mxpw vs. Frea - Chuck vs. the Masquerade

Chuck vs. the Masquerade
Season 4, Episode 16, original air-date February 21, 2011

Chuck and Sarah's Valentine's Day is put on hold when they must travel to England to protect an oil baron's daughter. A mysterious woman makes Casey a compelling offer. Ellie and Devon receive parenting help from an unusual source.

So it's Friday.

And the episode aired on Monday.

And here's our review. On a Friday.

You know, this is one of those times I could blame a minion.  Isn't that what I have minions for?  To blame?  You're right, even though this may have been my fault (it's been a crazy week), I'll pin this on a minion.  Ready?

The reason this review is late is Crystal's fault.  Enjoy!  Remember: I'm the shark!

- Frea

Frea: I'm definitely going to be the pessimist this week.

mxpw: Haha.

mxpw: I know.

mxpw: I figured as much.

Frea: As I did some thinking and I really didn't like the episode. At all.

mxpw: Some real mixed reviews on this episode. It's really interesting.

Frea: I mean, I get it where they're coming from and what they're doing.

mxpw: Where are they coming from?

Frea: Warner Brothers lot.

Frea: The non-smartass answer is that the show has to change

mxpw: Haha

mxpw: You are in fine form today!

Frea: I know, my headache is gone. :)

mxpw: Awesome!

mxpw: Sorry, didn't mean to interrupt. So you were saying about the show changing?

Frea: Well, it pretty much has to change; the first half of Season Four was an experiment in stagnation that ultimately failed.

mxpw: Because the Volkoff arc was nonsensical.

Frea: Right

mxpw: And now they are trying to mix things up to make the show a little more dynamic.

Frea: Right

Frea: And I respect that

Frea: Buuuuuut the episode was still oddly melodramatic.

mxpw: How so?

Frea: More often than not, I went, 'That was stupid.'

Frea: Chuck and Morgan.

mxpw: Haha

Frea: Sarah and Morgan had a couple of funny moments but I really did feel like I was watching Yvonne, not Sarah, at points.

mxpw: Okay, agreed with you there about Chuck and Morgan.

mxpw: But I think I might disagree with you about the Sarah/Morgan scene.

Frea: That's okay. :) I allow my minions to disagree with me.

mxpw: I think the Sarah/Morgan scene worked because Sarah has always been awkward and looked vaguely uncomfortable when interacting socially with people not named Chuck or Casey.

Frea: I don't think it worked because it was too over the top. The "hang" pronunciation worked, the playing with Han and Chewie....not so much. Funny as hell, but that was where I was like, "This is funny because Yvonne is funny" not "This is funny because Sarah is aw-awkward."

Frea: And yes, I mean, awwww and awkward at the same time.

And this dress.  We can't forget about
this dress.
mxpw: Heh. I don't know...I mean, this is a woman that tried to seduce her boyfriend by dressing up in a full on belly dancer's outfit. She wore lingerie with actual wings for Valentine's Day. Her idea of showing she's no longer good is to dress up all in leather and don a bad black wig. I don't know if I can really agree that there is anything that she could do that is really over the top.

Frea: So what you're saying is that Sarah Walker is a caricature.

mxpw: In a way, sure, but they all are. Chuck, Morgan, Casey, all caricatures in a lot of ways and always have been. Don't get me wrong, I get what you're saying with Sarah in that scene. I almost agree. As I was watching it, I was like, "I can't believe what I'm seeing." But at the same time, it was just SO funny, I thought, and it worked largely because I bought that Sarah was really trying, really wanting to connect with Morgan on some level, even if it was ridiculous.

mxpw: I saw a comment on a blog, where somebody said that scene showed that Sarah would be a good mom one day because she's not afraid to do something like that. I can see it.

Frea: Yeah. Which is another problem I had, amazingly. Writers, make your decision. Is Morgan awesome enough to outshine the rest of the cast for nearly thirteen episodes in a row (Phase Three aside) or is he childish? You know which side I fall on, but PICK YOUR SIDE.

Frea: I know, I know. The writers are finally treating Morgan the way I don't mind them treating Morgan, and I do nothing but harp on them.

