Warning: This recap mentions mature themes, including child pornography.
Lonely boy’s Gossip Girl may’ve set up camp in the moody, vanilla-eccentric library aisle primarily belonging to young adults. Not this one, however. Instead, its flowery slur points to a back catalog swiped with the Rupi Kaur’s, the Pierre Alex Jeanty’s; those who hide bigger goss behind human subtleties, a hand tightly clasped on top of the other, flirty remarks tossed to usher in someone’s good side. The political line between the faculty helping students at parent’s night or the naughty corner buzz of setting one off by airing dirty laundry. Kate decides it’s too risky, and the best thing to do currently is wait for the perfect tip.
Maybe it’s hidden somewhere in Zoya’s bedroom. Therefore, marking her off the headcount when boarding the trendy Lyft Black lineup to holiday in the upscale Brooklyn warehouse buildings of Dumbo. Julien has used the always golden hour elevator to conspire precisely how she’ll be able to contour her relationship with Otto into the pre-breakup filter within two days. While Max has worked out the spiral staircase leading to roseate flowers falling out of an extravagant vase is the perfect hunting grounds for his next sexual exploit. He’s down about four hands when Audrey and Aki refuse a threesome only to prowl after a male teacher.
Our underage drinkers, Julien and Audrey, hide the headline splash of one mother crafting a disappearing act and the other still being six feet underground behind olive garnishes. Sitting down on the couches, the former makes up the triangle formation of her minion squad, Luna and Monet placed on either side, with the latter lonesome until Aki joins. Audrey crouches forwards, knowing the skeleton kept in the Gucci closet of Otto’s whereabouts is unzipping between Aki’s lips. Whether Julien prefers it or not, he’s not showing up to this Instagram photo-op. He is, however, jogging up the 79 St Station steps wondering if a mysterious someone is sharing the whistled echo of a train bombarding its track line.
There are two places elective teacher Rafa Caparros shouldn’t be; one of them is the parent’s night, exclusive to the fragile faculty who have to squabble with thick-wallet parents and then the bathroom shared with a coquetry student. Max is met with the firm rule that he doesn’t sleep with his students. It’s about as risky as Otto standing outside of Zoya’s apartment complex. Her fingers snake into his to pull him away from the watchful gaze of a receptionist. This is Gossip Girl’s city, however. Whether you’re geographically placed on the upper or west end side, if one has a camera-gifted phone, then a snap will digitally imprint you onto its secret snuffed radar. The posted one minute ago stamp twines together with Kate and Zoya’s father Nick walking into her office.
Admission of the truth comes better with a verified tick of blue; Monet stealthily grabs Julien’s phone, posting a photo of Julien and Otto together, making her followers believe he’s with her. They furiously engage with Gossip Girl herself, spamming the account with glorified canceled comments and the rapid decrease of followers. Fire emojis may repel snakes, but there is a toss-in of a Swifties vs. Scooter Braun quip for those who are alertly tuned in. This does call for a draw, though, and if Julien wants to win, she needs one final move to completely take out Zoya’s emerging Queen piece on the Constance Billard high school hierarchy chessboard.
Audrey stumbles into her mother’s room, the blinds are drawn, and the blankets are haphazardly wrapped around her pajama-clad body, with the only touch of class revealing itself through curled bangs. The diagnosis is also a breakup, her ex-assistant running off with her former husband, who once coyly offered up compliments to do with her charming family. Nevertheless, she agrees to come to the fundraiser. Zoya, leaning against the kitchen’s crook, listens as her father states she’s still under the watchful gaze of the school administration. One thing against her and she’ll be kicked out, including the boy with ringlet hair and a doggie bag for the underprivileged. Otherwise, there’s been an overnight development to Gossip Girl’s account: all its posts are flagged. Is this a test even the teachers can pass?
Upon stalking their half-naked elective teacher’s account and Max knowing the schedule of Russian & Turkish Baths, this boy’s club sauna on 10th street, he and Aki have a steaming appointment at three. Julien watches on as Otto works up the courage to sit next to Zoya in the courtyard; she’s reading a book, yet, it doesn’t dare to happen since he’s stopped mid-step. The word ‘break’ is really pairing with ‘up’ as despite still and perhaps always caring about Julien, there’s no longer a romantic bone to what they are. But, then, dashing towards Zoya, sparks nibble away at him, asking her out, her only agreeing if it’s under the condition of no one ever finding out, hitting the somewhere near impossible stateline. Out of punnily-served hashtags, while Julien can’t throw Zoya into expulsion, she can team up with Gossip Girl to cause a Romeo and Juliet adaptation.
Remember the last episode when a teacher dangled with child pornography, snapping underage Zoya in her underwear mid a New York rainstorm? It turns out the students are also bound to be behind immoral bars since spotted locking lips with the only fabric between being a towel to erupt a teacher into jealousy are Max and Aki. It works, perhaps too well, with the pink-bristle-haired teenager wistfully hoping for a second round. Doesn’t that count as cheating, or is Audrey already writing up an amicable breakup statement for her followers? An update on the Gossip Girl front; the posts are back to being curated into a tight sequence of three boxed rows, but they’re falling short on any sort of cancel-esque bomb regarding Zoya. She’s too clean!
