Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Masquerade (4.16)

NBC Synopsis: A ROMANTIC VALENTINE’S DAY IS INTERRUPTED WHEN THE TEAM IS SENT ON A MISSION TO A MASQUERADE BALL IN ENGLAND – MEKENNA MELVIN, ROBIN GIVENS AND LAUREN COHAN GUEST STAR – Valentine’s Day is interrupted when Chuck (Zachary Levi) and the team are sent on a mission to England to protect a reclusive young heiress, Vivian McArthur (guest star Lauren Cohan). Meanwhile, Casey (Adam Baldwin) gets an offer from the mysterious Jane Bentley (guest star Robin Givens). Back at home, Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and Awesome (Ryan McPartlin) find an unlikely solution to a parenting problem, as Morgan (Joshua Gomez) ponders a big move.

Chuck This Ranking: 82
Dave’s Ranking: about 30 higher

First Impressions: Chuck vs The Masquerade

Full Write Ups: Chuck vs The Masquerade (4.16) by Dave and Joe
Summer Re-Watch 4.16: Chuck vs The Masquerade by Dave and Ernie
Moving on Up by Thinkling
Chuck vs the Masquerade Review by Faith

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About atcDave

I'm 53 years old and live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I'm happily married to Jodie. I've been an air traffic controller for 30 years; grew up in the Chicago area, and am still a fanatic for pizza and the Chicago Bears. My main interest is military history, and my related hobbies include scale model building and strategy games.
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17 Responses to Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Masquerade (4.16)

  1. authorguy says:

    Can’t argue with the score. An embarrassing opening, the sudden introduction of a central figure, with no character development but lots of talk-talk about how aimless her life is. Travel to and from England three times in the space of half a day. A disappearing horse. American bartenders at an upper-crust British society party. Mostly window-dressing, the story mostly works when these glaring flaws are fixed. At least Vivian didn’t fall in love with Chuck.

    • atcDave says:

      I am also thankful Vivian didn’t fall for Chuck! It was an “average” episode with an uninspiring villain that sets up an arc that’s only of tangential interest.

      BUT; I think the opening Valentine’s scene is a total blast. Of the loopy sort of silly Chuck has always done so well.
      And Sarah “hanging” with Morgan is one of the best, sweetest scenes of the whole series. It also sets up a pretty powerful “B” plot, that is truly the “A” plot. That is, the whole idea of Chuck and Morgan growing up and moving on. This was the sort of story that was needed since the Pilot. Morgan realizing he is a child; actually Chuck and Sarah’s child, and he needs to move on.
      And of course Chuck’s grief, and acceptance that it is indeed time for moving on.
      That all blew me away. It was so powerful, and felt so true to me. It is the sort of great stuff that always raises Chuck from just goofy fun and shows the heart within.

      • CaptMediocre says:

        “And Sarah “hanging” with Morgan is one of the best, sweetest scenes of the whole series.”

        This was one of the show’s biggest problem after they made Chuck a spy.

      • atcDave says:

        Problem? That’s why I liked the show!

        That’s like criticizing a car for having an engine or a book for having words.

      • authorguy says:

        That ‘I’m your child” scene was one of the better scenes in the series. Morgan growing up at last was a good plot arc, although I would have preferred him not to be a spy.

    • DKD says:

      “Travel to and from England three times in the space of half a day.”

      LOL. They either do this or it takes them days to do a 4-hour train ride (Paris to Zurich) in “Honeymooners”.

      • authorguy says:

        Honeymooners had its own set of problems. The travel issue, where they skip multiple hours of travel time in the blink of an eye, afflicts the entirety of S4, with pernicious effects on the scripting. Chuck and Sarah travel all the way to Macau from LA in First Bank of Evil, a 20-hour trip, but they apparently have no time in those close quarters to discuss the wedding dress Sarah found, since they had to discuss it during the robbery itself. Sure it’s a funny scene but it makes no sense, just like the opening of Honeymooners. The trip to Moscow in Cliffhanger also makes no sense, nor is it funny. Suspension of disbelief is easier when they don’t hang ten-ton weights on it.

  2. Martin Traynor says:

    My first fear upon watching this the first time was that they were going to interject another “love” triangle, with Vivian vying for Chuck’s affections. Needless to say, I was very, very relieved when they did NOT go in this direction. That said, I feel that if Chuck and Sarah were not meant to be, or something ever happened to Sarah (death), that Vivian was a good option for him (the pre-evil Vivian – the evil Vivian NEVER made sense to me).

