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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just who is the Gossip Girl?

The CW's Gossip Girl reached its milestone 100th episode last night with "G.G." To mark this occasion, a number of big events happen. Blair (Leighton Meester) decides to go through with her wedding to Louis (Hugo Becker), despite her reservations. Her mother, Eleanor (Margaret Colin) stages an intervention of sorts by bringing Chuck (Ed Westwick), who has no intention of disrupting the ceremony on his own, to the church. Then Gossip Girl (voiced by Kristen Bell) makes things worse, exposing Blair's deep feelings for Chuck during the vows. But the wedding still happens, only to leave Blair learning she is now with a cold, heartless man who will only be nice to her in public. So she flees with the help of Dan (Penn Badgley).

The Louie plot arc has been long simmering, and doubtless few expect Blair to actually go through with marrying the prince in "G.G." Yet, she does, and in a delicious and sad twist, is deeply hurt by the decision. B just wants to do the right thing, and fall in love with a man who will make her happy. She knows that things with Chuck have always been tumultuous, so she chooses Louis, in spite of her feelings, assuming that she can grow to love him. After all, Louis is an honorable man who will take care of her, right? B's motivations aren't fame and fortune, though she will get those as princess, but rather, making a wise decision.

Imagine her surprise, and the fans', then, when her ill-advised union turns out to be terrible before the reception is over! Louis isn't who he pretends to be, and is instead manipulative and evil like some of the best Gossip Girl characters. "G.G." works because of the unexpectedness of this turn, though in retrospect, it makes sense. Why else does Louis put up with everything Blair puts him through? He is going to use her for a public image, and she is stuck. It's an impossible situation, and one wonders how Blair will break free of it.

Chuck is left hurt. He does his very best to be compassionate to Blair and not spoil her big day, staying home from the wedding. Eleanor is only thinking of her daughter's best interests when she goes to Chuck, knowing who Blair is really in love with. And Serena (Blake Lively) also has good intentions when she takes it a step further and tells Chuck about Blair's pact with god, the reason Blair is resisting being with Chuck. But all of that doesn't matter because, in the end, Blair chooses someone else. Poor Chuck. His heart break is undeserved, as he has grown into a man worthy of Blair.

Of course, all of that doesn't mean Chuck and Blair have an easy union ahead. Because there's another factor. It's Dan who writes the lovely vows for Louis that make Blair think her prince understands and loves her. It's also Dan who Blair calls to help her escape from the dreadful situation. So suddenly Lonely Boy is on her radar in a serious way. Maybe she just sees him as a friend; maybe he will get some rebound action. Blair and Chuck still seem like the two who will end up together, but given Gossip Girl's penchant for twists, who knows?

There is another casualty in all of this, and that is Serena's heart. Exposed by Dan as keeping their fake relationship going longer than necessary, Serena grows a pair and confesses her love her him. Viewers are left wondering what Dan's reaction will be, since Serena quickly leaves him before he can respond. But the implications of the end of "G.G." are clear: Dan cares more for Blair right now than he does for Serena. This may not be the best choice for Dan, because like Chuck and Blair, Serena seems to be Dan's destiny. But by leaving with Blair, there will be a lot of hurt feelings Dan will have to repair before he can get back together with his first love.

Dan's feelings for Blair are no surprise to Serena, as indicated with the opening of "G.G." Pulling out all the stops in Gossip Girl's 100th, Serena dances to "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend" with a swooning chorus featuring the boys in the cast. But at the end of the dream sequence, she is distracted by diamonds enough that Blair can come in and sweep Dan away from her. The production value and look of this dream sequence are outstanding. The implications of what Serena sees, though, are obvious. She has allowed herself to be distracted, and thus, lost Dan. It's sad that sometimes one doesn't realize what one has until it's too late. For now at least, it might be too late for Serena to get Dan back.

The most heart warming scene in "G.G." comes right before Blair is to walk down the aisle. Perhaps overshadowed by some of the flashier things in the episode, it's an important moment, and one that should be taken note of. Blair has her father (John Shea) go get Cyrus (Wallace Shawn) and both walk her down the aisle together. Daddy doesn't seem jealous, and Cyrus is truly surprised and honored. He has stepped aside to let Blair's real dad get all the privilege on this special day. But Cyrus has been there for Blair, loved and supported her. He deserves some credit, too. It's a fantastic decision, and it's really nice Gossip Girl squeezes it in among the other, more important stories.

Also cool is Cyrus calling Blair a "princess bride." This is neat because Shawn was in the movie The Princess Bride. Perhaps a little obscure for the teen set that Gossip Girl targets, but a wonderful reference to include.

Of course, Gossip Girl's 100th would not be complete without a visit from super villain Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg), who wants to ruin Blair's big day as revenge for the things Blair has done to her. The initial attempt ends in failure, as Rufus (Matthew Settle) and Lily (Kelly Rutherford) catch Georgina posing as the minister and getting ready to try to seduce Louis. But Georgina does not give up easily, and records Blair's confession of feelings for Chuck, the source of the Gossip Girl blast that almost ruins the wedding ceremony.

It's nice to see that Georgina hasn't lost her edge, and a baby doesn't slow her down; her new guy is simply a tool that she uses like everything else. Thus, she causes just as much trouble as ever. But it's also good that she doesn't ruin things as completely as she'd like to. It's a testament to how mature the main characters have grown that she can't destroy their lives by herself, or turn them against each other as easily as she once could.

The big shocker at the of "G.G." is that Georgina is Gossip Girl. But is she really? Georgina's name does start with G, but she wasn't present for the early events of the series. Gossip Girl has been shut down for a few months, so it's quite possible that Georgina is just stepping into the gap, picking up where the real gossiper left off. If so, it is likely that Gossip Girl will not take kindly to this incursion, and will soon act to stop Georgina, probably with the help of the cast. If Georgina has been Gossip Girl all along, a less likely possibility, steps need to be taken to tie her back in with what happens before her character shows up on the show. Perhaps a final season full of flashbacks, culminating in an ultimate showdown?

The verdict on "G.G." is clear: it is a great 100th episode, with lots to surprise, ponder, and talk about. XOXO.


Gossip Girl airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.

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