Gossip Girl Review: Backup Dan the Man

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With the dust nowhere near settled after last week's 100th episode event, this evening's Gossip Girl picked up right where the wedding left off with a somewhat lighter, equally confusing installment.

"The Backup Dan" featured some highly entertaining scenes thanks to Dan, Blair and Georgina, but was uneven in many respects. Chiefly, the story we were so excited for not really materializing.

Was anyone out there not loving Dan and Blair at the airport, on the run from her life? I'd watch an entire spinoff in which Dair travels the world, trying to stay one step ahead of Louis' henchmen.

Okay, Monaco totally doesn't have henchmen, but you get my point (they do have dowries, apparently, which we'll get to momentarily after we finish discussing the viewing experience that is Dair).

A Dan and Blair Photo

It's no wonder Penn Badgley and Leighton Meester, who play off of each other so brilliantly, have both made comments to the effect that Dan and Blair's relationship has become their favorite on GG.

Not only is it a hoot, frankly, it's the only one written in a way that makes sense! Will "The Backup Dan" ever become the #1 plan for B romantically? Who knows, but it's a lot of fun to watch unfold.

We know Dan harbors strong feelings for Blair, and it's starting to look like she's aware of them - she knows about the vows, after all, and come on, it's obvious - but she hasn't reciprocated. Yet.

Their scene near the end, before she inexplicably left with Louis, was heartwarming. In the same breath, Blair thanked him for being the one who's always been there for her, then bashed his hair.

That's their relationship in a nutshell. An unlikely duo bonded by their joint love of ... each other? There's not a lot these two have in common superficially, yet their personalities mesh wonderfully.

The airport sojourn was classic, with Dan dutifully assisting the runaway bride, doing a terrible job lying to S, begging his dad for help, and being dissed by a star-struck girl. He's definitely the man.

Blair, meanwhile, was desperately trying to remain in control after losing any semblance of it.

She may have a high opinion of herself, but even B isn't delusional to think the New York Post qualifies as a passport. At that moment, though, she was desperate enough that she may well have.

Add in Leighton in I Heart NY tourist garb and you had a recipe for a great episode. One you wished would've involved them successfully fleeing and keeping the banter/adventure going for a bit.

Sadly, they fled JFK and ended up at a Queens hotel, and despite one bright spot - Dan sticking up for himself and leaving with his pride intact - the night went downhill quickly from there.

Blair Post-Wedding

Serena and Chuck (and also Georgina, whose role got a lot less cool tonight despite a number of great one-liners) tracked her down, with S taking the fall for the video and C baring his soul. Again.

And he was shot down, again. Even though Blair said she loves him too, again.

Enter a contrived, confusing and unnecessary plot device: The dowry. Now Blair, and by extension Eleanor, are on the hook for millions if she defaults on her marriage to Louis within one year.

Wouldn't you know it, she's back with Louis at the end! Noticeably sad, but by his side, like nothing ever happened. The "pact" may be over, but there's an equally stupid obstacle in its place now. Terrific.

It's getting harder to take this seriously each week. How many times can Chuck be redeemed in the eyes of viewers and come thisclose to winning Blair's heart forever, only to have it stripped away?

Blair was going to flee to the Dominican Republic to annul the marriage but wouldn't leave with Chuck, who would gladly pay off the Grimaldis, because they ... wouldn't be equals if she did?

Come on, Gossip Girl. You're just jerking Chair around at this point.

They need to get on with it or let it go forever. Same goes for Dair. I'm all for a good love triangle, but not when the barriers thrown between the prospective couples are repetitive and unrealistic.

All we can do is hold out hope that there's a resolution worth waiting for down the line. I wish I had more confidence that were the case and that the actors would stop being wasted, though. Boo.

Chuck and Georgina Pic

What else did we learn this evening? Let's see ...

  • Georgina Sparks is not the Gossip Girl, but stepped up in her absence, as many theorized. While this makes more sense logistically, I'm still disappointed after last week's mega-reveal, and how amateurish she was tonight.
  • G is hilarious, to be sure, and locking Dorota in the closet was cold, but she was almost too obvious. The Georgina I know is a bit less desperate and more sociopathic. Her cover's bound to be blown.
  • Nate Archibald doesn't like girls who lie, which Lola clearly does. But he's willing to overlook that 30 seconds later as long as they're not lying about him, and wear cute catering outfits.
  • Serena loves Dan, but apparently he's all about Blair.
  • Blair's wedding DJ played Tone Loc. That's pretty cool.
  • Do not threaten Eleanor Waldorf. She will end you.
  • Do not tell Rufus Humphrey any secrets. Ever.

