Our favourite Upper East Side brats are back on air, albeit with half the main cast temporarily relocated to Paris. And despite scary internet rumours that he wouldn’t be returning for the fourth season, the show’s French foray does include brooding billionaire Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick).
When he was stabbed at the end of series three (having refused to give muggers an engagement ring meant for Blair), some Gossip Girl fans we’re convinced it was Chuck-out time for the bow-tied playboy. And when news reached Lily that her stepson’s body had been fished out of a Prague river, it seemed to confirm our fears. But just as we reached for the Kleenex, it emerged that the corpse didn’t belong to Chuck after all. Instead, he’d spent the summer being nursed back to health by a foreign blonde lovely.
Had Gossip Girl returned without its teen Lothario, we’d have switched off quicker than you can say “XO XO”. Charles Bass, with his velvet voice, gentleman’s dress sense and love of high-end derring-do, is the show’s big draw. We’ve watched him evolve from a slimy predator of underage girls (remember the Jenny Humphries incident in series one?) to loved-up, vulnerable orphan in charge of an empire. And we’ve looked on breathlessly as his relationship with Blair (Leighton Meester) bloomed from bickering classmates to tempestuous soul mates. But last year their off/off courtship looked to be over for good when a distraught Chuck drowned his sorrows in Jenny’s virginity. Blair found out, grabbed Serena and fled to Paris. (Had they stayed together, the natural next step would be the celebrity name-meld: we like Chair, or possibly Bluck).
Alas, Westwick’s real life romantic entanglements have been no less sticky. Earlier this year he split from Gossip Girl co-star Jessica Szohr (who plays Vanessa Abrams; allegedly she cheated on him with a friend). But a look at the new series reveals that this off-screen love bump hasn’t affected the native Brit’s acting. Chuck may walk with a stick since being stabbed but he’s slicker than ever. Even injured, he managed to woo his nurse, who was on his arm when they arrived in Paris. What will Blair say when she discovers that her former beau was knifed protecting her future finger bling, but now he’s the one who’s moved on? Will it force her to get over him and start scheming to win back her beloved billionaire?