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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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I'm not pleased at all. Even though I didn't expect Blair to suddenly fall for Dan, I really thought that her conclusion about the kiss was lame. GG fandom already expect her to be madly in love with Chuck, why emphasize it? ANd chuck did something stupid, that broke her heart, so she left saying that she loved him but he's too imature. Cause that's so new. I'm BORED. Seriously, I expected the kiss to mean something deeper like, I can be happy in a different way that doesn't involve Chuck. That wouldn't kill Chair. But that would've been something new and MATURE. Instead they're just giving us more of the same. I know it was probably an episode to make us all go back to chair but, as I watched Dan talking to Chuck saying he should let her be happy (which he obviously ignored)all I could think of was I'm not coming back to Chair ever again (unless the writters write something so magical that makes me forget how Dair's amazing and how Chair keeps being about breaking hearts). [Lily's plotline was good though XD]

Blaine07oren

IS CHARLIE THE NEW JENNY?? LIKE SERIOUSLY!!!??

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I saw last night episode and after all, my heart feels compassion and love for Chuck. What he did with Dan inviting him to the party for me was no big deal, I understand that maybe Chuck over react, but we all make mistakes when we are afraid. Chuck did what he did because the fear of losing Blair, when he discovered that the kiss that have had changed her life, was a kiss with Dan... Chuck thought Blair chose Dan :( I'm a fan of Chuck and Blair because I have seen their love story through 3 ½ years of the series and honestly I don't understand how those who bet Dan can expect love with Blair in like 4 episodes? Just a few episodes ago, Dan sabotaged Blair's birthday party and he said that Chuck and Blair were the worst that could ever happen to her sister Jenny. Do you forgot all the problems Dan had with Serena during the time they were dating because Dan's rejection to social protocols in which Serena lives because she ispart of the Upper Est Side class? These complexes made that he and Serena finished their relationship… how do we expect a relationship with Blair can works when she is even more pretentious and careful social classes than Serena? Dan has always critized to Serena, Blair, Nate and Chuck and all the UPS world because of preferences which are treated, because they do not work hard to get things as other people. There's no way to combine Dan's prejudices with Blair life's style. If the writers decide to give it a real chance to Dan and Blair, beyond their common taste for some things, Blair would have to stop being herself, the Blait that we love and we have followed for years. And if that happens, then what is the value of the authenticity of the characters? Why Chuck is my favorite? Because with Chuck, Blair can be who she is, without being judged. Chuck accepts her as she is and Blair accepts Chuck as he is. Somehow I start to feel tired of how the spoilers play with us, make us think one thing and then happens another. I think that Blair still wants to Chuck, Chuck is her soulmate, the love of her life. And while many things indicate that there may be a possible reunion between Chuck and Blair, I want to stay skeptical. I do not want to go through the disappointment and sadness that I felt with the end of season 3. Do not get me wrong Dair fans, I just want to see things with the logic of the show but as the writers have behaved lately anything can happen. I was so sad for Chuck last night, he looked so handsome in his black suit and also was so charming the detail to pickup that black dress to Blair. The family photo shoots were for the royal families of NYC, Chuck wanted Blair in his photo, because he considers Blair his only family. What more proof of love? I hope Chuck and Blair back at the end of the season, I want an end as in Season 2. And if not, if the producers and writers end up ruining a Chair once again. Do not count on me for season 5, if any. Of the other characters ... I don't have much to say. Vanessa does not have to be there, She needs to be sent to cover the earthquake in Japan and never come back. Her character far from boring, it's hopeless, meaningless. And I'd like to see Nate taking a more dynamic role in the series. CHAIR FOREVER!

Aries93

Also, for people who think Charlie is up to no good, it may be true, but not a 100%. The actress has got a contract that gives her the option of becoming a series regular next season. So I highly doubt she'll do something really horrible to any of the characters.

Aries93

I liked this episode.
It was really well done from my perspective.
The only thing that annoyed me was the Dan & Blair thing.
I was really hoping to see something really fascinating happen between them.
I was not surprised that Vanessa would overhear something and report back to Serena.
I am glad Vanessa is back, I've missed her character.
I must say that I like Charlie's character. It's good that she has some mystery behind her. I think the whole thing about her leaving college was because she may have been raped and may have tried to kill herself. I know it's a big jump to assume, but the way Carol was acting about her walking the streets of New York when she doesn't know them, that something had happened to her well she was at college, how Lily must keep an eye on her and the way she gave Charlie and Dan a look when they introduced themselves to one another. Anyone have the same idea?
Also, I loved the at the end it was meant to be a family portrait and Jenny was not in it. Priceless.

