This week’s episode deals with the aftermath of the commoners trying to hang with the elite. Little J deals with the aftermath of her attempted power grab last year and has her bag dumped out in the middle of the hallway by Blair’s minions, who promise much more where that came from. Vanessa gets in bed with Blair and ends up screwing Nate, Rufus has to tell Lily that he can’t be her safety net anymore, and Dan gets to meet the “real” Serena.

Suffice it to say, these are not happy times on the Upper East Side.

“Serena and Dan broke up. Tragic—if not entirely unprecedented.”

It’s been a week since the blackout, and it’s the first day of school. Dan and Serena haven’t seen each other since their elevator breakup, so things are understandably awkward. They try to be all grown up about it and skip to the friends part, but a new girl gets in the way. A whiny, simpering new girl who I just want to smack a little bit. I don’t know what it is about her that I hate so much; I just think she has that kind of face that just looking at it makes you want smash it with a cream pie or something.

Anyway, she reads all of the same boring crap that Dan reads, so he immediately invites her to lunch, which apparently, even though this is still ostensibly high school, means that it’s a one-on-one “sorry Serena, even though we’re ‘friends,’ you can’t sit with us” kind of lunch. Serena feel understandably hurt, embarrassed and jealous. Unfortunately for everyone involved, Blair sees this and goes on the offensive. She tries to befriend Amanda in order to bond her to the “girl code” and render her unable to date a friend’s ex.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to take and Amanda invites Dan to that magical club in which 17-year-olds can drink with impunity. Of course, this ends up on Gossip Girl, creating a whole bitchy cycle between Serena and Dan that leads to a date with all three of them (?) the next night.

“Serena’s not thinking straight. She’s making this about Dan; it was the new girl who defied you.”

So the date goes predictably well. Dan and Amanda laugh like assholes and Serena gets progressively drunker and hangs on a lacrosse player. Blair’s creepy silent minions are there, as is Chuck, who is dressed like The Joker. Not the rad, Heath Ledger Joker either. Hell, not even the slightly creepy Nicholson version. He’s more like the 1960s watered-down “Pow! “Bam!” version. Point is; it’s not a good look.

Chuck’s entire purpose during this episode appears to be slinking around corners and being evil, and it suits him. He’s at the club to check up on the Dan/Serena/Amanda threesome of sadness, and came equipped with some sort of, I think, bleach mixture that he convinced the silent minions to throw onto Amanda’s hair, burning chunks of it off. I want to feel bad for her, because come on; that’s pretty cold, but she makes these horrible squeaky noises when she’s pulling out fistfuls of her hair, that it just makes me giggle.

“Did I do something, or what happened?”

So meanwhile, back in Nate and Vanessa land, it’s pretty hilarious. Okay, not really. But the part where Nate acts all flabbergasted because Vanessa left the party is. Hmm, Nate, what could you have done? Maybe whore yourself out to a 40-year-old duchess for no real reason other than protecting your social status? Maybe that rubbed her the wrong way?

In any case, Vanessa and Nate aren’t getting along, which greatly pleases the duchess. It pleases her so much in fact, that she gives Vanessa $5,000 to show her appreciation. We all know from her dealings with Chuck last season that Vanessa is too proud (aka, stupid) to take bribes from rich people, so she of course tries to return the money. When she goes to Catharine’s apartment to do so, she conveniently walks in on her and Marcus getting ready to do it. So… I guess he’s not gay after all.

“Google ‘revenge’ and you get blairwaldorf.com.”

Vanessa, being pure of heart and spirit or whatever, doesn’t know what to do with this juicy bit of information (and the accompanying camera phone pictures), so she turns to Dan. Dan wisely tells her to talk to Blair, because she’s pretty much the empress of revenge.

Vanessa takes Dan’s advice, and shares the info with a surprisingly distraught Blair. I guess even though she seemed to be pretty much over Marcus when she had her tongue down Chuck’s throat last week, she actually does have some feelings for him. Of course, being Blair, rage is the feeling that wins out, so she sets a plan in motion.

Not knowing that she needs to just stay out of Blair’s way and let things take their natural course, Vanessa gets antsy when Blair doesn’t share her plan right away. She ends up taking matters into her own hands and tells Catharine’s husband everything. This turns out to be a really bad idea, as Blair negotiated a deal with Catharine and Marcus in which they leave town and pay off all of Nate’s father’s restitution in return for her silence. So as you can guess, when the silence goes out the window, so does the money, and everyone is back where they started—except for Nate, who at the very least is no longer a hooker.

“Bow down, or bow out.”

With Blair preoccupied by Marcus’ dalliances, she kind of misses the fact that Chuck has become the puppet master who has been playing everyone in order to get Serena to reoccupy her queen status. I’m pretty sure he goes through all of this effort, which includes hiring Amanda to pretend to have a crush on Dan, just to manipulate Serena back to the top and knock Blair down a peg, thus making him more attractive to her? I’m not exactly sure what the ultimate goal is, but the result is that we end this episode with Serena back on top and it looks like we’ll get to see the S that was only hinted at last season.

Evil Serena? That’s pretty freakin’ awesome.

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