On last week’s deliciously incestariffic Nairtini of an episode of Gossip Girl, the unthinkable happened: Serena Van Der Woodsen Bass Etc suddenly remembered that she was way, way out of Dan Humphrey’s league. And told him so. Cleavage was involved. Awesomeness ensued.
OMFG FASHION WEEK this is the most exciting thing that has ever happened. Blair and Eleanor plan the Waldorf show, and Blair reveals her plan to win back the Headbands by seating them in the second row. She, as always, will be backstage with her frenemy Serena. The Humphreys talk about poor people stuff, and Jenny is wearing cat-eye liquid liner. Because, you know, you’re only 14 once. Dan frets that the entire lit department of Dartmouth – his former love! – has been poached by Yale – the future school of his other former love! And now he needs to apply to Yale. Dan’s getting support from Noah Shapiro. Remember him? The editor of the Paris Review who was so incredibly interested in the short stories that not-McInerney sent him? No? Well then, these five minutes of exposition are for you. Jenny makes a weird face and posits some horrible lie about why she’s not entering Constance/St. Jude’s with him; as soon as he walks through those doors, she’s in a cab to the Waldorf Atelier.
The new Mrs. Bass gets an tour from Bex (remember her?) of her new art collection in one of the foyers, while Serena comes prancing down the stairs trailing starlight and moonbeams and what-have-you. Apparently she has been getting close to socialite Poppy Lifton. Oh good lord, Lily modeled for a tasteful Mapplethorpe in her prime (not like she isn’t still in her prime, because come on.) Serena states that this makes Lily unequivocally the coolest mom on the UES, and…wasn’t she before? But I digress. Because it is a different time of day for everyone on this show at all times, Chuck and Blair are at school, kvetching about Blair’s loss of standing. Blair’s bestowal of second-row tickets on the Headbands earns her precisely .07 seconds of adoration before crazy wee Hazel notices that Serena is on the parties page of Women’s Wear Daily. (Amazing attention to detail, because who reads WWD when it ISN’T fashion week?) Serena strolls up, blissfully unaware at the ruckus she is causing, and looking quizzically at Blair when B screeches something at her about "her fans" and flounces off stage left.
Meanwhile, in those echelons of academia that still have leaded crystal decanters of scotch on their wooden desks, Noah Shapiro tells Dan straight up that he sucks. Dan is flummoxed, because he is a Humphrey, and has been told what a wonderment he is to all and sundry since that midwife birthed him in a bathtub 17 long years ago. Noah tells him to write something dangerous, to get out of his comfort zone. He needs Chuck Bass! He trots over to tell Chuck to help him out of his comfort zone. Chuck, eyebrows a-blazin’, asks him quite straightforwardly if he is gay. Heh. Back at the Waldorf Atelier, Laurel and Eleanor bemoan their lack of A-list RSVPs, and you know Little J flings around that photo from WWD with a quickness that would make your head spin. Blair has a complete meltdown when she finds that Jenny has changed her seating chart. And guess who Lil J has placed in the front row? (I love the parallel structure here, by the way. Blair is being replaced in the only two roles she feels comfortable in – Queen B and daughter – by lithe, leggy blondes, while her scheming is leaving her alone with nobody but Chuck, the one person she actually wants, and the one person she will never turn to again.) Eleanor tells Blair that Jenny is on "independent study", and Blair pinpoints all of that anger and self-loathing into a laser beam pointed directly at Jenny’s secondhand Prada loafers.
Red lights glow as a glowering Chuck Bass pushes a tray of shots at a bewildered and be-cardiganed Humphrey. He hands Dan, what, a tab of E? A Viagra? A B-12 to dull the next morning’s hangover? Only Chuck and his pharmacist know for sure. Back Chez Van der Bass, Serena and Lily dine with Poppy and ohhhh, Tamara Feldman’s too old for this part, isn’t she? Or is she supposed to be, like, some sort of socialite Big Sister sponsor? Serena’s Tinsley Mortimer or something? Serena tells her mom that she feels uncomfortable ditching Blair backstage; Poppy offers up an extra pass to the Marc Jacobs aftershow for Blair to cushion the blow. Lily excuses herself to take a call from her art buyer about the Mapplethorpe photo, and is devastated to find that she’s been outbid. Oh, it better be Rufus.
Blair twinkles at Rufus while she delivers chicken soup for Jenny’s "cold", or whatever has been keeping her from school lately. Rufus has learned something! And tells Blair that he knows she doesn’t have Jenny’s best interests at heart. Drunk, high, and happy, Dan babbles in the back of the Bass limo about a sex club? Behind a White Castle? He asks Chuck how he knows so many twins and Chuck shrugs "twins find me." Heh. Chuck, irritated with Dan already, tosses Dan barefoot and notebookless out into the street. Rufus and Blair arrive at the atelier to bust Jenny, who begs for time to finish a dress for Eleanor. The next morning, or later that night, or next week, because who the hell knows when there are waffles being served in the Humphrey house, Rufus and Jenny spar over breakfast food. (Jenny’s wearing a mega-cute Tarina Tarantino Barbie necklace, by the way, that I covet greatly.) Jenny is supposed to meet with the headmistress today, Saturday. Serena arrives Chez Waldorf to invite Blair to the Marc afterparty, but Blair goes off on her, and Serena does that crazy-eyed superior thing that she did last week, and tells Blair that she will make sure that Eleanor’s front row is empty. Or maybe she’ll go. Which would be worse?
