Well, it wasn't quite what we envisioned, but close enough for baseball. Right?
After a tearjerking, fun retrospective with the cast and EPs, the story begins at the tail end of last week: With Blair and Chuck on the run, Serena reading the Nice Chapter on her jet, and everybody else in a state of high readiness. Georgina's redemption comes in the form of organizing their getaway, while everyone else sits around and hilariously -- with the exception of Eleanor -- assuming that Chuck and Blair have finally murdered his father.
Uncle Jack finds Blair and Chuck in their hideaway and points out the obvious solution: Get married, so that the only witness to the quasi-murder won't have to testify. Chuck's emotional processing of the whole thing is a lesson in wisdom: "I don't feel guilty, which makes me feel guilty." Which is just about perfect, and not in an ironic way. Boyfriend has nothing to feel guilty about. A sentiment which the show runs with, as their Bonnie & Clyde storyline pivots abruptly into a "rush to the altar" sequence that sweeps you up with it, as all players on the board are suddenly activated.
Nate's sudden realization that with Bart Bass gone all he has to worry about is funding whatever the Spectator is -- and Sage's usual gentle reminder that unmasking Gossip Girl is still the key to making money -- means they're both home at play when the call comes: A courthouse wedding is simply Not Enough, so Georgina and Jack have been tasked with assembling everyone on the show at our dear Bethesda Terrace for a real, live, knick-of-time wedding. Which is fine because the rest of the parents, family and friends are otherwise occupied with sittin' around until summoned:
Wm vdW ditches Ivy Dickens for the now-single Lily in a flurry of exquisite brutality: "You're a Lifetime movie called Nobody Gives A Damn: The Ivy Dickens Story... Run along and be the Queen of the Swamp People." Doc Dubs, you've never been sexier. After Chair and Jack are at the courthouse getting their license and whining about whether or not it's the Perfect Wedding,
Halfway through the episode, Serena manages to get Dan to tell her what The Final Chapter (which he'll eventually give to The Spectator in return for endless Nate snuggles) has to say: Gossip Girl is NONE OTHER THAN LONELYBOY HIMSELF. As Dan (and Penn, subtly and gorgeously, in the pregame) point out, the tagline for the first season was in fact, "You're nobody until you're talked about," and that's exactly what he did, including bizarrely expert flashbacks to a lot of them as children, before or during the first season. (If I wasn't already crying, I would have started crying at that point, and you know how rarely I cry about television shows. I was so ironic and whatever about it until exactly five minutes before it started, and then I just sort of lost my mind and started drinking. That whole "your body remembers Artax in the swamp" thing turned out to a lot realer, and funnier, than just a little snarky aside.)
One hurried (but lovely) wedding later, the happy couple is hauled in for a few minutes' fruitless questioning, and the rest of the cast assembles for a reception. Which begins just after Sage has posted the Final Chapter, giving rise to a hilarious meta-convo involving everybody still on the show -- Rufus blustering, Georgina scrambling for Bitch Cred, everyone including my personal hero this week, Bloomberg, talking about how they always assumed it was Dorota -- and everybody not on the show -- a wonderful sequence of (my most) beloved female guest stars, from Juliet to Lola to Agnes ("That little bitch!") to beautiful Vanessa -- to even people who are not on the show at all: Rachel Bilson and Kristen Bell practicing for a pilot based on Inside Out, complete with literal wink at the camera!
I'm not really into plot holes or whatever, between similar had-to-happen-either-way reveals on PLL and The Killing, the activity of bitching about that has been beaten out of me, so I'll simply say that emotionally and thematically, that is pretty great. We've talked a lot over the years about this show's vexed relationship to money and class -- how you want to watch rich people but you also want to see them fucked, so it's as beautiful a meta-comment as anything could be. I don't think anyone expected that I wouldn't be a sopping-wet mess by the end of it, by six years of it, but yeah. Done good. (I'm finishing up writing this an hour later and I've had the experience -- like catching yourself in a dark mirror and thinking it's a home intruder -- of being like OH SHIT IT WAS DAN a few times already.)
