Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 5, Episode 19 of The CW's "Gossip Girl," entitled "It Girl Interrupted."
Could it be? Has "Gossip Girl" finally recovered from the succession of terribly-written, clumsily-directed cheesefests that populated the middle part of the season? Is it actually making some modicum of logical sense and easing up on the tone-deaf movie homages? Signs point to "maybe" -- with five episodes left in the season, there's still time for the show to go all "The End of the Affair" on us, but I'm crossing my fingers that the rest of the year is nothing but soapy goodness.
Serena's gone power-mad, Blair's still in the midst of a (slightly more interesting) love triangle, and Lola shows signs of being a useful addition to the story. The outlook is good, gossips -- or I'm just suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Either way, read on for our Top 5 OMG Moments from "It Girl Interrupted."
1. The Princess Divorcée
When Blair's divorce papers arrived at the top of the hour with nary a complaint from Louis, my eyes were primed to roll, since nothing infuriates me more than the show's silly little plot contrivances that are introduced as apocalyptic game-changers in one episode, only to be wiped from everyone's collective memories two weeks later. (See also: Blair's miscarriage, Lily and Rufus' lovechild, Chuck's numerous near-death experiences, every ex that isn't a series regular, etc.) Yes, I'm aware that "Gossip Girl" is probably not the show to be watching if throwaway plot contrivances irritate me, but here we are. And yet, when it emerged that it was Chuck's intervention that rid Blair of her excess Louis
Vuitton Grimaldi baggage, I had to unroll my eyes and admit that it was a good call. Georgina being in Monaco, going all "Black Ops" on the royal family off-screen would've been lazy, but Chuck's selfless act allows the story to evolve in a much more compelling direction.
Sadly, the writers have been running so hot and cold on Blair and Chuck's characterization this season that it's both sensible and irrational of Blair to be so suspicious of Chuck's motives, since in the past, he has always had an ulterior motive for his altruism, but for the most part this season, he's been the bigger man and tried to step back and allow Blair the space to be happy without him. Because of this, Blair came across a little too harsh when Chuck came to her for advice about Elizabeth, and in their later confrontation once she'd found out about him paying off the dowry. I know the writers are set on pursuing the Blair/Dan angle this season, but it shouldn't be necessary to demonize one of her suitors to make the other look good; can't Blair just be exploring her feelings for a new guy without needing to be a bitch about it? But yes, that's a criticism of the writing more than the poor, bipolar characters themselves.
Still, the narrative focus on Blair and Dan has seemed to reignite the show's romantic side; I enjoyed watching Dan give Blair one last princess moment with her gown and tiara on the steps of the Met, and involving a gaggle of headband-wearing, wannabe Queen Bs from Constance was a nice touch. Since this is "Gossip Girl," that sweet moment was hard-won, after Dan had inevitably jumped to conclusions about Blair rekindling things with Chuck following the dowry payment, but if "Gossip Girl" didn't have weekly conclusions for its characters to jump to, it would've jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge by now.
2. The Couple That Schemes Together ...
I was worried that Lola was going to end up a little bland, Chivy style, but you've got to respect a girl willing to go to such elaborate lengths -- and outscheme Serena -- to help her man outsmart an office-stealing cougar. Although apparently neither Lola nor Nate were smart enough to find a way around the legal ramifications of "distributing" a video with a well-developed 16-year-old boy making out with said cougar, which was disappointing. It's hard to outfox a Fembot, I guess.
3. The Fame Monster
We kicked off the episode with Serena eager to ditch the shackles of Gossipdom, no longer wanting to be the subject or the source of any more online scandals, but by the end of the hour, the "It Girl" bug had bitten her once more. Now that her star is fading, Serena seems desperate to cling on to the power of Gossip Girl to keep herself relevant, especially if she can halt Lola's rise to fame in the process. If the show wasn't so ridiculous, there would be a thesis on consumer culture and the transparent efforts of self-sustaining celebutantes like Serena and the Kardashians to keep themselves in the public eye, no matter the cost, just begging to be written, but since this is "Gossip Girl," let's just shake our heads at Serena's latest insecurity and wish that she could find a more sane way to validate herself. It seems like the real GG is impatient to reclaim her virtual throne, so I wonder what dirt she'll dig up to force S into early retirement? Seeing our not-so-heroic heroine manipulating the blasts to her advantage was an amusing addition, but no doubt someone will start noticing the favoritism sooner rather than later.
4. Mummy Dearest?
As I mentioned in last week's recap (and as far back as last December), evidence continues to point towards Diana as Chuck's mystery momma. This week's episode proved, in typically throwaway fashion, that Chuck's previous prime suspect, Elizabeth, is not his real mother, nor was she available to donate blood after his accident, because she was at a Tibetan Monastery. Totally plausible, right? The real question, for those of us who have long memories (or know how to work Wikipedia to refresh said memories), is: who is Diana in league with? When Jack called to tell Diana that there had been an accident involving Chuck, she asked, "You'll meet us there?" So who else would care about Chuck's health to the degree that they'd rush to his bedside with vital fluids? Probably not Nate's grandfather, the only other person we've seen Diana colluding with. Could Bart Bass have faked his death all those years ago, or is there another ally at play? And do we really care? Or do we just want Chuck and Nate to have the awkward conversation about Nate banging his best friend's mom? Yeah, that's more like it.
5. No Sleep 'Til [We're Out Of] Brooklyn
Meanwhile, in the boring land of the grown-ups, Lily and Rufus were squabbling about whether to move back to Manhattan or continue slumming it in Brooklyn. Needless to say, Lily wanted to get back to Barneys, Bergdorf and Bloomingdale's, while Rufus was probably still happy to have a reprieve from his trophy husband showboating. But, in the interests of being a pretty awesome spouse, Rufus went to meet with Ivy about trading the swanky Rhodes apartment in exchange for them unfreezing her assets. (My legal knowledge isn't up to much, but I was fairly sure that unfreezing someone's assets in the middle of legal proceedings was kind of impossible, no?) Regardless of logic, Ivy seemed willing to trade, but Lily, illustrating exactly where Serena inherited her scheme gene from, lured Ivy out of the apartment with a fake check so that she could reclaim it in the name of Sparta or William Wallace or Chanel, or something. Sneaky, Lily! But being a conniving bitch apparently isn't a turn-on for Rufus, who decided to stay in Brooklyn and let Lily roll around on her repossessed rugs solo. Trouble in paradise? Must mean that a well-timed visit from William van der Woodsen can't be far away ...
What did you think of "It Girl Interrupted"? Did you think Blair was too hard on Chuck, or was her mistrust justified? Share your reactions below!
"Gossip Girl" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.