Gossip Girl: British Invasion

Gossip Girl S05E20: "Salon of the Dead"

This week’s episode of Gossip Girl, "Salon of the Dead," was so good I would schlep all the way to Brooklyn to hang out with it, uninvited. Long hinted-at plot twists were finally (finally!) revealed. Characters reacted in almost human-like ways to those plot twists. Serena wore a dress that covered her chocha.

Little miracles we’ve come never to expect from Gossip Girl were happening all over the place. The show has officially broken its previous record of one good episode in a row.

The biggest reveal of the night was actually a confirmation of what we’ve been saying for weeks: Diana Payne is Chuck Bass’s mother.

While Serena was the first to put the pieces together (well, she didn’t so much do that as have an incredibly well-timed eavesdropping session while Diana was on the phone), it was Lola “Gossip blogs are a waste of time” Rhodes who ultimately revealed the news to everyone, via live video she was feeding to Gossip Girl.

"Salon of the Dead" was Lola’s most entertaining episode yet, because it showed her going from zero to van der Woodsen in sixty seconds.

Blinded by narcissism, she careened around Manhattan guided only by her sixth sense (of entitlement). She crashed parties, mismanaged revenge ploys, and took out plenty of innocent bystanders while on her spree; in short, she behaved exactly like her cousin/half-sister, Serena.

Funnily enough, the person Lola had come most closely to resemble was the one she most wanted to destroy. She figured out that Serena was Gossip Girl, basically, because Serena was the most obvious Gossip Girl ever (“BOY, I SURE DO WONDER WHAT I—I MEAN GOSSIP GIRL WILL WRITE ABOUT THIS!” Serena practically screamed anytime there was a lull in conversation). The big tip-off was that Gossip Girl sent out a Lola-bashing blast just before Lola was set to have a big audition with director Lars von Trier (for what, I couldn’t tell you—these 26-year-old teenagers mumble even more than actual teenagers), the content of which was suspiciously similar to a discussion she'd had with Serena not ten minutes prior.

Meanwhile, Serena wanted to destroy the person who’d become the most like her, specifically because she’d become the most like her. There’s only room for one It Girl on the Upper East Side, possibly also Earth, and her name is Serena and she is from the Woodsen.

Fortunately for viewers, Serena’s crazy did not diminish at all since the previous episode. If anything, it fortified itself, as evidenced by this remark made to her unwitting new nemesis Lola, who'd come to Serena for a pep talk prior to the audition Serena would later sabotage:

Serena: “You seem so confident that nothing could make you cry today...even if it should.”

Like, WHAT? Who SAYS that?

(For the record, Lola responded with a sort of confused-but-dismissive “Huh” laugh—the same sound she made earlier in the episode when Nate reminded her his cousin once tried to murder him. For an aspiring actress, she’s not great at reacting.)

Despite numerous warnings from boyfriend Nate that she’d crossed the hostile border that separates Quirkytown from Crazyville, Lola became convinced she had to expose Serena as one of New York society’s top unpaid bloggers, and would stop at nothing to do it. To this end, she contrived an almost inconceivably intricate scheme, involving crashing (and causing others to unknowingly crash) a painful intellectual salon hosted by New York’s premiere insufferable young couple, Dan and Blair. Before the night was through, Lola had alienated all her newfound acquaintances (were any of them really “friends,” besides Nate?), revealed a total stranger’s deeply private family secret, twenty-some years in the keeping, and used up all of Dan and Blair’s ice.

As the dust settled around her unintentional Chucksposé, a chastened Lola took off, determined to leave the UES once and for all—without exposing Serena as Gossip Girl. Which means she’ll be back, perhaps against her will, within a week.

The other major development of last night’s episode concerned the Dan and Blair of the keytar generation...

It’s time for Rufusuicide Watch.

Lincoln Hawke’s tired former frontman was all over the place last night. He was down. He was up. He was buying a sturdy length of rope. He was digging his grave. He was telling Siri to “Call me ‘Rock God,’” and shedding a single frustrated tear when she responded, “Okay. From now on, I’ll call you ‘Raw Cod.’” The start of the episode found him still puttering around the Brooklyn loft, fixing rolly chairs and playing his guitar alone in the dark.