Frea: Frea, double-standard much?

Frea: But in my defense, this is more an "overall" thing than a "Masquerade" thing.

mxpw: Heh, actually, that was one of the problems I did have with this episode. I disagree that they needed to pick a side, because I think they still wrote him as too awesome here. Because he was the one who realized he was being childish or that he needed to grow up. He was the one that had to explain to Chuck that he needed to move out. He was the one who actually wasn't acting like a clingy boyfriend. He was acting mature, for the most part, once he had his realization, and Chuck was acting pretty melodramatic. I think that's why the Chuck/Morgan plot in this episode was only so-so for me. It just went too far.

Frea: My problem with their plot is that they've only been roommates for two years, TOPS. And not even that. Maybe 18 months. I mean, I get it that this is "Chuck is getting married" and they're moving on to the next part of their lives, but it's not like they've been sharing the same room for 18 years and Chuck is going off to college. They will likely be right down the street from each other, which is where they've been their entire LIVES.

mxpw: I wanted to smack Chuck and be all like, "You are going to be married to Sarah Walker soon, why are you so damn insistent that Morgan stay? Don't you want to be alone with your super hot wife?"

Frea: If Morgan moves out and it gets me out of ever having to watch him sitting on a bearskin rug in a short robe, I am ALLLLLLL for that.

mxpw: Like really, get a grip, Chuck. Morgan moved to Hawaii for like six months after S2 and you seemed to be just fine with that. That's what I meant about this episode going too far. It's not like Chuck and Morgan will never see each other again. It was just kinda ridiculous how they played it like this was the worst thing ever.

Frea: Though I'll beat you to mentioning that giving Clara the Kenner dolls was fantastic.

mxpw: Curse you! I wanted to mention that! It was one of my fave moments of the episode.

Frea: I'm evil like that.

mxpw: Almost made the ridiculous Chuck/Morgan scenes worth it, but still wasn't enough.

mxpw: Though I have to say, that opening VDay scene was pretty funny. At least I thought so.

Frea: It was, in an awkward, "Oh, God, am I really watching this?" sort of way.

mxpw: For the longest time I tried to figure out what Alex saw in Morgan, but now I know. She's just as freaking weird as he is, apparently.

Frea: I really got a kick out of Sarah catching the bowl of strawberries.

mxpw: Heh, same here! I liked the Chuck and Sarah aspect of that scene. I really liked them in the bedroom. Chuck being a dork, Sarah actually knowing pop culture (I about died from shock at that), them being cute together, and then them working as a team in the kitchen. That was great.

Frea: Pretty Woman is the ultimate fairy tale. The fairy godmother in Shrek 2 even said so. Of course Sarah Walker knows that. Although I'm amused that she had to be educated about the sock (or scrunchie, depending which res hall you're in (or whether it's 1996)) on the doorknob.

mxpw: I took that as yet another nod to Sarah's social dysfunction.

Frea: Yes, yes indeed. Poor Casey, by the way.

mxpw: I was rather impressed he didn't do more than look vaguely disgusted by the goings on in the house. Chuck and Sarah he's probably used to by now (not that they were all that strange) but Morgan and Alex?

Frea: Dude should really knock.

mxpw: Man, poor Casey indeed.

Frea: But you're right, the Mystery of Alex is finally solved.

mxpw: Alex, Alex, Alex...you seemed so normal. I wasn't even sure what they were doing there and I don't think that I want to know.

Frea: I went out and brought out Mrs. Stockton's Brain Bleach -- For All Your Shawing Needs from the shelf at my local Target to get that scene from my mind. I'm happy to share.

mxpw: Please do.

mxpw: Well, I need a limited dose as I still would very much like to remember Sarah in her Victoria's Secret Angel get-up. She looked fantastic and the wings popping up and the face she made was great. There was the SWP I missed in CAT Squad.

Frea: That look was priceless.

Frea: Though as you mentioned when we talked about the episode last, strangely conservative for her.

mxpw: Yeah, really. One of the most conservative outfits she's worn in some time. Since Honeymooners probably.

mxpw: But it was still lovely and the wings made up for it.

mxpw: Oh and the stockings.

