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'Gossip Girl': The doctor is in

April 27, 2010 |  6:52 am
William Baldwin made his long-awaited "Gossip Girl" debut Monday night as Serena's M.I.A. dad Dr. William van der Woodsen. The verdict? He's just what the doctor ordered.

With William's return came an explanation for Lily's shady behavior: she's sick with what we can assume is a form of cancer ... or so she thinks. If we could infer anything from the last five minutes of the episode, it would be that William is trying to worm his way back into his former family's lives by duping Lily into thinking she's sicker than she is. Now we know where Eric gets his knack for manipulation!

It was frustrating that for such a serious sounding illness, no one had questions about when and how Lily found out she was sick. The good doctor couldn't even offer a name for her condition, let alone specific treatments or symptoms. I know this isn't "Grey's Anatomy," but if you're going to con your family into thinking you're the only person who can treat this ominous disease, at the very least throw in some polysyllabic words for them to wrap their heads around. Serena's blank stare alone should have been a clue as to how effective that tactic would be.

The most interesting element of the whole storyline was Rufus. He may be patient and understanding now, but I hope that a storm is brewing inside him. Mildly demanding that William check out of his hotel won't be enough--he's going to have to set his pacifism aside and fight for his family. I want him to show that underneath that cardigan is a strong, aggressive waffle-making warrior. Right now, he looks meek compared to William, whose baby blues and husky voice were built for seducing Upper East Side moms (on a side note: aren't William and Alec Baldwin sounding more and more alike? "Gossip Girl" could get a boost in ratings if the doc was related to Jack Donaghy from "30 Rock." Just sayin'). Rufus will need to step it up if we're to think he's a worthy opponent in the battle for Lily's heart.

Perhaps he should take some notes from his daughter because Jenny was in full seduction mode from Minute One. I've got to hand it to her -- the girl did her homework and pulled some classic moves on Nate. Stay so late at his place that you have to spend the night? Check. Ask to wear one of his shirts to bed? Check. Follow advice from his self-serving roommate/best friend? Check. Get him drunk and alone so you can tell him how his girlfriend doesn't deserve him before pouncing? Check. Jenny did everything right, except Nate was impenetrable. Just as William towered over Rufus in the mojo department, Serena, in her classy trench and YSL bag, made Jenny look like an emo rag doll. At that point, Nate's choice was pretty clear.

Unlike Rufus and William's case, I don't advocate a Jenny insurrection. She doesn't really belong with Nate; she's just bored and needs attention. I miss the upbeat, snappy Jenny, who bubbled with promise at becoming something different from the jaded teens we had come to expect from the show. There's no turning back after all the show's put her through, but I hope Taylor Momsen's upcoming leave of absence will give Little J her much needed time out.

That break may soon be coming for Dan and Vanessa. After Dan received a rejection letter from the Tisch writing program, Vanessa divulged that she had also applied and was offered the sole transfer spot in the program.  Dan played the supportive, positive boyfriend, but it was obvious he relished the idea of Willa getting her father to recall Vanessa's acceptance. Willa, on the other hand, was quite the hoot! She needs to come around more often. Word on the street is that Jessica Szohr may be taking her own sabbatical from the show, so it's only a matter of time before we see Dan and Vanessa's relationship implode.

As for everyone's favorite couple, Chuck and Blair, forgiveness still looks a long way off. I love Blair's attempts at moving on, from planning a rebound reception to trekking to Brooklyn to find a boy to make out with. Chuck's fatwa against her was funny the first time the word was uttered--not so much after the 30th time. The more Blair grows and comes to terms with their failed relationship, the harder it will be to imagine them together again. I know, I can't believe I wrote that either. Give us a glimmer of hope, "Gossip Girl"!

It's your turn, readers. Tell me what you thought of the episode in the comments section! Any favorite parts or not-so-favorite parts?


--Enid Portuguez

Photo: Blake Lively as Serena van der Woodsen and William Baldwin as William van der Woodsen on "Gossip Girl." Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW

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