Gossip Girl "It's Really Complicated" Review: Thanksgiving Leftovers
Counting this one, there are only three episodes of Gossip Girl left. And apparently, the producers are dead set on making the series finale one of the most miserable conclusions in recent television history. “It’s Really Complicated” answered some questions, posed some others, and generally made a mess of things in an almost indescribable fashion. I guess if they wanted everyone to be in the dark about what the heck was going on as the show came to close, they’ve nailed it. Let’s run it back.
1. Okay, yeah, Dan’s the world’s biggest tool
Last week, I imagined a world where Dan was reconnecting with Serena so that he could gain just a little more dirt on her for his web serial. As with all things Gossip Girl-related, this actually turned out to be true, and yet was still executed pretty terribly. It turns out that Dan was indeed back with Serena for “research,” (as if he needed to learn more or that Serena’s problems were that unnoticeable from the outside) but he's somehow also meant everything he's said to her in recent weeks, sort of. That doesn’t make much sense. He thinks she’s an empty shell of a human being, but he still loves her? That says a lot about you, Lonely Boy.
What’s worse is that "It's Really Complicated" tried to get mileage out of which Serena chapter Dan will actually turn into Vanity Fair, as if it matters. The fact that Dan wrote two Serena chapters proves how stupidly conflicted he is about her, which is I guess sort of the point, but the show hasn’t really justified the two of them getting back together in the first place, so making me fearful that Dan might actually be the douche everyone says he isn’t necessarily fit for good television.
Then somehow, the situation was made EVEN WORSE by Dan’s weird attempts to be “inside” if you will. So much of the show has been about Dan, an outsider, and while I get that he might have a complex about being looked down upon, that complex is mostly a figment of his own imagination. He wanted to be the outsider, even when all these people let him into their twisted, terrible world. And now, he’s suddenly talking about gaining respect and being one of them solely because he did a terrible thing? Uh, Dan, you’ve been doing terrible things to these people since 2008. You are one of them. They say they hate you and then come to your Thanksgiving. You’ve always been what you hated. Get over it.
And by the end of the episode, Dan revealed that he actually had a “plan.” That is “working.” This plan involves his FINAL CHAPTER, which at this point, could be about anything. Dorota. How he secretly loves Georgina. Or Vanessa. Or Both. But because I know how this show works, I assume that the chapter is about himself, and how he’s a fraud, and will always be an outsider, and something about peacoats. I like Penn Badgley quite a bit and Dan’s probably still my favorite character on Gossip Girl, but good lord is he exhausting to root for.
2. This show’s moral universe has completely folded onto itself
Seriously. It’s bad enough that Dan has to act the way that he does, but the show added insult to injury by making him the villainous pariah who got thrown out of his own Thanksgiving party and punched by Nate, basically for telling the truth. A truth, mind you, he'd already told about most of the people at the party, and they all got over it and went about their lives. But when Serena was the focus, they took a moral stand.
Let’s just take a step back and think about this for a second. Dan was punched by the show’s de-facto moral center Nate, who is currently trying to figure out how to weasel his way out of some serious accounting fraud. Also leading the anti-Dan charge was Blair, a young woman who has, over time, made thousands of people miserable with her scheming, back-stabbing, and selfishness. She spent this episode purposefully trying to submarine the reconciliation of two of her best friends, one of whom she'd just reconciled with herself not a few days prior. By her side was Chuck, whose rap-sheet of illegal activities, shady business dealings, and human rights violations we don’t need to rehash here. That leaves us with Serena, a person who needs real help, yet who can’t stop manipulating everyone around her with a smile on her face.
As I’ve said before: All of these people are horrible. They don’t deserve what they have and they certainly deserve a lot worse than being put on blast in Vanity Fair. And just because one of them decided to publicly out everyone for their miserable actions, he got shamed, punched, and discarded. I’m not saying Dan’s a hero, because he’s not. He’s a tool. And he’s gone about all of this in the wrong way. But I really think the show wants to lump Dan in with the Georginas and the Barts of the world so that it can celebrate whatever qualities it thinks are valuable about Serena, Blair, Chuck, and Nate. That’s bullshit, and if the show ends with Dan A.) Apologizing or B.) Getting some grand comeuppance, this all will literally be for naught. So good job, writers.
3. By this point, Chuck will defeat his father by the time the CW reboots this show
Seriously, this story. I really like the idea of Chuck having to “defeat” his father as some final test—even though it reinforces that Chuck is somehow a heroic character who deserves such a test to pass—because it makes sense for the character. Despite all the dreadful things Chuck has done, his actions have been partly consistently dreadful, and most of that stems from his piss-poor relationship with his father. Thus, outsmarting his father, regaining the company that he recklessly mishandled at times, it all makes sense.
Unfortunately, watching the story unfold in this episode, when it was supposed to be building toward a powerful moment, was pretty difficult. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t especially trust Blair and Nate to break open an international conspiracy with just a single chat on a park bench, nor do I imagine that Bart will go down swinging just because Lily doesn’t trust him anymore. If anything, he’s proven that he’ll just kill her and be done with it.
And again, the scene with Blair in the Native American outfit, trying to seduce Chuck, further cemented how dumb their “pact” is. So all it takes is Blaire strutting in and calling herself a stripper to get him to drop the agreed-upon terms, if even for a night? If they’re so hot and heavy for one another, why wouldn’t this have happened sooner? Also: Why am I thinking this through?
4. One random thing
I don’t know if you folks noticed this, but Gossip Girl’s voiceover mentioned a few times that she was going to have a big impact on Thanksgiving. I can’t recall the exact phrasing, but she definitely suggested that she would play a role in the episode’s events, and yet, there were no actual alerts from Gossip Girl in this episode. It could be an error, or I could be overthinking it, but that caught my attention. There’s no way that any of the characters prominently featured in "It's Really Complicated" could be Gossip Girl, right?
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