“But Lola and I have a plan,” Nate said early on in last night’s episode of Gossip Girl. In retrospect, that these rank amateurs were mounting a scheme of their own should have indicated what was to come. In the second-to-last episode of the second-to-last (we think?) season of the Greatest Show of Our Time, everyone had a plan: Blair was plotting with Chuck to find out the truth about his father, Chuck was plotting with Diana, who was plotting with Bart Bass. Inevitably, the plots and plans collided, becoming a writhing mess in which somehow Serena ended up pretending to be Blair and Lola and Ivy pretended to be hookers, all in order to help Chuck’s daddy, whether he wanted it or not. It was, as Gossip Girl might say were it appropriate for television, a total Chucksterfuck.
But how realistic was it? We parse the details in our weekly Reality Index.
More Real Than the Awkward Aftermath of an Unreturned “I Love You”
• The Gossip Girl blast at the beginning is a picture of Chuck at the super-secret roving brothel, taken at the moment he first sees his father and realizes he’s still alive. “Looks like Chuck’s seen a ghost,” it reads. “What ever could it be that startled the usually stoic Bass? Anyone got the deets?” Honestly. Who could have taken this picture. The only people in the room were Diana, Bart, and ... wait a second. The guys with the earpieces! Freaking Secret Service guys. Can’t keep away from the brothels. Plus 4
• Bart explains that he thinks the car crash was set up by a competitor, because “I had some information on some transactions of his that could have put him away for a long time,” he says. Whoa! Is that what happened to Jon Corzine? Plus 2
• Chuck has replaced his usual Scotch with rosé. Because it is a seasonally appropriate beverage for spring. Plus 1
• In the beginning of the episode, before she confesses to being Gossip Girl, Serena is wearing flat brogues and a mud-colored sweater with holes in it, a sign she is still inhabiting the dark, gloomy blogger world. But after she confesses, she changes into light, bright clothing and high heels. “I feel like myself again,” she tells Dorota, and she looks like it, too. Plus 3 for mise en scene, and the End of Evil Serena. Here’s to the return of side cleavage!
• “I feel like you’d think I was just be some jealous freak,” Dan tells Blair. “Well, that's because you ARE,” she responds. Plus 3, for the beginning of the unwind of Dair.
• “I think they just want to make sure we’re a stable, sane couple,” Dan tells Blair, “Apparently Salman Rushdie and Padma Lakshmi broke up there.” Plus 5: Salman was writing The Enchantress of Florence when they broke up in 2007.
• “I could have helped!” Blair tells Serena after she confesses to posting as Gossip Girl. “I mean. Sealing fates, forging destinies! Like a Greek goddess, imposing her will on the guileless masses.” Aw, remember when Blair wanted to be a Powerful Woman. Plus 1
• Serena’s face upon learning Bart was alive was totally, “Can I tweet that?” Plus 3
• Diana’s friend from the New York Times is called “Marlene.” Plus 3
• When Chuck busts into Elizabeth Hurley’s office, she’s looking at color swatches, probably so that she can send them to the person who makes her endless array of tight monotone dresses. Plus 3
• After Dorota and Eleanor catch up on gossip, they watch Toddlers & Tiaras. Plus 2
• Never really noticed this before, but the foyer of Blair’s house is hideous. Too many conflicting patterns! And the curlicue staircase! And all that taffeta, ugh. No points, just saying.
• Serena puts on a headband to impersonate Blair. Plus 3
• ANDREW TYLER, finally getting some character development! Plus 2
• A group of twentysomethings have to think up a way to confront a murderous billionaire so powerful and dangerous that one of his equally powerful, dangerous peers was compelled to fake his own death and abandon his family just to elude him. “I know,” one of the girls says. “First, we’ll dress up like hookers.” This was the most realistic aspect of the cockamamie plan Blair, Chuck, Serena, Ivy, and Lola cooked up to save Bart Bass, one step up from dunking the dude’s hand in warm water while he’s sleeping and taking pictures of him peeing his pants. Plus 10. And plus another 3 for Lola and Chivey’s giggly nostalgia. Nice to see people acting their age on this show.
