Chuck - Season 3 Episode 7 - Chuck vs The Mask Review - Featured

Moving toward the middle of the Chuck season we can start to see where they are going with the plot and what they are trying to make the season about. While I liked how the season started and how they were incorporating "Intersect 2.0 Chuck" into the show, these last few episodes have really begun a disturbing tread with the show's writing. For about 3 episodes now the comedy has taken a back seat to a more dramatic side, which is fine, as long as they don't forget to throw in the lighter stuff as well. This lastest episode is a perfect example of the tread we are starting to see.



Episode Recap


In 'Chuck vs The Mask' the CIA is trying to steal a ancient mask on display at an art museum, which they believe 'The Ring' is trying to use to smuggle something into the country. After a failed attempt by Shaw to procure the item, Chuck must use his position as a buy more computer tech to help Shaw and Sara get into the vault and switchout the mask before the exhibit opens to the public. Trying to stand in their way is a group of Ring operatives, who have had unspecified dealings with Shaw in the past, as well as Hannah taging along on the "Buy More Install" to make Chuck's side of the mission a little more difficult. In the side story, Morgan and Ellie try to discover what Chuck is up to and decide how they are going to handle, what they believe to be Chuck being depressed about Sarah breaking up with him.


The Things I Did Not Like About This Episode


- The way in which they handled the Chuck/Sarah relationship. 3 episodes ago they had Chuck professing his love for Sarah and making it seem like Sarah felt the same way. Now all of the sudden that whole plot seems to of just ended, they both have just all of the sudden moved on; Chuck to Hannah, and Sara to Shaw, but there was never really an explanation of ok this is over, they just sort of turned the page, which feels like they skiped a step in my opinion. Which also begs the question if Kristen Kreuk has now been type-cast as the girl who comes in to mess things up for the main character's relationship?


This is just the classic tv show ploy to get them close then back them off to get them close again before they eventually end up together, I get that, which is fine, but I just do not like how any of that has been handled. Hannah is some girl from 1 plane ride who lived in Paris but moves to LA to follow Chuck to his $12 an hour job, unless she is an agent, that is just too outside the realm of believability. Shaw is a secret agent that is running the team and just lost his fiance, so not only does he have to of gotten over her extremely fast, but everything they have presented about him as a character says he is by the book and wouldn't be so unprofessional so quickly. I think a much better option would have been for either Chuck to have moved on with another agent while Sarah moved on with another regular guy, or for only one of them to have moved on which leaves the other pining, and so on and so forth with the common tv show plot device. I accept that they have to do it, but I just don't like the way in which they are doing it.


- Cacey being relegated to the background guy. It seems his character has been completely overshadowed by the addition of Brandon Routh(Shaw). If Shaw is in the episode Cacey really isnt. Some of the best comedy moments in the show is when he and chuck interact or when he has to interact with other characters outside of his comfort zone. It seems like lately he is either getting the B-story or just not really featured at all, which I hope is not a tread that continues.


- No Jeff and Lester at all? I know its not good when they get a main storyline, but dropping in as the comic relief is one of the things that makes this show continuously funny. They developed an arc for them last week when Morgan asked them to stalk Chuck, and that would have been a good concept to continue with in this episode. However, not only did they not develop any of that, Morgan telling Ellie that they weren't as skilled in the stalker department as he thought, completely cancels out that whole idea of them following Chuck at all in the future.


- The Morgan/Ellie storyline really didn't go anywhere. All they did was talk about what was up with Chuck, they never really hatched a plan and never followed through on any of it. All they ended up doing was walking in on Chuck and Hannah, so now Ellie is satisfied cuase she thinks Chuck just has a secret girlfriend and that storyline isn't going anywhere either. The point of it was to develop someone else finding out about Chuck's secret, as the producers have said one of the other characters will be joining Team Bartowski by the end of the season. It's clear to me it will be Morgan, he is is the only character that really makes sense, it doesn't make any sense for Ellie to find out, as that would all but eliminate the cache of Awesome knowing. And no other character other than Morgan would be close enough to him to find out without really evelating their character's status within the show.


Overall I was not really crazy about the 'More Drama Less Comedy' version of Chuck that we got with this episode, but what do you think? Am I overreacting to Chuck vs The Mask, or do you agree that these last few episodes have gone off the tracks a little and they need to quickly make this just a small detour from an otherwise great show and season?

Comments

10 comments

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Feb 9, 2010 9:32AM EST

Actually I'd have to say I completely agree. Casey was my favorite character in the show thus far. His antics with Chuck have been just hilarious and his cold blooded killer side was just awesome (but maybe that's just me being a teenage guy). Also I had thought that Sarah didn't want to be involved with Chuck because they were both spies and so it would be "unprofessional" but then Shaw is a spy too, so I'm pretty confused about that part. Also as you said all the characters seem to be getting over their past "loves" pretty quickly. The only real explanation I can think of is that they are both just really desperate to find someone else ( i mean chuck and sarah) in order to forget the other, but this was a bad way to do it.

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Feb 9, 2010 3:51PM EST

The chuck/hannah relationship is semi-believable bc hannah was portrayed in her first appearance as a female version of chuck, they are compatible, even if they just met. Sarah on the other hand, fell for Chuck's stanford roommate (his name escapes me) and now hes dead. She fought against being with Chuck for his safety and then they led us to believe at the end of last season that they were going awol together. Chuck's motivation for standing her up in Prague were valid and Sarah's backlash because of it was also believable, but the fact that she is moving to Shaw now is just ridiculous. Agreed that the show has to have the comedy to work, but like you said, its mid-season, they've resolved the issues from last season and are making the slow crawl towards the finale/final conflict with the ring. I've been bothered that the Ring is basically FULCRUM rehashed. I've seen a lot of praise for this season so far, but I was in LOVE with chuck for the first two seasons, so far, not so much.

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Feb 9, 2010 10:51PM EST

I like the direction it's taking! It's finally filled with intrigue, suspence, and crazy comedy! There have also been numerious subtextual references that Sarah and Chuck were starting to back away from each other. Most likely Sarah and Chuck will be back at each other's side before long, as Shaw is obviously the main villian, where as Hannah, well, after last night's episode, it seems certain that her character probably won't last through the season.
Again, after watch the mask episode I think this season is really taking off in an awesome direction!

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Feb 9, 2010 11:35PM EST

I totally agree about the chuck/sarah stuff, I think Brandon's arc needs to end. Kill Shaw or something. It kind of feels like Sarah and Chuck are jumping into new relationships to prove to themselves and each other that they have gotten over their love.
I was so excited for Jeff and Lester to find something from the way they ended last weeks episode and to not even have a scene with them debriefing Morgan was such a let down. I mean they could have at least had a short montage of them following chuck only to have him continue to disappear in sneaking off to castle. Also this was supposed to be Chuck and Awesome's secret so why is Morgan and Ellie's search for truth only involve Chuck?
I noticed that they mentioned that soon Chuck will be a stand alone agent without a team which kind of bothers me so I have a feeling something will need to happen to cause setback from him becoming a lone agent. My guess would be some lame bump on the head making the intersect malfunction or something slightly more interesting is the intersect gets a virus that causes Chuck to flash on information that's not exactly relevant.
I agree about the Ring being FULCRUM rehashed, so much so that until I read the comment I had forgotten about FULCRUM and was just thinking the Ring had been the group all a long. I'm not sure that the show needs a Legion of Doom type group all the time, can't it just be a simple arms dealer or art thief?
Well I still love the show I agree once again that more comedy and Casey are needed.

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Feb 10, 2010 6:19PM EST

I do not like the way they've handled the relationship between Chuck and Sarah. To me, it seems like they have missed a step. It seemed, only not long ago, that after Chuck confessed his love, and explained why he stood her up, that they were to move on together as team members and as a romantic couple.
And in the begining of the episode, Sarah seemed to loathe Shaw, and when the cover of them at the gala, she very subtley but obviously shut him out. I loved that moment. I thought that was a win for Chuck/Sarah. But 20 minutes later it turns around on its head and she is looking at him lovingly. After saving her life. Is she that much of a flip flopper? I dont like how they're writing her character at the moment.
And Casey does seem like he is being pushed into the background. Which is a terrible idea. Is Shaw replacing Casey? I Hope not. Kill off Shaw, make Sarah run back to Chuck for emotional support, Hannah turns out to be an operative and tries to kill Sarah/Chuck (which would explain why she came to a shitty job just for a guy, unless she is nuts) so she has to go to isolation and let Chuck and Sarah pick up from where they left off after the episode with Carina.

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Feb 10, 2010 7:42PM EST

Youre totally rightt but then when I re-read the episode's title "the mask" its like it meant more than just the mask to smuggle. A lot of stuff that happened in this episode were things that would not happen normally in this show. As if this episode was a cover.. A mask. it didnt really represent the usual atmosphere. see what I mean? maybe next episode would clarify these turning eventsits maybe a tactic to decieve us about what we thought we understood from this episode.But maybe its just me overthinking that maybe the produccer did it on purpose because I want this tv show to be the bestt :)
--> for the sarah/chuck, I feel like their dialogues vehiculed something that I didn't grasp. but there was definitly too much evolution in a short time.

