OMG, is this show actually good?
On Gossip Girl (2021) Season 1 Episode 5, we had all of the characters being utilized to their full potential, witty one-liners, plenty of nostalgia, and it resulted in the best episode of the reboot to date.
I've been hard on the series from the get-go, largely because the show has struggled to prove that Gossip Girl is a story that should be told again in 2021, and if "Hope Sinks" is the sign of things to come, then there's a lot of life left in the series.
It came into its own for the first time since its debut, providing engaging plots that will have stratospheric effects on the teenagers at the wheel of the story.
We'll start with Audrey because she got some of the best material of the season here. I called Kiki's suicide attempt the moment Audrey told her mother she hated her.
If there's one thing we've come to learn about Audrey, it's that she's learned to be in control of her life. I don't know whether that's down to her mother's lack of parenting, but she knows how to get what she wants.
It must have been hard for Audrey to learn that she would have to leave the Upper East Side behind, but she was a far cry from the supportive teenager on Gossip Girl (2021) Season 1 Episode 2.
For Audrey, saying goodbye to her friends and loved ones and moving somewhere less desirable was simply not an option.
Gossip Girl here, your one and only, etcetera, amen.Gossip Girl
Audrey going out of her way to show her mother what she loved about New York was predictable, but the emotional ramifications of having her mother recount the failings in her life over the last several years were simply too much for Kiki to handle.
My best guess is that this plot will bring Audrey's father into the fold, but will Audrey turn her back on her mother? The doctor did say that it's going to be a long road to recovery, something that might keep her in New York for longer.
There seemed to be immediate guilt on Audrey's face when she got the dreaded phone call, but then there was a look of achievement because what happened could help her in the long run.
This storyline also provided us the first time I genuinely believed that these characters had known each other since they were babies. The way they all came together at the hospital was something, and the fact that even Max was included after going off the deep end solidified it.
Oscar Wilde once said, "Give a man a mask, and he will tell you the truth." Which is why I love Halloween, because what was once created to honor the dead, tends to leave bodies in its wake. For when you don your disguise, the false sense of security it provides, always leads to loose lips that'll sink friends and relationships before dawn's early light. But I don't want to spoil the fun. After all, the biggest scares are the ones you never see coming. See you on the other side, dead or alive.
Max's life is imploding due to the breakdown in his parents' relationship, and he thought Rafa was the best person to turn to in his time of need. The truth is, Rafa is the worst, and now that we know for sure he has a history of sleeping with students, we're getting a clearer picture of the type of person he is.
We already knew Max was a risk-taker, but having sex with Rafa as students walked by the room with the door ajar was something I never thought I'd see. It's quite the juxtaposition for Rafa, who was adamant about not sleeping with a student.
He's clearly acted this way to lure Max into a false sense of security. He wants Max to think he's the only one he'd break the rules for, and that couldn't be further from the truth.
Aki's meddling was hardly surprising, but it showed Rafa in a dangerously different light. Rafa needs to be taken down, and with him knowing the truth about Gossip Girl, the teens are going to need to think of another way to make it happen.
The threats he made towards Aki were something, and the way he grabbed Max's hand suggested there was a darkness inside him. Rafa is not going to want his career derailed, and it's scary to think about the lengths he will go to in order to get back at these students.
It might come down to Max and Aki convincing the other students Rafa slept with to come forward to take him down, but it would be so worthwhile to see the smile disappear from his face as he realized his career is over.
Deep down, Max needs a friend, and I hope Aki, Audrey, and the others can be that for him. This is a difficult time for him, and although he's being a jerk, he will realize the error of his ways eventually.
Monet turning on Julien and Luna was the bombshell I didn't see coming, but it helped advance this influencer storyline in an intriguing way. Savannah Smith killed it as she played this iteration of Monet, who was over Julien, Zoya, and Luna.
Max: OK, that might have been the best one all week.
Rafa: We can't do it at school again.
Max: That's what you say every time.
Rafa: Well, if we get caught...
Max: Your generation always feel so guilty after they come. So sweet.
I suspected Luna would have been more cut up about her BFF ruining the plan for the sisters at the Huluween party, but it highlighted which side Luna is on, and it should be intriguing to see how it plays out for the rest of Gossip Girl (2021) Season 1.
Will Monet switch schools, or will she be the latest pariah of St. Judes? There's going to be a lot of angst amongst the friend group and people who backstab each other will probably not be welcomed back.
Julien and Zoya dressing as Dan and Chuck took me by surprise, but when you consider the other influencers dressing as Serena and Blair, it was the perfect way to get back at the girls from the other school.
The callbacks to the original series are subtle as hell, but they don't feel that forced, which is always a good thing. I even liked the arrival of Nelly Yuki. If you watch Gossip Girl online, you know she was destined for great things.
It's nice to know she managed to break free of that Upper East Side life to get a job you just know she'd be good at.
This Simon character was a major pain in the ass and reminded me of Oliver from The O.C. from the moment he miraculously met Zoya on the bus.
I pegged this as some needless relationship drama being cooked up for Zoya and Obie, so the fact it was something more made it all the more worthwhile.
The problem I have here is that Obie bent over backward to prove there was something off about Simon, all because he was jealous that Zoya had a new male friend.
He was right this time, but what will happen if their relationship gets more serious and he gets jealous? He has money and connections, and something tells me Zoya is going to sour on the relationship before long if he continues to act like this.
Kate: We should take a break from posting.
Wendy: Seriously? Remember when you couldn't take a day off? Now you wanna walk away?
Jordan: If this is about finding extra time, Wendy and I can pick up more slack. I think we proved ourselves last time.
To date, Obie has been the worst character on the show, and while there was a smidgen of development, it seems clear that this world is not for him. He wants people to believe he plays by the rules, but deep down, he wants to be in control of everything.
As for Kate, where the heck do we start?
Her God complex is infuriating me more and more every week, and her apprehension about restarting the account with some terms made it seem clear that she's not going to be able to quit this account.
Yes, she flipped the script with the whole "you're not commenting on my posts" schtick, but what is her ultimate goal here? Has the power gone to her head?
A part of me wanted Nick to reveal in the closing scenes that he saw the messages going through to the account when he was on her phone earlier.
Could you imagine the drama that would ensue from that? Alas, Kate's manuscript is not being published, so she'll probably be on the warpath against the students in the coming episodes.
"Hope Sinks" was the perfect episode of Gossip Girl. It had everything the show has lacked since its debut and set the stage for some interesting events. Whether the show can maintain this level of quality, I don't know.
What did you think of Audrey telling her mother she hated her?
Are you happy Aki dug deep into Rafa's life?
Are you surprised Monet schemed against Julien?
Are you over Kate?
Catch new episodes of Gossip Girl every Thursday on HBO Max.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.