The theme of last night’s GOSSIP GIRL was secrets — from the cool (Lily revealed she once modeled for photographer Richard Mapplethorpe, prompting Serena to declare, “You just became the coolest mom on the Upper East Side”) to the destructive (Rufus found out that Jenny has been skipping school). Anger and revenge were also central tenets of the episode. Wearing his best scowl, Chuck manipulated Dan — who secretly (there’s that theme again) mined Chuck’s life for material for short stories — just because he was bored without Blair. (Line of the night: Dan to Chuck: “How do you know so many twins?”) Dan’s latest writing mentor encouraged him to learn the secret of Chuck, the “young Mephistopheles,” and Dan thought he uncovered it; Chuck claimed his mother died giving birth to him, but later recanted.
Blair, meanwhile, was resenting Serena for not only usurping her throne with the girls at school, but daring to meet a new friend, socialite Poppy. Blair was so angry that she was willing to ruin her mother’s fashion show just to spite Serena. And Jenny; Blair hates Little J as well. Over and over, Blair sabotaged the gala in an effort to show up her enemies, but things continued to work out for the best, culminating in Serena strutting down the catwalk in a dress designed by Jenny. (May I just halt the blog here for moment to point out how heart-stoppingly gorgeous Blake Lively looked in that green dress? Amazing!) I don’t think we’ve ever seen Blair this evil — it was great!
“There are bad people out there. I feel like I should help.”
My favorite character on HEROES is H.R.G., hands-down. He is flat-out made of awesome, as the kids say nowadays. How brave do you have to be to walk, unarmed, into a den of super-powered villains who want your blood? Noah did it without hesitation. His motivation was partly to protect the world from the baddies, but also to bide his time and exact revenge on Sylar for threatening his daughter, Claire. Speaking of parents and offspring, do we believe Angela is really Sylar’s mother? We know he had to have “special” parents, but it’s all just too…well, incestuous to make everyone related to everyone else. Not to mention lame to keep making a secret-parent reveal over and over and over. (When will Parkman be revealed as Claire’s crazy Uncle Matt?) Claire herself is currently motivated by a desire for revenge against the brain-sucker, as her birth mother, Meredith, forced her to admit. (“You have to save yourself before you can save the world,” she advised.) Claire took off with her dad’s files on the villains — but why didn’t he take those with him to Poughkeepsie, N.Y.? BTW, Poughkeepsie is a real place in upstate New York. It used to be part of the vaudeville circuit back in the day. I thought the setting was interesting, juxtaposed against the revival movie house in Berlin, which was showing Buster Keaton movies. Hiro and Ando encounter our old friend the Haitian there; he was retrieving the other half of the formula that allegedly will destroy the world. And did you notice whom he got it from? It was dark, but that was definitely Olga Sosnovska, ex-Lena from ALL MY CHILDREN. (Funny how Bianca’s old lover resurfaces just as word filters out that Binks herself is returning to Pine Valley.) And that was another AMC veteran, Ronald Guttman (ex-Alexander Cambias) as Dr. Zimmerman, the pediatrician who boasted that he “created” Tracy. It was nice to check in on Micah, but I’m glad to take him in small doses.
Did you notice how the Haitian did not seem at all upset about losing the formula to speedster Daphne? My personal theory is that the formula is not what is appears to be — Mr. Nakamura clearly wanted Hiro to remove his half from the safe, or he never would have tempted his son. Perhaps it is something harmless — or even some kind of cure for something, disguised as something dangerous?
My colleague Mala took time out of her life to proselytize about LIFE, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I watched one episode last season, and beyond being impressed with the integration of music into the storyline, I thought it was just a pedestrian procedural that relied on self-conscious eccentricity. Well, the eccentricity was still there last night, but the show seemed more self-assured than self-conscious. Clearly, the-powers-that-be had found their groove. The actual case was still just a MacGuffin that gave star Damian Lewis an excuse to act…unusually. This show relies totally on its stars to rope in viewers, so LIFE is lucky that Lewis and co-star/foil Sarah Shahi (ex-Carmen, THE L WORD) have charisma to burn. While Lewis is impressive as the oddball Det. Charlie Crews, I’ve seen the ol’ Englishman-as-wacky-American bit from Hugh Laurie on HOUSE. The real revelation for me was Shahi, who is much more than just another pretty face; she can really act. No doubt this quality works equally well for her character, Det. Dani Reese. Donal Logue (ex-Chuck, ER) has been added to the cast as a transplanted New Yorker, and he works well. There’s something slightly sleazy about Capt. Tidwell in general — and the way he dotes on Reese in particular. How long until the sexual-harrassment suit? Then again, Reese seems more likely to punch him in the throat than than file suit. LIFE moves to its regular time slot, Fridays at 10 p.m., this week.