Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Gossip Girl - S4 E17 - Empire of the Son

Dan and Blair struggle to keep their friendship secret while Chuck inches closer to saving Bass Industries. Lily's lies look set to come back and haunt her.

Recap after the jump.

Party of the Week: Celebration at the Empire Hotel for Bradley Kidd's investment in Bass Industries!
I've not watched any episode of this show beyond some first season stuff more than once, so I barely remember at all the affair with Bart and the burning building. I think Dan was chasing down some lead on it and he had a fight with Chuck? Anyway, the important part is that there was a fire, a security guard died and the whole thing was covered up. They showed it in the recap, which tipped their hand. The episode starts with Lily meeting with the DA, so you can be sure something has gone wrong.

Last episode ended with Damien telling Thorpe whatever he knew about Ben and Lily and this week, Thorpe plans to use it having been thwarted in his quest to destroy Bass Industries. He calls Chuck and Lily together to attempt to blackmail them with his information, but he's caught in the act by Raina who is angry at him for stooping to these kinds of games and pretty much disowns him. Speaking of Raina, she is getting cozy with Nate, a fact Thorpe took great glee in informing Chuck of. Chuck and Nate talk it out but some mild disapproval aside, there are disappointingly none of the fireworks I remember from the greatest episode in the entire series, "The Thin Line Between Chuck and Nate" where they have a fist fight.

Chuck throws a party to celebrate gaining total control over his father's empire, but Thorpe calls him to his room to admit the real reason behind his attempted takeover. Thank God Chuck's assumption it had something to do with Lily turned out to be incorrect because that would have been really fucking stupid. As with the Juliet/Ben/Serena/Lily reveal in episode 11 "The Townie", there's a satisfactory explanation for lots of irrational behavior; Thorpe was getting revenge for his wife who perished in the aforementioned fire, which apparently intentionally started by Bart Bass. Chuck refuses to believe it, but Thorpe has a Darth Vader "Look into your heart... You know it be true!" style response. He goes down, breaks up his own party and drains half a bottle of whiskey before Serena finds him. Man, Ed Westwick is really good when he wants to be. Serena tries to claw the bottle away from him but the response is fluid, natural and angry. Chuck wants to talk to Blair about it - he feels she's the only person he can trust... but where is she?

Well she had been making secret plans to visit a museum exhibit with Dan. He visits her bringing along a magazine with their tickets but when Dorota comes up, she hides him away. Dorota however finds the magazine and her suspicions are aroused. Confronted, Blair denies that she has any kind of friendship with Dan and takes Dorota shopping rather than go to the museum. She's surprised to bump into Dan in the city though; if he is here that means he stood her up at the museum! He was having lunch with his father, asking for advice (?) about his mysterious lady friend. They sort of admit they like each other, but not really. Hmm. Tired of all the sneaking about, they decide to reveal their friendship at Chuck's party. Blair devises a scheme to tip off Gossip Girl about a "shocking revelation" to be revealed later that will turn out to be small. I have no idea why she thought this would work in any way.

In Serena land, Ben hasn't contacted her since they slept together so she goes to visit him and finds his mother there. He has been hiding his relationship with her from his mother because she's still sore about the whole false imprisonment thing, as one might be. Serena arranges to have lunch, all three of them but it doesn't go so well. Ben's mother makes an impassioned plea to him about revealing the truth about Lily's past statements and he admits to knowing about the affidavit she signed. Vanessa meanwhile went to Lily to tell her what she overheard about Ben ordering the attack on Nate's father and they go to Serena to fill her in. Serena initially rejects Vanessa's versions of events and V leaves reminding her that she too was misled by someone in that family.

Lily tells Serena about Thorpe's threats and quizzes her on who could've spilled the beans. Poor naive Serena still has the affidavit... had the affidavit. Someone, presumably Ben? swiped it. Well duh, it wasn't Ben, it was his mother (how the hell did she know it was in Serena's underwear drawer???) who was in town because Thorpe called her. They had been collaborating and she turned the document over to him. Lily decides to turn herself in. Ben and Serena talk it out and Ben reveals that his main attraction to Serena was because he loved teaching so much... now that part of his life is over thanks to the jail sentence he can barely remember it but Serena did and treated him with the reverence associated with that past position. He breaks it off with her. Later on while Lily is meeting with the DA, Ben is called in. With Lily making a full confession, Ben will be totally exonerated and can start afresh. Meanwhile Rufus is hanging out downstairs being useless when Billy Baldwin shows up out of the blue and announces that he and former mother-in-law Cece have come to save Lily in her hour of need.

Dan and Blair meet up and discuss what will happen next. With the news about Lily filtering out, Blair's tip off to Gossip Girl turned out to be prophetic. They decide Serena and family will need their support as separate entities and decide not to reveal anything and just stop being friends altogether for now at least. Dan gets unusually pushy later though and shows up at Blair's. She's in her nightie, a vaguely see through slip and he demands one kiss - he just has to know for sure whether there's anything there or not. As their lips lock - freeze frame! That's it until April, folks. :|

I don't remember stuff that happened in season two and three all that well, I kinda blocked it out. I don't remember what happened with the fire at all and to suddenly bring that up... well let's just say I don't exactly think they were planning this far ahead back then. last time Billy Baldwin was around, he almost split up Lily and Rufus I think? I don't remember because I don't care and the show is way better when they focus on the young people. If Chuck is looking to Blair in his hour of need, lock it up that Dan/Blair works out at least temporarily. I like that pairing, well at least a lot more than Blair/Chuck. Villain status suits Bass Jr so I hope that's the approach they take. I like Vanessa but I have to agree with the Roundtable folks, she was totally useless in this episode! She made her big revelation about what she heard and nobody cared and it was never brought up again.

The scene between Ben and Serena at the end was real nice, it suited him as a deathly serious character. Lord help him, Nate just isn't that smart. They should just make him full time comic relief, he's not helpful in any other context. What's up with Raina, she's supposed to be this super smart fledgling businesswoman but never actually seems to be doing anything other than walking from place to place or smoking weed with Nate. The good outweighed the bad in this episode with some really strong scenes, it could've been better if not for relying on minute details I had no hope of remembering like the affidavit and Bart Bass's dealings.

"Gossip Girl" airs Mondays on The CW at 9:00 pm EST.

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