    I thoroughly enjoyed the opening gambit, with the Valentine’s Day stuff. Especially the Morgan/Alex weird thing they were doing with the blindfolds and the chocolate in the living room – had us all laughing quite hard.

    One stupid little thing about this part I didn’t like, though, was the shirt Chuck was wearing. Don’t know why, exactly, but it bothers me. I saw that as more a Zach Levi thing than a Chuck thing, as I really don’t think the Chuck of season 1 or 2 would have worn something like that. I could be wrong, and I know Chuck has “grown” as a character and it was for laughs, but it just seemed so silly and egotistical. Like I said, not a big deal, but it revealed something about the character that I begin to find a little annoying moving forward. It seems we’re losing that lovable, humble Chuck from the earlier seasons in favor of this more annoyingly confident Chuck, but clearly I’m struggling to express my thoughts here well…

    The crazy travel didn’t really bother me, as it’s an issue throughout the rest of the series’ run (see S4 finale when Chuck flies to Russia and back to save Sarah), and I really did like the Morgan/child epiphany. As has been said, it’s about da** time, Morgan! As non-understandng of Morgan and Chuck’s relationship Sarah was in earlier seasons, she’s done a 180 and is almost too accepting of it now, it seems.

    • atcDave says:

      Perhaps she’s “accepting” because they’re finally growing up!

      Actually, Sarah and Morgan did become pretty good friends in the last couple seasons. Even if it was just their connection to Chuck!

  3. Martin Traynor says:

    I don’t really mean her accepting of Morgan as a person, so much, but of his, perhaps unhealthy, attachment to Chuck. It’s even played for laughs in the S4 finale when he officiates their wedding and then chauffeurs the limo. Let’s just say she’s more accepting of him than I would be in a similar (with roles reversed, of course) situation.

    But yes, they are all growing up, maturing, and coming into their own. I actually like Morgan’s maturation more than Chuck’s. I guess that’s because Morgan morphs from unlikable to tolerable, whereas as Chuck morphs from lovable to less so (at least for me).

    • atcDave says:

      I’d agree with that exactly.

      • Martin Traynor says:

        Castle just aired what I think is one of the best, most fun episodes in at least a while (I enjoyed the playfulness of the honeymoon cowboy case), AND it costarred Adam Baldwin. But the most telling thing about it, for me, was that I not only didn’t miss Beckett AT ALL, but that I rather enjoyed it more because of her absence. Sort of how I felt about Sarah in S3.0, though she was able to vindicate herself with me. I doubt Beckett can.

  4. Slaughter is a cool last name…off subject, The Flash had a fantastic episode and edge of my seat final act on Tuesday…poor Barry:(

    Back to Chuck, This episode was great, it may be wishful thinking, but a chuck movie has to have Aliex Volkoff back and Vivan too, of course, suburb characters! I’m happy i can at least bring them back on paper (yes i’m still going strong despite slimming chapters down a bit) is it too much to ask for a movie, i still love the show but its replay value is at an all-time low because I’ve run it through so many times.

    I would not mind if they discarded the 2/3.0 intersect to cut costs. i don’t need Chuck to be a super spy i just want more of him…

  5. DKD says:

    If anyone didn’t catch Heroes Reborn last night, they had Zac use the line “Stay in the Car”.

    • That was funny, i really hope he gets a big part in stopping the Solar radiation. Also Tommy/Nathan better not fall for Eriica’s BS; why did they jump 7000 years ahead…this is getting interesting

  6. noblz says:

    This ep did not make my top 10 (29), but close, maybe 40 or 45.

    This is the epitome of the parodied spy story with a little grit (the killings). I really laughed during the busted Valentines deal, especially Casey walking in and Sarah not sure whether to be embarrassed because Casey caught her or on edge waiting for Casey to snap and kill Morgan…a hoot.

    The only real issues I had were the crowded three story set up (spy mission, bromance break up and new parents),the overblown (my opinion here) bromance break up (I’m on record as not being a fan of the whole bromance since S2, and this was just that bit too much) and the whole equestrian scene was just a bust, too fake and too long and not real believable, but otherwise the spy mission was good.. If you’re going to have three story lines, the new parents hit it just about right as the third story.

    And good golly, Sarah (Yvonne) even looks good with a mask on her face.

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