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

by at . Comments

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
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 2.8 / 5.0 (1849 Votes)

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

Tags: ,
Like Us On Facebook

Want more Gossip Girl?

Sign up for our daily newsletter and receive the latest tv news delivered to your inbox for free!

More From TV Fanatic

Aria-investigates-radley

Pretty Little Liars Review: Hanna-bal Rising

Aria finds some interesting clues as she begins volunteering at Radley while Hanna continues to struggle with Alison's return.
Without-maura

Rizzoli & Isles Review: Deadly Dioramas

With Maura away, Jane must rely on Susie's help to solve the perfect murder on Rizzoli & Isles.
Hank-the-dj

Royal Pains Review: How to Have It All

Royal Pains Season 6 Episode 7 When Jeremiah helps out one of her burlesque friends, he grows closer to Vivianna. Paige learns something...
Seeking-advice

Chasing Life Review: Truth is Hard

April misses an opportunity on Chasing Life, but can another make up for it? Brenna learns about Natalia Ortiz, which sends her into Greer's arms. Read the review for more.

Avatar

I never post on these things but after reading all of the comments, I do feel the need to offer some opinions:
1. Fans, if you really expected every bow to be tied in the finale episode then you clearly don't watch enough T.V. - the writers new the probability of 6 being the final season due to contracts, so if you take all of season 5 as the build-up for the final 11 episodes then really it wasn't soo bad.
2. Dan as GG? I think this is highly probable. Anyone who argues that Dan was an outsider and couldn't know all the gossip has a valid point, BUT he still went to school with them, and just because noone from NJBC didn't care for him or know him, he was still at Saint Judes and still saw them alll the time. I think after graduation when Dan was the first to show up at the bar where Serena was waiting was a huge clue for viewers, as was the fact that I dont believe he was in the scene with NJBC when Jonathan was outed for hacking her site. He was already at the mansion and he was on his way before Lola and Serena. Also, the book he "should have written"...every Gossip girl post ever (maybe)? and he needed Georgina's photographic memory because well he didnt have the site for weeks when she had it and he needs her to fill in the blanks. Not conclusive in anyway but a good theory none-the-less
3. Chuck and Blair. Yes I am a CHAIR fan, but the question was never who B would choose, the only time she didn't choose C was when she made a pact with God. The question always was and always has been, will C choose B...and now we get to see :) Blair put all her bets on him, and it isn't the first time either. Why were you all so shocked?? Also did anyone else notice that the spoiler picture of them leaked in the Casino of them smiling at eachother wasnt in the episode?
4. It's called a cliff hanger people.... maybe you DAIR fans didnt get your break up scene or closure, but there still are 11 episodes. You shouldn't rule it out yet.

Avatar

Very predictable and boring.

Avatar

@young
Dan acts as always if it is not going how he intended. I already wrote that Dan was in love with an illusion, in Blair as described in his book. This has not Blair in real life. When the illusion broke, Dan is often blamed as one who is closest to he - Serena. Dan blamed Serena, because she said that he was in love with an illusion. The problem with Dan is that he is weak on the girls in trouble. But sooner or later these same girls get out of trouble, and Dan does not know how to be with them. Therefore he is angry at Serena, though he is aware that as much as he loves her as she loves him. But probably not yet ready to accept that, from fear that if they will be together that not be successful.

Mse

I think the seaosn finale was either "love

Avatar

About the whole closure thing for Blair and Dan, you guys must have noticed all the emails from Blair on Dan's computer that he was deleting when Serena arrived at the loft. I paused to read them a few were: "Email me back?" "You don't know the whole story", "There's an explanation". This seems like Blair has been trying to contact Dan to talk about the break up and everything that happened before she left for Paris, but he's been ignoring her. So stop blaming Blair, it's obviously Dan's fault.

Avatar

one thing i hate about DAN JENNY AND VANESSA is that they make it seem like they UES kids are always scheming and are so manipulative and evil . but they are JUST THE SAME . they've done their share of scheming too . if anything they're just SORE LOSERS . because the UES kids stick together and never turn on eachother no matter how many times they fight . and they never quite fit in .i hate that whenever they get got , they wanna run adn cry UES is evil . but its okay when they scheme and PLOT

Avatar

Can someone explain why Lola thinks that Lily is sabotaging Carol's case? Carol says that a lawyer from Abrams and Weiler offered to take her case pro bono. Since Lily's attorney is from the same firm, it's safe to assume that she could have had something to do with the lawyer taking the case, but is she did, wouldn't it be more along the lines of secretly paying the lawyer fees since the lawyer has told Carol that he/she will do the case for free?

Avatar

Dan doesnt love THE REAL BLAIRE that chuck know and love, he loves the VULNERABLE BLAIRE . the one that was weak and needed a friend and was in a BAD marriage to a prince . he was QUICK to dismiss Serena when she schemed and used him as collateral damager . so imagine had it been BLAIRE . in seasons before he ALWAYS hated blaire because of the way she was able to scheme and play the game and never get burned . so what chanegd that now ?

Avatar

@Zoran
yeah Dan had sex with Serena . but he HATES her because he wants someone to blame . she made him BELIEVE blaire wasnt showin up and that chuck blaire would except chuck proposal . she lied to hima dn made him assume . and he was mad because he felt lied to and manipulated . and out of all people it was SERENA .

Avatar

Dair fans quit whining if you guys were stupid enough to think they would end up together then...well, you're stupid. As crazy as Serena was being this episode, everything she said was right. Her telling Dan he wasn't in love with Blair, but the Blair he wrote in his book, was totally spot on. Dan doesn't love conniving evil B. You saw how he treated Serena after he caught her in a scheme. Blair loves schemes and would have done the same thing had the roles been reversed. He doesn't love Blair. He loves weak Blair. So get over it Dair fans. The build-up of Dan/Blair was a build-up of their friendship. The second they got together it was obvious it was never going to work. Chuck and Blair have had a five year build-up. And honestly, I agree with B's choice. If you had to choose between safe love, or passionate love, what would you choose? Anyone who chooses safe is a coward, just like Dan.