Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 6, Episode 8 of The CW's "Gossip Girl," titled "It's Really Complicated."
I will say one thing for this season of "Gossip Girl": It's a ballsy move for a TV show to turn our POV character -- the everyman from behind whose eyes we first gazed upon the not-so-fictional Upper East Side -- into the series' true villain. Sure, Bart Bass is bad, but at least the old man is hell-bent on destroying people outside his inner circle (business managers and sheiks are a dime a dozen), whereas Dan is content to burn every bridge he ever built in his quest for literary greatness and moral superiority.
But "Breaking Bad," this ain't, and sadly for "GG" and its long-suffering actors, Dan's turn from Jedi to Sith is as shallow, irritating and poorly-conceived as the rest of its final season. Sure, these spoilt little rich kids lie, cheat, steal and backstab like it's going out of style, but Dan hasn't been better than them for a long time.
It's not his self-satisfied tell-alls that finally put him on the same level as Blair and Chuck; he's been scheming and manipulating ever since the first time he saw Serena as his entry point to the world he's always coveted, and pretending otherwise requires a spectacular rewrite of history. As Rufus pointed out, everyone has their version of the truth, and using a salacious expose to hurt someone who was genuinely opening her heart to him doesn't level the playing field, it just makes Dan a verifiable sociopath -- just like his new role model, Bart Bass.
So Dan's gone Dark Side, and I'm not sure what was more offensive -- his exposed chest hair or his expectation that Serena should forgive him for replicating his friends' bad behavior and embracing his inner Upper East Sider. Two wrongs apparently do make a right in Danland. Really, the most offensive aspect of all is that we still have to sit through two episodes of this agony.
And no sooner had we gotten rid of Ivy (the human embodiment of Ipecac), Sage (the human embodiment of paint drying) reared her hipster-hatted head, to monotone her way through far too many make-out scenes with Nate.
It wouldn't be "Gossip Girl" without a trick, a trap or a misunderstanding, so naturally everyone who hated each other ended up stuck under the same roof for Thanksgiving. For Chuck and Blair, that meant reuniting to bury Bart; for Steven and Sage, that meant attempting to reconcile with their exes in the most awkward way possible; for Bart, that meant attempting to intimidate both Lily and Nate, and for Serena, that meant pretending to be blissfully ignorant about the impending drama, and then being surprised after it all blew up in her face.
Apparently, Chuck and Blair's latest separation pact lasted about as long as Blair's baffling deal with a deity; as soon as the writers no longer had need of it, it was discarded with nary a word. Leaving aside Blair's skeevy Native American stripper attire (and folks thought the Victoria's Secret fashion show was bad), is anyone surprised that all it took was a couple of days of binge drinking and the promise of sex to have Chuck back on track and their hump-hiatus permanently revoked? The narrative backpedalling on this show could make Lance Armstrong break a sweat. But all's well that ends well, since Lily has finally realized what we knew long ago (before Bart had to start standing in front of fires to really hammer the Devil metaphor home) -- her latest hubby is a bad news bear, and he's liable to kill her if she digs too deeply into his dirty laundry.
I wouldn't miss her much, but since Chuck's relying on her to send him the incriminating info she discovered from the microfilm (and yet she still wasn't suspicious of until now?) I guess she can stick around until the finale.
The only satisfying part of the episode -- a.k.a the only part that didn't make me want to scrape out my eyeballs with a potato peeler -- was when Nate sucker-punched Lonely Boy, because no matter how much they scheme, our depraved gang of millionaires will always have their loyalty, damnit! (Except when they don't, natch.) Their death-stares as Dan skulked out (and walked right into his new BFF, BB) were also fairly hilarious. I wonder if the script read: "everyone squints disgustedly like they're watching Rufus and Ivy have sex."
Obviously, none of these people are remotely likable or redeemable, after so much cruelty and general life destroying, but at this point, I guess we're rooting for the lesser of two evils? Or whoever has the least offensive chest hair.
Two episodes to go ...
"Gossip Girl" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. EST on The CW.
What do you think of Dan's dastardly turn? Are you still as grossed out by Nate and Sage as I am? Weigh in below!