And then not one but two appendices: The second, a well-produced horror movie ending, complete with a riff-heavy rock song by the Pretty Reckless, in which Gossip Girl reincarnates her soul into the latest poor lonelyboy with a man purse, being spit on by a new Chuck, new Blair and new (intrigued) Serena, whose face we never see. Give it up for the continued surveillance culture that defines us, it's great.
But really though: The first epilogue, a five-years-later flashforward containing more in-jokes and love letters to the fans than you would think possible. I'm talkin' Eric with a cute goatee, Jenny being fashion, Lola and Olivia doing a movie together (!), Nate running for Mayor, an adorable Baby Henry Bass being loved on by Eleanor, and the three most important show-ending couples of your lives: Georgina with Jack, Lily with William, and ... drum roll ... Rufus finally with Lisa Loeb. FINALLY. And why are they gathered together at what seems to be VITAMIN WATER ESTATES? For the wedding, finally -- and I'll say it, gorgeously, even if I always did love Dair more than the show did -- of the loneliest boy, and the only girl in the world.
Shipper pandemonium, probably, but from a sane standpoint it's so much better -- farther, bigger, stronger, wiser, more loving -- than I think any of us could have expected. They turned the mother out, with twists I certainly never saw coming and with a compassion and wisdom of spirit that -- Everybody Gets Out Alive, my number one rule for life -- I honestly find a little inspiring. I'm impressed, and I am grateful. To them, for what seems like a lifetime of service, and of course, to you.
You know I love you, right? XOXO.
Dan took Georgina to Tuscany so they could be super gay for no reason, and he screwed Nate over on the various "chapters" he is writing about everybody else on the show, but now even that has spiraled out of control and he's writing multiple chapters about people and sending them hither and thither. Hint: All of them are about Serena because everything is about Serena because spoiler alert, everything is literally about Serena. In a way, which the show has been saying for six years, actually has nothing to do with Serena. Which I always thought was the higher point, but the actual higher point is so much nastier -- and more beautiful -- than I could have imagined, even in the show's heyday, that it works out.
Nate thinks he knows who Gossip Girl is, he has no idea who Gossip Girl is.
Serena thinks... nothing. It has never mattered what Serena thinks and it will never matter what Serena thinks. Which is why she has always been my favorite character: If I sat you down and said, "Imagine what it would be like if the whole universe sat you down and said be pretty, be little, stop talking, stop thinking," you'd know what it is like to be a teenage girl. And bonus, you'd know what it's like to be a gay man, or a straight woman, or anybody that is not the default white straight man. You'd kind of know what Serena is about, but you still wouldn't really know what Serena is about, because the whole point of Serena is that there is no point to Serena. Just an infinity of Daisy Millers, standing on the shoulders of an infinity of Daisy Buchanans, alternating all the way down.
Blair used to balance that out, until Chuck, and now they balance out each other. They have their own little TV show inside the TV show of Serena. A thing Blair has always secretly worried was true, until she put her show inside the Chuck show, and now she's happy as a bee.
Everybody Else, from Lily to Rufus to Scott to Bart to Ivy to Jenny and Vanessa and Juliet and Carter Baizen, is a piece of this puzzle. Sometimes they're real, somebody they are not real. Much of the last three or so seasons has had to do with various people that are almost Serena but not really -- Ivy, Lola, Juliet -- but are connected with her closely enough -- William -- that they matter. But only kind of, and never for very long.
Blair and Chuck have killed his father, finally, watching him slip quickly over the ledge and down into the streets below. Blair calls Georgina, downstairs, who arranges through activities presumably scary and possibly sexual to get them into the trunk of their dumb limousine and away from the scene of their crime. If you're thinking this is an easy one-shot -- Chuck clearly would only kill his father in self-defense, Blair is the only witness to any of this -- you're right. The murder of thrice-dead Bartholomew Bass is no big deal.