Most episodes of Gossip Girl carry strains of the DNA of great works of literature: The young-adult novels of Cecily von Zeigesar, on which it was based (which will one day assume their rightful place in the canon), for one, and Pierre Choderlos de Laclos's epistolary novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, for another. And last night's season finale was clearly influenced by the Russians — and we're not just saying that because of the prosties that appeared in the third act to fondle Nate's soft young chest hair. Dark, sophisticated, ambitious, we imagine "Last Tango, Then Paris" might one day be taught alongside Tolstoy's War and Peace, so painstaking was the period detail, so epic was the scope. Indeed, in this episode, the entire cycle of life was represented, in all of its joy and suffering. We had the sweaty, grunting birth of Anastasia. Jenny, experiencing the terror, pain, and regret of being deflowered by a man she does not love. Blair cruelly resolving never to have her heart broken again, Dan hopeless and in shock as he realizes that he may have fathered a half-demon, half-emo child and may now be trapped forever with a woman he does not like, and the (still faintly smirking) resignation of Chuck Bass, lying on the cobblestoned streets of a ridiculous, smoky soundstage Prague, alone and breathing what may be (but are probably not) his final breaths.
Because, that last thing just wouldn't be realistic, a fact we're sure the Czech Tourism Board will point out as soon as they are alerted to this attack on their fair country.
And with that, it's onto the rest of our patented Reality Index!
Realer Than Serena's Entire Summer Plans Consisting of Just Doing a Cleanse and Starting a Dream Journal:
• The smile that Lily made when she said, “You just have to wait until they finish college. Or in the case of Serena, rebel and NOT go” is priceless. At least someone remembers that Serena is just drifting around the city doing nothing with her life, buoyed only by whatever material has inflated her spectacular chest. Plus 3
• “I get it, you and I are friends, you love Serena,” Jenny says to Nate, wearing Serena’s sex shirt. Plus 3
• Breakfast at the Waldorfs: Cyrus: lox and bagel. Eleanor: fruit. Blair: a croissant. Untouched. Plus 3
• Dorota: “Blair loves the Empire State Building. Even though she doesn’t want to, and she should just admit it and make all our lives easier.” Plus 3. She’s gotten so brave with her pregnancy! (Though she later admits to de-friending Chuck "on Facebook and in life" on Blair's orders, which is cute, even if Chuck would never be on Facebook, so wash for that.)
• The telltale coffee cup with Jenny's name on it was an awfully good plot device, we have to admit. Plus 1, for sparing us an absurd "who could have done this?" scene.
• Blair uses the term “Basshat.” Plus 1. The term “asshat” was coined by Marisa Cooper on The OC shortly after it had caught on with the cool kids across the country. Sadly, we do not expect this one to have the staying power.
• Dorota’s expression after she realizes she’s been too obvious about looking at Blair’s phone. Plus 2
• Dorota’s expression when Eleanor, holding Dorota's newborn baby, says, "I'm never letting this creature go." Plus 5
• Serena wears five-inch Louboutins and a plunging top with no bra to the hospital? Plus 10
• Cyrus yelling, "Not enough!" during the delivery. Plus 5
• Chuck: “The world you’re looking at only exists from the outside.” That is some grade-A Jameson wisdom, right there. “The only reason I survive in it is that I always knew it was empty.” Plus 6
• Dan ruins a sweet moment by needling Serena about her daddy issues. Plus 4
• Serena doesn't notice. Plus 1
• Blair: "Signs are for the religious, the superstitious, and the lower class." Plus 2
• Jenny truly looks like a monster when she is crying. That’s really going for it for your craft. Plus 2
• Serena attempts to use both “it’s not breaking up, it’s taking a break” and “it’s not you, it’s me” in one breakup conversation. Plus 3. Meanwhile, what more of herself does Serena need to find?! Seriously! Name anything, we can tell you where on her person it is. We have seen all of her!
• Of course Dan trots away with Serena just when her best friend so obviously needs her. Plus 2
• Did Jenny remove the sex sheets from the bed before escaping from Chuck's boudoir? Plus 3 for teenage shame.
• Nate admits to Dan that sending Vanessa the picture was a "dick move." Plus 5, and Plus another 5 for the fact that Dan immediately forgives him and doesn't start whining about how Nate "betrayed" him and how he is going to "destroy" him. Dudes are so much simpler.
• Plus 10 for the fact that Dan plans on explaining things to Vanessa in a "the world's longest and most plaintive" e-mail.
• Eric walks up to the Jenny good-bye party and says, “I’m here.” Like even he is surprised. Plus 2
• Jenny has finally taken off all her raccoon makeup and looks pretty again! Plus 2
• Blair: "First of all, S., you didn't go to school this year and you haven't had a real job in months, so life is kind of like summer for you." Plus 5
• Of course, what Serena "needs" is to go to Paris with Blair and spend a shitload of money. because she's had a very traumatic time. Plus 4
Faker Than Jenny Ever Accepting Being Exiled to the Suburbs
• Jessica's husband literally cannot believe that the writers expect us to believe that Dan and Serena have feelings for each other again, and keeps pausing the show to talk about it. "OH, NO," he exclaims, when the camera rests on Serena and Dan in bed together. "They are not trying to get Serena and Dan back together again. OH MY GOD, THEY ARE. Wait, can we just stop for a second? How many times are they going to pair off the same people? I am going to be so bored if they try and continue this." Minus 2
• Georgina just walks into Chuck and Nate's apartment, no key card, no nothing. Minus 1. Why are people always doing that on this show?
