Television Review: Gossip Girl, "A Thin Line Between Chuck and Nate"
by R.J. Carter
Published: January 8, 2008
When I reviewed the previous episode, "School Lies," I mentioned that the Gossip Girl website seemed to have taken a backseat to the story. That situation gets rectified in this episode when Gossip Girl's impact on all the players returns in a scandalous way.
It all kicks off when it-girl Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) is phone-cammed shopping for pregnancy tests. As testimony to the rapid viral effect of the Gossip Girl site, soon phones are ringing all over campus with text messages from our ne'er-seen narrator (Kristen Bell), declaring that Serena appears to have a bun in the oven.
But fans of Gossip Girl know by now that things could never be quite that simple. Before this night's episode is over, bombshells and ticking time bombs go off all over the place, and every one of our friends look to be alone and on their own. Someone gets a long-overdue comeuppance, compliments of someone else interacting directly with Gossip Girl to pass along secret information. One former BFF team will be rent asunder, while another may be seeing an interventive resurrection.
The thing that continually intrigues me about Gossip Girl is the quality of the villains. Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) stands head and shoulders above any Lex Luthor, if only because he lets his venality show unhidden... so when he does operate covertly, you know it's going to be something truly devious! Meanwhile, sweet young Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen) continues to edge closer to the dark side (even her makeup is reflecting this), after having endured far too much social hazing from Queen Bee Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester).
Of course, I still have questions about the logic of certain events. I still don't know what kind of reputable establishment continues to serve drinks to minors (as we often find Chuck sitting at a bar nursing a shotglass). But even more brain-puzzling than that is finding Blair's boyfriend, Nate Archibald (Chace Crawford) roaming the halls of the school from which he was evicted last episode. (Obviously he was reinstated -- apparently the Basses aren't the only family that sweep school indiscretions aside by donating libraries.)
If there's any light of hope in this world-shaking finale, it's to be found with outsider Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley), who comes to realize a few things about how he views his relationship with Serena after soul-searching in the wake of the initial news of Serena's EPT shopping trip. Much like his father, Rufus (Matthew Settle), Dan is coming to grips with changes in the status quo of his relationship (the difference being that the post-Lily dating life of Rufus seems to just fill space, when we're really most interested in all the other juicy bits involving the other players).
While not necessarily a cliffhanger ending, "A Thin Line Between Chuck and Nate" (an all-too-telling title, for those who've been with the show since the pilot) nonetheless sets a stage for a second season that is sure to be titillating and scandalous. There's revenge to be had, and everyone's a target! I know I'm going to be here.