The CW put two more of it's shows on ice for the remainder of 2009 last night,and I'm actually kind of relieved. First because it gives me a chance to catch up on something other than television - like the DVDs I've had at home for over a month and haven't watched, or the book I need to finish for book club before January, or my Christmas shopping and socializing - and second, because Gossip Girl and One Tree Hill both need to take a time out and think about what they've done so far this season, and how they can do it better the rest of the season.
So it's been a year since Gossip Girl killed the worst parent on a show full to the brim with really bad parents, Bart Bass. You know how Chuck didn't deal well at first? Running away and drowning his sorrows in whores and drugs and briefly letting his slimy uncle befoul our show until the combined powers of Blair and Lily pulled him out of his tailspin? Well the anniversary of Bart's death has brought with it the return of sullen and pissy Chuck.
His dad is in his head and as Chuck imagines it, Bart is none too proud of Chuck's less-than-ruthless behavior in matters of business and love. Imaginary Bart spends the episode insisting Chuck buy a homeless shelter and turn it into luxury lofts and dump Blair because the warm feelings of love Chuck has for her make him soft and weak.
Oh, speaking of soft and weak, Tripp's been rolling around between the sheets with Serena for a few days at the van der Bilt country home when it suddenly occurs to him that it's incredibly stupid for a newly elected Congressman to leave his wife for a teenager who refuses to keep either her ass or her boobs fully covered when in public. So he and his wife come to an understanding that they'll stay married and he can quietly and discreetly fuck whoever he wants on the side. Unfortunately, Serena is both young and stupid so she didn't see that coming and she tells Tripp to screw off but her timing, as usual, sucks because they have this fight in a moving car on a country road at night. Tripp crashes the car and nearly puts S through the windshield then moves her into the driver's seat and leaves the scene.
For that, he gets decked by Nate who, in case I haven't mentioned it lately, is now the most awesome person on the show.
Nate calls everyone to let them know Serena has been in an accident; Lily stops trying to tell Rufus that she probably nailed her first ex-husband while she was pretending her mom was dying of cancer; Dan stops making excuses for why he won't be nailing the weird drama girl in the ugly blouse and rounds up Blair (in her jammies) and Vanessa and the three of them head to Nassau County together on a road trip I would have paid good money to see; Chuck tells his imaginary dad to shut it and his driver to stop looking at him like he's crazy and get him to the hospital with a quickness; Jenny and Eric push pause on their fight for the car ride up with Lily; Rufus stays home to try and find Serena's insurance card - which she has in her purse! - because Lily is a big, fat chicken.
While at home, Rufus gets a visit from Wifey-poo with the letter of extreme contrivance. Later, Jenny and Eric make up because it turns out that Eric's brand of awesome doesn't translate into scheming nearly as well as I had hoped. I guess he didn't live with Chuck quite long enough. The young van der Bassphries arrive home with mom - Rufus no where to be found but the missing letter back on Lily's desk - and then Little J sneaks out to deal drugs with Kevin Zeggers whom I really hoped had gone away.
Meanwhile a heart-to-heart between Blair and Chuck at the hospital results in a near perfect demonstration of what people mean when they tell someone to be a man, as Chuck acts like a real man for maybe the first time. He leaves the shelter to the homeless and takes yellow roses to his dad's grave where he finds a woman who has beat him to it and that woman is totally his mother! DUN!
Dan tells Vanessa that he loves her and she says she loves him too but hers is like "yeah, I love you too, buddy!" and his is all "I luuuuurve you." Rejected!
Nate stays by Serena's side all night because he is awesome.
A bit further south on One Tree Hill, a whole lot of caca del toro.
That slap that Mrs. Edwards dealt him last week, must have jarred something loose in Dan's head and now he's decided to stop profiting from his evil deeds and instead quit his show, leave his money-grubbing whore, er, wife, and give all of his money to charity. Rachel is pissed and commences with the big-talk all "I'll make him pay" or some such nonsense when she she gets the divorce papers from his lawyer, but then the lawyer astutely points out that he GAVE HIS MONEY AWAY so he has nothing to pay her with. I'd almost feel bad for Rachel if she weren't always such a massive bitch.