• Why are Dan, Nate, Jenny, Serena, Rufus, Lily, and Eric all at the hospital for the birth of the Waldorfs's doorman and maid's child? Of all of the contrived "let's get everyone together at the end" scenarios, this may be the most ridiculous. Minus 2
• Gossip Girl calls Chuck and Blair “Waldass”? That’s almost as bad as the phrase, “Empire State Building of Mind.” Minus 2
• "I mean, this is such bullshit!" Jessica's husband yelps, when Dan leans in to kiss Serena. "Dan loves Vanessa!" Minus only 3, because while he is right, we gotta say, Serena’s lips are very kissable with that gloss.
• Who, when punishing a child, sends them to live in a parentless loft in another borough? Minus 3 for Rufus, who should know that Dan will inevitably become distracted by some angst or other, and will only discover Jenny’s gone when one day he accidentally sits on the pillow she hid under her pile of hair extensions and realizes it’s not her inert body. (And later we find out he just sent her home without even telling Dan? Or checking that she arrived??)
• The only thing less likely than Jenny allowing herself to like something as passé as New Moon is the chance that Chuck Bass actually reads his Pay-Per-View bill. Minus 2
• Georgina says “there’s barely any designer jeans” in Russia. Wrong. Minus only 1, because according to Reuters, the average citizen does drink about 38 pints of straight alcohol a year.
• Blair took Dorota on her date with Cameron? Which apparently just consists of wandering around the Upper East Side? Minus 5, because even if Blair wanted to avoid anything truly romantic, she wouldn’t have done it with her wimple-wearing, twelve-months-pregnant maid.
• Nate would seriously have the undersides of his eyebrows shaped. Minus 3
• Jenny has a reaction to only one part of Blair’s speech (and it was likely just an afterthought for Blair) “You’re hurting people you love.” Jenny is a full-fledged rage ball. She doesn’t care who she hurts. Minus 2
• Nate stayed around to chat with Dan and Serena about their kiss, not storming off so they can’t explain, and not hitting anybody. Minus 3, because what is this, real life?
• Eric's hair is looking increasingly like Ric Ocasek's. Minus 2
• First of all, this Jenny-and-Chuck thing would never, ever happen. Minus 100. Even the actors looked like they didn’t want to go through with it. That said, if it did happen, Blair would have known the second she entered the apartment, if not from the smell of sex or extinguished Diptyque then by the way that Chuck took her arm to steer her away from the bedroom with the flickering light inside. Minus 10. And how did Jenny get out of Chuck's bedroom? Minus 7. Also, we don't get why Dan gets to punch Chuck in the face over this thing and be like, "Jenny this is not your fault at all." We get that he's a big brother and that Chuck is the King of Douches, but it's not like he deflowered her against her will! They were consenting teenagers! Minus 5. And furthermore, why would Jenny tell her brother? If what she's freaking out about is being hated by Chuck and everyone else, why make things so much worse? Minus only 1, because, teenagers.
• What on earth stopped Blair from TEXTING Chuck to tell him about Dorota? And wouldn't at least Gossip Girl have known? Minus 5
• We get why Jenny is in the chapel. But why did Eric stop by there? Minus 2
• Okay, not only was Chuck going to propose to Blair (Minus 100, because they are what, like 19 years old?), but after spending a day on the roof of the Empire State Building, he waited until he was in the lobby of a hospital to do it? Minus 10
• Wait, it's summer already? Wasn't everyone just wearing winter coats? Like, this episode? Minus 5
• Blair and Serena are way too excited to go to Paris. They are rich girls. They've been to Paris a million times. Minus 5
• Also, is Serena is going away to Paris for the entire summer on a day's notice? Minus 2, because even very rich girls have to pack.
• "This is absurd, they have been around each other constantly!" Jessica's husband yells, arms flapping in the air, when Dan calls Serena in the cab, his face full of Feelings. "This whole thing is totally ridiculous and unforeshadowed!" Minus 5
• Why is everyone acting like they're never going to see Jenny again? Like Eric's all, 'I'll miss you next year'? She's going upstate, not to Papua New Guinea. It's possible she might come home for a weekend now and again. Minus 2
• Dan would know better than to believe even for a second that Georgina is pregnant with his baby. Minus only 2, because it's possible that the shock and horror registering on his face had more to do with her gold lamé unitard than the baby bump itself.
SO CLOSE. This might've been one of Gossip Girl's most realistic episodes yet. If not for the overly melodramatic "Chuck deflowers Jenny, ruining his own life but making her a better person" arc, it might have been up there with the classics. Thankfully there's next season to look forward to. Until then, do svidaniya, Upper East Siders.