Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"The Magnificent Archibalds" - Gossip Girl, episode 2.11

So here we are at the midpoint of GG's sophomore season, with an episode full of families trying to come together for a New York Thanksgiving. I'll propose a theory: the merits of an episode of GG are inversely proportional to the amount of screen time given to Lily, Rufus, Bart, and the other adults. Do you agree? "The Magnificent Archibalds" featured plenty of parents looking to connect with their children, and the result was an episode that dragged at times but still had a few moments of the old flash. Just don't get me started on Serena and that artist!

I said in an earlier recap that I thought Chace Crawford's Nate had gotten the short end of the writing this season. Nate has been moody and generally not very interested in maintaining old friendships, which isn't too surprising since his father is a fugitive from justice and his family is in the process of losing its money and good name. Still, it would be nice if Nate were given something to do other than mope - that thing with Jenny, I mean what was that about? Nate gets his chance when his dad ("The Captain") turns up from the tropics and urges Nate and his mother to leave New York and come with him. Even given this development, Nate remains in stasis until a meeting with an FBI agent organized by Chuck and Vanessa reveals the truth: The Captain is essentially bribing his in-laws to go away with a threat to take Nate and his mother out of the country. Nate must decide whether to flee or turn his Dad in; the decision he makes will make life easier in some ways at a cost to the Archibald good name. I'm still not wild about this character, but at least for the moment Nate seems to be back.

The discovery of Bart's files on Serena and Eric seems like a surefire way of pushing Lily back into the maybe-waiting arms of Rufus. Bart is a ruthless enough businessman to think that Serena's partying past or Eric's being gay might be used against him in a deal - so why did he so blatantly tip his hand regarding the existence of the files to Eric? As for Serena - did you know that she used to party and thinks if the men she dates know about her past then no one will like her? In trying to hide her past from Aaron Serena has landed right back where she was last year with Dan. With all due respect to Blake Lively, we want Serena happy or we want her miserable. Watching her fret about things she can't control makes for very dull GG. By the way, Bart seems poised to become the closest thing GG has to a villain. What do you think? Is his desire to control everything a sufficiently compelling reason for the other characters to unite?

A few quick points: Blair was adrift this week, waiting for what turned out to be the big reveal of her dad's blessing of her mom's remarriage. Jenny, Rufus, and Dan do have a sweet reunion, but I sort of wanted Jenny to keep the fight she has displayed the past couple of weeks. When Nate tells Vanessa that there's nothing going on with him and Jenny,did he forget the letter? How will Vanessa use it? Forgive the brevity of this post but "The Magnificent Archibalds" seemed to be pretty blatantly about winding down certain plots and winding up others before the big "There's been an accident" episode two weeks from now. Everyone's at dinner with their family as the episode closes. If ever an episode of GG deserved close scrutiny, this one isn't it.

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