Gossip Girl season 1 midseason premiere review: Holiday manhunt

Zoya and Julien. Gossip Girl (2021). Photograph by Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max.
Zoya and Julien. Gossip Girl (2021). Photograph by Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max. /

Spotted:  Gossip Girl‘s midseason premiere has arrived with three episodes on HBO Max, but are the new episodes enough of a course correction to make up for the boring first half of the season?

Max and Obie

While these new episodes seem to be doing a better job at establishing character and making us care about these uber-privileged Upper East Siders, Obie is one I still can’t get on board with. He seems to have little regard for the way he destroyed Julien and Zoya’s relationship, and on top of that, he ghosts Aki after he comes out.

Thankfully, we don’t have to see much of Obie in these episodes who doesn’t contribute much anyway. When he finally apologizes to Aki, it’s…fine, I guess. And he earns back his credibility with the sisters by helping Julien avoid paparazzi all day while trying to find out the truth about her dad. Whatever that’s worth.

Meanwhile, Max is one of the more quietly compelling characters for me.  Perhaps because other than Zoya and Julien, we spend the most time with his family. In the wake of the Rafa drama, Max is dealing with his dads’ separation and going through all the stages of grief, including adorably Parent Trap-ing them.

Of course, his dads aren’t so easily fooled and while Max is genuinely struggling with the ambiguity of their separation, he has found one outlet where he feels safe and happy — his scenario with Audrey and Aki.

Audrey and Aki

Audrey and Aki continue to redefine and expand the definition of their relationship as they bring Max in for an adventurous new dynamic. But the couple soon finds that they feel awkward around each other without Max and work to reset the relationship, eventually cutting him out.

While they explore the possibility of an open relationship, each going on dates with other people, Audrey and Aki determine they are happiest with just each other, which is probably best considering they’re in high school, after all.

Zoya and Julien

When we last left off with these twisted sisters, they’d struck a tentative peace, only for Julien and Obie to hook up behind Zoya’s back. It doesn’t take long for Zoya to find out and for the two to go back to square one.

The will they won’t they of Zoya and Julien is getting a little tiring. Yes, Blair and Serena fought a lot, but they also had long-lasting periods of genuine love and friendship between them that made the lows that much lower. At this point, why are we supposed to care when Zoya and Julien fight and make up each time?

What brings them back together this time is a sexual harassment scandal rocking the Calloway household with Julien’s dad at the center. While at first, Julien refuses to believe her dad could have done anything wrong, Zoya is hardcore BELIEVE WOMEN without considering how her sister might be feeling about any of it.

Props to Zoya’s dad, Nick, for reminding her to be a person now and again. When Zoya reaches out to Julien, the two team up to investigate and Julien learns there may be some truth to the women’s claims, placing her in the eye of the storm created by Gossip Girl.

Gossip Girl

The new episodes see Gossip Girl more powerful than ever before and gaining a national spotlight thanks to the Davis Calloway sexual assault scandal. Of course, Kate Keller continues to be morally conflicted about hurting Zoya and Julien and wonders how far the Gossip Girl account should go, leading to a mutiny at the hands of the other teachers who lock her out.

As the frenzy for information on Julien increases, and specifically hard details on whether she supports her dad or stands against him, Gossip Girl becomes a catalyst in the public manhunt on Julien’s whereabouts, much to Kate’s horror.

She calls Nick, thinking she can use her relationship with Zoya’s dad to prove Julien’s innocence, and goes live to capture Julien’s conversation with one of her dad’s survivors, but instead witnesses Julien asking her not to come forward.

The full context is to protect her from a lawsuit and better leverage the case against her dad. But the snippet is enough to damage Julien AND all at the hands of Kate and Gossip Girl.

Things finally seem to be heating up. Here’s hoping they can stick the landing. Until next time, XOXO.

Next. Gossip Girl season 1 episode 6 review: Parents just don’t understand. dark

What did you think of the midseason premiere of Gossip Girl? Make sure to tell us in the comments below!