‘Gossip Girl’ Episode 3: “Lies Wide Shut” Dynamic And Queer Characters Take Center Stage And The Show Is Better For It – Recap
Well, here we are back again with the new royalty of Constance Billard, but with the same old Gossip Girl antics.
Episode three gives more insight into the world of super-wealthy teens and this version of Gossip Girl continues to differentiate itself from the original. However, one thing remains a constant, the drama continues to unfold and the people at its epicentre continue to be glamorous.
This episode starts us off with Julien trying to rehabilitate her social media image, post-Obie. Now that Zoya has Obie’s affections, Julien reluctantly accepts the help of Max to take the chance to show-off how she’s moved on from him to demonstrate how relatable she is to her followers. While the night starts as a fun one for both of them, it takes a turn for the worse when Max finds his supposedly happily married father on a queer dating app and Julien finds her father dating another woman in secret. Immediately, this prompts them to search for the truth and uncover secrets hidden by both of their fathers.
On the other end of the social status spectrum, Zoya finds her presence on social media to be fraught with cyberbullying from Luna and those enthralled with Gossip Girl 2.0. She confronts Luna to rectify this, but in an odd twist of fate, Luna takes Zoya into her clientele and adds more social standing education onto everything that Julien tried to teach Zoya previously. Following Luna’s guidance clashes with Zoya’s true nature, which she, unfortunately, learns the hard way.
Meanwhile, Aki and Audrey find the weight of their infidelity to be too much on their consciences, as they seek support from their friends. That comfort doesn’t last long, as a tip to Gossip Girl spreads the news that a tight-knit couple may not be as close as everyone thinks. This throws both of them into a panic, making them both confront Max about each of their nights with him. Still, their secret is exposed but stays between them once Max, in a drunken stupor, lets them both know of their infidelity with him.
This episode is all about uncovering the truth. Whether it be through Julien and Max’s parent trap like plotting, Zoya realizing her boundaries on how to deal with newfound internet treatment, or Audrey and Aki navigating their interest in Max, they all look for truth in misguided ways and eventually they find it. Whether they accept it or deny it, is another conversation.
While the students face their problems, Kate Keller and her team of teachers find themselves struggling to maintain Gossip Girl’s secrecy. This becomes less of a problem when they’re able to pin Gossip Girl’s identity onto a colleague, who ultimately loses their job. It shows that the “good intentions” of the teachers are nothing more than the desire to maintain their newfound power. Something their students can relate to.
Themes aside, this episode becomes one of the queerest yet, with creators of this reboot giving everything LGBTQ+. With Luna, a trans character being played by a trans actress, and queer storylines from Max, Aki, and Monet officially appearing together in one episode, this reboot gives more towards navigating the nuances of LGBTQ+ experiences.
Additionally, highlighting a queer family, that struggles with marital woes, that’s raising a queer child, and that shows queer parents with different gender expression allows for new ways for queer people to be shown on screen. It portrays nuanced experiences and makes them either relatable or educates those who aren’t as familiar with queer and trans stories to learn more. Fingers crossed that this continues to manifest as the show progresses.
The original Gossip Girl focused on characters who were self-absorbed, self-serving, dramatic and a bit out of touch with reality. This was combated by the “down-to-earthiness” of Brooklyn characters, like Dan, Jenny, and Vanessa. But now, it seems that characters whose bank accounts are as large as their personalities can be in touch with the ramifications that their wealth plays within society and can discuss sociological concepts at the drop of a dime.
The show wants to highlight morally flawed, socially aware characters with witty one-liners and monologues, but it feels too forced within their delivery. It works in theory but falls flat in execution at certain points. Regardless, what the show does portray well is that no one is exempt from doing the wrong thing, whether they’re a teenager or an adult.
Outside of this, the show finds its footing in its character development, with Julien, Max, Aki, and Audrey taking center stage on this. Also, the web of intricate, messy relationships begins to form and time will tell what will come from all of them as more drama manifests.
The reboot has started to find its way, but there’s still a long way to go before it can supersede the original or simply stand on its own as an exceptionally entertaining teen drama. It doesn’t need to be within the same pantheon as other new millennium cult favourites, but it does need more development before it can successfully stand on its own.