Gossip Girl Review: "The Kids Stay in the Picture"

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Gossip Girl returned from hiatus tonight with an episode that set the stage for the next four. While "The Kids Stay in the Picture" was necessary, it wasn't an exciting installment.

It was fine, just not edge-of-your-seat material. New characters were introduced and story lines we left in February were fleshed out a bit. But the big drama is still to come.

Those hoping for some romantic fireworks or major developments in the three-way battle for Blair Waldorf's love were probably disappointed. Unless you're on Team Louis.

Long Live the Queen of the UES

In typical Gossip Girl fashion, B's royal suitor appeared in New York as the credits rolled. After an episode that saw Dair and Chair futures plummet, his arrival was intriguing.

The way the plot unfolded between Blair, Dan and Chuck disappointed me a bit. Both guys' actions disappointed me. They left the door open for Prince Louis, that's for sure.

When Blair said kissing Dan changed her, that doesn't mean it meant nothing. She may have (or have had) legitimate feelings for Dan, but sees Chuck as her soulmate.

This I get. What I didn't get was Chuck resorting to an old scheme to try to prove a point instead of just laying it all on the line, and Dan not stepping up to fight for her.

Blair defended Dan, saying that he's more mature than Chuck will ever be. This seemed like Dan's opening to confess to her what he made obvious to Eric: He loves her!

So does Chuck, of course, and had he expressed this in a way that didn't involve humiliating Dan and making him look inferior, maybe I'd feel bad for him. But not here.

Perhaps they don't mesh together like Chair, but there's genuine emotion with Dair as well. And while he doesn't make hearts race like Chuck, Dan really is a standup guy.

It's hard to put my finger on it, but as a fan of both Dair AND Chair, I just felt a little let down. Maybe that epic trailer overhyped it. Maybe things will pick up next week.

One thing is for sure - Blair is done being pushed around. Whether she ends up with a Prince, a Bass or a Labrador Retriever, the downtrodden Queen B will rise again.

Chuck could sense that she's off her game, but perhaps this is just what she needs to find herself again and truly go after what she wants. I can't wait to watch, either.

Meanwhile, the rest of "The Kids Stay in the Picture" centered around an awkward Rhodes / van der Woodsen family reunion and photo shoot (see clever episode title).

Serena and Charlie

There were a few subplots unraveling simultaneously, from Rufus' distrust of William, Charlie's conflict with Carol, to Carol being just as big a liar as Lily, apparently.

All in all, not that interesting. At least not yet. Its not that the new characters were lame or that it wasn't fun to watch, it's just that nothing felt all that important.

In fact, the biggest moment involving Lily's family left us hanging. A phone call likely offering insight into her legal fate went to voicemail during the family photo.

It was tough to get invested in a character we barely know, although I did like Charlie okay (her facial resemblance to Leighton Meester throws me off, however).

As for Carol, she and Lily definitely have a believable sibling rapport. Lots of deeper issues, but even more unconditional love. Watching them had its moments.

The Rufus-William relationship picked up where it left off last season, but they came to an understanding. It looks like the family is circling the wagons after all.

What do you think? Too much Lily drama or just right? Where do you think this is headed? Will Lily really go to jail, and what can we expect next from Charlie?

Bottom line, this episode probably didn't knock any socks off. But that's typical following a long break. Stories take time to develop, and that's fine. Until next week ...

Other occurrences and observations worth mentioning:

  • Nate and Raina are still an item, and he's encouraging her to find the truth about her mother. Hopefully this gives Nate something interesting to do.
  • Vanessa is back, creepin' hard core and acting shady, spying on Dan and Blair and telling someone on the phone about their SHOCKING kiss. Sigh.
  • Interesting mention of Jack Bass by Blair, given that he's rumored to be coming back. Yet Chuck was all alone in the photo. Very symbolic and sad.
  • This episode was a fashion lover's dream.
  • Dorota quotes were epic as always.
  • Great Lily mug shot on TMZ.

What did you think of the return of Gossip Girl? A bit of a letdown or as good as ever? Hard to judge without seeing the next four episodes? Discuss!

The Kids Stay in the Picture Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.0 / 5.0 (256 Votes)

Steve Marsi is the Managing Editor of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Google+ or email him here.

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Gossip Girl Season 4 Episode 18 Quotes

Nate: You okay?
Raina: It's surreal. Everything happening to Lily is because of my dad, and I kind of feel like it's all my fault.
Nate: Look. It probably woulda happened sooner or later anyway.

Blair: Turn that off! And leave me alone, Dorota. I've taken to my bed.
Dorota: I thought hearing someone has life worse than yours would help.
Blair: Well your job isn't to think, it's to serve. So if I need your help I'll ring the bell.