Frea: The state of the world today: she's still in skimpy lingerie and we're like, "Wow, that's almost prudish."

mxpw: Heh, for Sarah Walker it is!

mxpw: Okay, got the SWP out of my system, we can move on.

Frea: Awesome.

Frea: So, the plots.

mxpw: I assume you mean the spy plot.

mxpw: We already discussed the melodramatic Chuck/Morgan stuff.

Frea: This was just a wonky episode. What would normally be the A Plot (the spy plot with Vivian, the Masquerade, the protection, the white horse) was...the C-Plot this week.

mxpw: I can see where you're coming from.

mxpw: I don't know if I'd quite agree that it was the C-plot, but it did seem to almost take a backseat to the Chuck/Morgan drama at times.

mxpw: Really, I think we should just say that this episode was about growing up and leave it at that. The way all the plots intertwined was convoluted at times.

Frea: Yeah, the theme really kind of was pounded home. It was too over the top (Chuck/Morgan), it was nice and subtle at points (Clara), and it came out of nowhere (Vivian) at other points.

mxpw: I don't remember if it was you or somebody else I read, but the issue with Vivian is that she was too much tell and not nearly enough show. I can kinda understand why (no budget, condensed plots) but still, it grated. We were told she shared stuff in common with Chuck, but weren't shown. We were told she'd been groomed to succeed Volkoff but weren't shown. We were told she was aimless and needed a purpose in life, but really weren't shown that. I think that's where the Vivian character really runs into trouble.

Frea: That was me.

mxpw: Ah, okay.

mxpw: Wanted to make sure.

Frea: Or at least, that's exactly how I feel about it. Vivian is a character with far too much potential to become another Shaw character -- where we're told she's one way, but not shown that at all, so we have to go off specifically what the writers are telling us, and I really, really don't like that.

mxpw: Agreed.

Frea: Would it have been too much to have them go through a dossier on her or have even a cutaway scene where she's standing there, looking at her wall of achievements? The whole scene in the Masquerade really came off clunky to me because I couldn't really infer what was going on from Chuck's actions. I had to rely on the music to figure out what was happening, and it felt jarring.

mxpw: Do you mean you couldn't infer how Vivian was similar to Chuck?

Frea: No, I honestly couldn't figure out why Chuck would have figured out that was Vivian.

mxpw: Oooh. That didn't even occur to me.

mxpw: Like I didn't have any problems there. I guess he just figured it out from the way she was talking, I don't know. He is supposed to be a spy. :P

Frea: Some days you wouldn't know it.

mxpw: That's true.

Frea: I still laugh at Sarah's "If you sneeze, we are the worst spies on the planet" comment because if the shoe fits...

mxpw: I did think the one scene that they did good show on and not tell was Vivian shooting Boris. Putting aside the fact that Boris got caught in the classic villain mistake of too much monologuing and putting aside the stupid nonsense the show perpetuates about killing people, that was a good bit where we got to see how Vivian actually differs from Chuck. That was a sharply drawn contrast and could be our first clue as to how Vivian is going to play out as a character during the rest of the season.

Frea: "And then he starts monologuing!"

mxpw: Haha

Frea: Well, Boris was a rather classic villain. I mean, he made a microwave seem sinister. But the biggest sadness to me is that he shot the guy from that one credit card commercial -- you know, the one where the lady calls in to collect her points, and she gets like, five bucks total -- in the head in a shot that was surprisingly gory for this show. Of course, back in the days of the earliest Bond films, that would've been Rated R for that shot alone, for any time you see somebody fire the gun and the person get hit in the same shot, automatic R rating back then. Buh-bam, trivia!

mxpw: Ooooh really? I didn't know that, Frea.

Frea: Anyway, before we went down this rabbit trail, we were talking about Vivian. Her shotgunning Boris down was actually pretty interesting to me, too.

Frea: 'Course, that doesn't make up for the rest of her character being the clunkier half of the show versus tell equation.

mxpw: I agree with you there, but at least I think we can both agree she has potential.

