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Gossip Girl Review: Heartbreak Hotel

I have to hand it to the editors, the previews from last week really tricked me. I thought we would get a Chuck and Blair moment, but instead we watch Blair’s heart break as Chuck has a moment with Raina (who I will never, ever like no matter how nice they try and make her out to be).

I guess I’m getting a little ahead of myself. The episode begins where we left off last week, with Blair (Leighton Meester) settling into her new job at W. Serena (Blake Lively) complains they never see each other anymore, and suggests they enjoy a girly Valentine’s Day. Blair has no plans, and Serena and Ben (David Call) decide to lay low and not put the pressure of the “holiday” on their new relationship.

At work, Blair suggests they do a socialite feature on Raina Thorpe (Tika Sumpter), both to keep an eye on Chuck (Ed Westwick) this Valentine’s Day and to show off her connections. She sends Serena in to convince the other girl, but S ends up spilling the beans about Blair’s lingering feelings for Chuck causing Raina to back out. For once, S has Blair’s best interests at heart, knowing how much it wil hurt her when she realizes Chuck isn’t playing Raina at all, and that his feelings are real.

Oh yes, also at work – Dan (Penn Badgley) arrives to give “the new Epperly” an article he wrote. He finds out Blair is his new contact at W, resulting in an amusing type scene we’ve come to expect from the two of them. Dan remains in a do-gooder mood toward Ben, giving him his cater-waiter contact so the ex-con can make some money to take out Dan’s ex-girlfriend. Poor Lonely Boy. He’s going to remain lonely until he learns you can’t win at love while playing by the rules.

The party of the week is, of course, thrown by the one and only Chuck Bass, and is an attempt to show Russell Thorpe (Michael Boatman) that the Bass name has value. Russell, Raina, Chuck, and Lily (Kelly Rutherford) brunched earlier in the episode and Thorpe promised Chuck he would give him 36 hours to convince him the company should be left intact. The Captain (Sam Robards), who apparently had an offscreen change of heart, comes to Chuck and Nate (Chace Crawford) with insider information – including the knowledge that no matter what Thorpe promised Chuck, he has every intention of breaking up Bass Industries, even though he will not profit from the move. They conclude the reason must be personal, a conversation that leads to Chuck’s discovery that Thorpe and Lily had a very personal past.

Chuck and Thorpe take a meeting, and to convince the man where his loyalties lie, Chuck convenes the Board of Directors and has Lily fired.

Rufus (Matthew Settle) appears for half a scene, in which he performs his Very Important Job of Holding Stuff For Lily, then disappears.

They all end up (of course) at Chuck’s Valentine’s Day soiree, where Blair shifts into full on revenge mode after learning S is the one who talked Raina into canceling the profile. Dan told her about Ben, so Blair makes sure he’s at the party (as a waiter). Ben had told Serena he’d taken a job tutoring, presumably because having to take a serving job embarrassed him in front of his high society girlfriend. Blair pressures S into doing the socialite profile instead, and not only points out Ben serving drinks, but makes sure the interviewer is aware of his colorful past. They patch things up once S convinces Blair that she didn’t want to see her get hurt, but not before Blair does, indeed, get hurt.

Meanwhile, Chuck takes Raina into a luxury room decorated with candles, food from her favorite Venetian restaurant (we’ve seen these moves before, Bass), etc. Things fall apart when Lily bursts in, telling Chuck that he has no idea what he’s done, that Thorpe’s plan all along was to separate them. She maintains that she’s always had the best interest of both Bass and Chuck at heart, but I’m not sure why he (or we) should believe her. Trying to sell the company without his knowledge doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in her loyalty. Chuck makes a rude comment about the reasons behind his legal adoption, and Raina steps in, apparently horrified at his treatment of his stepmonther. She storms out, after which Thorpe saunters in and reveals Lily told the truth. His plan had been to take every ally from Chuck – including Raina. It’s the two of them now, mano y mano, and I’m looking forward to the showdown.

Blair comes looking for Chuck, and Dan catches her in the now abandoned room-o-love. Blair still insists it’s all for show, and the two of them hide on the balcony when Chuck and Raina reappear, in the middle of an argument. Chuck bares his poor, beaten soul, trying to explain to her why family can’t mean to him what it means to her, about all the injustices he’s suffered at the hands of the people who are supposed to love and protect him, but she doesn’t want to hear it. She tells him “nothing is sacred to you.” He responds. “You’re sacred to me.”

We cut to Blair’s face, pinched with pain, and know Dan can feel her hurt. They sit together on the balcony and Dan tries taking her hand, which she yanks away. She wouldn’t be Blair if she didn’t.

And I like Blair, faults and all. She continues to prove that, at her core, she’s a good person. Tonight, she reads and recommends Dan’s article to an editor at Vanity Fair, even though it’s hard for her to pay him the compliment.

Serena ends up making out in a bar (typical) with Ben, so I guess they’re still okay. Nate ends up without a storyline. Chuck ends up alone. Dan and Blair, in an adorable When Harry Met Sally moment, end up watching Rosemary’s Baby “together” (they’re on the phone). Chuck and Blair may belong together, but I’m extremely fond of what happens when Blair and Dan share scenes. The chemistry is fantastic.

In an oh-heavens-not-more-of-this-crap scene, Eric (Connor Paolo) is accosted by Damien (Kevin Zegers), who threatens to spill the beans about Lily’s false testimony that sent Ben to jail unless Eric helps him with something devious. I still don’t care.

Along those lines, it seems from the previews Vanessa (Jessica Szohr) will be back next week. I just swallowed vomit at the thought. The writers seriously need to give both Nate and Rufus something to do before they fade away into nothingness. For the love of Pete, give Rufus a backbone. Eric can join Jenny (Taylor Momsen) in exile for all I care.

I really can’t wait for the battle between Thorpe and Chuck, it’s been too long
since we’ve seen Chuck shine in all his confident glory. I want the guy back who looked at that foreign blond chick he loved for five minutes and said, “because I’m Chuck Bass.” With the help from the Captain (who quit, or was fired, but managed to hold onto some passwords and a key), I know Bass won’t disappoint us.

Until next week. XOXO.

Season 4, Episode 15 “It-Girl Happened One Night” (original air date Feb. 14, 2011)

Gossip Girl airs Monday nights at 9/8c on The CW.

Photos Courtesy of Giovanni Rufino and The CW.

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