Sometimes, you can’t help but love something that’s bad for you. For example, I love carbs – they’re going to slowly kill me, but hey, aren’t we all dying anyway? Might as well go out with some carb-y goodness. I feel similarly about Gossip Girl; even when it’s good, I still walk away feeling like I’ve eaten too much candy. When it’s bad, I can feel my brain beginning to melt and slowly leak out of my ears. Either way, I can’t help but love it, sometimes in spite of myself.
Season three’s penultimate episode exhibited some of the worst elements of the series. It was farcical, needlessly complicated and not even tenuously based in reality. But it also had a lot of what makes the show great – smart quips (Serena called Jenny’s clothes “wannabe Watanabe” and I almost died right there on my couch), lots of scheming and our Upper East Siders refashioned into a high-end version of Scooby and the gang, except they ride in black Towncars instead of that stinky-looking van. And also, no dog. But maybe there will be a dog next season!
Things started so innocently. Blair was to go on a date with that Columbia guy that she met at that Bushwick loft party, and I’m still mildly horrified that she’d consider dating someone that she found in Brooklyn, even if he is a Columbia man. She just got out of a relationship, though, so I guess it’s ok if she feels the need to ease her way in. It’s kind of adorable, in fact, because Blair has never been on a “real” date with a guy she doesn’t already know pretty well, and that rang so true that it actually made me a little nostalgic.
In other parts of Manhattan, Chuck not only found out about Blair’s impending date (surprise, it’s not hard to get information out of Sir Manbangs), but also about from whence Lily’s pharmaceuticals came. He teamed up with Jenny, who has been grounded in Brooklyn recently (you can tell because her extensions are looking extra ratty) and doing lots of research via the shamelessly product-placed Bing, and he has his personal pharmacist ascertain that they’re some weird antibiotic and figure out who prescribed them.
In still other parts of our fair island, the proverbial crap finally hit the fan at Van der Woodsen Acres. Rufus ventured back in to talk with Lily, but Serena intercepted him and told him that she knows what happened just in time for the rest of the family to join them in the living room and wonder what was going on. Rufus called slutty neighborlady up to set the record straight, and just like the scorned wannabe-mistress that we know she is, Holland promptly sold him out in front of Lily, Billy Baldwin and everyone else in the entire cast. Well, except for Nate. He walked in after all the sex-accusing happened, presumably because he got lost in the hallway or distracted by some sort of shiny object.
Except, well, Rufus didn’t sleep with her. Dan is sure of it! And Nate! Lily and Serena? Not so much, unfortunately, and they’re sort of the ones that need to believe him. I always forget that Dan and Nate are friends now, but they decided to join forces to prove that Rufus didn’t cheat on anyone, and they decide to do so by going to find Holland at her office. But, let’s face it, Nate and Dan are not exactly Sherlock and Watson, so they enlist the aid of the show’s resident queen of manipulation: one Blair Waldorf.
They’re able to obtain her services, unlike Chuck and Jenny, who came to ask for help earlier in the day. Blair mostly still isn’t ready to play nice with Chuck and she definitely shall not be playing anything with Jenny in the near future, so she shooed them away to do the investigating on their own. Their next brilliant step? Heading to the office of the doctor that prescribed Lily’s medication.
That’s right, both teams of Upper East Siders are heading to doctors’ offices, and if you correctly guess that their separate searches would lead them to the same doctor, then you should probably be writing these recaps instead of reading them. The Gossip Girl writers haven’t caught me off guard in a while, but they totally sold me on this one – when Blair, Nate and Dan walked in to find Chuck and Jenny already harassing Holland’s receptionist, I was completely shocked. The lady that tried to sleep with Rufus is also the doctor that is in cahoots with Billy Baldwin to keep Lily sick! Mind? Blown.
So the entire mystery-solving gang, plus Blair’s date, who appeared to think that all of this was, like, totally cool, reconvened at Chuck’s penthouse to hash out the details and make sure Nate and Dan were following along, and Chuck decided that they needed more proof before presenting their findings to Lily or Serena. He enlisted Jenny, who is supposed to be grounded for this entire episode, to head over to Van der Woodsen Acres and steal some more meds, since she has proven skill at that and all.
