Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 6, Episode 5 of The CW's "Gossip Girl," titled "Monstrous Ball."
How do you solve a problem like "Gossip Girl"? Thankfully, The CW has already answered that great philosophical question by determining that this will be the show's final season, but it's worth examining nonetheless, since we're halfway through the series' last year and not only has nothing changed, things have arguably gotten worse. If there's truly a drive to mature our characters and get them to a place of evolution or, at the very least, tolerability, I have yet to see it.
This week's episode wasn't as awful as last week's bland installment, but only because the show threw an incomprehensible stream of plot twists at us to distract from its overall ridiculousness. To channel Cher Horowitz for a moment, as if Sage would be able to get the drop on Georgina, hijack a video projector or manipulate Blair. The girl can't even properly emote her way through a sentence, let alone pull off a master scheme that would leave the Upper East Side's two master manipulators in the dust.
Still, her elaborate attempts to break up Serena and Steven had the desired effect, and though I sadly don't believe we've seen the last of that monotonous relationship, it would be nice to think that Sage would take a one-way trip to the Island of Occasional References where the show shipped Jenny, Eric and Rufus and Lily's forgotten lovechild Scott, never to be heard from again.
How many recycled plotlines did "Gossip Girl" drag up this week?
- Serena assuming the worst about her partner and finding out the best? Check! She thought Steven was mad at her, but it turned out he was just planning to propose, the sneaky devil!
- Blair trying to sabotage Serena's happiness? Check! She was quite happy to delay (and then destroy) Serena and Steven's engagement as long as it served her best interests. She then denied her malicious intentions when it came to possibly reconciling with Serena, but I'm not entirely sure she would've called off Sage if it meant getting new buyers for her line.
- A wacky misunderstanding that causes multiple relationship meltdowns? In a public place? Check-check! Sage's decision to broadcast Serena and Dan's sex tape managed to obliterate Serena and Steven, Blair and Dan's burgeoning friendship, and Sage's own relationship with Nate (thank god).
- A totally obvious theft leading to a public humiliation? Check! Do we really believe that Sage could pull the ol' bump and grab phone trick on Georgina, who practically invented that already unlikely move?
- Serena and Blair reconciling, only to start hating each other again? Check! I swear, these two are on again/off again more than Ross and Rachel.
- Bart being ominous and evil for no good reason? Check! Shouldn't he have grown a mustache to twirl by now?
- Lily attempting to be a good parent and then undermining herself by being a totally sucky one a few minutes later? Checkedy-check, to both Serena and Chuck this week.
- A Serena and Dan reunion? Check! We all know it's coming. They were flirting over pie, for crying out loud! Pie!
- Blair disappointing her mother?Womp-womp check! Even though her risqué debutante stunt with Sage earned Waldorf designs some new buyers, Eleanor is still on her way home to fix her daughter's mess, once again undermining all the progress Blair was making in becoming a successful and mature businesswoman in her own right. Sigh.
- Rufus still getting stuck with the worst. storyline. ever? Checkeroonie. I swear, watching him and Ivy together is like driving a rusty nail into my eyeball with a sledgehammer. Somebody stop the madness!
Nate was pretty much the only one who showed any redeeming qualities this week, by finally ending things with snotty Sage for humiliating Serena. Never mind that she's been attempting to humiliate Serena for weeks now -- better late than never, Archibald. When will it end (oh, right, five episodes from now) and will we start caring before then?
"Gossip Girl" airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.