Gossip Girl
The End Of The Affair?

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 1 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
The New Year's Eve Of Magical Thinking
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

PREVIOUSLY

Blair ran off with Chuck for the millionth time, but thanks to a fry cook and Nate's cousin they were run off the road by wolves. She was pregnant with a prince's baby. It was very much a cliffhanger about whether or not any of them would survive, and meanwhile all twelve of Chuck's parents had a meeting about acting sneaky. Oh, and the real Charlotte Rhodes turned out to have suffered a terrible fate of some kind that was bad enough it even gave Aunt Carol pause.

NOW

You might think, then, that this episode would begin there, but no. It has been months since whatever happened, happened, and we're going to fill in the blanks with some flashbacks. Not the normal kind of flashbacks where they make sense or lead to a comprehensible present day, but the kind where Kathy Acker was apparently in charge of writing this episode and just decided the movie The End Of The Affair would work as well as an episode of this show. Like, once this show was about references -- Lily as tragic Russian heroine, Chuck as Shakespearian varlet -- and then occasionally it would dip into sort of parallel-universe things just for fun, or for heightened reality.

And then after high school, the whole poetics of the thing got moved around and none of those things were true anymore, and the overarching story became about fairytales and princes and how there's no such thing as a Powerful Woman and whatever, maybe by comparison to One Tree Hill this show is still comparatively brilliant, I wouldn't know -- although I can say Hart Of Dixie is one of the larger and shittier wastes of talent and time I've seen in a long while -- but at some point the details became the point and the story just completely stopped mattering and I can't think of anybody who would even recognize the trainwreck harpy anima-complex monster Blair's become, so we're getting these things that are like the idea of the old references but are actually just rewrites of other people's stories without regard to established character, and it's exhausting trying to come to that with new eyes.

Not only because it's dumb and doesn't really succeed very often -- which isn't to say I haven't enjoyed the show this year, I'm still pretty into it -- but... The reason Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You are awesome isn't because they're based on old shit, it's because they are additionally awesome unto themselves. The quality of the original thing doesn't automatically bleed backwards into the new thing just because of the reference, like some kind of osmosis. It was a grace note that those things were present, once upon a time: Not the meal itself. Serena loved Fitzgerald and Henry James because she was lit up from within by the literary energy of those characters, those Daisies, and that lent another level to the way you connected with the show; now it's just a continuity note to the character herself that she supposedly reads books, which is kind of the opposite of the original intent. I dunno. It's tough.

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Gossip Girl

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