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Chuck Versus the Living Dead
Season 03, Episode 17
Air Date May 17, 2010
Writer Lauren LeFranc & Rafe Judkins
Director Jay Chandrasekhar
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"Just an analyst, huh?"
―Stephen Bartowski

Chuck Versus the Living Dead is the seventeenth episode of the third season of Chuck, which aired on May 17th, 2010.


After a dream Chuck had at the close of the previous episode, Chuck has Morgan help him on a side mission to find out if Daniel Shaw is still alive. Meanwhile, Stephen Bartowski returns and has suspicions that Chuck is still involved with the CIA.

Full Story[]

The episode begins at Stephen's cabin. He receives a coded message in the classified section of the newspaper from Ellie, telling him that she needs his address, and has to talk to him. He sends back a message saying that he will be in touch. Ellie calls Justin, and they arrange a meeting.

Chuck discusses his dream with Morgan, but when Sarah overhears, he denies having a problem and makes an excuse to see Morgan. Chuck meets Morgan at the Buy More, who becomes convinced that Shaw is alive and will target Team Bartowski. Chuck decides to keep this from Sarah due to a lack of solid evidence, and since she had a history with Shaw. Morgan convinces Chuck to let him stay in Castle until the threat is eliminated, but Sarah catches him there, and gets the truth from Morgan, who is unable to withstand her questioning.

Ellie goes to Justin's office to report to him that she has made contact with her father, and he will contact her again with further instructions. Justin warns her that John Casey is dangerous and gives her a set of white noise speakers that will block all audio and visual reads in the courtyard. Ellie returns to the apartment complex to discover her father has come directly to her rather than sending his location to her.

Meanwhile, Chuck is going through Shaw's personal file when he spots his father entering the Buy More. Stephen is unaware his son has uploaded the new Intersect and is still working as a spy when he arrives in Burbank, after having been contacted by Ellie. Despite Chuck's assurances at the Buy More that he no longer works for the CIA, Stephen is suspicious because of the continued presence of Casey and Sarah. Stephen is likewise surprised to see Casey and Sarah, as he is unaware Chuck downloaded the Intersect 2.0 and thinks Chuck clear of the CIA.

Chuck dismisses his concern by saying Casey works at the store now, and that he and Sarah are dating. At Castle, Sarah warns Chuck he should have been honest with her about Shaw, especially since his dreams could be the result of flashes while his brain is idle. Casey arrives and notes there has been no recent activity on any of Shaw's aliases, and that the best way to get to Shaw is by using Sarah's previous involvement as a starting point. As the team goes over their notes, increasingly aggravating Chuck since some of their time in DC was actually romantically inclined, something of which Sarah had denied because she and Shaw both said they just spent the time in nonstop meetings. After Casey asks about her going into Shaw's penthouse, Chuck flashes on the building because he had CIA safe installed.

Ellie returns to the apartment complex to discover her father has come directly to her rather than sending his location to her. She calls Justin and explains tells him this, to which he schedules to meet her at a fountain later that night. However, he never shows up, leaving her waiting on the bench. She calls him wanting to know where he is, then leaves him a message saying it's hard for her to keep lying to Devon so she's not sure how much longer she can continue sneaking around. Casey, who is currently spying her after promising Chuck that he would watch over her, records the message and thinks Ellie may be cheating on Devon.

Casey talks to Morgan and tasks him with quietly questioning Devon about his and Ellie's relationship. After talking with Devon about how he spends his day, most of it taking care of Ellie and making sure she's happy, Morgan feels that Devon is indeed the perfect husband.

Chuck and Sarah go to search the penthouse and locate the safe but are stopped from trying to access it when someone arrives at the front door and opens it. Chuck and Sarah are forced to take cover in a closet. Through their infrared glasses, they watch a man open the safe and recover a briefcase and think the man to be Shaw himself. Chuck's shoes squeak on the floorboards as the intruder prepares to leave, and he fires several shots into the closet before fleeing. Chuck and Sarah pursue him to the roof, where he attempts to escape by vaulting the gap between buildings. He doesn't make it all the way across and drops the briefcase which allows him to climb up and save himself.

Chuck sends Sarah down to retrieve it while he attempts to pursue. Chuck flashes, but is unable to clear the gap, and is hanging from the edge when Chuck hears footsteps returning. Before he gets a good look at who it is he calls out Shaw's name, thinking it's him. Justin Sullivan appears above where Chuck is hanging, who tells him that Shaw is dead. He tells Chuck he's going to kill him but before he can do it, Sarah shoots at him from below, and forces him to flee. Chuck is losing his grip, but Stephen, who had followed Chuck, rescues him.

Back at Castle, the team determines the briefcase contained Shaw's spy will, which Sarah describes as containing everything about Shaw's work as a spy, to be opened by someone he trusts in the event of his death. The team concludes that if the Ring wanted its contents, then Shaw must indeed be dead.

The next day, Ellie meets with Justin again. He apologizes for missing their meeting, stating a mission came up. After assuring Ellie that he is okay, Justin asks Ellie if she is prepared to carry out a little spy work for him in order to help her father, she agrees.

