Last night’s episode of Gossip Girl was like a very boring dream in which several utterly implausible things happened, but none of them were particularly interesting. Fortunately, next week’s season finale looks killer, so let’s slog through the sludge and suss out what we’ll need to know as background.
The show opened with Chuck and Bart Bass engaged in perhaps the most gravelly voiced conversation ever to take place in the history of Gossip Girl. Every time one of them opened his mouth to speak, cups and cups of gravel would pour out, coating the entire floor with a thick layer of tiny pebbles. By the end of their Very Serious Conversation, the parlor of the haunted mansion in which they were meeting resembled a handsomely outfitted wood-paneled kitty litter box.
We learned the reason Bart faked his death (his family’s lives were in danger because he had some serious GOSSIP GIRL-STYLE dirt on a mobster and Lily was being a total b---- anyway, so why not?) and also found out that, sorry Chuck, he would, in fact, be peace-ing once again, posthaste.
Then the door to the parlor swung open, a small avalanche of gravel pouring into the richly carpeted foyer, and two anonymous henchmen stepped in to...escort Chuck to the front door? Like he’d just been fired and they were worried about him stealing office supplies. Fired from being his father-statue’s gravel-voiced son. Worried he was going to steal all the small stone lions in that haunted mansion.
Anyway, once Chuck had had a hit of that sweet daddy love (having never experienced paternal affection in his life, Chuck often mistakes his father’s icy, unblinking glare for a warm, loving look), he was immediately jonesing for more.
He worked out a deal with Diana Payne, whose makeup style is exclusively, distractingly, “nighttime eyes as daytime eyes”—
—whereby she would provide information about and access to his father’s would-be assassin, and Chuck would keep news of her sexy side business out of the papers, including The SpecTAYtuh.
You see, it turns out Diana is the archetypal hooker with a heart of gold, just trying to make an honest name for herself in the world of gossip magazine publishing. She wants to atone for her past mistakes, straighten up, and fly right, and also secretly run an upscale hooking business on the side.
As a bonus, Chuck arranged for her to leave The SpecTAYtuh and take over a failing British newsPAYpuh, to get her out of Nate’s hair.
Of course, he didn’t bother to fill Nate in on any of these specifics—would you explain to a gerbil how to file tax forms?—and, as soon as Nate said “Lola and I are coming up with a plan...” you knew that would be Chuck’s undoing.
So, what fantastic plan did the Blunder Twins concoct? To get Diana booted from The SpecTAYtuh by having Lola leak word of her bougie brothel to The New York Times. After all, they reasoned, Chuck had asked Nate not to tell anyone—he never said anything about Lola.
That’s kid logic, suckers. That’s why everyone rolls their eyes when one of you implies you have something worthwhile to contribute to the discourse.
In a flash, Chuck’s deal with Diana was off. Though she’d already given Chuck the would-be killer’s very made-up-sounding name (Mason Nevins) and told Chuck where he would be that afternoon (the James Hotel, 4pm), she snatched back a key element of the scheme: the twin prostitutes whose help she had enlisted to catch the mobster in a compromising position.
Fortunately, former Princess of Monaco Blair Waldorf was on the scene, ready to scheme.
Why was she on the scene exactly? Because Dan, as usual, was making her claustrophobic by clinging to her like a barnacle to a cruise ship; like a Rufus to his rock and roll youth.
Earlier in the episode, Blair had learned from Dan’s agent that he had, in fact, turned down his Roman Holiday to spend his summer in New York with her. After Dan emerged from the shower, newly transformed into a very drab 37-year-old lesbian—
—Blair confronted him about this. Basically, what she said was, “I am insanely rich and can take a plane to visit you in Rome whenever I like,” and Dan got all excited like “Reeeeeeally?” implying this thought had never occurred to him.
A few scenes later, Dan came to Blair with great horrible amazing dreadful news: he could bring her to Rome with him after all! His afro was practically pulsing with giddy energy.
Weird that he was so exited about that because, again, Blair is insanely rich and could have visited him whenever she liked without the permission of some shady Italian writers’ board. What’s more, this excellent terrible news came with strings attached: He and Blair would have to be “vetted” by a former alumnus of the program to make sure they weren’t batshit insane.
Too bad everything about that plotline was insane.
Moments before the alumnus was due to come over to not-indulge in a classic Gossip Girl display of ludicrous culinary opulence—
—Blair was called off to help her SuperBass fix Nate and Lola’s idiotic mess.