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Feb 10, 2010 8:27PM EST

IMO I'm enjoying this season much much more than the last one. I was getting really tired of the way the Chuck and Sarah relationship was heading. Especially now that Kristin Kreuk is on the show as Hannah, this is an awesome season. I just love that chick, of course, I may be a bit biased but the Chuck and Hannah relationship is so much better...(and less annoying). Although I don't like how Casey is being "replaced" he's definitely one of my favourite characters in this show. Don't like shaw that much.

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Feb 11, 2010 9:53AM EST

I have to say, I really enjoyed Chuck vs. The Mask. As much as I love the comedy side of Chuck, I have felt before that the comedy doesn't do as much to push the story forward as the dramatic big changes in the group dynamics. I feel like the writers/producers/whomever, is pushing the comedy to the background for a bit in order to move towards the overarching story line of this season.
As for the Chuck/Hannah relationship, I find Hannah hard to believe as a normal human being. If she is just a regular girl, it is completely pathetic of her to move to a new place to follow a guy she spent a couple of hours with once. I mean, seriously? That seems a bit psycho. I would find her as an operative very cliche, but at least it would make her ridiculous actions make sense.
With Sarah/Shaw, I find that relationship a lot more believable, I mean, he trusted her with the secret that it was his fault his wife was killed on the job, he's been trying to bond with her, presumably further back than the beginning of this episode, and since Sarah feels drawn closer to him, that's why she acts like she hates his guts. Above all, Sarah is protective of her heart, she doesn't want to get hurt and in her line of work that is almost impossible to protect against, so it makes sense to me why she would try to fight against her feelings for Shaw, she did the same thing with Chuck.
But, these relationships are transitory I think. Chuck still loves Sarah, Sarah still loves Chuck, but right now they can't find a way to be together without someone getting hurt or killed, and I think they really are both trying to move on and prove to the other that they can. I think Sarah is still hurt about Prague, and is having a hard time trusting Chuck with her heart again because she finally put herself out there and he turned her down, albeit for a valid point, but ouch.As for Chuck, Hannah's pretty, she likes him, she knows about computers, she followed him to a lousy job, and he can't be with Sarah. Love the one you're with I guess.
With the move to the more dramatic side of Chuck for the past couple episodes, I suppose it was necessary to shift focus from over the top characters like Casey, Jeff&Lester, and Captain Awesome (who I missed this episode), because I find it difficult not to laugh at pretty much every scene those guys are in, esp. Casey.
I am however hoping for a swift return to the Chuck/Sarah will they/won't they be together storyline. I love them together, and at the end of last season I had so much hope for their future, but I guess a show where they were together and everything was great would get boring really fast.

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Feb 11, 2010 9:58AM EST

I agree on most parts, expect for 1 major point, I am happy Sarah and Chuck are over each other and can just be friends, I was so dead tired of their relationship and I really just hope Sarah will eventually be replaced. Honestly the show would be much better if team bartowski was just Morgan, Casey and Chuck. I know what would upset the gender balance these kinds of shows has to have but I don't care.
Casey is the best character in the show followed closely by Morgan and Chuck, Sarah is just a burden on the show but hopefully will be less so in the future. My hope is that Sarah and Shaw will develop their relationship off camera and go on some solo missions that takes them away from the show allowing Chuck to take the reins of his own team. It's clear that Casey more and more respects Chuck so it would work, of course that would also mean Casey wouldn't be insulting Chuck all the time which has so far been comedy gold, but if Casey found things to insult Chuck about imagine Casey and Morgans relationship! It will be fantastic.

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Feb 12, 2010 2:29PM EST

I agree with what the reviewer said. There seems to be a trend in TV series that makes the main characters either shallow or they have deficient memories. Suddenly Sarah and Chuck, who were deeply in love for many episodes, are with someone else. Hannah, who had a semi-fabulous job, drops it all for a person she doesn't know at all, right! It's like Heroes where Sylar has gone from being a murderous,unconscionable, evil, villain to a good guy, then back to a villain then a good guy, etc.,etc. It's like the writers seem to think that the audience is too dense to remember all the innocent, likable people Sylar has murder or that the audience thinks that his horrible behavior is all erased because he say he's different and sorry now. I can only think that these kind of crazy plot changes (I don't want to say plot twists because that is often a good thing) is the result of writers who are limited in ability and/or imagination. I'm afraid that "Chucks" writers may be in this class and that we have already seen the best "Chuck" episodes.

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