By Lanford Beard
Updated May 15, 2012 at 04:29 AM EDT
Credit: David Giesbrecht/The CW
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Warning Gossip Girl fans. If you haven’t seen last night’s season finale, then don’t read any more because there will be SPOILERS aplenty. If you’ve seen “The Return of the Ring,” click through. Otherwise, we’ll see you once you’ve gotten crossed all the Xs and Os off your list.

Credit: David Giesbrecht/The CW

So it looks like our own Michelle Profis got at least a few of her wishes. Chair is back on (maybe?). Georgina is back, period. The Ivy/Lola shenanigans are all but extinct. And Gossip Girl. Oh, Gossip Girl. She really made a mess, didn’t she?

Let’s start with the alpha couple: The final moments of tonight’s finale — the last episode before GG‘s abbreviated final season — saw Blair (Leighton Meester) chasing down Chuck (Ed Westwick) in Paris. She had chosen, and her choice had a habit of declaring his own name to anyone who would listen. That’s right. We heard our first “I am Chuck Bass” in a long time. But it was withering and posturing instead of cocksure and kick-ass, no?

That seemed to be the theme of tonight’s episode. To quote Gossip Girl herself: The more things change, the more they stay the same. As much as these 20-somethings have changed, they’re ultimately in the same place they were when the series began. And so, as fun.’s “We Are Young” played, and it was apt, but also tragically ironic. As the final stretch plays out, the Upper East Siders’ return to early days ridiculata could certainly move back to the sudsy excitement Gossip Girl offered up in seasons 1 and 2. Or, if the trajectory continues as the end of tonight’s episode showed, it will just be a slow trudge to “Ladies Who Lunch” territory.

For example, like in high school Blair was once again scheming to take down her nemeses (Gossip Girl, Serena) and volleying between two different men. Perhaps Blair’s final-scene gesture toward Chuck was meant to be triumphant. Without a doubt, Leighton Meester looked stunning the dress she chose for her big entrance. And yet, the sting of her fight for him was only made worse by the fact that Chuck‘s sincere show of maturity was essentially thrown back in his face — Bart (Robert John Burke) bamboozle him out of the company. His daddy issues came back in full force, and his desperate need to prove himself as some sort of unfeeling, invulnerable lone wolf (and, if we’re really going back to season 1, let’s add the adjective “rape-y”) seemed like it would be an insurmountable stumbling block. Will the endless cycle of hurt to which Chuck and Blair have exposed one another make the satisfaction of a huge rock or a symbolic, high-stakes bet moot. I’m afraid it might. Agree or disagree?

Meanwhile, Serena (Blake Lively) was literally and physically back where she started — cracked out and alone, on a train. After successfully seducing Dan (Penn Badgley), her plan spectacularly blew up in her face. Long story short, Serena is, was, and forever will be the world’s most indiscreet iPhone user (hence a craptastic Gossip Girl). She was also a pretty stupendous failure at being a human being, period. Then again, she was in fine company after Dan vengefully pulled Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg) back in the conversation solely for the purpose of rewriting Inside and burning every bridge he had left. (Did he even have any left?) Way to go Dan, you’ve just gone from being a literary luminary to a tabloid-level hack. You can join Lily and Bart in the Hamptons while they lunch with Dina Lohan, you punk.

Speaking of Lily (Kelly Rutherford), she continued to be utterly oriented toward self-preservation — mostly to the detriment of Rufus (Matthew Settle), who has now been expunged for her legal record thanks to an annulment. Elsewhere, Lola (Ella Rae Peck) set out to destroy Lily vis-à-vis Ivy (Kaylee DeFer), and I am 100 percent certain that will amount to absolutely nothing. And Nate‘s (Chace Crawford) only job was to stand there and look pretty. Now that’s a story arc I can get behind.

So, to recap what’s afoot for season 6: Serena is a coke-fueled disaster, Dan is ostracized and bitter, Chuck and Blair are stuck in their eternal tango, and Gossip Girl has reclaimed her spot at the center of the universe. Feels just like old times! Only sadder.

What did you think, Gossip Girl fans? Was this season’s finale particularly grim for you, too, or am I just a cynical old wench? Do you think showrunners can bring back the momentum in the show’s final season?

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Gossip Girl

Spotted: Serena, Dan, Blair, Chuck, Vanessa, and Nate — hooking up, breaking up, and freaking out. You know you love it! Xoxo!
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