What happened on last night’s episode of Gossip Girl? Well, I don’t know, really. I watched the show just as I do every week, but it’s getting more and more difficult to figure out how any of the stuff that happens therein connects to what happened last week or what will happen next. They could start the series over with an entirely different premise every episode and I’m not entirely sure I’d notice a difference.
That doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun, though; watching pretty people with problems is always fun in its own way, and these people are particularly pretty and problem-plagued. Also, we continued our streak of episodes without Vanessa and Jenny, which makes me think that my fervent hope that the producers shot them into the sun might actually be a reality.
It was almost fashion week in the land of Gossip Girl, just as it is in real life, and everyone was in such a freakin’ hurry. Chuck and Raina barely had time to have sex, Rufus was late to tell Dan that he had a new ex-con roommate, and Blair’s boss was losing her shit over a Florence and the Machine issue that necessitated Chuck’s assistance and the use of one of his buildings. Simple, right?
We’ll start with Blair and her particular circle of problems, because they’re somewhat separate from the whole Ben The Ex-Con issue. Blair’s still an intern at W because of the groveling and apologizing that Dan did last week, and as is standard in the fashion industry, Epperly the Intern Wrangler thought that she was the busiest person on the face of the planet and was entirely unable to deal with the stress. In order to avoid a bad performance review (never mind that an intern wouldn’t be formally performance-reviewed ever, and particularly not with Fashion Week and a huge event looming), Blair decided that the only way to get Epperly off her back would be to get her laid.
Not that Blair is an kind of particular expert in relaxation or anything, but it actually wasn’t a bad scheme. She initially wanted Chuck to seduce her, but because Chuck is occupied seducing Raina to help save his company (more on that in a second), her efforts turned to Nate. I’m not sure why she didn’t think of Nate initially because he’s obviously, to use a term coined by the unctuous John Mayer, “sexual napalm” and also really dim and easy to manipulate, but he was totally willing to do the job, just like we all knew he would be.
While Blair was trying to pimp out Nate, Chuck was dealing with his own sexual machinations. He was caught somewhere between actually caring about Raina and only caring about the fact that banging her could help Bass Industries, and he chose to go with the latter impulse since he is, after all, Chuck Bass. He invited her to Blair’s magazine party that night and spent the day sharing his hotel childhood with her in order to convince her that he cares about both her and his company a great deal, and after a while, it sort of worked. They talked about secret hotel hiding places and being a guest in your own home, and after a while, Raina agreed to skip out on a Thorpe Enterprises board meeting to go to attend the party. Actually, that’s where the hiding places conversation happened, but it’s not like the plot is really all that important.
As if on cue, though, Raina’s overly involved (seriously, she answers his calls during sexytime) dad showed up to blow up Chuck’s spot and tell Raina that Chuck had invited her to the party on purpose so that she would miss an important board vote on Bass Industries that needed to be unanimous. If Raina’s as savvy as we’re lead to believe, though, why didn’t she realize that the timing of the party invitation and the board meeting were extremely fortuitous and that the heir to the fortune that she’s trying to destroy is probably not to be trusted, or at least not to be given the benefit of the doubt?
But no, she didn’t realize any of that. Raina seemed genuinely shocked that Chuck would try such a dastardly trick, which is doubly confusing when you consider what kinds of dastardly tricks her dad probably pulls off all the time. All was healed between Chuck and Raina by the end of the episode, though, because Blair, in an apparent attempt to pay forward the problem-fixing phone call that Dan made last week, called Raina and told her what a wonderful guy Chuck Bass is. Actually, I’m not entirely sure what Blair told her based on the conversation that Raina and Chuck had (perhaps she intimated that Chuck is a more generous lover than Nate?), but whatever it was, it did the trick. Chuck and Raina – still on! Until next week. Duh.
So now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about Serena’s ex-con ex-teacher. He showed up in Brooklyn to move into the loft just as Rufus had told him to do last week, but when he arrived (or actually, when his parole officer arrived), Dan was totally befuddled by why he would be staying there. Rufus came along shortly to explain things, and since Dan is Serena’s jealous ex-boyfriend and forever protector (in his own head), he was mad. Mad enough to write a short story about it, or whatever it is that we’re supposed to think that Dan does.
