Monday, February 8, 2010

Review - Chuck Season 3 Episode 7 Chuck Versus the Mask

Yes, that was the last episode of Chuck until March 1, but what a way to end the episode. Chuck is kissing Hannah, Shaw has his hands all over Sarah, Morgan is devastated, and the Ring is plotting to kill Shaw. And no Jeffster.

It's enough to tide me over a lonely month, but there could have been a bigger revelation in the end. The Ring wanting to kill Shaw isn't big news as they probably want to kill many CIA agents. What's more troubling is that look he gives while rubbing Sarah's shoulders. It was creepy, but was it from satisfaction or because he has another agenda? Making the assumption that Shaw must be good because the Ring wants him dead is fair, but there are other possibilities. What if there is another group that isn't the CIA or the Ring? What if the Ring has extra hatred for him because he used to be with the Ring? We can't count out anyone as a good guy yet, and there have been plenty of twists in the past. But my prediction is that Shaw is an extended Cole, a hero who Sarah is sexually attracted to, but doesn't reach the same emotional level Chuck does.

At the same time, we can't count out Hannah. She seems innocent enough, perhaps too innocent, as have Chuck's other brunette girlfriends who turned out to be something different. Obviously Hannah won't last long, so she has  to be gotten rid of somehow. Now that she's with Chuck all the time, she has access to him, and she's already crossed into his spy world. Conveniently, she only cares that Chuck saved her and not why she got into the situation in the first place, and wasn't the slightest bit suspicious when Chuck left with Sarah while the computers at the museum got messed up and fixed when he came back. If she turns out to be a spy, I wouldn't be surprised.

Then again, why is it our base impulse as Chuck fans to question the motives of all new characters? It's a weird thing the writers have done. The bond forged between the team is so strong that we question everything, even if there is no evidence.

The hot button issue of Chuck/Sarah was pushed about 100 times in the episode. I'm sure the shippers are up in arms, ready to burn down Josh Schwartz's house, and if that's the way they roll, they certainly have reason enough to be angry. They've wanted Chuck and Sarah together for the longest time, and the writing was on the wall for the majority of the season, but this episode was the straw that broke the camel's back. Shaw is hitting on Sarah and Chuck notices it. Hannah is hanging out with Chuck and Sarah notices it. They come to a mutual agreement to let everything go and let the other be with someone else. I can imagine all the deflated looks across America.

My concern going forward is how much time will spent on the fledging romances. One, they won't last long and two, it's just another relationship roadblock in the human form--the writers' favorite roadblock. We've seen it before, we've seen secret agents in relationships before. Hopefully the writers will show how relationships with the straight person works with no deception or lies. The endgame is to get Sarah and Chuck together, and showing that they don't work with regular people could be the way to go.

Of course that's me being optimistic. I'm not a shipper, but I just want to either see the writers move forward or not touch the subject at all. Too many times have we seen the relationship go in all directions just to end up in the same place.

Instead, the focus should be on the Ring which has proven to be a bad enemy. They're no different than Fulcrum, and do random things with weapons. Their resources are no greater, their agents aren't greater, their overall plan is not greater, so why did the Ring replaced Fulcrum? Those are the questions the show should be delving in, and not the latest plot device to advance the Chuck/Sarah relationship by moving them backwards.

Onto the subject of the episode itself. Minus the relationship business, it was a solid episode where Chuck got to use his computer skills and take a proactive approach to saving everyone. With Sarah and Shaw out of commission, he totally took matters into his own hands and saved the day with limited help from Casey who was mostly interested in blowing things up (that had to make you laugh). Even before that, he stole the mask by himself with Intersect powers, and didn't get any Intersect 2.0 flashes the entire episode. Chuck is finally going to go on solo missions which he has proven himself capable of doing.

Wow, I just check out the official NBC Chuck forum and it's like a war zone. People are saying they'll watch a few more episodes to give it a chance, and how much the episode sucked. I guess people with a vested interest in Chuck and Sarah are at the end of the line with the show. In the long run, everything will be fine even if the show isn't renewed for another season. The arc will wrap up at around the 13th episode which is where the season was expected to end. After that, there should be smooth sailing unless Josh Schwartz decides to fool around even more.

I wouldn't say that tonight's episode was a colossal mistake (though Bill running for state senate on Big Love was), but the writers have become complacent in how they want to reach the end. The goal was always the same, and yet they are always going back to the same plot devices for the relationships. I love what they're doing with Chuck's burgeoning spy abilities, but on the relationship front, they are as clueless as ever.

Score: 8.7/10


Anonymous said...

From what I gather, the next episode is Krisitn Kreuk's last one.

I'm a little dissapointed with how Schwartz has handled Shaw and Hannah. They both came in as interesting and likeable characters (and in Kreuk's case I'm glad she's proven to people she can act and win the liking of critics and fans) but ultimatley they squandered their potential by limiting them.

I saw the potential of Shaw as a supervisor on Chuck's missions and Hannah as an IT specialist and normal girl who Chuck develops an affinity for, but they've rushed the arcs totally. We should have seen Hannah with Jeffster last week, we should have had time to see Hannah develop with Morgan in the B-story. There should have an episode to delve into Shaw's backstory and connect to the spy world and expand that aspect of the show to show a whole world of this (as lightly touched upon last week with Manoosh)

I couldnt care less about Chuck/Sarah "breaking up" like the shippers do and frankly those people on the boards are morons if they didnt see this coming as it was announced months ahead, and hello? They werent in an active relationship (in fact credit the writers for having an unangsty break up). They're gonna get back together anyway so its a moot point.

But I am dissapointed in the fact that showed a lot of potential in developing these 2 new love interests as characters, only to rush them and dispose of them after the audience had a liking to them.

Anonymous said...

Chuck and Sarah make me go yawn. I don't understand what is so interesting about two people having the same tedious conversation over and over again. I'm a moody fan so if they were together I'd still be a moody fan. My problem is sarah's in it is not a very compelling all. And I like Chuck the least when he is mooning over her.
She does kick ass though. I actually believe that she is a spy but I don't think she is a very good one. Basically I want more CASEY!!!!!

Bob Weber said...

Totally agree about Casey. I think he's the best part of the show.

I also agree with the comments about the unangsty breakup between Sarah and Chuck. Honestly, I find it a little stretched that she's still on board at any level. Being the 'nice guy' can have it's appeal, being the whiny guy that constantly wants to talk about his feelings seems to be a turn off for any woman.

I do really like the fact that Hannah didn't just fall for the "nice guy" act. Chuck has turned into a bad boy player without even noticing. He keeps blowing Hannah off for his hot ex girlfriend, but finally comes back to save her life. That's guaranteed attraction right there.

I keep thinking Hannah might be a spy, but most of her behavior can be explained through the circumstances. Even the vault thing, it makes sense that if they were having computer problems the vault could have malfunctioned. Sure the 'assistant curator' guy was creepy, but since he wasn't around afterward it wouldn't be that hard to explain away.

I've thought it would be fun if they started bringing characters into the secret one at a time like they did with Awesome, eventually making the Buy More the secret spy headquarters of the world. Might be a good way to end the series.

Kelly said...

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