Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gossip Girl

Gossip Girl
Episode 6: Where the Vile Things Are
Episode 7: Save the Last Chance
By: Carlos Uribe

Gossip Girl is a show about some wealthy people in New York City.

Spoiler Alert!

Where the Vile Things Are:

Where the Vile Things Are wasn't a bad episode per ser but it did make some blunders when it came to the narrative.

The first blunder has to do with Serena and Dan. It was pretty obvious that the two were going to get back together after the end of the last episode. I just didn't anticipate that their reunion would be rushed. This used to be the power couple that provided the show it's heart but it has now become a vicious cycle of two people sleeping together because of their history together. The episode was on the right track when it had the two spending a day together and having a good time. This is a drama so they did have a fight which was good. It's just that the fight was resolved a little bit too quickly as the characters pretty much go from being nasty towards each other to friendly within a single unearned beat. This beat is enough to get them to sleep together again. I have nothing against them coming back together but they should be trying to rebuild their relationship rather than reverting to their romantic past to be together. Going to the bar they went to when they started dating was fine but getting stuck in an elevator for a second time was simply a bit much. Unless this is a huge scheme by Serena to manipulate Dan into getting back with her for any reason, it makes the plot feel more fake than romantic. Serena mentions that she wants to start fresh again with Dan but it simply seems like their relationship is advancing solely based on their history rather than an actual attempt to start over again. If that's the show's goal, then this plot wasn't so bad. It simply just felt like the series was attempting to rekindle their passion and it simply felt rushed and forced.

That wasn't as bad as with Blair. Blair's mother comes back and she immediately criticizes her daughter for scheming. Blair attempts her best to defeat her dark side before completely failing when she tried to blackmail Nelly Yuki. She gets fired. Her attempts to fix the image she has as a bully is try to bully Dan into fixing the impression he has made on people with his article. She inexplicably decides to quit because her character isn't intelligent in this episode. This is further proven when Nelly inadvertently gives Blair back her confidence and Blair's genius fashion idea to take Waldorf Designs on is to design a line of clothes based on the uniforms she used to wear. I don't know a lot about fashion, but this literally seems like the worst fashion idea ever. That Blair remains stuck in her high school stage with this fashion design is an irony that the show doesn't even comment on. It makes perfect sense that Blair would have to fight for her position in the company but the plot was executed in the most illogical manner possible. There is very little of this that actually makes any sense and even the dialogue at times were simply mystifying. Can anyone explain to me the last part of the dialogue where Nelly meets Blair at the MET steps? It feels completely random or maybe they cut out the part where it makes sense.

A large portion of the episode involved around a large painting. There were three parties interested in buying a painting that Lily put up for auction for petty reasons. Lily was trying to buy the painting because she didn't want Ivy to have anything that is hers. Lily's grudge towards Ivy makes sense but it really comes across as immature and childish in this episode to the point where Ivy is slightly more sympathetic. Ivy takes this sympathy and wastes it as she largely just wants to buy the painting to rub it in Lily's face. Chuck wants to buy the painting because the evidence of his father's treason is hidden on the back. Who ends up with it? Rufus uses Ivy's money to buy it when the other three get into a large quarrel that stops them from participating. Chuck is annoyed but he is able to buy the painting for double what Ivy paid. He doesn't get the evidence he really wanted because Ivy takes the envelope before giving it to him. This means that the one person who didn't really want the painting ends up with it. This entire plot was entertaining in a way that only this show can do and it's what made this episode worth watching.

Save the Last Chance:

Save the Last Chance is a much more entertaining episode even as it moves at a brisk speed. Serena and Dan are getting back together but they want to make amends before they go public. They successfully accomplish this and they restart their relationship. There is a hint that Dan is only getting back with her so that he can write another damaging chapter about Serena. This makes sense considering how quickly he went back to believing they were destined to be together. Serena wants to be back with him so badly that she's willing to buy it. If he really is just getting back with her in order to exploit her then it justifies the previous episode's treatment of their relationship. This doesn't make that episode any better since it was still rushed and forced but at least the destination makes the journey more clear. It's their desire to make amends with other people that allows them to drop in on their plots and to significantly impact them. Their involvement helps to elevate the episode and turn into a pretty fun episode to watch. Save the Last Chance is one of the strongest episodes in this final season of the series simply because things happen. The reason that they happen is arguably because of the involvement of Serena and Dan into their events.

Take the Blair plot. Serena steps into Waldorf Designs and learns that Blair is worried about the reception of her new clothing line. When Nelly Yuki comes in and starts talking about how Blair isn't cool anymore, Serena realizes that she can get back in Blair's good graces by giving her a scheme. This involves bringing Sage back into the show but it's justified as it doesn't focus on her. She's a small supporting player. Blair is able to get the leading high school monarchs (now titled after the mob) to show up at her store. There's a complication where Sage tries to mess everything up by having these popular girls criticize Blair's clothes. Blair freaks out because she considers this to be her last shot but she doesn't need to worry. She doesn't need to scheme. Serena makes her realize that everyone is liking her clothes. The popular girls are fighting over who gets to buy what and Nelly Yuki is going to be writing a positive article. Blair didn't need to play dirty in order to succeed and it was because of Serena. This is such a strong note for the series to make. This is a series that's really about Serena and Blair's friendship. The two are the main characters and their separation has negatively affected the show's quality. Seeing them back interacting again is what helps make this episode so strong. Blair has been failing at having any business success but she's only able to find it when Serena helps her because Serena is able to control Blair's devious side. Blair's clothing line is a success and her business is now going to be making money. She has succeeded in her part of the pact with Chuck. Sadly for Blair, her victory is bittersweet because Chuck can't be with her. He failed his part of the pact because he couldn't bring down his father.

The rest of the episode largely dealt with the microfilms that were behind the painting. This episode reveals that she's been working with William. She loves him and has been working with him to fulfill Lola's wishes. What Ivy doesn't know is that the only reason that William is helping her isn't because he wants to destroy Lily but because he wants to get back together with her. Ivy has been trying to play the Upper East Side but even she's being played. That is the kind of drama that Gossip Girl does right. Her plan to destroy Lily falls apart in this episode. Rufus discovers that she's been sleeping with another man and this drives him to break up with her and make amends with Lily. So much so that he gives Lily the microfilms so that she can destroy them. This directly ruins Ivy's plan. She had tried to use Chuck and Bart to destroy Lily while using the microfilms as leverage. The two tried to play her while sabotaging the other. In the end, Chuck tried to get Lily to pick him but she chose her husband. He loses the only evidence he had on his father. While the actual Sudanese oil embargo isn't interesting, this episode managed to make the plot work simply because of how it all played out. That's partly because Dan was able to help Chuck but also because of how Bart uses the Spectator's debt against Nate. Save the Last Chance is an episode that finally started to advance some of the plots that have been there since the beginning.

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