Gossip Girl: When Irish Eyes Are Crying

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Gossip Girl S05E17: "The Princess Dowry"

Typhoid Mary must have hooked up with everyone over Spring Break, because, this week, the Upper East Side is collectively suffering from a bad case of Irish Fever.

All of the episode’s revelations (and, hoo boy, there are a lot of them) emerge while our troop of merry morons is cooped up at the van der Woodsen penthouse for the surprise-Irish surprise-wake of Grandma Cece Rhodes, who died last week surrounded by the family she hated.

The wake, which was somehow completely arranged, catered, set up, and raging in the living room of Lily’s home without her noticing, is but the first in a long line of rigor-mortised middle fingers Cece throws in the faces of her children post-mortem.

From the moment she opens her front door and sees the over-sized party tray that is her mother’s coffin dominating the apartment, Lily opts to cope, in true Irish fashion, by getting totally bombed. Little does she know: There aren’t enough redheaded sluts in the world to help her stumble through the horrible parade that will be the day’s events.

Crashing the wake (well, technically she was invited, back before everyone discovered she was a sociopathic con-artist) is Poison Ivy, the irritating rash of a character who only becomes further inflamed the more you try to scratch her out of existence. And because wakes are the new weddings (graveyards: this year’s hottest honeymoon destination), Ivy brings along as her “plus one” the universally despised Georgina Sparks. And this is how the secrets come tumbling out.

In order that GossipGeorgina might focus all her bad juju vibes on ruining a private family memorial service, she leaves her daily blogging duties in the incapable hands of her husband, Phillip.

Phillip, a 1950s department store mannequin come to life, but only barely; Phillip, the most wooden character on a show where basically everyone is a picture of a beautifully symmetrical human face taped to a Popsicle stick; Phillip, a man so lacking in complexity that he exists not as a two-dimensional or even one-dimensional representation of a human, but rather simply as a point in mathematical space; Phillip is the one who takes the EpiPen of a plot device and stabs it one hundred, no, one thousand times into the heart of this season’s storylines.

Things kick off when Phillip posts an “anonymous” Gossip Girl tip and—d’oh!—totally credits Chuck!

And then makes this ghastly face!

Within seconds, the blast, regarding Dan’s starring role in Blair’s Wedding: The Ruining, has made its way around the wake. Everyone is angry with everyone. Everyone can’t believe you would do such a thing, how could you. Everyone is sporting tacky exposed-zipper dresses at this most formal of occasions.

Also present at the ceremony is Lola, the Upper East Side’s most dangerous game. This time, the person stalking her is her cousin Serena, who is convinced that the recent death of a crotchety old woman Lola had never met will move her to take an interest in her horrible new family. Lola, for her part, does her usual, tired song and dance of “I’m not like you people / I can’t stand you people / I can’t understand you people / I wish I knew how to quit you people” and is on the verge of threatening to maybemaybemaybe bail for the eighth time when in strolls Boston’s finest: Jack Donaghy.

Or, rather, Billy Baldwin doing his best impression of Jack Donaghy, as William van der Woodsen, Serena’s father and Lily’s ex. He’s here to execute Cece’s will and, hopefully—for the good of mankind—ninety percent of the party guests as well.

Early on in the will-reading, it seems her mother’s death has wrought nothing but benefits for Lily: a new collection of Faberge eggs, an assortment of early British watercolors, a renewed sense of smug superiority with regard to her tragic she-devil sister, Carol.

Then, Jack Donaghy, or rather, Cece Rhodes via Jack Donaghy, drops the bomb: Virtually all of the matriarch’s estate, the very penthouse in which they sit included, has been left to Poison Ivy. Not “Charlie Rhodes,” which would, after last week’s revelations, indicate Lola. Nope. It says right there on the page: Poison “Ivy Dickens.”

Naturally, Cece’s family screams out a collective “Oh hell no!” at this news, though there’s nothing they can do about it for the time being.

As a great last hurrah, we are treated to a hilarious scene in which Poison Ivy demands, literally over Cece’s dead body, that Lily and Rufus vacate “her” apartment at once.

And, with that, Gossip Girl the blog and Gossip Girl the show take a month-long vacation until Monday, April 2.

Elsewhere in the episode:

– Blair’s stepfather Cyrus believes he may be able to get her out of her prenuptial agreement. Unfortunately, Blair’s conniving royal minder, whom we would all hate the way we’re supposed to if she had had more than four minutes of total screen time spread out across three episodes, steps in and sabotages the plans, ruining the Waldorfs' finances while she’s at it. Don’t worry, though; Georgina’s got her own plan for dealing with the royals.

– Carol Rhodes reveals that Lola’s father is none other than William van der Woodsen, making her daughter not only Serena’s cousin, but her half-sister as well. Sadly for Lola, being revealed as a main character’s sibling is often the kiss of death on Gossip Girl. (See: Eric; Jenny; Rufus and Lily’s son, Scott.)

– Eric update! He’s in the Democratic Republic of Congo, not in the fitting rooms at the Republic of Banana, as previously believed.

– The very best exchange:

Serena: I know what your mom thinks about us. How all we care about is money...
Lola: ... And the things you can buy.

As opposed to caring about money in the literal sense of appreciating the beauty of green paper rectangles, shiny round coins, and white and purple quahog wampum beads? Come on, girl—why did you have to interject with that?


– So what exactly is up with Grandma Cece leaving all her swag to Poison Ivy? She can’t have known her secret identity, as Ivy claimed she did, right? Could it be that she thought Carol had legally changed her granddaughter’s name to Ivy Dickens?

– Is Georgina out of the Gossip Girl game for good? What’s Serena going to do with that Laptop Full of Secrets?

– Was anyone else surprised to discover the flaxen-haired Norse demigods of the house of van der Woodsen are, in fact, Irish?

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