‘Gossip Girl’ Episode 3 Recap: “Lies Wide Shut”

Full frontal male nudity! Enthusiastic same-sex make-outs! Underage analingus! Folks, this isn’t your father’s Gossip Girl! Unless your father is extraordinarily wealthy and sending you to an elite non-public college in Manhattan, through which case I suppose it’s very a lot your father’s Gossip Girl. I wouldn’t let him watch it, although!

On this installment of GGv2.0 (“Lies Wide Shut”), the motion swirls across the premiere of a brand new manufacturing by Slave Play creator Jeremy O. Harris. Harris himself briefly seems as himself to again up younger Zoya’s evaluation of the brand new play within the face of criticism from a pair of white dudes (about one in all whom we are going to speak extra later). An look on Gossip Girl isn’t more likely to earn the just lately controversial Harris any brownie factors along with his detractors, however once more, it’s not the form of cameo the unique present was more likely to ship.

GOSSIP GIRL EP 3 CLAP

Each set of attendees has their very own agenda. Head sleazeball Max will ultimately out his sexual liaison with Audrey and his make-out with Max, already each the excitement of GG posts, to each contributors, throwing one other wrinkle into their tenuous relationship, moreover frayed by Audrey’s try to (right here we go) eat Aki’s ass in mattress. But the triggering incident for all of that’s his plan is to catfish one in all his fathers, whom he calls Pops (John Benjamin Hickey), through the use of the identification of his personal favourite goal, Mr. Caparros, as a faux identification. Max has found that his Pops has a profile on the relationship app Scruff regardless of ostensibly being fortunately married to Max’s different father, known as Dad (Todd Almond), and efficiently blows up his previous man’s spot.

Caught red-handed, Pops (his title is Roy) says that Dad (his title is Gideon and he’s one of many guys Zoya clothes down) isn’t the person he married, a pointed allusion to Gideon’s more and more female gender presentation. (Earlier within the episode Gideon wears an advanced gown that makes it arduous for him to take a seat down for breakfast; “Oh, this old McQueen?” he says, turning the normal “what, this old thing?” cliché right into a supreme humblebrag.) Max is definitely upset by all this, and actor Thomas Doherty does fantastic work portraying his in any other case callow character’s ache. He winds up crashing on Caparros’s sofa after crying on his shoulder, a surprisingly tender second for 2 characters who each appeared too cool for varsity.

(*3*)

Julien, in the meantime, has found that her father is doing stuff on the down-low as effectively, on this case secretly relationship a singer-songwriter from the protection of the close by pied à terre he goes to when he lies about visiting L.A. or Berlin or wherever. (This is much more success than she herself is having now that she’s again on the relationship scene, as each extreme partying and tried relationships with such worthies because the grandson of the final Shah of Iran and a lesser Jonas Brother go nowhere.) 

GOSSIP GIRL EP 3 ROBE

She finagles issues in order that the pair wind up on the play in public collectively, confirming her suspicions. Her dad seems to placate her by saying this was all his misguided try to make her really feel like she was nonetheless the one girl in his life. And it’s apparently “make nice with Julien” day, as a result of Obie cuts off her apology for her habits through the waning days of their relationship by accepting partial duty for her transformation from high-school child into Instagram influencer.

Finally there’s Zoya, who’s receiving recommendation from surprising avenues. Sensing that Julien’s failure to discover a appropriate alternative for Obie augurs a altering of the guard, Luna and Monet—effectively, actually simply Luna; Monet’s too busy making out with some random woman—resolve to play Pygmalion with little Z. Luna coaches her on the influencer fundamentals: by no means make eye contact with the digicam (or anybody else for that matter), put on pointless contact lenses so that you just’re at all times smizing, by no means eat something in public. But Zoya can barely final the size of the play whereas sustaining these strictures, and she or he’s quickly again to her completely common self, or what passes for a superbly common self on Gossip Girl.

Then there’s the all-faculty Gossip Girl collective facet of the story, which actually seems like its personal present throughout the present. (It’s merely unattainable to think about these nebbishes doing coke on a faculty evening or hobnobbing with New York theatrical royalty.) They begin the episode in a tizzy as a result of the headmistress (Donna Burton) has known as an all-hands assembly, throughout which she publicizes the college has employed a Blackwater/Palantir-style crew of personal intelligence goons to trace Gossip Girl down. The plan additionally includes banning cellphone use by the scholars throughout college as a way to additional slender down the sphere of suspects.

Ringleader Kate Keller and her minions Jordan and Wendy (Rebecca Ferguson) determine a few workarounds for all this, utilizing a firewall to maintain their communications a secret and ready till after the college day ends to publish to the GG account. But what they really want, they really feel, is a scapegoat—a trainer to take the rap and take away the cloud of suspicion. 

They discover their fall man within the type of the fourth member of their little quartet, Reema (Rana Roy). Her husband has already been fired as a result of form of scholar malfeasance the GG account was resurrected as a way to counteract, however he nonetheless feels what they’re doing is each mistaken and futile—”privilege and energy, irrespective of how amoral, will at all times win in the long run, and the folks on the backside will at all times find yourself with nothing—folks like us,” he says.

Unfortunately for her, Reema is beginning to hear. This show of a vestigial conscience is all Kate and firm require to hold their erstwhile co-conspirator out to dry by secretly taking down the firewall, leaving her Gossip Girl–associated messages seen to the safety agency’s prying eyes. But don’t fear, Reema guarantees them as she packs up her shit after getting fired—she didn’t rat any of them out below questioning, and their secret stays protected. It’s unclear if any of the remaining trio really feel dangerous about this; it’s humorous to match their low-key sociopathy to the performatively sleazy actions of, say, Max, who on this very episode is granted some humanity when he breaks down over the state of his dad and mom’ marriage. 

So there you have got it: interpersonal drama, specific sexuality, backstabbing and catfishing, cameos of the wealthy and well-known, namedropping galore, “check your privilege” discourse wielded as a weapon—every little thing you may want from Gossip Girl in 2021. Is it excessive artwork? Probably not. Is it artwork you may need to take pleasure in whereas excessive? Absofuckinglutely.

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Sean T. Collins (@theseantcollins) writes about TV for Rolling Stone, Vulture, The New York Times, and anyplace that will have him, actually. He and his household reside on Long Island.

Watch Gossip Girl Episode 3 (“Lies Wide Shut”) on HBO Max

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