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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HA I knew blair thought that kiss made her realize she wants to be with chuck!
i lovee them, bring the chair back! dan is boring!
chuck in the photo by himself was so sad :(

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Why is Blair acting bitchy?
Chuck was just jealous and she called him a child, whereas she is the one acting childish with this ridiculous obsession to find a fairytale prince!

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Charlie gives me the creeps. Someone's about to get Single White Female'd. Sucks to be you, Serena. I agree, this episode was disappointing compared to what I was hoping for from that trailer. I still have high hopes, however. Maybe Chuck will be able to do something to make us former CHAIR fans come back over from the DAIR side, but I'm not holding my breath. So glad Blair did not take him back! And when will she call him out on his supposedly sacred love with Raina? I wouldn't feel too secure about someone's love for me if they'd been building romantic rooms for and swooning over someone else just weeks earlier. Dan needs to grow a pair, seriously, and tell Blair how he feels. Otherwise, the Prince is going to start looking awfully good next to Mr. LonelyHearts and Mr. WishyWashy. Boys, either @!#$ or get off the pot. And what is up with everyone welcoming William back into the fold when he PRETENDED THAT LILY HAD CANCER?? How did CeCe not beat him to death with her Louboutins for doing that to her daughter? How did Rufus not throw him out the window? When characters are this stupid it's hard to feel sorry for them when they inevitably get screwed over. Hate Carol, much as I liked her younger incarnation. Though if she's covering for her mentally unbalanced daughter who's seen The Roommate way too many times, I might understand.

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Chuck and Blair just don't have the sparks they used to. I loved them together the 1st and 2nd seasons but when they were actually together in season 3 it seemed like the love and the fireworks went away. And season 4 is even worse. If they were in love, they would be dating. I'm starting to doubt they even have the love in them anymore. I always wanted them to be endgame but Blair and Dan seem much more genuine and they have a healthy bond. No one actually wants the unhealthy dynamic Blair and Chuck have on gossip girl in real life, its like a rotten fairytale. No matter how sexy it is, they are too into each other to be in love, and when they were in love it seemed to be all about sex. I wanted Blair's facade of perfection to come down when she was with the one she loved, and it did with Dan in their short story line more than it has with Chuck in a while.

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I want to know what is wrong with Charlie. I'm surprised it wasn't mentioned in the synopsis the mysterious things Carol said to Lilly about how "Charlie left college because..." and then when Carol saw Charlie and Dan talking she seemed worried. Is Charlie a psycho who gets possessive and threatens to kill herself over boys or something? I just feel like as sweet as she is and although I like her, this is gossip girl, not the brady bunch, and Charlie DEF has some skeletons in her closet... Hopefully entertaining ones. And I hope the Love quadrangle story line gets FAR more interesting than tonights. I think its safe to say Chuck's stupid plot fit his character well, but Dan's silence did not fit his character. Also there has been too much Dair chemistry that fans have become too fond of for things to close that way. So hopefully theres more of a story with them, which, from what the promo suggests, there will be.

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How is it possible that before the hiatus, Blair seemed so happy and over Chuck because of her time spent with Dan and all of a sudden she realizes she wants him back, despite everything? So rushed, so unconvincing. And the fact that she does not care for Dan? I DON'T BUY IT. Writers, you put so much time into the DAIR storyline, don't destroy it please!

Yelena

I love how Chuck went an extra mile to get that Princess Diana's dress for Blair to wear. It shows how much he wants her to feel like a princess, something she has wanted to be ever since...I'm pretty sure Chair is endgame because of the obstacles they have to go through but I wish the writers stop doing this to them. As a fan I want to see their relationship grow together rather than just reuniting them towards the end of the show. I'm so sad when I saw Chuck taking that pic alone!!!

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Can I just say that the only reason I started watching Gossip Girl again was because of Dair?
I know that seems kind of silly and I know that Chair is probably endgame, but seriously all this "I love you but we're not ready" and "I need to go through all this other stuff before we can be together" drama is seriously tiring to watch.
At the beginning of this season, I wanted Chair back together (I was a hardcore straight from season one ChuckandBlair shipper), but now it just feels like all they do is hurt each other. I mean if this were real life (which I mean it isn't because stupid silly things happen in GG life), Blair should have moved on by now.
Anyways aside from the rant on Chair...
I hate that the writers built up Dair only to have it crushed under Blair's heels. I mean, if they were going to make it all "Oh I love you Chuck!" then really Dair shouldn't have kissed. They should have just stayed friends.
I didn't like this episode, and I am really fed up with Chuck's childish attitude. Picking on Dan Humphrey was so two seasons ago.
Anyways, my favorite part of the episode was when Chuck came to the loft and Dan revealed that little tidbit of what he knew about Blair. It was really cute that Dan knew that about her. If the Pauper doesn't become her Prince Charming, then I'm voting for the Prince. He seems like a decent guy.

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when Jenny comes back?? I got so pissed that she didn't appeared on the family's picture

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OMG was that what the whole Dan/Blair build up was all about?? They writers suck! I am fine with her choosing Dan or Chuck but lets be honest, her choosing chuck would feel forced, he decided only one episode ago that he def. wants to be with her.. but the dan thing should have had a better ending if they wanted to end it.. god the writers suck... I'm seriously thinking about not watching anymore...
and another thing raina & nate... how is that even remotely interesting??

Gossip Girl Season 4 Episode 18 Quotes

As with any journey, who you travel with can be more important than your destination.

Gossip Girl

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.

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