'Gossip Girl' Episode 4 Recap: A Ceasefire for the Ages

Gossip Girl Episode 4, titled "Fire Walks with Z", was an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least. This week, we closed the curtain on the Thomas Doherty/Max Wolfe show and paid attention to Julien (played by Jordan Alexander) and Zoya (Whitney Peak), the two girls who were the catalyst for Gossip Girl's comeback.

Episode 4 was bound to be good from the get-go.

Poor little Z, it's her birthday and her rich boyfriend Obie (Eli Brown) has organized food trucks to come to the school and serve all of these other rich kids crepes for breakfast. No amount of sweet treats were enough for Zoya, who refuses to celebrate her birthday every year.

We soon learn Zoya and Julien's mother died giving birth to Zoya. She had a long-term autoimmune disease that contributed to her death, but Zoya has grown up always blaming herself.

Knowing how hard that must be for her, a new and improved Julien (who has taken it upon herself to be more "real"), extends an olive branch to Zoya and wishes her a happy birthday, which is savagely rejected on the front steps. Ouch.

Monet (Savannah Lee Smith) and Luna (Zión Moreno) may think Julien is crazy, for turning up to school in no makeup and with the ambition of finding herself again ("vulnerability is the disease of the masses" shouts Monet), but they truly are the crazy ones at Constance Billard.

They seem hell-bent on destroying Zoya and putting Julien back on top and no, it isn't for Julien's benefit, it is for their own. It is all because if Julien's the Queen Bee, they will remain popular and reap the benefits of being associated with a social media star like Julien. It's embarrassing and it's mean, but this is Gossip Girl.

They take matters into their own hands and pretty much threaten to destroy Zoya and her family. Remember when Luna tried to give Zoya a makeover in Episode 3 and Zoya let slip to Luna her grandmother's apartment is rent-controlled and the housing board does not know she is there.

Well as expected, that came back to haunt her.

Luna reported it to the housing board and now Zoya's father has to fight to stay in their apartment, let alone stay in New York City.

Zoya, who is slowly becoming a paranoid mess and is pretty much unsaveable at this point, is certain Julien is behind the eviction notice. Zoya starts becoming the person she hates and quite frankly, everybody should be Team Julien at this point. There's a sentence I'd never thought I'd say.

Zoya's housing eviction notice drama is sent to Gossip Girl (aka the teachers of Constance Billard), who quickly publish the tip for the entire world to see. This moment may not be a Gossip Girl Easter Egg, but it's a very obvious nod to the 2000s.

Computer-science teacher Jordan Glassberg (Adam Chanler-Berat) asks Kate (Tavi Gevinson), who is stressing about the tips she is receiving on the Gossip Girl account—"is that why you asked me if second cousins was incest? It isn't I hope"—is very "You have you first cousins and then you have your second cousins" from Mean Girls, and was perfectly written, perfectly timed and perfectly executed.

I cannot get enough of this show.

I would also like to note the fact when Julian asked "What have I ever done that is so terrible", Monet responded "You were in the Imagine video", I laughed so loud.

Moving on, enter Thomas Doherty as Chuck Bass 2.0 Max Wolfe. Sixteen-year-old Max has been on a week-long drink and drug stint to avoid dealing with the fact his dad Roy (John Benjamin Hickey) tried to cheat on his other dad Gideon (Todd Almond).

Blearly-eyed and high on god knows what, Max walks in on his classics teacher Rafa (Jason Gotay) in the school showers, and classic, we have some emotional blackmail.

Max grabs Rafa and pretty much begging him to have sex with him right there and then which Raga rejects, multiple times. Max instead threatens to tell the entire school they slept together anyway. Don't do this Max, we were all rooting for you.

Elsewhere, Aki (Evan Mock) and Audrey (Emily Alyn Lind) are avoiding each other whilst both trying to get a hold of Max. Learn to deal with your problems, Max is in no fit state to hear them or to fix them. I also don't know what shocked me more, the fact Aki is texting Max so often or the breathtaking view from his New York apartment.

Back at school, Julien and Zoya are at war and are trying to up one other in a classic fight of "who can throw the biggest and best party?".

Julien, who has money and is popular will obviously win whereas Zoya knows nobody and will rely on Obie and his rich circle to throw a party deep down, which she doesn't even care about.

Obie, who is quite frankly over Zoya's behaviour leaves her sitting alone on the Met Steps to eat lunch, leaving a spot for the one and only Milo Sparks to sit down next to Zoya.

Milo offers to help Zoya to take down Julien and instructs her to google his name alongside the words Russian, Embassy, Scandal. Where the hell are things going now? Well, right back to the days of the original Gossip Girl villain, Georgina Sparks, or Milo Sparks as in Georgina Sparks (Michelle Trachtenberg) and Dan Humphrey's (Penn Badgley) son.

Pictured on his office wall is Georgina alongside Putin, Elon Musk and yes, that is Ed Sheeran you can see on the wall. Milo is pretty much a computer genius and disrupted Julien's party plans by unearthing her old tweets and injecting alcohol into her food to make her drunk.

When Julien and Zoya's fathers hear of their fighting, they decide to combine the parties to celebrate Zoya's birthday, infuriating Julien even more, who has the perfect plan to ruin Zoya on her big night.

Remember in Episode 2 there was talk of a video which contained the real reason why Zoya had to leave her old school? Julien decided not to show it to their dads and Obie back then, but at their joint party, she was ready to show it to the entire world.

Gossip Girl episode 4 recap
Julien humiliated Zoya at her birthday party Karolina Wojtasik/HBO Max

Julien, who is drunk at this point but somehow becomes remarkably sober takes to the stage and plays the video to the crowd. The clip sees a young Zoya hanging with friends, writing "f*** school" on the walls, before being locked in a classroom by the girls she considered to be her friends.

The girls then start calling her names and refuse to let her out, causing Zoya to light a Bunsen burner and set off the smoke alarm to get an adults' attention. Whether Zoya was expelled from the school or left as a result of the bullying is unknown but the video was heart breaking to watch.

Julien, unaware of the full contents of the video, somehow managed to turn the entire thing around and save Zoya and herself. She addressed the crowd, calling herself a bully, and apologized to everybody she had hurt in her life. This is the Julien I want to see as the series progress, not the spoiled girl and bully we have seen so far.

As Obie and Zoya dance to Japanese House and Justin Vernon's "Dionne", a montage plays of Zoya and Julien reconciling their friendship and even their dad's taking steps to put the past behind them.

Things are also looking messy, but slightly better for Max, who finally confronts his parents about their relationship. Sadly, they blamed him for the deterioration of their relationship, sending a broken Max to the home of Rafa.

Was this really the worst thing? Max finally got what he wanted: a very passionate and intense kiss from Rafa which ended with the pair getting undressed.

'Till next time.

XOXO Gossip Girl.

Gossip Girl airs Thursdays on HBO Max.