'Gossip Girl': The lady fails to vanish

blair-chuck-mom-TLV.jpgMonday (Mar. 15) night's episode is called "The Lady Vanished," but that's a misnomer. Because the lady -- whom we discover this episode is, in fact, Chuck's mother -- appeared again and again and again.

We also learn that running away from home seems to be an annual holiday for Jenny; Serena and Nate dig using food during sex; Dan and Vanessa should not stop over-thinking every. little. thing. (they can be so exhausting); and Lily needs to get herself to AA ASAP.

If you want more deets than that quick-and-dirty recap, feel free to read on:

The lady fails to vanish: We see Blair start out in her familiar place of fear that Chuck is shutting her out. She confesses to Serena that they are not "connecting" right now. Their girl talk is interrupted by Nate, who has come to retrieve Chuck's cell phone, per Chuck's request. Of course this arouses suspicion in the ever-sharp Blair, who detects Nate's pathetic attempt to lie in mere moments:

"Oh God, I miss that.... Dating someone who's a horrible liar. So much easier."

Nate unwillingly passes over the phone, and Blair sees half a dozen calls from a number she doesn't recognize -- along with a message. Blair's distraught that Chuck wouldn't have told her what was going on, and she throws out a great line in reference to how she can't believe her newfound trust has been compromised:

"I turned over a new leaf. A leaf from the non-meddling trust tree."

The non-meddling leaf evidently gets turned right back over when Blair, Serena and Nate proceed to listen to the voice mail from "the lady vanished" (yep, the "vanished" lady who won't stop calling). Chuck doesn't seem too bothered by the invasion of privacy -- he's already too steamed about the fact that he's just discovered that the persistent caller is, in fact, his mother. And as hard as he's worked to uncover that knowledge, he now decides he wants nothing to do with her.

chuck-blair-TLV2.jpgBlair has seemingly gotten extremely good at consoling Chuck, a talent one would most likely have to acquire if you plan to spend your life with the tortured, brooding Chuck Bass. She asks if he wants to talk (a favorite question of hers in this episode), and he reluctantly opens up. He says that even if she is his mother, it doesn't change anything and that the past belongs to the past.

Observation: Chuck is singing quite a different tune from last week's episode when he told Blair how he had to find out if his mother was alive because he'd spent his whole life in pain thinking that he was responsible for her death in childbirth. But then again, I guess he has to push her away for purposes of a dramatic arc within the episode.

Serena and Nate ask Blair and Chuck to lunch ostensibly to get Chuck's mind off the whole situation. But Serena (who never claimed to have turned over a non-meddling leaf herself) decides it's in Chuck's best interest if he talks things over with his mom. So of course she invites his mother to the restaurant. When Chuck confronts her after some persuading from Serena, he tells her he doesn't want to hear her story and instead writes her a check, asking her to stay away.

Serena decides to track down Elizabeth herself to ask her some questions. She figures that if she can know why Elizabeth left Chuck, that would give her some insight into why her father left and has never tried to find her.

Elizabeth's answer is a zinger. She basically says that she was 19 when she got pregnant, and she wanted to give her baby up for adoption. Bart couldn't part with Chuck once he was born and proposed to Elizabeth. She didn't love him and said no thanks. So the story they told Chuck was that she had died in childbirth, and Bart sent her money each year to keep her away. But she confesses that the money wasn't necessary -- she never doubted her decision. Poor Chuck.

Serena leaves her with some words of wisdom from her own personal absentee parent experience:

"I don't care what Chuck says, there's not a child who doesn't want to know their parent."

mother-chuck-TLV2.jpgThat sinks in and Elizabeth appears -- once again -- in Chuck's life. She tells him her story, hands back the check (wonder how much it's for?  hmmmm) and says she's not leaving New York until she gets to know her son. Chuck asks what she wants to know. She says "everything." Chuck smiles for the first time this episode ... or perhaps since we can even remember.

" Doin' it and doin' it and doin' it well": HOT KITCHEN SEX. That's how these two kick off this episode. Strawberries and Cool Whip are involved too. Blake Lively's real life boyfriend Penn Badgley should perhaps be concerned about all the hot sex scenes these two seem to be getting. Especially since Badgley and his current "GG" love interest do more gabbing than getting it on (but more on that later).

Blair starts mocking them with fake "Chuck" moans from upstairs, and when Serena enters her room, Blair gives her best "I'm disgusted" look and exclaims:

"I'm just glad I got Chuck's couch scotch-guarded. Now if you'll excuse me, Louis Vuitton is doing metallic boots for spring."

You've gotta love Blair.

The only other Serenate moment is when Serena confesses to Nate at the end about the real reason she confronted Elizabeth. She tells Nate for the first time about how her dad wrote her a letter. Nate asks why she's never told him this before, to which she answers they were just having so much "fun" that she didn't want to ruin it. (Translation: They were too busy doing the nasty.) Nate adds something about how they broke a dresser recently. Good lord, you two.

We see Serena make a phone call to her father at the end saying she's not looking for him anymore. Which of course means Daddy Dearest will be showing up shortly.

"Are you the only drug dealer in town?": That's Jenny's opening question to Damian, who has just proposed they spend the evening going to parties and making deliveries that night when all poor Little J wants to do is have a normal date night. Note to Jenny: There's nothing normal about this guy. Run, Jenny, run!