Frea: I should probably be more lenient to the show, I know. But I'm the pessimist this week, and I'm proud of ability to go, "Bah! Humbug!"

mxpw: Which they will probably squander, but hey, you can't win 'em all.

Frea: Hey, get out of the pessimistic corner. This is my spot.

mxpw: At least she's a better actress and far easier on the eyes than he who shouldn't be named.

Frea: And she's already done something Voldeshaw never did: she got my interest in at least one scene.

mxpw: The scene where she shoots Boris?

Frea: I thought we already covered this? *sticks tongue out at you*

mxpw: I did really like her scene with Chuck in Castle, even if there was a lot of showing going on there. It was great to see Chuck be Chuck and try to relate to Vivian as a person rather than a spy.

Frea: That scene was only okay to me. I didn't really find anything remarkable about it.

Frea: But then, that's pretty much my take on this whole episode, so what the hey!

mxpw: I'm not saying it was epic or game changing, I'm just saying I liked the idea of what they were doing there.

mxpw: Yeah, you're definitely a Debbie Downer. Gloomy Gus. Grumpy McGrumperson. I could go on.

Frea: I guess I just didn't really care.

mxpw: Fair enough!

Casey - bartending in crazy vests since
mxpw: So moving away from Vivian, we should talk about Casey for a bit.

Frea: Okay. Robin Givens...wasn't loving her.

mxpw: Since he actually had some semblance of a plot in this episode.

mxpw: Well...see, Casey's storyline was just okay for me. Givens was kind of just...there. At least so far. If I thought the show would actually have the guts to write Casey off the show (never mind what impact that would have in the fanbase), this would obviously be the way to do it, but the storyline was just kind of lame. I mean, all that buildup and all we get is that he saw a mysterious hallway.

Frea: The episode ended on a lot of doors.

Frea: Vivian Volkoff finding her door, Casey finding his. Lots of doors. I wonder if that's significant or symbolic, considering that this episode is all about the setup to lead us down different paths.

mxpw: Plus, I just couldn't get over the fact that she's NCS and why are they just now introducing somebody from NCS and how does she have more pull than say Beckman? Beckman outranks her.

mxpw: I think it's symbolic of the fact that they're onto our complaints about the TARDIS suitcase.

Frea: Abby Sciuto outranks everybody, and Robin Givens works for her?

mxpw: NCS: National Clandestine Service, Frea. Not NCIS. :P

Frea: But--but--how else will I get to see Sarah and Ziva battle it out?

Frea: Laaaaaame.

mxpw: I have no idea, but I'd pay money to see Sarah kick Ziva's butt.

Frea: I didn't really think much of the storyline. I mean, Casey's been sidelined since the beginning of Season Three, so it feels almost like it's too little too late for me.

Frea: On the other hand, it's about damn time.

mxpw: It was nice to see Casey save Sarah during that ridiculous horseback sequence, but man, I wish it hadn't been such a laughably bad scene. Whoever directed and edited this episode really needs a stern talking to. I realize they have no budget, but that's no excuse for such poor editing that they actually went so far as to blur the face of Yvonne's stunt double. Or such bad directing that Casey looked like he was playing Duck Hunt or Oregon Trail during his rescue scene.

mxpw: He's sitting practically in the open, barely any cover, and somehow he manages to pick off every bad guy without so much as even getting winged. And it's like the bad guys were just really stupid lemmings. That was the worst scene of the episode for me, personally. It was just so hard to swallow.

Frea: Yeah, the technical failings of this episode make me sad. Because I understand that they have no budget, I don't really want to call attention to them, but...I don't know, it was really, really bad. The FX were awful, the blurring of the stunt double's face was just horrendous. It was nice to see the entire cast, and actually well-balanced (the exception being, as ever, Morgan), but I don't know, I'd give that up for a little better work in the FX department.

mxpw: Lose the Buy More and cut back on Morgan and I bet they'd have a lot more money for editing and effects.

Frea: I'll drink to that!

Frea: Oh, speaking of the Buy More...

