Gossip Girl Season Premiere Review: Six Weeks Later ...

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The question heading into Season Five of Gossip Girl is whether the show will return to what made it great - humor, heart and a healthy dose of scandal - or continue on the path last season went down, with convoluted, over-the-top stories and, worse yet, our beloved characters not even acting like themselves.

So, did tonight offer fans reason for hope? Yes is most definitely the word.

Between the pregnancy reveal - so surprising I really didn't think Gossip Girl of all shows would go there - the tie-in with Daniel's novel, Nate's latest liaison and Chuck channeling his inner James Dean, "Yes, Then Zero" was a resounding success. We can only hope future episodes build on this and don't fizzle out.

Chuck Rolls Up

"People like me don't write books, we're written about." - Chuck

When we first saw Mr. Bass tonight, adored in his ascot and roaring up to his newly-obtained yacht on his motorcycle, his change in attitude was apparent (even as his taste for the finer things remains the same).

Part cowboy philosopher, part rebel without a cause (unless you can consider going balls to the wall and saying yes to anything a cause), he's happy for the first time in awhile. Or at least doing a good job faking it.

But, as always with Chuck, there's a darkness lurking within. Witness his reaction to the crash, and his apparent unwillingness to seek help or dial back his adrenaline meter even after sustaining a pretty severe injury.

At some point, he's bound to take it too far, but it's fun to see him leap off buildings and some knowledge on Nate and Serena right now. Just seeing those three hang out and enjoy laughs as friends again was a welcome treat.

Chuck's two-headed sidekick was a bit boring at times, but that was almost the point. Both Nate and Serena seemed to acknowledge that they'd lost their way and don't even know who they are anymore (I blame the writers).

While Marshall's ploy to get Serena fired felt lame, considering she was kind of a model employee almost trying too hard not to step on toes, it's great that S was rewarded in the end for applying herself and doing legit work.

L.A. fashion clearly works on SoCal native Blake Lively, too. Not surprising.

On a side note, how funny was it to see Patrick Roberts, Olivia's old vampire co-star, in his Hollywood element? This little creative touch wasn't essential to the plot, but was surely appreciated by many fans.

UES Meets LA

Of course, this is still Gossip Girl and in the closing moments, Serena happened to bump into non-cousin Charlie in a city of 20 million people. Ivy apparently headed west with her boyfriend after her "acting" gig last spring.

What's she planning next? Does anyone care? The jury's still out now. We'll see what Charlie/Ivy has planned next week, and whether it will connect Serena's story arc with the rest of the gang back in New York.

If you've read any Gossip Girl spoilers this summer, you know Elizabeth Hurley's character, Diana Payne, is a media mogul whose manipulations of Nate, whatever they might be, ultimately involve Gossip Girl herself.

Once Nate started taking Chuck's advice and becoming the ultimate "yes" man, another notch on his bedpost was an inevitability. Only he was also being played by Diana, who was excited to have "made contact" with him.

Much as we all enjoy his usual displays of concern for Chuck, pot expertise and skill with the ladies, hopefully Nate will play a more substantive role this fall. Clearly he's being targeted for some role by Ms. Payne.

Hurley makes a sexy and intriguing villain for the Upper East Siders, and I'm dying to know what she's up to. There's something about her that makes the stakes feel heightened ... 10 times more so than with Russell Thorpe.

Back in New York, the dueling drama of Dan's story and Blair's wedding planning - with Louis caught in the middle of each - dovetailed brilliantly, revealing just enough at all the right moments to pique your interest.

It also ended with perhaps the biggest OMFG moment since we learned Serena killed someone.

However unrealistic the circumstances of its publication, Inside by Anonymous, a.k.a. Dillon Hunter, is apparently some book! The excerpt that was to run in Vanity Fair made it abundantly clear who the focal point was, too.

Dair Picture

The future Princess of Monaco, Blair Waldorf, spent so much time fretting over typical Blair Waldorf things that by the time the wedding planner called her out - and she didn't deny it - her pregnancy secret was truly shocking.

Dorota did a great job fooling Eleanor and likely more than a few viewers, too, in covering for her BFF. But her body does not lie. I guess. Leighton Meester actually looks thinner than ever to me. But give it a few weeks!

