Gossip Girl Review: The End and the Beginning

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After a startling cliffhanger and an excruciatingly long hiatus, Gossip Girl returned tonight with an episode that caught us up on what the characters have been up to since Blair went "Riding in Town Cars With Boys."

Continuing the season's dark tone, this evening's installment was an unconventional one by any measure. A time jump transported us from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, leaving flashbacks to fill in the blanks.

Did it make for an effective, compelling story? Yes and no.

Blair in Her Wedding Dress

The episode did improve as the night went on, culminating in a heartbreaking Chair scene for the ages. An intriguing new character was introduced, as were new twists to several existing plot lines.

The problem was that the bulk of this much-anticipated chapter was predicated on mystery that was a letdown at best and highly dubious at worst. Blair can't be with Chuck because of that? Seriously?

"Just because we can't be together, doesn't mean I don't love you."

Yes, she may still change her mind, and "The End of the Affair" may become the beginning of something greater - the fairy tale we all hope is coming. The past hour offered little resolution, however.

Watching Leighton Meester utter the above quote at both points in the episode was as believable as it gets. Sadly, the writing surrounding it was not; rather, it was at times both predictable and unsatisfying.

Obviously, B knows that modern medicine saved Chuck and not her plea for divine intervention. But as Serena said, why punish herself as a result? What's really holding her back right now? Nada.

Especially now that he's become such a wonderful person in her mind, and she's so unhappy with the man she's marrying in two weeks that she tells him virtually nothing about her life? Ever?

How is that the right decision, even if Louis is a good guy (which is highly debatable after Mr. Mad Computer Skills tried to out Blair and Dan's non-relationship at the Spectator New Year's party)?

It's obvious she doesn't want to marry Louis, and longs for Chuck. B is really deluding herself and everyone else at this point. Come on B. We know you've been through a lot, but pull it together!

Chuck and Louis as such close allies after all that transpired between them? A bit of a stretch, despite their shared goal. Dan's involvement in the faux-affair also felt forced and a little unnecessary.

Let me go on record saying that their friendship is awesome. I love Dan and Blair's banter and how close they've become in the past year. But the sneaking around felt like an unnecessary plot device.

Seriously, how awesome would it have been to see an actual Dair affair? Or at least some palpable romantic tension? Even if it was only on Dan's end? Alas. Just the Muppet helping facilitate B's bizarre shadiness.

Finally, the fact that Blair simply lost the baby was sort of phoned in. That didn't even play into her misery throughout this ordeal? It could've been implied, but there was nary a mention? Oh well.

Chuck Looking On

The saving grace is that Chuck isn't buying any of this either.

Dan and Serena's last-minute save - which actually somehow made sense in the context of so many things that didn't - explained Dair's creeping around ... sort of. But why was Chuck ostracized?

He will use everything in his power to find out. His words.

You've got until January 30, big guy, and we expect big things, in large part to make up for the spotty writing of this up-and-down episode. Dair and Chair both getting short-changed? Not a fan.

A brief rundown of what else happened tonight ...

  • Dan and Serena are totes in love! Well, maybe not yet. She's still hung up on him, clearly, and perhaps, if Blair and Chuck are truly meant to be, Serena and her Brooklyn Muppet will be too
  • Nate is The Man. The female members of our Gossip Girl Round Table will likely be swooning over the Spectator Editor-in-Chief's new take-charge businessman-with-integrity persona.
  • Nate is a target. Not everyone's a fan, though. With so much focus on Chair, it was a genuine surprise to learn that Nate was supposed to be in the town car with its brakes de-pressurized.
  • Gossip Girl is the missing link! A modern day, Blackberry-loving Deep Throat, G.G. holds the clues to the scandal. Will she reveal it - and herself - as Nate uncovers the truth!?
  • Serena is Gossip Girl 2.0, with a conscience! We'll see how long that last.
  • The real Charlie Rhodes! It was only a matter of time until she surfaced, but I didn't think it would happen so soon. Of course, Rufus and Lily didn't put this together just yet. Did Carol know Real Charlie was at Julliard this whole time? And how long before Chivy and her breathy voice return to tell more convoluted lies?
  • Rufus and Lily are cute. Too bad we didn't get to see the karaoke scene. Or thank goodness.
  • Eric and Jenny got a mention. Written off the show, but not the family. Good to know.
  • Penn Badgley will not get a haircut. The curls are off the hook. Fight the power.

All in all, the 2012 debut gave us a lot to discuss, even if it wasn't all positive, and piqued our curiosity going forward. Here's hoping that "The End of the Affair" is the beginning of something better.

Before we turn it over to your comments, here's next week's promo ...

What did you think of the winter premiere of Gossip Girl? Discuss below!

