Gossip Girl Review: Building the Perfect Serena

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We didn't know Serena van der Woodsen had it in her. Getting half-naked on aircraft carriers, sure. But full-on subterfuge? Then sabotaging her half-sister-cousin when that doesn't work out? That's cold, S.

One minute, she's so against all that Gossip Girl stands for that she'll do anything to get out from under the microscope, even shepherding a (seemingly) unsuspecting Lola to take her place as It Girl.

The next minute, now that the seemingly perfectly constructed Serena 2.0 played her with her own agenda, she's going to feel the wrath. No one messes with It Girl to end all It Girls! That spotlight is HERS!

The girl clearly has no clue who she is anymore - something that could be said for Gossip Girl as a whole, but that's a topic for another time, or the comments - making for an interesting character study.

Girl spends her entire life as the center of attention. Girl often laments this but really doesn't wish for it to stop. Girl senses it slipping away and now attempts to cement her status through social media.

From a logistical standpoint, after the events of "It Girl, Interrupted," where does S go with this?

Does she possess the pure narcissism, and the brainpower, to act the part of and report on the life and times of It Girl, despite countless lies she'll have to tell and feelings she'll have to hurt along the way?

GG 3.0

That's questionable at best, but more significantly, what's Serena's deal? Emotionally, what does she hope to see come of this? Does she even know the answer to that at this point? Do the writers?

The fact that we have to ask is problematic, but such is life in Gossip Girl's fifth season. The characters we've grown to love have become confused at best, completely unrecognizable at worst.

The show is also plagued by a general lack of direction many times. There are so many plot lines unfolding concurrently, and some of them are interesting, but what are we tuning in for overall?

It's just muddled at times, even if it's hard to put your finger on why. Hopefully things build toward a more unifying story next month and heading into the final season, giving Gossip Girl the send-off it deserves.

In the nearer term, it's evident that Serena is reaching the point of no return with her G.G. site takeover, and that it can't last forever. The only question is what the consequences will be when it all unravels.

How Lola responds to S' latest salvo remains to be seen as well. Ditto her reaction to Nate's secretary telling her he's with Diana at the end. Did he really hit that? Is he so naive as to trust her again?

We'll find out, and admittedly I'm still intrigued about all things Serena, Nate and Lola, even if my patience wears thin at times. Elsewhere, plenty of other things (slowly) began to play out, namely ...

Chuck paid the dowry. What a guy. It was hard not to feel bad for him after this was initially received poorly by Blair, because it really feels like it was a selfless act, and a financially significant one at that.

If Chuck couldn't invest in the Spectator because of this dowry, that must have been some dowry! We knew it was enough to bankrupt Eleanor, but wow. Chuck taking a financial hit? Now we've seen everything.

He must really care for Blair ... not that we didn't know that 100 times over. Unfortunately for those longing for a Chair reconciliation, however, the news didn't send Blair running into his arms. Instead ...

Dan and Blair Kiss!

Blair thanked him for setting her free ... to be with Dan. After giving her Muppet the runaround, and even after learning about Chuck's monumental sacrifice, she and Dan made a public showing of their love.

The dowry wasn't even her hangup with the divorce papers at first, it was the fact that she just couldn't let go of her princess fantasy. Sigh. It's one thing to have second thoughts about Chuck, but really B?

In any case, Dan was sweet to let her live it out for one more camera-phone-filled moment. A nice moment for the Dair fan base, but Chuck made major inroads this week and remains omnipresent.

Next week comes Dan and Blair's official public debut as a couple, and you can expect fireworks ... on the show and on TV Fanatic. As for the reason Chuck sought Blair's advice in the first place ...

Elizabeth is not his mother and did not give him blood. Not a surprise at all. So who did? The smart money's still on Diana somehow, but very little happened tonight as far as this mystery advancing.

What was a bit of a shocker, on the other hand, was ...

Lily going behind Rufus' back to screw over Ivy. Maybe S' actions make more sense now, because Lily clearly has some manipulative, cold-hearted genes. Even if Ivy had it coming, that was still brutal.

Rufus was clearly left reeling by this, not just by the fact that his wife would throw Ivy out on the street, but that she lied to his face about it, after he put the wheels in motion to work out a compromise no less.

Thus, the separation has begun. There's supposedly a big breakup coming up this spring and these two look like prime candidates. It's sad, but Rufus might deserve someone better to make waffles for at this point.

Slightly less emotional, but more contentious, was for ...

Diana in a Blue Dress

The battle for the Spectator. Nate really couldn't get an investor other than Diana? Really? The plot to videotape her with Lola's useless friend was cool, as was the fact that L pulled one over on S.

