It was Upper East Side meets "The Christmas Carol" on an all new holiday-themed episode of Gossip Girl last night. On a night when true intentions were revealed, long-held secrets and painful memories made for a climactic winter-finale of Gossip Girl on the CW.
With profits at the Empire Hotel on the uptick, Chuck Bass decides to turn his attentions to another acquisition. With Blair Waldorf by his side, Chuck visits the potential site of a new condominium project, but faces an up-hill battle as its development spells the end of a much-needed homeless shelter. Needled by Blair to abandon the project, Chuck is pushed to his limits as the ghost of his late father mocks him for failing to close the deal. Accusing him of being "soft," Bart Bass even encourages his son to break up with Blair, causing a confused Chuck to shut down in a deep depression.
Spurning the pleas of Nate Archibald, Serena van der Woodsen takes to Tripp van der Bilt's Range Rover for a spontaneous romantic retreat. Hiding out at the van der Bilt's summer home, the romantic interlude is cut short, as a work-related assignment from Congressman Barney Frank leads Tripp to seek the advice of his wife, Maureen. Attributing his absence to a necessary visit with his grandfather, Tripp's story is promptly contradicted by Nate who informs Serena that Grandfather van der Bilt is in Bermuda. Devastated by Tripp's deception, Serena ultimately runs into a vengeful Maureen, who coldly announces her recent discovery of Lily's secret letter. Detailing the assumed summer affair between Lily and Dr. van der Woodsen, the correspondence serves to bully Serena into playing the role of "mistress" and allowing Maureen to keep her role as the very-public Congressman's wife.
Shocked by Maureen's heartless proposition, Serena calls Lily to briefly apologize, and to tip her off to Maureen's knowledge and possession of the letter. Stepping outside, she is sickened to see Tripp and pushes him away, but ultimately agrees to accompany him back to New York. Disturbed by Serena's refusal to forgive him, Tripp turns to beg for her affection, and in the process loses sight of the road. Within seconds, the sudden appearance of a pack of wolves causes Tripp to swerve and crash his car, critically injuring Serena. Emerging unscathed, and fearing the repercussions of the crash, Tripp ultimately moves Serena to the driver's side of the car and flees the scene.
Already on the road to rescue Serena, Nate arrives at the scene of the crash. Shocked to discover Tripp's absence, Nate is horrified to learn of Serena's injuries and races to the hospital. Joining Nate, Dan Humphrey, Vanessa Abrams, Blair Waldorf, and Chuck Bass converge to visit Serena at the hospital near the crash. Chuck, in particular, is touched, as his visit to the hospital brings back negative memories of his father's death, exactly one year earlier. Breaking down, he uses his last ounce of strength to sit on the floor as Blair arrives to comfort him. Coming to his aid, Blair reminds him why she loves him, and helping him off the ground, the pair leave the hospital.
Waiting in the hallway for moral support, Dan uses some quiet time with Vanessa to express his true feelings. Blurting out an "I love you," he is mortified as Vanessa nonchalantly responds with a friendly, "I love you, too!" Disappointed, he admits her answer wasn't what he was hoping for, and Vanessa, seemingly unaware of his true feelings, notes that people sometimes say things in times of crisis that they don't mean.
Outside the hospital, Nate has a rather eventful run-in with Tripp. Demanding to know why he left Serena, Nate's question is answered by a rather snide Maureen who informs him of the plan to cover-up Tripp's entire involvement. Angered by Tripp's inability to do the right thing, Nate lets his fist do the talking as he gives his cousin a well-deserved punch in the mouth. In a final class act, Nate then returns to Serena's bedside, and stands watch as she sleeps.
As her last order of business, Maureen pays a visit to Rufus Humphrey. Earning a final lump of coal in her stocking, she hands Rufus the letter from Dr. van der Woodsen and informs him of Lily's alleged summer affair. Already on the outs with his distant wife, he leaves the condo to seek the solace of some Upper East Side housewives who have more than enough experience dealing with high-class affairs.
Jenny Humphrey and Eric van der Woodsen also continue their dispute as Eric offers one of Jenny's minions the same luxury bag as the Queen Bee, herself. Attempting to portray her as something of a nasty queen, Eric's plan works as she bitterly turns her back on her traitorous minion. It isn't long, though, before she catches wind of his plan, and purchases a pair of like bags for her remaining friends to curry their favor. While Eric questions Jenny's ability to pay tens of thousands of dollars for a pair of new bags, it isn't until the end of the episode that we learn that Jenny's friend Damien is paying her for helping him deal drugs.
Chuck, meanwhile, decides to visit the cemetery to pay his respects to his father. Arriving at the gravesite, he is shocked to find a woman in a headscarf near his father's headstone. Looking at him, she utters "Charles?" and then runs off into the night. Holding a bouquet of yellow roses--his mother's favorite--he is surprised to find a similar bouquet and a locket. Encarved with the letter E, the necklace holds a picture of his father as a younger man.
Could the mystery woman really be Chuck's mother, Evelyn Bass, who supposedly died giving birth to him? Will Rufus confront Lily about her infidelities, or will he simply seek the solace of another woman? Do Nate and Serena have a future together? Will Maureen tear the van der Bilts apart?
Learn all the answers when Gossip Girl returns to the CW in early 2010. While no date has been confirmed, we bet the conclusion of Season 3 will be outstanding!
Sadly, this marks the end of our Gossip Girl coverage. Thanks for your great comments over the years, and of course, thank you to our loyal readers!!