Also angry was Eric, who shared Dan’s belief that Ben is dangerous and not to be trusted. He got together with Damian the Extremely Short Drug Dealer (who is totally trustable?) so that Damian could water the seeds of his Ben-fear by telling him that Ben had threatened him if he didn’t stay away from the family, and Eric, sensing that his only friend in the whole wide world would slip away if Ben’s threats were successful, immediately jumped at the chance to plot Ben’s exit. Apparently Eric didn’t learn anything from being played like a fiddle by Little Jenny Humphrey, although maybe that was so embarrassing that he chose to block it out for the sake of his mental health. Naturally, Damian and Eric’s part of the plot also centered around the W magazine party, as all plots will until Blair finds something else to do or the writers forget that she works there, just like they’ve forgotten that she goes to college.
Dan also got in on the plot after coming home to the loft to find Serena canoodling with Ben over sushi. (Serena can’t even handle a spicy tuna roll, how typical.) After lodging his disapproval of the Serena-Ben situation and then fleeing to the bathroom to prune his sideburns (that’s what Dan does when he’s nervous), Serena also fled, this time to get Blair’s blessing on the situation. Blair refused to give it, which only further convinced Serena that dating Ben was exactly the right thing to do, and she promptly invited him to the evening’s magazine party. Because Blair can just add people to the list, again, after last week’s kerfuffle. Duh.
Once at the party, Damian, Dan and Eric got straight to their dirty work before Serena arrived by sending over Damian to bait Ben so that he’d get in a fight, violate his parole and get sent back to jail. Except Ben didn’t take the bait, perhaps because he clearly hadn’t been lifting weights while in prison and his birdlike frame meant that beating up the world’s shortest drug dealer might be a problem, but probably because he’s a rational individual and realized that he’d go back to prison, where he had just spent three years stewing over how crappy prison is.
But if you know how this show usually works, you probably know what happened next. Dan stalked off to the bathroom to check his sideburns again and Damian talked Eric into faking the whole thing, which required Eric to punch Damian in the face. Eric complied, but not because he, like the rest of us, has secretly wanted to swing on Damian the entire time, but because he thought he was doing a favor for his one true friend in the entire universe. Eric, ladies and gentlemen. The most pathetic character on television.
Once Serena arrived at the party, Damian presented his bruised face to the crowd and had Ben hauled out by his parole officer, because apparently all the real police officers were busy that night. At that point, though, Damian made one crucial mistake – he didn’t bother to keep up the charade of being Eric’s friend until Ben was back in jail for good. He wouldn’t even go play video games with the little guy, which struck me as needlessly cruel because we all know that video games are probably all that Damian does with his life anyway.
He should have waited a little longer to kick Eric to the curb, because the first thing Eric did was squeal to Rufus and Dan that Damian had set Ben up. Because Rufus and Dan both have raging Superman complexes and not enough to do with their time, they ensured that Ben’s one night in jail would be his last and that the misunderstanding would go away in the morning. Also, Dan enlisted Nate, who was still wondering why that girl from W wouldn’t sleep with him, and went to tell on Damian to his dad. Damian’s face when he found out that daddy knew about his drug trafficking was priceless, as was the fact that it means we’ll probably never have to see him again. Predictably, all of this gave Serena and Ben some alone time in the loft, at which point they consummated their relationship.
We left out one important thing, though – why didn’t Epperly sleep with Nate? The manbangs weren’t strong enough to overcome a British accent, that’s why. Epperly ran into her British ex-boyfriend at the party, for reasons unknown, and decided to spend the night talking about yoga with him instead. After a night of reunion with the Brit, it became clear to her that fashion is meaningless and she quit her job in order to go on a yoga retreat with him. In all fairness, a good British accent on a hot man could probably make me quit my job too, particularly if it promised me a vacation.
All of this resulted in the most moronic twist of the season so far, unfortunately. Because Epperly is gone, Blair is the new intern wrangler, despite the fact that she’s only been there for two weeks, she has no experience, and she’s still a college student (and a frequently truant one at that). The entire scenario is so patently ridiculous that I can’t actually think of a decent way to make fun of it.
Oh, and one more thing – everyone go download Florence and the Machine’s album on iTunes, it’s great. Far greater than the few notes that producers allowed Flo to warble last night.