MidSeason Melodrama – Episode 3.07: Chuck Vs The Mask – Part I

(The views express in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of the universe.)
Written by Phil Klemmer
Directed by Michael Schultz
Part I

Wow.
If 3.06 was Chuck’s watershed episode then 3.07 seems to be the one for the fans.
Sometimes it is better to sit back and let the dust settle before offering up one’s thoughts. Since this episode aired the internet; via forums, tweets, and blogs has been indundated with thoughts negative and positive; covering the range from well thought out to impulsive and silly.
Given the fallout from this episode I will forgo the normal review structure to throw my hat into the Ring – sorry could not resist that one – and speak my piece.
So I apologize for the length up front. I tried to condense things as much as possible but found it impossible to do so and get this out in a timely manner. Due to length it will be posted in two parts. Don’t freak out! They will all be posted at the same time. Look for the link at the bottom of the page.
Here we go: a combination review/soapbox piece. Enjoy
Some quick clarifying statements that hopefully will prevent discussion about issues that have been hashed on the internet already and keep attention on the points being made in this article:
1) calls for boycotting the show because of one episode are silly and counter-productive
2) Chuck as a series has a very superior batting average(in the high .900’s easily) when it comes to the quality of its episodes
3) every series, every season has an episode or two that does not sit well with viewers
4) fans are not entitled to dictate to the showrunners how to conduct their business
5) fans are entitled to voice their opinions both negative and positive about the finished product *
6) the issue with this episode is not what is being done but how it is being done
* – and do so in civilized ways. Communicate with the recipient in the same manner you expect someone to do with you.
Overall this episode falls within the bounds of what can be expected from a Chuck installment and it hums along pretty well for about 34 minutes of its 42 minute running time. There are some great action scenes centered on the musuem vault, some great comedy moments as well – the opening and closing vault doors taking the prize, and some entertaining beats between Chuck, Sarah, Hannah, Casey, and Shaw depending on the scene and whom is in it.
The ‘B’ story line with Morgan and Ellie is fun too; loved the secret knock that took Ellie awhile to master. In fact if I was Devon I would be a tad jealous of the chemistry that exists between Morgan and Ellie.
There is a beat earlier where Sarah raises a concern about using a civilian in a mission that is a Chuck line. Even after the point is made, Chuck remains in total spy mode. A little moment that shows how much the roles have switched between Chuck and Sarah.
Then the gas gets released and things start to get a little stinky.

'Simply Being Professional' No Longer Possible For These Two
‘Simply Being Professional’ No Longer Possible For These Two

Episode Flashes:

  • Opening action scene with Shaw – nice Mission Impossible nod
  • Casey sporting writer Phil Klemmer’s last name on his work overalls ID aka Klemmer Fine Art Movers
  • Chuck and Hannah to the rescue using their brains
  • Chuck’s abilities as a spy increasing
  • Morgan and Ellie’s secret knock
  • Casey’s coffee – black and bitter, what other way would he have it?
  • Casey cutting the mics in the van under the guise of annoying gabbing to protect Chuck and Sarah
  • Chuck and Sarah jealously mocking each other’s PLI or LI now
  • Sarah and Chuck as a team breaking into the vault
  • the opening and closing vault doors while Chuck dangles upside down
  • Sarah kicking ass while Chuck dangles
  • Chuck making the catch in the vault that Shaw could not – and upside down to boot!
  • Casey’s chagrin at not being able to blow something up
  • Morgan’s devestation seeing Chuck and Hannah together
  • Ellie’s elation seeing Chuck and Hannah together
  • Casey’s disapproving grunt at Sarah and Shaw as he leaves the Castle

It is up to Chuck to save the day and he does with aplomb; saving not only Shaw and Sarah but Hannah too. Team Bartowski regroups at the Castle. Chuck is told he is well on his way to losing the training wheels ie his team mates. This comes out of the blue and hits the floor with dramatic thud not because we know that Sarah and Casey are not going anywhere but because Casey and Sarah would not be so nonchalant about it. It appears to link back to Shaw, who is doing his best to accelerate Chuck’s training. This drive by Shaw to get Chuck out on his own and away from Team Bartowski for purposes foul or fair is yet to be determined.
Then Chuck and Sarah talk about their situation and within short order he and Sarah are on their way to exploring new relationships. This switch in show dynamics is played too quickly. It is these moments that have become the flashpoint of fan discontent.
Click here for Part 2 of MidSeason Melodrama – Episode 3.07: Chuck Vs The Mask

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