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Chuck: Season 2 - Chuck Versus The First Date (Review)

Chuck, Season 2

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from current television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the opening episode of Chuck: Season 2 entitled Chuck Versus The First Date (as aired on Vigin1 on Tuesday, June 9, 2009).

What’s the story? Chuck (Zachary Levi), Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) and Casey (Adam Baldwin) try to retrieve a vital component for the new Intersect: The Cipher. At the Buy More, the search for the store’s Assistant Manager begins. Chuck and Sarah go on their first date. Casey is again instructed to eliminate Chuck as soon as the new Intersect comes online.

Was it any good? Boy is it good to have Chuck back! This second season opener maintained the fun factor from the first season and is an essential addition to anyone’s Tuesday night.

As ever, the show provided an effortless mix of action, humour and drama. Yet it embellished existing relationships and offered the possibility of some intriuging new directions for some of them.

Primary among them was Chuck’s mounting frustration with his predicament. No longer content to be a Buy More geek, Chuck seemed determined to make more of himself and – if possible – to further his relationship with Sarah.

Yet try as he might, his government colleagues wouldn’t let him go. The new Intersect proved a Trojan horse and come the show’s closing minutes, Chuck was right back where he started: invaluable, under protection and going nowhere.

What the episode did, however, was play nicely on the will they/won’t they aspect of the Chuck/Sarah relationship. They went on a first date, for instance, which went well until the villains came crashing in. And Sarah did seem minded to give in to Chuck’s charms.

Just how long the show’s creators can continue to flirt with the possibility of a relationship between them remains to be seen, but Levi and Strahovski have chemistry and the show sizzles when they put it into play. Yes, there was even an obligatory sequence involving Strahovski in her underwear!

Credit, too, to Adam Baldwin, whose deadpan Casey is very much another of the show’s assets. Baldwin’s deadpan delivery is frequently brilliant, while his obvious – though rarely shown – affection for Chuck was put to the ultimate test when he was asked to take him out (a scene in which he took shots at pop-up photos of Bin Laden and Hitler, before missing Chuck, was one of several inspired comedy moments).

Of the supporting players, Joshua Gomez’s Morgan Grimes continued to raise the laughs as Chuck’s dim-witted best friend and store assistant. His attempt to sort out a Buy More promotion by letting it be decided by a Thunderdome contest was one of several comedic master-strokes.

And let’s not forget the impact of Chuck’s sister and her boyfriend on the show either, the discovery of whom in the shower together provided another comic gem for Chuck over the breakfast table (did you notice the Nuts & More cereal carton standing alongside him?).

As things stand, Chuck is a big American show with a small UK following thanks to its position on Virign 1. But we urge you to discover it as soon as possible, for this is fast, frivolous fun with great stars and loads of clever references.

What did you think?