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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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You know what's sad? Watching some old episodes of this show and then watching recent ones. Ooof, it's like a punch to the gut. It's really unfortunate to see a show that you once loved turn into a total piece of $#!*.

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sorry for the multiple comments, but it wouldn't let me submit one long blurb, 1000 character limit :(

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As a side note, I love Dan, he's just so kind. He's crazy about Blair, but knows that's not what she wants or needs and is just being a supportive, good friend. I would like him to get a haircut though! Also, it's nice to see Serena acting more down to earth, I loved how she stood up for Blair and acted like a good friend. Louis trying to expose the affair was crap, he said no more scheming, but that lasted for nano second. Chuck is fun to watch as normal. Nate is just vanilla to me and the Charlie plot line held no surprises.

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Also, when Chuck and Louis wanted to find out what she was doing, she was willing to let them think she was having an affair with Dan and then when Louis asks her why there is distance she says she's converting to be a Catholic. Why couldn't she have used that excuse from the get go? Just say I've been hanging out with Dan because he's helping me in being converted, it's supposed to be a surprise, that's why we were sneaking around. Also, why they bought that Dan was sneaking around with BLAIR meant that he was dating SERENA is beyond me. There would be pictures of him and Serena together then, not pictures of him and Blair. That excuse made no sense and I couldn't believe that lie was just accepted. I feel like although I still find this show entertaining, there is quite a bit of sloppy writing and holes in the plot, they need to really think about how they explain things and tie them together.

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I overall liked this episode but a few of the plots points had holes in them or could have been explained better. For example, Blair make the pact with God and then sees the cab almost hit Chuck and is freaked out. Why wouldn't they mention the fact that she chose Chuck and then gets in an accident and loses the baby as God "punishing" her for not marrying Louis. She could then feel guilty and want to repent for the loss of the child.

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Every once in a while, I'll come back to this show and hope it's gotten better, and I have to saw after watching this episode, Oh My Goodness this show Suuuuuuuucks. Lazy writing. Pandering to the Chair shippers. I can't even defend or justify watching this slop, anymore to my boyfriend. Gross.

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so what was up with the whole Jack Bass/ Diana phone conversation at the end of, "Riding in the Town Car with Boys"? Why didn't Gossip Girl touch on that in this episode?

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I meant *credulity!

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From being an avid GG fan I think one should now watch this show only if one has NOTHING better to do! I mean how patient can one be hoping the story goes somewhere and how darn useless can GG writers be - uninspired and unoriginal and taking GG fans for a ride. The GG guy was quoted as saying somewhere that things are always unpredictable, and that even if things end a certain way, there is no guarantee they will remain that way and that the characters may soon change their mind again. I know that the GG characters were never in the steady, steadfast category but still they at least acted with some rhyme and reason .This guy's words seem to indicate that the writers just plan to make changes willy nilly with not even an attempt at realism. We should teach them a lesson by boycotting this show if they continue to stretch our levels of patience and incredulity.

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i believe Blair herself once said "Signs are for the religious, the superstitious, and the lower class. I don't believe in them and neither should you". Now isn't this a little hypocritical? This show needs to end, they are wasting the time of an amazing group of actors and actresses. Specifically Leighton, who is so much better than what Blair has become. Everything was predictable, and a terrible episode in general. Once again, Ed and Leighton's acting put some life into the show, what a waste oftheir chemistry with such a pathetic plot. Pray to God Georgina saves this show.