Last night’s episode of Gossip Girl sort of took a turn, didn’t it? For the first 50 minutes, we were all speeding along nicely through a fluff-filled landscape of princes and pretty dresses and Raina’s mom, a woman about whom precisely none of us care. And then it hit a wall. Or, more accurately, a window.
This was perhaps the first time in at least a season or two that I’ve felt genuinely surprised by the show, and now I find myself excited for the last two episodes. Much more so than I was before, anyway. Although are we really going to end the season with an off-the-rails Chuck storyline? Didn’t we do that last year? And does anyone else see Jack Bass and automatically think, “Ooh, it’s Quinn from Dexter!”
We started with Blair and Chuck on separate sides of the city, she enjoying the attentions of a young prince and he obsessing over her newspaper coverage while circling a bottle of scotch and calling off the investigation into the possible murder of Raina’s mother. Blair seemed to think that she’d be a princess in no time, a convenient tie-in to keep images of the royal wedding dancing in our heads, and Chuck was doing his best Depressed Chuck that we all know so well.
Let’s dispense with this whole Raina’s-mother plot right now while I still have my patience about me, because there is perhaps no other element of Gossip Girl that’s annoying me so thoroughly right now. First Chuck wanted to abandon the investigation, and then he got proof that Raina’s mom had been sleeping with his dad and wanted to cut it off, so then there was a motive. And Nate wanted to tell Raina because he’s not smart enough for a long con, but Chuck said no. And then Raina got mad, because all he could think to talk about when he was around her was the Mets, and screw the Mets. (Really, screw them, I’m a Braves fan.)
And then I don’t know if Nate ever actually did tell her, because at a certain point, I started playing Angry Birds every time that they popped up on the screen. I didn’t do it on purpose, it was just a reflex. I intended to care. I tried to care. And then I just didn’t. But I’ll always care about Angry Birds, because some days, it’s the only thing that keeps me from punching someone in the throat. Today, that personal was Nate. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I’d never harm my precious television.
Elsewhere on the island, Charlie was escorted to an NYU lecture with Dan and she just loved it, what with all the people learning about things and having thoughts and stuff. That never happened at her state university! No, in order to have thoughts, you have to go to a private school in a major urban center, because that makes dry lectures from academic types who are the worst public speakers on the planet so much more interesting. Or at least that’s what happens when you’re a rube (Or maybe not a rube? We’ll cover that later.) from Alaska and trying to impress a real New York boy. As always, Vanessa was being sketchy and lurking in the background at just the right time to observe Dan’s post-lecture coffee jaunt. All Vanessa does is lurk around all day and wait to witness sketchiness.
While that was going on, Serena was engaging in some sketchiness of her own. Because she’s still throwing a little shit fit over Blair kissing Dan last week, she somehow got the queen’s phone number and called her to rat out her son and Blair, the happy couple. The queen promptly showed up to totally blow up Louis’ spot by announcing that Louis is about to get married, and Blair, predictably, went home to sulk. Being a prince, though, he obviously did just the right thing: He showed up with a giant bouquet of peonies to explain away the whole inconvenient marriage thing.
You see, he’s not exactly engaged yet, he just needs to be in order to inherit…something. I’m not sure what, because the actor who plays Louis has a deplorable accent and went to the Blake Lively School of Mumbling, but it sounded important. So important that his mother has decided to fly in the ten most eligible bachelorettes and have a Millionaire Matchmaker-style cocktail party so that he can pick one. Naturally, Blair finagled her way onto the list and into the ball, wearing a sparkly gown that Louis himself delivered for her. I don’t know about you, but the thought of boys, even rich boys, picking out my clothes for me makes me pretty nervous. But even a dossier of Gossip Girl posts provided to the queen by Serena couldn’t stop Blair’s crusade for the crown.
While all of that was going on, Charlie was with Dan getting the “let’s just be friends” talk. Because Vanessa “gave her some bad advice” (that’s the only type of advice that Vanessa ever has, even though this time it didn’t actually happen), Charlie “thought” that the way to win Dan’s heart was to secretly hire a bunch of caterers to prepare a gourmet meal for the family plus some visiting musicians at the Brooklyn loft, but as we all know, Rufus is allergic to catering. He’s allergic to everything except waffles. Predictably, it was kind of a disaster, as was the floor-length gown Charlie was wearing, which she appeared to have sewn together from some bandanas and fabric scraps that she found in Jenny’s old room. I’ll restrain myself from making an Alaska joke here, since I come from a flyover state as well.
Meanwhile, at a much swankier party that didn’t feature a single dress made of old hankies, Chuck had showed up to make an utter fool of both himself and Blair. He was drunk, naturally, but he had managed to put on a respectable suit and shave off all of his sexy stubble and locate that ring that almost got him killed in Prague to make an ill-timed bid for Blair’s affections. It seems as though that’s his speciality lately.
When he arrived, Blair was being introduced with all of the various princesses that were vying for Louis’ heart, and Chuck rolled in like Charlie Sheen to break the entire thing up. He demanded that Blair choose him, and when she balked, Chuck got louder (as drunks are wont to do) and people started staring. The queen, naturally, was none too pleased. Queens never are. What, exactly, would please one of those women? Isn’t being rich and unemployed enough to make them happy? It would certainly make me happy.
Anyway, Blair ran out of the party close to tears and went directly home to sulk, but somehow, Louis managed to arrive before she had even taken off her ridiculous tall shoes. And when he got there, he proposed to her with a giant canary diamond ring, but I would have rather had the white diamond that Chuck was toting around. Too bad security had to remove him. Blair accepted his proposal, and then for reasons that weren’t entirely clear, decided that then was the time to go see Chuck and tell him the news. You know, because he had been so calm and reasonable a couple of hours earlier at the party, and he hadn’t found any reason to become more upset since then, had he? Of course not, right?
Well, duh. Blair went over there and Chuck was drunker and madder and violenter (yeah, I know that’s not a word, just go with it) than he had been at the party, and for once, Gossip Girl actually did something that surprised me – Chuck got a little rough with Blair. He didn’t directly hit her, but he shoved her around drunkenly and then put his fist through a window, cutting her cheek with debris. I was unclear from how the scene was pieced together whether or not he had intended that fist for her, which may be a conscious choice on the part of the producers, but…wow. This was a Very Special Episode of Gossip Girl, y’all.
Just in case things were getting a little too deep for you guys, we returned to the Dan-Crazy Cuz plotline briefly before ending the episode. If any of you were still assuming that Charlie is a novice at all this deception stuff, tonight proved that this isn’t her first time at the rodeo. She told Dan that the fancy party stunt had all been Vanessa’s idea to make him think that she was trying to remotely meddle in his personal life (which was true, even though the scenario was a lie), and when he set up a confrontation meeting with Vanessa, Charlie insisted on going herself.
And she did confront Vanessa, although not in the same way Dan would have. Charlie told her that she had misled Dan into thinking that she had been taken advantage of by mean, controlling Vanessa in order to eliminate all of the women from his life, and there wasn’t anything Vanessa could do about it. And when you get down to the details, that’s a pretty good idea. Vanessa has been even more thoroughly discredited with Dan by being mean to the Alaskan rube, and even if she were to tell him the truth, he’d never believe it and only become more protective of the new blonde in his life. He better watch out, though, because if Serena’s willing to sell out her best friend for kissing him, she’s liable to stab Cousin Charlie with a stiletto and have her dumped in the Hudson. She’s only just met her, after all.