"I've been here a long time," the omniscient Gossip Girl told us at the beginning of last night's episode, by way of indicating this will be the Last Season of the Show of Our Time. You can hardly blame her for packing it in: When GG first began chronicling Our Upper East Siders, they were exciting: Fleshy-faced and malleable teens whose story lines could go anywhere. But over the years, their features and personalities solidified, and now the immutable patterns of adulthood are upon them. Chuck and Blair continue to orbit one another like neutron stars, now kept apart by the vague "things we need to do." In Chuck's case, this means wandering the globe in search of information to replace the love not given him by his father, and in Blair's, pulling together a career as Powerful Woman with minimal effort and the assistance of Frenchmen and jaunty chapeaus. Dan is writing the exact same novel as before, only nastier, with the assistance of Georgina "public humiliation is my forte" Sparks, and Nate is still flirting with young Nobodies and chasing his rosebud: the identity of Gossip Girl.
It's the end of the summer, and all of the gang reunites to find Serena, who has been missing for four months after ODing on a train. Not to worry: When Serena resurfaces — at, of course, a party — she's already replaced one bad habit with another: an age-inappropriate man. "How could I have thought it would be okay to go a whole summer without actually talking to my daughter?" Lily wonders aloud, before sitting down for a nice cup of tea and letting someone else deal with it. Wisdom may come with age, but we're not quite there yet.
This may be the most realistic thing about this episode. Our famed Reality Index parses the rest.
More Real Than Ivy and Rufuses Pre-Sex Arm-Closeness
- The way Dan, who has always been just a set of suspenders away from a steampunk, immediately takes to the ancient typewriter Georgina gave him. Plus 1.
- No points, but the juxtaposition of Nate yelling "Faster faster faster!" at the printer and the girl on the train moaning, "I'm gonna ride this thing all night long," with the flashback of Chuck and Blair having sex was vintage Gossip Girl. If only the Parents Television Council still cared.
- The girl who discovers Serena's bloody-nosed body on the train looks way more grossed-out than alarmed. Plus 1.
- No points, but the Chuck standing in the convenience store in a powder-blue suit and bow tie in front of an array of Combos may rival the great Red Suit moment of 2011.
- Rufus thinks "Earth to Rufus" is "a cool name for a record." Plus 5
- "I should have known it was you from the sound of that disdainful silence," Blair tells Georgina. Plus 3.
- "Serena is not country strong" is a thing someone made Leighton Meester say. Plus 2
- HELLO cleavage trapezoid! We missed you! Plus 10.
- "You think you can buy my silence?" Chuck's new cougaress tells Bart. "I can buy anything," Bart shrugs. "That's one of the chief perks of being really rich." Plus 5 to the Bassman for telling it like it is.
- No points, but hands down, Georgina Sparks gets the best lines of this episode, among them:
– Calling Dan and Serena's ex life "50 Shades of Boring."
– Blair: The only thing you were supposed to be doing is getting between that man and his cloth.
– Georgina: He’s Protestant. I do my best work with Catholics.
– "Mouth to mouth on public transportation, I would say that is rock bottom."
– And this subtle but winning correction of Nate: "Not rooting, snooping."
- The best alias Serena could think of for herself was "Sabrina." Plus 5.
- Relatedly, Dan to Serena: “Wisconsin? Seriously? Do you even know where that is on a map?” Plus 5.
- If Dan loved Blair "unconditionally," wouldn't he pick up her phone calls? No points subtracted, since it would be just like an early twentysomething man to use that word without taking in what it actually means. And Dan's subsequent speech to Blair about the flimsiness of her relationship with Chuck (“You think you two have an epic love, but all you have is excuses.") was right on the nose. Not because he's right — of course he's not — but because it accomplished exactly what he set out to do, which is make Blair feel bad and plant a seed of doubt in her mind about Chuck. Plus 10.
Faker Than Serena Being Able to Keep Up Those Hair Extensions Upstate
- "Poughkeepsie is known for three things," Georgina tells Dan. "Vassar, culinary school, and … the Hudson River Psychiatric Hospital." Up until the last second, we thought she was going to say, "Experimenting with lesbianism," which would have been awesome.
- Wait, what happened between Serena getting mouth-to-mouth on a train and her moving in with a vitamin mogul who looks like Dave Matthews? Is he the one who buys her floaty breast-enhancing gowns? Did she not have to use a credit or ATM card that would indicate her whereabouts even once? Minus 5.
- "Dr. Pfizer taught my favorite journalism class at Columbia," Nate tells the young journalism student we'll call Earrings McGee. "Clearly it works," she simpers. "Look how successful you are." Yeah. Nate is running the Spectator because he was good at journalism. In college. Where he has never, ever been. Minus only 2, because this girl is obviously completely naïve, and on top of that, the weight of her earrings is probably putting a strain on her cortex.
- “We raise good girls,” Rufus, whose daughter has been out of the picture since her season-four meltdown, tells Lily, whose missing daughter has a history of drug abuse and once kinda sorta killed a man. Minus 5.
- "You should stop making that expression," Ivy tells Lily. "You're getting some very pronounced frown lines." Ha, as though Kelly Rutherford's face moves at all. Minus 1.
- Ivy is right that Rufus is easy to manipulate; he's as sweet and thick as the maple syrup on his damn waffles. Even though life has shown to him again and again every woman who crosses his path is or will turn into a vindictive scheming harpie, Good Old Rufus still gives each one the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it's all the drugs he did back in the Lollapalooza days? Even so, you'd think he'd have thought it was a little weird that Ivy a) thought it was okay to flounce univited into the apartment of Lily, who hates her, and b) to then fling her arms around him like her one true love and proclaimed "their" dreams had come true. Minus only 2, because Rufus is a man, and it's possible that he ignored warning signals because he suspected he might get laid.
- "We're never going to discover Serena's secrets in her loofah," says Blair. Oh no? Where's an Emily Deschanel cameo when you need it. Minus 2.
- Again, it feels silly to even ask this, but if Dan knows the truth, why does he let Georgina and Blair charge up to the front of the wedding and scream about "Sabrina's" slutty past? And shouldn't Serena know by now that you can't explain "everything" to one person and expect them to pass it on, you have to tell everyone? Minus only 1, because: this show. And: Serena.
- Also, there is no way Dave and Dave's wedding was "ruined" by that display, per Steven. Minus 2. Those queens will be talking about that for years.
- GROSS RUFUS IVY WTF EWWWW. ALSO WTF THAT BLANKET. AND WHAT ARE THEY LYING ON, THE FLOOR? Minus only 10, because even though it completely, totally grossed us out, we're actually surprised it took aging rock star Rufus this long to dip his wick in the underage ink.
All in all, a solid showing for the First Episode of the Last Season of the Show of Our Time. Is the best yet to come? Only nine episodes left to find out!