Which reminds me, the writers have decided to completely disregard Brooke's heretofore established personality and awesomeness and instead make her an intolerant, insensitive, pouty, whiny, selfish shrew.
Julian felt bad about the overly-harsh things he said to Alex last week so he goes to see her and interrupts her while she's busy bleeding to death mid-suicide attempt. He stays with her in the hospital to make sure she's ok and that pisses Brooke off because...well, shrew. Julian tells Alex that it turns out their movie will be made and she will be involved and that he'll be her friend unless she tries something like this again and then he will write her off forever. He tells Brooke that he loves her and he wants to be with her and that he's making the movie with Alex because as it turns out, those two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive! Brooke tells him that she feels he is destined to leave her for Alex because he met Peyton when she was vulnerable after her breakup with Lucas and he fell for Brooke when she was in need of help with Sam so he's clearly got a pattern of falling for damsels in distress. He tells her that he just can't bear to see people throw their life away based on a lack of self esteem because he watched his mother do it and it broke his heart. It's a very heartening story and a real glimpse into Julian that Brooke then spits on when she screws up her face into a pouty, pissy little snit and makes it about her again...some more.
Victoria hires a guy to design COB's new men's line without consulting Brooke and Brooke is just like "oh, ok." She was probably just too tired from being a bitch to Julian to work up a good annoyance at her mother.
News of Alex's attempted offing causes Millie to feel bad for approximately 1/2 the episode. She cries to Mouth, she apologizes to Brooke (who fires her - because let's face it, that had to happen - and tells her to get help because they are still friends), she sort of apologizes to Alex but not exactly. Mouth takes her to rehab and they have a touching goodbye and then she sneaks her skank-ass out. She and Rachel need to take their show on the road because Tree Hill and I have had enough of their shit.
Skillz got the job in LA so he and Mouth amscray to the west coast because Antwon Tanner has to go to prison now for that business with selling fake passports. I'm not sure why Lee Norris has to go with him but maybe it's because Mouth doesn't have a job in Tree Hill and his girlfriend is not his girlfriend anymore. Whatever the case may be, farewell gentlemen. Hope we see you again.
Jamie is pissed that his parents are moving him to Spain so he swears, and Haley washes his mouth out with soap. Then Nathan takes him to the bar where Grubbs works his bartender mojo on the Scott men but can't on Miranda because he totally likes her. Then Grubbs and Nate and Haley and Jamie get into a tomato throwing fight that is actually fairly fun.
When everyone has left Tric/Red Bedroom, Grubbs (of the IRL band Wakey Wakey) sits down at the piano to play and sing a bit and Miranda sees and now I think she kind of loves him too. Let's keep Miranda and Grubbs around and bid a final farewell to Alex, Rachel and Millie!
Quinn finds out from Clay's old assistant that one of his clients (a Center for Sacramento) has received bad news that his mom is dying of cancer. He goes to see the guy, who's from Raleigh don'tcha know, and tells him that he's been fired from the agency but that he would like to help if there's anything he can do. A really hilarious cheerleader audition from Quinn and some smart negotiating from Clay later and the two head back to Tree Hill to save the day for the James-Scott's.
Just as Nathan is about to sign his contract to play in Spain, Clay and Quinn stop in to tell them that if Nate will sign with Clay, and get off his weird high horse about Clay and Quinn dating (because Clay "plans to fall insanely in love with her"), and sign a $15M contract with Sacramento right now, then Sacramento will hurry up and trade him (along with the center whose mom is sick) to the Charlotte Bobcats right away and the family can remain in Tree Hill.
Everyone is happy there and Jamie and Nathan go on tour with Hailey until basketball season starts.
The previews imply another, shorter fast forward in time when we catch back up with the folks in Tree Hill in January. Let's all hope that the time away helps someone in the writers room find Old Brooke and bring her back because New Brooke is close to impossible to watch!