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Gossip Girl Season Finale Review: The More Things Change ...

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With one notable exception, Gossip Girl came full circle in its fifth season finale tonight.

Lily and Bart are married, with a spurned Rufus pining for the girl of his dreams. Dan, too, is back on the outside looking in, with no idealized visions of the Upper East Side or its denizens clouding his worldview.

Georgina is just waiting to stir up drama. Blair has her sights set on world domination. Chuck is reeling, desperate to escape from his father's shadow. Serena had barstool sex with Blair's boyfriend, then left town.

Nate is ... well, Nate. It feels like 2007 again, people!

Fortunately, for Chuck and Blair, "The Return of the Ring" was not just a return of previous near-misses. Cheesy gambling metaphors aside, when she showed up and told him she's all in, Chuck's face said it all.

Chair finally turned that corner, pointed squarely toward an epic endgame next season.

Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf Picture

A quick review of Chuck, Blair and prior Gossip Girl season finales:

Yeah, it's been a long, often painful road to get this far, with some aspects feeling repetitive. There's plenty of work left to be done, too. We can't forget that Chuck rejected Blair again at 8:50 EST tonight.

Realistically, though, everything up until this point had to happen. Even his rejection of Blair's advances before the buzzed-about, season-ending casino scene injected fresh life into the romance once more.

Chuck's past mistakes and misdeeds are well-documented, but that doesn't mean he's wrong about Blair. Nor was Bart, despite the callousness with which he cut Chuck loose. He deserved better than this.

She needed to be all in, too, and now she is. It'll be interesting to see how they get there, but it's hard to imagine Chair not getting together for real, and for good, as the series draws to a close next year.

The fairy tale ending Blair, and so many fans, have been dreaming about for so long is now within sight. More amazingly, tonight's crucial events felt somewhat organic ... well at least by Gossip Girl standards.

No one here's defending Bart for his lack of compassion, respect, empathy or truthfulness (guess he didn't change too much in hiding), but his actions did lead Chuck to make a decision of his own, for the right reasons.

Bart also gifted us with the prospect of Chuck and Jack Bass on the same side to take him down, and for that we are forever grateful. But most significantly, he cleared the way for a new, honest and equal Chair.

Chuck and Bart Photo

Dair fans, please remove your belt and shoelaces and give them to loved ones ASAP.

Their love was real, and Blair and Dan's relationship brought us so many great scenes. But there's probably no coming back from this one. Hold out hope if you like, but Blair made her choice, then she doubled down.

It has nothing to do with his cheating, which she presumably isn't even aware of (it was also a bit unclear, given all the scheming going on, if Blair even told Dan, or tried to tell him, that they were done).

If she really didn't tell Dan, after all he's done for her? Not cool. Plain and simple. I'd like to give B the benefit of the doubt here, but even if it did take place off screen, the fans would've liked more closure.

Regardless, her choice was irrespective of Dan and Serena's surprising sex romp. He's right when he says using her to forget his pain is different than the manipulative act of destruction she tried to initiate.

That was just wrong, and you can't help but feel a little bad for Dan in all this. He became collateral damage as Serena's Gossip Girl exploits unraveled so rapidly that her feud with Blair reached critical mass.

Is (or was) Serena really in love with Dan, as she claims? Or purely using his body and Blair's minions to ruin her now-former BFF? Somewhere in between? In any case, the extent of the fallout was dramatic.

Give Dan credit for not taking Serena back after realizing how he got played. Doing so would've been beyond pathetic, even if his kiss-off line to her was harsh. The maligned muppet has a backbone, who knew!

Where do any of them go from here? The writing was uneven this season, but the producers did a nice job of making the story arcs that concluded tonight matter with heightened emotional stakes and lasting repercussions.

Adrift and alone, Serena is riding the rails in more ways than one. Ironically, Blair's diary was leaked online, but it's S who burned just about every bridge known to humankind, while Queen B is off to rule Paris.

