Gossip Girl, now entering its fourth season on the CW, has never been better than in these first two episodes of the new season. Titled “Belles de Jour” and “Double Identity,” the show picks up a few months after season three left off and, as advertised, large portions of each episode are set in Paris, France. As GG always brings the culture, it the feel of the show in Paris isn’t all that different from when in New York. I can’t write a review of the first two hours without spoiling a few things, but I’ll spoil as little as I can and save the big twists for you to enjoy.
Serena (Blake Lively) and Blair (Leighton Meester) hopped a plane out of NYC last spring, both wanting to escape from boy troubles. As season four begins, Blair is trying to enjoy herself, but her feelings for Chuck (Ed Westwick) have led her to waste most of the summer, leaving her boy-less.
Serena has chosen the opposite tack, throwing herself into the food, shopping, and men that Paris has to offer. She doesn’t appear to have even thought about whether she wants to choose Nate (Chace Crawford) or Dan (Penn Badgley) when she goes home. She also has a secret she doesn’t want to share with her best friend, B. This is classic S and B, with a bit of fighting, and plenty of friendship. It’s so nice to see the two in their element, and it really allows both actresses to shine with the characters they have perfected these last few years.
Meanwhile, Nate has put Chuck’s little black book to good use, partying it up in the Big Apple. It’s sad, really, that a character that has grown so much takes a gigantic step backwards. He has his reasons, but then he meets Juliet (Kate Cassidy, formerly of the Melrose Place reboot), and she pulls his interest away from casual sex. Of course, this being Gossip Girl, there is more than meets the eye to Juliet, and although she gets a little scheming done in the first couple of episodes, her true motives are still a secret. While I’d like to see Nate happy and am a bit tired of him getting played, Juliet is surely bringing some juicy drama in the future.
Dan ended last year facing a very pregnant Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg, Mercy). Poor, trusting Dan has yet to have asked for a paternity test, but has been shacking up with Georgina and taking care of the new little tyke, Milo, all summer in Brooklyn. He hasn’t told his family or Vanessa (Jessica Szohr) about the baby and he hasn’t exactly been hanging on pins and needles for Serena either. Again, like Nate, I want Dan to be happy, so it’s hard to watch. But anything that keeps Georgina on the show will be worth it.
Chuck was shot in the finale, but it’s been no secret on the Internet — and is just common sense — that Mr. Bass is alive and mostly well. You’ll have to wait for the end of episode one to get a glimpse oh him, and when he returns he’ll have a “friend” (Clémence Poésy, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the Deathly Hallows) in tow. It will be even longer until he and Blair have one of their best moments of the series near the end of episode two. Both actors play it fantastically. Ol’ Raccoon Eyes a.k.a. Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen) is also M.I.A., and word is that we won’t be seeing her again until late October. Against popular opinion, I like Jenny and I cannot wait for her return. But, there is enough other stuff going on that I didn’t feel her absence in the double-episode premiere.
As for Rufus (Matthew Settle) and Lilly (Kelly Rutherford), they’ve got too much drama between Dan and Chuck’s problems to have their own plot yet, but I look forward to seeing it when they do (but Rufus does get in a fantastic line about his daughter’s eyes).
Gossip Girl returns this Monday at 9pm on the CW.