Noah Shapiro spits on Dan’s new Chuck-adjacent story ("Charlie Trout?" YES.) and basically tells Dan that he would care if the story were about Chuck instead of Dan’s lame ass. Dan’s cheekbones are horrified, and Noah tells him that he’s judging his characters, and that’s why he’ll always be a failure as a writer. Dan learns that he needs to learn Chuck’s "secret." Bex tells Lily that it was Bart who secretly bought the Mapplethorpe – awwww – and Lily is vaguely horrified that Bart knew about her nudie past. At Bryant Park, Serena arrives to find that Blair had her placed in the back row. Eleanor appears to twinkle at Jenny and snap angrily at Blair for her stunt with Serena’s seat. Blair vows vengeance on Jenny, and attempts to screw up Jenny’s task of getting the prepped models to the runway. Chuck calls his dad to ask if he wants to meet for a drink, and his dad rebuffs him – a stalky Dan overhears and challenges Chuck to outdo himself from the previous night. Chuck propositions a girl who he thinks is a hooker, and when her boyfriend gets in Chuck’s face, Dan levels him with a Nate Archibald-style punch.
Rufus arrives at the loft to find no daughter, and a voice mail from Headmistress Queller saying that the situation with Jenny has gotten "out of control." OMFG Michael Kors and recapper idol Tinsley Mortimer are at the Waldorf show. Jenny arrives backstage to find that Blair has sent the models home. Fortunately, Jenny is now a Queen B-level schemer, and she pulls Serena and cohort backstage to walk in the show. Serena worries about Blair’s feelings and Poppy tells Serena that she needs to stop damping down her sparkle for Blair’s benefit. (She was doing it for Dan! She’s doing it for Blair!) Oh, dear lord, Chuck and Dan are in jail. But it was worth it, because Chuck is grateful enough for Dan’s friendship that he opens up about his relationship with his father, and reveals that his mother died in childbirth. Who dies in childbirth in the 1990s?! Chuck’s lawyer arrives, and he tells Dan that he will try to get him released into his lawyer’s custody. But when he gets his possessions back, he finds Dan’s notes with Noah’s exhortation to find out Chuck’s secrets.
Bart arrives home to a very loving Lily, who he presents with a gorgeous emerald necklace which was…not what she was expecting. She asks him where the Mapplethorpe is and he tells her that he bought the photo to prevent anyone from ever seeing it. She wonders how he even knew, and learns that he had an investigator look into her past. Bart gives Lily a copy of his dossier on her, which includes something that she does not want her children to find out. Ooh, new mystery! Chuck confronts a still-jailed Dan, with tears welling in his eyes. Backstage, Blair gives Serena her dress with an evil twinkle in her eye, and Serena walks with cleavage pushed up to her chin in a not-Eleanor-Waldorf-design. The dress is actually pretty spectacular – a gorgeous emerald green with sort of a bubble tutu hem and fabulous bow-strap detailing. Oh, shut up, it’s a Jenny Humphrey original.
Jenny asks Blair why she won’t leave her alone when Jenny ceded school to her; when she realizes that this is all about Serena, Jenny points out to Blair that the two are more alike than she realizes. Blair and Jenny both have to work so hard, every second, for everything they get. Serena is just so beautiful and so…simple, in a way, that she just lets things come to her. Eleanor confronts Jenny about her "Eve Harrington Ways" until Laurel runs up exclaiming that Andre Leon Talley loved the finale dress. ALT! Missing Marc Jacobs for Eleanor Waldorf! Jenny asks Eleanor to take credit for the dress, and Blair jumps in to back Jenny up. Rufus shows up, screaming, outside, and Jenny tells the door girl not to let him in.
Noah Shapiro bails Dan out of jail, and we learn that the charges were dropped against him. Dan tells Noah he’s not comfortable using people for his art. Eleanor toasts Jenny after the show, and everyone raises a glass to her – even Blair – while Rufus watches in the background. Blair approaches Serena backstage to apologize, and Serena tells her to get over it, and that she’s "tired of holding herself back to not outshine" Blair. Oh, this friendship with Poppy is going to flame out spectacularly. Rufus tells Jenny that she’s grounded for life. Jenny tells Rufus that she told the headmistress that she’s never going back to school.
Next week: college previews! If they’re anything like mine people are going to get druuuuuunk.
Ok, this show gets increasingly more awesome each week. Even with no Nate, and Chuck showing a distressing amount of emotion, the evolutions of Serena and Jenny are fascinating and more importantly, fun to watch. But what do you all think?