Gossip Girl occasionally sets us up for an alley-oop of an episode that puts all the strong characters together for a purpose that actually—hold your breath—makes sense. The result: definitely the best episode since, “The Grandfather,” possibly the best ep of 2009. Spoilers ahead.
They took a whole episode last week to set us up for this week’s, and it was worth it. It had all the ingredients they needed to make a good/great episode:
-The kids (led by Blair and Chuck, obvi) planning vengeance and thinking they can do a better job that anyone else.
-Hints at the unspoken class war that you wish they would just overtly address for a whole season (Lily is…what? The Humphreys’ benefactor?)
-Beautiful people, fashion, and Chuck talking about how he has lots of sex.
-Georgina “I sold my show pony for coke” Sparks.
-Betrayal from every side with velvet daggers.
But the very best part is after the jump.
The writers all took a look at this script and said, “Ok, I think we have this,” and then someone broke down the door and yelled, “WAIT! Have you seen the last six episodes? They’re AWFUL! LEAVE NOTHING TO CHANCE!”
…And so they threw in a very poignant moment between Chuck and Blair, complete with reserved public crying and Chuck suffering in silence because he does truly love Blair, but kinda hates himself (sorry, I just read “Twilight” on a whim and some bits are bound to leak out. In other news, I’m a 12 year old girl.)
Let’s jump right into the Blair/Chuck exchange. These scenes are Gossip Girl’s performance enhancing drugs; they will ALWAYS kick an episode up another level. I thought this scene was a nice mashup of Chuck’s “I don’t want you anymore,” bit from season one and the bedroom scene after Bart Bass’ funeral. They can’t really have it out like they would want, but Chuck and Blair will always cut each other to the quick every time they speak.
Even through Blair’s single tear, you get the feeling that she really doesn’t believe it. Chuck is wearing a face that I’m not sure we’ve seen before: he’s trying to summon his “I’m Chuck Bass, grandmaster” face, but he just can’t quite get it together. I’d need to see it again, but I don’t think Chuck looks Blair in the eye during the meaty bits of their conversation. At any rate, they’re brilliant actors together and we’ll see them dance this dance in season three.
I LOVED that their talk was insisted on by a new little upstart we’ll call Nate 2.0: Now With Backbone! Nate was the laughingstock of Gossip Girl until “The Grandfather,” a sure scene-killer to the point that they banished him to Brooklyn. Now Nate’s sort-of relevant, he’s back to being rich, and he actually sticks up for himself! Let’s see how long Chuck puts up with this. At any rate, I’m glad to see Nate 2.0 with function.
At the heart of this episode is the uber-topical financial crisis/Madoff/ponzi scheme of Gabriel and Poppy, which the kids decide to tackle on their own in a way that is not unlike Scooby and Mystery, Inc. showing up in their drug van and saying, “Screw you, adults! We know how to handle THIS!” Immediately things go badly, and they should have seen these things coming.
1.) No one chooses to inform the adults…who, you know, are the ones who are actually affected by this. And when they do inform the adults, Lily just decides to pay everyone back and not use Bart Bass’ Quantum Safe to order a hit on Poppy. That untraceable satellite phone is in there for a reason, Lil. You know who would have capped that lil’ con? Julie Cooper. Julie Cooper schemed to poison her husband once. You are no Julie Cooper, Lily.
HOWEVER, you DID drop a dime on YOUR OWN DAUGHTER to ensure that your own hackneyed solution will succeed. I mean, that’s hall of fame caliber stuff. When Rufus confronted her about it, telling her that she wouldn’t let Rufus put Jenny in a squad car, Lily responds, “I’m not a monster Rufus.” Which really should have been lengthened to, “I’m not a monster Rufus, I just don’t listen to people like you.”
2.) The Humphreys are still alive. This means that at least one incredibly damaging or pivotal item WILL fall into the hands of, or be overheard by, one of the Humphrey men. It’s the will of the Universe, to the point that Lily saw Rufus with a list of Gabriel’s investors, asked, “Where did you get that?” and simply seemed to answer her own question with, “This guy found my little black book when he was looking for takeout. Why am I asking these questions?”
Likewise, Lily’s tipped off by the same Dan Humphrey who overheard the kids talking about the con AND heard every part of Serena’s Spanish marriage adventure when he was a cater waiter. Let’s just embrace the fact that the cast of Gossip Girl has super powers and move on.
3.) They involve Georgina Sparks.
They pull her out of the cryogenic status of Jesus Camp (OMJC!) to do their dirty work.
