Gossip Girl Review: "The Empire Strikes Jack"

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One day you're on top. The next? Out in the street. Poor Chuck Bass learned this lesson all too well on Monday night's Gossip Girl, fittingly entitled "The Empire Strikes Jack."

But how will the saga end?

That was just part of the Upper East Side drama unfolding last night, which also saw Blair bribe prostitutes, Dan and Vanessa try role-playing, and Jenny get drugged by an old rival.

Intrigued yet? Let's get started! We begin our review with ...

The Battle of the Basses. This episode takes its name from the best film in either Star Wars trilogy and it is certainly shaping up to be an epic conflict between Chuck and his uncle.

Chuck learns quickly what we already knew. He got played. Jack and Elizabeth promptly have him kicked out of the hotel, prompting Charles to confront his mother about this later.

Ed Westwick and ...

PLAYED: Chuck Bass certainly was ... and he can't believe the reason.

Chuck asks for his hotel back, but Elizabeth explains that she can’t do it because she loves Jack. Yes, she is IN LOVE with Jack. Chuck tries to tell her that she’s going to get hurt.

He was right. Elizabeth winds up getting her heart broken after she gives Jack an ultimatum and says he needs to take her or the hotel - and stunningly Jack chooses the Empire.

Elizabeth tells Chuck she signed the hotel over to Jack and she's leaving town. Oh, and she's not actually his mother, which he believes, as what mother would do this to her son.

Only she is his mother. That doesn’t stop them from going their separate ways for now, but we know the truth. Is it just a matter of time before he does? What is his next move?

Certainly this episode answered as many if not more questions than it answered, as it ends with Chuck ends the episode in the arms of Blair, vowing to get his revenge on Jack.

Will he get his hotel back - and have we seen the last of Elizabeth? Did both her arrival, the ease of their scheme and her departure seem a little too convenient to anyone else?

Jack Bass wasn't the only Season 2 fixture returning to harass one of our Upper East Siders last night. Jenny got back in the fashion game, thanks to Eleanor Waldorf, but so did ...

Agnes. That's right, Willa Holland's crazy model character, who must have said the word "bitch" 40 times, is supposedly sober now and she and Jenny quickly become BFFs again.

Until Agnes decides to bitterly take J down again, that is.

When J maturely shoots down Agnes' plot for revenge against Damien, Agnes bogarts his drug stash (which J somehow still had?), gives the models some pills and slips J some.

Soon, Jenny can’t see straight or stand up on her own.

Agnes puts Jenny in a cab and drops her off at a random bar, but luckily, her knight in shining man-bangs, Nate, arrives to rescue her. Gotta get him into the episode somehow!

In a sweet scene, Nate gives her a pep talk, and right after he does, Jenny gets a call from Eleanor offering her a job. So things are looking up for Jenny ... but for how long?!

It was great to have Eleanor back and Dorota featured prominently this week, which brings us to Blair's story line, a parallel component of the fashion show her mother put on.

When her mother tells Blair she needs her help winning over the head of Cromwell retail stores, the younger Waldorf sets out to recruit "All-American girls" from NYU she's friends with.

For Blair Waldorf, that means paying hookers to be her friends.

New Fashion Foray

DON'T EFF WITH AN EFFER: Blair is one of the best.

That goes awry when the head of Cromwell recognizes them, though, but Blair's best defense is a good offense. Her go-to working girl, Brandeis, gives her all the details on Cromwell.

He knows Julian, a gay prostitute that she invited to attend the show, and now that she has some leverage, Blair cajoles him into carrying Eleanor’s line in all his stores. B-Dubs FTW!

Ultimately, Eleanor pulls the plug on the deal because it wasn't true to herself, a lesson Blair could learn, and one they shared over some adorable mother-daughter bonding. It's sweet.

We love that amidst all the scheming, sex and over-the-top drama, Gossip Girl can still be so heartwarming at times. It's a rare trait that really helps one grow attached to characters.

Even sweeter for B? Being approached by girls from Columbia who know who she is (!) and fawn over her (!!) - hmm, might a transfer to the upper half of Manhattan be in the works?

Finally, we have Vanessa and Dan, who have taken their relationship public, thanks to Serena and Nate. V worries they are stuck in a rut, though, so N encourages a little role playing.

In an attempt to recreate one of Dan’s favorite films, Vanessa dresses up and simulates a dinner scene from Rear Window. Dan, being Dan, would rather just hang out like old times.

Later, Dan goes to visit Vanessa and explains that he will give her the most romantic second first date that she’s ever had - in other words, perogies in the dorm and just chilling.

When Vanessa seems unconvinced about the romantic elements, Dan explains that he’s just happy that they can do the same things they always did, but this time, couple style.

Hey, they are true to themselves. They are who they are, and it's cute. Fans not be as nuts about Danessa as they are about Chair or Serenate, but you have to give them that.

All in all, a solid episode, with Agnes causing big drama, and terrific Jenny and Blair stories to make up for what may be perhaps a bit satttered with Chuck, Jack and Elizabeth.

Don't get us wrong, we love the scheming between Chuck and Jack, and can't wait to see how it plays out. But the character of Elizabeth seemed a bit off, and pieced together.

Maybe that's by design, of course. What did you think of last night's Gossip Girl? Vote in our survey and comment on "The Empire Strikes Jack" below ...

Review

Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (42 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Gossip Girl Season 3 Episode 16 Quotes

As hard as it is for me to believe, there's something more important in life than waffles. I'm not going to let you sit one more day cooped up in that apartment.

Rufus

[on Cromwell's] Where Bristol Palin shops?

Blair