Dan's behavior this week was truly eye-opening. His mannerisms and cryptic comments certainly made it out to seem like he and Blair did more than kiss. Like a lot more. More importantly, he's obviously IN LOVE WITH HER.

Even though he knew precisely what Louis was doing when he stood Blair up and why, Dan was prepared to let her skip town, with him, and leave her fairy tale behind. That's one whopper of a lie by omission, Lonely Boy.

You don't do that for someone you're not head over heels for. Dair is very much alive ... at least as far as the feelings on one side are concerned, and possibly an unborn child is concerned. Can you imagine if it's Dan's?

Penn Badgley is certainly looking the part of the unkempt writer, yearning for his past lover. I'm glad the writers didn't torpedo Dan's feelings for Blair altogether, which would've made so much of last season feel trite.

What happens between now and November 26 - save the date!! - will be interesting to say the least. Will Blair keep the baby? If so, will she start to show? Will Dan pursue her in earnest? Will Chuck, despite his motivational speech?

And obviously, the ten trillion dollar question: Who's the father?!

All in all, a strong beginning to Gossip Girl's fifth season, and one that should give you plenty to discuss with TV Fanatic as you hit the comments below! Come back tomorrow for news, promos and our Round Table!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (431 Votes)

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

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    Bassgirl91

    I liked last nights episode. Everyone seemed much more relaxed. Well, except Blair. I hope Chuck IS the father of her baby because if he's not, fans will be dissapointed. Me included.

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    Does anyone seriously believe that the DB kiss in 4.17 resulted in them sleeping together? Seriously? Quite apart from the horrible awkwardness and lack of chemistry, the show would not have two mains hook up and not show it. Oh, and also that DB kiss MADE BLAIR WANT CHUCK. Much like the one at the Bar Mitzvah WHERE BABY BASS WAS CREATED. Amazing.

    Uncle-jackass

    It's great to hear that there are truly more than 10 people that vote for Dair. Unfortunately, I want the show to last past this season with the entire cast, with so many ships; nobody is technically the supremacy. For all those haters, I can honestly say that I have NEVER hated any of the NJSCDV individuals. If you consider how many shows that don't have a great ensemble cast it's hard to find a show like Gossip Girl. So for the sake of the show I wished more just supported the show without the death threats directly via tweeter to the writers/producers. Anyways, enough of my judgy ways... And so the summary of the first episode: Recapped: How did our favorite characters leave last season? The noble path that Chuck took to force the end of Chair last season resulted in a Kirsten Stewart (Bella) self infliction to "redeem" himself. Nate has existential crisis and forges the path of a Yes Man to more disappointing plots. Dan has been pining for Blair all summer but thinks that Vanessa only took one Chapter extract. Blair hasn't been pining for Dan, but she does seem a bit sad with the royal wedding. And Serena wanted to commit to a job and so Yes, LA definitely agrees with her. 1.) Kudos to Serena for being devoted. Clearly, LA agrees with her a lot more than New York City. She gets the dream job, not by being manipulative, but through shear determination and devotion. The ironic twist is the non-relationship with the "Proxy Dan from the 10 things I hate about you" series. But what job was she doing anywayss? DP? = Assistant? But the inevitably bad plot with Charlie comes again. And so we can expect Ivy/Charlie to ruin the Sunset dream job of Serena. 2.) Dan and Blair plots: In some ways I'm happy for their scenes together (Dan really has gone Gaga over Blair). But on other areas I'm upset in how much they still need to grow. Blair was happy and sappy with the Princess Diaries dream last summer until the reality of what royalty means in terms of conformity. Losing one's identity and giving up choices. And so, after being hyper-critical of Serena for always being damsel in distress, she heads to Dan to perform a graduate style of ambiguity to free her from her evil prince's clutches. And there's no distributing, using a psychology term, that Dan has transference issues with saving Serena to saving Blair. But I'm conflicted if Blair was righteous to condemn Dan. As for the pretense of Dorato being pregnant when it is finally revealed that Blair is pregnant. I was a bit shocked. Who is the father? My supreme logic tells me: a.) Dan is the Wild card father that seems more like a joke. In order for Dan to the father: Dan LIED to Eric about nothing happening afterwards with Blair, Blair was in bed for weeks for sleeping with Dan?, Blair is more than 6months pregnant, Dan falls for a girl AFTER sleeping with her, Blair still fixated with feelings for Chuck?, and whatever weird paradox. b.) The most likely candidate is actually Louis; timeline speaking of course, but Chuck is just as plot logical. Is Blair ready to be a mother? Is Chuck ready to be a dad? Fate seems to be against them; or rather plots that tend rip them apart. Blair seems to be a few weeks into her pregnancy 3.) Is Prince Louis a clueless, creepy, creepy, mother loving, naive character? OR is he a redeeming, devoted, and principled character? A bit of both actually in my interpretation. He clearly loves Blair more than Blair loves him. Does he love his mother? Yes, but he redeems himself by making tokenistic gestures. Can he be creepy? Yes, but there is a reason why he doubts Blair's devotion. E.g.) Blair running to Dan in this episode and the existence of the Chuck Bass and his Bass-sets. 4.) Chuck's redemption...? A lot of refining of characters is occurring this season. By now... Blair is dubbed the "Burlesque Blair" capable of loving multiple men... Dan is the Dark night?... Nate is the New improved Vanessa... Serena is Legal Barbie Blonde working up the echelons of LA, and Chuck is the Lonely Bayss. In a real sense he is punishing himself for screwing things so badly with Blair that he believes redemption lies in self-infliction? A weird concept I suppose. NB: Did you care for Charlie/Ivy? I preferred Vanessa. How did Charlie spend all of stolen cash so quickly? I suspect she needed the cash for a Jason Bourne style cafe escape plan. Overall, I liked the first episode and pray for more consistently written episodes. There needs to be more Chair scenes to appease the fanbase and for the sake of the show. I hope Dan does the right thing if the father of Blair's baby is Chuck's and guides Chair back together in the end. And hopefully I'll see the beginning of the epic bro-mance, GO Duck FTW, DUCK forever... I'll so stop now...

