“There is no ‘we’ in summer; only ‘u’ and ‘me’” I love Gossip Girl; I learn something new every time I watch it. For instance: did you know that there are no cops on Long Island? When everybody from Manhattan goes to the Hamptons for the summer, the cops must make the reverse commute to the city. How else could you explain the fact that Serena and Dan not only have sex on the beach, but sleep there all night (with Serena only wearing her underwear) and wake up when the sun has been out for hours? What a magical place.

Serena and Dan spend the entire episode flaunting public decency laws by having sex in the Jitney bathroom (which, come on. That’s just gross) and perhaps even an elevator. Their original plan was to take some time apart to think about their relationship before deciding whether or not they want to get back together, but it’s kind of difficult to think when Serena is erotically eating chocolate covered strawberries on a bus. Also, there are ratings to be had! This isn’t ABC, people; they don’t have time for subtlety.

“He’s not really a college student; and I love him!”

The main story of the episode revolved around Blair and Marcus, or, “my lord,” as she calls him. Blair is in a tizzy because she’s caught in Roman Holiday, “except he’s Audrey Hepburn and [she’s] Gregory Peck.” After he’s cagey about her meeting his parents, the Duke and Duchess, Blair embarks on a quest to prove her worthiness. She apparently tries to accomplish this by throwing the most boring rooftop party ever. It comes close to blowing up in her face, until Chuck comes to save the day—by trying to destroy her.

“You know it’s love when you start talking like an assassin.”

Even though he couldn’t bring himself to tell Blair he loved her last week, Chuck is not giving up. He sets an evil plan into motion by pretending to befriend Marcus. Chuck wrangles Marcus’ home phone number out of him and uses it to invite the Duchess (actually Marcus’ stepmother) to Blair’s party. Since the Duchess has never approved of any of Marcus’ girlfriends, Chuck is counting on her to drive Blair away.

Problem is; the Duchess is actually Catherine, the older woman Nate has been sleeping with all summer. In one of the rare moments during this episode in which she’s still wearing her clothes, Serena sees the potential disaster happening and tries to keep Blair and Marcus from finding out that Nate and Catherine are involved. Her book club explanation mysteriously works, but only until Blair walks in on Nate and Catharine doing it on the floor of the library. Blair, being the delightfully evil woman she is, uses this as leverage to gain Catharine’s outward approval. When Blair runs into Chuck at Serena’s house later that night, she makes sure that he knows he’s lost.

While I love the cat and mouse game going on between Blair and Chuck, I’m sorry that Chuck lost this round. Marcus bugs me. His accent sounds fake as crap, he looks like he’s 35, which is creepy when he’s sharing champagne in the back of a limo with a high schooler, and he plays squash in a sweater. Granted, it’s a short-sleeved sweater; but still. You cannot trust a guy who goes to the gym and wears wool.

“The Salvation Army is having a bag sale on Saturday.”

Blair catching him with his pants down turns out to be the least of Nate’s worries. Since his embezzling father has skipped town, the fuzz wants to seize his family’s assets for restitution. Nate vows to get his family out of this mess, but he’s in high school, so there’s only so much he can do. However, since he’s in the world of Gossip Girl, this guy obviously isn’t going to save his family with a paper route. No, Nate Archibald is going to find a solution more suitable to his social standing: hooking.

Now I may be wrong on this, but after Chuck tries to be a good friend by liquidating his shares of Victrola, the burlesque club he owns, and giving the money to the Archibalds, Nate decides that he can’t accept charity from his best friend. He pulls himself up by the bootstraps and we see him accepting a fat envelope from Catherine, who asks the question, “are we good?” Now, I know she didn’t exactly leave the money on the nightstand, but that to me looked like more than a friendly loan. After all, Nate ditched Vanessa to take it.

That’s right; the odd couple of Vanessa and Nate momentarily seemed to be getting back on track after he visited her at the new café that Rufus owns. Papa Humphrey had Vanessa turn his gallery into a coffee shop and has convinced her to stay and run it for him. Nate comes down to big bad Brooklyn to talk to her about his money problems and she gets all googly-eyed after him, even ordering a crapload of Chinese food for their to-be-canceled date. Nate’s cancellation leaves Vanessa sad; something we know to be true because in New York-based TV shows and movies, Chinese takeout = love. It’s a fact.

“When it comes to scandal, I’ll take Manhattan every time.”

This episode is just as good as the first one of the season. Maybe it’s the change of scenery, but as a whole, the first two episodes seem to be a lot stronger than many of the ones last season. The relationships seem to be more in-depth and faceted and the characters actually seem to be growing more than one dimension. However, my new love of the show could also be partially due to the fact that Dan seems to be growing into his looks. I don’t know if it’s a different haircut or whatever, but he’s definitely cuter than he was last season. Chuck still looks like Little Lord Fauntleroy though. And that’s why I love him.

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