Frea: With that song, I was flashing back to Ice Age this entire episode. And Matilda, but that goes too far back into my childhood, so I'm gonna stick with Sid the Sloth and his Merry Band of Mammoths and Misfits. They actually made me feel bad for Jeffster (though Ellie's way of drawing them out of the home entertainment room was creepily hilarious), that their lamb got stolen!

mxpw: Haha

mxpw: I’m actually really worried about baby Clara. Growing up a Jeffster fan? That's like just asking for debilitating social dysfunction for the rest of her life.

Frea: I'm a little worried about her spending time with Auntie Alex, honestly.

mxpw: Hey, you don't think Jack made Sarah listen to her own version of Jeffster, do you?

Frea: So what are you saying, Maximus? That Clara is Sarah 2.0?

mxpw: Could be, could be...

Frea: I still can't make it rhyme without laughing.

mxpw: I did at least enjoy the Ellie/Devon stuff.

mxpw: Also, I feel weird for saying this, but I thought Sarah Lancaster looked really hot with her hair all tousled.

Frea: It was a little over the top, but that seemed to be the theme of the day, so I'll give it a pass and agree with you. I enjoyed that storyline.

mxpw: And that seems to be the common theme for this episode.

mxpw: So final thoughts?

Seriously, I wasn't making that up.
Frea: There's a fishing rod in my chandelier. Or a piece of one, anyway. I wonder how long that's been there? That could be a problem. Um, let's see, final thoughts. I'm apprehensive about Vivian, I thought Morgan and Chuck's big dramatic thing about Morgan moving out was unearned, I'm now afraid of Alex, I now want to see a Sarah/Clara seen twice as bad, Sarah's expression when the wings came out will never not make me laugh, and I hope that Casey's new assignment is awesome and doesn't involve inputting numbers into a computer at set intervals.

mxpw: Wow, you made a Lost joke.

mxpw: I'm like totally proud.

Frea: It was either that or Fates and I've been in Bunker Hell enough with the latter enough as it is.

mxpw: I actually share pretty similar thoughts as you do, pessimist or not. I loved every thing with Sarah in the wings, especially the SWP aspect. I want to see her spend time with Clara far more than I want to see her do wedding stuff. The Morgan/Chuck stuff was just really dumb and far too over the top at times, though the Alexi Murdoch song that played during their big scene was great. I love that Morgan gave Han and Chewie to Clara. Um...and Vivian has potential, but I'm wary. Oh, and thank God for no relationship angst!


Frea: 5.5 Castle Slides out of 10 (sigh, still no sighting)

mxpw: 3 Angelic Sarahs out of 5

So...your thoughts?  There were things we didn't talk about, like the fact that MySoapBox made me get seriously squicked out at the fact that Vivian and Sarah looked scarily alike when Sarah had the wig on, and if you caught that, you are delightfully old school.  Nearly a week late, what did you think about the episode?


  1. Of course I'm the one to get blamed. :P

    I agree with both of you on most of your points, looking back on it. And the look-alike thing was the first thing I noticed when watching that particular scene. (I don't know why that makes me old school, though...?)

    I'm actually afraid to go back and attempt to watch that horseriding scene again. I think I won't. It would probably devastate me.

  2. alladinsgenie4u25.2.11

    Frea and Mx - thanks as always

    My random thoughts - I liked the episode as a whole - I thought that there was a lot of good stuff and it also provided, what hopefully looked like a good set up for something awesome down the line - regarding both Casey, Vivian and their respective story lines.

    Completely agree on the Morgan/Alex scenes - too weird and uncomfortable.

    Chuck/Morgan - Over the top and cheesy - maybe it appealed to the younger viewers (teens) but I was rolling my eyes.

    As for Morgan - Well, it seems as if almost all of Chuckverse revolves around him nowadays.
    This late into the season, I have given up hope on hoping that they are going to cut back on Morgan time and stop making others look like fools/incompetents/not knowledgeable when compared to him.

    I also say that it is a crime when a Valentine's Day episode goes by without some more C/S interaction/goodness/passion - but instead it was sacrificed on the alter of Morgan's "growth"

    I concur that the horse chase scene and Casey's shootout was edited badly but I was just happy to see some sort of action taking place.

