So the whole “everyone finding out about the Burn Book in Mean Girls” fiasco has been copy-pasted into this finale, and I can’t think of a more hack ending to a season. But thankfully we’re spared from focusing on the aftermath for too long. The teachers think their hands are clean now that they’ve forced everyone to be honest and presumably won’t receive any more tips. They definitely could’ve just shut down Gossip Girl and moved on with their lives, but these creeps are so obsessed with the morality of these children who aren’t even theirs that they have to wrap this corrupt experiment up in some unnecessary lesson.
At this point, Kate, Jordan, and Wendy’s brains have all been completely warped by their own mythology, and it’s hard to picture them reverting back to relatively normal human beings — if they ever were that. Thanks to such messy writing, the only logical next step in their character development is that they become axe murderers. But first, Keller takes up a side job returning unwanted gifts for a wealthy woman whose entire character is just an SNL impression of Viola Davis in literally anything. She ends up giving Keller a now-viral speech about being a spoiled middle-class white girl who needs to align herself with some struggle that isn’t really hers. This awfully written and delivered monologue isn’t totally on par with the “Oppression Olympics” clip from Ginny and Georgia, but it comes pretty close in cringe. I mostly found it funny that the two people who give Keller a reality check this episode are Black.
Meanwhile, the main crew is headed to Aki’s Hudson vacation home for New Year’s Eve. Before they arrive, Luna and Monet come up with a plan to make Julien and Obie a couple again. The benefits of dating this boy from a clout perspective still aren’t clear to me. Like, was Julien more beloved by the public when they were dating? We can’t really detect a shift in the world’s perception of her as a single 17-year-old. Additionally, if Luna and Monet were as good at handling Julien’s shit as they claim to be, they would’ve found her another heir to date by now instead of constantly pushing her toward a toxic relationship.
Plus, Obie has moved on with a blonde girl named Grace Byron, the daughter of a Virginia state senator and apparently American royalty. In Luna and Monet’s quest to take her down, we find out she becomes Sonja Morgan when she gets drunk and see her spiral while singing “Shallow” from A Star Is Born later on in the ep.
Another subplot that emerges on this trip is Aki and Audrey’s eternal quest to find sexual fulfillment with each other, which results in the literal harassment of Max, who has made it clear that he doesn’t want to be used by them as some magic sex toy that suddenly makes their relationship complete. As much as their repeated pleading and begging with Max turned me off of them after a season of liking them more than everyone else, I enjoyed watching Max and Luna bond over their relationship stuff. Although, I think Max’s feelings of discomfort and suffocation around Aki and Audrey should be taken more seriously and not just framed as him being afraid to get entangled in something. And yes, Luna is actually given something to do or care about in this episode besides Julien, which feels revolutionary at this point!
I couldn’t have been more thrilled to find out Luna has a specially designated Hudson boy toy who wants to move to the city to be closer to her. There’s nothing much to their affair except that they seem to genuinely like each other. Nevertheless, she decides to hold off on an official relationship because she just likes to use him for annual vacation dick, which is fair. Hopefully we continue exploring Luna’s personal life after this ep.
Julien’s plan to secure Obie comes to a head at a bar that they’re allowed to drink at because Aki’s dad “owns the media” and I guess all of the restaurant industry, too. After seeing a video of Grace drunkenly screaming at someone, Monet and Julien convince her to drink against her objections — like Shannon did to Kelly on that Ireland trip on Real Housewives of Orange County. She gets embarrassingly drunk but not to the point where she does something terrible or calls someone the N-word. In fact, her body’s reaction after pounding a bunch of shots seems pretty normal. Nevertheless, she’s deeply embarrassed the next day and flees the estate.
Julien comes clean about the role she played to Obie, and he instructs her to “let him go,” a phrase you should never give a guy, particularly one as lame as Obie, the pleasure of uttering. Zoya, of course, can’t go an hour without scolding Julien for something and tells her to stop letting people’s perceptions of her dictate her life. Zoya would be right if she wasn’t Zoya. But somehow she has the audacity to tell Julien that she needs to be a “gracious loser” for once, as if she didn’t let her run all around New York with her ex-boyfriend an hour after he dumped her. This entire season, Julien has been nothing but the bigger person despite everyone’s mistreatment of her, which is why she sucks as the lead protagonist in this particular world!
But back to the city, where Davis shows up to Nick’s apartment looking like a ghost and offering him money to keep his grandmother’s apartment so that he can provide for Julien somehow. I don’t know, man. How about you don’t abandon her?? Listen. I completely understand Julien wanting nothing to do with her dad, but I also have to laugh at a parent letting their kid kick them out of their house. Naturally, Nick is initially hesitant to accept this favor from a date rapist. But he decides it’s what he has to do to take care of two needy girls in New York City. Keller, who is still friends with Nick for some reason, attempts to shame him and gets dragged for the second time in the span of 24 hours.
At the official New Year’s Eve party in Hudson, Max gives in to Aki and Audrey’s throuple offer, so I guess we have to deal with this for another season. Julien apologizes to Obie again for sabotaging Grace and arranges for her to come to the party. She also arranges for Shan and the rest of Zoya’s new friends to pick her up so they can steal stuff, I guess. Then comes the big turning point when Julien grabs her phone and starts walking in slo-mo while we hear her text message to Gossip Girl.
It’s hard to grasp exactly or truly any part of what Julien is talking about in this deeply confounding voiceover. I know we’re supposed to be left with suspense in a season finale, but this monologue just sounds like it was thought about too hard and for too long and rewritten too many times, because what?? She states she wants to work with Gossip Girl on some level but also wants to destroy her. She offers to send the account everything she knows about everyone, but “not all of it will be true.” She says she’s ready to “take the gloves off” because that’s how you “change the world” (these characters really can’t discuss this very dumb Instagram account outside of the context of social justice). But who is this attack being aimed at? What is the impetus for this move? How is this different from her previous relationship with Gossip Girl where she could just send her tips? What does she gain from playing both sides?
Keller, who of course hasn’t really given up Gossip Girl and is Googling this Camila de Haan woman probably to ruin her life, eagerly accepts this nonsensical offer and posts something that we — well, those of us who can tolerate another season — will see presumably a year from now.
Welp. We made it, guys! This show has been a deeply infuriating, farcical, and mostly boring ride. And I genuinely wish a better second season for those who continue staying on. Writing these recaps has been as stressful as managing a Gossip Girl account, but unlike Keller, I think I’ve made it out sane. Till next time!