THE CURIOUS CASE OF NATE ARCHIBALD
Welcome back, Gossip Girl. That show that was pretending to be you for the last few episodes just had to go.
Last night, “The Grandfather” reminded us just why we watch Gossip Girl.
-The beautiful tension between Chuck and Blair and the constant see-saw on who has the upper hand.
-The unspoken class war.
-Destinies being written out for kids before they even graduate high school and their search for themselves.
-Betraying your best friends by sleeping with their lovers.
-Vanessa gets trod on.
And at the center of this swirling tempest is…NATE ARCHIBALD? Yes, we forget that Nate’s mom comes from a dynasty of wealth, power, and civilian helicopters touching down on snowy fields. FYI, Vanderbilt’s are recession proof.
Also, apparently they clap when family members come back after a long time apart. If that happened with my family, Thanksgiving would a non-stop standing ovation. That was just plain silly.
But the rest of the episode, save a couple bits, wasn’t. Let’s heap some praise on Nate for starters.
Nate Archibald, I gave up on you. I didn’t think you capable of acting your way out of a wet paper bag, and you slapped me across the face and said, “Watch me with new characters.” Cousin Tripp and Grandfather actually transported your character into a different phase, one with direction, drama, and a distinct New York power family feel. It was finally nice to get guest stars who didn’t suck, and they boosted Nate’s performance (no small task). I think it was the absence of scarves. I’m absolutely correct about this. Nate going into politics is a good move. It gives him something to fall back on when he’s not galavanting around, kind of going to school.
However, Roommate Tony paused the DVR at one point (when we were told that Tripp was going to clerk for the Supreme Court) and said:
“Wait a sec. Hold on…just a moment. If you want any other indication that class divide is alive and well…Nate Archibald is heading for the Supreme Court. FML.”
I’m not sure what this says about Nate, though. Did anyone catch the irony of his exchange with Blair (in detail later) when he said, “I never knew who I was supposed to be…” when it’s more than a little obvious Nate is being shoved into this worse than Jack Shepard having to bring everyone back to the island?
Now while Nate being led by the nose to do something isn’t new (Marry Blair/go to Dartmouth, be a gigolo to keep his family in a home, romance Vanessa to stay in the plot, etc) it is an interesting plot device to get him back in the wealthy center of GG. He dropped Vanessa and moved on to Blair in like three hours! Vanessa, “He’s just not that into you.”
I would give Nate’s rebirth about three episodes, but now he’s tied into Blair so that will give him a little extra life. I’m interested to see what they do with this. Obviously we’re set up for a rematch of THE heavyweight fight, Chuck Bass vs. Nate Archibald. There is no one in the world more excited for that fight than me. Chuck Bass knocks out Nate in four. Pay me.
When Blair starts talking in a overly calm voice, get the hell out of the room.
If I was on Gossip Girl, and I had to do a scene with Leighton Meester one on one with any kind of emotion involved, I’d be petrified. The fact that Nate actually kinda pulls it off is such a relief, but for all of us who want nothing more than Blair, Blair, Blair, that was a great moment. Blair’s whole life gets stacked up on elaborate houses of cards, and when they fall down from time to time, we get great character performances. Oh, and she’s absurdly good looking (although that huge room where the Vanderbilts keep all their ghost sheets was kinda ludicrous).
This is not the first time that Blair’s had a breakdown (remember Serena’s intervention at the helipad?) but it’s the first time that Blair’s had only herself to blame, and of COURSE she’s going to focus that inner rage on other people. Blair going through the party, dressing down the guests was like Neo in “The Matrix Reloaded” smashing Smith after Smith until finally she ripped the social streetlight pole out of the ground and knocked Chuck into the stratosphere. The best part? We’ll never hear about the repercussions of that.
Blair’s descent into the heart of darkness was interesting. I guessed last week that she’d try to transfer to a different school, but I never thought she’d get denied. She’s Blair freaking Waldorf! With all the terrible, morally repugnant things that have gone on in GG, you really have a limit, private high schools?
I wonder how much of her seduction of Nate was based on actual emotion, or was this just another modified Carter Basin phase, intended to hammer Chuck into the ground? I can’t decide yet. Either way, Gossip Girl got half a brain and they’re back to focusing on Blair getting back on her feet. The fact that Nate and Chuck have been sucked in means fireworks in the future that we will enjoy. Quick, other characters! Jump in and stay relevant!
Casualties of rebirths
Character who has nothing to worry about, no matter how slighted he is: Chuck.
Character who will ALWAYS be smacked down, kicked, sabotaged, and ALWAYS come back for more: …if you really don’t know, I judge you. Vanessa!
Chuck was vintage Bass, using his contacts and resources to vanquish a foe and succeeding before the third act. CB’s quiet approval of Serena, “Why? What do you have?” made us all feel a bit nostalgic for the times when Chuck would INVENT PEOPLE to force Serena into her born role of queen, etc, etc.
