Gossip Girl Season Finale Review: The More Things Change ...

by at . Comments

With one notable exception, Gossip Girl came full circle in its fifth season finale tonight.

Lily and Bart are married, with a spurned Rufus pining for the girl of his dreams. Dan, too, is back on the outside looking in, with no idealized visions of the Upper East Side or its denizens clouding his worldview.

Georgina is just waiting to stir up drama. Blair has her sights set on world domination. Chuck is reeling, desperate to escape from his father's shadow. Serena had barstool sex with Blair's boyfriend, then left town.

Nate is ... well, Nate. It feels like 2007 again, people!

Fortunately, for Chuck and Blair, "The Return of the Ring" was not just a return of previous near-misses. Cheesy gambling metaphors aside, when she showed up and told him she's all in, Chuck's face said it all.

Chair finally turned that corner, pointed squarely toward an epic endgame next season.

Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf Picture

A quick review of Chuck, Blair and prior Gossip Girl season finales:

Yeah, it's been a long, often painful road to get this far, with some aspects feeling repetitive. There's plenty of work left to be done, too. We can't forget that Chuck rejected Blair again at 8:50 EST tonight.

Realistically, though, everything up until this point had to happen. Even his rejection of Blair's advances before the buzzed-about, season-ending casino scene injected fresh life into the romance once more.

Chuck's past mistakes and misdeeds are well-documented, but that doesn't mean he's wrong about Blair. Nor was Bart, despite the callousness with which he cut Chuck loose. He deserved better than this.

She needed to be all in, too, and now she is. It'll be interesting to see how they get there, but it's hard to imagine Chair not getting together for real, and for good, as the series draws to a close next year.

The fairy tale ending Blair, and so many fans, have been dreaming about for so long is now within sight. More amazingly, tonight's crucial events felt somewhat organic ... well at least by Gossip Girl standards.

No one here's defending Bart for his lack of compassion, respect, empathy or truthfulness (guess he didn't change too much in hiding), but his actions did lead Chuck to make a decision of his own, for the right reasons.

Bart also gifted us with the prospect of Chuck and Jack Bass on the same side to take him down, and for that we are forever grateful. But most significantly, he cleared the way for a new, honest and equal Chair.

Chuck and Bart Photo

Dair fans, please remove your belt and shoelaces and give them to loved ones ASAP.

Their love was real, and Blair and Dan's relationship brought us so many great scenes. But there's probably no coming back from this one. Hold out hope if you like, but Blair made her choice, then she doubled down.

It has nothing to do with his cheating, which she presumably isn't even aware of (it was also a bit unclear, given all the scheming going on, if Blair even told Dan, or tried to tell him, that they were done).

If she really didn't tell Dan, after all he's done for her? Not cool. Plain and simple. I'd like to give B the benefit of the doubt here, but even if it did take place off screen, the fans would've liked more closure.

Regardless, her choice was irrespective of Dan and Serena's surprising sex romp. He's right when he says using her to forget his pain is different than the manipulative act of destruction she tried to initiate.

That was just wrong, and you can't help but feel a little bad for Dan in all this. He became collateral damage as Serena's Gossip Girl exploits unraveled so rapidly that her feud with Blair reached critical mass.

Is (or was) Serena really in love with Dan, as she claims? Or purely using his body and Blair's minions to ruin her now-former BFF? Somewhere in between? In any case, the extent of the fallout was dramatic.

Give Dan credit for not taking Serena back after realizing how he got played. Doing so would've been beyond pathetic, even if his kiss-off line to her was harsh. The maligned muppet has a backbone, who knew!

Where do any of them go from here? The writing was uneven this season, but the producers did a nice job of making the story arcs that concluded tonight matter with heightened emotional stakes and lasting repercussions.

Adrift and alone, Serena is riding the rails in more ways than one. Ironically, Blair's diary was leaked online, but it's S who burned just about every bridge known to humankind, while Queen B is off to rule Paris.

Their friendship may never recover, and clearly Bart's resurrection carried lasting repercussions. Chuck has been ostracized and left to fight for what's his. Rufus' marriage was annulled, just like that.

Much as certain thematic elements felt like deja vu, there's no hitting the reset button after this. Well, except maybe for Nate. He's pretty much back at square one, only wearing more suits. Bless his heart.

Georgina Sparks and Dan Humphrey

Clearly, opinions on the season finale and season overall will vary depending on how you feel about particular couples or relationships, but from a directorial standpoint, "The Return of the Ring" was a pretty good payoff.

There were twists, turns, consequences that matched the urgency of the building storylines and despite some eye-rolling moments - Blair listing off Dan and Chuck's respective traits to Eleanor; too many iPhone blasts, lies, gimmicks and convoluted ploys to even keep straight - it ended up being pretty darn entertaining.

This installment essentially blew up the nucleus of the show. Now, with 11 episodes to go before we close the book on the CW drama for good, we get to see it come together again. Bring it on.