“When Lily and I got married...I became a ‘+1’ for galas and in life. But, in the process, I lost myself and what’s important to me,” he told Dan, coming down hard from his recent Dr. Phil binge.

Luckily, at this, Rufus’s darkest hour, his number one gal Lily showed up, bearing a peace offering of a giant salad (really).

They made up over the “roughage” (Rufus’s words) and headed back to the penthouse together. But things quickly went awry when Lily discovered Rufus had been using his credit card to put Poison Ivy Dickens up in a hotel. She went crazy in the quiet, calm way that makes rich ladies so terrifying.

The parallels between Dan and Blair’s and Rufus and Lily’s relationships in last night’s episode were drawn with the subtlety of a two-year-old’s Magic Marker self-portrait.

Both couples spoke of the need to merge their first-class/steerage lifestyles and both ultimately failed in their attempts to do so. For Dan and Blair, the failure prompted a cute “Haters to the left; we don’t need anyone but ourselves!” bonding moment. For Rufus and Lily, it was pretty much just a failure. In Rufus’s final scene, we learned that Lily had closed him out of their (her?) bank account. Guess it’s back to the Brooklyn Loft of Shadows for him after all.

As was previously mentioned, this week’s Party Attended by Everyone in the Principal Cast Even Though Only Two of Them Have Reason to Be There was a literary salon hosted by Dan and Blair. The theme of the evening was posh and British; the decor of the event was positively garish. Here are the five craziest decorations from the party:

1. The life-sized beefeater statue people no doubt kept drunkenly chatting up all night.

2. This portrait of a wealthy dog/human mutant propped up against a wall.

3. These adorable bowler hat light fixtures.

4. These adorable teakettle light fixtures.

5. This absolutely bonkers, nothing-has-ever-looked-more-fake wallpaper bookshelf.

(Has this always been part of the Humphrey loft? Are we supposed to think it’s really books? Is it a joke?)


1. In true Gossip Girl fashion, just as we were coming to grips with the fact that the almost comically boobalicious Diana is Chuck’s mother, she received a text message implying she has an even bigger secret waiting to be discovered. What could be a bigger secret? Looks like we might find out next week, as Nate returns to his old motherf**king ways (literally) in an attempt to get close to Diana and learn how she bankrolls her extravagant lifestyle. Maybe she’s a high-class call girl? Or is the money trail a red herring?

2. Lola’s grand “The Upper East Side is a no good, very bad part of town and I am done with it!” speech pretty much guarantees that she’ll be dragged back in to the van der Woodsen clan soon. How do you think it’ll happen? My money’s on a Papa van der Woodsen paternity reveal, but there’s always the chance she could team up with her old pal Ivy to take on Serena and Lily.

3. Speaking of Ivy—what’s going to happen to Lily and Rufus now that his Ivy- supporting secret is out? She’s already cut him off from their (her?) bank account. Is a nasty divorce battle looming? (Rufus is going to demand a lot of spousal support. Waffle mix ain’t free!)

4. Do you guys ever wonder about Jenny? Do you think anyone will remember to tell her her father and step-mother are getting divorced?

5. Gossip Girl’s plan to get to Serena through Diana seems to have been a bust. What’s her next move?

6. Were Oracle Club founders Julian Tepper and Jenna Gribbon the most painfully awkward cameos yet?

Comments (4)
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Apr 24, 2012
Wow that was a great review, thanks.:)


6. Were Oracle Club founders Julian Tepper and Jenna Gribbon the most painfully awkward cameos yet?

Apr 19, 2012
u made me miss jenny now but i confess i had to think a few seconds to remember who she was at first
Apr 18, 2012
Thanks for the review I love them, I am happy that I am not really missing too much. I can't wait till the odd couple is over and done with
Apr 18, 2012
this episode wasn;t terrible, at least not as terrible as season 5 anyway. i also wish we could see how eric and jenny are doing and if they;ll see it on gossip girl first or if they;ll get a text from their sibs: "lily and rufus broke up. xoxo"