Gossip Girl's many storylines reached a confluence of sorts tonight at Dair's coming out party. Surprisingly for the controversial couple, their newly-public romance was probably the most uneventful thing at the big event.
"Salon of the Dead" featured several big bombshells, with the biggest being that our long-theorized belief in Diana's blood relation to Chuck was finally revealed. She is, in fact, the mother of Mr. Charles Bass.
It was surprising and yet not. Chuck had begun to piece it together over the course of the past few weeks, and her ties to Jack were revealed as far back as December. So it was really more about the details:
How would he find out, and what was the backstory?
The manner in which Chuck learned his mother's true identity dovetailed with Lola's quest to unmask Serena as the least subtle Gossip Girl fill-in of all time. The story of Bart, Diana and Elizabeth was perfectly believable as she told it (at least by Gossip Girl standards), but it felt lacking somehow, like there had to be more to it.
As Chuck asked, what does it all mean? Where is this all headed?
So Diana Payne gave birth to Chuck Bass, gave him up to Bart and Elizabeth, who each went to great lengths to hide the truth which he now knows. Where does that leave our man going forward?
Does he have the closure he needs to put this to bed once and for all? Will he pursue a relationship with his mother, and if so, what will it consist of? Did anyone else feel a general response of "eh" after the reveal?
Ed Westwick, who shows great acting chops when called upon, was as strong as ever in his emotional scenes, yet even they were still part been-there-done-that, part what's-the-real-story.
Gossip Girl's text at the end told us a lot. Diana's got another secret, otherwise you know this one wouldn't have come out with relative ease. But does it relate to Chuck, or is it something entirely different?
In that respect, this episode asked more questions than it answered, strangely enough. The same was true of Lola's plot line. She successfully outed Serena, only to keep that secret between them and peace out?
The manner in which Lola learned about Dan's potential book excerpt AND recorded Diana's confession with Serena's phone was eye-rolling material - no show should entail multiple overheard phone calls and iPhones left on tables, week in and week out, even on the CW - but the fact that she pushed the envelope so far was a genuine surprise.
There was clandestine creeping, sitting on the secret and using it later. For Lola, who simply posted the live feed of Diana and Serena to Gossip Girl without thinking it through, there would be no going back.
Lola is scheduled to be back next week, according to the synopsis for "Despicable B," so she's not out of the picture for good. Whether she can bounce back from the remarkable betrayal of Chuck is another story.
She was a fun character because she was blissfully unaware of the madness she was getting into, and seemed above the fray. Perhaps this botched effort will help her reclaim that innocence ... or lose even more of it.
If there's a silver lining, it's that she spared both Nate and Serena further humiliation, and her cousin-sister certainly owes her one. She still has Serena's secret in her back pocket, too, so this is far from over.
As for Serena and her blogging days, did she learn a lesson tonight? One that will prompt her to relinquish her new career and return the show's eponymous blog to its rightful owner as requested?
Not likely. It was interesting, however, that she admitted how lost she is and that GG is all she has. Sad, but undeniably true, and a commendable admission from someone not prone to self-awareness.
Putting aside how hilariously bad she is at her job, and the lack of reasoning behind her desperation to sabotage Lola, the stretch run of Season 5 has become an intriguing character study on the directionless S.
S is headed down a dark path with this, and it remains to be seen if she'll find her moral compass and right this ship before many more people get hurt. With Serena's decision making, it's hard to be confident.
Elsewhere, down in the 718, the Humphrey men both struggled to find their identities as they navigated between worlds, and through the often-choppy waters of relationships with Upper East Side women.
Blair and Dan officially became a couple tonight. No longer just literature lovers lounging around Brooklyn or occasional drunken elevator sex partners or, but a full-on, out-in-the-open, high society pair.
Their British-themed salon was, clearly, an unmitigated disaster. Just not for Dair.
These two clearly come from separate backgrounds, but is there any doubt that despite their differences, they genuinely love each other's company? And that unlike Rufus and Lily, there's no deception involved?
That's what it's all about in the end, and with the exception of a brief freak-out after the salon went south through no fault of their own, Dair seemed to find their footing through shared interests and companionship.
Maybe you see them as endgame and maybe you don't, but it's certainly not a superficial relationship. Dan and Blair didn't need press, a fancy salon or the perfect first impression on this night. Just one another.
Rufus and Lily may not be so lucky. His support of Ivy may have been well-intentioned, and was definitely a good deed, but represented exactly the kind of behavior he chastised his wife for in the first place.
Not a good sign that these two go behind each other's backs to get their way because they deem resolving their differences through communication impossible. Maybe they should take a page from Dair's book?
Overall, not a bad episode. Gossip Girl may not be what it once was, but you at least got the sense that it tried this week. Before we turn it over to your comments, here's a look at next week's promo:
What did you think of this evening's Gossip Girl? Discuss!