Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 6, Episode 2 of The CW's "Gossip Girl," titled "High Infidelity."
Well, that didn't take long; after last week's brief, blissful injection of wit and logical storytelling, episode two of "Gossip Girl's" final season snapped back to inanity faster than you can shout "Dorota!" Blair was able to utter a few witty zingers and Georgina was as gleefully unhinged as ever, but the rest of the episode was yet another endless cycle of misunderstandings, scheming and public shaming.
Gone was Blair's restraint and maturity -- instead of being a practical businesswoman in charge of a successful company, she was back to shrieking at her minions and spying on her old nemesis, "fauxcialite" Poppy Lifton, who happened to choose the same fabric for her new fashion line as Blair was using for Waldorf Designs. Blair immediately reverted back to her high school default of scorched earth, paranoia and fiery vengeance, once again undoing any character development she's gained over the past five years.
Even when faced with a more polished and successful Nelly Yuki (now a Yale grad and reporter for Women's Wear Daily) Blair still acted like a spoiled brat, and when it turned out that Nelly and Poppy hadn't been conspiring against her, simply waiting for her to self-destruct from her own sense of entitlement, our Queen B. was left stamping her foot while Nelly and Poppy swanned off to be successful grown-ups.
Chuck, meanwhile, was at least being decent to Blair and eager to rush to her aid when needed, but still fell back into old habits of manipulation and blackmail when his father's interpreter, Amira, wouldn't give him the incriminating information on Bart that he wanted. How, exactly, are these characters maturing when they're simply repeating the same stale character beats we've seen for the last five seasons?
Dan was still on his own path of self-destruction, determined to publish his "Inside" sequel with no edits or redactions, and happy to burn as many bridges as necessary to tell the truth about his former friends on the Upper East Side. Nate bravely elected to publish the serial uncut in the Spectator, but I'm wondering if Dan's written anything less than complimentary about him in his expose that Nate might regret or feel compelled to trim behind Dan's back.
Still, as douchey as Dan's being of late, he's not entirely wrong in his frustration -- his so-called friends did chase his sister from the city, Serena did treat him like a dog on a leash and Chuck did trade Blair for his hotel but made up with her regardless, so Dan's entitled to be a little bored with the machinations of Manhattan's elite at this point. Still, the problem with an eye for an eye is that everyone ends up blind, and if Dan continues down his current path, there's unlikely to be a happy ending for him.
Serena seemed to be the socialite most likely to succeed at turning over a new leaf when she tried to confront Steven about his secret rendezvous with Nate's girlfriend Sage before jumping to conclusions ... Except she then hurdled over those conclusions regardless. After Steven slugged Nate and Serena called Sage a slut, it emerged that Nate's new girlfriend was actually Steven's 17-year-old daughter -- shocking news to both Serena and Nate.
Since it's clear that Archibald is more into cougars than jailbait, he didn't take Sage's revelation too well, but Serena and Steven seemed stronger than ever after all the confusion was ironed out. Sadly, it now seems like Sage (who could use an acting class or twelve) is determined to break up her dad and his trophy girlfriend, so we have that unnecessary drama to look forward to in the remaining eight episodes.
Thankfully, we didn't get another glimpse of Rufus and Ivy's vomitous tryst during "High Infidelity," although we were subjected to an unwelcome amount of Bass family politics, which I still couldn't care less about. As long as Bart ends up behind bars or perhaps truly in the ground by the series' end, I don't care how we get there. The show has never done "adult" drama half as well as it did high school dilemmas (mostly because all of its characters have the emotional maturity of a blueberry scone), so I truly wish it would stop trying. At this point, the series finale is looking more and more like a mercy killing with every passing episode, and as someone who enjoyed the froth and frivolity of the first two seasons, that depresses me more than a little.
"Gossip Girl" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.
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