  3. One thing that episode did well: they successfully screwed up the timeline... again.

  4. I guess I'm more forgiving of Vivian right now because I don't think she's going to impact the show like a certain someone. That could change depending on how the rest of her arc plays out.

    At this point I'm happy with the show when they're not creating relationship problems and the conflict looks like it'll be from external sources. And hey none of the characters regressed to their season 1 personalities so its another win.

  5. Anonymous25.2.11

    @ crystal- of course they would blame you. You're the adorable one. Most people can't stay mad at the adorable one.

    Overall, it was just a blah episode for me.

  6. Sad for me when a valentines day episode did not have enough valentines day festivities for me.

    Cooling on the spy arcs, can only hope this upcoming arc will change my mind or get me enthusiastic about that side of the story lines.

    Scenes around the horseback riding/stunts and Casey shooting everyone in sight without so much as them shooting back (maybe I missed the dirt kicking up at his feet) brought back painful memories of watching "Fall guy" (hey I love those 80's shows) and the movie Commando with Arnold killing a minimum of 100 bad guys while running across a backyard lawn with his trusty M16.

  7. Ayefah25.2.11

    For the longest time I tried to figure out what Alex saw in Morgan, but now I know. She's just as freaking weird as he is, apparently.

    Ha, that's what made that scene for me. Were they playing an erotic game of patty-cake? WTH? At least they finally deigned to give Alex some personality, hallelujah.

    As for the rest episode...well, you guys pretty much summed it up. The only thing I'll add is that watching Vivian didn't make me fear she'd be another Shaw - I feared her because she's a parallel-Chuck and I want them to give character development and attention to actual Chuck, who's been strangely languishing given the fact that he's the title character of the show.

    But then I IMed with Frea and she brought up the Shaw comparison and now it'll never leave my brain unless it's proven untrue. *shakes tiny fist of rage* I vowed never to think of His Woodenness again! Curses!

  8. noidhoidah26.2.11

    I couldn't agree more about the Morgan moving out stuff being a bit much. It felt like it was the A plot of the episode, the way we seemed to keep going back to it every other scene. They didn't give this much focus (or any, really) to Chuck reconnecting with Mama B after he brought her back home. In fact, I don't think they had any scenes together before she left again.

    I like Vivian so far, but I'm more intrigued by the NCS director. If Casey accepts her offer, I can't see it lasting very long. So whatever he gets involved in will probably wind up directly impacting Team B in some way.

  9. Anonymous26.2.11

    The horse riding scene wasn't just executed badly, it wasn't believable in the least that Sarah Freaking Walker could be rendered senseless that easily. It felt like a really sloppy way to get her out of the picture so that Vivian would be left to defend herself without Chuck staying with her. I too felt that the Morgan/Chuck stuff went on too long, but I think that's because from the show's standpoint, things really aren't going to be the same between the two of them. At least I really, really hope that's why they lingered so long on that particular plot point. - jwr

  10. Anon226.2.11

    I'd have to agree with most of your points. To be fair, in this episode Chuck wasn't ridiculously annoying for 80% of the episode (CAT Squad anyone?); it wasn't painfully obvious where the episode was headed (aside from the Casey sub-plot, but no one could have anticipated that scene between Sarah and Morgan. Can't believe they nearly played cod...) and the sub-plots generally didn't suck (think irrelevant BuyMoria here)

    The 'Valentines' thing at the start was creepy, but also really just.... I thought Alex was normal!! Also, Sarah being all understanding about Morgan moving out was so sweet.

    Also, it was set mostly in England!! Wahoo! And thank God they had Vivian going to a uni other than Oxbridge. Sometimes it's like show writers don't even know others exist (not that LSE isn't prestigious enough). Vivian's accent slipped a number of times, and they really do need to consult a Brit before writing in some stuff (ie language used and driving stick shift), but I reckon that sort of stuff only really stands out to natives, and most of the show watchers probably don't pick up on it.