Once there, Jenny had another one of her nasty run-ins with Serena while trying to shove a huge package containing only a small bottle of “oxycodone” into her purse, and in the process of the conversation, she had a realization: she just wants to go back to being Little J from Brooklyn. Because Jenny is Jenny and she’s a fundamentally selfish, nasty little person whose own hair extensions are trying their best to run away from her, she decided that she was going to take this entire investigation into her own hands so that Rufus and Lily would break up and she could go back to Brooklyn, all the while pretending that all of her personality flaws were simply caused by the act of existing in Manhattan.
When Jenny reported back to the group, she claimed to have not found any further evidence, but luckily Blair had a contingency plan. The thing is, however, that it never became clear exactly what that plan was. They all ended up at a big fancy party, as they always do, and Holland was there and so was the Lily/Billy Baldwin/Serena triumvirate that seems to be roving all over Manhattan these days on matching Segways. Chanel Segways, natch. Don’t ask me why the entire cast was conveniently there or what the party was for, because I have no idea, and neither do the people that wrote this episode.
I’ve watched the party scene twice now, and I call shenanigans on the entire thing – it seemed like we were supposed to see the entire scheme unravel and be spontaneously reconstructed multiple times, but all I gleaned from it was this: Chuck and Blair distracted Holland with some of their real-life couple problems and then conned her into confessing her role in the scheme while everyone else ran around the party in a panic, unable to remember what they were supposed to do, or, when they finally remembered, unable to do it for various reasons. Rufus showed up and stole a ticket out of Jenny’s hand, although I can’t remember why she was holding a ticket (in fact, I don’t know if I ever actually knew why she was holding it in the first place) and someone explained to him exactly how he had been bamboozled. He tried to confront Billy Baldwin, but Jenny tipped Billy off that the Scooby gang was on to him and he took Lily and Serena and ran.
Under the guise that one of his patients had taken a turn for the worse in Palm Beach and he had to attend to him right away, Billy Baldwin told the family to pack their things and they’d be helicopter’d away post-haste. While Serena was stuffing what appeared to be a series of Chanel Coco Cocoon bags full of inappropriately short dresses and and sparkly ace bandages that she would later fashion into shirts, she received two phone calls. First, Nate called to warn her about her father’s duplicitous ways, and until this moment, I had completely forgotten that Nate and Serena were dating and that apparently they were in a fight. Oops. Then Dan called her to do the exact same thing and she actually answered, because Dan Humphrey is a fundamentally safe truth-teller, but she still didn’t believe him and got upset.
Dan’s call bugged her enough to make her quietly question Billy Baldwin, and that managed to stall him just long enough for Rufus to march in and expose the entire charade to the whole family. Billy wasn’t phased by the truth, however and he promised to go down to the lobby and get the papers out of his bag to prove that he was telling the truth and that Lily really had fallen ill again. He never came back upstairs, though – when sad, dumb Serena went downstairs to look for him, he had already flown the coop, and the cops had already been called to chase him down.
The police weren’t the only ones on his tail – Serena limo’d out to the helipad to talk to him one last time, and Billy Baldwin admitted to her that he had told her mom that she was sick again because he fell back in love with her while treating her (legitimately) the first time. He asked Serena to come with him, but she declined in order to slip back into her limo with none other than Dan Humphrey – so that’s back on again, is it? For his part, Billy Baldwin didn’t actually get into the helicopter. Instead, he got into a waiting taxi, never to be seen again – until the next episode.
Back uptown, Jenny copped to tipping off Billy Baldwin (Jenny, you’re supposed to lie) and ranted and raved about how terrible Lily and Rufus’s marriage had worked out for her. She raised a few valid points about their constant fighting but generally made a fool of herself, and Eric very validly told her to GTFO out of the family if she didn’t like it. She stormed off, but didn’t go far – Nate, drinking his Serena troubles away, welcomed her with open arms.
And then it was just Blair and Chuck, Chuck and Blair, together again to have another emotional moment at the end of an episode. He felt something during their scheming, and he knows that she felt it too, so he gives her one day – one day to decide the rest of their lives – after which he’ll be waiting for her on the top of the Empire State Building. If she doesn’t show up, his heart will be closed forever. Will she show? Is that ring in the preview for her? What is all the fighting about? This was a good episode, underneath at all, and here’s hoping that next week’s season finale will knock our collective socks off.
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