And Making Bailey Cry
Generously, the fan reaction to vs. The Mask was negative. To be more objective about it, it seems Josh Schwartz should be looking for a safe house. Twitter was on fire last night.
But you can’t say we weren’t warned as early as last summer. He told us then exactly what was going to happen, he saw the reaction at Comic-Con, and despite all the billions of words and bytes and rationalizations and parsings we’ve seen in the intervening months, both sides in this event held true to their initial statements.
There were most definitely positives to last night’s episode. It was great to see Chuck being a world class spy, without reverting to being a schnook, articulate or otherwise. It was fantastic to see Sarah appreciate him professionally, saying “Well what do you say partner? Let’s go!” to emphasize the point. It’s the opposite of “Stay in the car, Chuck.” and is something to hang on to, if you need a lifesaver. Because Chuck is now a great spy, the adventure part of the story was as good as I’ve ever seen. I really enjoyed that Chuck and Sarah succeeding in getting the gold Mask where Shaw had failed, and coming to each other’s aid to accomplish that. “They really are good together.” was what Chuck said of Sarah and Bryce in Nemesis. He has no need to be envious of that any more. Also, those new viewers who aren’t so familiar with fountain-scene speeches, desperate motel hide-a-ways and MI-6 agents didn’t see anything super wrenching in tentative (but still passionate) embraces with the wrong person. The wife-o-meter read “Obviously, this won’t last long.”
Ah, that’s a big problem. It is going to last long. 20 more days, minimum. The good fortune of having The Three Words and Operation Awesome immediately follow The Pink Slip almost equals the bad fortune of having the Olympic break occur right after this episode.
Was this supposed to be a two hour episode? There was no Jeff and Lester, no Big Mike, no Devon and very little Casey (and if that was due to budgetary necessities, then I appreciate the dilemma. But JS is wrong to say, then, that viewers won’t notice the difference). The jump from Sarah being saddened by the changes in Chuck at the end of Nacho Sampler to being annoyed at Shaw (and over-reacting because of her doubts about Chuck?) to clearing a path to him was – um – quick.
Shaw: Maybe we should talk about how many dates we’ve been on. One? Two?… Five? After all, we are playing a couple tonight. So – what do you think?
Sarah: Does it really make a difference?
Shaw: Have we slept together yet?
Sarah: You have to be kidding me.
Chuck went from being doubly professional around Hannah to pursuit at a pace that drag racers appreciate. Well, we’ve seen that before. And that too is worrisome. “Haven’t we seen that before?” many are saying (loudly). Those who aren’t are saying “Hasn’t he learned anything?” It remains to be seen if they’re talking about Chuck or TPTB. Two hours might have given us something more understandable and sympathetic. Maybe it’s still on the cutting room floor, and maybe it’s 20 days away. Either one is going to require much more patience than many fans are going to be willing to give.
Oh – one last major negative. The way Chuck treated Morgan in this episode is a sin. I don’t know how apparent it was to others, but Morgan is hurting in a way I haven’t seen before, and that’s because he’s no longer a stooge. Morgan has quietly grown up, and his hurts are all the more real for it.
The negatives to last night’s episode extend to the fact that although TPTB knew exactly where our buttons were, they proceeded to push every one of them. If you think that it’s an either/or situation between arrogant and idiotic, I’m going with arrogant (and of course, your opinion can legitimately differ).
That’s the good news and the bad. Here’s the better news. When I re-watched the episode, I made a note that said “Hannah is believably forward.” She is so cute and perfect with Chuck, you just see they belong together, and ‘shippers hate that. Shaw and Sarah look good nearly as good together. Believable. Unbelievably believable.
Nothing about the spy life is real. Sarah said that. Everyone has an agenda.
Look again. Everything we saw is consistent with at least two explanations, and as trite as it may sound, the mind still sees what it wants to see.
The reactions of the dedicated fans is remarkably generous. Already I see people spontaneously saying “Oh, wait. It’s possible that…” and “There were some really good parts to last night’s episode. Like…” People are already starting to notice the little things that don’t add up (and please, please, please take the time to see the remarkable analyses (that’s plural!) in the The Weekly ‘Spoil Us O Canada’ Thread that precedes this) and asserting that there’s something going on here.
After the 7 month hiatus, 20 days isn’t too long to see if they’re right. Is it?