Gossip Girl has always loved Thanksgiving, which is ironic since no one eats anything but berries on the Upper East Side. But over the years, Thanksgiving has become the patron saint of Gossip Girl holidays. Save your Christmas and your Valentine’s Day for shows where no one has ever had fake cancer, Gossip Girl has Thanksgiving covered.

So it should come as no surprise that the hands-down best episode of this, the final season, should be delivered on a silver platter thanks to Thanksgiving. We have a lot to be grateful for in these last moments with our favorite Upper East Siders, and this episode is certainly a classic. There is scheming, there is questionable taste-level role play and there is Nate punching a person in the face.

Oh, Nate. Remember when his sole purpose on this show used to be to whore himself out and punch people in the face? With Bart Bass owning his sweet, simple soul and the Dan punch, Nate has efficiently gotten back in touch with his roots.

Back in the first season, Blair and Chuck made an alcohol and burlesque-fueled mistake that would have reverberations for the rest of the series. While Serena and Dan were the golden couple, impossibly cute with a roiling center of deep-seated issues below the surface. With only a few episodes to go, it’s surprising to see how far both couples have come.

Blair and Chuck are now an unstoppable team, even when Chuck reverts to his natural melancholy state of drama whore. Blair just storms into the Empire, rolls her eyes at Chuck’s talk of pacts and shoves him into a bow-tie and a scheme.

Please, Chuck, Blair knows from pacts. She had a direct line to the big guy upstairs last season and that couldn’t even keep the two of you apart. If God couldn’t even be bothered to Final Destination you after Blair broke her pact, I don’t think your 500th lame downward spiral is really going to do the trick.

But Serena and Dan have certainly fallen from grace. Once upon a time, Serena was the unobtainable golden girl and Dan the lowly Lonely Boy who dreamed of being important enough to talk to her. Now, years of resentment, scheming and double-dealing have effectively turned Dan into a person even worse than the Upper East Side schemers he used to abhor.

If Blair and Chuck’s destiny was sealed in that limo, perhaps Serena and Dan’s fate really was sealed in that stuck elevator. Perhaps they were always fated to end up this way. Dan could never seem to get over the fact that Serena was from a different “world,” while Serena never really learned to walk on her own two feet without outside validation.

What’s next for those two characters seems, at this moment at least, not to include a cookie-cutter fairytale ending. Which is much more interesting. What is Dan’s evil plan and what’s in his final chapter? (Besides more ranting about Rite Aid, I’d presume?) Will Serena learn to love herself if she’s not loved by someone else? By brutally breaking the fairytale this episode, perhaps the show will do something truly great with these characters in the final two episodes.

Until then, I’ll just be grateful we get to see Dorota in a cute little autumn apron and watch Chuck perv on Nate and Sage like the borderline sexual predator he’s always been.

The Bass is Back in Business

Nate is concerned about Chuck because he’s been spending all his time in his room, wearing his black drama robe. The first step is day drinking and staying in your pajamas all day; the next step is singing “All By Myself” into the spoon you’re using to eat your Chubby Hubby. Nate, who has broken up with every living female in Manhattan between the ages of 17 and 40-something, knows the signs well.

But unfortunately, Chuck is still mad at him for being outsmarted by Bart. That’s sort of like being mad at your puppy when you pretend to throw a toy and the puppy runs around the house in confusion looking for it. It’s not like there was a scenario where Nate outsmarts Bart. Unless the scenario was a game of Jeopardy and the category was “Different Kinds of Weed,” Nate was pretty much screwed.

Nate tries to tell Chuck that Bart straight up killed a dude on their yacht, but Chuck is at the stage where he’s using the cries of his sad dog as a noise machine, so he’s about one step from hurling scotch off the top of the Empire. Nate knows it’s time to call in the big guns.

So Nate calls Blair, who is all over this Bruce Caplan nonsense like it is a storyline someone would actually care about. Oh, Bart Bass — super villain — you could have been a much more fun storyline if you didn’t insist on being so overtly byzantine.

