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Chuck: Season 1 - Chuck Versus The Truth (Review)

Yvonne Strahovski in Chuck

Review by Jack Foley

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the latest episode of Chuck: Season 1 entitled Chuck Versus The Truth.

What’s the story? Chuck (Zachary Levi) struggles to balance a real love life with his cover love life when he meets a charming young woman by the name of Lou (Rachel Bilson). At the same time, his relationship with Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) gets interesting when the duo decide to sleep together to preserve the status of their cover with Chuck’s sister, Ellie (Sarah Lancaster) and her inquisitive boyfriend Captain Awesome (Ryan McPartlin).

To complicate matters still further, Chuck finds himself in all sorts of trouble when someone using a truth poison to retrieve codes for nuclear facilities targets Ellie and leaves her with only hours to live.

Why so good? We’ve been fans of Chuck since the very first episode – but Chuck Versus The Truth was a prime example of why it works so well. The episode had everything: drama, suspense, comedy, a tug of love scenario, great performances and a genuinely involving story.

The will they/won’t they dynamic between Chuck and Sarah took a neat twist thanks to the presence of Rachel Bilson’s equally alluring Lou, while the truth serum plot device proved excellent in conjuring some neat revelations as well as some fine comedy moments.

Digging a little deeper: The main highlight of this particular episode was the furthering of the relationship between Chuck and Sarah. Both Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski share a terrific chemistry and Chuck Versus The Truth fully capitalised on that.

Early on, it seemed as though they might just take things to the next level, until the arrival of Rachel Bilson’s impossibly sweet store customer Lou threatened to take Chuck’s heart in a different direction. Bilson played the amiable Lou to kooky perfection.

Matters intensified, however, when Chuck’s sister, Ellie, became injected with the potentially fatal truth serum and left her brother facing a race against time to save her. In attempting to do so, he also inadvertently exposed himself, Sarah and John Casey (Adam Baldwin) to its effects.

Hence, John’s threat to shoot Chuck if he didn’t act according to protocol was quickly exposed as a lie when put on the spot, while Chuck was able to tell Sarah how beautiful he found her. There were several other comical asides.

But the pivotal moment came when Chuck summoned the courage to confront Sarah over her feelings for him, only to hear that the chances of anything developing between them were unlikely.

Sarah later revealed that she had been trained to withstand the effects of the serum – but it was too late. Chuck went and found Lou and asked her out on a date, leaving Sarah heartbroken. The next episode promises more brilliance as the love triangle develops further.

It’s a measure of the quality of Chuck that we genuinely felt torn between each character’s emotions. All of the principals play their roles brilliantly, while the writers ensure that the balance is maintained perfectly between the drama, humour and action set pieces.

Indeed, the high quality of episodes such as this mean that you seldom want them to end as time spent in the company of these characters feels like a breeze. It’s near-perfect Monday night viewing and a great way to relax after the trials and tribulations of that first day back at work.

Chuck airs on Virgin 1 on Monday nights, at 10pm

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