Overall, it's hard to feel good about tonight, especially after the wedding episode raised expectations on many fronts. The plus side? Dan maybe actually making a move in the promo for next week!

What do you think Georgina's endgame is? And is Blair really planning on going through with a giant marriage facade? Before we turn it over to your comments, here's the teaser for "Crazy, Cupid Love" ...

What did you think of Monday's Gossip Girl? Was it funny? Disappointing? Baffling? A little of each? Discuss below and share your predictions for next week's Valentine's Day-themed episode!

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (973 Votes)

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

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@loooooooooool They stopped going to school, instead we're stuck in Blair's crappy melodrama with 3 guys. Fantasy or not, it's a terribly written show, and it's only gotten worse.

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Did they graduate college? Or no need?

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Move on people. Its just a fantasy show. Fantasy, fictional, unrealistic, crazy show.

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Congratulations Dan and Blair.

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@prince louis Chuck has 'changed' many times already: End of Season2/Start of Season 3, Reina, that French prostitute, etc. The writer constantly revert him back to his old ways. Both fandoms do have their faults, and the writers/show runners are probably enjoy pissing them off.

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How can anyone still be rooting for the godawful mess that is Chair? I like both Chuck and Blair but it's been done to death. For me it was finished at the last Valentines Day episode with Blair overhearing Chuck telling Raina his feelings for her and seeing Blair just crushed. The last ep of S4 should have been them properly letting go.

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@ sanaa **waiting for the chairy tale**: That's a little unfair, isn't it? Especially from a Chair fan? People can change I believe and I hope that Dan will see the error of his behaviour. Still, what he's done isn't unforgivable. I actually think it will give him a nice edge. @ Jonas: Dan IS a douche towards everyone except Blair. I'm not even talking about this episode since it's true that Serena used this as an opportunity to make it all about her. But right now Dan is condescending towards everyone and is always quick to pass judgment and I hope that changes someday. And bashing Chuck in Dan's defense isn't an argument. Chuck's been the good guy this season and this time he is the bigger man here. People can change, damnit! I see that both fandoms now watch the series selectivly. Dair fans refuse to acknowledge that Chuck has changed, while Chair fans play up Dan's character flaws. They both have their faults and strengths, you know?

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@sanaa **waiting for the chairy tale** "dan was the biggest douche ever in this episode" And that comes from you that thinks (I presume) "Chuck is so dreamy, they are meant to be and they are endgame epicness" (with a girly voice) Even if he did send that video, he is twice the man Chuck will ever be. About Serena, he DON'T love her and why sholud he have told her that he was with Blair.... wasn't it Serena that told Chuck about that "god pact"? And Blair could have grabbed Serena before she picked up that phone to call Dan.

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@MrsMorgan This ridiculous relationship shouldn't have happened in the 1st place. There was no valid reason why either 1 of them should've been married. Blair already showed her true color in Paris, Louis should've never even come to New York. @sanaa **waiting for the chairy tale** Serena is the 1 pursuing Dan, Blair went to Dan when Serena was right there at the reception. Serena is just upset because she's not the center of attention. Serena and Blair are terrible friends, they're always lying/backstabbing each other which is why they're always fighting each other for 5 season now. Blair is constantly making up excuses, it's her own fault she's in this mess. She chose to be in a loveless marriage so she can be princess, not to love Louis, she's been cheating and lying behind her fiancee's back all this time.

Sanaa185

dan was the biggest douche ever in this episode. he sends out the video of chuck and blair in the hopes that louis and blair won't get married and blair will forever be mad at chuck. then he doesn't tell SERENA of all people. he's always undermining their friendship, he just can't accept that serena is a lot more important to blair than he is, no matter how much he kisses up to her. S was right: dan wants to keep blair all to himself. and he knows that that's only possible with serena and chuck out of the picture. it's just so creepy and so wrong.
and i vote the writers just stop coming up with idiotic reasons to keep chuck and blair apart and instead make blair's line "sorry chuck, we can't be together because it's not the season finale yet". it would make a hell of a lot more sense than a dowry.