Now, back to Blair and Chuck, why don’t we start at the beginning? In season 1, Blair was already exhibiting behaviours of a masochist. She desperately held onto a boyfriend who had little interest in her even forgetting the fact that he slept with her best friend to keep him, she kept people at a distance by having minions instead of real friends and with her eating disorder (despite the fact that it wasn’t really mentioned that much) should prove that she was not only self-hating, but crumbling under her own unhappiness. Nate was not a bad guy, but Blair’s clinging to him and refusal to see their relationship for what it really was shows that even though she was young, she was already choosing relationships that brought her unhappiness. There are so many examples of Chuck’s narcissism too in the first few episodes alone, but I want to keep things short so here’s just a few;
‘I’m Chuck Bass’ – grandiose sense of self-importance
‘The only girls you talk too are the ones that I’ve paid for’ – just one of his many interactions with prostitutes, presenting his view of people as objects and a good deal of misogyny there too
‘Whatever happened to don’t speak until spoken to?’ – Only mixing with those he deems ‘worthy’ of his company
Also, his perception of his self-important leads him to live above not only above the law, but just generally outside of the rules and expectations of society – a common trait of narcissists. I am already asking myself if I need to give examples of the other traits of narcissism, namely manipulation, but if some people need it spelled out, let’s jump into the relationship that is Chuck and Blair, Blair and Chuck. Blair sleeps with Chuck after breaking up with Nate – this is a classic example of Blair choosing something that will cause her pain later on. Even if you ship Chuck and Blair, I think it was clear at that point that what Blair did was not because she had feelings for Chuck, at that point she couldn’t stand him and the idea of a romantic relationship with him disgusted her. Sleeping with him brought on shame, regret, humiliation and degradation – both in her own opinion of herself but also when it was revealed to everyone else, this is what caused her to ultimately lose Nate as well. Chuck on the other hand, fell for Blair quickly after they slept together and, being aware of her relationship with Nate and the insecurities Blair had with him, was able to shower her with all the attention that she had craved and make her feel special in the way that she was desperate for Nate to do. His gestures are sweet and done because of a genuine affection he had for her, but this does not change the similarities his trying to win her over has with narcissistic courting (showering of gifts, grand gestures, big declarations if you needed a reminder). Chuck is clearly in the stage of idealisation, he truly adores Blair and she finally has someone who truly wants her, this and simple teenage lust leads her to entertain the idea of a relationship with him. But, Nate’s still in the picture, Chuck may be boosting her self-esteem at this point, but Nate is the one Blair wants and when Nate finally seems to want her back, Chuck needs to act to ensure he gets what he wants. And so begins the manipulation, if you haven’t caught up, I’m talking about Cotillion. Chuck sets it up to look like Blair is seeing Carter and tells Nate the same, Nate fights Carter and they both get kicked out, leaving Blair to Chuck. She figures it out though, and she nails it perfectly when she says “you did all this for your own enjoyment and didn’t care what it would do to me”, because that is the bottom line of it. Blair at this point had the upper hand in the relationship as she did not have feelings for Chuck at the time, and this brought out some of his worst traits and he sought to be in control. He blackmailed Blair into staying away from Nate, but when she ends up seeing him anyway he punishes her (narcissists often deem ‘punishment’ necessary when their partner does something they don’t like) by texting Gossip Girl that she had slept with someone who wasn’t Nate and had a pregnancy scare. This destroys Blair, she loses Nate, her minions, and Serena – though the fallout with Serena is not Chuck’s fault, but Blair’s, in classic masochist style Serena is the one trying to help Blair this episode and Blair pushes her away. With no one else, Blair, defeated and dejected, goes to Chuck and this is when we get to see the devaluation part of the cycle; ‘you held a certain fascination when you were beautiful, delicate and untouched. But now, you’re like one of the Arabians my father used to own, rode hard and put away wet’. I hope no one needs to actually be told that this was an unkind thing to say, but Chuck gets what he wanted here; control, he has Blair in the subservient role for once and reacts exactly how a narcissist would – by degrading her. From then the relationship has shifted, the strangest thing about this all is that somehow between that point and the moment they get together in the finale is when Blair develops feelings for Chuck – even though they spend most of that time avoiding each other and he is not remorseful at all. During this time of avoidance, it’s clear that Blair is hurt by Chuck because she avoids him, but he shows no regret at all and at no point does he show that he is pining after her, he is clearly the one in control. Then in the finale, comes the grand gesture, in his wedding speech Chuck talks about ‘true love’, now that sounds like big talk for a guy who slept with his best friends girl then manipulated, blackmailed, humiliated and avoided her, but it works for Blair, she’s a sucker for someone actually being nice to her and just like that all is forgotten and Chuck and Blair are a real couple. For a whole week. They enjoy the good part of the cycle while it lasts, then Chuck ditches her and probably cheats on her, the cheating is questionable because it seems obvious at that moment that the relationship is over in Chuck’s eyes – though not Blair’s, and also he may not have slept with the interior designer, but it was purposely alluded to. Chuck is now very much steering the rudder on the Chuck and Blair titanic, doing something that would be pretty much unforgiveable for most people, but wait its Blair, so we know she’ll come back for more. And so the season of games, self-sacrifice matched with selfishness and power struggles awaits.
Blair appears to spend the summer trying to force herself to get over Chuck, her desperation to seem like she’s moved on actually does the opposite as she becomes obsessed with how Chuck sees her – I’m mentioning this now as it becomes a pattern for Blair and leads to the disaster that is the Prince Louis storyline. Chuck seems to spend the summer in classic Chuck Bass mode; slutting it up with girls he both paid for and got for free, seemingly without a care in the world. Chuck still wants Blair though and when he hears she’s coming back into town, he’s is actually under the impression that showing up with a bouquet of flowers will have her running back into his arms. Now, this is a classic narcissistic response, thinking that a gesture is all it takes and that the other person should come running back just because he wants her too, this is one of the few times that Blair actually doesn’t fit into his pattern though, as she does not forgive him. Though as we learn later in the episode, it wouldn’t of even taken an apology for her to go back to him, just a love confession – so she probably isn’t as strong as I’d like to think in that episode. She uses Lord Marcus to make Chuck jealous, and Chuck plays his role well, getting his private investigator find out about him – now, there are many things I’m stating that I feel like I shouldn’t have to state and here comes another one; an ex-boyfriend getting a private investigator to dig into the background of your new boyfriend is not good! No, not good at all. It goes back to that controlling, manipulative nature that I was discussing earlier. Blair is thrilled with what is found out though, Lord Marcus is a obviously a British Lord, and Chuck’s knocked down a peg as he knows Marcus won’t simply be a pawn to make him jealous. He asks Blair not to leave him, she needs a reason; three words and eight letters, now I feel like it would be unfair to say Chuck not saying those words is a sign of him being bad for Blair, because Blair shouldn’t force him into that position in the first place and who could blame him for being too scared to say that for the first time when she’s about to leave with someone else? Having played devil’s advocate, I will now add that not saying those words to Blair allows him to maintain in control, he knows she wants those words and that if he does say them, she’s his, as much as she something over him, he has something over her. Regardless, Blair is actually at a point where she could actually be able to move on from Chuck, because she’s not trying to, as wrong as her reasons for being with Lord Marcus are, she’s with him because she wants to be, not to make Chuck jealous, it’s not about Chuck at all. But how long will Chuck leave Blair’s relationship with another man alone? Oh, I think it lasts for the first five minutes of the seconds episode of the season, Chuck gets to work on manipulating Lord Marcus and looking for ways to break him and Blair up. Romantic, isn’t it? Chuck’s plan to break them up fails when Blair conveniently walks in on Nate with a certain evil step-mother, but we all know Chuck won’t give up just like that. Interestingly, this episode portrays what a lot of people like about Chuck and Blair as a couple; the games, and as it seems that they both enjoy it, I think it’s clear that what Blair enjoys is the fact that she was victorious, and the attention that she’s getting. Going back to Nate, the guy that never paid any attention to her at all, then then following the summer where Chuck gave his penis the tour of European vaginas, she finally is getting him to pay attention to her. Yeah, it’s the wrong kind of attention, I think most girls would prefer a ‘you look nice today’ over a jealous ex trying to sabotage your current relationship, but for Blair, who is still very much the insecure girl living in the Serena-shadow, screaming for someone to pay attention to her, she thrives on Chuck’s jealousy and the efforts that he puts into getting her attention. Blair’s happy in her relationship with Marcus though, until sex becomes an issue. Interestingly, it’s not that Lord Marcus can’t satisfy her and only Chuck can scratch her itch, it’s that Lord Marcus just won’t and doesn’t seem to see her as a sexual object. Now for an insecure girl, who’s ex-boyfriend lost his virginity to her best friend and never got excited at the prospect of ‘sealing the deal’ with her, her new boyfriend showing the same lack of interest in her sexually probably stings some old wounds. So this is why, despite the vulgar reasons for Chuck propositioning her, she goes for it. It’s clear in the episode that she’s horny, for lack thereof a better word, but she’s also in need of a confidence boost too, but once the lights come on, it’s Lord Marcus who Blair runs after, leaving Chuck high and dry, and she probably sleeps with him that night too. And so we’re left wondering how long will Chuck leave Blair to enjoy her relationship? Now it’s clear he doesn’t even have to interfere, as Blair’s relationship with Lord Marcus unsurprisingly ends when she finds out he’s cheating on her with his own step-mother, I think it’s important however to note that they don’t break up because of Chuck in any way and secondly that Blair gets cheated on again, just another hit her pride will take due to another ill-chosen love interest. So it seems like Chuck didn’t have to screw with Blair and yet he does anyway, while Blair is distracted with trying to help Nate, Chuck sets up a long and complicated scheme to not only screw with Serena and Dan, but the ultimate endgame is to screw with Blair. This is not even about his jealousy or any romantic relationship of Blair’s, it is simply to hurt her. He dethrones her from queen of the high school and attempts to destroy her relationship with Serena, but why? Now back to that narcissist thing, if a narcissist feels that their partner has acted in a way unacceptable to them, they will punish their partner. That’s what this is, Blair rejected him last week and is in a relationship that Chuck hasn’t been able to destroy, so he punishes her. Not only in a way to hurt her emotionally, but in a way that specifically pushes her inferior to Serena buttons – this severely damages her self-esteem, now if Chuck was a narcissist, he might be doing this purposely to drive her into his arms – hmm, the following episode Chuck tells Blair that she needs him if she wants to take down Serena and resume her rightful place as queen B. She rejects him again however, and when Blair loses a battle to Serena, Chuck is quick to tell her how much pleasure he takes in watching her fail, what a charmer, huh? Thanks to what Chuck puts in motion, Blair and Serena’s friendship soon disintegrates and Blair nearly sabotages Yale because of it – oh but again, Chuck is there to help with this sabotage as he gives Serena what would be Blair’s answer for the dean. Despite Chuck’s worst intentions and best efforts, Serena and Blair’s friendship overcomes the Yale issues, and it’s time for round three between Chuck and Blair. When Vanessa manipulates Blair, Blair being Blair is frantic to get her power back, so she enlists Chuck to seduce and destroy her, his prize being that he gets to sleep with Blair. Let’s not be blind here, Blair wants to kill two birds with one stone, she genuinely wants to humiliate Vanessa and ‘put her in her place’, but she wants to bang Chuck too. Queue bad porn dialogue, deep breathing and ‘sexy’ background music while I load up on caffeine to stop myself from falling asleep. Now, it doesn’t go quite to plan, Chuck begins to actually like Vanessa, not that he would actually date her, but at the least begins to think that maybe someone could view him as a real friend, and this unsurprisingly panics Blair. Blair’s the prize, she set it up that way, but Chuck’s reluctance to destroy Vanessa makes it seem like he doesn’t want the prize, that it’s not worth it, now have I mentioned before that Blair is insecure? Also, remember the last time that Blair made herself a prize for someone to collect? It was with Nate in the Handmaiden’s Tale, Nate showed no interest in his ‘prize’ and instead confessed his feelings to and kissed who he thought was Serena. This brings out an ugly side of Blair’s, she ends the game, making sure to destroy any feelings that Vanessa could have for Chuck in the process so she doesn’t have to worry about that threat or Chuck actually having a chance for a real relationship with another girl. Now here’s a bit of dialogue that comes from this confrontation should not soon be forgotten;
Vanessa: Maybe what’s really going on here is that you can’t stand the fact that he might actually be a good person when he’s not around you.
Blair: I seriously doubt that.
Now what Vanessa says is interesting in itself, but Blair’s reaction is even better. She doesn’t think that Chuck is a good person. So at least we know she’s not completely blinded by a sordid mixture of love, misplaced compulsion and insecurity-driven need quite yet. Still, Blair wants to get laid, Chuck’s happy to oblige, oh but wait, then they’d both be getting what they want and the relationship might be a bit too equal. Don’t worry, Chuck will fix this, he wants to hear those three words, eight letters from Blair and refuses to sleep with her until she does, stating that he’s chased her for long enough and now it’s time for her to chase him. Chuck has firmly got the upper hand by now, he practices this by purposely drawing Blair in, only to reject her, reminding her what she needs to say first. Blair spends most of the episode trying to seduce him and failing, now it’s classic masochistic behaviour for Blair to want Chuck more the more he rejects her, every time he acts like he doesn’t want her, it makes her feel like she needs him more. Blair finally gets to a point where she can admit to herself that she does love Chuck, the reason why she won’t say it though? Because Chuck will win, which she thinks means he’ll be done with her, he’ll have won and that will be it, on to the next. She believes that she can only hold Chuck’s interest through these games and that if she lets him win, she’ll ‘just be another girl to him’, I think this sheds a lot of light on why she acts that way she does when it comes to games with Chuck. Also, allow me to cast you back to the seconds episode of this season when Blair is scheming to get Lord Marcus to like her and she says to Serena; ‘As soon as I knew he liked me, I would’ve have relaxed and dropped the manipulative plotting and devoted myself to being the best girlfriend ever’, so what does that tell you about Blair and why she schemes? Say it with me now; she’s insecure! Blair doesn’t actually want the games and she finds the strength in this episode to move past them and tells Chuck how she feels, but the same guy who gave her the courage then takes it away and what was meant to be Blair’s romantic moment with Chuck turns into a disaster. Blair falters, she reminds Chuck that she’s the one who was abandoned in Tuscany and that she was the one who asked him to say it first, he writes off the Tuscany debacle as ‘ancient history’ and blames her for him not being saying those words when she asked and then blames her for finishing their relationship. Because nothing is Chuck’s fault and everything is Blair’s. However, Chuck does go to Blair at the end of the episode to tell her that they won’t last as a couple because what they really like is the game – though I think it was clearly established in this episode that Blair doesn’t actually play the games because she wants to, but out of insecurity and they really bring her nothing but misery – still Chuck suggests that they wait, Blair being the masochist she is agrees due to the ‘excruciating pleasure’ in that. So the two of them take a step back from each other, and unsurprisingly, to me anyway, they both seem quite happy. Until Blair needs a date to a dance, Chuck may realise that Blair has a right to at least have one date with someone who isn’t him, but it sure does seem creepy to me that he has to be the one to choose her date – he makes this into a game of course. A game that, once again, causes them both to end up disappointed and unhappy, Blair especially. If the writers were really trying to make us think that Blair and Chuck enjoy the games, they really don’t do a good job of it by always making Blair looks miserable about it. Anyway, moving on, Bart Bass dies, now I’m going to do something unexpected and give Chuck free pass over this span of episodes, and instead focus on Blair’s behaviour during this time. This activates Blair’s masochistic need to try and make everything better, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to help someone you care about when they’re going through a bad time, but Blair thinks it’s her responsibility, she is desperate to make everything better and she naively thinks that telling him she loves him will do that. I’m not just interpreting her I-love-you in that way, she says herself to Cyrus ‘I thought that if I could finally say it, everything would change’ – I think this will become another pattern in Chuck and Blair’s relationship, Blair thinks that big speeches and grand gestures will change what’s wrong in their relationship, this year she’s thinks it’s a love confession, in season three she thinks it will be getting close to his mother, in season four she thinks it will be the both of them becoming successful before coming together, in season five, she thinks it’s Chuck ‘changing’ and becoming ‘good’. Anyway, back to mid-season two, Blair takes it upon herself to fix Chuck, she can’t stand to see him unhappy and it doesn’t occur to her that him being unhappy for a while is normal and that she can be there for him in that time, but she can’t take away his pain, only time can. Another thing that happens, that if it were just to happen this one time would be unimportant, is that Blair defends Chuck and states that he can’t be held responsible for his actions because he’s going through something, while I agree that someone who is grieving will say things they don’t mean and act in ways they usually wouldn’t, bereavement can only justify so much. Blair will repeatedly attempt to justify Chuck’s actions in the future due to his daddy issues and whatever reason she can find, but the bottom line is Chuck is responsible for what he does, Blair just can’t see that. Blair thinks that things will magically be ok when Chuck inherits the empire, but what a surprise, Chuck ends up ditching her to do cocaine with prostitutes. Blair tells Chuck she’s done and Chuck doesn’t really seem to care all that much, instead he becomes infatuated with a hooker and appears to get really serious about her really quickly, if you need a refresher, this is normal courting for narcissists. Blair is busy focusing on her future and we once again get to see her scheming, against a teacher this time, but why again? She wants to put the teacher in her place, she even says herself that she wanted to teacher to know who’s in charge around here. The thing about ‘Queen B’, the ‘fierce’ Blair that so many people seem to love and see as her being strong, is that Blair schemes to hold power over people, she needs to be Queen B, she needs to feel like other people are below her to be able to feel good about herself, her self-esteem is linked to how people see her, and she really gets an awakening in this epoch when Nelly Yuki tells her that people aren’t jealous of her, they hate her. This also shows that Blair doesn’t think she can have people’s respect and loyalty by just being who she is and them liking her for who she is, which is why she chooses the Machiavellian route to rule by fear instead of love (she pretty much says so herself in the finale). One more note on how Blair sees herself, that I’m not even going to comment on, I’m just going to quote Blair herself; “I don’t need a stirring speech telling me what a good person I am. I know I’m not.”
In the meantime, the hooker ditches Chuck, so he runs back to mommy. Whoops, I mean Blair. He actually tries to help her – not out of the kindness of his heart, but because he wants her back, Blair asks him herself where he was when her life was falling apart. That all happened when Chuck still had the hooker, so why would he of helped Blair then? Blair’s masochistic tendencies are turned up at full volume this time, Chuck and Serena are trying to help her so she pushes him away and all she does is back decisions in an attempt to ruin her life even more. She then tells Chuck about the first time that he saw the ‘real Blair’, the last time Blair felt like her life was falling apart, so she got drunk, stripped in front of a room of crowded people and lost her virginity to Chuck, who she thought was vile at the time. Apparently the ‘real Blair’ is the Blair who doesn’t care about her reputation, but that is simply not true, it’s who Blair is to care about what people think about her, the ‘no hang-ups, no frustrations’ is only who Blair is when she’s spiralling. Chuck is worried about Blair, but Serena tells him that he’ll know what to say to help – but it’s Nate who gives Blair a talk and inspires her to start putting her life together again. Unfortunately, what should be a nice friendship moment between two people who grew up together instead becomes the beginnings of a new triangle. Blair starts seeing Nate and Chuck is the first to know because he apparently stalks her and knows that she’s been leaving Nate’s at the same time every morning. This is not normal! It’s not healthy and it is certainly not romantic! Chuck’s possessive/jealous/selfish side that hadn’t had a chance to show itself lately, is very clearly still there. He talks to Blair and screws with her head, plants doubts in her head about Nate – this talk is very clearly not him telling her that he wants to be with her, that he can’t stand to see her with Nate and that he will do anything to show her that he can be trusted this time, it is simply him manipulating her to believe that her relationship with Nate is doomed and that he’s the only one for her. He pushes her buttons and it works, Blair panics about her relationship with Nate and Chuck further tries to manipulate her and ruin yet another of her relationships by scheming with Vanessa to break them up. Things play out the way that Chuck wants, but he still bangs Vanessa which makes you wonder how serious he was about getting Blair back, or if he just didn’t want her to be with someone who wasn’t him. Turns out he failed after all, as Blair and Nate become an official couple. Blair, with Nate at her side, gets back to rebuilding her future, while Chuck sleeps with anyone who can buy. Yes I know, I’m just assuming he’s sleeping with prostitutes, but it’s not without merit, Jenny says that the only human contact he gets that he doesn’t pay for, is with Lilly and family. This hits a nerve with Chuck and gets him pensive enough to give Nate a pseudo pep talk and tell him ‘it’s stupid for you to want her to be anything other than she is’. This is easy for Chuck to say when he’s not the one Blair has lied to, but in the future we will see Chuck react badly when he finds out she lied to him and schemed behind his back in a situation not all that different to the one Nate was facing then. The interesting part about these episodes is that Blair does genuinely care about Nate, and even though she’s not over Chuck, she does want to give it a real shot with him. Blair then gets caught up in a scheme to protect Serena, she is genuinely trying to help her best friend, but Chuck uses this again to plant doubt in her mind about her relationship with Nate and uses the situation to get close to Blair. I mean, are we really meant to believe that Chuck was trying to help Serena? When has he ever done a scheme that isn’t to benefit himself in some way? Blair’s honest about it with Nate, but their relationship is already beginning to crumble, I don’t think that even though Chuck is a factor, the ultimate reason they don’t work out is simply because they don’t work together. Chuck supposedly continues to help Blair out of the goodness of his heart and takes her away for the night when he’s actually better off without her help and she realises this and runs back to Nate. Blair is able to admit to herself that even though she’s enjoying her relationship with Nate, she still wants Chuck more and realises that she needs to dissolve this problem for the good of all three of them. So she pretty much tells Chuck the same, just in a more indirect way, she asks him if he really cares about her or if it’s just a game to him, he tells her it’s just a game and she’s free. We however know he was lying and when asked why, Chuck responds ‘because I love her, but I can’t make her happy’. Now this is a nice thing for Chuck to do, it sets up the whole happiness theme that will recur for Blair’s character, but on the other hand it maintains Chuck having the control in the relationship, you would think with Blair being the one in the middle of the triangle, that she would be the one with the ‘power’, but no, the moment she has a vulnerable moment, Chuck puts himself in charge again, even if it means he loses too. Now, let me explain that I don’t think Chuck is conscious of this, so I’m not saying that he does this in purpose, but I’m just stating that this is the pattern of their relationship, and this situation will repeat itself at the end of season four when Blair chooses Chuck over Louis, but Chuck takes that choice away from her and sends her back to Louis anyway. Back to season two, we’re nearing the end now and it’s prom, another week where Chuck is supposedly selfless and is trying to make Blair happy again, I’m not going to try and distort his intentions, but I’m just going to state that even though Chuck has ‘set Blair free’ he still can’t not interfere in her life and manipulate her. Nate and Blair came to an inevitable end, and I’m assuming that Blair wants to start things up with Chuck because Serena told her that he loves her, because without this I don’t think Blair would be brave enough to put herself out there yet again. Even knowing that he loves her, Blair is struggling to find the courage and this coincides with Gossip Girl labelling them, Blair is labelled ‘weakling’, while Chuck’s branded ‘coward’. Blair’s is undoubtedly true, no matter how many people say that Blair was at her strongest during the high school years, she wasn’t, she just wasn’t forced to face it back then like she was in the college years. Blair wants Chuck to finally tells her that he loves her, he gets so close but Gossip Girl does her duty and continues to try and ruins these kids’ lives in any way she can. She reveals that Blair slept with Chuck’s uncle Jack (example of her masochism then, another choice she made that would ultimately bring her harm) and that Chuck slept with Vanessa. Blair doesn’t really care and she calls Chuck out on just looking for an excuse to not be with her, but he rejects her again anyway and leaves town. I love how Blair reacts afterwards though, she’s clearly hurt but she tells Serena that she’s going to make a fresh start, she recognises that she chased after Nate for years even though he didn’t really want her and she’s clearly showing that she wants to moved passed everything that’s happened. She doesn’t get far though, Chuck shows up, gifts in hand (you know, instead of an apology) and she reminds him that he’s hurt her too many times, he tells her that he can believe her this time and that he loves her – because those words fix everything – and they are finally happy together. Do you think it will last longer than a week this time?