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
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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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They should just start titling all of the episodes "Here is the next stupid reason to keep Chuck and Blair apart." That's all I have to say.

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@Emily You can tell they're really phoning it in, all of them seem to want out and I don't blame them. @candb No, Dan pretty much rejected Vanessa, they're not even friends anymore and everyone pretty much hates her.

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Chuck needs a plot outside of pursuing Blair! I don't care if it's a backslide into strippers and booze or a real follow through of him finding himself or yea I agree, even another girl! Same thing for Serena except at least she works at The Spectator. Maybe Serena and Chuck will be there for each other more. I can't even imagine how bored Blake and Ed must be.

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I felt really bad for Serena in this episode, I was proud of her for sticking up for herself...I think Chuck needs to back off and let Blair come to him when she's ready, so the poor thing doesn't keep getting rejected...Dan can go find Vanessa in Spain or whereever she is for all I care

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I was also hoping that the writers would introduce some other storyline for Chuck, maybe a girl even, but this episode made it cleat that Chuck will be fighting for Blair for the rest of the season and I don't see the point. She's just making up ridiculous excuses as to why they can't be together. She was fine with marrying a man she didn't love for a tiara and now she wants her and Chuck to be "equals"? I wish Chuck would finally call her out on it and demand for a proper explanation and then preferably move on, but I see that he and Serena are stuck with pining after Dan and Blair. I'm pretty excited for the "Dan is pro-scheming when he can get the girl" storyline though. The way he lied to Serena on the phone, sending that gg blast and blaming it on Chuck. Yeah, Dan is true Upper East Sider now! I'll be dissappointed if the writers don't follow that storyline since that could be interesting.

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The Dair interaction was gold and I loved that Serena stuck up for Chuck. I also liked that Dan finally stood up for himself and of course Eleanor was a BAMF. But I don't see much else for the rest of the season. Blair is as stupid as ever. It doesn't even make sense as to why she called Dan of all people. Her dads are lawyers who could probably come up with some loophole in the contract and get her an annulment, various people at the wedding have access to private jets which would ensure a stellar getaway etc. etc. The storyline was just used to give Dair fans some candy which has been happening this whole season. Plotline, logic and common sense are ignored in order to deliver some meaningless ship teases. It annoys the hell out of me. cont.

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Loved the dair scenes. I am so so SO bored and tired of Chair scenes. I have been a faithful watcher of GG, and a former supporter of Chair. I find Dan and Blair to be the fun, refreshing and romantic couple that the show needs. I think the writers took a story that was developing and treated it like real life. Relationships evolve, and I think I like where the DAIR one is going.

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Waait wait wait... Dan gets a hug, and Chuck does not!? I mean... come on. I am a Chair shipper, but a boy can only get shot down so many times. It's not even heartbreaking anymore, just plain ol' stupid.

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The Chair scene was heartbreaking. I really love the fact that Chuck would do anything for Blair. This dowry storyline is ridiculous. Another stupid reason to keep Chair apart but I'm kind of getting used to it and so I wasn't disappointed. I think that Dan sent the blast although it wasn't confirmed. And I think that Chuck will be the one who will do something great in order to help Blair out of her marriage.

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The episode was okay. I liked the Dair friendship. I enjoyed watching them fight. It was great to see that Dan defended himself for once. And I liked that Blair apologized to Dan for the way she was treating him. It's sad that the writers are planning to destroy this friendship by turning it into a romantic relationship. But we all know by now that the writers are really great at destroying relationships and friendships on the show. I felt sorry for Serena in that episode. She took the blame for sending the video although she didn't do it to give chuck and blair a chance to be together. I love that both Serena and Eleanor are chair shippers.

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