A world without Gossip Girl is no world at all, so I couldn’t be more excited that it returned for a third season on The CW last night. Our Upper East Siders were back from summers in the Hamptons and Europe, preparing for college (or, in Little Jenny Humphrey’s case, high school queen-dom), and picking up where they left off at the end of the last season.

So where exactly did we leave them? Chuck and Blair had finally, at long last, professed that they had love for each other in their respective grinch hearts and decided to make something of it. Serena, freshly sprung from jail, had received word from Carter Baizen that he had located her dad in Europe, so instead of having a normal summer, they jetted off across the pond to track him down. Nate was on bad terms with his hoity-toity family (although you’d never know it, since Chace Crawford’s facial expression never changes from one of mild bewilderment), he and Vanessa were no longer dating (although they did hook up over the summer in Prague), and the Humpheys plus Eric had been chillin’ at Lily’s Hamptons house while she’s with CeCe, who is receiving cancer treatments.

But since all of that happened, three months has elapsed we all know that everything can change in an instant on the Upper East Side (particularly since Josh Schwartz & Co. have no idea how to properly develop a story line over a season. Not that I’m complaining). So what did last night hold for us, and for them?

Supercouple Chuck and Blair are, shock amaze, still together. As one of the other characters quipped during the show, I was half expecting to hear of their demise via murder/suicide, but they endure. And if you needed any further evidence that they’re both completely looneytunes and that Gossip Girl is the greatest show of our time, the writers saw fit to write them a cuckolding fetish (albeit a fairly mild one, to appeal to parents!).

They pick a girl, Chuck hits on her (always successfully. He’s CHUCK BASS.), they get to the edge of cheating, and Blair busts them and chews out the girl for picking up an attached man. They dispatch her swiftly, and then they screw. Sounds like fun, right? Except Serena talked some craziness to Blair about Chuck ACTUALLY wanting to cheat on her, which she wouldn’t have any knowledge of since she was in Europe all summer, but Blair freaked out anyway and called the whole game off. Particularly when they saw Alexandra Richards, making a cameo as herself, giving Chuck the eye at the Vanderbilt family polo match. So now they’re just going to be boring. Or so they say. What’s the over-under on how long that’s going to last? An episode? Max?

Those weren’t the only polo match hijinks, however. Not by a long shot. Nate, on an endless quest to be ungrateful and piss off his entire family, brought Bree Buckley, a woman that he met on a plane that happens to be from a rival political family, to the match to meet his grandfather. And to give back the keys to a Ferrari that Gramps bought him because NO ONE wants a Ferrari, right?

Bree is suitably mortified whens he finds out that she’s just there as a tool, but Nate somehow manages to convince her that he likes her for her (which is amazing, since he barely manages to convince me that he can read), and Gramps quelled her fears by telling her that he wants Nate to be happy and that they can be discrete. But because America’s political dynasties are full of backstabbers and opportunists (that’s how they got successful, duh, and Bree should have known that from her own relatives), Grandpa Vanderbilt immediately got on his phone to plot ways to humiliate his rival via Nate’s new chick. Of course he did.

Vanessa also showed up to the polo match in an effort to talk to Dan about…well, I’m not really sure about what. Vanessa is easily the worst character on this show, and her brand new half-dreadlocked extensions are nasty. She keeps claiming that she’s not judging Dan for his new-found riches as a result of his dad’s impending union with Lily, but that’s exactly what she did for this entire episode. $3000 suits offend her delicate hipster sensibilities, as does Dan having his name in the program at a polo match. She wants him to remain poor and artsy and dirty like she is. But the punchline is that Vanessa is currently being used by Dan and Serena’s supposedly-dead-but-not-really half brother to get close to his birth family. V, I’m going to have more than a little schadenfreude when all of this gets found out and you realize that he didn’t ever like you for you.

But the real drama was, as it always is, involving Serena. Her quest to find her father had turned into a booze-and-nudity tour through Europe once daddy rejected her, and she has come back to the States as an enormous tabloid star. Dan and his dad are under the impression that she was doing an Eat, Pray, Love ashram thing overseas, which is laughably ridiculous, since they have presumably both met Serena before and understand a little bit about her. “Contemplative” and “spiritual” are the last words anyone would use to describe that girl, but Jenny and Eric manage to keep the tabloids and blogs out of sight until Serena returns home, where the truth came out almost immediately.

The thing is, Serena didn’t want to admit to anyone that the reason that she went overseas was to pursue her father or that he rejected her (or that she is banging Carter Baizen), so whenever the subject came up, she did something ridiculous to create a diversion. First she untied her dress in front of the paps to get away from Carter, and then she told Dan that Carter is stalking her. He wasn’t, but Dan bought it and teamed up with Blair to get him served with a restraining order at the polo match. When it became clear that he wasn’t really stalking Serena, she stole a polo pony and road into the sunset, Carter chasing her on another polo pony. That served the double purpose of making a scene for the paps that might eventually get back to her dad and removing her from the situation so that she doesn’t have to TELL anyone about him. Neither of these things can go on forever, but watching her ride a horse in a maxi dress was pretty funny. And then she and Carter got it on in the woods, because this is Gossip Girl, after all. Inappropriate sexual activity is the name of the game.

Next week, it looks like we’ve got the return of Georgina as our Upper East Siders go to college. Until next time, XOXO.

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  • Great review Amanda!

    I just want to say how much I loved the orange gown on the stolen polo horse bit. Serena pulled it off and looked amazing, per usual. Though the plot line of her trying to grab attention for her real dad is kinda lame to me right now. I’m waiting for it to be amped up more!

  • Amanda Mull

    I want more info about her dad, which I think we’ll get. I think that will make it more interesting – why did he leave? What does he do? How long has it been since Serena has seen him? I’m sure there’s something juicy there.

    I’m already over the whole Vanderbilt/Buckley bit. Next, please.

  • Anna

    Megs, I adored the orange gown on Serena!!! The pictures that came out of her actually looked ah-mazing and modelesque rather than attention-grabbing and scandalous. I hope her dad at least will want to see her when those pictures get out.

    And Amanda, I loved your recap! It mades things a lot clearer for me :) I can’t wait until next week now!!!

  • I was actually really confused about why Serena was so set on finding her dad. Am I dense, or did I miss that she was searching before? I guess I never caught on to the Serena/her dad plot – because this is the first time I was aware of it.

  • Lissa

    Who is the designer of Dan’s wallet? I never got a chance to see it.

  • Amanda Mull

    I think it was probably Hermes if it came from Lily. I didn’t get a good look at it.

  • cakegirl

    I think Dan’s wallet was Cartier.

  • erik

    yes Dan’s wallet is Cartier

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  • mandy

    Does anyone know the designer of the one shoulder organge dress that Serena wore to the polo?