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TV Review: Gossip Girl – “Riding In Town Cars With Boys”

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Things come to a head for the CW’s Gossip Girl in “Riding In Town Cars With Boys.” Nate (Chace Crawford) gets a harsh dose of reality about his grandfather’s (James Naughton) machinations, but still considers becoming the new voice of the family, as William asks. Blair (Leighton Meester) hides out at Dan’s (Penn Badgley) apartment as she tries to decide between Chuck (Ed Westwick) and Louis (Hugo Becker). Serena (Blake Lively) wants to help Louis make the decision for Blair. Max (Brian J. Smith) refuses to leave town without exposing Ivy (Kaylee DeFer), but no one seems willing to listen. Still, Ivy is nervous enough to sabotage her own party with paparazzi, which has the unintended consequence of overzealous cameramen causing Blair and Chuck’s town car to wreck.

“Riding In Town Cars With Boys” has a lot going for it, except the ending. The scene with the motorcycles chasing the town car, which Nate just accidentally happens to be behind because of a mistake, is contrived and phony. Even worse, Blair and Chuck are “seriously” injured during the low speed chase and a wreck that cannot possibly be all that horrific. Really? It feels like a convenient way for Blair to lose Louis’s baby so that she can have a clean slate with Chuck. The development that Chuck is not doing well and might die rings false, as it is very unlikely Gossip Girl will kill off such an interesting, polarizing, important character. As such, suspense is low.

Backing up, though, Blair and Chuck’s reunion is handled with considerable skill. It takes real talent to stretch out such personal drama this long, and still keep the story engaging enough that viewers will care passionately. Louis is everything that Blair always says she wants, making him a perfect diversion. Yet, her connection to Chuck is strong and permanent. Chuck has risen to the occasion of being a better man for Blair, and both have matured to the point where they can finally be together and have a happy ending. “Riding In Town Cars With Boys” is a culmination of a lot of work. Which is another reason that Chuck cannot die.

In recent episodes, a groundswell of support for a Dan and Blair pairing has been rising, this author among the proponents. In “Riding In Town Cars With Boys,” Serena realizes that she cares for Dan, and this spurs her to help Louis win back Blair, removing her main rival for Dan’s heart. However, Dan’s decision not to confess adoration to Blair has nothing to do with Serena, and everything to do with how well he knows Blair, and cares about her happiness. The women in Gossip Girl can be manipulative and evil, but it features a really noble, kind, heroic trio of guys.

Nate’s dilemma is a complicated one. He works very, very hard to make his new job a success, even though his rise is unrealistically fast. Even with his family connections, Nate becomes the “it” guy way too easily. However, now that he’s arrived, he has a decision to make. Should he continue to try to build his own reputation with the tools he has, or start from scratch to avoid being manipulated by Grandpa William? Everything Nate is right now is tainted because of William’s influence. But it feels so good to Nate, and he has a platform he can do something with, so why give it up? Even a truly good guy like Nate is in Gossip Girl may find it impossible to turn his back on his life under these circumstances.

Somehow, Gossip Girl manages, over time, to make the duplicitous Ivy a sympathetic character. Though she comes into the Van Der Woodsen family under false pretenses, her desire to be a part of a warm, loving clan endears her viewers’ hearts. Her guilt for her hand in the car crash, and decision to leave New York, only make her look better. It isn’t her fault that the paparazzi scum are overly aggressive, and no one will blame Ivy but herself. The question is, will everyone still be so willing to help her financially, since her motives are not malicious?

Oh, and is Diana (Elizabeth Hurley) Chuck’s biological mom? It seems so, as the mid-season finale draws to a close.

Gossip Girl will return to the CW in January.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com