I have been trying to find good parallels to this since the moment they started shaping G.Sparks to take down Poppy (and who knows if Poppy is actually behind this. I’d like to think it’s still a two-person con, but GG probably won’t be that complex).
I hate to keep going back to Lost on all of you, and I WISH I could think of something else, but Blair bringing Sparks back to the dark side and training her to do their bidding was VERY MUCH like Ben Linus training Sayyid to be his own personal assassin. She did everything to pull Georgina back from her pure life, offering Dior, Prada, style…until finally she convinces Sparks that she’ll earn Blair’s forgiveness if she destroys Poppy. That’s great stuff.
Almost as good as when they lose control of her. None of you will get this, but G.Sparks on the phone at the end was like “Instinct,” with Cuba Gooding Jr. and Anthony Hopkins when Hopkins played the crazy gorilla guy and pinned Cuba to the table, telling him, “You never had control. You only thought you had control.”
And of course, once you’ve reactivated Sparks there’s NO going back. I look forward to Georgina being an Upper East Side Joker, culminating in her sliding down a giant stack of Poppy’s money, lighting it on fire, pointing a nail file at Blair, and saying, “Tell your Stair Masters they work for me now.” I hope, I hope, I hope.
Little bits I found great:
When Rufus needs Lily to be distracted for a period of time, he sends Jenny to run interference…and Jenny occupies Lily by blabbering on about TWILIGHT. YES! This is the perfect strategy. It’s nearly 500 pages of NOTHING HAPPENING! Well played, Little J.
Chuck assesses Georgina the same way a sommelier assesses a fine bottle of wine. I want to believe that Chuck does this in his head when approaching every conquest. It was a little overdone, but we all loved it.
“We know the rest. It’s called a ponzi scheme.” Thanks for explaining that for the 14 year olds, Chuck.
When Poppy showed up at Lily’s apartment, my eyebrows shot up. I mean, the ovaries on this broad! She is absolutely GOING for it.
Serena confronting Gabriel was like the scene with Charlize Theron and Ed Norton in “The Italian Job”…with the notable exception that Serena is NO Charlize Theron, and Mark Wahlberg is no Chuck Bass. (I’m going to get my ass kicked for this. Mark Wahlberg does not forgive and he does not forget.)
Georgina’s satisfied smiles when people would look at her just kill me every time. I thought Michelle Trachtenberg did a great job.
The group that heads to the Russian Tea House is the Gossip Girl Dream Team. All you needed was a power-drunk Jenny Humphrey and it would be the teen drama equivalent of the 1992 US Olympic basketball team.
Jenny’s hair is really kind of “The Shaggy Dog.” They’re trying to make her interesting when it only makes her look heinous.
Someone once said, “an actor being a cook is the easiest role to play. All you have to do is be shown once in a while stirring a pot and you’re still a cook!” That’s how I feel about Lily these days. When we saw her at the start of the episode, she was on the phone, saying, “No, TWO cases of champagne…” and BOOM, we don’t need to explain this any further. She’s got cash. She uses it.
And then, FINALLY…
I like to cheat and watch the preview for the next week. I was on a bit of a Gossip Girl high, really enjoyed the episode, jazzed to find out how we were going to bring Poppy to justice, what was going to happen with Serena, and then…
I’m going to let THIS speak for me:
WHAT. THE HELL. IS THIS? WHY DOES GOSSIP GIRL TRY TO KILL ITSELF? WHY? WHY? WHY?
I know I’m being whiny and melodramatic, but I just don’t get it. Why, when you’ve finally showed us some life, do you pull a stunt like this? They’re destroying their momentum, and they just don’t care. I was visibly angry. I hate to say this in a Gossip Girl review, but you mean to tell me that this show can spend an episode entirely on an 80’s flashback to promote their new spin off, secure in their new coming season, but brilliant series like Friday Night Lights had to spend three consecutive seasons wondering if they’d get to put more incredible entertainment out there?
Get your act together, GG. I’m serious.
What did YOU think about the episode and the pending disaster that is next week? Leave comments! I read!
Filed under: Gossip Girl Review | Tagged: armie hammer, blair waldorf, blake lively, chuck and blair, chuck bass, dan humphrey, ed westick, georgina sparks, Gossip girl, gossip girl 80's, Gossip Girl Review, leighton meester, michelle trachtenberg, rufus humphrey, serena van der woodsen, the wrath of con, valley girls spin off, woody tondorf |