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Gossip Girl Review: "The Kids Stay in the Picture"

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Gossip Girl returned from hiatus tonight with an episode that set the stage for the next four. While "The Kids Stay in the Picture" was necessary, it wasn't an exciting installment.

It was fine, just not edge-of-your-seat material. New characters were introduced and story lines we left in February were fleshed out a bit. But the big drama is still to come.

Those hoping for some romantic fireworks or major developments in the three-way battle for Blair Waldorf's love were probably disappointed. Unless you're on Team Louis.

Long Live the Queen of the UES

In typical Gossip Girl fashion, B's royal suitor appeared in New York as the credits rolled. After an episode that saw Dair and Chair futures plummet, his arrival was intriguing.

The way the plot unfolded between Blair, Dan and Chuck disappointed me a bit. Both guys' actions disappointed me. They left the door open for Prince Louis, that's for sure.

When Blair said kissing Dan changed her, that doesn't mean it meant nothing. She may have (or have had) legitimate feelings for Dan, but sees Chuck as her soulmate.

This I get. What I didn't get was Chuck resorting to an old scheme to try to prove a point instead of just laying it all on the line, and Dan not stepping up to fight for her.

Blair defended Dan, saying that he's more mature than Chuck will ever be. This seemed like Dan's opening to confess to her what he made obvious to Eric: He loves her!

So does Chuck, of course, and had he expressed this in a way that didn't involve humiliating Dan and making him look inferior, maybe I'd feel bad for him. But not here.

Perhaps they don't mesh together like Chair, but there's genuine emotion with Dair as well. And while he doesn't make hearts race like Chuck, Dan really is a standup guy.

It's hard to put my finger on it, but as a fan of both Dair AND Chair, I just felt a little let down. Maybe that epic trailer overhyped it. Maybe things will pick up next week.

One thing is for sure - Blair is done being pushed around. Whether she ends up with a Prince, a Bass or a Labrador Retriever, the downtrodden Queen B will rise again.

Chuck could sense that she's off her game, but perhaps this is just what she needs to find herself again and truly go after what she wants. I can't wait to watch, either.

Meanwhile, the rest of "The Kids Stay in the Picture" centered around an awkward Rhodes / van der Woodsen family reunion and photo shoot (see clever episode title).

Serena and Charlie

There were a few subplots unraveling simultaneously, from Rufus' distrust of William, Charlie's conflict with Carol, to Carol being just as big a liar as Lily, apparently.

All in all, not that interesting. At least not yet. Its not that the new characters were lame or that it wasn't fun to watch, it's just that nothing felt all that important.

In fact, the biggest moment involving Lily's family left us hanging. A phone call likely offering insight into her legal fate went to voicemail during the family photo.

It was tough to get invested in a character we barely know, although I did like Charlie okay (her facial resemblance to Leighton Meester throws me off, however).

As for Carol, she and Lily definitely have a believable sibling rapport. Lots of deeper issues, but even more unconditional love. Watching them had its moments.

The Rufus-William relationship picked up where it left off last season, but they came to an understanding. It looks like the family is circling the wagons after all.

What do you think? Too much Lily drama or just right? Where do you think this is headed? Will Lily really go to jail, and what can we expect next from Charlie?

Bottom line, this episode probably didn't knock any socks off. But that's typical following a long break. Stories take time to develop, and that's fine. Until next week ...

Other occurrences and observations worth mentioning:

  • Nate and Raina are still an item, and he's encouraging her to find the truth about her mother. Hopefully this gives Nate something interesting to do.
  • Vanessa is back, creepin' hard core and acting shady, spying on Dan and Blair and telling someone on the phone about their SHOCKING kiss. Sigh.
  • Interesting mention of Jack Bass by Blair, given that he's rumored to be coming back. Yet Chuck was all alone in the photo. Very symbolic and sad.
  • This episode was a fashion lover's dream.
  • Dorota quotes were epic as always.
  • Great Lily mug shot on TMZ.

What did you think of the return of Gossip Girl? A bit of a letdown or as good as ever? Hard to judge without seeing the next four episodes? Discuss!

