I hope that all of you know that last night, Gossip Girl lied to you for a full hour about how you play the game “Assassin.” The entire thing was a complete and utter distortion of the truth, and it distracted me from one of the episode’s major plots enough that I find myself totally not caring why Nate was late to his surprise party or why Jenny kissed him at the end (or what she thought she’d accomplish by doing that).
In other news about plots that need some editing (and by editing, I mean complete removal from the show), Dan and Vanessa made each other read their crappy one-act plays and then both lied about whether or not they thought they were crappy, and America yawned in response. All of that is forgiven though, because last night, we got the full-on Blair/Chuck/Jack money shot – indecent proposals were made, Matthew Williamson dresses were bought, and Chuck got his hotel back – but at what expense?
I know that the game was supposed to serve as a heavy-handed metaphor demonstrating the complicated, incestuous world of dating on the Upper East Side, but for real y’all, that’s not how you play Assassin. You don’t all gather together and run around the block after random people. You’re assigned a target, the game is played over the course of days or weeks, and you have to stalk your target around town (or, more popularly, around campus) until you can tag them (sometimes with a Nerf or water gun) and then take their target.
I’m assuming that our Gossip Girl writing staff went to college, and therefore they should know how to play this game properly. After a particularly rousing game involving several hundred people during my freshman year at the University of Georgia, my dorm was actually banned from playing it because someone jumped down an emergency stairwell and cracked his head open while trying to avoid being “killed.” Assassin is not something to trifle with, and it doesn’t involve sad approximation of burglar clothes (really, lose the knit caps).
Anyway, the game of glorified tag came about because it was Nate’s birthday and he apparently loves it, so Serena threw him a surprise party. Instead of having a normal day of celebration and just faking him out at the end, however, she decided to let him think all day that she was just blowing him off and didn’t care, which just seems kind of mean to me. Serena would probably think it was brilliant, however, so I’m not entirely surprised.
When Jenny finds out about Serena’s plan (from Eric! He lives!), she takes it upon herself to put a rudimentary plan of her own into action to win Nate over by…taking him to lunch? I’m not sure what Jenny’s endgame is in all of this, even after seeing the entire episode twice, but to lunch they go and Nate is sad about Serena but enjoying his time with Jenny, and she manages to get him to agree to a movie as well so that no one will be able to reach him by phone when he’s late for the “Frick benefit” that he thinks he and Serena are going to later.
He’s an hour late when he strides into the surprise party with Jenny on his arm and Serena knows that something is up, but Jenny continues to play the “woe is me, I got roofie’d” card and Nate goes along with it. Eventually, after some stumbling and bumbling (including Eric crashing in to Vanya while he’s proposing to Dorota!!!), Jenny and Nate are the only two assassins still in the game, and they tumble through a very expensive restaurant and lock themselves in the back room.
Therein, Jenny plants one on Nate and steals his Polaroid (no one plays this game with Polaroids), making herself the winner and forcing Nate to make his confused expression (which also doubles as his angry expression). Nate tells Jenny they’re just friends, Jenny rolls her eyes and acts bored with the whole situation. Did she seriously think that Nate was going to let go of Serena just because she got the rules to Assassin wrong? I mean, that’s a big deal, but not big enough to make Sir Manbangs forget about the girl that took his virginity on a bar stool.
Also at the party are Dan and Vanessa, who don’t actually care about the game but care immensely about their respective screenplays. See, both of them are trying to get into the Tisch writing program (Dan admits it, Vanessa is doing it in secret), and they’re trying to get notes from each other on the work that they’re going to submit.
They’re both completely humorless about their work, however, and they both know that they’d look down on each other if their plays weren’t perfect. Which they aren’t. They both kind of suck, which is not surprising to anyone but them, because they both think they’re the 19-year-old reincarnations of Truman Capote. Fill in the appropriate relationship strife here.
Going on in the background of all this petty drama, we actually have the real problems that plague the pretty lives of Chuck and Blair. Jack has taken over the Empire and set about removing all of Chuck’s possessions from the penthouse when Chuck arrives to declare that he’ll do anything to get his business back. I know that Chuck is feeling desperate, but his willingness to show that desperation to Jack rubbed me the wrong way. He would know that the declaration that he’d do anything to recover the hotel would be showing his cards way too soon, and that it would also guarantee that he’ll have to do the worst thing that Jack can think of. And that’s exactly what happened.
Instead of just telling Blair that he needed her to have sex with Jack to get the hotel back, Chuck set her up. He sent Jack to the Matthew Williamson store to tell her how she could help her boyfriend, and she refused, but continued to consider the possibility. She sought Serena’s advice about living with yourself after you do something terrible (Serena didn’t have any advice because she doesn’t worry about such mundane things), and when a dress from Williamson’s store showed up in her bedroom, she decided to put it on and go do the nasty to help her boyfriend.
She thought that she was doing it secretly, however. She wasn’t – Chuck had paid for the dress and set her up because he knew that she was devoted to him in every way and that she’d do it. Jack didn’t have sex with Blair, he only kissed her, and then he dropped the bomb on her that Chuck had consented to all of this and not told her that he was in on it. I’m still not exactly sure why that is – Chuck said it was because she’d be too eager when Jack came to her if she knew he was going to, but why would Jack care if she was eager or not? Why did he care if Blair knew in advance?
Maybe because he had arranged the whole thing from the beginning to tear Chuck away from what he loves most – Blair. But does he love Blair or the hotel more? He seemed to pick the hotel. All of these thoughts are crowding up my mind a little bit, and it makes me nostalgic for the high school shenanigans of yore. Blair and Chuck are now broken, perhaps irreversibly, and we have to wait and see if they manage to mend fences and get together again. Finally, this show has found a storyline that makes me want to tune back in. I just wish they hadn’t made human sacrifices out of Chuck and Blair to do it.