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Gossip Girl Review: Return of the Scheme Team

by at . Comments

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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Resigning from a internship? Such an obvious move, Humphrey. it would be kind of sweet if he stayed beacause he wanted to be with B, but he just stayed to watch her. So it's just pathetic. How insecure can you be, seriously?! But isn't it hilarious how every time Dan hears/sees Blair with Chuck, he looks like he's scared shit?

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This episode has made me so happy feels like we're finally getting back to the shows roots. The gang together scheming and Blair realising that she was amazing all along and didn't need to change who she was, loved her for the first time this season!
I'm rooting for a chair ending they are epic, the ooze sexual chemistry and I think theyre drama is compelling viewing - they just have that classic tv couple status that no other pairing on this show will ever have, for me their history makes them stronger in the end chuck can make her happy I know it. But I don't think it will be chair this season but I do think season 6 will see our chairytale ending like its was always meant to be.
GG is back!!

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FINALLY CHAIR'S BACK! Can't wait to see them back together!

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I don't think we ever really saw Bart's body- that was in Chuck's imagination, when he and Blair walked by the hospital room and they covered him with the sheet. That was after he admitted he'd run away before Bart died.

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HELL YEAH!!! Chair's back - FINALLY

Queenbee94

@Juliette: that's right, we did see bart's body. how are they going to explain that??

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LOVED the episode. Chuck and Blair were AMAZING TOGETHER and showed why we love them so much and miss them so much. THIS IS GG we want and love! I WANT MORE!! Chuck can make her happy! They are the most happy and true with each other! love them! I loved NJBC, I loved Nate and Lola but I want Nate and Serena to get back together! Nate is obviously caring for her so much! But I enjoy their friendship too! Dan can go to rome and never come back! No one cares. I loved to see everyone in one room next week, Bart, Jack, Chuck, Diana. I'm looking forward to details of their story! Loved Bart being alive but hated why Chuck had to suffer this much :((((

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People what is wrong with you, why you are attacking an actress Blake Lively who plays Serena? Its role is such as it is, write by writers, and she played great. I do not understand why you kept beckoning Serena. The actress who plays Serena is one of the most talented young actresses in Hollywood, plus a beautiful as a goddess, she resolutely doing its job! The writers are the ones who have destroyed the character Serena this season, they should be denounce.

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Yeah, +555 is area code for Brazil, not Portugal. Portugal is +351. And thank you Serena for stating that people in Portugal speak portuguese! That was a great fact -_-' And Chuck bashing our football - or should I say soccer - players, yeah, Figo and Cristiano Ronaldo are two of the beast players in the world, so yeah, we're awful.

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One more thing. is it true that Gossip Girl is ending next year?

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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