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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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@Zoran good points . really good . i really dk if Dan can be GG . i just fee like its a good possibility because he's the ONLY one that actually was obsessed with her . now he hates her and all of a sudden GG does too ??

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i think Dan is riding high off RAGE right now . but as we have seen in all the seasons . when the kids of the UES stick together they can take ANYBODY down . so , yeah i feel like he dont know what he's getting into . he THINKS he's getting the last laugh but he's gonna get ran outta town like Jeeny and Vanessa .

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@ chair baybayyyyy
And Serena and Dan were in the train station at the same time because their trains arrived at the same time. Dan was not the first who saw Serena, and Dan has not send a snapshot of Serena from the station, but Melani91 did, which she is one of the suppliers for the GG. Serena was the main target of GG, but the question is why? If Dan is GG, why then he showed the log of Blair? On the contrary, Dan would delete a Blair diary that nobody sees.

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even though i feel really bad for dan, i am happy to see chair together. when blair was with dan i felt equally bad for chuck. but chair was always meant to be i guess. coming to dan rejecting serena, best choice he ever made. serena had used him every chance she got in the past, and whenever dan wanted to be back with her she chose somebody else. she is also the reason dan's movie deal was cancelled and his book didn't sell well after dat. Even if after all this the writers made dan and serena come back back together, well i have nothing to say.

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One good question comes to mind
Did GG reply to Serena and ask her to break Dan and Blair as a way to stop the diary posts? Serena e-mailed GG saying she would do anything for GG so Blairs diary would stop being published. I think GG asked her to sleep with Dan and record it, GG has always hated Dan and Blair together, why???? I don't know but she has made it a point to want Blair with Chuck. WHY????

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Anti-DERENA team here in our block is celebrating right now!!! Were way too happy!

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DAN BEING GG IS A GOOD THEORY !!! i mean SERENA was the first person GG posted and season 1 he was at the train station when she arrived . one of the FIRST people to see her . and she was the MAIN TARGET OF GG . NOW .. dan hates her for manipulating him and all of a sudden for some reason GG hates her now too . dan told her he never has to see her again and GG said she basically doesnt exist . yeah , i think he's gossip girl . he was always on the sideline and outside lookin in . plus he's always writing about the UES . so yeah

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i always dont like Serena because she pretends like she doesnt like attention . sh was always GG main target and she pretended like the spotlight was what she hated most . then , this season she GAVE LOLA the spotlight and made her the NEW IT GIRL . and as soon as lola became the it girl she used GG to tear lola down and steal the spotlight back . Serena loves the spotlight and doesnt want to admit it , shes a sad case ~

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CONTINUING : SHE HAD ALOT OF CHANCES WITH DAN AND NEVER CHOSE HIM . ALWAYS PICKED SOMEONE ELSE . NOW SHE WANTS DAN WHEN HE WANTS SOMEONE ELSE . AND NOW SHE HAS NOTHING AND LOST A GOOD AS FRIEND . THE ONLY FRIEND WHO WOULD PUT UP WITH SUCH A SLU* . AND SHE ALWAYS HELD A SMALL GRUDGE THINKIN BLAIRE STOLE HER MAN . NOW SHE SEES THAT BLAIRE DID NOTHING BECAUSE DAN DOESNT HAVE BLAIRE AND STILL DOESNT WANT HER . IM GLAD SHE KNOWS EVERYTHING DOESNT EVOLVE AROUND HER !!

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i think Serena got what she deserved . since season 1 she always put on a show like she's a victim . atleast BLAIRE knows she can be a bitch at times . embracing what you are is better than putting on a mask and pretending to be something you're NOT . Serena was in disguise but in honesty she is the villain in this show . she is partly to blame on why all the characters are mixed up . her fucking NATE and ruining blaire's relationship was what started the drama . im just glad that she got bit in the ass in this finale . NOT ONLY did blaire repay her for the diary entry by ruining her summer job . but , in the process of trying to beat BLAIRE at her own game . she got her feelings crushed cause dan didnt want her , she didnt hurt blaire cause blaire chose chuck ANYWAYS and she has nothing and lost a GREAT BESTFRIEND . the ONLY bestfriend who would put up with her fuckin her bf . she always held a small grudge and made like blaire STOLE dan but realy she had ALOT of chances with dan and NEVER chose him . now she wants him when he wants someone else and always felt like blaire stood in the way when really she didnt . dan doesnt have blaire and still doesnt want serena . so HA !!!

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