In the run-up to Gossip Girl's winter finale, we were teased with promises of tensions boiling over between Dan and Chuck, Blair escaping her prenup after all, and another major scandal rocking the Upper East Side.
"The Princess Dowry" delivered on all accounts ... in an episode that was one of the most convoluted in recent memory (even by Gossip Girl standards). Still, it gave us plenty to discuss between now and April 2.
Only Gossip Girl would have Blair attempt to get around a previously airtight prenup, only to be shot down by the royals, only to be helped out by minder Estee, only to have that blow up in her face, in under an hour.
Behind it all was Georgina, who decided she was retiring as GG, but only after she blew the lid off a mega-scandal, then found out about and used an even bigger scandal as potential leverage, again in under an hour.
Meanwhile, Cece's will was read at her wake ... by the executor of her estate, William. All of her assets were left to her fake granddaughter, Ivy, spurning the Rhodes sisters and prompting Carol to drop a bomb ... on William.
While Georgina sauntered by, obviously, at that precise moment.
It was enough to make your head spin, but here's the upshot:
- Chair is no more. One week is like an eternity on the Upper East Side these days, so who knows if that will change. "I love you, but I'm not in love with you" seems pretty straightforward, however.
Chuck was not all bad tonight. He fell victim to Georgina's meddling and while it surely would've delighted him to take down Dan, he was also motivated by clearing his own name and protecting Blair.
The look on his face when he realized what he'd done to the Waldorfs financially said it all. He knew he screwed up big time, but it also wasn't his intent. Chuck's not perfect, but he's not a monster.
After Blair "broke up" with him, he immediately knew it even if they were never together and those words were never used. Her heart wasn't with him anymore. Yet he isn't all alone in this world.
Jack gave him the blood transfusion that saved his life, not Blair's pact with God. It's surprising he wasn't told about this earlier, and Jack's return to the show this spring should be very interesting.
- Dair it is. Despite Dan's misdeeds in sending the blast, he has her heart. Dair shared a passionate kiss, and according to the promo for the spring return (below), will soon share A LOT more.
Dan coming clean about sending the infamous blast, and his desire to keep Chuck and Blair apart - even if his hand was forced on both accounts - only served to strengthen Blair's connection to him.
Blair, like Chuck and Dan, is an imperfect character. She's made a lot of suspect decisions this season. Still, it was hard not to feel sympathy tonight when everyone seemed to have it out for her.
Everyone except Dan, who couldn't believe it when she arrived in the loft at the end. Dan (not Humphrey, but Dan) has won the heart of the girl he's longed for, who he never thought would reciprocate.
She's giving him THE look she once gave Chuck, and that kiss was hot, too. Certainly not of the fleeting "I want this but we can't do this" variety. These two are going to full-on maul each other.
Dair. Is. On.
- Blair's marriage is over, but the dowry still hangs over B, since she broke her word to her minder and was caught in a scandal 15 minutes after she cut a deal that make little sense to begin with.
This was easily the worst part of the episode. When the writing is this bad, and huge plot points are just undone haphazardly in a few lines of dialogue, it makes it hard to invest in ... well, anything.
I've always loved Georgina, but she was used and abused like a cheap plot device tonight, showing up in exactly the right place at exactly the wrong time to wreak loads of incomprehensible havoc.
Suspension of reality is par for the course while watching CW dramas, but this was way over the top. The plot holes were bigger than the hole smack in the front of her dress ... a classy touch.
There's just no way G could engineered all that. She's like Bonnie on The Vampire Diaries, only at least in Bon-Bon's case, she magically whips up spells. Yes, a witch is more believable than G.
Georgina's still more believable than that Estee chick, however. Seriously, what the heck.
- Anyway, Georgina is off to Monaco, with a promise to have B's dowry waived in exchange for a future "I owe you one" from Queen B, and the contents of her "G.G." laptop mailed off to Serena.
Will S read what's on that machine, and what will she do with it? Will she become the new GG? G-3, if you will? If so, she can only improve upon Phillip's performance. Talk about an epic fail!
- Lola is Serena's half-sister. Or so Carol claimed while demanding he figure out a way to reclaim the inheritance she believes she is entitled to) and the UES just got even more incestuous.
Nate has now hooked up with Serena, her stepsister (Jenny), her fake cousin (ChIvy) and her real cousin slash half-sister (Lola), and of course her BFF Blair. That's quite a feat, even for Nate.
Still, I like Nola together, and know at least one member of our Round Table panel who wouldn't mind seeing Chace Crawford's "I want to talk about feelings face," so I can't bash the guy here.
- ChIvy has evicted Lily and Rufus. Geez, that nine-figure inheritance sure went to her head fast. Despite my frequent lampooning of the character, that was a twist that at least gave her some purpose ... and power.
Ballsy move to throw them out like that, Chives. Does she really stand a chance of keeping that money? Was she really Cece's innocent, well-meaning caretaker, or was there something sinister at work?
We were led to believe (mostly by ChIvy herself) that she was just staying with Cece out of the goodness of her heart, but everything she says is untrue by nature, so clearly there's more to this angle.
Between Carol's fake and actual daughters, the family drama ought to be ridiculous going forward. How far will William go to hide paternity? If at all? How will Lily react when that eventually comes out?
It's going to get ugly in any case. Not even Billy Baldwin's smooth-talking raspy voice (despite being an AWOL dad, he's almost charming!) can diffuse what's about to surface in this already fractured family.
Maybe Eric is better off in Zaire, considering the way things are going for the family right now. Even Serena is looking pretty despondent and lost at the moment. And she's the ultimate IT girl!
All in all, it was a pretty crazy episode, one which could've been a lot better, yet provided the requisite OMFG moments and set us up for a fun spring. Hopefully. What do you think will happen next?
Before we turn it over to your comments, as always, here's the Dair sex promo for April 2. It's okay, guys ... late night limo rides notwithstanding, the first time is never as good as you think it will be.
What did you think of this evening's Gossip Girl? Discuss below!