Chuck – “Chuck Versus the Truth”

“Chuck Versus the Truth”

November 12th, 2007 

In deciding which of the early evening shows to watch this fine Monday evening, I chose Chuck for a few important reasons. First off, I have found the show to have been quite enjoyable thus far this season. And, this evening saw two guest appearances from alumnus from two shows that heavily influence the series. As a result, with Rachel Bilson (Late of The O.C.) and Kevin Weisman (Late of Alias) on board, Chuck was the night’s most intriguing option.

The result was an episode that, once again, did a great job of connecting the plot-of-the-week to the recurring storylines and Chuck’s personal life. However, as much as a I found Rachel Bilson as enchanting as ever, an end of episode event left a sour taste in my mouth. The episode did a lot of good for Chuck’s character, but it also took the show’s premise a small step backwards by foregrounding an element that they’ll never live up to.

Weisman, who played Marshall on Alias, served as this week’s villain: a rogue gymnast (Yes, gymnast), he is hell bent on taking control of nuclear secrets. This involves poisoning Chuck’s sister Ellie, a poison which brings with it a truth serum. When Chuck, Sarah and Casey are also injected with the truth serum, the truth starts to spew. They take down the bad guy, of course, and use the antidote to save Ellie, and themselves, from the poison.

However, because the serum “wears off”, Chuck takes a chance to ask Sarah an important question: is their fake relationship ever going to be real? Chuck asks the question because he met Lou, played by Bilson (Who, for those who don’t know, played Summer Roberts on The O.C.), and fell hard. I loved their banter, and I really hope she doesn’t have some sort of secret motive – I especially loved her admission that their freakish height difference intrigued her. It was charming, and it makes sense that Chuck would prefer an actual connection with Lou than the false connection with Sarah.

Sarah’s answer was that there was no future, which leads Chuck to end their false relationship and spend more time with Lou. This would have been fine, a great moment for Chuck, until Sarah reveals that she was actually taught to avoid the truth serum – in other words, all of her “truth” that she spewed was actually just her false truths. This actually works well: most of the comic ones were handled by Casey and Chuck, so it makes more logical sense than at first thought.

However, the fact that she actually does have feelings for Chuck is kind of unfortunate. I wish they would have actually let us drop that subject for a while, anyways; I understand why it was necessary to clarify within this episode (Considering that it would be tough to call back to it later), but I wish we had more time in which their sexual tension wasn’t the prevailing concern. I want Chuck to have time to be happy, just a little, and I feel that the show’s admittance of its prevalance is a step in the wrong direction. Unrequited love is never easy to handle, so letting it lie low for a while would be smart.

But, not one it can’t come back from: Bilson was charming, the comedy was sharp, and I like where this is going. I just think that, in the end, the Sarah/Chuck relationship might have been nice to sidetrack entirely for just a little while. But, again, just my opinion.

Cultural Observations

  • Bilson really doesn’t get enough work these days: she’s a charming and funny actress, and worked well here as a less spacey version of Summer. Still, though, I think she’ll never live the character down.
  • I wish Weisman had something to do here: the gymnast part seemed forced, he never got an evil villain monologue, and it felt like there was some footage left on the cutting room floor.
  • The Buy More storyline saw Henry Tang take some time off in Hawaii after walking in on a secret CIA/NSA rendezvous, which is really quite odd considering that C.S. Lee was to play a largely recurring role in the series than first anticipated. Or, maybe that was just up until this point – he’s got work to do on Dexter, after all.
  • It was nice to see a more human side to Awesome in the wake of Ellie’s poisoning – the character remains a pure caricature no more.
  • The truth serum was used to some effect, but it was most entertaining to see it with Ellie – usually so restrained and mature, letting Sarah Lancaster run loose was a nice change of pace.

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