Two pretty good quips from Chuck: offering to lick Blair’s wounds for her (has Chuck EVER missed an opportunity to gross Serena out with his Gotham Casanova ways?) and calling Carter an “insect.” Anytime you get to call someone an insect is a good day. Hush.
And at the heart of it is Chuck’s true love for Blair, which is only matched by the pretty unprecedented look of betrayal and horror on his face when he realizes previously-non-factor Nate has come back to claim what was once his. Maybe an indication that Chuck doesn’t have the heart to battle his best friend again?
Dorota cursing out Chuck in her native tongue was pure poetry. I half expected Chuck to say something coarse in the same language. Can I get a translator on that?
To say I’m excited for Chuck’s revenge against Blair and Nate is an egregious understatement. I kind of wish Panic! At The Disco would put out a new album just for it. I’m not the only person who thinks this is a good idea.
And oh, sweet, poor Vanessa…
What has Jessica Szohr done to the writers of GG to make them beat her worse than Batman on a particularly angry day? The most terrible part of it is Vanessa is pretty much the SOLE voice of reason on the show, the only character who sees through the facades and has practical, helpful advice on how to deal with it?
Of course, our socialite Cassandra will never be followed and always get abused. But when will enough be enough? When will Vanessa start throwing social haymakers? On that day, kids, we will know pure vengeance, and I’m not saying that because she’s “street” (ok, kinda).
Dan and Serena were appropriate non-factors, though I was hopping up and down when Dan noted that Rachel “wasn’t my teacher,” shouting, “Give ‘im a fresh one! Go for two!”
Speaking of unintentional comedy, let’s address this episode’s glaring weak spot:
You’re really going to build a whole spin off on these characters. Really.
Rufus Humphrey needs to quit his job as a musician/gallery owner/part-time dad and become a private investigator. This is the second episode IN A ROW that an incredibly important piece of paper has magically fallen into his hands. Put this dude in a boat and he’d find you a map to Atlantis. Ironically, he can’t find a reason for us to care about him and Lily.
Part of what made the other Schwartz teen series, “The OC” so good were the great parent storylines. Maybe it’s because there’s not a single stable household in the entire series, but LOCK IT THE F UP ALREADY!! The whole “let’s make a list of our conquests” is so juvenile (wholly appropriate for Lily, who if we’ve forgotten, is a slut) that you’d expect it for Dan and Serena…not grown-ass ADULTS.
“I just think you should get a peek at his little black book before you drop the yellow pages on him.” HEY! LILY! Your own daughter is calling you easy! SERENA! VAN DER WOODSEN! At what point did you think “lists” was a good idea?
One of the creators of “Friday Night Lights,” said “when someone says, ‘remember when,’ it’s a signal to go to the bathroom. Most times I see Lily and Rufus together, that’s my signal. Enough. Just…enough. I’m almost missing Bart Bass.
Sprinkles on this insanely expensive cupcake
It’s nice that the Gossip Girl folks have finally discovered MGMT. Also, that touch football game was great. Where were Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson?
The guy who plays Carter must be thrilled and pissed to have that role. He gets to drop in with the best characters, make out with Blair…and then gets his ass handed to him and has to leave for a whole season.
Blair talks about her facebook page. Hey myspace, remember when you got mentioned in the pilot? Has your name been mentioned since? It hurts a bit, we know. You can share.
Lily remembers beautiful girls throwing themselves at Rufus, but he was “pining” over a “blonde photojournalist.” So that probably made Rufus the rumored gay member of Lincoln Hawk, right?
Has someone put out a missing persons report for Erik yet? They haven’t even TRIED to explain where he is!
Oh, so THAT’S how it’s gonna be…
So what’s next?
#6 on my old facebook note, “Seven things I’d like to see from Gossip Girl that they’d never do”…Chuck and Vanessa are totally going to use each other to get back at their exes. This is PERFECT.
The wrath of Chuck is magnificent, and hopefully Vanessa snaps like Jodie Foster in “The Brave One.” A boy can dream.
Sadly, I see Dan and Serena getting together. When I get more energy, we’ll revisit this topic.
So what did YOU like? Leave thoughts in the comments!
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: This week I’ll be posting an interview with Aaron Tveit, who plays Tripp Vanderbilt, right here on the blog! Check in for updates, and if you have a question, post it in the comments and we’ll see if he want to take a crack at ‘em!
‘til next week!
You know you mentally seduce me,
Filed under: Gossip Girl Review | Tagged: aaron tveit, blair waldorf, blake lively, chuck bass, dan humphrey, dartmouth, ed westwick, Gossip Girl Review, jessica szohr, matrix reloaded, nate archibald, serena van der woodsen, the grandfather, tripp vanderbilt, vanessa abrams |