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!


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.


I liked Chuck and Blair and the rest I just didn't care enough about to comment.


LMAO! I agree with @cc. Loved the moments leading up to the Chair kiss. Ed and Leighton have *insane* sexual chemistry. It's undeniable. I'm fanning myself just thinking about those two. But the last thing I wanted was for the director to cut away to Dorota watching them. So hot but waaaaay too short. *shakes fist at GG directors* I am really loving what the writers are doing with Chuck this season. I haven't felt his love for Blair this clearly in a long time. Not since early S3. Blair was kind of silly but this is Blair in denial. She acts a little crazy and irrational when she can't handle reality so I'm not surprised. It's obvious she still loves Chuck but she is scared of trusting him so she needs to believe he's a lost cause and will never change. Classic Blair. The Diana/Nate/Ivy/Ivy Boyfriend/Serena mix was a little confusing but I enjoyed the obvious chemistry between Nate and Ivy. It would be nice to see Nate finally get a girl that loves him first since Blair will always love Chuck most and Serena will always love Dan most. Plus like I said, they have chemistry. Nice kiss!


Ok so I finally watched it. I have to say, the kiss was ok but I'm gonna have to watch it again or something because it was either too short or excesively hyped, or maybe what ruined it for me was the leading up to the kiss. Some fans have commented they felt like Blair was throwing herself at him, I don't think this would be the right description but I get why they felt that, I mean her seduction tactic was too obvious, seriously what happened with subtlety? She mentioned nape of the neck, something about being too warm and something about the ice that I couldn't get, one thing after the other with no pause, like she was running a race or something, was she on a time crunch that I'm not aware of? She should suspect something was wrong the minute he didn't questioned about her random talk about all these things, because old Chuck certainly would have said something about it. I actually enjoyed more their scene at the pond, even the dog had some action there. Blair was totally wrong at the end, very childlish, before that she was so out of control that Serena took notice and tried to guide her, but she was balistic. Dan being depressed about the success or lack thereoff of the book... I don't find it unrealistic, but I do feel it could have been developed more, like in 3 chapters instead of a jump from one chapter to the other. Serena being so cold in that brief interactiong with skype Dan, was kinda amazing acting wise, I know in TWOP they are gonna love that, "Dark Fenix" Serena. Rufus talking to Dan was the most motivated I have seen him in a while, it was kind of awesome. I'm not actually that annoyed by the Diana/Nate/Ivy and the rest arc. I do feel like Diana succeded in part because of luck, not just her manipulations. She was lucky enough that Max appeared out of nowhere and thought of showing up at her office because that allowed her to put everything in motion to not only keep Nate but to get Serena do what she wanted. But if Max hadn't showed up in NYC or in her office for all that matters, I can see her finding a way to deal with the Nate problem, but the Serena problem is another ballgame and there she would have had to wrack her way for a way to solve it or loosing on that end, because I can't see how she would have solved it quickly, Serena already had a foot out of the job. Like others, I think the Grandfather thing is a good twist but I also agree is a little creepy, still I could believe that this whole thing is for Nate's benefit (in a weird plot that would need to be explained) but I really don't see right now why Serena is necessary in all these. Maybe the Grandfather wants to: a) set up Serena to be his grandson's wife? or b) completely ruin Serena to avoid her being the future wife of his grandson? Because right now this could go either way. They either want to destroy Gossip Girl for Serena and Nate's benefit as a future political couple a la "Trip and Maureen", or they want to start a war with Gossip Girl only with the real goal of leave Serena's reputation in such state that she can no longer be a viable choice for Nate. If this is not the idea I just don't get the idea. I actually felt sorry for Charlie/Ivy at the end, but my reason is: what kind of family life did this girl have, that she clings so stronly to this crazy enviroment, even if she could end up in jail? She's moved by the affection that Serena and the others show her to such a degree that she's willing to risk her freedom to stay and enjoy this family warm. Makes you think she had a horrible family life, or maybe even no much family at all.


