It's been a few weeks since Blair and Chuck's car crash, and this time without Gossip Girl has driven the Upper East Side insane. They're sending Serena nonstop emails and blasts about the intimate deets of the scandalous feats of Manhattan's elites, but she's not reading them.
And why? Because she cannot read.
Prince Louis and Emperor Chuck come together to figure out where Blair keeps disappearing to, and while Chuck pretends to enlist Dan's help in figuring out what she's up to, as usual it's Dan who becomes the human bait in Chuck's twisted plans. But the truth -- that Dan and Blair are accessing a secret passageway that leads through a magical condo into a hidden church where Blair has been getting psychotherapy from priests ever since she miscarried and then used her weird codependent powers over God to wake Chuck from his post-accident coma -- is so weird that nobody can believe it.
So yes, the deal with God was that if she went through with her wedding to old lily-lipped Louis, and convert to whatever made-up form of Catholicism she thinks she's up to, then Chuck would not die and join Jenny and Eric and Inspektor Pilot in the Happy Hunting Ground of people that Blair is over with. Which is stupid, like so stupid even Serena tries to tell her how stupid it is, you can see priest guy being like, "Swear to Jesus if that girl comes in here one more time tryna talk about fucking Chuck Bass," even Vera Wang thinks bitch is going crazy, but you know you can't talk old Blair out of shit. So she just keeps tearfully telling Chuck they can't be together and refusing to tell him why, but that hopefully it won't turn him into a dick like has happened every single time she has broken up with him. Needless to say, by episode's end he's declared war on both God and Humphrey.
While they're doing that, Serena for no reason decides to "pretend" that she is back dating Dan Humphrey to protect him from the gossip of Louis and Chuck, which is code for she's managed to find a way to make him be her boyfriend without actually realizing that's what he's doing, and therefore once again triumph over Blair Waldorf.
She's also the de facto new Gossip Girl of Manhattan, as Nate helps her understand, but it's a short-lived lovely glow, since the next thing that happens is that the real Gossip Girl approaches him for a secret allegiance, with some tempting tidbits about how the accident that caused Blair's miscarriage and subsequent descent into mental illness was actually intended for him all along.
Next week: Lily's search for vanished Cousin Peepers unearths the real Charlotte Rhodes, codename Lola, who is currently enrolled at Juilliard -- of course -- while we get ready for the wedding of the century with a bachelorette party and those twinges of fear down deep in the belly that generally signal Georgina Sparks is on her way back into our lives.
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.
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.