Gossip Girl: Where, Oh Where, Is Blair?

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Gossip Girl S05E14: "The Backup Dan"


This week’s episode of Gossip Girl found the writers making the unprecedentedly bad decision to keep all the characters in the same god-awful wedding outfits they wore last week. Unflattering coats of all shapes and lengths (drapey, cape-y, boxy; hovering unbecomingly around everyone’s hips and calves) were added...

... and Blair did get grody in an airport (more on that later). She was also fetching for a hot second at the very end of the episode, but on the whole, it felt like a big middle finger to those who criticize Gossip Girl for being about style over substance. A risky move for a show with zero substance.

We open back at the St. Regis, the setting of the least lavish royal wedding in history. Seriously—I’ve seen sixteenth birthday parties more Super Sweet than this. Music blasts from Multipurpose Ballroom #4, where everyone’s parents are embarrassing them by getting drunk and grinding on the dance floor. Their grinding song of choice? That old wedding standard about how you’re definitely not a virgin but, boy, do you feel like one: "Like a Virgin" by Madonna.

Speaking of non-virgins, where is Blair? Serena is looking high and low. Is Blair with this octogenarian couple Serena has never seen before? Is Blair with the mother of her best friend and the mother of her best friend’s kept man—Serena’s very own Lily and Rufus? Is Blair hiding out in one of the ballroom’s modest flower arrangements, disguised as a pale pink peony? No, no, and no! Where is Blair?

In the midst of her search, Serena happens upon Blair’s shiny new husband, Prince Louis, all dressed up like a cruise ship captain, posing for pictures in front of the grand staircase with an endless parade of embarrassed-but-excited white tweens in cornrows.

“Please tell me you know where Blair is!” she exclaims, and Louis breathes a fantastic little “Ah!” as he turns around, clasping both of Serena’s palms in both of his.

“I believe she went to the powder room to freshen up,” he smiles, giving her hands a reassuring little shake-shake-shake as he speaks. Serena darts off to the bathroom to find Blair and, hey, while she’s in there, maybe score some coke (You’re not a cop, right Louis?), leaving the prince to frown nefariously toward a grim horizon only he can see.

But, of course, Blair isn’t in the powder room or the billiard room or the conservatory or the maintenance closet. She left the wedding reception early and is now at JFK with Dan Humphrey, plotting an escape to the Dominican Republic for a quickie divorce.

After harrumphing around the airport for an hour, fretting that someone will recognize her—in her huge white wedding gown and sparkly tiara, as the royal bride—it finally occurs to Blair that it might be a good idea to swap her Vera Wang for some less-obtrusive duds. While she’s off shopping for her duty-free peasants’ rags, Dan fields a call from Serena.

“IspilledwineonmydressI’mhomenow,” mumbles Serena, from Chuck’s penthouse, where she, Chuck, and GossipGeorgina are trying to locate Blair.

“I’m at the reception! Blair just left with Louis!” yells Dan, over the airport hubbub. The lies are coming fast and furious from both sides, the web of them growing more tangled and dense than Serena’s atrocious up-do. Serena’s suspicious, Dan’s oblivious, and a moment later, Blair Waldorf reemerges as the sorority girl from your sophomore year sociology recitation.

After Serena hangs up, GossipGeorgina comes perilously close to saving everyone a lot of time when she tells the group that Dan is lying about Blair’s whereabouts (henceforth: blairabouts). Chuck and Serena refuse to believe her, because when has a principal character on this show ever lied to another principal character, except always? It’s not until a few scenes later, when Louis sends a text to Blair’s phone (which, for a convoluted reason, Serena is holding), demanding to know where his bride is, that they realize their folly. Of course, by that time, GossipGeorgina has already blown off those squares, and is hot on the trail of Blair, her mark.

Back at the Van der Woodsen penthouse, we’re treated to a delicious throwdown between Mama Monaco and Eleanor Waldorf, in which the former threatens that, should Blair back out of the marriage now, the Waldorfs will be forced to come up with the dowry previously waived by Blair and Louis’s prenuptial agreement. Number one, what a bad way for Eleanor to find out her daughter is missing. Number two, how are the Waldorfs going to come up with €480?! Eleanor will have to sell her company!

Meanwhile, in the Upper East Side’s least secure luxury apartment building, Serena and Chuck are bursting into the Waldorf’s apartment to find Dorota locked in a closet trying on Blair’s rubber sex suit. I mean shoes. It seems Georgina put her there—with snacks!—after demanding information about Blair’s escape plans. Dorota reveals to Detectives Van der Woodsen and Bass that Blair is planning a nighttime flight to the Divorcian Republic, and that she asked Dorota to bring her passport to an airport hotel post-haste. Chuck and Serena offer to bring it to Blair themselves, and their well-intentioned incompetence ensures there’s no way in hell Blair is getting that passport tonight.

