First things first: Gossip Girl producers announced yesterday afternoon that both Vanessa and Jenny are getting the ax and not returning for next season; I’m not sure exactly how they’ll be written off next week, but I’d like to suggest that they’re both shot into outer space. I don’t know if the producers can accomodate that request, but if they could consider it, that would be great.
Anyway! There was plenty to talk about last night other than news of departing cast members. It was not only the best episode of Gossip Girl in recent memory, but I couldn’t be more excited for what will surely be any absolutely crazypants season finale. So maybe if we get through this recap quickly, next Monday will come sooner? Maybe?
We started with everyone feeling regretful over last week’s thoroughly regrettable episode, from Blair having a bad dream about a symbolic out-of-control scooter ride to Chuck fleeing the Manhattan business world for the safe confines of Brooklyn to Nate fleeing the Empire for Raina’s apartment. Vanessa, for her part, wasn’t going anywhere quite yet; she was merely making more strident, self-serious phone calls to Serena because she got outwitted by her rube cousin in the pursuit for Dan’s writerly affections.
Blair still managed to get out of bed and go on an awkward little jaunt with Louis and his mother, with the princess grousing and criticizing the entire way. Blair she fled the situation when she saw Jack Bass across the street after his meeting with Raina (and run-in with Nate) and knew immediately that she must warn Chuck, even though the cut that he left on her cheek hadn’t yet healed. Louis’ mom, still upset by the engagement and looking for a way to break it up, took the opportunity to inform Louis that she had Blair tailed, which Blair really should have thought about before she went to see Chuck last week. She of all people should understand what kinds of subterfuge a desperate woman will employ.
Naturally, the PI saw Blair go into Chuck’s hotel, and despite the fact that she was only there to warn him of Jack Bass’ advent to the city, Louis saw her go into Chuck’s new Brooklyn building after she fled the scene of the morning walk. You would think that Blair would have noticed the ultra-conspicuous stretch limo with the window down a half block away; those aren’t quite so common in an industrial Brooklyn neighborhood as they are in the Upper East Side. Perhaps she was too busy looking at the ground to make sure she didn’t ruin one of her Louboutins in a puddle, I’m not sure, but she wasn’t so quick on the uptake this episode.
Unfortunately, Jack wasn’t the only person out to get Chuck. I already mentioned Jack’s meeting with Raina, but far more important was his powwow with Russell Thorpe. They decided to combine their supervillain powers to set Chuck up to be hauled off to the looney bin so that Russell could retrieve the tape that Chuck’s PI had uncovered, ostensibly to have something to hold over Chuck’s head for the rest of his life and make sure that Raina never knew what became of her mother. Ostensibly.
Back on the Upper East Side, we got a further clue into Crazy Cousin Charlie’s particular brand of psychosis – it can be controlled with medication! Which she tends to quit taking spontaneously and ruin her life and/or the lives of others, naturally. Rufus was kind enough to make a pharmacy run for her, but she dumped the pills in the trash after going on a Nina Ricci shopping spree with her newfound trust fund and deciding that she has to kill Serena and wear her skin like a Hannibal Lecter suit in order to gain Dan’s affections. Or just wear her Pamela Dennis dress from a couple of seasons ago to Blair’s engagement party. Whichever.
While said party was happening, Louis was in Brooklyn confronting Chuck about his run-in with Blair and whether or not he was pursuing her, but the only thing that actually happened during the scene was Chuck getting to lay down a couple of choice lines about The Real Blair and her need for constant mystery and sabotage before Louis stormed off, confused but still fairly confident. Less confident was Serena, who Rufus had to pep-talk into attending Blair’s engagement because Lily was too busy trying to buy a vintage Birkin on eBay to help. Ease up, Lily, most of them are fake.
Serena ultimately decided to attend Blair’s party, but so did
Serena Junior Crazy Cousin Charlie, who was in a Serena costume. Thankfully, things between Louis’ mom and Blair improved because Wallace Shawn charmed her into oblivion at the engagement party, at which point she reversed her decision and chose to allow Louis and Blair to continue sprinting toward their wedding at lightening speed. The princess did notice the cut on Blair’s cheek, though, and its reappearance throughout the episode seemed like a bit of a sideways Macbeth reference – she kept powdering, but it just wouldn’t go away. But that’s fine, because Louis wants to know all the parts of Blair! Even the ones she’s ashamed of! And if you needed a reminder that the people on this show are 20 years old, there you have it.
