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
  • 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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i am truely disappointed with this episode... with the whole plot this season actually & last season. swear they need to get better writers. such a waste. a complete waste. the writers r completely ruining gossip girl.

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at this point... chuck is suffering.
dan is suffering.
louis is being led on & is in for some major heartbreak & embarrassment when blair does leave him.
blair is unhappy.
serena is just there...
i'm actually interested in nate's story & charlie's story... i wanna know what's going on with them. but as far as blair & all he love triangle's go... it's getting boringgg monotonous... the writers r drawwwwwwing this thing out too long. it's like we know at the wedding blair is gonna leave louis & be with chuck... wooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww... what's the point of watching if u know what's gonna happen????????????? no point at all.

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i mean this entire episode was predictable. at first, i have to admit, i was getting a little suspicious that dan & blair may really be having an affair but it was a major letdown when i found out they weren't. does blair really need someone to walk her to church???????? she used to go by herself in the first season when she was a she-devil. also, it seems like such a pathetic attempt to get rid of the baby... effective but pathetic. that whole plotline couldve been used alot better. i mean the queen B being pregnant in the first place was such a huge deal & they downplayed it until the very last episode last yr & got rid of it the very first episode this year. such a waste. i expected the writers to allow chuck & blair to continue having an affair... but major scheming involved in trying to get out of the wedding... like setting up louis to give blair an excuse to get away from him. something anything

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i absolutely hated this episode. my only reason for watching this show anymore is out of loyalty to the show & leighton meester.

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This is crazy that they are using God to keep Chuck and Blair apart. If the writers don't know how to write Chuck and Blair together than they don't need to be writing at all and just find another job. I think I'm done with this show. They are ruining Blair by having her so indecisive, and she can't choose which man to be with. They're turning her into Serena, and I don't want to be around to see it. I used to love Blair so much, but not anymore.

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They could of atleast made some sort of montage of Blair's mourning, not eating not talking to anyone, crying, looking weak just a bit so we atleast get the idea that she cared for the baby. The religion plot is abit OTT and definately feels forced. Its much more realistic if Blair chose to be with Louis because she felt like she had infact lost HIS child and she has the connection with him and wants to honour that. GRRRRR. Although I am happy the real Charlie is her, but from what Carol said earlier I thought something terrible happened to her?

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This show is but a shell of itself. I didn't like this episode and the fact that they literally copied a movie and it's music and stuck it in as a plot on GG is baffling. I was miffed at why they would waste not showing Blair have a breakdown over her child and I was even more annoyed with the fact that the never-endi ng obstacles between Chuck and Blair continue. I think Ed and Leighton Meester are the only thing good about this rotting carcass of a show. It's sad that I used to love this show and now the writers have killed so much I loved about it. I'll watch again if Chuck and Blair get back together. Until then, it's not worth a second of my time

Tvjunkie

Exactly, @ Mary. I'm a Catholic myself and that isn't what the religion teaches. That whole thing just felt too forced. They really should've just used the miscarriage as a reason. In the beginning I thought that's why Blair was the way she is. But after that explanation (through the flashback), it kinda seemed like she didn't care so much anymore about the miscarriage.

Dr-hollis

As a religious person (Protestant, not Catholic), I TOTALLY agree with everything Mary said. At this point, if I don't get my Chair reunion in the 100th episode, I'm done with this show. After the last interview with Safran saying the love triangle will become a love SQUARE, looks like I've got 2 more eps before I'm out. I must say that I've never loved Serena more. She's the ONLY main character who's not wildly OOC right now.

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I love gossip girl..i have been watching it from the begining although i live in greece and i am a huge fan of chair! but let's face it.... the show should better end this season-no more!it is becoming more and more stupid- the plot the dialogues-most of the characters have become negligible and weakened(except for blair-until this season anyway)i am more and more dissapointed an i am sad for that. i m just waiting until the wedding episode. if it also sucks like all this season i sure gonna drop it...