A few scenes later, an adorable screaming match between Blair and Dan is interrupted by a stern thump-thump-thumping at the door. “That’s not a Dorota knock,” says Blair, “She’s a stickler for shave and a haircut.”

What a fun Dorota fact—of course she knocks that way. An, oh yeah, It’s Chuck and Serena, here already! Miraculously, they’ve managed to bring Blair’s passport without issue and also, it appears, a couple judgmental faces.

What happens next is that everyone starts yelling at Dan. For sneaking away with Blair, for lying to Serena on the phone, for bringing a princess to a Best Western, and for just being Dan. Fed up (but when is he not?), Dan opens the door to storm out and—oops! There’s GossipGeorgina, who tailed Chuck and Serena right to Blair’s hotel room. She works quickly, snapping a photo of the group on her phone and pointing to Serena as the person who sent the marriage-ruining video of Blair to Gossip Girl, after her camera falls out of Serena’s purse. Then she peaces.

The video-sending revelation causes Serena and Blair to have a little tiff about the proper behavior of BFFs. Blair is flabbergasted that Serena spoiled her wedding/ future/whole life by leaking that clip to the public in the middle of her vows. Serena counters with, like, the rules of feminism, arguing that Blair should have found another pauper boy to take part in her Upstairs/Downstairs fantasies, since she totally called dibs on Dan and has liked him—like, LIKE-liked him—for a long time.

Serena seems to think she’s won—she certainly sashays out of there with her nose in the air—when she finds herself drawn, like a moth to a flame, to the nearest bar. Turns out this one’s right off the lobby and it, like every bar in an airport hotel, features a mopey would-be writer getting wasted off weak Jack & Cokes and a strong sense of self-pity. Hello, Dan.

Now on a rage bender, Serena accuses Dan of deceiving her earlier because he wanted to be the only friend coming to Blair’s rescue. This is a moment of remarkable perceptiveness for Serena, which is not to say that the conclusion she draws was not obvious (it was), but that, in general, she is remarkably unperceptive.

Back in Blair’s room, Chuck, who had been standing awkwardly by for the whole Blair-Serena argument, offers to charter a private plane to the Dominican Republic right away. One divorce and one tropical drink served in a novelty coconut cup coming right up!

At least, it looks that way until Mama Monaco, who had been apprised of the blairabouts by Gossip Girl, slinks in.

“Blah will not be going anywhere with anyone but my son.”

After turning down Chuck’s offer of cash, cash, cold hard cash, Blair finds Dan still(!) drinking alone in the hotel bar, and the two have a very sweet make-up chat. Not a chat about makeup (Blair’s an autumn, Dan’s a winter), but a chat that concludes with them all made-up and friends again. Interestingly, Blair seems to think the fact that Dan wrote Louis’s marriage vows indicates he cares about her more than Louis ever did. I would argue that Louis, being neither a professional writer nor a terribly proficient speaker of English, made a nice gesture by asking someone who knows Blair well to help him make her day extra special. However, I’m not getting crunk’d at a Best Western at 9pm, so what do I know?

Eleanor returns home to the Waldorf apartment to find noted non-writer of vows Prince Louis casually leaning against a giant marble column in her foyer. After snarling that she doesn’t care what she has to sell to pay back the dowry, she adds, without irony, that “for future reference, the Waldorfs don’t give into threats.”

Blair appears just then in a great light-gray sheath dress and blue traveling chapeau, to remind her that: yes, they do.

She tells her mother that she must go away with Louis but that “It’s just a year—not that long, right?” I’m not exactly sure how Blair arrived that this arbitrary time frame since, last week, after telling her “Owah marriage is ollle fa show,” Louis implied it was up to him when that show ended. She seemed confident nonetheless.

As usual, the biggest reveal of the episode happened in the final sixty seconds, when we learned that it was neither Serena nor Chuck but DAN who sent the wedding ruining video to Gossip Girl. And that’s why you don’t trust a boy from Brooklyn.


QUESTIONS:

– In this episode’s C-plotline, Nate started making moves on the real Charlotte, a.k.a. “Charlie” a.k.a. “Lola” Rhodes, who is back on the Upper East Scene in a stiff waiter’s tuxedo and heels impractical for a job that requires so much walking. Who’s going to be the first one to figure out that this girl is the real deal? And how many girls named Charlotte Rhodes will Nate fall in love with before he settles down with one?

– Didn’t Louis’s mother have to pass Serena in the hallway on her way to Blair’s hotel room? So awkward. What did they say to one another?

– We found out in this episode that Georgina took over for Gossip Girl because the original GG abandoned her post following Blair’s car accident. Do you think she’ll be able to hold onto the title for much longer?

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