Faker Than Bart Bass’s Tan
• Understandably, Chuck has some questions about how Bart Bass possibly managed to convince emergency room staff, funeral directors, and the Roman Catholic Church to help him fake his own death from the hospital bed where he was lying injured from a car accident: “What did you do? Get the doctors to turn off the machines?” he asks. “Hope Lily wouldn’t stop crying long enough to notice you were still breathing? What did you bury in that coffin?” Bart gazes into the middle distance, which we take to mean either (a) He is reliving it all or (b) Can’t remember a lot of what happened, doesn’t know who this kid is. “I’m here telling you about it now,” he tells Chuck. and then ... fake-out! Not a single question answered. Minus 10
• Also, what was he doing at the brothel anyway? He donated blood to Chuck months ago, why’s he still hanging around? Wouldn’t it be more convenient and safer given his situation to have prostitutes flown to whatever island he’s been living on? Why can’t Diana manage to shhedule a flight out of there? Minus 6
• Incidentally, why is Bart wearing a suit? You think being in hiding and presumed dead would be a good excuse to let it all hang out. Minus 4
• Blair is way too cool with Serena being Gossip Girl, especially since she wasn’t nearly as nice to her or as “off her game” as she says. Doesn’t she remember just a few episodes ago when Gossip Girl leaked news of her divorce, for instance? “How does she know things so fast?” she wondered then. Minus 2
• Someone from the Academy of Arts and Letters wants to interview Blair and Dan to “make sure they are a stable couple.” Apparently these people have never met writers. Minus 2
• Andrew Tyler, the worst private eye in history, neglects to say, “Sure, I’ll look into that for you,” when Chuck asks him to research his dad’s nemesis and instead passes up three times his usual fee on the grounds that he thinks Chuck’s idea about his dead dad is really lame. Minus 2
• The only plausible place in Soho that would have La Mer is Bloomingdale's, which is like five blocks away from where Chuck picked up Blair. But Minus only 1, because it’s plausible even in heels that she would have gotten distracted by the Chanel store.
• Seriously? Nate and Lola couldn’t wait until Diana was out of the apartment before calling the New York Times? Minus only 3, because the guilty looks on their faces when Chuck gave them the stink-eye were priceless.
* Okay, so even though it was adorably juvenile, as an actual plot, the plot to trap “Mason Nevins,” Bart’s “fiercest rival,” was utterly preposterous, starting with the fact that the reason the dude was so worked up and murderous in the first place was that Bart had information about him “that could have sent him away for a long time.” So now: They think they’re going to save the day by taking some pictures that are going to embarrass him? No. Also, was the idea to threaten Nevins with pictures of him gallivanting with much-photographed "It" girl Lola Rhodes and former "It" girl Ivy Dickens while they’re dressed like prostitutes? Because dude would have laughed in their faces. Fortunately for everyone involved, Andrew Tyler, the worst private investigator ever, shows up to put a stop to this farce, by telling Ivy and Lola they’re “in danger” and are supposed to meet Bart up at his place, you know the way. Clearly he has no game plan beyond this, because during the ride to the heavily fortified mansion in the Hudson Valley he completely checks out, thereby allowing Lola to text everyone her coordinates and probably update Facebook and Twitter (“@chivey & are are dressed like super hos lol #scheming”) and Chuck and Bart to explain an extremely complicated situation to the Feds, who probably were like, “Is this a crank call?” and “We don’t have time for this shit,” more than a few times before they agreed to come hide out in the back room and wait for a confession, which Tyler — needless to say — unwittingly gives. Minus 20
The ludicrousness of the plot to Save Bart Bass pushed this episode into the realm of the unreal. And did Bart even want to be saved? The lameness of his hug suggests not. But we’ll see, in next week’s episode. (Maybe.)