Interesting thing is, I don’t think we learned a lot about Shaw, or anyone else for that matter in The Mask. But in spite of the emotional downer this episode was, there may have been a few clues about what’s going on. And its tempting to say the title itself represents nothing we saw was quite real. We’ve been discussing what it all means across multiple threads, so I will try to summarize what many of us seem to be thinking here.
The only thing we can be sure of after this episode is that Shaw is manipulating Sarah. We saw Shaw’s telling look in their last scene. Its not clear if his plans are nefarious, or if it still has to do with separating Chuck and Sarah, or perhaps he still really wants to know about Lisbon, or if there’s something else going on not yet revealed.
Previously, I have speculated both that Hannah is Shaw’s tool, or that she is an innocent Chuck will have to use. I’m currently leaning more towards the tool argument. Perhaps its all about separating Chuck and Sarah, but I suspect there’s something more we won’t learn ’til 3.08. I think (let’s say 60% likelihood) that Chuck is playing her. We know Chuck has a thing for pretty brunettes, and he’s gotten painfully little encouragement from Sarah (that we know of), so perhaps he really is trying to move on. But I lean towards the possibility he’s suspicious of her for some reason, perhaps he flashed on something we haven’t heard about yet. I expect we will know exactly in the next episode.
I am much more certain Sarah is playing Shaw (say 80%). Her switch from brushing him off to warming up to him was so fast, it would be impossible to believe to anyone not thinking with their hormones; and she certainly did not seem happy to be with him in the final scene. Possibly the best Sarah smile we’ve seen all season was when she and Chuck had chased Shaw out of the museum, and Chuck called her partner as they headed off on their mission together. Its even possible their bickering was entirely for Shaw’s benefit, if that’s true, it probably means Casey isn’t in on the plan (he thought he was doing them a favor by killing the audio feed). I’m not sure how much they’ve coordinated their actions, but I think its most likely Sarah and Chuck are both working their potential partners for similar reasons. If Chuck is not involved in duplicity, Sarah is taking a huge gamble in letting him run around with Hannah, but she may feel its necessary to get close to Shaw. Why is she so desperate to do this? We can’t know for sure, she may just want him to think he has her distracted, she may still be trying to learn what makes him tick, or what his real agenda is where Chuck is concerned.
I still think 3.08 will be huge for the tone of the show this season, a continental divide of sorts. I’m thinking it may take the form of a flashback, where we see Chuck and Sarah meeting to discuss their “plan” before, or in the middle of, the events of Mask. I am still thinking Sarah’s name reveal will be the key to that epic moment. My guess is, Chuck will flash when when she says it, and know she has finally told him something true about herself. It may even lead to more specific information that will explain much of what’s happened this season; or here’s a radical thought, maybe they’ll actually talk about things. We know the next couple episodes after (3.09 & 3.10) are non-arc episodes, so I think we’ll see some major game changers in 3.08. I just hope they “fix” the sour taste of The Mask; our heroes are acting like selfish teens, I expect more.
I have to thank Faith and Liz James for their excellent posts last night, they really helped me get my head around this episode. Especially when I didn’t really want to at first.