Raise your hand if you spent the first half of last night’s episode of Gossip Girl trying to remember what happened in the first half of the season and where the last installment left off. I watch Gossip Girl professionally and spend hours every Monday night thinking about it, and my hand is still firmly raised.
That’s ok, though, because at this point in our Upper East Side journey, the plots and narrative arcs don’t really matter all that much, and the writers know that as well as any of us do. So just sit back, relax and enjoy the bumpy ride.
We started with Serena, who had just returned from Virginia and her failed Brockovichian journey to contact the judge in her statutory rape case, but she couldn’t find him or the paperwork that her mom had forged. Little did she know, Lily had arranged for the judge to leave his home in Virginia in order to avoid Serena and the whole messy situation. I wonder if she had to pay him more than she paid Juliette to make that happen. I’m betting so, particularly since travel and accommodations were involved.
Once Serena got done telling her story, she inquired after Blair’s break, but Blair got defensive and vague and changed the subject very quickly. Too quickly. When Serena later met up with Dan to have a conversation to which I admittedly paid very little attention, he was similarly vague. All of this was bad, very bad, until we found out that they had simply seen a movie together, and while that probably means that Blair and Dan are still going to happen, at least the writers intend to stretch out the plot for more than two episodes. Unless they have sex next week, in which case my theory is shot to hell.
Meanwhile, Chuck met up with the daughter (but we didn’t know that yet) of an associate of his dead father to try to block the sale of Bass Industries, and she informed him that a deal had been put on the table and fast-tracked to close within 24 hours. I’m pretty sure that billion-dollar businesses actually can’t be sold that quickly because the SEC or Federal Trade Commission or some sort of government agency would likely get its panties in a wad if they weren’t consulted first, but whatever. This woman, who didn’t correct Chuck when he assumed she was an underling of some sort, is very snappy and quick and all-around much better than the last temporary female character that we had, and I hope they keep her around for a while.
Since they were both having various quarrels with Lily’s newly vicious (or newly realized?) ways, Chuck and Serena then got together to exchange some sort of ominous key and discuss the possibility of blackmailing Lily into doing what they both want her to do. I’m not sure how well blackmail will work against someone with billions of dollars who is willing to write problem-solving checks at the drop of a hat, but those two never tire of their schemes, do they?
As it turns out, this one was actually pretty decent. Chuck had Serena dress up as a very convincing Lily and take her ID to get into her bank vault, within which they found a copy of the falsified affidavit. They took it and planned to use it to avoid the sale of Bass Industries and spring Ben from jail, but Lily promised that she could prove she was right if they were only willing to give her 24 hours to do it. They weren’t and continued to meddle.
Over at Blair’s house, Ms. Waldorf was subjecting herself to the brutal authority of her mother in order to get a shot at meeting Pepsi chairwoman Indra Nooyi, whom her mother was dressing for an event that night. Instead, she got loaded down with garment bags and sent to dress Patti Blagojevich, which I don’t buy for the following reasons: First, hauling garment bags is ambitious college student stuff, and there would be other people who don’t bear the family name to do that. Also, a designer would probably send garments through an insured messenger service, not with some bumbling college student. Second, designers who matter don’t loan clothes to wives of disgraced regional politicians, no matter how entertaining and swear-y their husbands’ FBI wiretap tapes might have been. Predictably, Blair swapped the dresses and headed over to Indra’s hotel anyway. Blair’s mom figured out her plot and prevented that from happening. Ho-hum.
Meanwhile, while all of that was going on, Serena had stood up Dan for some sort of meeting that I didn’t even realize they had scheduled, nor did I care what it was supposed to be about, and he blew off some kind of interview to wait for her. A book agent or something? I’m not sure, but any book agent who would talk to Dan freaking Humphrey needs to be shot into the sun anyway, so I’m glad that Serena clearly is still in possession of his balls and prevented him from acquiring representation as a writer. When Serena finally found the time to meet up with Dan, it became clear that Lily had sequestered her judge in the city while she was traipsing through Virginia in her best push-up bra and stilettos, trying to find him to curry favor and get the case reopened. Off she ran again with this new information, dragging Dan along behind her like a tired toddler.