In Brooklyn, Jack somehow knew that Chuck would be feeling like a sad sack and drinking his problems away (Jack didn’t send Louis, so how did he know? I watched the episode twice and I’m feeling incredibly dense right now.), so he was right there with the men in white coats to haul Chuck off to the looney bin. I’m pretty sure you can’t have someone involuntarily committed just for being an emotional drinker, but in the world of Gossip Girl, people like to play fast and loose with those rules. Naturally, Russell was also on hand to swipe the key hard to Chuck’s safe. Chuck did get to yell at everyone about not touching his precious purple suit, which was a nice touch. Chuck Bass is Chuck Bass to the very end, and don’t any of you commoners forget it.
And Jack Bass certainly didn’t. Did you wonder why Nate all of a sudden showed up when Jack arrived to have Chuck taken to detox? Well, you should have, and so should have Russell, who had not been following along with alliances well enough to know that he was about to get played. After he retired back to Chuck’s apartment to wallow in his victory and perhaps roll around in Chuck’s sheets, Jack, Nate and Chuck all made their grand entrance to tell him that they had figured the whole scheme out. The nice thing about security tapes is that they’re usually timestamped, and somehow Chuck was able to piece together that the Thorpe was a little too interested in the tape to simply be trying to keep it away from his daughter.
At some point after Bart Bass had left the building, the video showed Russell Thorpe chaining a door shut from the outside – he was the one who had set the fire and killed Raina’s mom, not Bart. The breakup letter that Chuck had read as intended for his father was actually for Russell, and he killed her because she was going to leave him for Bart. Excuse me while I pick my chin up off the floor. Gossip Girl‘s writers actually managed to correctly pace a plot for once and not give away the ending; you could have knocked me over with a feather.
Unfortunately, at the party, things were a tad more obvious. We already knew that bad things happen when Charlie goes off her meds because the writers gave us that very handy expository scene earlier in the episode, and we know that she is currently off her meds because she dumped them all in the trash in a very conspicuous spot so that Rufus could later find the empty prescription tube. So she’s crazy, off her meds, and at a party pretending to be Serena so that Dan will love her, both figuratively and literally. This has to end well, right?
After setting up Serena to look like a bully, Charlie whisked Dan into a darkened office at a different party for some sexytimes, at which point she spontaneously burst out of her too-tight dress (seriously, how could that have ever fit Serena and her giant jugs-o-fun?) and outright asked Dan to call her Serena while they had sex on some poor, unsuspecting person’s desk. Even Dan, who dated Georgina not once, but twice, lost his boner and zipped up immediately upon hearing that request. With those B-cups, Crazy Cousin Charlie can’t even be called a poor man’s Serena Van Der Woodsen.
Around that time, Rufus finally noticed the discarded pills and silently put two and two together about what Charlie was going to do, but unfortunately, she was already doing it. I halfway expected her to knife Dan in the back with a letter-opener while he tried to flee, but she’ll apparently save any violent machinations for next week’s finale. In the meantime, Rufus had an opportunity to warn Serena and Vanessa, who had arrived at Serena’s behest for one last round of scheming, that Charlie was a full-on crazyperson. A crazyperson that Blair had just hastily entrusted with giving a message to the prince while she ran out to make sure that Chuck didn’t jump off of his building in Brooklyn.
Except Chuck wasn’t threatening to kill himself. In fact, he arrived at her party to win her heart shortly after she left. It was Russell Thorpe who had summoned Blair to the building after Nate told Raina that he was the one who killed her mother. Chuck and Russell had reached a deal that involved Raina being kept in the dark and Russell leaving New York forever, but because stoners can’t keep secrets, Nate told Raina what had actually happened at the first sign of distress. Naturally, she called her father in tears and didn’t think to specify that it wasn’t Chuck who told her.
So it was Russell who met Blair at the top of an abandoned building in Brooklyn in order to exact his revenge on someone who had done him no harm. And for the second time in an hour, the Gossip Girl writers had my chin on the floor; I can’t remember the last time that I enjoyed an episode of this show so thoroughly or anticipated the next episode so much. It’s going to have kidnapping, royalty, a possible murder/arson and Georgina Sparks, all in one splendiferous hour of television. Plus, after that, we’ll never, ever have to see Jenny or Vanessa again.