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 (1849 Votes)

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

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season finale: great! last two minutes! glad dair is history.

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I am happy with the finale. Finally no heartbreak between Chuck and Blair. Dair was awful! There was no spark! It was dull boring and hard to watch. CHAIR FTW!

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Dan is certainly not the GG. If it was, he would not needed Georgina to write a book. It seems that everyone forgot the end of season 2, when in some way explains about the GG. Then it was said that GG receive information from all the people, which then is filtered and then published on its website. GG is no one of the five main characters. GG is not one person, ie. it is one person who is administrator of GG site. But without the information that gets out of the ordinary people, GG is a nobody. So all those who sent information to the GG, is actually GG. Only question is who is the current target of GG?

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Hmm...got cut off? Anyway, will Chuck and Blair somehow make their own way in the world, so they can thumb their noses at all the naysayers, especially Bart?

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I thought it was a good finale :) Serena is back on a downward spiral (I'm still calling suicide!) Bart Bass--he might be all lovey-dovey with Lily now, but his memory is long. He doesn't forget that she was leaving him for Rufus. He's gotten his revenge against Rufus--wait for the revenge against Lily :) I believe he's stringing her along. Couple his efforts with Ivy's, and we've got fire! Blair needs a designer--could Little J be coming back? She doesn't strike me as a Waldorf designer, but Blair is going to want to put her own stamp on the line--what better way to do that than to revamp their styles? Georgina and Dan--in the end, Georgina will walk away unscathed. Dan, though--I'm thinking that he may think he's going to have the last laugh--but, in the end, he'll be put back in his place. In Brooklyn. Blair and Chuck (and Jack)--do they somehow get Bass Industries back from Bart? Will Bart die? Again. For real? Do they forget about the Bass billions and somehow make their own way? Can't wait for next season. I think that the writers will do it justice, after being lazy the last couple of seasons.

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Season Finaly = Garbage

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I was trying to say Doroto is married to a skinny tall man. They have access to the two great houses in the show. They could employ others who work as staff at the other locations throughout the show.

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I think everyone has forgotten the email S sent to GG. The one where she offered to do anything to help her friend. And thereafter she does something totally out of [current] character. It might be the case that GG asked her to do it - to push B to the place where she'd finally make the choice S and GG both knew she would make (GG being privy to the knowledge as a result of having read B's diary pages). GG would be dark enough to request her act of contrition mirror her earlier act of selfishness.
Blair enjoying any kind of victory seems terribly shortsighted. Her concerns in the finale were with saving face in the NY social community and, as always, using persons she considers to be her inferiors. When was the last time you saw her do anything that wasn't self-motivated at the core?
Dan is consistently bitter, and has an apparent love for directing other people, so he could be a viable choice for GG. However, I think less obvious pairings shouldnt be precluded. Dorota is now married to a tall skinny man. Between the two of them they have access to two important households. And if they employ others who assist, that might extend to the waitstaff at all other important locations....

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The finale was horrible. From the quick destruction of Dair (but I am fine with Chair), and then not even getting Derena, to the destruction of Lufus, to the destruction of Blair and Serena's friendship. And now why are they trying to destroy Lily, when she is right in this case? Her sister had sex with her husband and lied so many times! I want to see Ivy leave town or die or something...GG is just not working with her on the show, and the other storylines are suffering for it.

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Here's something to think about, maybe? Sure the ending with Blair beside Chuck at the gaming table, adding a fortune to Chuck's bet. She may still love Chuck that she has his back yet is she really in love with him? I'm skeptical. I think that her coming to help him was making sure she would not be beholding to him because he had paid her dowry. Repaying a debt. What if Dan does still has her whole heart? Her and Dan didn't split up? The gossip girl blasts may all be taken out of context and everyone who read them made the wrong assumptions?
Dan really messed up assuming the worst and had sex with Serena. I may have to reach watch this episode. Does Blair know Dan had sex with Serena? Dan pairing up with Georgina is his second folly. I don't think we've seen the last of Blair and Dan as a couple. Next season may just surprise dair fans and upset chair fans.