    I thought the Morgan moving out/Casey being enticed sub-plots complemented each other rather well, and I appreciated their collision and 'foreshadowing' during the bar tending scene.

    I agree with Anonymous; I don't think things will be the same for Morgan/Chuck. Sure, the actual move won't affect much, but I'd hope this is the beginning of Sarah being the best friend as opposed to Morgan?

  11. Ayefah26.2.11

    The horse riding scene wasn't just executed badly, it wasn't believable in the least that Sarah Freaking Walker could be rendered senseless that easily.

    A fall off a horse is hardly an "easy" way to be rendered unconscious. But it's true that the way the stunt was filmed made it look like a little tumble rather than a real bang to the head.

    Vivian's accent slipped a number of times

    The actress who played Vivian is an American who grew up and went to university in England. Not sure what that says about the authenticity of her accent. :P

  12. Anon227.2.11

    @Ayefah: re: actress who played vivian: that's interesting - do you mean that besides her passport she is english?

    If so, then that's the same as me, but the problem was that she was inconsistent; sometimes it was spot on, and othertimes it didn't match up!

  13. Anonymous27.2.11

    I agree about the sniper scene, it was not well shot. I don't quite understand why everyone is complaining about the visual effects. They have no budget. There are plenty of things that were filmed before they could make effects anywhere near as good as they have on this show, that doesn't make them bad.
    As far as showing not telling, I thought the fact that they pretty much mad Vivian's entrance the same as Chuck's (hiding from her own party; not having any friends) then made her understand why Chuck had a problem with the party when Sarah didn't kinda, demonstrated how she was "like Chuck".
    I also think I realize why you guys seem to hold season 2 up as some perfect golden thing. Don't get me wrong I liked season 2 but I also fast forwarded through about half of it because it was filled with completely irrelevant Buymore plots. But You really don't like Morgan. Which I understand. Sometimes you dislike a character. If it wasn't for perhaps this episode and Push Mix Ellie would have already become Chuck's equivalent of Xander for me (the character that's good so you're supposed to like them but has human character flaws that are so annoying you get irrationally mad at them). At any rate, you don’t like Morgan and Season 2 Chuck didn't have Morgan. That other show I fast forwarded through did, but Chuck didn't and neither did that character Chuck. At a certain point Morgan became completely auxiliary to what was going on in Chuck world.
    As far as the comment, I noticed that they wished the writers spent the time on Chuck's character evolution this season that they did on Morgan. That seems to be a common complaint here. It actually makes me wonder what they wanted Chuck’s character to evolve into. See, the thing is, I'm pretty sure that the writer see Chuck as already "evolved". He's in a solid relationship. He's a spy. He’s moved past being the fish out of water and grown legs. Yes he’s still neurotic and tries too hard to get people to like him but that's his personality not something you grow out of. He likes people to like him. If he became some slick, emotionless agent that could mow people down like Casey he wouldn't be Chuck. So, as I said (and I’m completely nonsarcastic) I’m not sure where people wanted him to evolve (other than to limit his occasion accidentally falls through windows.)

  14. Ayefah27.2.11

    According to her online bio, Lauren Cohan was born in Philadelphia and lived in Cherry Hill before moving to England at some point in her childhood. She stayed there through university, then moved to the U.S. to start acting. The accent she's using as Vivian seems to be her natural one, judging by interview clips on YouTube. And now I know more about Lauren Cohan than I ever wanted to. :P

    And speaking as someone who thinks Chuck's character development has stalled/regressed a bit this season - he does have places left to go. Namely, the magical place called Standing-Up-For-Yourself-Land. Oh, he'll make the occasional journey there in episodes like "Fear of Death", but for the most part? This season has been all to happy to see him passively accept being yelled at for no good reason and treated like something less than Sarah and Casey's equal at work. And he still hasn't learned his stupid lesson about keeping secrets from Ellie. Not cool.

  15. Anon227.2.11

    Yeah, I looked that up too after seeing her in an old ep of supernatural today, and have conclusion that her accent is weird. I shall say no more on it!

    I actually think that Chuck has a ways to go in developing into a spy. At times such as in 4x15 using the cd and waffle maker we see his abilities to coincide training with the intersect, but the writers have yet to show to us that he is doing this consistently.