Zoya walks into the staff room under the suggestion of the headmistress to help with fundraiser prep; it’s just scribbling out fancy names onto blank cards, nothing too risky. Say there was a risk; it would be her wholesome ability to overshare. She sort of feels like an alien trapped between two earths. One’s greenish sphere is overpopulated with mean, high school girls with designer pleated skirts falling higher than the acceptable below knee-length—it’s actually a great thing that she doesn’t easily blend in here. In contrast, there’s confusion as to why she doesn’t belong to the other, her old school, which won’t allow her back in if she were to lose her scholarship. Gossip Girl sets out a blast to Julien, notifying her through a video (we are yet to be privy to) of exactly what outlandish situation left Zoya standing outside of her old school’s gates with no gold star slip to help re-enter.
The location is the fundraiser, socialites who not only have the chance to network but to pick out a charitable hashtag as they flood their respective social media’s with squeaky clean personas sparse out at tables. Audrey and Aki’s accessories for the night are worry lines creased onto their foreheads; hers is due to the minutes passing as her mother’s nowhere in sight, and his is looming over a kiss. Otto nestles up to Zoya’s side. She’s staring out of the high windows into the city’s midnight skyline, thinking she wouldn’t have bothered to come providing that the ticket wasn’t free. It’s only free because Otto’s bought them, sliding the thin paper invites, summoning for the date if you will, into her letterbox protected under a key. Audrey finds her mother slipping out of the elevator and making a beeline towards the bar. Noticeably this isn’t her first drink. Nick is also there, just a little further down, forming an attraction to Kate.
Julien barges in on Otto and Zoya. They’re only debating the philanthropic efforts of the elite and how if the costs of the night were landed straight into the charity’s bank account, then there would be extra toys filling up its playtime box. See, Julien hasn’t told her father that Zoya’s enrolled at Constance Billard, yet alone they’ve been pen pals since they can remember, but this isn’t Zoya’s problem to help fix, so the waiters have swapped the menu’s special from girly catfights to gentlemen stand-offs. They’re already together. Julien’s dad wishes she would’ve come to him if she were to seek answers about her sister; she did, though, a few times when he wasn’t sober and became alarmingly worried that if she spoke again when he was, he would slip back into old routines. He walks away disappointed.
Troublesome parents are also themed in Audrey, as her mother is walking around the tables with her shoes dangling from one hand and the other clumsily holding a wine glass. She lands onto a man’s lap; he’s a doctor, which comes in handy as her hand’s bleeding from breaking the said wine glass. Zoya, Otto, and Kate take that as their cue to disappear. The first two are standing outside Apple’s Art Supplies, its garage door opening so they can slip in with a black card. Kate, however, is standing inside a deli perched just opposite, taking photos. Under Gossip Girl, she drops the pin location to Julien, who then sends it to her father, telling him soon both parents will find out she isn’t the devil horned sister in this tale.
In his final attempt to court Rafa, Max has bought an auction item tied to his name; students, though, cannot use such wins, so his fathers will instead love the tour. Their rendezvous will wait until post-graduation. What won’t wait is the blowup Audrey and Aki are having; he’s the Switzerland boyfriend who won’t say her mother’s evil for ruining the night, instead noting something else must be up. Cutely throwing items into the metal basket, its orange legal papers peeking through staples, it’s when a pause occurs where Otto leans down slightly to kiss Zoya. Julien realizes she’s not perfectly fit for him. Zoya is. It’s too late, though, because both fathers are also standing outside, and Zoya’s perfect night is saturated with the undoing of the fairytale thrill. Gossip Girl may be the godmother; after all, she’s learned that sometimes having a conscience is a good thing, deleting the photos she had just captured.
It turns out Aki was right, in fact, a little too right. Bankruptcy is the secret tethered to Audrey’s mother, having to close her clothing line knowing there’ll be more changes to deal with. Audrey, too, knows that’s the case; a point towards it is putting his shirt back on, presumably creased from being thrown onto the floor in a sexy tryst. Max thanks her, throwing a glance over to the bed. She swears him to secrecy. Julien and her father are standing in their kitchen; he’s apologizing. Understandably everyone has two sides to them, and he’s witnessed her harshest only under the guise that she was held back from finding Zoya. Their mother would’ve loved them forming the sisterhood ripped from birth. However, Zoya’s leaving Constance Billard, not due to an explosive punishment but her own choice, which takes us to another bathroom moment; she’ll stay, that’s only due to the blood promise Julien won’t interfere with her blossoming relationship. Gossip Girl won’t either. At least its verified blue-tick glow-up won’t.
Gossip Girl airs on HBO Max on Thursdays, with episodes coming out weekly.