Because what I figured out, once I decided that supervillains are necessary, is that actually they totally are not. Life is going to do that anyway. Regardless of whether or not you're doing it for somebody else's betterment, you are still being an asshole. We are not put here to help in that way. You are doing yourself more damage than you are helping the other person. The sum total is still negative, for the world, because of what you've done. So if Dan's intention was to strengthen them, that would be problematic. Except he's way too selfish for that; his intention was negative, not even fake-positive.
They're all adjusting to the horrible cataclysm of Dan's obsession with them the only way you can, after the fact: By looking at the good parts. What we've learned. Over the first season of the show, Serena did the same thing with the natural disaster that is Blair Waldorf: Blair did the worst shit to her, out of no purer motive than a hate born of crazy love, and it did make Serena better. But it didn't make Blair better. Only being loved by Serena did that. Only by taking all that damage and violence and saying, "I can take it, because I love you." That's how she tamed Blair. And maybe that's what she's doing now.
It's nothing we haven't talked about before, but it's the end of the story and the episode and the season and the series, so maybe it's worth thinking about again: The people who love you shine what was already there, and the people who hurt you burn off what's not working. Within yourself, you can be grateful for the experience, and compassionate toward them for being driven that far. That's very different from accepting them for what they did. There's kindness and then there is stupidity.
It's not all that different from what Chuck did to Blair, over the years: He provided a continual reminder that the world wasn't about her. That her behavior had consequences, and that it was possible for her to want things she couldn't have, and work for them. That her lot -- to want and strive and need, to see Serena get everything for free -- was true only as long as she allowed it to be.
5 YEARS LATER
Nathaniel Archibald, stepping off the Spectator jet -- which maybe the Spectator is itself just a jet now, you can never tell what shape it will assume -- tells a reporter he'll probably be running for Youngest Mayor Ever, one of these days. He throws the reporter in the river and then hauls him out again. He is no longer defined by women or relationships; he flies this jet alone. He has not yet found a person who will put up with the weird sex shit he is into. Not since...