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (255 Votes)

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

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Oh dear writers are you kidding me? Blair kisses Dan, spends a week in bed whining only to reveal that she wants Chuck and is armed with La Perla? Are you serious? It just too comical to hate on because the utter ridiculousness of it was painful. Chuck became even more creepy. 'Intel tells him Blair's world doesn't revolve around him', then he pulls a childish prank (that wasn't a scheme, that was a junior high prank) to show Blair, Dan doesn't belong in their world? Yeah i can totally see why you don't want to redeem him yet, because we wouldn't be blessed with Chuck's pointless schemes (poor, poor Ed). As for people not saying it wasn't a big thing what he did, were we watching the same show because Blair told Dorota the reason she wanted to be with Chuck was because he grew up past the schemes,something Dan had expressively told Chuck on his trip to Brooklyn but of course the bugger didn't listen. My point is she wanted grown up Chuck, and got kindergarten Chuck thrown in her face. What i loved though was Eric/Dan brotherly interaction. I've always adored Eric, and brotherly interaction is always a plus for me so yay. As for people being disappointed about Dan not 'fighting' for Blair, I don't think you see the bigger picture here. He was excited to see her, and about the kiss only to learn that it lead her to conclude that she belonged with Chuck AND that it meant less than nothing to her. Oh what powerful motivation for a guy. Please, he's been burnt enough by Serena to protect his heart this time. And if the writer even think of hooking Dan up with Charlie, they've certainly dropped the ball. First his step-sister is the love of his life, now his fooling around with his cousin (even if it's not blood relation, it's just too close for comfort for me) Vanessa... just needs to go away!

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I was really disappointed with this episode, specifically with the Dan-Blair-Chuck love triangle.
I just can't believe that after the obvious chemistry and fondness that Blair had for Dan, she would suddenly go back to liking Chuck, AGAIN. I am tired with all the Chuck and Blair drama.
Their issues with each other isn't any typical couple stuff anymore, it's bordering to the point of unhealthy and toxic. I used to like Chuck and Blair but after all the crap that happened between them, I couldn't take it anymore.
Others think that they are dynamic together but I prefer it the other way around. They're better off without each other. They love each other and all but whenever they're together, someone always messes up or has issues, they go all dramatic again, Chuck bangs other women, Blair pines over him, they decide they love each other again and the cycle repeats.
I think they will always have problems staying together. And it's not good for Blair. (I don't really care about Chuck tbh) It's not good for anyone emotionally.
With Dan, they clicked in the most unlikely way. It's like he brings out a new side to her and same to him. And for me, I think Blair was a lot more happier spending time with Dan.
It's really disappointing that the writers just dismissed Blair's feelings for Dan just like that. The writing was really lame. And I hate that everything always had to end up with Chuck and Blair again.

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Blair's feelings about her kiss with Dan did not make sense if you consider the last few episodes and their interaction and growing fondness for each other.

Cristina comi

LET ME SEE....... I LOVE THIS EPISODE ESPECIALLY FOR THE BROS' MOMENT BETWEEN ERIC AND DAN, AND ABOVE ALL WHEN DAN SAYS TO ERIC "I KISSING BLAIR WALDORF" AND ERIC'S LAUGH..... HOPE THAT THIS THING CAN WORK EVEN IF BLAIR HEART BELONGS TO CHUCK.... FOR LILY STORYLINE CAROL IS A BIG BITCH HOW YOU STRONGLY CRITCTIZE YOUR SIS WAY OF LIFE WHEN YOU'RE FULLY MANTEINED FOR YOUR MOTHER??, AND YOUR DAUGHTER IS 18 SO SHE CAN DO WHATEVER SHE WANTS....VANESSA IS SO UNNECESSARY BUT SHE BEING NECESSARY FOR WHO TALK WITH HER ON THE PHONE C OR D???? REINA AND NATE BOOOOOORING......CHUCK WAS EPIC WHEN HE COME AND VISIT DAN TO FIND OUT WJHHO'S KISSNG HIS SOLUMATE...... WIIL IS SO MEAN WITH THE WHOLE STEPDAD JOKE 'BOUT RUFUS....... I ALSO LIKE THE FINAL PART ABOVE ALL FAMILY PORTEI SCENE WITH THIS POWERFULL SONG FROMM I BALME COCO THAT IN MY OOPINION IS THE PERFECT MATCH...... MY PERSONAL SCORE FOR THIS EPISODE: 6 1/2