  16. Anonymous27.2.11

    I agree that Chuck should be shown integrating his own intelligence with the use of the intersect more. And that Casey and Sarah don’t treat Chuck as an equal. That, I think, is more their problem then his and its sort of understandable. Up until this season Chuck wasn’t an equal. He was an asset or an agent in training and that’s exactly how they treated him. They have evolved, in that they no longer try to “control” Chuck like in first and second season, but they don’t seem to have completely graduated into thinking of Chuck as an equal. As for Chuck himself, Chuck is a people pleaser. He wants people to like him and be happy with him. So he's quick to give in and quick to forgive. I've known quite a few people like that and most of them have stayed that way. Maybe they needed therapy. But for Chucks, he has the added complication that his trips into Standing up for himself land haven’t exactly been good. Usually it turns out he was wrong. He’s gotten held at gunpoint (ok, so water gun point) and nearly blown up (Sandworm), kidnapped repeatedly (Salami, Fear of Death), had his girlfriend kidnapped (Fat Lady), had assassins steal his pants and try to kill him, gotten his dad (Predator), had his family home destroyed (First Fight), or gotten everyone captured (Seduction impossible), almost every time he’s stood up for himself. Which, I suppose, does bring up another area where Chuck could grow as a spy. He doesn’t have as much experience as Casey or Sarah, which means he doesn’t always see when he makes a misstep.
    I have a bias with Ellie. I don’t particularly like Ellie. She seems controlling and a bit too much like some of my own family members. She seems to finally be maturing a bit in her relationships now that she has her own child and is a little less clingy, so we’ll see. Maybe she won’t react so badly this time if she finds out that Chuck is spying again. I also like secrets and double identities. Some of my favorite moments from Alias were the interactions between Sydney and her friends before they knew what she did for a living. One of (the many many) reason I didn’t read the main universe Marvel for about a year after Civil War was because they revealed Spider-Man’s identity to the world.

  17. Anonymous,

    Characters ALWAYS have somewhere to go. ALWAYS. Otherwise, you need to close the book because the story is over. And Chuck definitely has places to go, like Ayefah said. In addition, Sarah and Casey do, too, because it's become obvious that they see Chuck as the less valuable part of the team, and part of that is because Chuck lets himself be and part of it is their own fault. It's not cut and dried.

    And I know the show doesn't have a budget, trust me, I'm more than aware of that fact. I said it made me sad that the special effects were this terrible this episode, not that I wanted to go storm the offices on the WB lot with pitchforks and torches. However, just because the show doesn't have a budget doesn't mean I can't point out the fact that special effects made me cringe. There are so many other great shows that don't have a budget that have found creative ways to work around these problems, so to see this fail so spectacularly just makes me wish they'd either been a little less ambitious or had written with the budget in mind.

    As for holding Season Two as a gold standard, I have never once stated that S2 is perfect, nor will I ever make that claim. It wasn't. There were flaws, like Chuck forgetting his entire personality the minute Jill showed up and Sarah doing the same for Cole. HOWEVER, S2 was far more consistent, had good story arcs, and let's face it, I just liked the show more back then, so I think it makes perfect sense to be nostalgic for it, so I am perfectly within my rights to feel sad whenever S4 fails to measure up to those standards.

    Me, personally, I like Ellie, I always have. I feel like the writers did her a great disservice with not having her resolve this stupid, "I can't protect you if you're a spy" stance, but this isn't the first time they've sacrificed logical character development for the plot, so I won't go into it.

    Morgan would be fine, as a character, with less screen time and if he weren't so consistently awesome and Gary Stu-like compared to "Can't Seem to Find His Backbone" Chuck.

  18. Anonymous22.3.11

    I know this is probably too late, but I was just rewatching the episode before it was taken off of hulu, and I realized that they did have a shot with Viviane in front of a wall of her trophies and accomplishments, and remembered your comment. When Chuck and the team are saying goodbye to her at the end, the bookshelves along the wall with the door, are filled with trophies, ribbons and plaques.


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