Episode five of Gossip Girl is all about trust: whether it be Obie (Eli Brown) not trusting his family and their intentions, Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind) worrying that a spring break boys’ trip will lead Max (Thomas Doherty), and Aki (Evan Mock) to the conclusion that they don’t need her in their relationship after all, or Zoya (Whitney Peak) getting upset that Julien (Jordan Alexander) would try and insert herself in Nick’s (Johnathan Fernandez) attempt to make amends with her. As the season continues, things get more complicated, and it’s interesting to see how each character handles the drama.
In this episode, we got a partial conclusion to Shubin’s (Pico Alexander) attempt to discover Gossip Girl’s identity. Jordan (Adam Chanler-Berat) and Kate (Tavi Gevinson) work overtime to figure out who could be blackmailing Shubin after he confides in Kate and says that a wealthy benefactor gave him money over his sabbatical so he could work on a big documentary. Now that person is collecting their IOU and wants Gossip Girl’s identity. Shubin has correctly deduced that Gossip Girl is a teacher but has yet to figure out which one. He even briefly accuses Kate after catching her snooping on his laptop, but she is saved with a well-timed Gossip Girl post from Jordan.
I’ve spent much of my time watching this show wondering how on earth Kate and the other teachers haven’t gotten caught yet, because there have been multiple close calls. After all, Kate isn’t always the smartest about timing her posts. I almost hoped that a student would be the first to deduce her identity–I think this would’ve been a great way to give Luna (Zión Moreno) her own storyline! But unfortunately, the students are still blissfully unaware that a teacher is a mastermind behind uncovering all their misfortunes.
As Kate and Jordan work to uncover who is searching for Gossip Girl’s identity, Jordan finds himself at Shubin’s parents’ home. Little does he know that it’s a trap that Shubin has set up, knowing that someone dug into his school file to get his address. When Shubin and Kate arrive, Jordan is long gone because Kate tipped him off. Shubin is ready to declare that Kate is Gossip Girl, but in the end, Jordan takes the fall for her and also very hastily reveals his feelings for her. These were very clear to almost anyone with eyes, but Kate seems genuinely shocked at Jordan’s confession, which falls into my theory that Kate is not as bright as she seems. Satisfied with this information, Shubin sends Jordan’s name to his benefactor, and for now, that seems to be the end of his meddling.
Meanwhile, Obie could use a distraction after learning about his ex-girlfriend Grace’s (Anna Van Patten) “twincest” situation. When he learns that his mother Helena (Lyne Renée) has been back in the U.S. for weeks, he is shocked and a bit hurt that she wouldn’t inform him, even if they aren’t on the best of terms. He takes some of Julien’s more level-headed advice and decides that instead of going on the spring break boys’ trip, he’ll go to the Hamptons to talk to his mother and apologize. Max and Aki also decide to tag along to spend time with their friend. Unfortunately, they forget to inform Audrey of their change of plans, which causes her to spiral further when she learns that they’re in the Hamptons and not skiing with the rest of the Constance/St. Jude’s boys.
When Obie finally speaks to his mother, he apologizes for making things difficult, only for Helena to ask Aki why Obie is here. It’s clear that she doesn’t trust his intentions, and when Aki relays this information to Obie, he immediately realizes that his mother must be up to something. With a bit of snooping, he can figure out that his parents’ company is responsible for a property in Jakarta flooding. They knew the land wasn’t stable to build on, but they covered that information up and went ahead with the plans.
Obie confronts his mother about this, though I’m not sure he will convince her to change her corrupt actions after so much damage has already been done. Ultimately, he decides to cut ties with his family because he doesn’t condone their actions. Unfortunately for Obie, that leaves him in a tight situation when he returns to his apartment (in a building owned by his family) and realizes he no longer has access to it. He’s effectively been cut off, something he did not consider when condemning his mother’s business practices.
Here are some other episode highlights: Julien further entangles herself with Graham (Jarvis Tomdio), a married man who finally admits to her that he and his wife are separated. In an act of rebellion, Zoya goes with Shan (Grace Duah) to a rave in Philly, but when Shan leaves Zoya on her own, her night takes a turn she wasn’t expecting. Zoya returns to New York, finally gives in, and returns to her dad. Still, something else is clearly troubling her beside his lies, which is further confirmed when she looks up where to get Plan B. Audrey, Aki, and Max finally have a conversation. They vow to actually talk to each other about how they’re feeling, an aspect of their relationship that has been noticeably missing since they got together.