I liked Chuck and Blair. I hated he set her free again but he's still being awesome in the process. I hated Blair thought he couldn't change and I was surprised Dorota helped him. I just have to keep remembering when Chuck and Blair are together again it will be worth it. Serena needs more interaction with Blair and people I care about.
Nate and Ivy couls be interesting but I'll have to play it by ear. Nate is so pretty the first encounter with he and a woman are misleading at times.
Dan- GTFO. You bore me to tears.


VAMPIRE DIARIES WOULD HAVE ROCKED THOSE STAGES! I'm just saying that GG can edit one hell of a good promo. I'll give them that... the rest of the episode? Mmmeeehhh... With those stages, they could have done something more...


when are they just going to put chuck and blair together and let them be happy? my heart can’t take much more of this.they love each other and should be together.


YAY!!!!! Duck is back!!!!!! oh how I love them!!!
At the first promo I thought that it's going to be another great GG funny episode.. you know, classic.. but the Canadian kinda blew that out my window.. "I told you to get some ass.." lol. Chuck helping Dan is like the best thing ever.
Last time Dan was drunk he was at a party with blair 8) and ended up sleeping with G! So this one has to be just as good! Can't wait!


The episode was a mixed bag for me. While I liked and enjoyed the Chuck and Blair scenes, I wasn't as interested in the other characters as I wanted to be. I love Serena and her story line seemed too supportive for me. She is a main and I wish the writers would treat her as such. Here is a quick run down of what I enjoyed and didn't: Chuck and Blair.While Blair was instead determined to prove Chuck was insincere about his apology, all she shows me was she is not over my favorite Basshole (which made me happy). Her attitude was more about her feelings not really how Chuck had behaved recently because Chuck has been more than upstanding lately. I really enjoyed her stalking him because that was vintage Blair and Chuck and it was fun to see that side of Blair again. What confused me is why Blair would go to these lengths to prove Chuck is so terrible. I think, even though, Chuck did set her up, she was all too willing to believe Chuck cannot change from the get go. I don't think Blair should have acted this way as someone who is engaged but she was determined, I suppose. Chuck has simply been the bright spot of this year for me. His selfless act this episode really made my heart melt and I wanted to hug him. He's putting Blair's needs and what he thinks she wants so far ahead of his own. Tonight, as Gossipgirl said, Chuck is wearing that villain's mask hiding who he is becoming now- a very decent man.I just think Chuck will get his happy ending with Blair after all this pain. Nate and Serena are getting played left and right by Diana. I understand her getting Serena to take Gossip Girl down but I also think Diana has the resources to do that herself. Then again, if Serena can do it then I'll cheer her on. GG has given she and her friends misery. I do still feel this is a wasted plot for Serena but I admire her working and achieving things and not running around planning a wedding to a very dull man. Diana is kind of intriguing but not to the point of her hogging up my screen for so long. I do wonder what her past is and why is she working for Nate's grandfather? What does he want from Nate that he can't just ask him for? Diana's past is still hanging out there and that connection to Chuck is as well so a lot went unanswered for me. Nate and Ivy were actually endearing. I think they actually have a little chemistry so I'm interested in where that pairing will go. Dan pitying himself was just typical "woe to me" Dan. I don't understand why he's depressed if he was on the best seller list but I really didn't care or think about his plot alot. It just was not something that made a difference and it was a throw away plot from my take.


i liked the episode but not much. it was somewhat confusing especially the nate-diana-serena-ivy-grandfather storyline. what is clear to me is that grandfather was using diana to rehab nate's image (seriously?!), diana was using ivy to get serena to write a blog for the spectator but what i don't understand is why serena's an important part of this puzzle? next, is the ex-boyfriend max. i have to say that he is really hot and seems like a good person. it looks like he's the new love interest for serena and i hope it works out. i wish that serena could fall for him like she did with dan because i think serena deserves to have a new love. thrid, i was surprised at the blair-dorota-chuck scheme. i didn't expected dorota to do that. but while watching blair being in denial about chuck's change as a man its obvious that she is still in love with him. and the kiss..OMG it was great but short..


I love GG! I thought this episode was suppose to be super OMG. The only thing I like about the episode was the party scenery. I am team Chair but the storyline involving the kiss made no sense.

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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