Gossip Girl Review: Behind the Masks ...

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What would Gossip Girl be without the obligatory, annual episode featuring masks, anonymity, mistaken identity and the surprising romantic developments that invariably follow? Certainly not the same.

Tonight's installment was ripe with intrigue from the start, but didn't always live up to the extensive hype. There were some fireworks, to be sure, but also some drama that felt forced and convoluted.

The context of "The Big Sleep No More" was the N.Y.C. theater production of the same name. Sleep No More allowed Gossip Girl to film on location, which helped enhance the already-dramatic visuals.

The problem was that too much happened, and simultaneously too little.

At Sleep No More

I don't know. As much as I enjoyed Chuck trying to project his new, good-guy demeanor and Blair scrambling to unmask him (literally and otherwise), the resolution left something to be desired.

Convinced that after his apology last week, Chuck was merely putting on an act in order to win her affections, Blair set out to show he was still evil at the Basshole-sponsored Sleep No More soiree.

Her method was simple and yet elaborate: Throw herself at the one-time love of her life to elicit the reaction she needed to prove her point, yet subconsciously wanted for much different reasons.

Is there any doubt she wants to be with Chuck? If she didn't, why would she go to such lengths to essentially prove he still lusts after her? It's obvious, and he played right into it ... to a point.

Chuck had to kiss Blair to set her free?

That's noble of him, but the whole thing was extremely confusing after B, with ulterior motives, all but professed her undying love to the man she claims to despise, yet clearly isn't over ... all in the name of exposing him as a fraud masquerading as a gentleman just to win her back ... which he may or may not have been trying to.

It's enough to make your head spin.

It's also filler, in a sense. Next week, we're back at square one, with Blair and Louis in full wedding mode, and fans wondering whether she'll actually go through with it, or return to Chuck's embrace.

THE kiss, while a terrific scene on its own merit, and certain to validate Chair fans' belief that their beloved couple is destined to be together, was therefore something of an anticlimactic plot device.

Yes, it proved that Blair and Chuck are 100 percent not over each other, Ed Westwick and Leighton Meester's chemistry is still off the charts and you could've cut the tension with a knife at that moment.

But in the aftermath, I expected more from a Chair kiss. Sorry.

As for whether Chuck really has changed for good? I'd say so after last Monday, and watching the way he operated tonight. Whether it's enough to make Blair rethink her wedding is another story.

And Nate? It's hard to even know where to begin there, though we did learn a juicy detail regarding Diana's infatuation. Working in tandem with The Grandfather, her motives are becoming clear.

Well, sort of.

Diana's New Minion

I can typically overlook a lot of holes when it comes to Gossip Girl, and its masquerade episodes in particular. They reached critical mass early on tonight, however, and made for a muddled plot.

To a point, settings like Sleep No More are mysterious, sexy and awesome. But it's a fine line. On the other side of that slippery slope, they become a crutch ... a mask, if you will, for sloppy storytelling.

We just saw Diana weave a web of deception and lies so complex it could have never worked in broad daylight, which is fine, but it all came about too easily, even for an international woman of mystery.

Diana needed Serena to wage war on Gossip Girl. She needed to out Charlie as an impostor in order to inspire Serena to do so. Most of all, she needed Nate ... to have his image rehabilitated, apparently.

It was all too much, asking the audience to invest themselves in such rapidly-changing, borderline implausible scenarios for characters they don't really know or necessarily care that deeply about.

Serena and Nate are the core characters, yet they've been used as pawns in Diana's game. It looks like that's about to change, which was a good thing, but this evening was all about Ivy. Oh, Ivy.

I'm trying really hard to like her, but her entire character is based on a fake personality and a hidden scandal-in-waiting that, while unique, has never had a sense of urgency to it. No OMG factor.

And the masks themselves. Don't even get me started. There's no way Max could be mistaken for Nate, much like no one could mistake Serena for Charlie, or Juliet ... or Jenny for that matter.

It just wouldn't happen, no matter how dark and eerie the surroundings, and while we all give the show plenty of leeway with things like this, it needs to back it up with better substance.

Give credit where it's due, though. The re-introduction of Nate's grandfather sheds new light on why Diana cares so much about Gossip Girl, and could take this in many directions. Well played.

Finally, and completely separate from the Sleep No More storyline, was Dan, alone, on his book tour. Or chickening out of his book tour because times have been tough out there for the author.

It was nice to see father and son bond at the end, and I'm glad Inside wasn't completely swept under the rug. Looks like Lonely Boy be back in the fold soon enough (see below) in a big way.

All in all, the episode had its memorable moments, both serious and comedic, but I'm already looking forward to the next. The season so far has been very good, even if this was a blip on the radar.

Share your comments below, but first, check out a couple of promos for next week's episode, "All The Pretty Sources" (great title). As usual, the Canadian version is longer and more revealing ...