So in case you’re playing Evil Bart Bass Bingo at home, you can now fill in the following squares: turns horses to glue, menaces wives, blows up cars, fakes death, trades oil with Sudan, is orange, kills dudes on yachts and likes Daniel Humphrey. Who has bingo yet? The prize is the terrifying portrait that replaced the Rainbow Lady, which looks like it was painted during a bad acid trip. That painting is obvious symbolism for just how creepy things have gotten in the van der WoodhumpBass household.
Using a little bad taste roleplay, Blair paints with all the colors of the wind and tells Chuck about her plan to tie the two deaths together using Jack Bass, passwords and Nate.

Why don’t they just check all the other paintings in the house to see if Bart stashed a dead body behind one of them? Or maybe he’s got a diary tucked away somewhere? “Dear Diary, today I pushed someone off a yacht and watched him drown. Then I bought Lily a necklace heavy enough to send her to the bottom of the Atlantic. Also, I went tanning and bumped into Snookie. Nice girl!”

Using some well-placed comments and some digging on Bart’s computer, Chuck manages to vaguely tie Bart to both the Sheik’s exploding car (Bass men love DRAMA) and the yacht drowning. Lily is like, “I’m totally okay with wrongfully incarcerating someone for literally years, but murder just seems so declasse.” At which point Bart becomes the husband in a Lifetime movie and grabs her roughly.

Oh, hey, remember that Ivy is a character that’s on this show? Me neither.

Lily comes down the stairs shaken and apologizes to Chuck for being a terrible mother. “I know my daughter is currently having another breakdown somewhere and god knows Eric is probably up to some kind of trouble in the Hamptons, but you know you’ve always been my favorite child.” Just before a touching reunion, Bart skulks down the stairs and Lily goes back into Stepford mode to tell Chuck he should leave.

But later, after getting out of dodge, Lily calls Chuck to say she’s on his team. Also, like any good trophy wife who has been married nearing on 10 times, she definitely looks at the Sudan files before tossing them in the fire. Please, you don’t get that many last names or date that many Klauses and not learn a thing or two. She promises Chuck to send him everything she can remember.

As the episode ends, Blair and Chuck reunite in the Empire. “Will you go to war with me?” he asks her. “I thought you’d never ask,” Blair says happily. For Chuck and Blair, scheming might actually be better than sex.

A Bitter Thanksgiving

Serena and Dan seem blissfully happy together, watching parades and eating pies instead of just looking at food and pushing it around the plate. When Serena is consuming carbs, you know she’s happily in love.

So it seems like a no-brainer for the two of them to host Thanksgiving. Since Lily and Bart are supposed to be spending Thanksgiving somewhere tropical as far away from their children as possible, like you do on Thanksgiving, Serena thinks they can invite all their friends over for a holiday gathering.

She first pops over to Blair’s to convince her to throw aside her plans to go to Paris to spend Thanksgiving with her whole family to instead spend the holiday with Serena, the sentient hair that is her ex-boyfriend and her current boyfriend wallowing in more drama than a Real Housewives reunion. Instead of being reasonable and choosing to spend time with her family, Blair chooses the possibility of drama. Like a moth to a flame, Blair is powerless in the face of schemes and ruined lives.

She’s also ready to once more meddle in Serena’s love life because … well, someone has to. Blair is like the fairy godmother who will kneecap you to keep you out of danger. She’s like Jigsaw from those Saw movies, but with better fashion sense.

So she calls Sage up in an attempt to get Steven and Serena back together and extricate Serena from Dan’s greasy locks. Good luck Blair, it’s going to take some industrial strength garden sheers for that job.

What is Blair’s grand plan for getting Serena away from Dan? Whoring Nate out, of course! This show has always been consistent about the things Nate is useful for: whoring, confusion, cougars and having a stash of weed in Moby Dick. It’s nice to see some things never change.

She offers sweet, simple Nate on a silver platter if Sage will help her get Steven and Serena back together. How has Sage become the go-to schemer this season? Why is everyone always calling up Sage for favors like she’s Tony Soprano or Oprah or Andy Cohen or someone equally as powerful? This is a girl that doesn’t even understand how stupid her fedoras look; she’s not exactly an evil mastermind.

But somehow they work together to steal all the turkeys everywhere on Thanksgiving, allowing Steven and Serena’s meet-cute to turn into a Thanksgiving dinner invitation.

The Serena Chapter

Dan is conflicted about which Serena chapter to send into Vanity Fair. Should he send in the nice one or the super bitter, mean one? Georgina is obviously in favor of option number two. Some crazy women just want to watch the Upper East Side burn, and Georgina is certainly one of them. (I’ll stop using Batman references when Ed Westwick stops talking like he is about to defeat Gotham’s foes.)

