This week’s episode of Gossip Girl took its cues right out of the Scooby-Doo mystery playbook. Groovy dresses were donned.
Cryptic clues were meticulously amassed. Someone we thought was a ghost was caught tippy tippy tiptoeing around a spooky old mansion.
Zoinks it was an unbelievable episode.
The first of many improbable things we learned last night was that every entry in the day planner Nate swiped from Diana Payne’s room in last week’s episode was written in some kind of uncrackable da Vinci code. Of course, to Nate, every book in the world appears to be written in some sort of uncrackable da Vinci code (or Wingdings?) but it turns out this one actually did contain encrypted information.
Desperate to uncover Diana’s shagadelic secret, Nate and Chuck (and tagalong Lola) called upon the sleuthing services of Serena and Blair, and the old, scheming Mystery, Inc. team was reborn at last.
True, Blair could have accomplished alone, in twenty minutes, with a jumbo sized bag full of animal crackers for brain food, what the whole troupe took a couple hours to puzzle out, but it was fun to see everyone working together again.
To put everyone’s contributions in perspective: Blair realized after staring at the code for about nine seconds that it was a Vigenère cipher; Serena tried to steal the day planner and give it back to Diana in exchange for the real Gossip Girl’s phone number.
She didn’t succeed. Everyone realized two seconds after van der Clumsen’s hasty exit that she had swiped the book from Blair’s purse, and Lola, in her only useful act of the episode and, perhaps, season, managed to thwart Serena’s escape by pushing the elevator doors open with her bare hands.
Did anyone else think it was odd Lola made it to the elevator in time? It certainly wouldn’t be a remarkable feat in the real world, but in television? On Gossip Girl? Never happens. Elevator doors are forever sliding solemnly closed in people’s faces.
Anyway, the reason Serena wanted to have Gossip Girl’s phone number in the first place wasn’t exactly clear. Did it really matter, at that point? She already had control of the website and was instant messaging Gossip Girl constantly. Did she need to text her too?
Happily for Serena, after the team solved Mystery #1 (the question of where Diana and Uncle/Potential Father Jack would be meeting that night), they tossed her the book and were like, “Whatever, do your thing, selfish weirdo.”
Serena gave Diana the planner. Diana gave Serena Gossip Girl’s phone number written down on a giant, folded-up piece of paper.
Lola-Doo gave Serena a fright when she snatched that paper from her hand and, fast as lightning, set up a GPS tracker to follow Gossip Girl (is this legal or even possible, on her clunky, off-brand smartphone?).
Soon Serena and Lola and Nate and Chuck and Blair and Dan and You and Me and Everyone We Know were headed to the Vardin House in Briarcliff Manor.
Yes, even Dan was there, lurking in the shadows (literally; he did not leave the shadows once), spying on his girlfriend who was having just a little too much fun with her friends for his taste.
It seems the writers are finally prepping us for the Chuck and Blair reconciliation we’ve been demanding all season. This episode portrayed Dan as a jealous, paranoid shadow-monster, turning down prestigious writer vacays to Italy just so he could spend more time breathing down the neck of his beloved.
Anyway, back inside the House on Haunted Hill, the gang discovered they had actually once again stumbled into the roving brothel from seasons past. Last night we learned the enterprise was run by one Diana Payne, under the nom de poon “India.”
The best line of the night was when Nate burst in on Diana in her brothel office, and said, “Oh, give it up, Diana—India—whatever your name is!” As if her name could even POSSIBLY be India. Now he seems poised to splash the front page of The Spectator / The SpecTAYtuh with an exposé on her high-class prostitution ring.
MORE LIKE A HIDE-BASS PROSTITUTION RING, RIGHT?
Yes, last night, the unbelievable happened. Something so outlandish and absurd that, even in the topsy-turvy wonderland world of Gossip Girl, it seemed unlikely ever to come to pass. But come to pass it did.
BART BASS FAKED HIS DEATH THOSE MANY SEASONS AGO AND HAS BEEN SECRETLY LIVING...well it’s not clear where, exactly. Or why. But he has been secretly living, in is the point!
I called it!
I CALLED IT!
Blair was the one who stumbled onto him, in a room in the brothel—hopefully he wasn’t having sex, oh God, her ex-boyfriend’s Dad—and made this face:
Chuck came knocking a few minutes later.
Hopefully next week's episode will answer the question “W? T? F?”
In a separate wing of the manor, Serena failed, once again, to uncover the real Gossip Girl because, duh, Serena is terrible at everything: epic quests, little jobs, being a decent human being—just everything.
RufuSuicide Watch: While Lily was one hundred percent absent from this episode, Rufus was still there, because Rufus is always there, moping in the shadows, just like his son. This episode found him living vicariously through Dan, offering up lots of unsolicited relationship advice (because Rufus, whose own divorce is imminent, is definitely the person who should be offering up relationship advice) and then calling to see if his advice had been followed.
Rufus, in the afternoon, to Dan: “You and Blair need to talk.”
Rufus, two hours later, on the phone with Dan: “Just checking in. You and Blair talk yet?”
Get a hobby, Rufus.
1. WHAAAAAAAAT IS THE DEAL WITH BART BASS BEING ALIVE? Where has he been living? Why did he fake his death? How does he have money, if he left all his money to Chuck? How good does it feel for me to have been right about this all along? IT FEELS GREAT!
2. Who the hell are Chuck’s parents? Are we settled on Jack and Elizabeth at this point? How many more adults in their early to midfifties can be incorporated into the cast before the show reaches capacity?
3. Now that Gossip Girl has finally regained control of her website (Diana gave her Serena’s laptop, off-camera, natch, after S announced to the world she’d left the computer unattended in a room at the brothel), will she be extra committed to taking Serena down? Her first blast was a super-boring item about Blair going to Brooklyn!
4. Did anyone else think it was insane that Diana, on the phone with Jack, needed to check the time of that evening’s festivities when, as we learned one scene later, they occurred, without fail, on the first Saturday of every month, at 9 p.m.? And why do Jack and Diana have to meet face to face in person every month?
5. Dan and Blair: It’s over, right? The episode ended with them cutesy and in love again, but Dan’s behavior was so irrational and unlikeable this episode that the writers must be prepping us to be done with this charade by next season.
Finally: In the background of our scenes, at the forefront of our thoughts, here are the Five Best Extras from this week’s Gossip Girl.
1. The woman whose lunch was simply astonishing:
2. The prostitute who was forced to wiggle boringly next to a staircase, after she drew the short straw of sexy places to hang out:
3. The lady who spent her evening lounging in a dry bathtub:
4. The brothel’s most conservatively dressed female guest:
5. Table girl: