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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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They both have very strong reasons for it so it's the only logical sequence given it's gg. Chair in the path of getting back together? Newsflash here, seriously. And Nate is Nate. What happened to his father anyway?

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I don't see all the fuss about this season finale. If you have been watching this show for the last five years, you should know that things coming out of the blue is the imperative here. So a few things may be unexpected at their very best, but never surprising, like Serena getting back to her party ways or Dan recruiting Georgina to help him with his new book or Dair having the most ridiculous ending in the history of couples. We all know how these writers can do anything and go everywhere if it means getting a new plot(hole)or cliffhanger. As for the other storylines, most of them have already been foreshadowed somehow. Lily choosing Bart over Rufus? After she basically called Rufus a trophy husband it's hard to believe he didn't ask her for the annulment of their wedding in the first place. I do like though how they are showing in a very smooth way that Lily is becoming totally like Cece. Lola and Ivy scheming to take Lily down? Again, no surprises. They both have very strong reasons for this so it's the only logical sequence given it's GG. And Nate is Nate. What happened to his father anyway?

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Why the hell they made them super boring? Dan and Blair conversations were the best fun part since V internship. For the sake of Chuck? Don't like Chuck. Sorry...
Anyway. Have fun, Chair fans. I am no longer watching it.

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@lesly, you might be right, but the way they break them up just doesn't fit their characters. I would't watch another season Blair fights for Chuck. Mmm, I think they've already done that in one of the previous seasons?

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Of course Blair would choose chuck! Who else! Dair complain they beein building up dair just to end them like that well same thing w chair only way longer! Besides dair is a minority a great mayority went w chair which is what the mayority wanted..this is a tv show about materialistic things and the elite so chair makes perfect sense..and it's not real life. I'm glad to see dair end it would be nice in real world but the way the writers made them super boring!!

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Blair can be that easily manipulated by Serena's opinions? "You are denying your feelings for Dan" she goes for Dan, "You are denying your feelings for Chuck" she goes for Chuck. And Serena? She was really that bad during the whole series? What happened to her? She had sex with her best friend's boyfriend in the very first episode of the show on a bar table. And she just did it again. Well done girl! This is how you ruin a story. Though it's also sad for writers. They built up a relationship for months and tear it apart in a single glimpse. I don't like Chuck at all. Maybe that's why. I don't even like the way he walks. I find it silly. and his character is worthless. Given up the girl you live with your father's word. I'll go and watch once upon a time. Give me some true love yo.

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@arya Blair has been changing her mind so fast the whole past yr! How is that a suprise for you and she always loved chuck they made this dumb dair thing as yet another obstacle because that's all the writers know

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We know how much Dan loves Blair. And we know Blair wouldn't love Chuck for a long time, not the way she used to. Noone would forgive some ass in such a routine. We know how great Dan and Blair are together. During the V internship, the summer in NY, the fight at the hotel after the wedding... They started it with that terrible sex and they made it worse by making them have it drunk. They lost the passion. Maybe the actors don't have a chemistry but Blair and Dan have something. Check on first season Blair Dan scene. Maybe its his hair... As Blair always made fun of.
She is right eventually!

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This was just an insult to Dan and Blair. It wouldn't worth to waste such decent (Dan) and strong (Blair) characters for a an ill mannered man (Basshole). Dan... It is impossible for him to cheat on Blair. It is really impossible right now. And for Blair, it is even more unlikely for her to chose Chuck against Dan. Writers just skipped, or didn't show us the possibly most beautiful scenes and dialogues between Dan and Blair. They are both intelligent and smart mouth. Their communication is more tense than Chuck and Blair. And they just ruined it with a "terrible sex" problem. Their fights were on thoughts, it was not materialistic. It was not about money or status or prestige. At least it wasn't so when they were being denial about their friendship. And make something longer than it's supposed to take, just ruins it. The girls they found for Dan were just distractions. How can Blair change her mind so fast? Serena told her that she was denying her feelings about Dan, and whoa here she goes she went for Dan, and next Serena told her that she was denying her feelings for Bass, whoop, she fights for Chuck. And that bastard Bass can be so easily manipulated by his father. How can such strong characters be actually so weak?
This is just not fair to waste two wonderful characters in order to make the show one season longer. Even How I met Your Mother has a sense behind it all. How come you don't have any?

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@ Chair baybayyyyy
I don't think S really deleted the video & I think Dan was really stupid not to delete it himself just like he was stupid not to delete the pic of him kissing Bwhich eventually got to GG. Time will tell whether it shows up later & moving forward to Season 6.

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