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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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The episode overall: I have to admit I was really disappointed by it. I wasn't expecting the time-jump, I thought they would pick things where they had left them, which is at the hospital ! In the preview everyone they made it seem like it, but the episode started by Chuck and Louis running into each other in the rain. And I didn't like the fact that they started teamming up together to spy on Blair. That was weird.

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About Charlie: I don't get how Rufus and Lily weren't at least a bit suspicious... If it were me I would've tried to know more about the other Charlie, not just assume there are two Charlie in the exact SAME city ! About Serena and Dan: as much as I love them, I don't think they should be together. I mean their parents are MARRIED and they have a BROTHER in common ! That would be wrong, wouldn't it ? About Blair: her friendship with Dan is soooo sweet ! He was so good to her, I almost started wanting them to be a couple lol. But there's Chuck ! I thought that she would've accepted to marry Louis because she had been black-mailed or something, not because of God. They never really brought up this subject before that was stupid. And OMG the end was heart-breaking ! Chuck thinking Blair had finally came to her senses and her telling him that it's over...

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Chuck and Louis don't care about Blair at all. They were both willing to out her for her "alleged" affair with Dan. I mean, come on. Are they both really that petty? At least Dan just wants the best for her. That girl needs to get her priorities straight.

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@gemsybear So totally with you chuck, Dan and Louis should tell her where to go. They all want this woman really??

Geelightning

* I meant OBVIOUS, not serious in my previous comment. :D

Geelightning

1. Why would Blair promise that to God in the first place? In the beginning I was like IS BLAIR SERIOUS? Until I thought about all of it after watching and I realized it was a moment of desperation, and even if it sounds ridiculous on the surface, she can't take a chance on something happening to Chuck. She'd forever feel like she's the reason for it and she'd blame herself forever. But even if I get now where she's coming from, I highly doubt God reasons the way we do as humans so I guess it's safe to say Blair's "promise" to God isn't understood by God in the same terms Blair does and that we'll never know what happens after we make the choice we make and that's part of the whole mystery of God... and of life. 2. Dan's feelings for Blair were majorly glossed over. 3. Can Serena be more serious about her being hung up on Dan? LOL.

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didnt hate this episode just how much blairs deal with god irritated me and how she has to still stay with louis when she doesnt even love him. nate and the charlie storylines are the most interesting storylines in the show right now shocking since the least storyline id expect to enjoy the most would be nates . dan and serena were cute wish it wasnt as fake as they made even tho it is a fake relationship. loved chuck as usual and as much as i love blair/chair i kinda wish chuck would tell her where to go. cos seriously for a woman whos just lost her baby n nearly the man she loves she should be following her heart or at least grieving on her own not messing with both chuck and louis feelings, shes already messed with chucks head it'll be louis heart she'll be breaking on their wedding day. but im not giving up on this show or chair hope to see better episodes:)

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Okay, one more thing, I don't know if they avoided the baby plot on purpose, but REALLY?! I didn't like the baby thing, but they never used it properly either ! At least like other people said, had they ddone the "we cannot be together because I feel guilty I lost Louis' baby", woulda made more sense ! And ivy telling Rufus about her true identity wan't even mentionned properly...

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What can we do to get Penn to cut his hair? Last I heard, his Buckley movie was finished filming. So, what gives?

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there is a interview with ed on E news check it out! Its with Kristin on Jan,13