Anyway, they all went to some party. What party? I have no idea. None. Not even a little. I’m not even sure the writers ever explained what party was or why everyone was going to show up, which may have been intentional because at this point, anyone who’s watched more than a couple episodes of this show knows that the nature and purpose of the daily parties absolutely matters not. Everyone showed up – Dan trying to impress Serena, Serena and Chuck trying to create a scene with Lily, Blair trying to meet Indra Nooyi, Blair’s mom trying to give Blair the death stare. Oh, and also Bart Bass’s old associate and his daughter Raina, who we met earlier in the episode and who I hope sticks around for a while.
This is how it went down: Blair’s mom fired her from her non-paying fake internship because she didn’t do well with her garment bag-schlepping, Serena abandoned Dan to finish her scheme with Chuck, Blair saw Dan leaving all upset-like and apparently had thoughts that I’d rather not contemplate because I’d really rather that Dan and Blair (Dair?) never happened, and Serena passed off her affidavit to a New York Post reporter, but it was actually Dan’s resumÃ©, which he had switched out at some earlier (and unseen?) point in the party.
When it became apparent that Dan had foiled Serena’s plan, Lily jumped in to remind Serena that, oh yeah, she would go to jail if the forged affidavit ever came to be public knowledge. Serena thought that Lily would be fine as long as she didn’t press charges against her, which means that Serena has no functional understanding of the American legal system whatsoever. Shocker.
Elsewhere at the party, Chuck’s plans were also being foiled. The “secretary” that he met earlier in the episode was actually Raina, the daughter and business partner of his dad’s old frienemy Somethingorother Thorpe, who held a long-standing grudge against Bart and wanted to buy Bass Industries and dismantle it. After seeing the little family foofaraw with the Post reporter at the nebulous party, Thorpe called the buyer and scared him off so that he could make a dramatic announcement to the entire gathering mere moments later that he would be moving operations to New York and buying Bass Industries.
After the party, Dan and Serena got together at Blair’s house to have a tender moment and decide that they aren’t going to date again until they’re really ready, and in the meantime, Dan and Blair shall attend more movies together, even if they maybe aren’t ready to sit next to each other while doing so. Dan insisted that he was okay with that arrangement because it keeps Blair away from his popcorn, but I’m not sure why the Gossip Girl writers think we’ll believe that Blair eats popcorn or carbs of any kind. That’s almost as unlikely as the idea that Blair had never previously contemplated working at a high-end fashion glossy, which this episode also wanted us to believe was a revelation. Please. Blair has had her nose in a Vogue since she was old enough to hold up her own head.
While that was going on, various daddy issues were being worked out on various islands. On the one they call Staten, Serena had gone to visit her incarcerated ex-teacher and found that he had been mysteriously paroled early, which was apparently a service included in the payment that Lily had given to him for staying out of Virginia over Christmas break. Serena found him outside and they walked out into the Staten Island night together, because apparently there’s a coffee shop close to the prison that’s open in the middle of the night so that people can catch up with their recently-released acquaintances. Isn’t that convenient. And by “convenient,” I mean “another thing that would never happen in reality.”
In other daddy issues news, Nate had been trying to wrangle The Captain or The Admiral or whatever the hell his father calls himself for the entire episode because, if you’ll remember, he had also been recently paroled. A condition of his parole was that he would quickly find a job, but since playing Wii with your son’s roommate’s comely employees is so much more entertaining, he mostly did that. At the end, though, he reminded us of his true colors – instead of looking for work through one of the legitimate connections that he surely still has, he simply went for the lowest and quickest option available – Thorpe. He’s going to help buy out Chuck’s dad’s company, which will surely make roommate relations a tad more difficult in the coming weeks.