Their friendship may never recover, and clearly Bart's resurrection carried lasting repercussions. Chuck has been ostracized and left to fight for what's his. Rufus' marriage was annulled, just like that.

Much as certain thematic elements felt like deja vu, there's no hitting the reset button after this. Well, except maybe for Nate. He's pretty much back at square one, only wearing more suits. Bless his heart.

Georgina Sparks and Dan Humphrey

Clearly, opinions on the season finale and season overall will vary depending on how you feel about particular couples or relationships, but from a directorial standpoint, "The Return of the Ring" was a pretty good payoff.

There were twists, turns, consequences that matched the urgency of the building storylines and despite some eye-rolling moments - Blair listing off Dan and Chuck's respective traits to Eleanor; too many iPhone blasts, lies, gimmicks and convoluted ploys to even keep straight - it ended up being pretty darn entertaining.

This installment essentially blew up the nucleus of the show. Now, with 11 episodes to go before we close the book on the CW drama for good, we get to see it come together again. Bring it on.

Other side developments and burning questions from the Season 5 finale:

  • William got Carol's half of Cece's estate transferred to Lola ... who give it all back to Ivy when she learned Lily was sabotaging Carol's defense, ordering her former impostor to take Lily down.
  • Lola turned down the chance to live with Nate, but it was amicable at least. Guy was serious about her, too, but it looks like she's gone the way of vintage GG vanishing love interests past.
  • Diana sent Nate a surveillance tape of their near-rendezvous with Gossip Girl two weeks back, and ... is Gossip Girl actually a dude? In a black hoodie? Shockingly, we didn't see his/her face.
  • Will Dan channel his rage into the next work of literary brilliance? Or at least cutting his hair? Is Georgina really the best muse? Does he have any friends left on the UES except Nate?
  • Does this mean Rufus will resume his music career?
  • Any chance J (or V) makes a comeback next fall?
  • Do people really throw divorce parties?

Time to turn it over to you. What did you think of the finale? Everything you thought it could be? A miserable failure? How do you see things playing out in the (unfortunately shortened) sixth and final season?

Share your comments with us below!

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.8 / 5.0 (1850 Votes)

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

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I thought it was an ok finale! I never had anything against Dan and Blair, as friends they were adorable! But as a couple i just didn't think it worked...I'm glad she seems to be back with Chuck now, and she's FINALLY fighting for him! Although when i watched that scene on the roof where Blair did her 'I tried to kill it but i just couldn't cause we're so in love' bit, i felt like i'd seen it a hundred times before! Still, hopefully they'll have a great ending! Serena...ahaha I'm so glad she finally got what she deserved! I was so sick of her being such a bitch and everyone just accepting it! She's so full of herself, convinced that if Blair was gone Dan would automatically love her. Well he doesn't (good for him!) and when i saw her stuck alone leaving town i had the biggest smile on my face! Phew, well that's my venting done! Oh i also thought Blair looked AMAZING in the final scene, what a dress!

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i defintily missed the serena/blair closing scene... those were the best moments in the past seasons...

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Sex in a bar? Is Serenate thing!
And the Sheppards? Come on -.-'
I loved the episode :D
But that scene was all Serenate :b

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well, well, who knew C and B will get back together...oh wait, I did.
it was ridiculous to think that D and B would have a future together...
as I always said, CHAIR is endgame...come on, its gossip girl...its chuck and blair from the very beginning...S1E7 until the very end...
lonely boy isn't called lonely boy for fun...
serena is finally back, our good girl goes bad...and we're so excited.
bart doesn't want chuck to be a part of bass industries, he is still married to lily, and rufus is all alone again...losing the love of his live to bart fuckin bass...
everyone finally get what they deserve...oh, I LOVE the upper east side, and so do you guys...xoxo gossip girl

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I'm a little confused with Nate asking Lola to move in with him when Nate is actually living at Chuck's place... Isn't that a bit weird? But except that, this episode vas absolutely marvelous! I actually cried of joy in the end, and also because of Chuck's cute face when Blair told him she would fight for him!