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.1 / 5.0 (983 Votes)

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

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“DETROIT IS A MACHINE ( An epilogue to Detroit (While I Was Away) and a poem of minrnoug for Blair, Mary Herbeck, and 5’58 Premiyum)� Why do I lament you friend?Maybe I hardly even knew youThough now your all too familiarLike the last meal I had at Tom’s Coney IslandShades of a discarded cut-rate styrofoam meal trayLeft crumpled on a curbUnsettling de9je0 vuThe bus teeters down Schoolcraft rolling over itAnd the wind carries it awayWe were drivenDriven by moreOur routes took usOn separate pathsYou to 9 mile ,I to MackNow and then we’d cross each other meeting backAcquainting each other with old factsIt was summer one hot summerThere you sat at the David Adamany library.I wondered how you could even breatheYou seem so exhausted from this rock’s heatAs sweat beads slid down my browLittle did I know that was the last time I’d see you.A premonition of the end by peradventureThough life carried on I watched you seamlessly succeed at constructing the Manoogian Mansion of your own designA fountainhead risen from the ash heaps of the motor citylike Guyton, like Ross, like Coleman, Ryder, McCoy, Fredericks, Washington ,Lindbergh and Bonds all manufactured from an assembly line of dreamsDetroit built usDetroit is a machine.by Harlan Lovestone

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...Thanks for ruining a show thousands of people love.

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even if it had been, it there would be no reason for Dan sneeking aroung with Blair all the time, so even that wouldn't have been a satisfing answer. But dear writer Sara Goodman decided to make the plot even worse than it already seemed: A scanadlously disappointing flash back without even a great intro or outro to it. I seriously felt ridiculed by this horribly stupid revelation, this incredibly dumb climax that was so immensly out of character for Blair. Even if she was the religious, naive, atoning type it would have been the worst excuse EVER to make it look like she didn't love Chuck anymore and went out with Dan. A make-believe that wasn't even in the least bit successful! What is wrong with Dear Goodman? Has she never even read a good book or watched a good show before? This is NOT good writing, not even mediocre. It's the worst piece of pardon me but there is no better word for it - shit I have ever watched on a show like Gossip Girl. Thanks for ruining a show thousands of people love.

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Your article touched on the bad writing, but not even nearly made clear how horribly bad it actually was. I sat there WINCING through every scene. Why?
Firstly the whole feel of the episode was completely unlike gossip girl, starting from chuck walking through the rain and COINCIDENTALLY running into that prince. What kind of lame excuse is that for a meeting with Blair and a heart-to-heart with the prince? A 12-year-old's writing style if you ask me.
But more importantly, we have the whole make-it-look-like-an-affair between B&D storyline. Can anybody think of a person who didn't see through that bullshit? It was so obviously fake and leading to a "big revelation why B can't be with C" that I wanted to puke. The only thing that kept me from punking was the hope that it had something to do with B's grief after loosing her baby, which would have been perfectly reasonable after all that has happend, necessary even, and I saw a spark of that at the dress fitting scene, but no. And even if it had been, it there would be no reason for Dan sneeking aroung with Blair all the time, so even that wouldn't have been a satisfing answer. But dear writer S Goodman decided to make the plot even worse than it already seemed: A scanadlously disappointing flash back without even a great intro or outro to it. I seriously felt ridiculed by this horribly stupid revelation, this incredibly dumb climax that was so immensly out of character for B. Even if she was the religious, naive, atoning type it would have been the worst excuse EVER to make it look like she didn't love Chuck anymore and went out with Dan. A make-believe that wasn't even in the least bit successful! What is wrong with Dear Goodman? Has she never even read a good book or watched a good show before? This is NOT good writing, not even mediocre. It's the worst piece of pardon me but there is no better word for it - shit I have ever watched on a show like Gossip Girl. Thanks for ruining a show thousands of people love.

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why can't they just be together??! after all, they've been through a lot and i think that's enough reason for them to be together.

Amygirl

@Kenley But, Chuck would have been alive before she started praying. A nurse doesn't just magically pop up (in seconds) to tell you the good news. It still is faulty. If Blair started praying perhaps half an hour before Chuck was better, than I could excuse some of its silliness.

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I love the episode. I don't care if that's the reason why Blair choose not to be with Chuck. It sucks that most of the viewers here can't believe there is a bigger thing than people. Blair herself said that to Chuck, "There are more powerful things than you." Yeah Blair was not religious, but she never lost a child before. No one can understand why such an event could change a person unless you're a parent yourself. I totally get why Blair suddenly became religious, because she just lost her child, and she cannot lose Chuck right now, and she would believe her promise with God to keep him alive. But Serena was right though, why would God want Blair not to be with the person she loves? Religious points aside, I love the start of this year. The opening of the episode fell flat though. I thought Chuck was hallucinating that scene with Louis. But I can't wait what will happen in the next episodes. And that GG was the one texting Nate all along. =)

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3 stars? Really. I'd give it -1000000000000000000000000 stars. It was worst episode. EVER

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All I can say is that that episode was the biggest pile of elephant droppings I have ever seen and who ever wrote it should be fired immediately. That is all. Thank you.

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First of all i agree with most ppl who have said that their are holes on this episode, but but hte episode wasnt that horrible.... GG is known for building up....wat do u expect them to do, tell u every detail in ONE episode?? I UNDERSTOOD the whole charlie scene and faithful followers should too....anyway my whole point is that this episode isn as bad is most of u state it is that is is it.......

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