Gossip Girl Review: Behind the Masks ...

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What would Gossip Girl be without the obligatory, annual episode featuring masks, anonymity, mistaken identity and the surprising romantic developments that invariably follow? Certainly not the same.

Tonight's installment was ripe with intrigue from the start, but didn't always live up to the extensive hype. There were some fireworks, to be sure, but also some drama that felt forced and convoluted.

The context of "The Big Sleep No More" was the N.Y.C. theater production of the same name. Sleep No More allowed Gossip Girl to film on location, which helped enhance the already-dramatic visuals.

The problem was that too much happened, and simultaneously too little.

At Sleep No More

I don't know. As much as I enjoyed Chuck trying to project his new, good-guy demeanor and Blair scrambling to unmask him (literally and otherwise), the resolution left something to be desired.

Convinced that after his apology last week, Chuck was merely putting on an act in order to win her affections, Blair set out to show he was still evil at the Basshole-sponsored Sleep No More soiree.

Her method was simple and yet elaborate: Throw herself at the one-time love of her life to elicit the reaction she needed to prove her point, yet subconsciously wanted for much different reasons.

Is there any doubt she wants to be with Chuck? If she didn't, why would she go to such lengths to essentially prove he still lusts after her? It's obvious, and he played right into it ... to a point.

Chuck had to kiss Blair to set her free?

That's noble of him, but the whole thing was extremely confusing after B, with ulterior motives, all but professed her undying love to the man she claims to despise, yet clearly isn't over ... all in the name of exposing him as a fraud masquerading as a gentleman just to win her back ... which he may or may not have been trying to.

It's enough to make your head spin.

It's also filler, in a sense. Next week, we're back at square one, with Blair and Louis in full wedding mode, and fans wondering whether she'll actually go through with it, or return to Chuck's embrace.

THE kiss, while a terrific scene on its own merit, and certain to validate Chair fans' belief that their beloved couple is destined to be together, was therefore something of an anticlimactic plot device.

Yes, it proved that Blair and Chuck are 100 percent not over each other, Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester's chemistry is still off the charts and you could've cut the tension with a knife at that moment.

But in the aftermath, I expected more from a Chair kiss. Sorry.

As for whether Chuck really has changed for good? I'd say so after last Monday, and watching the way he operated tonight. Whether it's enough to make Blair rethink her wedding is another story.

And Nate? It's hard to even know where to begin there, though we did learn a juicy detail regarding Diana's infatuation. Working in tandem with The Grandfather, her motives are becoming clear.

Well, sort of.

Diana's New Minion

I can typically overlook a lot of holes when it comes to Gossip Girl, and its masquerade episodes in particular. They reached critical mass early on tonight, however, and made for a muddled plot.

To a point, settings like Sleep No More are mysterious, sexy and awesome. But it's a fine line. On the other side of that slippery slope, they become a crutch ... a mask, if you will, for sloppy storytelling.

We just saw Diana weave a web of deception and lies so complex it could have never worked in broad daylight, which is fine, but it all came about too easily, even for an international woman of mystery.

Diana needed Serena to wage war on Gossip Girl. She needed to out Charlie as an impostor in order to inspire Serena to do so. Most of all, she needed Nate ... to have his image rehabilitated, apparently.

It was all too much, asking the audience to invest themselves in such rapidly-changing, borderline implausible scenarios for characters they don't really know or necessarily care that deeply about.

Serena and Nate are the core characters, yet they've been used as pawns in Diana's game. It looks like that's about to change, which was a good thing, but this evening was all about Ivy. Oh, Ivy.

I'm trying really hard to like her, but her entire character is based on a fake personality and a hidden scandal-in-waiting that, while unique, has never had a sense of urgency to it. No OMG factor.

And the masks themselves. Don't even get me started. There's no way Max could be mistaken for Nate, much like no one could mistake Serena for Charlie, or Juliet ... or Jenny for that matter.

It just wouldn't happen, no matter how dark and eerie the surroundings, and while we all give the show plenty of leeway with things like this, it needs to back it up with better substance.

Give credit where it's due, though. The re-introduction of Nate's grandfather sheds new light on why Diana cares so much about Gossip Girl, and could take this in many directions. Well played.

Finally, and completely separate from the Sleep No More storyline, was Dan, alone, on his book tour. Or chickening out of his book tour because times have been tough out there for the author.

It was nice to see father and son bond at the end, and I'm glad Inside wasn't completely swept under the rug. Looks like Lonely Boy be back in the fold soon enough (see below) in a big way.

All in all, the episode had its memorable moments, both serious and comedic, but I'm already looking forward to the next. The season so far has been very good, even if this was a blip on the radar.

Share your comments below, but first, check out a couple of promos for next week's episode, "All The Pretty Sources" (great title). As usual, the Canadian version is longer and more revealing ...

What did you think of tonight's Gossip Girl? Did the Blair and Chuck kiss do it for you? What do you predict will happen next with Chair, and with Nate? Discuss with TV Fanatic!

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.3 / 5.0 (303 Votes)

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

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Uncle-jackass

The CW promo is showing Dan being drunk and drunk; despite the recap stating that Dan and Chuck aren't invited to Blair's wedding shower. And we have Dan turning a bit of Chuck. The Candanian promo for next week's shows that it was Chuck who covertly sent Dan to the party "to get some Ass," but instead he ... "makes an ass of" himself in the party. Looks like Blair is second guessing trying to reunite with Chuck again while Diana's boss is Nate's grand-dad who is molding him via this internship for his own purposes.

Atm

what an aweful, aweful episode. all that hype and it was just a complete waste of time...for everyone.

Avatar

The Chuck/Blair scenes were, once again, the best of the episode. Dorota is flawless. Who else wants to start a fanclub for her? lol

Kimberly-anne

This has got to be the worst episode so far in this season.
I began with having high hopes for the episode because like other Chair Fans I thought we would finally get to see a rekindling between Chuck and Blair...that was clearly not the case.
From the beginning, Charlie and Nate…no one cares! These two are boring, pointless and boring! Why was this episode centered around them more than any other characters on the show? I am really sick of Diana now because she seems to be everywhere and control everyone which I seriously doubt she can accomplish that on her own. I watch Gossip Girl for drama and scandal, not to be put to sleep. This is exactly what will happen if the Nate gets more screen time and the whole Archibald clan comes back. Enough. Charlie/Ivy leave! Diana, get the hell out! Nate, go to therapy because you seriously need some. Some of the dialogue was ridicules. Nothing was funny about them. I was just rolling my eyes every time one of them came onto the screen. I was playing angry bird by the end.
Anyone else notice that Serena has seriously been lacking this episode? She has become the Nate from last season or something. Seriously, does she still have that job? Is she still in school? What is going on with her? I rather have more of her than Charlie.
Dan you are a failure. I’m sorry but that book was a pointless storyline. I was seriously hoping I did not need to see his face at all this episode. Unfortunately he was in it so that was another thing that made this episode worst. So what, Dan is going to start spiraling downhill now because he has finally realize what we already know if him? Ugh, seriously how annoying can this guy get?
Now onto Chair…
So last episode when Blair looked like she genuinely believed his apology, all of a sudden she has one wet dream of him and now she starts questioning his motives? That is very unrealistic. What I am even angrier at is that, the duration of the kiss in the actual episode was the same as when it was in the Canadian promo. Are you kidding? Chair is not like Dair because when they kiss it is not gross, so we want to see it last. This is a huge disappointment. This episode only showed that it will be even longer before we see our epic Chair reunion because now Blair truly is focused on the wedding and Chuck has no intentions of breaking up the engagement (yet).
Even the party, as unique as it was, was very confusing.
Throughout this episode I was very confused by what the characters were talking about and just how it ended in general. It was certainly not how I want it to end. It left me too pissed off to even think about wanting to see more.
Again this was a very bad episode in my opinion.

Avatar

I can't see the promos, so could someone please tell me the youtube link to the Canadian promo. I have seen the CW promo already.

Ace

And Dan crashing next week's party... seriously?! Even if the writers have totally abandoned DAIR, what the hell are they doing to Dan? Turning him into the next Vanessa? What?!

Danielle50

I am like you in that I do not like Charlie/Ivy character and wish they would just get rid of her right now. Chuck knew what Blair was up to because Dorota told him and that is why he thank her in a text at the end.

Avatar

I think we all wanted to see Chuck and Blair kiss more! I loved Chuck continuing to look for what he thought was best for Blair but am annoyed with Blair. She actually wanted him to kiss her, was seducing him to and then does that? Now I don't get Blair and am totally Team Chuck. These two belong together but now Blair needs to grow up.

Ace

So if it's not one self-destructing behavior affecting the other, it's the other's self-destructing behavior affecting the first. Chuck tries to move on, and Blair thinks it's a scam, who then in turn, schemes herself to prove that Chuck hasn't changed. So yea, Blair and Chuck are REAL good for each other all right. This is a real healthy relationship dream come true... Seriously?

Avatar

i loved the episode

Gossip Girl Season 5 Episode 7 Quotes

Dorota: Uh oh. Mr. Chuck in dream again.
Blair: When Chuck's in them they're all nightmares.
Dorota: What he do now?
Blair: Behave like a perfect gentleman. Which makes him even more chilling. That fake apology of his has permeated my subconscious and haunts me even when I sleep.
Dorota: Apology not seem so fake to me.
Blair: That's because English is your second language!

Good morning, Upper East Siders. Or is it? We hear a certain future royal has had more than one rude awakening this week.

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl Season 5 Episode 7 Music

  Song Artist
Haunted-heart Haunted Heart Little Hurricane iTunes
Shells-of-silver Shells of Silver The Japanese Popstars iTunes
Black-hills Black Hills Gardens & Villa iTunes
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