I’m a fan of this episode, one of GG‘s better ones in terms of plot clusterfucks, but I still have one burning question about this whole Serena-Gabriel faux marriage thing: why? Apparently, that faux marriage has nothing at all to do with the Ponzi scheme Gabriel and Poppy were running, as he could have seduced her and earned her trust without fake marrying her. So why do that at all? That was a completely inane and unnecessary plot point, and this whole plot thread would have been better off without it.
So about that scheme! Realizing that Gabriel has run off with lots of people’s money, Serena tries to do the good thing and get everyone’s money back without them ever having known it was a scam. She lures Gabriel into meeting her by telling him she’s pregnant, but Dan overhears her post-call discussion with Chuck, Nate and Blair and immediately wants to tell his dad (in Happy Rufus mode because he thinks he’ll have a sudden windfall that will allow him to propose to Lily and send both his chilluns to the colleges of their choice), but Serena begs him to give her a chance to make things right. When Gabriel and Serena meet, she gives him a chance to give back all the money and walk away scot free, but he says he can’t, at which point Chuck and his goons step in to threaten him with being turned over to the authorities if he doesn’t come clean. Gabriel names Poppy as the mastermind in their plan, and so the gang has to form a new plan to entrap Poppy and get her arrested.
But Dan can’t keep quiet and tells Lily about Gabriel’s investment scheme. Fearing for her reputation and her daughter’s, she instructs Dan never to bring it up again and that she will take care of it. With her financial advisor, she devises a plan to pay back everyone’s investments out of her own pocketbook, telling them all that the investment fell though – no harm, no foul. Except, of course, for Rufus. She doesn’t want to hurt his pride of denying him his expected windfall, so she sets up a mutual fund for him that will pay monthly dividends of $5,000. Then, only a short time after bestowing great grandma Rhodes’ diamond tennis bracelet on the Serena she’s starting to see as a responsible adult woman, Lily confronts her daughter and tells her to call off whatever scheme she has going to get back at Poppy or Gabriel. Lily plans to let Poppy quietly escape with everyone’s money so that no scandal arises regarding how Serena Van Der Woodsen helped her boyfriend scam her family and friends.
Blair, however, has already gone through the trouble of convincing newly-Christian Georgina to play the innocent pawn in order to entrap Poppy and get her talking about the investment on tape. It takes some wheedling from Blair to get good ol’ Georgie to realize that she’d by lying in God’s service if she helped get a bad person arrested. Georgina plays the role brilliantly, pretending to be the daughter of a Canadian oil baron trying to make her name as a socialite in the big city. Her new found Jesus freakiness plays well into the role of the wide-eyed innocent, but when pressured for a down payment in the wireless Internet service to Africa investment, Georgina has to give up her camp’s bible money (so that’s how she got out of the Catskills so easily . . .), only to see Poppy run off the investment when the waiting policemen arrest Serena outside of the Russian Tea Room instead of Poppy. You see, Serena’s mother had her arrested in order to stop her from getting Poppy in trouble and ruining all the good face Lily had been making – so she accused her daughter of stealing the heirloom bracelet! Le scandal! But Blair thinks Georgina had something to do with Serena’s arrest, and declares that she will never forgive her for this! Never!
Meanwhile, Rufus has been busy trying to set up the perfect proposal for Lily, preparing all of her favorite foods and adorning her house with lilies (because her favorite flower . . . is her name . . .). But while Jenny stalls so he can get the table set up, he discovers the investment papers chillin’ in an open kitchen drawer and confronts Lily about why his payments are different than everyone else’s. When she says she was trying to do right by him, helping him get his kids to college, etc, he calls her patronizing and says that he doesn’t need her help. The police call to tell her about Serena’s arrest, and when Rufus questions why she isn’t running to her daughter’s aid, she tells him that she called it in to prevent Serena from causing a giant horrible scandal and ruining the Van Der Woodsen name. To which Rufus replies, “You’re starting to sound just like your mother.” Burn! No woman wants to hear that! Ever! Sufficient to say, proposal called off. And Lily sits around her apartment drinking wine, letting Serena get booked, while Rufus returns home and tells his children to return the ring they bought.
And, by way of tying up some lose ends, while waiting for Poppy’s un-arrest, Blair asks Chuck if he loves her and he chooses to let her go, but she still decides not to move in with Nate. Not because she doesn’t love him, but because it’s not right for them. Chuck does, of course, still love Blair, but he knows he can’t make her happy, and thus ends his bitter battle with Nate, at least for the time being. And as for Georgina, she decides to take Poppy’s punishment into her own hands, returning to the wild side with a call to Blair: “You can tell Jesus the bitch is back.”
This is the kind of Gossip Girl I’ve come to know and love – the kind with scandals and entrapment and the follies of the wealthy, not so much the getting-into-college-or-not drama. I hope every subsequent season ends with a Georgina arc, by the way. It should just be a thing.
Yes, this did have old school GG drama, “the kind with scandals and entrapment and the follies of the wealthy,” but I still think that it’s been missing some of the silliness that really got me hooked in the first place, as well as some of the teenage emotion that connected me to Dan last season. Now, we’re just kind of being told that people are in love with each other without actually feeling it for ourselves, while last year I truly believed that Lonely Boy pined after S over the years, and that his battle with Lily to prove himself as worthy of her family and her daughter held a great storybook quality.
But this is still a very proper plot to end the show’s second season, and while I agree that the fake marriage thing ultimately led nowhere, it’s fun watching Gabriel and Poppy bounce off of these characters, one-upping each other every moment they could get. I also appreciate the way the lives of the teenagers is making major waves in the “adult world” of the Humphreys and the Van Der Woodsens, even if I think the show works better when it’s teenagers vs. adults.
But, then again, The O.C. worked so well, when it did work, when the parents’ stories were completely reliant upon the stories of the youths, telling us that not only is it hard to distant yourself from your children’s problems no matter how hard you try, but it’s equally clear that the adults, in a lot of ways, never grew up in the first place. The final scene between Rufus and Lilly is a pretty perfect example of this, as they both make rash, unfortunate decisions.
You know what, adults of Gossip Girl? Just let Chuck handle it. He seems to have everything covered. As Joel McHale would say, he’s the most intense high school senior ever.