Paris! City of lights, macarons from Laduree and (at least this week) Gossip Girl! Some of our Upper East Siders made their season four debut a long way from Manhattan, but if being a moneyed, privileged teenager doesn’t get you a little international travel, what does it get you? Oh, right. It gets you everything else.
Anyway, while we were away, S and B have been enjoying Paris and all of its fine boutiques and cute bartenders, Dan and Georgina have been parenting a child in secret (although they apparently had no time for a paternity test before now), and Nate has been screwing his way through Chuck’s little black book. Oh, right, Chuck – no one knows where he is. That’s a problem.
Did you forget what happened last season? So did I, sort of. The relevant stuff goes like this: Blair found out that Chuck banged Jenny, so Blair dumped him and went to Paris and Chuck went to Prague (or a cheap, Prague-esque soundstage) and got shot. Georgina showed up back in town to tell Dan that he was about to be her baby daddy, but not before Serena kissed him, broke up with Nate and fled to Paris with Blair.
So: Paris! Blair shopped and Serena learned how to paint in order to make it even easier to see French guys naked (as if it was hard in the first place), and together, they made up two sides of the perfect personality. Except that Blair wasn’t happy, because Serena was getting a lot more hot French derriere than she was. Luckily, Serena is a pretty good wingman – despite the fact that the writers would have us believe otherwise, she can’t, in fact, sleep with everyone in Paris herself. You have to give a girl credit for trying, though.
Back at home, Nate was working his way through Chuck’s giant black book and Dan was, uh, having a crisis. No one but Sir Manbangs knows that he’s got baby mama drama in the worst way and…DARN. VANESSA DIDN’T DIE IN THE HAITI EARTHQUAKE. Also, things weren’t great with Lily either, since Chuck didn’t tell anyone where he was going and no one was paying the mortgage on the Empire Hotel all summer. Woops, he forgot. He got shot. I guess that’s a rational excuse for not paying your bills. Panic everywhere! All over Manhattan! Also, in Brooklyn!
Vanessa was the first person to meet Milo, the bastard son of Georgina and Dan, who has an adorably hipsterish name that indicates Dan got to choose it. Vanessa thought Dan was dating Georgina, and, well, the good news for her is that they’re not dating! Although in the context of the situation, I’m not sure that the reality is any better than the suspicion. Also, why hasn’t Humphrey asked for or mentioned a paternity test by this point in the episode? Why didn’t Nate, who apparently knew about the baby, tell him to get one? That seems to be the kind of thing that Nate would think of – that part of the brain’s logic center is apparently stored in the manbangs.
Speaking of Sir Manbangs, his slutty ways actually paid off by bumping him into a pretty, literate (!!!) girl at a restaurant while he was on one of his many ChuckDates. She turned him down, but she’ll be back, because we don’t spend three minutes on a pretty new girl for no reason on this show. Foreshadowing!
But wait, we left the girls in Paris, we have to go back and get them. While Blair was standing in a museum, perfect coiffed and looking at her favorite Manet, an impeccably dressed French bachelor approached her to ask her to dinner. As it turns out, he’s a prince! Except, I’m confused, didn’t we have a foreign nobility romance a season or two ago for Blair? Someone refresh my memory, this all sounds really familiar. This time, though, the foreign dude has a friend for Serena, who just wanted to tell Blair that she got in to Columbia but couldn’t get a word in to save her life because Blair’s ability to focus completely left the country when she heard the word “Grimaldi.”
Except, wait. Frenchy ain’t a prince. He’s a the prince’s driver. And Serena’s date, well, he’s the prince. It’s not often that I feel actual, vicarious humiliation for a television character, but when Blair’s date popped on his jaunty little chauffer hat, my stomach did a flip and I felt a little faint. Serena tried to put a happy face on the whole situation, but that’s probably easy for her. She’s on a date with a prince.
Let’s return to New York for a moment to give Blair a chance to collect herself – Dan and Vanessa went on a walk to discuss the new addition to Dan’s family and the succubus who hath bore it, and leave it to Vanessa to be the voice of reason and freak out at Dan for not demanding a paternity test yet. THANK YOU WRITERS FOR FINALLY MENTIONING THAT. It was only an entire hiatus plus twenty minutes late.
Also in New York, Lily and Rufus were preparing for a Fashion’s Night Out fete and worrying over Chuck’s safety. And, oops, Lily spilled the beans to Eleanor Waldorf about Serena’s impending entrance to Columbia, who called Paris and told Blair (cue sad Blair face for the second time in this episode). And, wait, the pretty literate girl that Nate met is at the party as well! Eight million people? Pfft. New York City is a very small town. Nate showed up, naturally, because this entire show is (still) based on improbable run-ins at parties.
Next to arrive to the party was Georgina, who naturally came with Milo in tow and no Dan to be found in order to blow that shindig out of the water. Dan should have seen this coming, but because he apparently thinks that the baby somehow changed Georgina’s brain chemistry, it hadn’t occurred to him that a stunt was assured at some point. Georgina also managed to win over Lily and convince her of her good intentions, but that can probably be attributed to the adorable, drooling baby in the skull-and-crossbones knit cap that she was holding during the conversation.
In Paris, things were going similarly poorly. Blair had stormed out of dinner upon finding out that Serena would be joining her at Columbia, and when they had their eventual argument next to the picturesque fountain over why Serena had to ruin everything for Blair, it was all punctuated by a hardy shove into the water for Serena. I love Blair, but she’s wrong on this one – Serena can go to any school that her name and parents’ fortune can buy her way in to, and Blair has no reason to try and deny her that. You don’t have to see someone every day just because you go to the same college as they do, and I doubt the two will be pursuing the same major (or any major, who are we kidding? Serena is going to go to Columbia like the Olsen twins went to NYU).
Stateside, Dan and Rufus decided to take Georgina’s doctor’s word for it and believe the paternity test (stupid stupid stupid, didn’t we learn about this last season with Chuck’s mom?), and he signed the birth certificate, but then Georgina skipped town. At the Empire, Nate and the girl who can read stumbled into a party of models in lingerie playing Rock Band. None of these people live on earth, but I think I prefer it that way. Nate still managed to get the girl’s number, and the writers later implied that she was actually a stalker. Amazing.
The bizarre things continued in Paris, where Blair had gone back to her date after Serena’s introduction to the fountain and found out that the chauffer actually WAS the prince and the prince was the chauffer, and Blair was just being tested to ensure that she really liked Pierre or Louis or whatever his Frenchy name was for him. More sadface for Blair. She’s a rich American on vacation who thought she had met a prince, of course she was less than enthusiastic about finding out he was the prince’s driver.
The prince stormed out, at Blair went home to find Serena packing to leave. Blair apologized for pushing Serena in the fountain and admitted that she was still in incredible pain over Chuck, and Serena forgave her even though her hair was probably still wet with fountain scum. How do you even get that stuff out of extensions? The mind, it reels. I bet the smell was heinous.
But we can’t forget about Chuck – Chuck, who was presumed dead, was actually rescued and nursed back to health in Prague by a fetching blonde girl and has now reinvented himself as Henry, a charming rogue who wears short-sleeved chambray shirts and carries a backpack (is it still 1940 in Eastern Europe?). This Chuck/Henry will never last, since I’m pretty sure that his lust for purple paisley is actually a genetic trait that he can’t deny for too long. Next week, he’ll apparently get a few reminders of his past life.
However improbable and silly this show might get at times, I couldn’t be happier that it’s back, and I mean that in a totally sincere, unironic way. Who’s with me?