Other side developments and burning questions from the Season 5 finale:

  • William got Carol's half of Cece's estate transferred to Lola ... who give it all back to Ivy when she learned Lily was sabotaging Carol's defense, ordering her former impostor to take Lily down.
  • Lola turned down the chance to live with Nate, but it was amicable at least. Guy was serious about her, too, but it looks like she's gone the way of vintage GG vanishing love interests past.
  • Diana sent Nate a surveillance tape of their near-rendezvous with Gossip Girl two weeks back, and ... is Gossip Girl actually a dude? In a black hoodie? Shockingly, we didn't see his/her face.
  • Will Dan channel his rage into the next work of literary brilliance? Or at least cutting his hair? Is Georgina really the best muse? Does he have any friends left on the UES except Nate?
  • Does this mean Rufus will resume his music career?
  • Any chance J (or V) makes a comeback next fall?
  • Do people really throw divorce parties?

Time to turn it over to you. What did you think of the finale? Everything you thought it could be? A miserable failure? How do you see things playing out in the (unfortunately shortened) sixth and final season?

Share your comments with us below!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 2.8 / 5.0 (1849 Votes)

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

Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook

Want more Gossip Girl?

Sign up for our daily newsletter and receive the latest tv news delivered to your inbox for free!

More From TV Fanatic

Searching-for-eleanor

The Bridge Review: Butterflies

On tonight's The Bridge, the search for Eleanor continues. Will she kill again before she's found?
Telling-john

Extant Review: More Believable Than The Truth

On Extant, Molly reveals her pregnancy to John. However, Sparks' story isn't exactly a plausible explanation.
Paige-is-undercover

Graceland Review: Angels and Demons

On Graceland, Mike, Briggs and the team pull out all the stops to get Paige back. Read our review of "The Unlucky One" to find out if they were successful.
Isolation

Suits Review: Another You Problem

On Suits, Rachel and Jessica's life choices seep their way into the business of the men in their lives, some of which only cause more problems. Read out review of "Litt the Hell Up."

Avatar

okay you guys keep saying GG asked Serena to have SEX wwith Dan . if that was the case why not send the VIDEO in ?? and why did she show up at his home the NEXT DAY sayin she love him and trying to be with him ?? was that apart of the deal too ? NO . she really loved DAN . and had BLAIRE chose dan she wouldve sent the video in to crush her becase BLAIRE ruined her summer job . she deleted it cause she had no use of it , blaire didnt choose dan so whats the point ?

Avatar

Totally agree bring back Dan And Serena, theres no Arguement season 1 was the best by far
and there chemistry and infatuation coupled with the fac that they were two worlds apart made them
so great. And everyone wanted to get at them because they were the it couple or She shouldn't be dating someone
from Brookyln

Avatar

@ Henock Haukongo
The only girl for the Dan is and always will be Serena. That we all know! The question is when will Dan finally understand that? He do not need long to think, because it would be too late!

Avatar

Dan needs a haircut.great episode

Avatar

To sum it up, Chair fans you can relax, there's no ship war anymore, we've had our Blair fix. We enjoyed Blair of course but we thats over, you can gladly, with our blessings, have her now (Shes sort of damaged goods isnt she?).

Avatar

Dair fan here Serena was right, the Blair we wanted for Dan was in our imagination, Dan deserves better than that b*tch. I've always despised Blair to be honest and only warmed to her towards the end of Season 4 when Dan began to take a liking to her. When she showed up at the press conference i was shocked but in a not so shocked way, i dont know how to put it, but my reaction was "of course she chose Chuck. Well so long". Im not in the least disappointed, Dan did not lose much, Blair's stock is at an all time low with us Dan fans. The only disappointing thing really is there's no right girl on the show for Dan.

Avatar

Which is enough is enough, people you need to stop slam Serena. Serena is at the end of this season, a victim, she is not the villain. Serena has again received a bullet for Blair, sacrifice it for her. GG was asked Serena to have sex with Dan, and in return GG will stop broadcasting Blair diary. And Serena is sacrificed for her best friend. Price is too high because Dan left Serena. However, the two still love each other, it's a fact. But in season 6, Blair will save Serena, not Dan. Blair will discover what was demanded of Serena by GG. Blair find Serena and to call Dan for help. Blair and Dan to remain friends. Blair and Serena forgive one another! Dan realizes how much he love Serena! I just hope that Blair will be quick, before the Serena overdoses herself!

Avatar

OMFG Y CHAIR? I like s1 rewind but really, chair... again? Cue eye roll. I knew it was comin but DAIR DESERVED REAL CLOSURE N NOT THIS HALF BAKED CRAP AFTER THEIR BUILDUP! I will watch s6 but glad it will end, as long as chair doesnt take all screen time. Will b reading fanfics now. Writers take note: DAIR FTW!

Shrimpie

GG is the lamest show ever lol.

Avatar

This episode was absolutely terrible. Awful writing. Just awful. Yay Chair fans you got your ending where Blair chose Chuck. While everyone else in the show got shit on. I hope Gossip Girl enjoys their awful ratings next year cuz a lot of us are done with this piece of crap tv show.