"Nothing But the Truth"
Original airdate: Week of May 21, 2000
by Michelle Erica Green

Sydney and Nigel Get Cooking

"Nothing But the Truth" Plot Summary:

In 1534 off the Barbary Coast, pirate captain Red Beard demands that one of his men turn over the valuable Corsair Cross. The man says they didn't find it, but when Red Beard makes him look into a mystical chalice, the pirate tells the truth - the cross is hidden in his clothes. He also expresses hatred for his captain, who orders his execution.

At Trinity, Sydney gets a package from the daughter of the person who got her interested in archaeology, Professor Chandler. The professor has passed away, leaving Sydney his research into the Chalice of Truth. The documents contain Berber writing, so Sydney reluctantly agrees to consult her annoying old friend Stewie Harper, who's the only person she knows familiar with the language. Stewie and the archaeologists are nearly assassinated by his enemies before they can get on a plane to Paris, where Sydney believes the chalice may be hidden at the estate of 17th century French diplomat Christopher Delacroix. In Chandler's papers are blueprints of the estate and an application to Le Cordon Rouge Ecole de Cuisine, the cooking school now housed there.

Sydney pretends to be the owner of a new restaurant seeking cooking classes, with Nigel and Stewie posing as her partners. Thugs have followed them there, and the leader has a contact inside the building. At the orientation (Stewie thinks that's a name for Chinese cooking), Nigel befriends Johnny, a former inmate trying to get in touch with his feminine side. Stewie checks out the fantastically gorgeous Amanda - one of three identical triplets, who along with sisters Amy and Abigail has a restaurant in San Francisco - while poor Sydney suffers through boring discussions with British Martha Stewart wannabe Marilyn. Later Nigel meets Amanda's hot sister Amy, but when he tries to hit on her, he winds up getting kneed by anti-male Abigail.

Meanwhile Sydney finds Berber writing and an indentation shaped like a cross set in a coat of arms. She suspects there must be a cross somewhere in the mansion that fits into the keyhole. But she also discovers that someone has tampered with her papers, meaning one of the other students must be looking for the chalice. After a disastrous day in the kitchen, during which the triplets make perfect gateau while Nigel gets assigned to cleanup duty with Stewie, Sydney tracks down the cross in the Delacroix family chapel. Marilyn seems to be spying on her; Johnny seems to be spying on Nigel; the chef seems to be spying on Stewie.

Using the cross to open a hidden door, Sydney easily finds and recovers the chalice. Looking into the mystical grail, Stewie declares his love for Sydney. Siezing the advantage, Sydney asks Stewie who's been trying to kill him and learns that he was supposed to marry an African princess, whose relatives are now irate. The group rushes to get a taxi at the market, but both the Africans and the local relic hunters converge on them.

Sydney hides the chalice in a basket of lettuce and dispatches one thug while Nigel hits another over the head with a large squash. But by the time they realize Stewie's gone, the lettuce has been loaded onto a truck headed back toward the cooking school. The duo rushes back, only to learn from the chef that they have been expelled for missing his sauce class, but Stewie shows up with a bag of truffles and successfully sweet-talks their way to the graduation dinner. Sydney looks into the dining room and sees the table set with more than a dozen replicas of the chalice; she guesses that the real one is among them, but they will only be able to find it by figuring out who is telling the truth in excess of good manners.

At the meal, the chef calls the class a pathetic group and says he doesn't feel badly about overcharging them; moreover, he suspects the only diners the triplets will attract will come for their "melons." Stewie gets under the table to try to switch chalices, but the thugs cut the lights before he can get there. When the lights come back on, Amanda is missing along with the chalice. Sydney follows her downstairs to the kitchen, where Nigel trips her up by spilling a bottle of olives on the floor. Sydney compliments him, and since she's holding the Chalice of Truth, he knows she means it.

Back at the university, Claudia picks up the chalice while she's blowing off a date and admits to him that she only uses him to do her homework for her. When Sydney comes in, her assistant wails that something terrible has happened - she can't stop being honest. Nigel and Claudia then trip each other up in work-related lies, until they both decide it would be better to get away from their boss and the chalice...but they can't agree on a restaurant, now that they're being honest about their preferences.


Unfortunately, we never got the payoff of having Sydney or Nigel look into the chalice! It's great to have Stewie back, though it was obvious from the moment he appeared that his first words upon seeing the mystical cup would be "I love you" to Sydney. I was hoping that we'd get a little twist in which Stewie would announce instead his desire to take credit for her work - or maybe his desire for Nigel - but despite the predictability, the scene had charm, especially since he was promptly pursued by the relatives of another spurned lover.

I figured the triplets had to be villains since they were the only characters not shown in a suspicious light, but they were a big hoot (ooh, bad choice of words) and it was obvious Amanda had taken the sort of self-defense lessons Claudia blew off at the start of the episode. There were a few too many gratuitous scenes showing the thugs conspiring outside the estate, instead of developing the quirky characters in the cooking school. Yet "Nothing but the Truth" had humor on its side, from the hysterical argument among the relic hunters in a cab being driven by a man Frenchman to the mocking rendition of La Marseillaise played during Sydney's miserable attempt to chop up a chicken.

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