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I liked Chuck rejected Blair. The whole season he waited for her so it would too easy if their story was now solved. I'm glad Dair is over. I think since there are only 11 episodes it's pretty sure we won't see Dair anymore. I would have liked as you mentioned her to tell him she loves Chuck.
I understood Dan's reaction over Serena but I still hope they end up together one way or another. I liked their sweet scenes seasons ago. In yesterday's episode there wasn't much chemistry :(
You say all Blair's suitors are unworthy of her. Maybe it's Blair who is unworthy of them. I mean she knows she belongs to Chuck yet she starts a relationship with a guy she doesn't truly love.
This season at least but not in this episode, Nate had a good storyline with The Spectator and I hope Lola is not gone for good but it looked like she was leaving for good
Rufus should get a better storyline. Even though I hope Rufus gets back with Lily, I hate how she's changed. She can't face some difficulties, but with Bart it won't be better!
I liked the tensions between Blair and Serena but Serena shouldn't have left like this. Like mother, like daughter, she can't face her actions.
I'm glad Dan will write his shocking book. It's about time. He's an outsider. I'm looking forward to seeing him scheming with Georgina :D
In short, this episode was EPIC; one of the best of this season!

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Give DAIR a chance! They were friends! How can Blair just choose Chuck again and again, when it never leads anywhere. Dan is a great guy, and she is great when she´s with him. You should do the pacy-joey reunion, and reunite them again @ the end. He really loves her, and does not deserve this ending. Blair needs to realize she loves dan more than anything and be with him @ the end of next season. That couple makes the show better, not chair, with their on and off and bad timing. I was expecting 3 words 8 letter from her to him. Hope to have it by next season. Just give them a chance, and more passion, and they will rock the show.

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@Bp alot of chair fans felt same way when blair just sent a thank you text to chuck for paying his dowry..alot of fans were outraged so i can def see where your coming from.

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@adge
Seriously Dan's fault? I'm not surprised he deleted emails from a girl who was meant not only to be his girlfriend but also his friend but basically ditched him to go running back to her ex. And email to explain? I think anyone deserves better than that! I am tired of Dan always coming off the loser just because he doesn't have their privileged background. The others don't have a clue and have done nothing with all the opportunities available to them. I hope Dan rises above it and becomes a successful writer. The others can have thir sad little club. I actually can't believe that I've gone from liking all the characters for various reasons to really not giving a damn now.

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5. Nate - I love him and am excited to hopefully see him have a story line of his own next year where he tries to bring down GG. but did anyone notice his look of worry when he watched the tape? "DUMMDUMMDUMM" maybe he's the writer of the XOX's.....although i would rather see it be Dan. Hopefully he is girl free next season, he needs to be a media mogul before he settles down in my personal opinion but if he were to settle with anyone my choice would be Serena. Nate has always been portrayed as the Knight in Shining Armor and maybe we will see it one last time as he saves Serena from a downward spiral. :)
6. As for Serena, she has never been a favorite of mine. She's such a wishy washy character. While people claim Blair is self obsessed and hate on her, atleast Blair admits and knows she is, S continuely tries to make her character flaws out to be accidents caused by other people. I would much rather a Serena on drugs who takes responsibility for her own actions then a Serena who throws all of her friends under the bus.. repeatedly. I won't comment on Bart, Lily, Ivy, or Lola because I'm not to concerned, although I do love Ivy and am excited to see her in the future. Hopefully Lily will suprise us all and work with C and Jack to bring Bart down for good. BRING ON THE LAST SEASON, and NJBC reunion

Gossip Girl Season 5 Episode 24 Quotes

I don't want to be Mr. Blair Waldorf. I'm Chuck Bass.

Chuck

You say I always bet against you. Not this time. I'm all in.

Blair