Someone enters her chamber, pretty as a picture. Lit by the window, he takes her in his arms and they kiss. The cool exterior, the fire below. The suit of armor, forgotten on the floor. She pulls him too her, even more forceful than he. It's in black and white, set against the window; it's hot. It's not about the darkness or the light; it's about that thing you were missing until you noticed you were missing it. This is a show whose title says, "This is about surveillance. This is about a surveillance culture, where you're on camera all the time. Paparazzo or Cheney, smile! You're being documented." Everybody knows everything because GG is everywhere, because rumor and reputation and gossip are everywhere. The person you are, and the person everybody thinks you are, and the person you want everybody to think you are. And then there's the Dark Night, where the masks come off and everybody -- for once, even Serena -- tells the truth.
We're talking about a couple whose every interaction, every line of dialogue, is about spinning English on the actuality, because the actuality cuts too close to the bone. Blair and Chuck pretend, on odd- or even-numbered days, that they are all about power, about moving everybody else around on a chessboard. That's their thing. But the truth is that the thing they have in common is, as ever, stark fear at being discovered on their day off. Their burlesque is built on eyes and gossip and reputation. Without it, they are nothing. Equally hard core, in different ways. Tonight the masks come off, but these two are the only ones who are, for most of the sunlit day, mostly mask. Nate too: The desperation here is born of the fact that they've never been allowed to look at what's underneath, but for spots and glances. There's always somebody watching. The UES stacks the deck against love.
Chuck's mask is that he's a reprobate so he can't love anybody so he can't love Blair so he has to fuck everybody so he has to fuck Blair. Blair's mask is that she's perfect so she must love somebody perfect so she can't love Chuck so she has to love Marcus who won't fuck her. It's about power, and it's about the public and the private face. Lily's about another kind of mask; Eric's about the repudiation of masks, and his sister and Nate spend most of their lives trying not to wear masks, and constantly being forced into it to save hearts and lives. The new aristocracy doesn't have masks beyond normalcy, and gosh, the Brooklyn crew don't even have masks, because they can't afford them. But if you ask this show what it's about, it'll tell you: gossip, reputation, masks. The terrible, wonderful risk of letting those masks fall. And here, now, even for just these two, even in the dark: there are real things and fake things. This is one of the real things and they don't even know it: they know the other one could fuck them over at any time, if they give in. The UES stacks the deck against love. But the lights are out and, for an hour, nobody is watching. Nothing is performance. No coffee carts, no vows, nothing but this: bodies and desire. Feeling alive, in the dark, before the lights come on again.