Nevertheless, I'm losing interest in Diana, whose reappearance feels forced. Nate and Lola make a cute couple and it'd be nice to see them give it a go. He's also a good editor-in-chief, even if ad sales are down.

The entire Nola conflict was a bit cobbled together. They're from different worlds, we get it. But that's what they initially liked so much about one another, no? Not an impediment to their relationship?

Whatever. Diana clearly has an agenda, one we might even learn about one of these months. Truthfully, she was only there to create tension between the two lovers and draw further attention to the fact that ...

There was a really expensive lingerie party. Someone who lives in NYC and has knowledge of UES social circles, please enlighten us: Do all these crazy parties actually exist in real life, and where do I get tickets?

Not the most exciting episode overall, but it had its moments. I'm very curious to hear what you all thought and what you think about the show's overall direction (or lack thereof) these days.

What keeps you watching? What was your favorite part of tonight, and your least favorite part? Before we turn it over to your comments, here's next week's promo for "Salon of the Dead" ...

What did you think of tonight's Gossip Girl? Discuss below!

Review

Editor Rating: 3.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (806 Votes)

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

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@Sophie
Twisting my words. I said that Chuck was the hero of this episode. Chuck has sacrificed his money to Blair be happy. He does even from season 2, when he arranged for Blair to become prom queen. Accept that this episode is Chuck victory and move on.

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@sophie, do you remember that they always looked down on each other from episode 1 until season 3, right? So it's not true that he allows her to be herself. Maybe now he does, but she is not the Blair she used to be, so when she will eventually find herself back (really, she is completely different from herself, so this is not maturing), he will get judgemental again... Dan is judgemental towards anyone, so...

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Chuck and Blair were meant to end up together, exciting, passionate and intriguing, the good and the bad, like a classic movie.

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@Zoran You keep saying Chuck is the hero of the series, but what other than the dowry has he done that's particularly selfless or exceptional? @Elisa My point was more that she has a lot more in common with Dan than most of the other characters, particularly Chuck. Dan and Blair have stimulated, interesting conversations, they're similar minded individuals who play off one another. Blair encourages Dan to be less judgemental and close minded like he was in season one, and Dan allows Blair to be entirely herself - not just the dark side of herself, which is the one that Chuck encouraged, and the one that Blair was consistently ashamed of. She has a lot more in common with Dan than she and Chuck have. @sophia Calling Blair a whore because she didn't run back to Chuck is pathetic

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@ Tressene
I agree with you about Serena. For me, the Empress Serena. Well you are remembered for the events in season 2. But I fear that now is a little time to Serena do something serious.

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@Lm
Thank you Lm, I love history!

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This episode was BORING blair is more and more ridicuclous she is 21 and still wants to be a princess she is pathetic and her lapdog (dan) is even worse.As much as i love serena she was annoying in this episode.Chuck was great as always i can't believe he paid this whore her dowry she doesn't deserve it

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@Sophie
But who is the hero of the series in general. All heroes have a lot of flaws. None of them are not sinless. A most of Chuck and Blair. Chuck a good deed has nothing with relationship of his family problems. He has done a good deed and that's it! As for Chuck and Blair talk about the search for blood donor, I think that two heads are better than one. In season 3 Chuck and Blair were together when Elizabeth, Chuck's mother was there. Chuck thinks that Blair can only help him about the details related to Elizabeth.

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@sophie, you said that they share "their emotional intellect, their interest in books, films, artists, culture...". Sorry, but what friends are made for? Love actually doesn't base only on these facts, but on a combination of facts, which the most important is (not only sexual) chemistry (which I actually objectively can't see). I mean, not to be too extreme, but if, as you say, relationships are built only with these bases, I would have had tons of relationships and even with girls! (ok, way too extreme, but that's how you put it...)
As @Zoran said, none of the characters are pure as white (not even your beloved Dan), so...
Anyway, I don't get why you Dair fans have to be so judgemental by saying that we Chair fans are childish and blablabla. Why do you have to think that you are superior? It's actually nonsense and that's why I can't take this seriously. But I am convinced that it is quite useless talking about that, since that we believe firmly on our ideas...

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Finally, the real story is not based on Blair and her love triangle!!!!!!! I was a CHAIR shipper for a long time and got rather disgusted with how that storyline is being played. However, I must say that the Serena storyline is rather interesting. I am amazed at how devious Serena is becoming. She is playing the Gossip Girl role with extreme tact. I love the fact that she isn't going to stay behind the sidelines and be kicked and prodded all over. I am looking forward to seeing the consequences of her actions but otherwise KUDOS TO SERENA. She is evolving into the QUEEN S character that we were briefly introduced to in the second season!!

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