Rufus tells Dan that he should just give up on Serena, like Rufus himself gave up on Lily and happiness and facial expressions. He says that women like Serena and Lily will never respect men like them. You know, men who are constantly telling them they’re less shiny and special because they never lived in a Brooklyn loft or took the subway to school.

“They’ll never respect guys like us,” Rufus says. “Guys who don’t work, make waffles all day and just accessorize their closets. Lily had a lot of jewelry, you know! Those babies didn’t just sort themselves!”  You have to love the way Rufus sees things through syrup-colored glasses.

Thanks to a little Georgie-flavored subterfuge, G herself is there for the moment the bomb drops and Dan’s story goes live on Vanity Fair. And, boy, it is not the nice one. “Golden Girl Falls from Grace,” reads the title. “A Faux Love Story” I feel like I caught second-hand pretension just from hearing the title. 

All episode, Serena has been talking about how Dan was the one for her, even when Steven wanted her back. No matter how many times people try to politely point out that Dan had burned every bridge he built and hurt all her friends, Serena doesn’t want to listen. She says that Dan never wrote anything mean about her, conveniently forgetting the Sabrina character in his book was an inconsiderate, shallow air head.

“Serena is nothing; she’s a golden shell. Give her love and she’ll do anything you want,” Dan’s story says. He even hits on her daddy issues. Serena wonders tearfully what she ever did to deserve this literary treatment. Dan says it’s because he always felt like a visitor in her world and not an equal. It even turns out he convinced Vanya to stop the elevator to trick her into getting back together with him.

Long ago, in season 2, a stuck elevator proved that Dan would never be able to get over the fact that Serena came from a different “world” than he did. He could never get over the fact that Serena was a have and he was a have-not. Even now, despite the fact that he is a New York Times best-selling author who apparently can’t afford rent because of plot reasons, he cannot get over the basic injustice of their respective social strata.

Serena wonders if Dan feels better now that he humiliated her, which is something he could never do if he actually loved her. He says the Upper East Siders try to ruin each other and then call each other family and he hates the hypocrisy. Once upon a time, Serena told Dan that he couldn’t be worse than the guys she knew. Now he actually is, by his own design.

On the way out of the penthouse, Nate walks up to Dan and punches him in the face. “That’s from all of us,” he declares. In the Non-Judging Breakfast Club, Chuck and Blair are in charge of scheming, Serena is in charge of loving everyone all the time in spite of common sense and Nate is in charge of punching people in the face.

Earlier this season, Lily declared that Serena didn’t so much have men as she had life rafts. Immediately after the fight with Dan, Serena tries to call Steven, who ignores her call after reading the Vanity Fair article. Dan’s article might have been cruel and horrible, but perhaps it can work as a wake-up call for Serena. S is too great to judge herself solely by the self-worth given to her in a romantic relationship.

As the series comes to a close, I hope we see Serena gain confidence in herself and learn to love herself outside of a relationship. The fairytale ending for Serena might truly not end in wedding bells, but in being comfortable in her own skin. It’s something she’s always been good at giving Blair, but never been good at finding for herself.

Meanwhile, Sage gets back together with Nate by staring at him and suggesting they make out, which is pretty standard for Nate’s relationships. But Bart still owns him if he doesn’t want to go to prison, and even Nate knows he’s much too pretty and much too dim to do well in the pokey.

And Dan unveils to Rufus that he actually has a grand design. He says that while everyone hates him, at least for now, as Georgina notes, they also fear and respect him. But what is the final chapter of Dan’s plan? It’s interesting to see how dark the show is willing to take his character. Will they drive him right off the deep end or pull him back from the brink before the end of the series?

Next week: Chuck’s plane crashes on a desert island, where he finds out that Bart is really an immortal being stuck in cave of magical light. Serena and Blair watch the news and then become the first two women flying team to go around the world in designer couture. And Chuck rides back to Manhattan on the back of the Smoke Monster to take down Bart.

What did you think of this week’s episode? What’s Dan’s evil plan? How will Nate get himself out from under Bart’s thumb? When will Blair and Chuck finally get some sexy time in? Share in the comments!

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(Image courtesy of The CW)

Morgan Glennon

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV