Gossip Girl Review: Return of the Scheme Team

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In a word ... finally.

With the fifth season of Gossip Girl winding down and several key storylines intertwining, we were promised the biggest surprise of the year this evening and "Raiders of the Lost Art" certainly delivered.

Or perhaps we should call it "Raiders of the Lost Bart"?

That was a doozy of a plot twist, even on a show that goes through so many on a weekly basis and often concocts totally unrealistic bombshells through haphazard writing. Bart Bass? Who saw that coming?

I guessed it only after I saw Blair's mortified face. What else would cause such a visceral reaction from a girl who's seen everything? It had to be Bart, which B basically confirmed when she told Chuck to see for himself?

From the moment we met Diana Payne in the Season 5 premiere through three quarters of the way through tonight, however, that was one wrinkle I hadn't considered. Now the bigger question, obviously, is why?

Raiders of the Lost Art Photo

The how is at least plausible, seeing that no one saw Bart perish in his fatal car crash, or saw his body at his funeral in Season 2's "O Brother, Where Bart Thou?" He had the means and ability to stage his death.

Motive is another story. What the heck is the connection between Bart, Jack and Diana? Just as one mystery is solved, another begins on this show, which can become maddening if you're not thoroughly invested.

Therein lies the biggest shocker of the night: Not that Bart Bass lives, but how much this felt like old times. When was the last Gossip Girl episode that left you cracking up one minute, and on pins and needles the next?

Regardless of how long it took and how many bumps in the road led us to the brothel in Briarcliff Manor (a real town in Westchester), the stakes were raised tonight before the opening credits had stopped rolling.

Everyone had an agenda, and half the characters were being played without realizing it. Secrets buried all season, even all series, were on the cusp of being released. It wasn't perfect, but everything clicked for the most part.

The snark was back. So where the schemes. There was a bombshell actually worthy of the description, yes, but more importantly, there was palpable energy that had been lacking ever since the royal wedding.

Heck, it even looked like we were going to get a whiff of Gossip Girl.

If the episode had a weak point, it was the tease of bringing the titular character all the way out to the mansion, only to have her abscond with the laptop undetected. No one even got a look at her? Seriously?

Lola and Nate Photo

I'll allow it, though, if it restores order to the blog and ends the borderline ridiculous sequence of GG fill-ins. It was starting to cheapen the brand. Sorry S. I'm okay with an anonymous GG as long as she's badass.

Were Jack, Bart and Diana rendezvousing with Gossip Girl to buy her silence and preserve their secret once and for all? Crazy as that sounds, since we still don't know what their secret is, it's the best I can come up with.

(Also, Portuguese area codes notwithstanding, Diana better have a good reason for involving herself so intimately with Chuck and all his friends all year, because she's pretty terrible at subterfuge otherwise.)

In any case, we'll find out soon enough, and S' reign as GG 3.0 has come to an end. She had a good run, at least in her own deluded mind. Nate was sadly correct. The Serena he once knew is long gone.

S' surprising turn has been widely debated among fans in recent weeks, and after being upended like this, it'll be interesting to see if she reverts to the well-meaning Serena, or doubles down on her dark side.

Where will she go from here? Hopefully back in the fold with Nate, Blair and Chuck. Probably the biggest reason this episode worked so well in comparison to most lately was simple: The gang was back together!

How fun was it to see Blair get her mojo back, complete with her sexy-as-hell Diana-esque blue dress and customized code-breaking device, while Chuck and Nate cracked jokes in the midst of a deeply serious matter?

Between B's British accent to her digs at Nate's intelligence and coolness under pressure, in a high-end roving sex club no less, Waldorf was shutting it down. Maybe not at vintage GG levels, but it was a hoot.

Flummoxed at the onset, Chuck knew immediately that he needed Blair's help cracking this carefully guarded code - The Da Vinci Code was less complicated - and wouldn't you know it, she came through.

As a wise woman once said, don't eff with an effer.

Nate and Blair Pic

With the aid of some new blood in Serena Lite and Dorota - with perhaps her most hilarious moment in five seasons (which is saying something) - the Scheme Team brought its A Game. Hopefully they run it back next week.

Dan, meanwhile, was back on the outside. It really was like the old days.

Rufus, apparently living alone in the loft and maybe not even technically married to Lily after tonight's big reveal, proved again how much better he is at doling out advice than following it himself.

Neither he nor Blair did anything to hurt the other tonight, which was refreshing. Not all relationship drama stems from cheating or over-the-top theatrics. They even communicated fairly well. They were just ... apart.

He did the right thing not going in and confronting her, and she was quite forthcoming after. Yet as much as they trust (and quote Ray J to) each other, we witnessed the beginning of a Dair disconnect.

Can they weather the storm? He clearly wants to, turning down a prestigious fellowship in Rome to be with her. Given the sparks we saw from Chair tonight, an epic season finale decision looms for B.

Whether the Blair we saw tonight can be involved romantically with Dan for the long haul is an open question. He's been there for her all year when no one else has, and no one can take that away from him.

The one-time Queen B has been a shell of herself months, though, and is a much different creature when she has her swagger. She clearly has that, as well as chemistry, with Chuck. But can he give her lasting happiness?

That remains to be seen, but it was fun to watch the other side come out tonight in what was the first top-shelf episode in some time. Before we turn it over to your comments, here's next week's promo:

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

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.7 / 5.0 (840 Votes)

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

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Niks4u

@Zoran: Your comment doesn't even deserve a reply but I will grace you with one. "But what would Blair do with Dan in Rome? Dan was supposed to go to Rome for a seminar on literature, Blair would only bother him." First of all its not a seminar, its a summer artists retreat. But I will forgive the slight as you seem to be a serial commentator but a casual watcher. And what would Blair do with Dan in Rome? I don't know maybe enjoy some time together, do things that couples do on holidays. "Blair would only bother him." Really? He loves her, and he is going to be bothered by her. That guy dated 'OH the world revolves around me' Serena, I think he can handle Blair, whom he loves, and has been a good friend to.

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@ sheyshey!
From where now Carter Bejzen? The actor who plays him did not appear on the set this season. In addition, if it is something to Serena, Carter is a gambler who just wants the money that has Serena. Serena was with Carter just because of guilt, because Carter was helped her to find her father. For Serena to be happy, she needs Dan, and nobody else. After all, Serena has changed, faithfully waiting for the love of her life (Dan) all season alone! As for Lily and Rufus, their marriage is not valid now, because Bart was still alive. But this is not a problem for the two of them, they were happier when they were no married.

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@niks4u
But what would Blair do with Dan in Rome? Dan was supposed to go to Rome for a seminar on literature, Blair would only bother him. But Dan asked Blair for a scholarship, and she said that he should go to Rome. So this is where Dan is in love with illusion and the illusion falls apart, so he makes mistakes. You're wrong, there is shown the real character of Dan. Dan is insecure about Blair, and he does not believe to her anything. Now you mentioned Olivia, who was a stupid experiment produced of the series in season three, which led to a series of setbacks. Dan can not talk to Blair about his insecurities, because that way only further distanced himself from Blair. Or Blair realized that she was with the wrong guy, and then returned to Chuck.

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And I feel the writers were tempted to call it Raiders of the Lost Bart...but that would just be a spoiler and then we wouldn't get that bombshell of an ending ;) I don't remember the early episodes too well (like I don't remember if Jack and Bart were ever in the same scene together) but if they weren't...I have a theory that Jack and Bart are the same person? Anyone think this is legit?

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Ok, seriously...I agree with some people that Dorota could be Gossip Girl...haha most probably not but she is the most likely candidate out of all the major characters imo...
Also, why do I feel like Carter Baison has something really important to do with this episode? Lol...just a feeling I get...what with the brothel and tattoos...Also, just the thing to pick Serena up ;) Or at least make her life a little more interesting.
Haha btw can't wait for the next Georgina Sparks episode! And yeah, before Dair got together I always wanted them to, just to see how it would work out...but the writers have honestly made it look soo pathetic! And the chemistry between Chair is so good ;) I neeed Blair to tell Chuck she wants him back!
Love the resurrection of Bart btw!
On a side note: whoever plays Diana obviously can't even do a half decent British accent...Also curious to see what happens between Lily and Rufus now?

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what i find weird is the fans that want a realistic relationship? okay gtfoh... gg- the scandelous lives of manhattan elite. why are u watching the show if u want it to be, like lil house on the praire with donut saving the day. @ffs- okay the show is about UES life....bye bye donut, go dip your self in a cup of coffee. and write about it,lol at donut in the taxi stalking,,,,,, that made my week,,,, lets see.blair will it be chuck-sexy , or ew!---a donut who cant afford sprnkles. hahahah. u know what donut will live!\\\\\\\\\\dddddddonut dan=donut, donut,donuts,

Niks4u

This was just plain bad writing. Why didn't Dan ask Blair to go with him? Or talk with her about it before declining the offer? That was so out of character. Dan dated Olivia who was a movie star and never had any trust issues but suddenly with Blair who has been a great friend too, he can't talk about his insecurities. I find that pretty difficult to believe.

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Congrats GG. With the return of Bart from the dead, you are officially a daytime soap now. Everything related to Chuck has been too soapy lately. As someone said in comments, Season 1 Chuck will vomit all over you if he were to see what you have done with his character.

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@db
With these comments on Serena and Dan I totally agree! Of course Dan is supposed to return Serena, and to save her not to cross to the dark side. Dan would be able to help himself, because currently he has a blockage in writing the book. We all know that Serena is his muse and inspiration. The only way for everyone to be happy and satisfied is that: Serena and Dan are together and Chuck and Blair belong together. Anything else leads to conflict and dissolution of friendships. Serena and Dan are made for each other, and both like the same - to write. Serena makes Dan a happy and satisfied, as Dan makes the same for Serena! Serena is love of his life, and Dan is love of her life!

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@someone
I agree with you, sorry if you misunderstood me. I have watched all her films except the last two new and I think that Blake Lively is one of the most talented young actresses in Hollywood, plus she is beautiful as a goddess, and the dream of every man. It's really unbelievable that the writers wrote such a bad story for Serena this season. But even though, Serena is still shining. Of course now the question is, where does all this, because Serena is now alone, not on whom to rely, and everything is possible. If any word about suicide, but I think it is excessive, it looked like a repeat of 1 or 4 seasons. Then we come to the main, who will save the beautiful Serena - Dan (which I quite liked), or maybe this new character (Devlin)? Serena out of the series would certainly lead to a complete cancellation of the series, and I hope that nobody comes to mind!

Gossip Girl Season 5 Episode 22 Quotes

Dorota: Miss Serena, all you do all day is type type type. You take laptop with you everywhere. It not healthy.
Serena: Well after last week's family meltdown, this laptop is the only thing keeping me sane. Writing is my new outlet. You should be happy for me.
Dorota: If you say so. But Vanya say same thing about Warcraft and then DSL bill comes.

They say in life there are two sides to every story. But on the Upper East, we always have three. There's his, hers — but the most important is always mine.

Gossip Girl
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