The first thing the gang (Serena was there too because no one on this show has a job anymore except Nate—perhaps the most absurd plotline of all) had to do was find two blondes to play sister prostitutes.
The obvious choices there would be Serena and Lola, seeing as they are blonde, sisters and, at least in the case of Serena, often dress like prostitutes. Instead, Lola waltzed in with ugly duckling/non-family member/obvious red-head Poison Ivy and was like “Look, I’ve found a blonde girl to play my sister!”
For some reason, Blair was on board with this and sent Serena back to the Waldorf penthouse (!) to portray her (!!) in an interview with an Italian stranger (!!!).
Serena did a fine job, wearing a headband and saying Blair things like “Dan is my boyfriend and I like my boyfriend Dan a lot and he’d be real good in Italy and also we are normal.”
The Italian stranger’s mind was put at ease. Dan and “Blair” were given the green light.
Never mind that Blair and Dan will look crazier than ever once someone realizes they hired a bimbo socialite to portray Blair at a casual sit-down over coffee. That fact was not addressed.
Across town, Lola and Charlie were all set to twinningly seduce Mason the Mobster—
—when Chuck’s private detective, Andrew Tyler, burst into the Skyline Suite and told girls the plan was off. Chuck had, it seemed, instead requested their presence at the Sex Mansion on Haunted Hill.
More like LIE-vate detective, right? He was totally scamming those chicks!
As we found out after he and India’s Newest Girls made it back to the house, the P.I. had been in cahoots with the mobster to kill Bart Bass all along, after he found his own family’s lives threatened while on an intel-gathering assignment for Bart.
After Sherlock Tyler outlined his motivations, plan, and subsequent illegal actions A-Z, start to finish, face-to-face with Chuck and Bart, another secret parlor room door swung open and two cops (plus one random confident gentleman in a suit), who had recorded the whole confession, strolled out.
Characters are forever making police officers wait, unseen, behind giant closed doors on this show. Remember how Lily did the exact same thing during the family dinner from Hell a couple weeks ago? How much of the police’s time is spent waiting behind closed doors to take part in Grand Reveals in the world of Gossip Girl? I would estimate 60 to 70 percent.
The episode ended with a twist that was much less jaw-dropping in the grand scheme of things than BART BASS BEING ALIVE but that will, ultimately, provide much more dramatic scene-to-scene content: Gossip Girl was about to start printing scanned pages from Blair’s (beautifully handwritten) diary.
And she said Serena had sent them.
RufuSuicide Watch: Bart Bass is rich, has retro appeal after being presumed dead for several years, and has eyes like the complimentary bottle of Cool Mint Listerine placed next to the sink in your St. Tropez hotel suite which, coincidentally, overlooks a beach whose sparkling turquoise waters also resemble Bart Bass’s eyes.
Even if Rufus and Lily hadn’t been having marital problems, Bart’s reappearance would have spelled trouble. Rufus is not going to take this news well.
1. How did Gossip Girl get Blair’s diary? Did Serena really send it in? Had she, for some reason, already scanned the pages onto the laptop when it was stolen?
2. How is Lily going to take the news of Bart Bass’s resurrection? If her and Rufus’s marriage was invalid, does that mean she’ll be able to break their union without paying out a huge divorce settlement? Get it, Lil!
3. So wait...is Bart Bass Chuck’s dad again? He says he gave him blood the night Chuck was in the hospital, but then why was Jack’s muscle-y, tattooed arm feeling up Chuck’s pregnant mother in that super dated/obviously Photoshopped picture?
4. What is the deal with Nate and Diana? Is she out of the picture for good? She’s so much more interesting than Lola, who really needs to stop wearing peach eyeshadow.
5. While, early in the episode, Blair took the news that Serena had been writing for Gossip Girl for months remarkably well, this diary leak is another story. How will she get back at Serena? I’d start by kicking her out of my freaking penthouse.
6. How excited was everyone to see Eleanor? All the best parents are coming back from Europe/beyond the grave to inconvenience their children! Where’s Cyrus? Where are Blair’s two dads?
"The Fugitives" was the rare Gossip Girl episode that did not contrive to incorporate a giant stupid party at which every main and tangential character could inexplicably find themselves, so there weren’t really any extras in last night’s episode.
However, both Dan and Diana’s anonymous secretary made weird little fists while speaking:
And Serena wore the ugliest outfit in the history of the world. With sneakers.
So there was still lots of weird stuff going on in the background.
Next week’s episode should have extras (and catfights) a plenty!