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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My friend says that Diana might be Chuck's half sister...

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Chuck and Blair's kiss scene was electric. He really conveyed a voracious desire for her when he went in for that kiss. And that noise she made when he kissed her? That was not a noise of opposition.

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I'm beginning to like the Chivy/Nate/Max/Serena storyline. In fact, that was the highlight of this episode. I never thought I'd say this, but the Blair scenes were boring. I feel like ever since the writers decided to do a 180 and bring back the Chuck/Blair drama, the show started to downhill. It's a strange turn of events, because Chair was definitely the driving force in the first 2-3 seasons. Dan used to be the boring one that I would fast-forward, but now I've really missed him in the past two episodes. Sorry folks, but I think that we really need some Dair, or at the very least some more Duck or Date....

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Anybody who thought the show was going to get better is either naive or still hasn't figured out how things work in this business. If the former, check yourself into a zoo... :-) If the latter, record the show instead of watching it live, then fast-forward through a whole episode within 3 minutes, and spend the rest of the hour doing something useful in your life other than watching sugar-coated garbage. The show got wrecked 2 seasons ago and they've been beating a dead horse ever since.

Jeca

ahhhh, there are so many things in this show SO BORING AND STUPID,so apparently everyone is stupid or to similar to the others in masks,serena is working on ? even she is so boring that has nothing to write about,nate is tired of been a boytoy but he goes and pushes charlie after getting dump 100 times by her so he can be her boytoy but diana plays him( 102545200 time)again,
and he is ok,blair is so selfish that is so imposible for her to comprehend chuck is actually changing and better without her too,dan's storyline is DEAD.how long did this one last? 4, 5 eps?
and the biggest discover,grandfather is the hand behind diana , why serena is in the plan?rehabilitated nate's image? maybe is such an achievement to put nate to work .........BORING, writers should put themselfs to watch REVENGE or some other great shows with pretty,rich and evil people.

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The only thing good about that episode was the passionate Chair kiss. But it's sad that a one second kiss was the hottest thing on Gossip Girl this season. Pathetic. The writers need to end this BLouis nonsense immediately. They also need to do something with Dan because his ridiculous pity party annoyed the crap out of me. Loved Chuck though. His redemption story is the only thing good this season. I hope the CW tells Safran he needs to wrap the show up due to the crummy ratings. Stop dragging out Chair and Derena and give us Navy. This show is on it's last legs. Stick a fork in it it is done. They destroyed GG when they decided to destroy Chair the second half of S3. It's had a few good moments since then like the Paris episodes but in general it's been terrible.

Magnus

Oh my god, what a boring episode! Have about 9 minutes left to watch but I must express my opinion so I can gather strength and then try to continue.
It's like watching paint dry!

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The only defense I can think of for Blair's actions is that she is pregnant and from experience, I know that being prego can mess with your hormones and consequently your emotions/actions.

Sanaa185

loved the chair kiss

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chair kiss was awesome.

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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