What happened on last night’s episode of Gossip Girl? Well, that’s a complicated question, since this was a particularly complicated episode, even in the context of this utterly silly, convoluted show (and I mean that in the nicest way possible, really). I had to watch the episode twice, not just so that I could write about it, but so that I could understand all the ensuing hijinks on a personal level.
We had multiple Serenas, a pre-coital declaration of love, dueling parties, Blair in a nightie, some sort of poison that works when held near the face and Jenny’s extensive practical knowledge of the workings of SIM cards. Oh, and Dan and Nate were reunited in eternal bromance at last. In that regard, the episode had at least one happy ending.
Apparently Serena hasn’t been able to pick between Dan or Nate since we left her last week, so Eric and Elliot made a very elaborate, extremely well-rendered Venn diagram to illustrate her choices and possibly make it easier for Serena to figure out her feelings. Bless those kids, they know her well – she can’t handle complex thoughts without a picture to look at. Sadly, she refused to cooperate.
Eric and Elliot didn’t even have much of an opportunity to convince her or distract her with a shiny object, though, because Lily came storming in after her morning gin and tonic to inform Serena that she had made the gossip pages yet again, this time as the Lusty Professor’s reason for fleeing Columbia. Surprise surprise, someone had leaked the story. I wonder who it could have been.
Lily also informed Serena that Dean Whatsherface had requested that they both appear in her office immediately to discuss the Page 6 item, because apparently parents are required to appear at college disciplinary hearings as long as they have significant fortunes with which to make problems disappear. At the meeting, Lily offered her requisite apology and endowment (which means GIANT donation to us regular humans) to facilitate the construction of a moat around the campus, but the dean turned down the check (that would never happen, deans are to fat checks as Superman is to Kryptonite) in favor of requesting that Serena withdraw from Columbia.
I barely had a moment to be outraged that a student would be asked to leave because of the inappropriate activity of a faculty member (can anyone say LAWSUIT? Lily certainly can.), because Lily was right there on my wavelength. As the HBIC of the Upper East Side, she informed Dean Whatsherface that it sure would be a shame if the Times got ahold of a story about Columbia punishing students for the sins of its professors. Or a story about the forced withdrawal of a 19-year-old girl with a bright future because a professor (granted, a professor with fantastic bone structure) so coldly took advantage of her. That Lily made that rant with a straight face was as amazing a feat of acting as anything I’ve ever seen on this show.
In Brooklyn, Serena was also the topic of conversation, as she tends to be on this show lately. Nate and Dan had experienced bromanceus interuptus as a result of Serena’s indecision, and when Nate showed up to confront Dan about his affections for Serena, the two got right to the heart of the issue and hugged it out. I had no problem believing that part of the scene since Dan and Sir Manbangs have the longest-running relationship in this entire series, but I balked at seeing Vanessa emerge from the depths of Dan’s loft. Dan loves Serena. Vanessa hates Serena. Dan knows that Vanessa tried to have Serena booted from Columbia last week. Why does no one remember that? And really, that questions goes for the rest of the episode, too.
While Nate and Dan were spooning in Brooklyn (they waited until Vanessa left to go to the co-op so that their love would remain a secret), Little Jenny Humphrey had descended from on high to make an appearance at Chateau Van Der Humphrey to perform this week’s act of questionable technological savvy. She stole the SIM card out of Serena’s phone in order to enable her to receive all of Serena’s calls and texts, which is questionable for the following reasons.
First of all, I don’t think Jenny would know how a SIM card works. The only people her age that do are people who have dropped their phones in toilets and had to put their SIMs in new phones so they wouldn’t lose their contacts, and how do you drop your phone in a toilet, you ask? You put it in your back pocket and it pops out when you pull your pants up. Jenny doesn’t wear pants. Ever. Secondly, Gossip Girl makes a big show of using Verizon phones (because Verizon pays them to), and Verizon phones generally don’t use SIM cards. Particularly not the crappy flip phones that they usually give Serena. So not only would Jenny not have the technical knowledge to pull off that switch, but I don’t think that the necessary phones would be present to make it possible. Yes, I worked at Best Buy in college, why do you ask?
While Jenny was in the apartment, she took the opportunity to put another facet of Team Brooklyn’s plan into motion. She tipped Lily off that Juliet was still out to get Serena, and Lily, for the second time in the episode, tried to solve the problem in the only way that she knows how: with her checkbook. She had Juliet over for tea and offered to write her second fat check of the morning to have Serena any further embarrassment at her hands. Unlike Dean Whatsherface, Juliet took the check. I hope it was big enough to buy her a new apartment. Juliet didn’t leave before planting the seeds of further embarrassment with Lily, however, this time about a supposed sexual relationship with a teacher from Serena’s days at boarding school. Cue the requisite mother-daughter blowup when Juliet tipped off Serena to her mom’s check-writing.
In other, thoroughly boring Serena dating news, Dan and Nate had decided to both invite Serena out for the evening before Chuck’s party (we’ll get to the party in a second), and they agreed that whoever she chose to see would be the one who got her forever, no further conversations or competitions. Since we all know that Dan and Nate only have eyes for each other, I’m not sure why we’re still pretending that they want to have sexytime with Serena, but whatever. I guess I’ll play along.
