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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Dude... It doesn't matter. Serena hooked up with Blair's boyfriend (Nate) at a bar table and that's how the series started and she did the same thing now, how the season is ending. The rest details (I really am aware of them) was not my point. The info regarding Serena's closet is garbage to me. I used to like Serena in the 1st season though. Anyway.(My reference to that Dan-Blair conversation in season 1 was for their looks, and especially Dan's haircut and how the two look nice together.) And it wasn't just one movie in season 4... They've watched very good classic "film noir"s together.(I am not for digging into the lines but they've showed at least 3 movies they watched together and probably twice of it was only mentioned) I don't like saying "intellectually connected" but they had some good taste on art and literature (which I don't apparently as watching GG). They were not having something romantic but they were getting to know each other and enjoying the time they were spending together. AND: it was good, come on.
Watch Dan and Blair scenes. Watch their first kisses, the one at the party, rehearsal, the big one in Brooklyn. I think they were pretty passionate but the show just couldn't manage or didn't chose to ride that for long. As I said before, IT WAS DAN'S HAIRCUT.
:)
By the way what happened to their schools?

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cont. If Dan is GG he would have to be bipolar then.

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To put my 2 cents here, like I said in another article I don't watch this show expecting morality lessons or that the shows provides a role model for teenagers, and anybody expecting that kind of outcome is delusional and should reevaluate whatever approach they have on life because even the producers of this show said from the beginning the show isn't an after school special, and that they go for characters that are "nor heroes nor villains".
I don't think that Dan is GG, like I said in other article he would have to be bipolar for it. I know some are even recollecting the first shots of episode 1x1 to justify he could be GG, and while I agree it does seem a bit like a hint towards that direction, if you consider all 5 seasons GG has said mean things about him and has publishing damaging news about him (like revealing DS shared a brother before Lily and Rufus could tell them about it). Besides when GG took the laptop back from Serena in 5x22 her first blast was to dish Dair. If Dan is GG he would have to be bipolar then.

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I understand now you're thinking of spring break, when Serena went to look for a judge to let Ben out of jail. But Dan and Blair together just watched a one movie, and have not spent much time together because the Dan was still in love with Serena. I know exactly what you are thinking, because here with me, now again on cable TV shows 4 season, and I just a few days ago watched that episodes.

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@Arya
We did not seem to understand. Sex between Serena and Nate did not happen in season 1, but before the events in season 1. After sex with Nate, Serena goes to Georgina and Pitt, Pitt overdoses and Serena goes out of NYC. 1 season starts with arrival Serena in NYC, and sex with Nate happened before! My point was that sex between Nate and Serena took place before the start of a season 1, and we watched the memories of Nate, Serena and Chuck to the sex. The rest of what happened in Season 1 happened in season 1! Sorry but I had no intention to hold you lecture. I knew you thought to a failed attempt of Blair to be a model. But the conversation between Dan and Blair was more in function of that Dan have good relations with friends of his girlfriend Serena. You are right that during an internship at W Blair and Dan were friends. I understand now you're thinking of spring break, when Serena went to look for a judge to let Ben out of jail. But Dan and Blair together just watched a one movie, and have not spent much time together because the Dan was still in love with Serena. I know exactly what you are thinking, because here with me, now again on cable TV shows 4 season, and I just a few days ago watched that episodes.

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Well, thanks for the teaching, Zoran. I got them all wrong as you got me.
Remember the little chat Dan and Blair had after the modeling fight Blair had with his mother. That was what I meant: the communication and temper. Never said they were friends, since noone -even I, the one understanding everything WRONG- is that stupid, W internship was the period that they were just not admitting they were friends.
Anyway, "the summer" was not summer but a holiday break before the internship... My bad! I meant was that they argued about seeing Nanette at the Film Forum. Watch season 4 episodes 11-12 etc. When Blair said "Going to movies is a one or… four time thing. It’s not like we’re friends." And the following, Dorota thought they were having an affair. etc.
And, the hell! The things we watched in season 1 actually happened in the period before season 1? Really? OMG.
Enjoy this one:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

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You really are a little confused, there was not Dan and Blair in season 1. In season 1 existed only Serena and Dan. In season 1 Dan and Blair were not even a friends!

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@Arya
You're wrong for Serena. Sex between Serena and Nate took place before the events in season 1. Serena is not any worse or better than Blair. Both are the same, the only question is which you prefer. I, of course, Serena! Dan loves Blair? Well did you watched episode 24x5? If you did you could see that Dan is in love with Blair from his book - ie. the illusion. Right Blair and that in the book are not the same. After all, Blair was not in love with Dan, she was always loved Chuck! Dan and Blair have never spent a summer together, you are somewhat wrong there. If you mean the period between 4 and 5 of the season, Blair was with Louis on the cruise, while Dan was in NYC. Dan and Blair never had the passion. You could have a real passion to see in the sex scene between Dan and Serena - a real explosion of passion. And neither were drunk, and the sex was great for both! Blake and Penn reminded the audience of true love, from 4 years ago in Mexico! You really are a little confused, there was not Dan and Blair in season 1. In season 1 existed only Serena and Dan. In season 1 Dan and Blair were not even a friends!

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Im a Dan and Bliar fan and I hated how their relationship ended. However, it was inevitable for Blair and Chuck to get back together. Serena has been my biggest disappointment this season; I can’t believe how manipulative her character has become. She has screwed over just about everyone on the show. I miss the Serena from season 1 and 2, the girl that was crazy about dan and wanted so badly to clean up her life. I hope the writers bring back that girl next season. Lily and Bart.. lol… I cant wait to see these two destroy each other. They really are perfect for each other. I hope whoever wanted Bart dead scares them both into hiding next season and we don’t have to suffer thru another moment of either of them. Im so sorry for Rufus, he never belonged in that world, I hope he goes back to his music and find someone to be happy with. I so see Jenny returning next season to take up the reigns for Ellenor’s company… and sorting all those that have hurt her father and brother…

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VOTE FOR GOSSIP GIRL SEASON 6 TO HAVE MORE EPISODE FOR FINAL SEASON OF GG!
SAVAGE SAID IT STILL HAVE A CHANCE TO HAVE MORE THAN 11 EPISODE , IT STILL NOT CONFIRMED YET!
SO PLEASE, GG FANS. LET'S HELP ALL TOGETHER TO VOTE GG RATE INCREASE AND HAVE AT LEAST 18 EPISODES FOR FINALE OF GG!
WE WANT TO SEE GG END IN MAY 2013!!
XOXO
REGARDS