Review: 'Chuck' - 'Chuck Versus the Mask'
by Allison Waldman, posted Feb 9th 2010 1:25AM
(S03E07) This was the last 'Chuck' until after the Winter Olympics, so it was important that we made some progress with the intersect -- natch -- and also the Hannah and Sarah situations. Ever since she flew into Chuck Bartowski's life, Hannah has seemed too good to be true. Is she really? And what of Chuck and Sarah's on/off relationship? Fortunately, we got a good take on it all, as well as some edge-of-the-seat thrills. More after the jump.
You know that really cool scene in the Tom Cruise 'Mission: Impossible' movie where he drops from the roof to access a computer without ever touching the floor? They used that bit here, first with Shaw as the man on the wire. But unlike the movie, everything went awry. It took the Nerd Herd to save the day. Yes, really. IT to the rescue.
It was actually very cool that Hannah and Chuck had a geek-love moment while rebooting a computer system. Of course, if they were really nerds and not actors, they probably wouldn't be as cute as Zachary Levi and Kristin Kueck ... but would we be watching?
Vasilly had a vendetta against Shaw, which was a good excuse to get Sarah and Chuck back on the case. There were great shots of Yvonne's legs throughout the sequence, some kick-ass fighting, and a good deal of suspense with the vault doors opening, then not opening, while Chuck was hanging upside down.
Dang those security cameras. Wouldn't Casey and Shaw have knocked out that feed throughout the building, or fogged up the parts that showed Chuck? That seemed like a lame loophole, giving Vasilly a clue for getting the mask back.
Another thing that was strange was that once Vasilly saw Shaw, he didn't go after him on his own. If he had, perhaps the Ring wouldn't have snuffed Vasilly out. Did he think the Ring was going to congratulate him for blowing the mask operation and letting Shaw get away? A dead Shaw might have satisfied the Ring masters in the face of no mask.
Chuck's intersect and his smarts were used to good effect when faced with having to save Shaw and Sarah, plus Hannah. What we're seeing more and more is that Chuck is excelling at the job because he's not just a brainy guy or the intersect, but both. He saved Shaw twice in the episode and -- remember -- Chuck's supposed to be the trainee.
So now that Chuck has progressed to the point of autonomy, are Sarah, Casey and Shaw hitting the road to their next assignments? Chuck as a solo spy will not do much to help his love live, or his friendship with Morgan, or explaining his life to Ellie. To truly become an agent, Chuck may have to graduate out of Burbank and out into the real world.
Other points of interest
-- Morgan and Ellie put their heads together and decided that Chuck was brokenhearted over Sarah and thus acting strangely. Have they really been so oblivious to Chuck's behavior that they're only suspicious now? Apparently they've never seen 'Intervention' because theirs was completely off-hand and didn't include written letters or plans for whisking him to rehab.
-- The finale with Vasilly facing the Ring judges was a direct quote from the Richard Donner 'Superman' movie (the Christopher Reeve film) when Jor-El made the case to exile Zod and the other two. Nice inside reference to the other Superman, Brandon Routh.
-- Sarah and Shaw are a good pair, although the rule is that spies don't fall for other spies, so what the hell are they doing? They should know better. Remember Bryce? Remember Evelyn? Dead former loves are a sure sign that you don't mix spy business with romance. Even James Bond's wife was killed in 'On Her Majesty's Secret Service'!
-- No Jeff and Lester or Big Mike. No Awesome.
-- The mask was a cool-looking artifact, although with the pedestal stand it almost looked like an award -- the Actor's Mask for Best Performance goes to ... just watch, someone will steal that idea now.
[For clips and episodes of 'Chuck', go to SlashControl.]