Gossip Girl Review: The End and the Beginning

by at . Comments

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
  • 2.5 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
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.

Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook

Want more Gossip Girl?

Sign up for our daily newsletter and receive the latest tv news delivered to your inbox for free!

More From TV Fanatic

Searching-for-eleanor

The Bridge Review: Butterflies

On tonight's The Bridge, the search for Eleanor continues. Will she kill again before she's found?
Telling-john

Extant Review: More Believable Than The Truth

On Extant, Molly reveals her pregnancy to John. However, Sparks' story isn't exactly a plausible explanation.
Paige-is-undercover

Graceland Review: Angels and Demons

On Graceland, Mike, Briggs and the team pull out all the stops to get Paige back. Read our review of "The Unlucky One" to find out if they were successful.
Isolation

Suits Review: Another You Problem

On Suits, Rachel and Jessica's life choices seep their way into the business of the men in their lives, some of which only cause more problems. Read out review of "Litt the Hell Up."

Avatar

@gabis As far as I remember, the car switch up was accidental. Nate offered them his car, and Blair said she had her own waiting, and they just got into the wrong ones. And regarding Charlie, I'm assuming she's never actually met Lily before because Carol kept her away. That being said, the plot to this episode had more holes than a leaky sieve. Blair finding religion? Louis not realizing she got into an accident with Chuck because she was running away with him? Neither Dan nor Serena trying hard enough to talk sense into her? Chuck teaming up with Louis even though they have the exact opposite objective? Dan going with Blair to church? Blair making a pact with God to stay away from Chuck but refusing to explain it to him? Okay, that part actually makes sense, because she probably knows Chuck would be like "are you for real?" and then have sex with her on a piano. Seriously though... so many holes. I was embarrassed for this episode.

Avatar

I'm still trying to digest this convoluted, plotholed episode. The questions I have in my mind right now are:
1. Did the real Charlie Rhodes have amnesia or something? Sure, it's been a long time, but seriously, not even the smallest recollection of Lilly?
2. As far as I remember, Nate himself suggested the car switch with Chair on the previous episode. So how come, when he learned the accident wasn't caused by the paparazzi, he didn't immediately think it was meant to hurt him?

Sanaa185

and yes the miscarriage should have been addressed better. we got to see blair be sad for like 5 seconds and then it's almost as if it never happened. that's just insulting. miscarriage is a big deal, and if they want to write about it then they have to do it right. blair should be SHOWN mourning, it shouldn't just be understood by the audience that she is mourning off-screen. dair affair would be horrible. hope they never go there.

Sanaa185

the only good thing about this episode was the derena rekindling. really hope serena is able to remind dan that he's supposed to be in love with her and not blair because derena is, and always has been, BELIEVABLE. the pact with God is lame. and stupid. and not blair at all. hell it's just not GG. i hope they get over this soon. if this is seriously the best way they could think of to keep chuck and blair apart, then it means it's time for them to throw in the towel and just GET THEM TOGETHER. they are so meant to be and this is a lame, CONTRIVED AS HELL, obstacle. all it would take for them to get past it would be for blair to remember that, oh wait, SHE'S NOT RELIGIOUS.

Avatar

let me guess at the wedding Blair has another crisis of commitment and runs back to Chuck how orignal!!
this show has officially jumped the shark

Avatar

WOW this. show. SUCKS!! oh my goodness *YAWN* BORINGGGGGG CHEEEESYYYYYYYYYYYY When in the world did blair turn all religious...her reason for not being with chuck is like the DUMBEST thing ive heard in my life...and im sick of that prince louis guy...go get a life loser ur marriage is ending b4 it has even begun...and dan could you please stop following blair and serena around like a little puppy dog.....oh my god i cant take anymore of this crap. someone put this show out of its misery!

Avatar

Sorry, only 1000 characters! Continuing on: I saw Erica mentioning something along the lines of "Didn't Blair say signs are for the religious, the superstitious, and the lower class. I don't believe in them and neither should you." This reflects how far Blair has come. She has just lost a baby after all, possibly suffering from PTSD and not in the right mind to make any rational decisions. SO AS GOSSIP GIRL FANS, all you have to do will just have to WAIT AND SEE. After all, do you expect them both to get together, be happy, and it be a boring pointless show from them on? Get a grip!!!!!!

Avatar

I think to all the critics, all of you are expecting what GG was - Them being in HIGH SCHOOL. I suppose this dark turn isn't well received by most. Blair turning to religion in a situation like this is not unusual, and if a "miracle" does happen RIGHT after she makes a promise to god, you can't help but to question the power of the universe. I'm not Christian, but I am Buddhist. When I watched this episode, I thought it was very smart when Blair says to Chuck there is something out there more powerful than him. Goes to show her thinking is WAY above everyone else's, and Blair is the only one who gets the whole "divine wholeness" and "power of the univerise" ideas.

Avatar

Things got dark and worse because they took the "End of the Affair" reference a little too far. If you guys watch / just google the Julianne Moore / Raplh Fiennes movie, you will understand. And I feel bothered it wasn't credited at all in the script, like they do in most reference attempts to A.Hepburn movies. :( Also, the pact with God works perfectly and profoundly in the ORIGINAL MOVIE, because the whole story line was built on it but for Gossip Girl? Gosh. I cannot even. What a lame mockery of a profound metaphysical piece. :(

Avatar

Totally agree...SERIOUSLY, was the first thing that came on to my mind...what a shame of an episode!