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I wasn't impressed with this episode. It had such potential at times but but in the end it was a let down. While I am both a Dair and a Chair fan, happy to know that Chair will be end game, I really want to see more Dair. I too was disappointed that Blair didn't pick either. I'd prefer her to pick Dan for now as Chuck needs to prove his love to her a bit more. I don't buy his feelings anymore. I am NOT looking forward to Louis coming back into the picture. Now both Chuck and Dan will get blown off for this guy. Not excited about it at all.
I really wasn't interested in the whole Lily story. That seemed to be the main plot and it should've been secondary. Yawn.
Someone should say to Blair that she doesn't need a famous rich man. She wants to be a powerful woman on her own first so Dan is the perfect man for her right now. She can be a powerful woman on her own without a big to do man at her side. She can stand on her own so she should be able to date someone like Dan. He's a go getter, I imagine he could turn out successful. I really wish there'd be more Dan.
Oh, Vanessa was leaving the message for Serena I believe.

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Not horrible. Not good. The handling of "Dair" was predictable. I enjoy seeing these two characters to together; I think have nice platonic chemistry. I never saw the passion between them that some friend apparently did. To me, it always seemed as if the writers were headed for Friendsville. So, thumbs up for playing the storyline through in a realistic way and allowing at least one man and woman on this show to enjoy each other's company without ending up in bed. Thumbs down for "duh"-ness of it all (Did anyone really believe that Blair was confining herself to her room for any reason other than Chuck? I called it from the first scene.) As for Blair's reaction to Chuck's stunt ... Convoluted is the only word that comes to mind. The writers needed an excuse to keep Chuck and Blair apart while Blair explores her fairy tale and Chuck experiences some sort of redemptive suffering. Fine. They should have made Chuck do something worse. Tricking Dan into putting on a suit and taking a train to join his entire family at a photo shoot across town? The absolute horror. Sure, it was immature and lame, but the Blair I know and love would have been feigned annoyance while secretly reveling in Chuck's jealousy. Of course, I want both characters to grow up - but not at the expense of their core identity. Lazy writing. I didn't hate it though. I'm 90% sure I like where they're going ...

Delena

I didn't like this episode so much.. Altough I'm a Chair fan, I didn't like that Blair didn't choose Dan or Chuck... She just dumped them both... But, as I saw on the preview, the next episode seems to be MUCH BETTER.. Well, I really hope so.

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The writers just gave the viewers the finger. Stupid trickery and no delivery. They did a masterful job brewing up a believable romance between Dan and Blair. The chemistry was amazing and with one horrible episode they stomped on it and concentrated way too much on the whole Lily affair. That could have held over with a few small scenes. Dan was completely emasculated and Chuck was as evil and petty as usual. Like another person commented here - what is interesting about Nate and Raina? And speaking of Nate, he gets the finger too from the writers; he's a sideline character every week. And choke on your frizzy hair Vanessa. This character never deserved the time she got on the show.

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I have to say i liked the episode in spite of the lack of Dair.
I actually think it was very accurate the way everything played out.
Its pretty clear Dan and Blair felt something when they kissed, but they spent 4 years being sworn enemies, thinking the other was the exact opposite of themselves.
To realise that they are not that different and kinda like each other must come as a total shock to them, so give them some time to sort our their feelings before you demand Dan should "fight" for Blair. The guy is obviously very confused which is completely normal.
And for Blair: I remember a time when she was just as dismissive to Chuck after he was kinda, sorta, maybe having feelings for her in the beginning...
I think Blair was having the same response to the kiss almost every viewer had. It didn't have the "fireworks" Chair USED to have. Instead it was a little akward and confusing. Which is good, because everything else would have felt forced imo.
And seeing as Chuck (as passionate as he may be) once again managed to treat Blair like a prop who's feelings he can just manipulate according to his own agenda, I guess we won't be seeing Chair any time soon.
Instead it made Blair appreciate Dan more and I think she even was a little disappointed when he denied having any feelings for her.
So as much as I like Dair, I love that they continue to unfold their relationship so slowly in a natural way without forcing rushed declarations of love down our throats. Even I wouldn't believe those at this point in the story. And just for the record: I don't hate Chair. I just think that Chucks behaviour in this episode was completely in character. Everytime he feels lost he just hangs on to Blair and makes her his purpose.
But everytime he is with her, he takes her for granted while focusing on finding himslef and proving the world who he can be.
I do think he genuinely loves her, but until he finds himself and learns to respect her, he should focus on himself.
She said it perfectly when she told him he needed to grow up first before he should be in a relationship. Okay just a few words to the rest:
- I didn't care about Nate/Raina AT ALL
- Despite my dislike after the prome, I actually liked Charlie
- The Lily/Carol scenes were fun to watch
- William is getting on my nerves
- Vanessa is getting more useless every episode
- Cece rocks

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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