Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 5, Episode 21 of The CW's "Gossip Girl," entitled "Despicable B."
How do you solve a problem like Blair Waldorf? Our staple "Gossip Girl" anti-heroine has been suffering from something of an identity crisis over the past couple of seasons, lurching from man to man and plan to plan with none of her former wit or withering disdain. The good thing about "Despicable B" is that the writers have apparently wised up to the fact that she's had totally bipolar characterization for a while now, and I guess it's better late than never to address that imbalance. We all know that the show is never going to recapture the glory days of its first two seasons, but this week's episode was at least a little less blunt-force obvious than "Salon of the Dead" -- enough for us to scrape together five OMG moments ...
1. Dare to Scheme
Since Blair is suffering from the aforementioned identity crisis, her world was rocked this week when she discovered that New York magazine deemed Dan more brilliant and highbrow than her -- an injustice she wasn't prepared to tolerate. She hatched a scheme to hijack Dan's limelight at a party held to celebrate his nomination for a literary award, and it was every bit as awkward as you might expect. Blair used to be the queen of schemes, so to see her trying to impress a bunch of hoity-toity literary snobs that she ordinarily wouldn't give a damn about was fairly excruciating, and her attempt to do something "honorable and magnanimous" fell well short of her usual nuanced plotting. I hate it when a show feels the need to embarrass its characters (especially women) in order for them to learn a valuable life lesson, but if it helps Blair do a personality 180 and stops her from trying to define herself by her relationships with men, I suppose it's worth the discomfort. "Maybe you're so focused on how everyone else percieves you that you no longer know who you are," Dan noted, in what I hope was the writers acknowledging that they no longer know who Blair is. Later, she admitted, "Somehow, between being traded for a hotel and selling out for a tiara, I lost my true self." Fingers crossed she can find herself before the end of the season -- I'd prefer it if she didn't once again need a man to show her who she "really is," but sadly, the Dan and Blair train has already left the station, at least for this year.
2. Just Desserts
It wasn't a great week to be a parent on the Upper East Side, especially not in the incestuous Rhodes/Van der Woodsen tribe. Things started off sticky when William blew Serena off in favor of brunching with Lola, whom he finally enlightened about her true heritage. Worse still -- and in typical "Gossip Girl" fashion -- Serena just happened to be walking past the restaurant where Lola and William just happened to be sitting right by the window for their emotionally fraught conversation. Elsewhere, Lily went full Darth Vader in a Chanel cape, paying off a nurse to testify against Ivy in order to have CeCe's will overturned, then masterminding a fence-mending dinner for Carol and Lola (with prerequisite press in attendance) to prove just how happy their family truly was now that their financial strife was resolved. But since the show has never featured a gathering that doesn't end in catastrophe, Lily ended the night confronting Carol and William about their affair, Serena forsook her father for choosing to cozy up to Lola after being such a crappy parent to her and Lily brought Ivy back to give a statement that would have Carol arrested for fraud, after her genius decision to hire Ivy to impersonate Charlie Rhodes last season. And you think your family dinners are awkward.
To compound matters, Lola went to Serena with an olive branch, trying to get her sister-cousin to rebel against Lily to get Carol freed. (I must have missed the part where there would be any logical reason for Serena to be so mad at Lily that she'd want to help out her crazy homewrecking aunt, since Lola's proposal seemed a little out of left-field.) When Serena declined, however, Lola found the Gossip Girl username and password, so I'm sure she plans to break into the site and wreak all sorts of scandalous havoc, because what else do these rich kids have to do with their lives? I must admit, if I were Serena, I'd be blacklisting William too -- although I would've expected her to warm up to Lola if the chick didn't keep trying to sabotage Serena's personal and professional lives for no real reason. In all honesty, Ivy is the one I pity most, since she genuinely (and misguidedly) wants to be part of the Rhodes clan, despite their inherent evilness. Maybe it's the fabulous hair. She even tore up the million-dollar check that Lily bribed her with, hoping to somehow get back into the ice queen's good graces.
3. Undercover Lover
The writers have been making actual attempts to give Nate storylines this season, which I suppose almost makes up for the fact that they're generally bland (and kind of distracting since poor Chace Crawford mangled his mouth). This week, his attempt at sleuthing provided some actual entertainment value, as he snooped around Diana's bedroom and then distracted her with his fine abs when she caught him in the act -- that's how rich boys make the most of their assets. He also did some fairly good detective work -- when he wasn't allowing Diana to sink her cougar claws into him -- because he discovered something that a number of people have suspected for a while now ...
4. A Real Basstard
Forget about mama drama; Jack Bass might be Chuck's real father? Say it ain't so! Considering Jack's attempts to steal Chuck's fortune (and girlfriend) in the past, this could take "Gossip Girl's" daddy issues to a whole new level -- heck, even Rufus fathered a illegitimate son with Lily back in the day, and he's supposed to be the
boring reliable one. Signs currently point to Jack and Elizabeth being baby Bass' real life-givers, with Diana positioned as a patsy to throw Chuck off the scent should he ever dig too deep into who donated blood after his accident. That doesn't explain the nurse, who last week insisted that Diana was the one to donate blood, but I'm sure the writers could twist that useless piece of logic if needed. It would also explain why Diana isn't more concerned about sleeping with her son's best friend, but at this point, Chuck's parental concerns are getting a little too convoluted for me to invest in. Let the poor guy have one solid thing in his life, already!
5. Oldies on the Outs
It seems as though Lily's a little too eager to assume CeCe's position as the Machiavellian puppetmaster of the Upper East Side, since her recent injection of cash appears to have completely depleted her funds in humanity and common decency. Not only did she cut Rufus off and refuse to apologize for it, she actively accused him of being the trophy husband he's always feared becoming. Then, after Rufus stomped off to pout and brood in a disarmingly young-looking way (Seriously, shaving Matthew Settle's facial hair apparently functions as a time machine. It's unnerving how fresh-faced he is), Lily sent William to make Carol sign over the power of attorney to him, so that he could give her half of the estate back to Lily. Sadly, Lily overplayed her hand and made it quite obvious that she's entirely monstrous enough to leave Lola penniless because she's still steamed about William cheating on her with her sister while they were married, so William ran off to JFK and parts unknown with access Carol's cash. Silly Lily.
Did you enjoy "Despicable B?" Do you think that Blair's on the right track towards getting her identity back, and do you think Jack is Chuck's real father? Weigh in below!
"Gossip Girl" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.