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!


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 2.8 / 5.0 (1853 Votes)

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


A lot of people didn't like some of what they did for the finale, and while I didn't think the finale was great, it set up an arc for an explosive final season that I think will be enjoying and less of a soap opera. Hopefully tight and witty writing again. People hate that Serena has reverted back to her old ways but that part I find the most believable. Serena has an extremist personality with years of alcohol and drug abuse and while she has come a far way downward spirals and relapses happen. It's part of life. Te point is, it doesn't matter what mask you put on and if you never relapse because those demons are always there. It's the reason it's considered an every day battle and with Serena losing everything, especially herself she turned to the only thing she probably believes will make the pain go away. Also, I love how Nate and Chuck have both not reverted back but have continued on their development into these great men (even if the road is still long) Also, the idea of Blair fighting for Chuck, I don't think it's what we saw in season two. It's a different kind of fight. This time around, boh are not afraid to say how they feel and both have realised and discussed and forgiven their mistakes. I think this fight is more Blair going to show Chuck that this time, it's the final choice and her mind won't be changed at the next pact with God or whatever other excuse. And after this season, who can blame Chuck for wanting it. The fight is to fix the flaws and to make their relationship work this time instead of taking the easy way out and trying to move on. A far cry from the Weakling and Coward they've been branded as. So others see a reversion but I see some realism and a subtle parallel to show the growth. Because let's face it, they're 21 and people don't always change as quickly and easily as others unless they've been forced to; something many of UES have never experienced because they haven't needed to.


and please dan and blair were never built up. they were just crossing paths. dan and blair are repuslive in my opinion.


i am so glad chuck and blair are together again. i knew blair and dan would never last because they had no chemisrty. i am so glad blair didnt say "i love you" to dan, because i knew she only felt that way for chuck. chuck and blair is true love, just them having a conversation is amazing chemistry. i am so excited for next season!
bring the chair sex back!


yesss, chuck and blair back together! love it


i really look forward B chasing C....i think D is not GG,I dont think Ivy can take down Lily coz now she got Bart Bass to protect her...as for Chuck/Blair/Jack its very interesting seeing them scheming together after they always against each other to take down Bart...for Nate,not Lola for him...after rewatching s01 the only girl knew him well is Blair (but chair is epic,so no Nate)..just hoping he found his real love in s06....


You're wrong, Serena and Nate have in common only that they are both rich and nothing more. Love between Serena and Dan are very similar to the love between Chuck and Blair. Nate and Serena were together only half a season 3. The reason why Serena was with Nate is that the remorse felt by Nate, because Nate lost his virginity to her, and because Dan was with Vanessa. For Serena, Dan is the man of her life, and maybe she realized it too late, but better late than never. Now just need Dan to understand the same and their suffering is over. For Serena Dan will always be the love of her life, and vice versa. Just needed to everything come into place and that Serena and Dan are back together!


i dont want dan and serena together again because, dan views serena very badly , not that some of it is justified but, he wrote a book about her, has always judged her, and he will not take responsibility equally for how their relationship did not work. he always assumes the worst of her. he has some responsibilty for blair\serena friendship ending because even if he was in lovve with blair.he did not have to act on it. blair did not have to act on it,=well she never loved him, that is what is so wrong. I want nate and serena. because nate and serena are similar like chair.


I also think that lily is playing bart , cause out of all her "kids" she likes chuck the best.


The big question is?, will donut be okay, will the dair fans recover, mad at chuck huh, hahaha,,lol. but on a serious notice, blair waldorf is back, in the car with eleanor when blair said she knows exactly what she wants and she is going to get it. I just knew....it was chuck,,, cause she only looks like that when it has something to do with his sexy self, omg...in the casino...okay no more fangirling for me, cause i am a married women ,but damn.


I didn't love the episode but I definitely loved Blair chose Chuck. As she said she loved him and she wouldn't live anyone else like him. I look forward to their story next year. I felt bad for Serena because she's actually gotten the raw end of the deal all year. Dan was a complete jerk. I'm not surprised at all that he cheated. Lily- I think she's playing Bart completely. I look forward to next season

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Gossip Girl Season 5 Episode 24 Quotes

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


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