Is it just me, or was last night’s episode of Gossip Girl even more convoluted and unnecessarily complicated than usual? And when we’re talking about Gossip Girl, isn’t that really saying something? I didn’t recap last week because I was sick, so maybe I didn’t pay as much attention when I was watching that episode and completely screwed myself over for this one, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it wasn’t just me.
Consider, for instance, that last night’s show involved a huge shipment of cocaine, six-figure bribery, death threats, lots of completely fake interactions and the return of Vanessa the Weave Monster. Which is to say nothing of the entire plot involving how Chuck gained access to Russell’s computer. I don’t even want to go there.
Everything started at the DUMBO loft, with Dan looked irritated and running off to midtown for coffee and a “lunch meeting” and Serena leaving her ex-con lover to make peace with her mother and help plan Eric’s birthday party. As it turns out, though, Eric’s party was momentarily cancelled because he was “sick,” which proves that the universe hates him in every way imaginable, so Serena instead chose to spend her time seeking Blair’s counsel on the issue of Ben. Blair’s negative response was predictable to everyone but Serena, who did exactly what she always does when someone says something she doesn’t want to hear: She stormed out.
After Serena left, Blair gathered her minions via webcam to give them instructions on their duties for Eric’s birthday festivities, apparently unaware that Eric was merely playing sick in order to throw Lily and Rufus off of…something. It wasn’t immediately clear what. Also being unclear were Lily and Chuck, who staged a fight in some sort of rich-looking, wood-paneled bar in order to make Russell Thorpe think that there was conflict within the family. But! Ha! There wasn’t! Those tricky Van Der Basses.
And then it became clear why Eric was faking sick – he had a new job as a drug mule, and he couldn’t miss it for some piddly birthday. If you’ll remember, Damian threatened to expose Lily last week, and now Eric has to pick up a giant cocaine shipment in order to prevent his mother’s unfortunate incarceration. Serena offered to throw herself on the cocaine grenade in order to save Eric the potential prison sentence, but Ben insisted that they should let Lily unintentionally intercept the laced flowers instead. Since Serena is pretty invested in keeping her mother out of jail, a lover’s quarrel ensued and Serena turned to the only person who she could count on to cook up a scheme on the fly: Blair.
The only problem was that Blair had about 47 too many things to do already. When Serena and Eric arrived at W, she was pitching front-of-book concepts, taking a test over the phone and trying to make a blog post happen by sheer force of will, and it was all so overwhelming that she actually had to stoop to a level heretofore unknown in Waldorf history- she appointed Dan to be her intern when he had merely shown up to have lunch with her in order to escape the lovebirds at the loft. See, all of her real interns had asked for transfers because Blair is the Pol Pot of the magazine industry, which left her with all of her new duties, plus her interns’ duties, plus her Columbia courses. This plot is almost too asinine and insultingly stupid to even merit a mention, and if the writers see fit to mention it in future episodes, I may omit it entirely on the grounds that I find it offensive to my intelligence.
While Blair and Dan were working their fingers to the bone in midtown, Lily and Russel were having giant glasses of red wine on the Upper East Side and Nate and Raina were getting stoned at the Empire after going ice skating because Raina couldn’t find her driver. (Just go with it, don’t ask too many questions, the whole thing collapses if you poke it too hard.) While both Thorpes were purposefully distracted, Chuck was using the opportunity to sneak into Russell’s apparently security-challenged office and find out who else had an interest in Bass Industries. Again, don’t think about it too much.
Over at Eric’s apartment for the party, Dan showed up with a bunch of tulips that were actually tulips instead of a giant shipment of European cocaine (This is neither here nor there, but I don’t think America’s cocaine supply comes from Europe.), and back at W, one of Blair’s minions showed up without the tulips she was apparently supposed to have. Was she supposed to have the non-cocaine tulips that were at the party? And if so, where were the cocaine tulips? Or was she supposed to have the coke?
No one knew, and that was the problem. Apparently we were supposed to come to the conclusion that Blair had intended to send Penelope to pick up the drugs so that if someone went to jail, it would just be a minion. But Dan went instead because Blair was too harried and frazzled to gesture at the right post-it note, and then the wrong tulips came because Blair wrote down the wrong color. Never mind that you don’t pick up a floral order by correctly identifying the color of the flowers you want; details like that have no place on this show. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Damian had pre-sold all of the coke (can you pre-sell coke?), so if the gang couldn’t locate the proper tulips, he intended to blackmail Eric for $100,000. Luckily it was Eric’s birthday which meant he got access to his trust fund. Convenient!
As he and Serena tore through his gifts trying to find the trust fund checkbook, Lily and Rufus were outside putting on a little performance for that Thorpe dude until the investor from Atlanta that Chuck had identified had an opportunity to get to the party. Russell and Chuck had a little shit fit in front of him, but he chose to stay and hear Chuck’s point of view about the company, and…yeah. Something like that. I think I used to care about this plot at some point, but I can’t remember when. It’s like a hazy memory of a dream I once had, but not one of those really good ones that you write down as soon as you wake up.
What wasn’t a dream, though, was that Lily walked in on Eric looking for his checkbook, heard the entire story, and decided that paying off Damian was the correct thing to do because all she knows how to do is solve problems by hurling money at them. After they sent Damian on his way with a large check, Ben accosted him in an alley and took the check back, threatening to have him killed if he ever tried to use the forged affidavit against Lily. Unfortunately for him (and I’m sure that it will be unfortunate), Vanessa had just shown up and gotten herself kicked out of Eric’s party (well, maybe not technically kicked out, but no one wanted her there and Dan refused to make her feel welcome) and she happened to be down on the street hailing a cab at that very moment and heard the entire thing, death threats and all. The Weave Monster strikes again.
Speaking of improbable things (aren’t we always speaking of improbable things when we talk about this show?), after finding out that Dan had written her blog for her and deciding to quit her job at W, Blair marched her two mismatched shoes straight to Brooklyn to commiserate with Dan, order takeout and fall asleep on his shoulder. Of all the things I didn’t expect to like (not to mention all the terrible plot twists in this episode), Dair is totally growing on me. Not only have the writers managed to pace their courtship in a reasonable and authentic way, but Leighton and Penn are two of the better actors on the show and they seem to have actual chemistry. When you compare their moments together to Serena’s dead-eyed stare at Ben or Nate’s awkward ice cream party with Raina, the difference is vast. And in the interest of positivity, let’s end the recap right there.