Gossip Girl Review: Backup Dan the Man

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With the dust nowhere near settled after last week's 100th episode event, this evening's Gossip Girl picked up right where the wedding left off with a somewhat lighter, equally confusing installment.

"The Backup Dan" featured some highly entertaining scenes thanks to Dan, Blair and Georgina, but was uneven in many respects. Chiefly, the story we were so excited for not really materializing.

Was anyone out there not loving Dan and Blair at the airport, on the run from her life? I'd watch an entire spinoff in which Dair travels the world, trying to stay one step ahead of Louis' henchmen.

Okay, Monaco totally doesn't have henchmen, but you get my point (they do have dowries, apparently, which we'll get to momentarily after we finish discussing the viewing experience that is Dair).

A Dan and Blair Photo

It's no wonder Penn Badgley and Leighton Meester, who play off of each other so brilliantly, have both made comments to the effect that Dan and Blair's relationship has become their favorite on GG.

Not only is it a hoot, frankly, it's the only one written in a way that makes sense! Will "The Backup Dan" ever become the #1 plan for B romantically? Who knows, but it's a lot of fun to watch unfold.

We know Dan harbors strong feelings for Blair, and it's starting to look like she's aware of them - she knows about the vows, after all, and come on, it's obvious - but she hasn't reciprocated. Yet.

Their scene near the end, before she inexplicably left with Louis, was heartwarming. In the same breath, Blair thanked him for being the one who's always been there for her, then bashed his hair.

That's their relationship in a nutshell. An unlikely duo bonded by their joint love of ... each other? There's not a lot these two have in common superficially, yet their personalities mesh wonderfully.

The airport sojourn was classic, with Dan dutifully assisting the runaway bride, doing a terrible job lying to S, begging his dad for help, and being dissed by a star-struck girl. He's definitely the man.

Blair, meanwhile, was desperately trying to remain in control after losing any semblance of it.

She may have a high opinion of herself, but even B isn't delusional to think the New York Post qualifies as a passport. At that moment, though, she was desperate enough that she may well have.

Add in Leighton in I Heart NY tourist garb and you had a recipe for a great episode. One you wished would've involved them successfully fleeing and keeping the banter/adventure going for a bit.

Sadly, they fled JFK and ended up at a Queens hotel, and despite one bright spot - Dan sticking up for himself and leaving with his pride intact - the night went downhill quickly from there.

Blair Post-Wedding

Serena and Chuck (and also Georgina, whose role got a lot less cool tonight despite a number of great one-liners) tracked her down, with S taking the fall for the video and C baring his soul. Again.

And he was shot down, again. Even though Blair said she loves him too, again.

Enter a contrived, confusing and unnecessary plot device: The dowry. Now Blair, and by extension Eleanor, are on the hook for millions if she defaults on her marriage to Louis within one year.

Wouldn't you know it, she's back with Louis at the end! Noticeably sad, but by his side, like nothing ever happened. The "pact" may be over, but there's an equally stupid obstacle in its place now. Terrific.

It's getting harder to take this seriously each week. How many times can Chuck be redeemed in the eyes of viewers and come thisclose to winning Blair's heart forever, only to have it stripped away?

Blair was going to flee to the Dominican Republic to annul the marriage but wouldn't leave with Chuck, who would gladly pay off the Grimaldis, because they ... wouldn't be equals if she did?

Come on, Gossip Girl. You're just jerking Chair around at this point.

They need to get on with it or let it go forever. Same goes for Dair. I'm all for a good love triangle, but not when the barriers thrown between the prospective couples are repetitive and unrealistic.

All we can do is hold out hope that there's a resolution worth waiting for down the line. I wish I had more confidence that were the case and that the actors would stop being wasted, though. Boo.

Chuck and Georgina Pic

What else did we learn this evening? Let's see ...

