Although it takes a while to heat up, I can honestly say this was the best episode of the season. A lot of the dragging, the annoying Blair Bear-bating, and the general Ivy/Louisness of it all goes into overdrive as Max takes a firm stance about Charlie’s trust fund and the Rhodes Women circle the wagons in a fairly brilliant display of the passive-aggressive manipulation they do best. Meanwhile, Nate finds a classy way to deal with a sudden Tripp scandal, and Blair attempts to find the secret of Chuck’s newfound awesomeness.
…Which wobbles the most, but ends up rocking the mic once she finds out that Chuck started getting healthy the night he dropped the ring off at Harry Winston. She assumes that this means she was always the darkness of him and not vice versa, but he’s become so groovy that he explains she’s wrong about that too. It’s fairly devastating to watch play out — the moment of the ring reveal leaves her looking like a wounded bird — but mostly exciting for what it may engender down the road.
Nate’s storyline is pretty simple: His editorial edict that the Spectator will be classy from now on is immediately threatened by a breaking story about Tripp’s grody wife Maureen having an affair. Based on nothing much beyond his journalistic intuition — which he now has in scads, of course — Nate figures out she’s just doing another Hudson Hero, this time throwing her own good name into the river to earn Tripp sympathy votes. Tempted to go first one way and then another, Nate eventually addresses the story by editorializing about a nameless person who tried to use the media in that way, and how his paper is better than that. William loves it, Nate gets love from everybody, and best of all we saw Tripp for a hot second.
Similarly, Dan’s story is pretty self-contained: A wounded but not dead Gossip Girl herself continues to apologize for having become irrelevant last week, offering up one thin dime of a hot tip: Somebody online hates Dan. Which is ironic, because Dan’s been online pretending to be somebody who loves Dan. In the end, the hater turns out to be his agent, Alessandra, herself — doing some kind of viral endrun to get him relevant again. They flirt over endlessly tweeting love and hate about him — his ideal date — and end up getting him back to being famous, with even Katy Perry’s seal of approval.