Adam Markovitz
May 20, 2008 AT 06:15 PM EDT

Sex, scandals, secrets, blah blah blah. There was only one real mind-blower in the season finale of Gossip Girl: Vanessa’s dress, designed by none other than Jenny Humphrey. I had to rewind this scene three times and then pause it just to get the shrieks of joyful horror out of my system before going on with the episode. Not since Molly Ringwald’s Pretty in Pink potato sack have we been asked to ooh and ah at something so wonderfully wretch-worthy. From the yellow tulle petticoat to the awkward bell sleeves to the neon flower in her hair, she looked more like the mistress of a hypercolor renaissance fair than a high schooler on her way to a wedding.

But sadly, the outfit, in all its love-to-hate-it glory, was an early high point in an episode that otherwise felt a little frumpy. Serena and Dan’s relationship was finally half-resolved with a groan-inducing breakup; Lily and Rufus let their spark fizzle without much of a fight; and worst of all, Georgina was summarily dispatched in one disappointingly tidy scene. After watching her gleefully ruin Dan and Serena’s lives, I was looking for something more along the lines of semi-accidental death or even just public humiliation (courtesy of a certain blog, perhaps). I mean, who didn’t want to see Blair deck her with a Fendi clutch instead of handing her a pamphlet for a bad-girl boot camp? But at least B got in one good line before it was over, hissing at a defeated Georgina: “Haven’t you heard? I’m the crazy b—- around here.” Now there’s the Waldorf spirit.

In fact, Blair — or at least, Blair’s wardrobe — was at the center of most of the episode’s best moments, from her flowery tête-à-tête with Serena (whose awesome wasp-colored frock made for a cute visual pun), to her helipad send-off in a cruisewear get-up that Doris Day would’ve admired. And up until Chuck’s last-minute change of heart (with a Hearst heiress, no less), I was really digging the Blair-Chuck romance. It would’ve been fun to see the two of them team up to form some kind of Upper East Side superpower, but I suppose next season will just hold more of the same spurning and sparring. Sigh.

addCredit(“Gossip Girls; Giovanni Rufino”)

And then there’s Dan and Serena, whose constant miscommunicationseems less like a choice made by human beings than like a decision madeby producers who wouldn’t know what to do with two main characters in ahappy relationship. Every show needs suspense, but the wholeRoss-and-Rachel thing feels very 90’s — especially when Gossip Girl‘sbasic premise of rich kids gone wild is ripe with so many possibilitiesbeyond the usual break-up, make-up formula. I’m sure Chuck, Nate, andBlair could drum up enough intrigue to keep us watching even if S &D actually stayed together.

Frustrating as the finale might have been, it at least left us witha few interesting summer-love pairings that are sure to unleash a newwave of drama next season. Will Vanessa and Dan finally become friendswith benefits? Will Serena and Nate dip their toes in romantic watersin the Hamptons? Will Blair come back from Europe with a new man tocompliment her Cote d’Azur tan? Here’s hoping for a second season thatbrings us more of the catty brilliance of the show’s best episodes –and maybe a few more Jenny Humphrey originals, too.

Your turn, PopWatchers. Should Dan and Serena work things out? Didanyone really care about Nate’s dad leaving the country or Rufus goingon tour? Was Vanessa’s dress actually attractive? And what should Blairdo to get back at Chuck for ditching her?

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