Well, she does run ... but towards him instead of in the opposite direction. No one ever listens to me when I try to talk sense into them during the show. *Sigh.*

Lily, whom we hardly ever see in this episode without a glass of white wine in her hand, catches them doing a mild version of Serenate's favorite pastime. She calls Rufus to come home and talk to both Jenny and Damian, whom Lily holds hostage until Rufus can come home to scold them both. Seems a bit odd, but again, I suppose this is necessary for dramatic arc.

Rufus arrives and immediately becomes furious (don't think I've ever seen Rufus this mad for this long -- he remained quite the sourpuss throughout the episode). He yells at Lily, blaming her for allowing this to happen (or Rufus, maybe you could have been around more often, instead of jetting off to Telluride and sleeping with the upstairs neighbor). Rufus decides Jenny needs to leave this over-privileged environment and move back to Brooklyn to get her "feet on the ground." He tells her to go pack, Damian comes to say goodbye, Jenny gets worked up about whether they're in a relationship or not and if this is worth her getting exiled to Brooklyn -- at which point Jenny grabs Damian's pill stash, which is conveniently wrapped up in a loose handkerchief. The pills spill of course across the floor at the very moment when Rufus approaches them.

Busted. I told you that you should have run, Jenny.

Jenny decides to take the blame for the pills. Perhaps she thinks this will impress her drug-dealing boyfriend. Some modicum of humanity left in Damian kicks in when Jenny's dad tells her, "I look at you, and I don't see my daughter anymore." Damian proceeds to tell a sob story about how they are his dad's drugs, and he brought them over here to keep them away from him. He added how supportive Jenny has been throughout this difficult process. It was a nice touch.

While Rufus disposes of the expensive narcotics stash, Damian tells Jenny his story is actually true -- for the most part. Jenny feels even more connected to him, and makes up her mind that she wants to be with him. She escapes from the clutches of overprotective daddy and into the arms of drug dealer (and con artist?) Damian at the end. And just to show her level of devotion to him, she brings him a token of her affection -- Lily's powerful headache medicine. Now that's love.

Apparently the gift gets Damian in the mood, and he suggests they skip out on the party. You know what that means....

"You Talk Too Much": As LL Cool J's lyrics are to Serenate's relationship, Run DMC's are to Dan and Vanessa's. In my humble opinion, at least.

vanessa-TLV2.jpgDan goes to Vanessa's dorm room to say he's sorry and that he wants things to go back to the way they were. Vanessa says she has a South Beach party to go to, and her date is Paul (we later find out she called Paul that morning and asked him so she could "avoid" awkwardness with Dan. Mission: Not accomplished). Dan says no worries, he's seeing someone too -- who would be a girl named Melissa whom he just passed in the hallway. Oh Danny boy, you're a worse liar than Nate.

The South Beach party is of course unlike any college frat party that one could expect to see in real life. But it sure does look fun. Dan and Vanessa awkwardly try to prove to one another that they are in other relationships. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how Dan pulled off his fake hallway girlfriend as long as he did.

I'm looking through the notes I took as I watched this episode, and I keep seeing "Dan and Vanessa continue to talk." I kid you not. These two just keep talking about how they should keep things friendly. This gives Dan the brilliant idea to take a mock photo, after all, "What can be friendlier than taking a mock photo?" No joke -- he really said that.

Well of course this seemingly innocent activity leads to a steamy smooch. Those little mock photos are not so friendly after all, huh Humphrey? But they don't go all Serenate on us yet. The kiss throws them both off, and they go their separate ways for a bit. Then -- more talking.

Dan-Vanessa-kiss-TLV2.jpgVanessa approaches Dan and confesses her feelings for him, and she says she lied about Paul because she doesn't want to hurt their friendship. They have some kind of rapid fire banter session where they complete each other's thoughts. Then, another kiss in front of the fake South Beach sunset. I have to admit, it's kind of a sweet moment.

Cut to them under sheets post getting it on, and Vanessa admits (again?) that she got scared. They both talk about how they know they are all or nothing -- that they knew this relationship would go full steam ahead if they both gave in. Then Dan pipes in with a great line:

"All our friends would be getting their first STDs, and we'd be celebrating our first wedding anniversary."

Nice, Humphrey. You just earned yourself the quote of the night.

Rufus gets busted: Really not much to say here. We know Lily is depressed because she's sleeping until Noon and her hand seems surgically attached to what's surely a pricey crystal wine glass. Rufus is grumpy pretty much the entire episode and only comes home so that he can swoop in and take Jenny back to Brooklyn -- where he says he needs to stay for a while as well.

The key moment with this rocky couple happens at the end, when Vanya (the friendly doorman) brings Rufus' scarf up to Lily (who is still diligently sipping on her wine). He reluctantly says that it was given to him by the upstairs neighbor, where Rufus had apparently left it. Vanya adds that they must have been discussing the rooftop garden. Lily politely smiles and admits that must have been it ... then takes another sip of wine.

Quote of the night:

Dan (to Vanessa on what their relationship would be like): "All our friends would be getting their first STDs, and we'd be celebrating our first wedding anniversary."

Runners up (all go to Miss Waldorf):

Blair (to Serena and Nate about how she can't believe Chuck is keeping things from her): "I turned over a new non-meddling leaf from the trust tree."

Blair (to Serena after their sexcapades with Nate): "I'm just glad I got Chuck's couch scotch-guarded. Now if you'll excuse me, Louis Vuitton is doing metallic boots for spring."

Blair (to Nate after he lies about why he's taking Chuck's phone): "Oh god, I miss that.... Dating someone who's a horrible liar. So much easier."


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Photo credits: The CW

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