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    if it is dans baby i may hurt someone....

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    I'm kind of losing respect 4 Blair, because cme on! If ur pregnant leading people on is cowardly, especially wen u dnt know who it is. Pretending wont make it go away.

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    There is no way Blair is gonna' have that baby.

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    I loved Chuck this episode and I'm betting a million dollars that baby is Chuck's! Sorry, Dbers but you lose because Safran specifically said it's either Louis's or Chuck's in an interview. You lose and get used to that happening because you can't compete with Chair. Even the 3letters8words was so patheticI think next season Dan will be in love with Lily or Cece at this rate. What a self serving asshole this guys was last night. Lying to Blair so he would run away with her when Louis was helping- Asshole. Chuck wanted her to be happy in the finale and now Dan wants to destroy her happiness with Louis because he wants her. ASS.
    Serena was amazing. Finally they gave this character what she needed- goals. I think Serena will have a much better, stronger year than Blair.

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    Why can't people accept that chair was a great love story that may have ended.
    It happens all the time.
    What we watched wasn't a lie- their love was amazing. But they were teens and now they are maturing and changing and its probably time for new loves. Other, possibly greater, loves.
    The show definitely needs it!

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    @we'reonlyyoungandnaivestill I absolutely agree with everything you said!

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    lol I can't wait until the writers reaffirm next week that Dan and Blair only kissed. Dan and Blair have no sexual chemistry at all. Kissing Dan made her go running back to Chuck because she loves and is sexually attracted to him, not Dan. She doesn't have that kind of connection with Dan. Having said that, I expect Dan to distort DB's relationship in his book. We'll find out he tried to make DB into a second rate, version of CB - the crazy love. Anyway, the DB stuff might be really cool as the season goes on and Dan's starts losing his moral compass as he comes more of an Insider. That might make it interesting. I'm looking forward to that (they showed a little of it when he was ready to screw over Blair and Louis's relationship and lie to Blair by ommission).
    As or the rest of the episode:
    I really love that Chuck cannot feel because he's shut down due to losing Blair. It's just like how Blair hurt all over last season because she was mourning losing Chuck. Those two are always connected in some way. Speaking of connections, I am thrilled that Blair is having a Baby Bass. I'm wondering now if they are going to let Blair and Chuck's baby live. That would be amazing.
    I really liked Serena's storyline. I'm glad she is career oriented and not all about guys. I liked Nate and can't wait to get more of his story. The big thing missing from this episode was Chuck and Blair interacting. But they did in a sense: They share an unborn baby now.