Episode Review: CHUCK: "Chuck vs. the Mask" (Season 3, episode 6)

Sam White
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Chuck vs. the Mask

Chuck gets sent on a mission … with Hannah?

Chuck discovers that the Ring is sending in secrets by stashing them in objects d’art. Agent Shaw is convinced that the Ring will show up at the museum to grab the Mask of Alexander (a golden prop I’m pretty sure I saw in “Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”), which must have something important to the Ring stashed in it.

So Shaw assigns Chuck--under the guise of a Nerd Herder--to work the computer security for the museum while he and Sarah pose as a couple and try to get into the vault and switch a fake Mask of Orellana--I mean, Alexander--for the real one. Casey will monitor things from the truck while Chuck and his apprentice Nerd Hannah work the computers. Things are going along well until Hannah spots Sarah--who she knows is Chuck’s ex--on the security monitor. Then Chuck flashes on a museum guest who is actually an international thief. When he goes to warn Sarah and Shaw, Hannah sees (but doesn’t hear) the exchange and thinks Chuck is going off with his ex and isn’t happy about it.

Then, in one of the best orchestrated scenes of the series (and they’ve had some good ones!) Chuck is left hanging upside down in the vault trying to grab the mask while Sarah is fighting for her life above the vault. Meanwhile, Hannah--just doing her Nerdy job--is trying to open the vault doors with the computer. Casey, however, is trying to override Hannah and keep the doors closed. Chuck gets the mask, Sarah clobbers the bad-guy, Hannah gets the door open just in time and Shaw manages to evade the detection of the bad guys while Casey remains safely undetected. All would be hunky-dory if not for the fact that Hannah thinks Chuck still has feelings for Sarah and is just playing her.

The second half of the show involves Morgan and Ellie trying to figure out what’s going on with Chuck; Chuck trying to convince Sarah that Shaw has a thing for her, and Morgan trying to make time with Hannah. [Spoiler alert] Everyone comes out of this happy except Morgan … and maybe Shaw, who--when last seen--has a somewhat creepy look in his eye. We also get to see the ruling powers of the Ring. Five guys who work out of what appears to be a tricked-out airplane hanger.

We didn’t see anything of Jeff, Lester, Awesome or Big Mike in this episode. As entertaining as all four of them can be, this episode served as a reminder that they aren’t necessarily missed when not there (a fact that can’t sit will with the actors portraying them). Both Shaw and Hannah are garnering larger parts (which explains the lack of room for other characters), but they’re both still listed as guest stars, which keeps their status up in the air. There were also hints that Chuck wouldn’t need his handlers any more, but whether that day is coming soon we don’t know. I find it hard to believe that such a transition would be glitch-free, either. While Chuck saved the day tonight (mostly) without the aid of the Intersect, he still doesn’t quite seem ready for solo work.

This was a good episode that seemed like it only lasted fifteen minutes. Makes me anxious for “Chuck”’s return, following the Oleo-ympics.