What did you think of tonight's Gossip Girl? Did the Blair and Chuck kiss do it for you? What do you predict will happen next with Chair, and with Nate? Discuss with TV Fanatic!

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.3 / 5.0 (303 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Ivy/Charlie has a hot voice- her storyline is my favourite right now. Blair and Chuck are annoying, I agree. Dan's storyline was interesting but is dying out

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Worst episode so far! Starting with the last 2-3 epsides each week the story line got weaker, this week i had to force myself to keep watching... Diana all over the place (yawn) all main characters in her net, helpless (eyeroll) specially Charly/ Ivy; S & N and then the twist with Mr. Vanderbilt...that made no sense at all. Also Dan got 5 min screen-time?! He was missed essentially he is a great actor and usually his story-lines are interesting to me. Blair & chuck O.M.G. Writers Please give it a rest already now i mean it just seems so desperate and lame to keep having those two romantically interact i never felt less excitement for a kiss then that one.
Nate/ Charly had more sparks going on between them. And no it wasn't the actors fault.
It just is so boring the back and forth and back and wth please choose a direction and stop to sit my favorite character (Blair) in this roller-coaster like she is to dumb and every small sign of Chuck "Chucks" with her head... Imo she should be over him by now like she is over Nate no old feelings come up for Nate very 3 episodes so why, WHY can't you do the same for Chuck. It would be for the best of GG storyline. characters need to move on otherwise they become feeble, admiration faints to aversion. Meh, i really fed up i want my fun back watching GG, I hope the writers get their act together.

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This was the worst episode of the season.
I have not liked either the Chair, Blair's project was really miserable. There is no senso to seduce a person you know he loves you and then punish him because he took advantage of what you offered. Really stupid as script. And I mean the script of the whole episode.

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I'm sorry but that whole Blair scheme and the Chuck/Dorota (Churota) counter-scheme made no sense and was poorly executed. You don't kiss someone like that to set them free. The whole Blair trying to seduce Chuck and trying to prove he's only turning it around for her seemed desperate and self-centered, even for Blair. With Sleep No More set as the background, and that shows themes of plotting, ambition, and madness, I expected the show's biggest schemers to have dreamed up something more elaborate.

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Ok, I'm repeating this: Dan has long hair because Penn Badgley is also filming a movie (a biopic) in which he plays deceased musician Jeff Buckley who had long hair.

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Okay so everything about this episode was completely boring and uninteresting except for the Chair scenes, and possibly the Dan scenes. Even Dan and his horrible hair are starting to bother me. Why can't he just get a haircut???!?!? I guess Diana just got more interesting, and I can deal with her, but Charlie? Why couldn't she just leave this episode like she tried to. Her sl's are so boring, and I feel like the writers just forced her character onto us. No one cares about her and no one wants her to waste precious screen time. Safran said that this season was supposed to be more like season 1, well I don't see that happening. Bring back Derena and Chair, and make Nate gay because he has no good chemistry with anyone.

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The Blair character is the most selfish and mean spirited one I have ever seen. If her baby is Chuck's, and she knows it and is trying to pass it off as the prince's, it has to be one of the cruelest acts possible. This character has no morals or a conscious. Leighton Meester, and Ed Westwick are terrific, as are the other regular cast members, with the exception of the new Charlie one. The writing is second rate, and lazy.

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didn't like the episode either, the worst one this season so far except the jewel of denial

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There was absolutely too much screentime for Diana and Ivy. I was bored to death! And I can't stand Dianas's accent. Makes me crazy!!
Chair-kiss: On one hand it was super hot. I always loved Blair seducing Chuck! But I didn't like Chuck's intentions. I'm worried that he's so stubborn about this "setting her free" thing that he woudn't take her back even if she wanted it. I have a bad feeling that in the end neither B. nor the wedding are the problem but Chuck himself. I can almost picture Blair running away from the aisle to Chuck just to be rejected from him. I really hope I'm wrong about this!
Btw. I nearly forgot that Blair's pregnant with another man's child this episode. I have no idea what the writers are gonna do about that! So much in the way of my beloved Chair :(

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I agree with whoever said that Diana was in a prostitution ring run by or frequented by Bart lol.

Gossip Girl Season 5 Episode 7 Quotes

Dorota: Uh oh. Mr. Chuck in dream again.
Blair: When Chuck's in them they're all nightmares.
Dorota: What he do now?
Blair: Behave like a perfect gentleman. Which makes him even more chilling. That fake apology of his has permeated my subconscious and haunts me even when I sleep.
Dorota: Apology not seem so fake to me.
Blair: That's because English is your second language!

Good morning, Upper East Siders. Or is it? We hear a certain future royal has had more than one rude awakening this week.

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl Season 5 Episode 7 Music

  Song Artist
Haunted heart Haunted Heart Little Hurricane iTunes
Shells of silver Shells of Silver The Japanese Popstars iTunes
Black hills Black Hills Gardens & Villa iTunes
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