I’m normally the last person to issue credit where credit is less than deserving. However, the notoriously misogynist writers of Gossip Girl may have gotten something right in this season’s finale.

Let’s recap shall we?

The tangled romances between Blair and Chuck, Blair and Dan, Dan and Serena, Dan and Serena’s cousin, Serena and Nate, Nate and Raina, Raina and Chuck (have we come full circle?) dominated another 7 month glimpse into “the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite.” There were some less than glamorous issues handled, not in the least being the emotionally abusive interface of Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass. You may recall when their destructive behaviors came to a head; Chuck punching out a glass window and leaving Blair with blood on her face. I was ready, eager in fact, to see repercussions of this physical violence, an example for girls who may themselves fall victims to domestic abuse. Instead, Blair was left to tend her wound, speaking to no one of the incident, and Chuck was all but shunned by his buddy, Nate, for an episode or two.

The writers, in complete denial of their misstep, suggested that their portrayal of tumultuous young love was by no means an example of violence against women. In so doing, they trivialized the already underplayed suffering of girls across the country and the world. Blair was a necessary sacrifice upon which the antagonist male ego could flaunt himself and destruct anyone in his path. This is but one of many tragic blunders committed by Gossip Girl writers, who continue the effervescent motif that women are secondary in importance to men and require less respect than their counterparts. Moreover, the numerous female characters in Gossip Girl thrive on the inequity and crave the dependency.

I’m pleased to see that the season finale of Gossip Girl offered a small but momentous peak at female empowerment and independence. As with most 45-minute closures to a season wrought with teenage lust, this one seemed all but predictable. Blair and Chuck were, of course, mixed up in their dysfunctional relationship, while other familiar faces played their comfortable role deceiving, manipulating and scheming. Finally, Blair selects her “Price Charming” (you may take that one literally), opening an opportunity for Serena to make her own pick between former boyfriends, Dan and Nate. It was a nail biter, kids. Will she chose the guy she most recently dated or the slightly aged ex-boyfriend variety? Well, Serena van der Woodson shocked me. She chose neither. What’s more, she reflected on her decision, saying that it was necessary for her personal growth and maturation. Her priorities were no longer fixated on handsome arm candy but rather, on her ability to operate as a fully formed individual. In the remaining seconds of the finale, Serena connects with someone who we can only assume will serve as her next love interest. What else would a tall, dark stranger be? Well, in the 30 seconds it took for Serena to outwit and outshine a slacker screenplay producer, she proved that he was inconsequential to her storyline. She impressed the director and nabbed Tall Dark Stranger’s job with ease, grace, and intelligence. It was enough to make any young feminist proud.

I, for one, would like to see more of this courageous, assertive and kick-butt woman in the upcoming season. However discontent I’ve been with Gossip Girl, I’m aware that progress in media can be miniscule, and it is worth noting when small steps are taken in the right direction. There are simply too few role models in primetime television and I’m more than ready to applaud reincarnations of the Serena we saw wrap up Season 4: self-reflective, smart, and independent.

By Ruya Norton