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!


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.


Chair please come back.


very very disappointing episode


So glad we got some Chuck and Blair hotness last night but that was the only thing I really loved. Well less Douchy Dan, no Bland and no Boring Louis is always appreciated too.


I think last night confirmed my thoughts....the writers of Gossip Girl aren't that great...and their lazy. The play out the same storylines over and over again....just with different names. How long have we been doing the whole Chuck and Blair storyline? It's getting really old.


First of all what bothers me like crazy is that blair thinks she "chose" the right man... DO U NOT REMEMBER YOU AND CHUCKS SEX SCENE IN THE SEASON 4 FINALE AND HOW YOU WERE ABOUT TO CHOOSE CHUCK AND BREAK UP WITH LOUIS BECAUSE U ADMITTED THAT YOU STILL LOVE CHUCK? Chuck truly chose Louis for you out of the selflessness of his heart, so thats annoying. Also, if anyone can answer this question I would really appreciate it: I don't understand why Chuck kissing Blair proves he hasn't changed, especially after Blair practically asked for it. She knows he still loves her, so she should realize it wasn't a kiss of evil, he kissed her out of love. Plus, really stupid how she did that in the first place in a room with glass walls, when she is married to a prince... How did NOONE see but Dorota! I hope Dorota tells Blair why he did that soon... Also look at this website!! MAJOR SPOILER****** http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs...


Although last night's episode leaves me a little bit dissapointed I love the promo the duck story line is so much fun :D! And Chuck will always be my favourite funny cute sexy tracig sad he's got so much of it all! And I will always love Chair no mather what!


NGL I haven't enjoyed GG much since the second half of S4 and this season has just been more of the same. I loved the scheming, snarking, sexiness and UES kids living a crazy lifestyle. The promo for this episode made me hopeful the show was going back to those awesome roots but sadly it didn't. Too much focus on guest stars and Ivy and not enough on the characters I love like Chuck, Blair and Serena. The only positives from this episode for me were Ed and Leighton still have outstanding chemistry, Chuck is being redeemed and we now know Blair still loves Chuck but just doesn't trust him.


Max is a pain as well


I see a lot of people didn't like this episode. On my side I really enjoyed most of it even though some parts were a bit too twisted. I'm thinking mostly about Diana's storyline. I like her and the fact that she tries to mess up with everyone because she's working with Nate's grandpa for some unknown reason. It sounds promising. But the whole Serena/Charlie/max/Nate, event though it wasn't a bad idea, could have been a bit less confusing. Aside from that I liked it. Also because scenes with Dan were reduced. I clearly can't stand his character. Actually he would maybe become a tiny more interesting if he got some success and had to deal with his celebrity. That could be his first interesting storyline actually. Until that happens, the less I see him, the better I am. As for Chuck and Blair, like many I was looking for a longer kiss but I think the writers didn't want to give too much too soon. I found the scene in the park funny. In the scene where she tried to seduce him to prove the point that he hasn't changed, Blair totally got back to her old self. I like this season with Blair because she's annoying and great at the same time. She has made choices that prove she's trying to mature but her relapses show that she has sometimes a hard time to assume the situation and that she's more and more confused about the choices she's made. She clearly loves Chuck, but now is not the time for them to get back together yet. Chuck is doing great. I loved his complicity with Dorota for the good of Blair. He makes me think about the Chuck of 2x24. I felt bad for him because it's obvious that it was hard for him to go through Blair's schemes. Here again, he doesn't judge her for her behaviour, he just tries to make the best for her. This episode showed a growing Chuck and a confused Blair. I still strongly believe they are perfect for each other, it really seems obvious to me. They're going through their doubts and issues and ultimately, when they'll be ready, they'll get back together and it'll work. Now isn't the time yet. Chuck needs to keep changing his bad habits 'not the one we loves but the one that are really destroying) and Blair needs to clear her mind to stop being in denial about what she thinks is her fairytale and to sea what she really wants. I think we'll have to go through the almost wedding with Louis before that, and also, we won't escape a plot where Dan is forced on us as a suiter for Blair. And there is also the baby storyline which is becoming strange because Blair is not obviously pregnant. It's intriguing. I wish we could see more Lily and Rufus (out of a Dan storyline context). They should have a story on their own. Nate needs to be less naive. He is the only one not changing this season. Serena is changing. I like her struggling to show she's not a mere fake girl. I really would like to see her stop complaining about GG bullying her and take down Diana. I can't get enough of Chuck and Nate brotherlike relationship. Dorota is always the best. This season 5 is getting better, and it's definitely better than the second part of season 4 which was really getting boring. I really start to like Charlie. I look forward to the next episode, especially because Chuck suggests something that eveyone think: Dan's hair are sh*** and he should cut them if he doesn't want his face to disappear under his curls! ^^


There wasn't enough Diana in the episode. Kidding, of course. I saw enough of her to last me a lifetime. Remember when the show used to be more about the main cast? Good times! Well, the episode was decent with Chuck and Blair (and Dorota) being the only story line that kept me interested. But Blair's behaviour is such a disappointment lately. Despite loving Blair trying to seduce Chuck and all the callbacks to Season 2 (how I miss that season), she was being rather cruel and unfair to Chuck. Does Blair in denial not realise that she practically seduce that kiss out of him? And all this just to prove that even though Chuck has tried to keep his distance, he's so "obviously" trying to get her back? Your denial is showing, B! But poor Chuck! He's been nothing but awesome lately and Blair doesn't give him any credit. But I love that Nate, Serena and Dorota have faith in him. Let's hope that Blair realises that Chuck is becoming the man she always wanted him to be and Chuck stops letting her go.
At least now it's obvious that Blair still loves Chuck and the kiss was HOT but SHORT. Too short to tide me down when I have to put up with Louis next week and every week after that. Overall, the episode just proved to me that I don't really care about anything else other that Chuck and Blair, and sometimes Serena.

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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