It’s the end of the world as we know it, and the Upper East Side feels... fine. The Gossip Girl series-ending Season 6 finale shocked us, brought us to tears, vindicated our hours logged on Chair-shipping Tumblrs, and wrapped a big Tiffany-blue bow around a show we’ve worshipped for six tumultuous years. Now, we can rest easy knowing Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick) and Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) end up happily married (with a beautiful child), Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) is and has (almost) always been Gossip Girl, and Serena (Blake Lively) still has a bit of a charming trashy side (see: the gold lame wedding dress).
It’s the last dawn in which we will wake up on the UES, and our beloved cohorts are doing exactly what you would expect as the sun rises: scurrying for high ground. Bart Bass has just plunged to his (second) death (in front of Chuck and Blair, who avoided saving him, for better or for worse better). Bart’s murder surprises no one, save for the bobble-headed newscaster teeth-talking at cameras in front of the neon-yellow caution tape. Even Nate (Chace Crawford), the boy who has managed to hang onto a surprising amount of naivete throughout the latest scandals, shrugs as the evening news tells him what he already suspects: Bart is dead and Chuck is far from innocent (but not so close to guilty as they would have UESers believe).
The rest of our beloved pretty, cunning creatures encounter the crime in illuminating ways: Ivy (Kaylee DeFer) giddily whispers “fate has found him” into her phone while sidestepping the chalked outline of the body. Lily (Kelly Rutherford), resplendent in a white robe, chuckles before receiving the disarming phone call that her husband is dead. Blair nuzzles Chuck’s furrowed brow in the limo (natch) trunk (less awesome), as the newscaster overtones, “Chuck Bass is considered a person of interest in this case.” Duh forever, anchorlady.
Nate is interrogated by the police, and proves to have a better poker face than Dorota (Zuzanna Szadkowski). Asked about the nature of Chuck and Blair’s relationship, Blair’s right-hand lady quips, “That will take a long time to explain,” before heavily side-eyeing Eleanor and chugging vodka (with “lots of rocks” and three olives, FYI).
Meanwhile, Dan is oblivious to things like death and other people’s problems, and is still trying to convince Serena he loves her. Some things never change — namely feelings, even in the face of death, destruction, and libel! Serena, who has returned to Manhattan from her private jet to hear Lonely Boy and His Feelings (best band name ever) out, pauses to admonish the Brooklyn-bred narcissist. “Which one is the real you, the one who wrote this chapter or the one who wrote the one in Vanity Fair? Both is not an acceptable answer.” Burn.
Uptown, also in the epic feelings department, Jack (Desmond Harrington) interrupts Chuck and Blair’s brooding nap sesh with a pot of tea and a weighty gauntlet: marriage. Jack asks his brother, “Did you kill him or not?” Patricide is a Monday night for the Bass family. Chuck responds, “I saved myself, then I fought back. I don’t feel guilty, but that doesn’t mean I’m not.” (Is this an advance copy of Jewel’s second poetry book, because we are slain).
Jack suggests, in the offhand nature of someone who has committed felonies at least once a week, that Chuck should marry Blair in order to eliminate the only witness to Bart’s murder. Fittingly, our girl Waldorf is all over this idea.
“Chuck and Blair hold hands. Chuck and Blair go to the movies. You never said you wanted us to be boring.” Chuck brushes her hair out of her face and throatily tells her, “I was a stupid child when I said those things. Life without you would never be boring. Blair Cornelia Waldorf, will you marry me?” Chuck Bass is the original Christian Grey.
Blair says yes. They marry in a frenzy in the middle of a public park (the horror). Blair, sporting a delicately-hand sewn Elie Saab dress, frantically says her “I dos” to her beloved in Central Park. My, how the mighty have fallen risen.
In a final moment of earned serendipity, Dan hands over his last chapter to Nate, who adorably declares (as only a journalist can), “This could change my life.” Lonely Boy has held the keys to the castle all along. Lo and behold, Dan Humphrey is Gossip Girl.
Most surprising is that Dan manages to turn the one venture he started solely for selfish reasons into something that ultimately helps his only true friend, Nate. The latter parlays the power of gossip into a Spectator-branded private jet. The last 20 minutes of the show are spent flashing forward, showing us how our UES BFFs have weathered the next five years. Spoiler alert: All of them land on their feet. It’s Nate whose fate is the most surprising, because his life is the least orchestrated. In the words of F. Scott Fitzgerald, “There is no confusion like the confusion of a simple mind.”
Dan’s reveal that he is Gossip Girl extinguishes the very power structure he once coveted. “The Upper East Side was something out of a Fitzgerald novel. Membership was so elite, you couldn’t buyyour way in. I thought, if I wasn’t born into this world, maybe I could write my way into it,” Dan’s big reveal waxes, and we know once again that it is true that the best bet a Brooklyner, or any of us, has, is to write what he knows.
And write his way Dan Humphrey did, solidly into the hearts of both Serena and Blair, the arbiters of the crumbling UES castle. In the final scene, Dan marries his one — both first and final — true love. Serena wears gold lame, Chuck ties his son’s bow tie, Blair wears a silver dress, in a length appropriate only in her mind. Each is shepherded into their future by their pasts.
Or, in the words of Fitzgerald’s epic tome, The Great Gatsby, “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”