Monday, February 21, 2011

Chuck-"Chuck vs the Masquerade"

Chuck meets Vivian on "Chuck"
Credit: NBC

My review of tonight's very good episode of Chuck is after the jump.

That was a damn good episode of Chuck. It had the perfect combination of drama, comedy, and character stuff. After a couple of standalones that weren't fantastic I was ready for an episode that was busy and gave everyone their own plotline and their own moments. This episode had the very difficult task of balancing all the plotlines into a very good episode and Judkins/LeFranc did a great job of blending everything.

First off we had the mission of the week. Chuck and Sarah going to a masquerade was a fun idea. The scene was really, really funny (that probably comes from Chuck calling it an "orgy party"). After that we got some really fun moments at Vivian's stable. We got one of Chuck's more fun flashes this season with him swinging on the tree and kicking some bad guy ass. We also got sniper Casey who shot and killed most of the bad guys.

It was a fun mission but what's more important then anything else about it is the introduction of Vivian Volkoff who was brilliantly played by Lauren Cohan. The mission centered around trying to stop people from killing her but it also centered around her being the successor to Volkoff Industries and her possible initiation to the corporation. When we first meet her Vivian doesn't know anything regarding Volkoff industries but as the episode goes on she slowly learns more about her father and her place in the organization. We see her take baby steps into becoming the successor (it seems like she will be the villain that Team Bartowski faces in this half season, Chuck may have created his enemy). We see her kill Boris in a moment of complete awesomeness. The episode also ends with the cliffhanger of her going to Russia (*) and placing the necklace in the statue, turning it and seeing...  It was a good cliffhanger and I'm interested in seeing where this is going.

(*) Chuck plot hole of the week, how did Vivian get to Russia so fast? It really seemed like it was too fast.

Casey got his own plotline focusing on something that has been mentioned throughout the series and constantly discussed. The discussion between Morgan and Casey at the bar was an interesting way to set off the plotline. It was clearly foreshadowing but it worked. Casey is a spy and probably won't finish his career as a member of Team Bartowski. Robin Givens comes in as Jane Bentley who makes Casey an intriguing offer. This is something that will play out over the next few episodes and it should make for an interesting arc. That was a pretty good place to leave Casey, about to look at his new mission.

Morgan also got some very good moments in the episode. The episode opened with the very funny and very silly teaser with Morgan and Alex "Transferring Energy". That was very funny and very good. Sarah trying to have a play date with Morgan was also a very good and very funny scene. The best Morgan scene was the scene with him telling Chuck he's moving out. It was a brilliant moment in the Chuck and Morgan bromance and my eyes got a little bit cloudy. Joshua Gomez and Zachary Levi really sold the scene and the emotion. The idea of Hans Solo and Chewbacca was a great way to parallel what happened in the scene. Morgan moving out and into presumably his own place is a big step for him as a character and I'm looking forward to see where this is going.

The Ellie and Awesome plotline was very silly but it worked in it's own way. The new parents not getting sleep is a cliche plotline but the show was able to do it in an interesting way. The way Jeffster was included was creative and funny. Ellie and Awesome slowly going insane because of the song was very well played by Sarah Lancaster and Ryan McPartlin and it made for some funny moments. It was very silly but it was a good counterpoint to everything else that was happening in the episode and it was funny.

Some other thoughts:

  • Big Mike didn't have much, but Mark Christopher Lawrence was fantastic with the material he had.
  • I loved Casey using the name "Charah" was a good in-joke. It was a funny shout out to the fans
  • Sarah as an angel was a creative Valentines costume. It was a funny moment.
  • Masquerade balls are really creepy, Chuck's right.
  • That opening scene with the blood on the windshield was very gory by Chuck standards. I have no problem with it, it was just surprising by Chuck standards.
  • Rafe Judkins and Lauren LeFranc really know the characters and I was very happy to see their names on the credits. They did a great job with this episode.
Overall, it was a very good episode of Chuck that made me very excited for the last 8 episodes of Chuck this season.

What did everyone else think?

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