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"So does Chuck, of course, and had he expressed this in a way that didn't involve humiliating Dan and making him look inferior, maybe I'd feel bad for him. But not here." Hmmm...You mean like the way Blair confronted Eva in the dress store at the start of S4 and told her she needed gloves because nothing would hide her 'peasant hands', and her infamous line to Serena, "Once men have tasted caviar, it baffles me how they settle for catfish." Yes and getting Serena & Dan to dig up dirt on her by pretending to be her friend, and planning on telling Chuck at his benefit. Please people - Dan was the equivilant of Eva! And BOTH CHUCK AND BLAIR SCHEMED to get the other out of their lives. Chck got angry at Blair for Eva when he found out, and so now Blair is allowed to get angry at Chuck when she found out.

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(Continued) I think its very telling in the promo for the next episode where Dair meet up in the coffee shop she tells him she's going on a date, he says something to the effect of were friends date away! (lol) why would she feel the need to tell him that? Blair and Dan are confused about their feelings for each other despite being close friends, with Blair fresh from her break up from Chuck she needs time to herself to get over Chuck and not rush, sabotage her solid friendship with Dan by getting into a relationship with him suddenly...Prince Louis is just a rebound for Blair and escape for her from her reality of dealing with getting over Chuck properly...Blair needs someone who is mature, smart, funny and doesn't have alot of baggage, drama...xx

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I'm with you too @Kitty, I hope it plays out like that in the next couple of episodes...Chuck crushed her hopes of them getting back together, she's grown apart from him really matured as a person and wants other things...he needs to accept its over between them and let her go, allow her to be happy...Blair and Dan will remain close especially after the photoshoot drama, I hope their friendship continues to grow and develop at its own pace, Dan is there for her as a shoulder to lean on and can turn to him in her time of need for support...

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Oh and I hope you're right Kitty about setting things up for Dan and Blair. I had the same thoughts but still think it could have been handled better. And not trying to insult anyone who likes Chuck.

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Yes Camila I'm with you. Blair's conclusion about the kiss was lame writing. And yes the whole Chuck and Blair thing is old and immature. Chuck is an ass, uses Blair to the extreme and I guess still appeals to viewers who find that intriguing and maybe even allow it in their own lives. In real life this guy would be nothing but bad news for anyone. I loved how Dan and Blair watched movies while on the phone together and went to art exhibits and you just know that he would treat her so well and bring out the best in her. But this is not exciting enough for some. For me it's more than enough and what a true, mature relationship is all about, something worth striving for and something that stands the test of time.

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@Camila: I get what you mean but I wouldn't be so hard on the writers. They are finally giving us another story that actually plays out in a slow and realistic fashion. I stopped caring about any couples on GG a while ago cause they always come out of nowhere, are over in a couple of episodes or are just a reunion of the same couples we have seen for seasons now... I mean Serena for example has been with Colin and Ben this season and also thought abou a reuinion with Nate or Dan. How are we supposed to take her "deep feelings" for each of them seriously? I don't think the writers are just abandoning Dair or cutting it off to start another round of Chair.
But having Blair fall for Dan when just last episode she was talking about missing Chuck would have been a bit fast.
So as boring as it might be, I think they had to do the Chair scenes in order to let Blair slowly move on without it seeming too sudden.
And even without Chuck in the picture it would take her some time to accept her feelings for Dan, just like he is struggeling with having feelings for Blair Waldorf. I think in the few Dair moments it became clear that these two actually have grown very close. The way she wanted to make sure he knew she didn't have anything to do with the scheme, the way she defended him against Chuck, the look on her face when he told her the kiss meant nothing... The way i see it, the episode paved the way for Dair by having Dan and Blair remain close while Blair really tries to move on from Chuck...

Gossip Girl Season 4 Episode 18 Quotes

Nate: You okay?
Raina: It's surreal. Everything happening to Lily is because of my dad, and I kind of feel like it's all my fault.
Nate: Look. It probably woulda happened sooner or later anyway.

Blair: Turn that off! And leave me alone, Dorota. I've taken to my bed.
Dorota: I thought hearing someone has life worse than yours would help.
Blair: Well your job isn't to think, it's to serve. So if I need your help I'll ring the bell.

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