The problem with their invitations, of course, was that they were all going to Jenny because she had Serena’s SIM. Both guys were stood up, of course, and when they ran into each other while searching for Serena at the apartment, they realized what had happened (well, sort of) and gave Serena a midnight deadline to choose one of them, setting up a rather dramatic scene at Chuck’s masked ball. And on that note, I guess we can’t move on in the story without discussing Chuck and Blair, even though I hate intermingling their story with those of the rest of these plebes, but here goes nothing.
Chuck and Blair were still having sex in a friends-with-benefits type situation, except that we all know that they love each other way down in the only soft, pink spots left in their grizzled, ennui-filled hearts. The issue, of course, is that the people in both their lives think that they should stay separate. Chuck’s publicist thinks that Blair’s presence makes him less edgy and marketable, and Nate’s mom can’t turn over her charity to Blair if she’s associating with such a bad, bad boy. Neither of them follow instructions from others particularly well, though, so they got together to plan a “saints and sinners” (what is this, a sorority social?) party at the Empire later that night, one thing led to another, and SURPRISE. They had sex. And then the real surprise came – Chuck told Blair that he loved her, and she responded with something about Dior. Oops.
While all of that was going on, everyone else was getting ready for Chuck’s party, which would require masks for the second time in the series in order to facilitate mixups and hijinks. Team Brooklyn acquired two of the masks and dresses that Serena would be wearing to the ball that night, and then they set about dressing Juliet and Jenny up as fake Serenas. Never mind that the two of them don’t have nearly enough cleavage or bedhead to ever convincingly impersonate Serena to a men who have slept with her, but they both managed to get into the party, have their pictures taken kissing Nate and Dan (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Jenny who kissed Dan because…eww.), and then orchestrate a Gossip Girl blast to show the guys that Serena had no intentions of ever picking between them. On the surface, that might seem like a nasty trick, but I’m not entirely sure it’s wasn’t just an accurate reflection of Serena’s continued inability to just make a decision already.
Meanwhile, Serena was at the door having her entrance to the party denied because she had already been marked off the list when Juliet showed up, and Blair and Chuck were up in the rafters of the ballroom, declaring their love to each other once again. For some reason, Blair was wearing a nightie. I’m still not entirely sure why, and no one else in the episode appeared to be sure either. While they were up there, one of the fake Serenas dropped the curtain on them to reveal to the entire party that they were back together, including Nate’s mom, who was in attendance with her giant pearl earrings. I thought that she was supposed to be at some sort of charity dinner, to which Blair was going to return after meeting with Chuck, but whatever. I don’t even know anymore. I can’t think about this many things at once. If I try to make sense of any of that, I’m pretty sure that it will make my eyes cross.
After Chuck and Blair came down from the rafters, Nate’s mom said something completely nonsensical about how your reflect on your man, but he doesn’t reflect on you (WTF does that even mean?) and told Blair that her services wouldn’t be needed at the women’s empowerment charity. I’m not sure why Nate’s mom required the services of a teenager anyway, but when Blair realized that she, not Chuck, would be the one making the sacrifices in the relationship, she decided that she couldn’t be his girlfriend after all. And he was so understanding and wonderful and awesome about the whole thing, and this is how we get into crappy relationships, ladies. In real life, the Chuck Basses of the world don’t turn into wonderful, understanding, patient men. They turn into older Chuck Basses, with just as many hookers as the younger versions.
Speaking of the crappy side of life, we still have to wrap up the little issue of Serena. After pleading her case to Nate and Dan and being rebuffed by both of them, she had to contend with Blair, who thought that she had tried to horn in on her spot with the charity (also the doing of Team Brooklyn). Blair didn’t believe her either, which makes me wonder, AGAIN, why no one remembers about the people from last week who were running around New York City, trying to ruin Serena’s life. Doesn’t that buy you the benefit of the doubt for at least a month before everyone you know decides that every crazy thing that happens must be your fault and yours alone?
Apparently not. To add insult to injury, Juliet managed to switch out Serena’s mask and poison her before she left the party, which left her woozy and on the verge of passing out. Once she was good and drugged, Juliet shoved her in a taxi, grabbed her phone and texted an “official withdrawal” to Dean Whatsherface. I’m pretty sure that you can’t actually withdraw from college with a text message in the wee hours of the morning, and I’m not sure why Serena would have the Dean’s cell number in the first place, but as with all aspects of Gossip Girl, the writers have asked us to suspend disbelief and buy into the alternate reality of the Upper East Side.
We won’t have a new episode next week, but when the show comes back, it looks like we’re in for a Serena shame-spiral of epic proportions. Juliet has stashed her in a random bedroom surrounded by booze and pills, and now that no one loves Serena, including her mother (apparently the dean got Juliet’s text message while at a late-night kegger or something and called Lily about it), I guess we’ll eventually find out why Juliet hates her so much. Was her brother the teacher she slept with at boarding school? I honestly have no clue. Give me your best theory in the comments.