  • Georgina Sparks is not the Gossip Girl, but stepped up in her absence, as many theorized. While this makes more sense logistically, I'm still disappointed after last week's mega-reveal, and how amateurish she was tonight.
  • G is hilarious, to be sure, and locking Dorota in the closet was cold, but she was almost too obvious. The Georgina I know is a bit less desperate and more sociopathic. Her cover's bound to be blown.
  • Nate Archibald doesn't like girls who lie, which Lola clearly does. But he's willing to overlook that 30 seconds later as long as they're not lying about him, and wear cute catering outfits.
  • Serena loves Dan, but apparently he's all about Blair.
  • Blair's wedding DJ played Tone Loc. That's pretty cool.
  • Do not threaten Eleanor Waldorf. She will end you.
  • Do not tell Rufus Humphrey any secrets. Ever.

Overall, it's hard to feel good about tonight, especially after the wedding episode raised expectations on many fronts. The plus side? Dan maybe actually making a move in the promo for next week!

What do you think Georgina's endgame is? And is Blair really planning on going through with a giant marriage facade? Before we turn it over to your comments, here's the teaser for "Crazy, Cupid Love" ...

What did you think of Monday's Gossip Girl? Was it funny? Disappointing? Baffling? A little of each? Discuss below and share your predictions for next week's Valentine's Day-themed episode!

Review

Editor Rating: 2.5 / 5.0
  • 2.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (973 Votes)

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

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This episode was funny, witty and entertaining for the most part.
Where are Blair's father (s) and Roman??? Shouldn't the writers should have at least say something about them???
This episode in many ways did not really connect for me. Yeah it was funny, but considering how the 100th episode ended I thought it would be more appropriate that this episode was more dramatic than comical. I do enjoy Blair in regurlar clothings.
For a bride who wants to leave the country as soon as possible, it makes no sense that Blair walked into the airport in her wedding gown and tiara. Dan should have gone to buy her clothes at least and let her change. They were in the airport for the longest time before she even decided to buy clothes.

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No DS! B and C have to be together but I love DB too

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I definitely agree with this review. Chair is just being jerked around at this point, it makes absolutely NO SENSE how Blair and Chuck keep expressing their love for each other but yet Chuck is repeatedly rejected by Blair for reasons that make the show seem as if a 10 year old is writing it. The only reason why GG writers are doing this is because who Blair ends up with is the major storyline on the show right now. But the point is, GG writers, you can only drag out a love triangle for so long! It's become ridiculous now - at this point I don't care WHO Blair ends up with, as long as she picks either Dan or Chuck and stops tormenting us each episode. GG needs to come up with more storylines and stop relying on Blair's love life as the only plot of the show. We're begging you, GG writers.

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To all: I still think Dan sent that video. If there is a twist and he didn't, it's allright, but right now I stand by it. And by CB and DS.

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Yeah, none of that actually contradicts anything I said about Dan though...

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@Maribells Serena had her chance when she couldn't decide between Nate and Dan before she ended with Ben. Vanessa pretty much screwed everyone over and the writers basically gave up on trying to make her likable and had her screw Dan over with the book and she was also partly responsible for the whole Serena/Juliet thing with Jenny.

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@dover I dunno, when you really think about it, Dan has had this tendency for awhile. He was very dismissive of Vanessa in S1 in favor of Serena ("you told me you loved me", "love...d"), then kind of crapped on Serena in favor of Amanda/Ms. Carr/whoever in S2, cheated on Vanessa with Serena in S3 and then treated Vanessa like crap some more in S4, and now he's acting like he never even loved Serena. So even though he has this "nice guy" image, he has a bad habit of being kind of awful towards his exes. So yeah, for the sake of Blair and Dan's friendship, it's probably best if they don't ever date, because it would inevitably end the same way. I'd actually love it if Blair were the one to point this out to him, on Serena's behalf.

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@ Maribells: The "Dan is a dick to everyone but Blair" bothers me enormously. Wasn't he a nice guy a long, long time ago? Some fans say that Dan is the perfect guy and boyfriend, but I wouldn't recommend him to any girl. I wouldn't want a person in my life who treats my friends terribly, no matter how nice she/he is to me. I hope that is addressed in the series.

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Dan may not have sent the video but he knows who did and he still lied and tried to blame Chuck. Writers are on the path to destroy Dan's character.

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SSo glad - no Chuck and Blair romance for a while, it got so old. So boring.