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!


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.


Meh. I only watched some scenes, but I really wasn't feeling most of the banter. There were a few funny moments, but it seemed like the standard "Dan being a dick to everyone but Blair" and "Blair being ridiculously shrill and increasingly stupid". If anything, this review kind of made me dislike the episode more, because it's hard to understand the excitement for something I find so... lacking. I mostly just enjoyed the Chuck/Serena scenes and the final Chuck/Blair scene, although Blair was kind of awful in that as well. Then again, I don't enjoy love triangles, I think they ruin the person in the middle (already happening for most of the season, unfortunately), plus I'm getting tired of watching Chuck and Serena suffer just so Dan and Blair can share 10 scenes an episode. So I guess I should probably just skip these reviews for awhile...


Dair was absolutely AMAZING in this episode! I am was so glad that Blair was able to properly thank Dan for all the things he has done for her in the past few months! He needed to hear them. I do have a BIG problem with the fact that Dan might have been the one to submit that video of Blair to GG. That really seams out of character for him, but overall , minus the repetitive Chair scenes, the episode was great, the Dair writing was great, and Penn and Leighton obviously have chemistry!


PART 2 G ws really on-point, I didnt believe her 2b obvious in hw she ws gonna xtract da truth outta Dorota. I would agree wit u in terms of hw she jus left da Empire bt she wasnt amateur abt da way she went abt it. It ws actually quite clever tht she locked D ina closet knowin C & S would lead her str8 2 B.
I would agree wit ur point abt Dair fleeing JFK. I2 actually wanted dem 2 gt out of NY, a perfect opportunity 4 more Dair banter- A fair point I agree. The fact tht dey hit da reset button keepin the drama in the UES was frustratin but tht didnt mean da DAIR banter stopped. The scene inda hotel jus showed hw much chem dey hav & im sure it wont just b erased by da writers.
On da other hand, L. is a major villain nw & da reset button of B goin bck 2 him jus setup da rest of da season in her struggle 2 gt away frm an empty-shell marriage. I thought tht plot ws plausible.
There u hav it, my thoughts on y I believe u reviewed da episode 2 harshly


URE A DOWNRIGHT FOOL STEVE! Normally I find ur reviews 2b a gr8 read, fair 2da episode, bt I believe ure wrong!
It was 1 of da best episodes of da season & here ur criticisin minor points. Seriously?!
Sure, perhaps da dowry ws used as a plot device 2 keep CHAIR apart, bt this things a marathon. Safran says dey dnt hav any idea whos 2b endgame. If chair got bck 2gether, da writin team would only split thm up, coz its still a journey & there r ALWAYS obstacles 2 any r.ship thts life. I actually thought B's reasonin abt C payin da dowry ws reasonable & shes right. C payn off da dowry jus 2 gt her bck won’t mak dem equals it would jus mak her his property again, just lik hw he sold her 4a hotel. A r.ship cnt strive lik that. C hurt B mny times by explicitly revealin a power imbalance btween dem, so shes ryt 2 wanna do it by hrself- thats female empowerment!


@Vanillalatte And it will be worse if it gets another season of that.


I also agree with the writers, and that they are totally badgering with the whole scene with chuck wanting to pay off the Grimaldi's. But maybe they have a plan on how Blair is going to get out of the situation..lets hope so. loved the blowup scenes when Blair got all excited and mad a couple times in airport, and when she saw Louis talking on the tv..


Will be interesting to see how everyone reacts if Dan was really the one who sent the video of CHair on wedding day. As Georgina, i think its kind of lame that she just took over GG. As it makes it seem the big moment in the 100th was for nothing. I think the biggest shocker, was how evil Louis actually is. Looking forward to finding out if Louis is gone for good..and how they play that out. The whole nate/charlie/ivy situation, and of course chair


This was a really funny, refreshing, fun episode. But was really disappointed at the end when Blair went with Louis...but I guess they need to make it realistic enough. But still!!! argg. Perhaps there is some crazy twist in the next episode. I am really hating Louis, he is a huge jerk! boo him I think its sad, how Blair has been dreaming this dream wedding her whole life, and to be let down with the prince being a total jerk at the end..you gotta wonder if they were scheming the whole time she was to be married to him. And I think its sad, as I totally felt for Blair, and Leighton plays so well..it just looks like she is horribly sad when she tells everyone in ep 100 that she is going thru with. "Serena will you tell everyone im ready to start" she just seemed defeated. Loved the airport, and whole hotel fight scene. It was cute when they made up in the end. I really love Dair as friends, not so sure about love interest there..Im all CHAIR!!!


I loved dair scenes...GO DAIR


I think Gossip Girl should be renamed Bait and Switch.

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