Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Gossip Girl - S4 E21 - Shattered Bass

Cyrus and Eleanor fly in to meet their future in-laws. Jack Bass also shows up to plot with Raina. Serena has concerns over Charlie's frenzied pursuit of Dan.

Spoilers after the jump (!)

After a prior episode I had cast aspersions over Kaylee DeFer's quality as an actress. Well now we know. She was sedated! More on that later. Seriously though, It's very possible I fell asleep during the lame episode where the entire extended family showed up for a family portrait and missed it, but I don't remember it ever having been previously referenced that Charlie had some kind of mental issue she needed medication for. That's just the start of the gaping plot holes emerging here. If she has the potential to go off the rails like this, why would her mother allow her to stay in New York where supposedly only Rufus seems to know about it? Presumably they couldn't afford to pay Kelly Rutherford (more on that later) but her absence lately is very, very conspicuous especially considering she's on house arrest and nearly every scene with Rufus or Serena+Charlie is in the apartment.

Let's just assume this makes sense for a moment, it seems likely to me at least that she stopped taking the medication prior to her refill  or she wouldn't have dawdled on collecting it or then been so hesitant to continue taking it. There were some complaints from fans that she went loco at the end of the episode a bit too quickly if she had only just stopped, but I'll give the writers the benefit of the doubt in this case. Presumably then, she found a better place to dispose of her untaken pills than a wastebasket in the apartment. Idiot Ball anyone? What makes it worse is that after dumping the pills out of the bottle, she then dumps the empty bottle in THE SAME WASTEBASKET. I know she's supposed to be crazy, but seriously?? Maybe I shouldn't be giving the writers the benefit of the doubt after all.

Repeated reference is made to the last time she stopped taking her medication, reportedly the "last time she was happy". What!? How long ago was that? So all this time she's been unhappy? OK, I'm not familiar with medical definitions of depression or the side-effects of the medication  Happiness is a really nebulous term though, one that doesn't even really seem to apply here. It seems more like she's giddy at suddenly being rich but also envious of Serena and the life that she has had. I guess her mother really didn't get through to her when she was telling her how artificial the Upper East Side lifestyle was, because she's likely wanted that which she has seen from afar for a long while. It's eventually taken to an extraordinarily creepy extreme while she's wearing Serena's old gold dress, probably one that was either actually made new by the costume department or washed twenty-eight times in the intervening years because it's about five sizes too small for her chest.

There were two parties of the week, the first being Blair's engagement party with Prince Louis where his mother is brought around on the idea of Blair as a future princess by the ever charming Cyrus. However, her acceptance is paralleled by Louis's growing doubt because she keeps rushing off to see Chuck. It's probably not unjustified. She easily could have texted Chuck telling him Jack was in town but instead she went to see him face to face. Too intimate, especially after he attacked her last week. She's eager to assure Louis it means nothing but clearly she's still drawn to Chuck for some reason. At the second party, the St Jude/Constance Billard reunion fundraiser, she runs to his side again, this time believing him to be suicidal, unwittingly diving headfirst into a trap.

I'm not sure why I never made the connection before, but of course, Jack Bass = Quinn from Dexter. That explains why I've always had problems trusting Quinn. Ultimately, the twisty-turny nature of this episode left me vastly confused, but it was nice to see Jack turn out to be a good guy for once. He is flipped by Nate who other than that manages to handle everything thrown at him in this episode astonishingly terribly. It's a good thing he's too rich to be conscripted because if he was ever a POW, he'd give up every state secret he knew after being tickled. He's already seen what Thorpe has done to this point in his efforts to destroy Chuck and Bass Industries. Does he not realize that by revealing the whole truth to Raina and then having her call her father and repeat back to him everything he has just told her, he's inviting a world of trouble? Is he really that stupid?

Ultimately I still half expect a final twist in the tale where it turns out Avery Thorpe was never in the building at all and she's actually waiting tables in New Jersey. Currently, we're stuck in yet another plot hole. First of all how is it possible no one watched the tape first to make sure a) it was the right tape and b) Bart was the last guy there before it burnt down? Next, if it was actually Thorpe who locked the doors and set fire to the building, killing the security guard and possibly his own wife, why in the beejezuz would he return to the scene of the crime and 'save' Bass Industries when it was on the verge of collapse anyway? Emotion and ego can't explain away everything. Now that he has Blair trapped on the roof of the building, what does he intend to do?

Good Lord, this episode had so many problems. It did keep moving at an entertainingly fast pace, even if there were multiple facepalm worthy moments so I'm torn on how to grade it. The best we can do at this point is speculate on the finale. The first thing to note is that Taylor Momsen and Jessica Szhor have officially been cut from the cast. Vanessa referenced last week how she was leaving to study in Europe at the conclusion of the season, well it's now confirmed she will be leaving. Momsen was well known for being difficult to manage and appears to believe she's above it all now. Having not appeared in a while, it was no surprise.

For Szhor, I wonder was she fired, did she jump or has the show run out of money? While it's a solid performer for the CW and somewhat bizarrely, a big hit in China, the show does not get the kind of audience to justify the budget for a smaller channel. It's a lot cheaper to add a lesser known actress like Kaylee DeFer to the cast rather than retain the movie-bound Szhor or bring back ABC-bound Katie Cassidy or next week's guest star Michelle Trachtenberg. With Charlie confirmed as a regular next season, presumably everything will end well next season with no men in white coats to drag her away no matter how much she deserves it. For Blair, I suspect Louis will arrive to save her with his bodyguards but they will break it off because once again she rushed to Chuck's side.As for Nate and Raina, Tika Sumpter is conspicuously not signed as a regular. He's way too stupid for her and she is way too scheming for him. No way does it last past next week.

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

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