SPOILERS for the Gossip Girl Part 1 finale are ahead.
While it's easy to forget that the privileged Upper East Side teens on Gossip Girl even have parents, considering how frequently they go out to clubs on school nights, when they do appear, they tend to cause trouble for the students at St. Jude's and Constance Billard.
In the first five episodes of the HBO Max reboot, viewers met parental figures for Audrey Hope (Emily Alyn Lind), Max Wolfe (Thomas Doherty), Zoya Lott (Whitney Peak), and Julien Calloway (Jordan Alexander).
After Audrey's mom, Kiki Hope (Laura Benanti) is hospitalized, the student's beau, Aki Menzies (Evan Mock) tries to be as supportive as possible.
As he prepares a bag for Audrey, the audience gets to meet his mom, Jodi Menzies (Hettienne Park), and they are later introduced to his dad, media tycoon Roger Menzies (Malcolm McDowell), at a group dinner.
In the aptly-titled Part 1 finale episode, "Parentsite," Roger and Audrey have a heated conversation, before he leaves a strange voicemail on his son's phone.
In the 'Gossip Girl' Part 1 finale, Roger Menzies leaves a mysterious voicemail for Aki.
While much of the Part 1 finale is about Kiki's hospitalization and how the other characters react to it, one storyline is about Julien's desire to expand and monetize her influencer brand.
Though all of the main characters are experiencing heightened emotions, they all (except for Julien, Monet, and Luna) attend a group dinner with Aki's parents and Otto "Obie" Bergmann IV's mom, Helena Bergmann (Lyne Renee).
At the end, as everyone is leaving, Audrey hints not everyone in the group identifies as straight. Aki's parents determine that she is referring to their son, who has not yet defined his own sexuality. Roger later outs his son as gay on live television when he's asked about a lawsuit against his media company regarding the treatment of LGBTQ+ employees.
Aki clarifies that he is bisexual to the news outlet, but nobody is paying attention. As Aki is engaging in a tryst with Audrey and Max, Roger leaves him a voicemail.
"Aki, Dad. I know your angry, but understand that I do support you. Always will. There's one thing I forgot to mention. Just for a little while, at least, stay away from Julien. If you call me back, I'll talk you through it."
Because Julien wasn't at the dinner and Roger has had no on-screen interaction with the influencer, fans are confused by what exactly the message means.
In an interview with Teen Vogue, Gossip Girl showrunner Joshua Safran hinted at what the cryptical call could be about.
"I don't want to give too much away, but I just think that Monet and Luna have a perspective on Roger's voicemail at the end of episode six that ends up becoming this big thing in the back half," he shared.
As viewers know, Luna and Monet often have the inside scoop, especially when it comes to their best friend Julien's life.
Malcolm McDowell plays Roger Menzies on the 'Gossip Girl' reboot.
The cast list for the supporting characters in the HBO Max reboot is star-studded, and Aki's dad is no exception. The Menzies family patriarch is played by Malcolm McDowell, who is best known for his roles in A Clockwork Orange (1971), Caligula (1979), the If... trilogy, and Bombshell (2019).
It remains to be seen if Roger will have an expanded role on Gossip Girl when the show returns for the second half of Season 1. Because he is seen departing from the city via a private plane in "Parentside," he will likely continue to be a guest character as the show continues.
The second part of Season 1 of Gossip Girl will premiere on HBO Max in November 2021.