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Gossip Girl Review: Unlikely Alliances

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Monday's Gossip Girl was the 99th installment since the show's debut (all the way back in September 2007) and the final one before the royal wedding / 100th episode spectacular we've had circled on our calendars forever.

The question, especially after "The End of the Affair" last week, was whether "Father and the Bride" would be mostly light-hearted filler or raise the stakes with any dramatic developments leading into next week.

In terms of the central storyline, not a lot changed. Chuck came into tonight determined to find out why Blair is shutting him out. He got nowhere until the closing moments, when an unlikely ally joined his side.

Nate formed an unexpected partnership of his own discovered the truth about the accident courtesy of a quid pro quo with Gossip Girl. After one fake firing of Serena and a little subterfuge, Trip was outed as the perp.

Blair, meanwhile, was manipulated by Beatrice, got absolutely plastered with the bridge and tunnel people of N.Y., ended up in a Sixth Precinct holding cell, but ended the night on a happy note ... for the wrong reasons.

Yes, Louis and his ghostwriter Dan may be the most surprising duo of all.

Blair's Bachelorette Party

CELEBRATE! It took 99 episodes, but an African-American guy was spotted on Gossip Girl!

While the episode certainly kept us guessing, had its share of comedic moments and did a reasonable job of advancing the stories, it still stretched the limits of believability and was rather uneven at times.

The motives of Father Cavallia are the hardest to believe/understand. It's not that a corrupt priest is implausible, but he wants to sabotage the wedding to ... maintain his spot on the royal court? Really? We care why?

Shows work best when you get to know characters over time - at least long enough to understand how they operate and why, so they don't have to rush an explanation of their actions in 30 seconds of thrown-together dialogue.

Cavallia and Beatrice's scheme to stop the nuptials came out of left field and felt forced as a result. I know Blair needed a push to get tanked and Chuck needed a conduit for information, but this was very spotty writing.

The bachelorette party was a fun time, don't get me wrong.

How can you not love Blair Waldorf reminiscing about her exes, slurring in her outdoor voice, dropping her guard and uncomfortably grinding on a bunch of dudes better suited for Jersey Shore than Gossip Girl?

This could've been accomplished without Beatrice's goal of getting Blair to humiliate herself, though. Why not let her have a real bachelorette party with Serena in tow, minus the unnecessary - and ultimately ineffectual - plotting?

All very strange. Entertaining, but strange. Heading into the wedding, we're pretty much right where we started this evening, save for Chuck becoming the priest's new apprentice and Louis enlisting ... Dan!

Typical Humphrey, confessing his true feelings for Blair in such a way that he doesn't have to own them. Come on Dan. Hopefully before Louis reads any of those heartfelt vows, their true author is revealed.

Presumably, Blair is somewhat familiar with Dan's writing, and clearly she and Louis don't share the connection she has with Dan. Or Chuck. Wouldn't she be the slightest bit suspicious?

Maybe I'm nitpicking. In any case, as much as I enjoy Chuck creeping around Blair and pretending to shop for velour track pants, I can't wait to see things come to a head next Monday.

Chuck Creepin'

CREEPIN': Charles doesn't stand out whatsoever as he lurks by the Juicy Couture store.

On a (slightly) less confusing note, Nate made a deal with the devil herself and came out on top. We talked last week in our Round Table about how we love take-charge, CEO Nate, and he stepped up again tonight.

Despite being born rich, handsome and charming, it's not easy being Archibald. Who knew he had it in him, now only going toe-to-toe with GG and outwitting Trip, but standing up to The Grandfather?

Breaking out of his family's shadow has been huge for him, and hopefully it continues. With enough investor capital, he may be able to buy his freedom, so to speak, from the influence of his relatives.

Even if "S By S" was disappointing as a column name, Serena proved she brings plenty to the table as Nate's right-hand woman, with her writing (!) and other attributes. I'm loving this duo. Professionally that is.

Intertwined with Nate's mission to expose Trip was her fake relationship with Dan, which he wanted to end so publishers would be interested in having him write something else besides a sequel to Inside.

Which was the book that put him on the map in the first place. Just saying.

You might as well just embrace it for one more book if you're the Hump. Serena proved at the end that she's not letting her faux beau go anytime soon. Besides, his other book ideas sounded pretty bad.

Finally, we have Gossip Girl, the titular never-seen, always-heard force.

With the Upper East Side event of a lifetime on tap, she make an appearance at long last, or at least make her presence felt like never before, now that Nate gave her a lifeline? Will he come to rue the day?

I was glad to see her "relationship" with Nate evolve tonight (if only over text and email), with the promise of more to come. That and Blair letting loose were the highlights of the week for me.

A brief rundown of what else we learned tonight ...

  • Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage need to actually work on this show again. No offensive to Joshua Safran, but some of the plot lines this season have been beyond convoluted.
  • Nate's email is natearchibald (at) nyspectator (dot) com. You're welcome ladies. It also never gets old how the Spectator uses a basic Gmail interface and the identical Gossip Girl font.
  • Brooklyn coffee is half as expensive and tastes better. This is actually true.
  • Rufus reads Serena's blog. Apparently. And got a nice new iPad.

