it was during his stay at Stanford - but not exactly when and in what circumstances. What's his story befire he got to Stanford? Could it be that he was already an agent?). It could have been before he met Chuck. So, actually maybe his real name isn't Bryce Larkin after all. It could have been an alias. Also I really don't think the writers give this whole name-issue THAT much importance as we "addicts" do, LOL.Maybe that's why we get so many incongruencies.

#22

tjl

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:30 PM

arc I'm sorry to disagree, but really we don't know exactly when Bryce was recruited.

We know from Chuck vs. The Alma Mater that he was tested in 2002 (the year before Chuck was tested) so I think we're safe to assume that's when was recruited. Otherwise, why would the professor have an interview tape if he's already been recruited?

#23

cuppateamydear

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:32 PM

Thanks, made a mistake. I was thinking he was in Satnford for some mission or something.

#24

arc

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 1:57 PM

Also I really don't think the writers give this whole name-issue THAT much importance as we "addicts" do, LOL.

They should have, considering it was the key point of the end of ep 4, when Sarah whispers her real middle name out of Chuck's earshot.

#25

sharpasamarble

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 2:25 PM

They should have, considering it was the key point of the end of ep 4, when Sarah whispers her real middle name out of Chuck's earshot.


The nature of the alias (mission-by-mission vs. permanent) isn't that important; it's having any kind of alias.

BTW, that was one of the key scenes that made me realize that Bryce makes Sarah forget herself (e.g., overwhelms her professional instincts in Chuck's room), while Chuck makes Sarah remember who she really is (e.g., her middle name).

Edit: name correction

Edited by sharpasamarble, Nov 27, 2007 @ 4:54 PM.


#26

MisMichie

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 2:31 PM

BTW, that was one of the key scenes that made me realize that Bryce makes Sarah forget herself (e.g., overwhelms her professional instincts in Chuck's room), while Bryce makes Sarah remember who she really is (e.g., her middle name).

Small typo. I think you meant Chuck... :D

#27

sharpasamarble

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 4:55 PM

Small typo. I think you meant Chuck... :D


Indeed ... thanks.

#28

CreedogV

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 5:47 PM

Re: The functioning of the Intersect.

I'd really like to see the use of the Intersect evolve. Right now, Chuck gets bouts of stimulus-activated images which leads him to make a conclusion.

I want to see him be more active in the interpretation. Say the three of them are on a mission, in a sticky situation. It will take more than a flash to get them out. They need to analyze and synthesize a large amount of data to get themselves out. So, they start throwing out various theories, causing Chuck to have a number of flashes, possibly smaller ones.

Sarah: I did a mission a couple of years ago. Could Alexei Modovich be the ringleader?
Chuck: [flash] No, taken out by a CIA mission in 2005.
Casey: Sure about that? Could be a cover-up. They're called Spick-and-Span Missions.
Chuck: [flash] The team wasn't big enough. And it had Level 2-A secrecy. [flash] Spick-and-Spans require at least Level 4-X.
Casey: The name Carolina Burgos mean anything?
Chuck: [flash] She was turned after Project New Year. [flash] But suspected to have gone rogue. Something called Speedy Runner?
Sarah: Damn. We need to get out of here now. It's an intel project hidden underneath a smuggling ring.

#29

GandalftheFunky

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 5:52 PM

Awesome, CreedogV. I would LOVE to see something like that in action.

#30

tjl

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Posted Nov 27, 2007 @ 5:53 PM

In some sense, in the latest episode the functioning of the Intersect did evolve. Pretty much all of Chuck's flashes have been visual (the only time I can think of an auditory trigger was in the shower in the pilot which was right after he got the data). This time, he flashed on keywords in conversation with Bryce. So, I think if things are put to him appropriately he might be able to flash.