After rescuing him from Shaw's apartment and returning home, Stephen forces Chuck to reveal that he possesses the new Intersect by throwing a knife at his son's face. Chuck successfully flashes and catches the knife, revealing the truth. Stephen tells Chuck that having the Intersect can have a negative effect on the brain and rushes from the apartment. When Stephen leaves after confronting Chuck about the Intersect, he bumps into Ellie. He asks her what it was that she contacted him for, and she tells him she was worried about him. He tells her he's alright before they hug. During the hug, Ellie attaches a GPS tracker to him. She calls Justin right afterwards and tells him it's done.

Stephen returns to Twin Pines Cabin and begins working on a device concealed inside his watch. However, before he can complete his work, the tracking device Ellie planted lead Ring operatives to him. They arrive and begin searching the cabin and attempt to beat the information on the device's whereabouts out of Stephen.

Meanwhile Sarah had lifted Stephen's driver's license in case Chuck wanted to find him and they track him down. Chuck enters the cabin alone, not realizing that his father is in danger, and is captured himself. The Ring team successfully determines that Stephen has hidden the device they are after in his watch and prepare to kill the Bartowskis with a propane explosion, but Chuck flashes on martial arts and attacks their captors. Sarah hears the commotion and comes after them as well. Between the three of them, the Ring agents are defeated, and the team returns to Burbank.

With Morgan now assuming that the problems in their marriage might be Ellie, Casey decides to search the apartment for more information. Ellie, however, arrives home while he is there and is frightened when she realizes there is an intruder in the house. She calls Justin, who reveals that there is a gun hidden in the speaker he gave her. Ellie refuses to use the gun and instead hits Casey over the head with a frying pan before fleeing.

Back at Chuck's apartment, Stephen reveals he was aware of the potential mental side-effects of the Intersect all along and spent a great deal of time attempting to develop a means of controlling the damage. He equates the effects to an overheating computer circuit and tells Chuck that the Intersect functions by sending a large electrical pulse through the brain's neural pathways. It is these electrical impulses that can damage the brain, leading to emotional and mental instability or death. Stephen was able to successfully develop a device he calls The Governor, which manages the electrical impulses. He has confirmed that the Governor will work for Intersect 2.0 and intends to create one for Chuck. He is also proud of Chuck for using the Intersect like he did: to help people.

At the end of the day Sarah agrees that Stephen was right, and that being a spy is a dangerous business. Sarah gives Chuck her spy will and says, "If anyone should have it, I want it to be you."

With Morgan now assuming that the problems in her and Devon's marriage might be Ellie, Casey decides to search the apartment for more information. Ellie, however, arrives home while he is there and is frightened when she realizes there is an intruder in the house. She calls Justin, who reveals that there is a gun hidden in the speaker he gave her. Ellie refuses to use the gun and instead hits Casey over the head with a frying pan before fleeing. She returns to Justin's office and asks about her family. Justin assures her that everything is fine, and he'll take care of Casey. Unbeknownst to Ellie, Justin locks her in the office.

Meanwhile, Justin reveals the failure of his team to secure the Governor to another operative by phone, who orders him to proceed with their plans regardless. In a hidden facility, Daniel Shaw activates a computer terminal and is uploaded with the Ring's reconstructed Intersect.

In the middle of all this, Jeff and Lester are playing music outside of the Buy More, where a woman walks by, giving them a dollar and asks them to stop playing. Big Mike comes to see them and offers the duo advice and guidance as their manager. Jeff agrees with his ideas, but Lester does not, fearing the impact of commercialism on the band. He tells Jeff that if he wants to take Big Mike's advice he can go ahead, but alone and quits the band. Under Big Mike's direction, Jeff continues playing inside the Buy More and repulses customers rather than attracting them. Later, Big Mike reveals to Lester that he briefly was a fourth member of Earth, Wind & Fire ("Rain"). Lester realizes that Big Mike has the integrity of an artist and accepts him as Jeffster!'s manager.

Guest Stars[]


  • When Chuck and Sarah are shot at by Justin while they are hiding in Shaw's closet, we can see bullet holes riddle the door, however, seconds later when they emerge, the door is completely undamaged.
  • Although Shaw appears in this episode, he is not portrayed by Brandon Routh.
  • The beginning of Chuck's spy will is a close copy of the first line of Shaw's will, the only difference being Chuck mentioning his friends and family.
  • When Chuck is reading in his room and Stephen approaches him about the Governor, the book he is reading is the graphic novel Y the Last Man, which is the same one he was reading in Chuck Versus the Nacho Sampler.
  • Excepting Chuck's Intersect linked dreams, this episode shows the first instance of a glitchy flash for Chuck when deliberately accessing the Intersect. The flashes become increasingly uncomfortable, and apparently painful, as the story arc progresses to the season finale.


Stephen: I just keep thinking. Without the Intersect, why would they let you go on missions? You're an ordinary guy.
Chuck: I'm not. I'm not an ordinary guy. The CIA wants me to work for them because they think I'm special - because they believe in me.
Stephen: You're right, Charles, you are special.


Chuck [to Stephen]: You left! Again! You taught me and Ellie how to live life without you, and that's exactly what I'm doing!


Casey: Would Ellie cheat on Devon for any reason?
Morgan: John Casey, if I had the height, or the will power, I would slap you across the face right now!

~ Chuck [to Stephen]: I came up here because I wanted to tell you why I downloaded the Intersect, that I'm special, and that I can help people. But given the circumstances, I think I'm just gonna have to show you.


  • Earth, Wind, and Fire - "September"
  • Nazareth - "Love Hurts"
  • The Bravery - "I Am Your Skin"