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

What did you think of Monday night's Gossip Girl? Discuss below!

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0 (394 Votes)

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

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..If they do not put Chuck and Blair together soon like it SHOULD be..I can honestly say I'll just be youtubing clips of them and not watching this show anymore...because honestly there would be no point. And his whole stupid quote about "We would just have to break them up in 5 minutes after they got together" (paraphrasing but still...) is RIDICULOUS ...You've given them 4 years of on again off again drama when almost 98% of people know and believe that they BELONG together!

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..Not to say that they aren't great separately, because they are..but when you put the two of them together in a scene they just elevate each other to do their very best work and it turns out not to be cheesy but magical. It's almost magnetic, because you can't keep your eyes off of them even in the smallest of scenes. Chuck and Blair and Ed and Leighton are the very REASON I watch this show. Sadly if I have to continue to listen to this bs of "Dan writing Louis' vows"...and "looking into her soul." Oh please! Dan spent about 2 months time total with Blair. Chuck has been in love with her and known her better than anyone for yearsssss..

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I completely one-hundred percent agree with Judith above. Joshua Safran RUINED my favorite show and my FAVORITE couple! Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage need to come back and write this show ASAP if they have any hope of keeping it on the air. I mean you would think that when almost every positive article that's ever written about GG includes talk of the talent of both Ed and Leighton and their spectacular chemistry together as Chuck and Blair why would you actually NOT have them in scenes together?..

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As for the episode: Loved Chuck's line at the end! Loved, Loved, Loved it! Don't give up Chuck!! Loved Nate and Serena fighting crime! I hope they become a successful writing team! Loved Drunk Blair! Hated DAN! Blaming Chuck for no apparent reason? Really? Liked that they are opening the door back to Derena, but I feel like they are making both Dan and Serena look stupid.

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@casablanca Well, they have been teasing us for 5 years, so I hope we get our endgame! Otherwise it is just a waste of everyone's time, including the writers. As for what you said, I disagree. I think they are going to give Dair something. I hate Dair, so I don't feel good about saying that. They teased with Dair for the whole season, so there has to be some kind of resolution.

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Chair is end game.B runs from the wedding to D but to be with C.And I hate it. The writers never gave Dair a chance.Chair had their time, didn't work, but somehow kept being pushed on everyone just because there were more Chair shippers.But Dair has also developed a devoted fan base too. The only time Blair shows maturity is with Dan or in some way related to Dan-with Chuck she's always plotting and jealous and unhappy.There was not the slightest growth for her as we saw in other characters like Nate or Chuck.Since Dan knows her so well and loves her she can show all her flaws with Dan but will continue to grow as a human being too. Considering how unfairly Dair has never been given a chance, there are so many Dair shippers out there who continue to hope for Dair and thus tune in every Monday only to be disappointed.

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Enough of the Chair shippers. You had a zillion seasons of Chair and the very fact that they are still not together shows how mismatched and bad for each other they are - they will never grow and their relationship will never mature and blossom - it will be a lifetime of one-upmanship and jealousy and fights. Dair on the other hand came out of nowhere and won over so many of us (including ex-Chair shippers like me), showed us how love can be respectful and passionate and selfless and steadfast and supportive...but the writers never let Dair really happen just to appease Chair shippers! Gosh so unrealistic - not that that's surprising with GG. Please allow some reality even a teeny bit to get back into GG and let Dair happen. but going by all the set ups I doubt it will...Blair will realize the fallacy of her vow and rush back to Chuck...yuck!

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When did the storylines get so boring? So predictable?
Nothing is making much sense here.Things are so badly written that I even miss Carter Baizen with Serena. What's with Dair NOW? I'm sorry Dair fans but it just seems so rushed, so forced right now. It was more interesting to watch after they were together in NYE but they're killing it as well.After all those years of Chair,I think it's very stupid how they are making the characters naive and changing what we loved about them. I watch season 1 and I feel like crying when I watch this season.The only thing that keeps most of the people watching it is hope.Hope that one episode they will stop messing it all up, hope that the characters we love will have an interesting finale.But then again...who needs an audience?

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I was also annoyed by the camera angles in the Tripp/Serena/Nate/Grandfather scene.

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As for Chuck and Dan. I told the generalities of this episode to a friend of mine who watches this show but is going to see the episode today, who even though she feels more physically attracted to Dan/Penn she supports Chuck and Blair, and she keeps telling me she doesn't get why some people want Dair. When I mentioned to her some complaint about Chuck's doing bad things to get Blair back, she told me that being in love, a person is capable of anything. And it's true, not every person in humanity will go the those lengths, everybody have their limit and it varies with every person, but some in the middle of the desperation, will go to lengths that they may or may not regret later. And whether we like it or not, Chuck is cut from that cloth. That doesn't mean he doesn't love Blair, it just something product of the background and nature of the character and his lifetime reaction to his enviroment.