We'll repeat that.
Dan Humphrey... is Gossip Girl.
We've been told for months now that the series finale would see "that one secret I'll never tell" finally being revealed, and plenty of fans had predicted D.Humps. What's surprising is that this crack-fuelled revelation, as little sense as it makes for so many reasons, was one of the least irritating things about the episode, which served so many of its characters so poorly that we can only assume the writers have come to genuinely hate these people.
Following her idea to save The Spectator last week, Nate and Sage spent much of this episode racking their little brains and squinting at post-it notes on a pool table, which didn't end up telling them much except that Gossip Girl could be anywhere in the world. Is it Eric, from Sarah Lawrence? Is it Jenny, from London? Is it Vanessa, from whatever spot on the globe she ended up in?
Nope. In the end Dan recounted everything to Serena, starting with the first Upper East Side party he ever attended. Once he'd had a taste of the good life - and once he'd spent approximately three minutes with a certain charmingly ditzy blonde - Dan was determined to cling on, and created Gossip Girl as his way in. "If I wasn't born into this world, maybe I could write myself into it," he tells Serena, who is somehow not creeped out by any of this, because in her mind attention is the same thing as love, or something.
So Dan started blogging as GG after Serena's white dress incident, because he wanted to make her relevant in order to prove his love, or something.
And Rufus briefly got indignant about that time when Dan, as GG, posted a blast about Jenny losing her virginity to Chuck, but Dan claims that Jenny wanted that to be made public so she'd have no choice to leave New York, or something.
Honestly, there's a whole lot about this 'twist' that makes zero sense - somebody with more time on their hands than us could have a ball going through all five previous seasons and finding all the plot holes in the Dan as GG theory - but in the end we're fine with it. Dan has always exploited other people's stories for his writing because he has no ideas of his own, going right back to Charlie Trout in season two, and so his being exposed as a ruthless gossip hack feels pretty consistent. Sure, it assassinates whatever was left of Dan's character, because now literally everything that he's done for the entirety of the show's run can be read as a lie, but we can deal with that at this point.
But did Serena really have to end up with him? Really? "He wrote a love letter to all of us," she simpers, before going on to marry the dude who has spent seven years stalking, harassing and shaming her both publicly and privately. Way to leave a bad taste in our mouths, writers.
On the other hand, Serena's mother ends up with the dude who slimed his way back into her affections after having a secret love child with her sister, and made her believe she had cancer for a year when she didn't. So really, the poor girl never stood much of a chance. The writers hate Van der Woodsen women, and we must accept this.
So, onto happier things.
After Bart's death, Chuck and Blair are totally in hiding, although their version of being 'in hiding' involves being seen in a fair number of public places including Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. You can forget any idea of emotional fallout from last week, or Chuck being in any way traumatised by watching his dad die, or indeed by having his dad try to kill him. Thankfully these characters now have the emotional depth of a teaspoon, and disturbing life events bounce off them like water from the proverbial duck's back.
But they're not completely free from consequences, since the police are finally able to track Chair down despite their under-the-radar lifestyle, and drag them off seconds after Cyrus pronounces them man and wife. Aww?
Despite the creepiness of Jack being involved at all, given that he tried to rape Chuck's adoptive mother and later masterminded the 'Blair being sold for a hotel' business, the proposal scene was a bright spot. Sure, it's been such a long time coming that it felt almost like a formality, but fans of the pairing deserved that scene after so many seasons of idiotic stalling, and the angel tunnel was a beautiful setting for a generally less-than-idyllic wedding.
But given how iconic the Bethesda Fountain is for Blair and Serena's friendship, its use here just made the glaring absence of S/B time all the more glaring. The first season was more about their friendship than anything else, and if the writers had really cared about writing a final season that brought things full circle, they'd have resolved all the played-out romantic stuff earlier this year and spent a full arc on those two. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.
What this finale did have, though, was a really fresh and joyous ten-minute montage that centred on the revelation of Gossip Girl's identity. We got glimpses of Vanessa, Juliet (Katie Cassidy) and Agnes (Willa Holland) - the latter two must have been an easy deal since they're now both on the CW's Arrow - and a scene between Kristen Bell herself and Hart of Dixie star Rachel Bilson. Bell and Bilson are so utterly adorable, and inject such fresh, young energy into what's become a very staid cast, that the only criticism we have of their tongue-in-cheek segment is that it's far, far too short.
And then there was the flashback sequence, another potentially gimmicky but actually pretty charming beat that reminded us just how little any of the men's hair has improved over time. Ed Westwick probably made the most plausible transformation into his seven-years-ago self, although special mention must go to Leighton Meester who slipped back into shallow, socially vindictive little girl mode admirably.
If only the 'five years on' flashforward could have been as enjoyable. On the plus side, Chuck and Blair's son is adorable, and Jack and Georgina ended up together which is possibly the most perfect coupling this show has ever come up with.
On the minus side, where do we begin? The Dan/Serena thing is just hateful for all the reasons we already covered. Ditto Lily/William (seriously. SERIOUSLY?). Rufus appears to have ended up with '90s one-hit wonder Lisa Loeb (we're pretty sure the writers were literally on crack at this point). Having Lily and Rufus both single and maybe with some hope of reconciling would have felt more satisfying and made the five years we've spent on their relationship not pointless, but whatever.
Also, Jenny was around for maybe two seconds, Eric has a porn moustache, and Nate is running for mayor, so God help the state of New York.
This has been a pretty wretched final set of episodes all in all, spending too long on ancillary characters and way too little energy developing the people and relationships we've grown to love. But we continued to love them nevertheless, and the CW will be a slightly darker place without Blair, Chuck, Serena, Nate et al. We'd include Dan in that list, but... come on.
Sayonara, Gossip Girl. We'll miss your escapist thrills, your intermittently lovable characters, the fine line between beautiful and monstrous that your wardrobe department perfected, your consistently excellent use of New York locations, your consistently delicious-looking breakfasts that nobody ever ate, and Monkey.
XOXO, etc etc.
- "She's not talking to you, she's a minor." She's also a minor you've spent the last nine episodes banging, Nate, so hush your pretty mouth in front of the police officer.
- "Many ups and downs. Would take long time to explain." We'd happily watch a two-hour special episode that was just Dorota explaining the detailed ins and outs of Blair and Chuck's relationship.
- That 'Bonnie & Clyde' song (by Great Northern) set a moody, edgy mood in the first five minutes, which was unfortunately not even slightly maintained by anything in the rest of the finale.
- Honestly, Chuck and Blair's wedding with the fountain in the background mostly just made us remember how great the last scene of Angels in America was.
- "You're a Lifetime movie called Nobody Gives a Damn: The Ivy Dickens Story." Zing, William.
- Was Jenny working for Blair in that five-year flash-forward? That's actually kind of perfect, if so.
- We'll be the first to admit just what a monstrosity the Dan/Blair relationship turned into last season, but they had a really sweet and authentic friendship before that point, and it felt sad that they couldn't have had even a moment of acknowledging that in the future. Just one more good thing that the Dan-as-Gossip-Girl reveal laid waste to.
- Despite how horrible most of the future pairings ended up being, we can at least be grateful that Sage was nowhere to be seen.
- Blair suggesting she and Chuck go on the run to a deserted island: "We don't need money, we can live off the land!" We would pay such good money for a spinoff in which Chuck and Blair have to fend for themselves on a desert island. They've probably never even done their own laundry.