Gossip Girl: "The End of the Affair?"
    Photo courtesy of the CW Network.

    After the massive cliffhanger that ended the episode before Gossip Girl’s winter break, it was jarring to see all of the characters back and in perfect physical health. The last time we saw Blair and Chuck, they were in the hospital after their car, chased by hordes of paparazzi, went out of control. Inauspiciously, they had just confessed their eternal love for each other when the car crashed. Though Blair turned out fine, it was implied that Chuck was in a much more serious condition.

    But the episode opened with Louis having a heart-to-heart with Chuck, who doesn’t have even a single bandage on him, in the rain. Tragedy takes confusion’s place quickly: Blair lost her baby in the accident.

    Blair herself has gone through a huge change: she distances herself from Chuck and leaves for periods of time at odd hours. Louis considers hiring a private detective (how is this even new…) but Chuck convinces him against it and seeks Dan’s help in tracking down Blair instead. Unknown to Louis and Chuck, Blair was at Dan’s apartment the whole time.

    At this point, I feel incredibly sorry for Dan. He obviously still has some feelings for Blair, who is much too confused and weighed down from her Chuck vs. Louis decision to even think much about him. But, either because of his feelings or their friendship, Dan still does everything he can to help Blair out. He sees her at her weakest when she’s trying on her Vera Wang wedding dress and realizing that she can’t wear it because of its attached emotional value. No wonder Chuck suspects Blair of having an affair with Dan, and even tells Louis. It doesn’t help that Dan is hiding a secret for Blair and is terrible at convincing others he’s not. Only Serena defends Blair.

    Serena is colorless in this episode. Gossip Girl disappeared after the car accident, so Serena steps into her shoes as a blogger for the NY Spectator. Everyone on the Upper East Side is sending her their blasts, which she refuses to read. Serena’s only purpose in this episode is to serve as the concerned mediator between Blair and the rest of her friends.

    In a flashback to the accident, we learn the true reason Blair is avoiding Chuck—while he was in a coma, she prayed to God to save him. In return, she promised that she would marry Louis. At that very moment, the nurse told her that Chuck was awake and asking for her. Blair now finds herself caught—she truly loves Chuck, but is afraid that if she goes back on her promise, something will happen to him. She’s been around Dan so much because he’s been taking her to church.

    Blair finally confides in Serena at a New Year’s party. Serena then rushes to Dan’s rescue when Louis, Chuck, and Nate, all of whom suspect him of having an affair with Blair, are cornering him. Later, Blair kisses Louis at the stroke of midnight, and (of course) Chuck sees them. When she visits Chuck at the Empire later that night, the hope and then devastation on his face is heartbreaking. It’s the most emotion I’ve seen on Chuck’s face in a while.

    Meanwhile, after Nate gets a text from a blocked number saying that he should do more research on the car accident, he gets information that the brakes in Blair and Chuck’s car were not working the night of the accident. Furthermore, Blair had gotten in the wrong car—Nate should have been in the car with the faulty brakes. When he texts his anonymous source back, she replies, “How about we help each other?” signing off with the infamous Gossip Girl line.

    While the episode was full of surprises, it didn’t quite live up to the expectations that the last episode set. Suspense was completely absent, replaced by tears and indecisiveness. I felt frustrated by the episode, mainly because it’s obvious to me Blair will end up with Chuck, and Louis is there just to draw out the plot. As a result, the story has been getting extremely thin. But with the royal wedding coming up, perhaps the end of the cycle is in sight.


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