TV Recap: Gossip Girl - Chuck In Real Life

“Oh! I forgot to put on underwear!”

Bart Bass is back in town, and he’s brought a few rules back with him. He and Lily announce that they’re going to start behaving more like a family. That means family dinners, curfews and such. Having never been subjected to rules before, Serena especially chafes at this entire notion.

After Chuck tells her that Bart is doing all of this to impress his Midwestern clients with their family values, Watered-Down Serena (who replaced Evil Serena after she got killed at Yale last week) decides to act out. Since Chuck convinces her that her Page 6 antics are the real problem, Serena puts on a stripper dress and heads out to a bunch of hot clubs, because she’s “in the mood for a show.”

Bart only further earns Serena’s ire when she hears that he told Eric that he isn’t allowed to bring his adorable boyfriend to the Bass family party. It turns out though, that not bringing his boyfriend was actually Eric’s decision, as he didn’t want to come out in a national magazine, since the press was going to be there. Serena realizes that it isn’t Bart she’s mad at, it’s Lily.

We knew that Lily has had a string of husbands, but we find out exactly how bad it was. Apparently, she dated cokeheads, ski bunnies, and a dude who made the van der Woodsens convert to Islam. In addition to all that, Lily had a habit of just taking off with her man of the week, leaving Eric and Serena to fend for themselves and rely on the hospitality of the Waldorfs and the Archibalds. At the end, Lily apologizes and everything is fine, but it sure explains a lot about Serena.

“Archibald. Isn’t it about time you ended this bromance?”

The hottest new couple on the Upper East Side is still going strong. Dan and Nate are even playing soccer together! It’s pretty adorable. They even make a date on a Saturday afternoon to kick the ol’ ball around in Central Park (not a euphemism [I think]). When Dan goes to Nate’s house, however, he finds out Nate’s dirty little secret: he’s a hobo!

Apparently, when Vanessa ruined Blair’s evil plan to make the Duchess pay off Nate’s dad’s debt, it had real consequences. Namely, the government seized everything in Nate’s home (and maybe even the home itself). They didn’t lock it up very tightly, because now Nate’s living in it all alone save for a sleeping back and a pile of Brooks Brothers shirts.

Luckily, Dan’s family is the family that everyone knows that is always willing to feed and harbor kids who need it. That’s why, after a lovely evening of chili and Scattergories, Dan asks Nate to become a temporary Humphrey. Of course, convincing Nate that living in Brooklyn is actually better than living as a hobo in Manhattan is difficult, but Nate eventually comes around. I think it was Dan’s bedroom eyes that convinced him.

“The only person she hates more than me, is you.”

I like Vanessa, but she really doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Mainly it’s her American Apparel leggings-heavy wardrobe that confuses me, but this episode, it’s so much more. As I previously mentioned, Vanessa’s big mouth is the reason Nate is living in a fort made out of broadcloth Oxfords, yet instead of staying away from Blair, whose plan to save Nate she ruined, she decides to blackmail her. Vanessa threatens to embarrass Blair by showing everyone the picture of Marcus and the Duchess making out unless Blair helps her save some bar in Brooklyn.

Since Vanessa does not realize that messing with the bull, does in fact get you the horns, she does not expect Blair to fight back. Poor, naïve Vanessa. Blair hatches an appropriately evil plan in which Chuck pretends to buy the Brooklyn bar Vanessa is trying to save, then seduces and destroys her. Chuck agrees after Blair says she’ll sleep with him if he succeeds.

The little heart seedling that Chuck has been growing all season gets a little bigger this episode. Not only does he decide that he really does want to save the bar, but he appears to genuinely warm up to Vanessa a little bit as well. Blair feels threatened by this, so not only does she call off the bet, but she lets Chuck collect his prize anyway.

When Chuck and Blair meet in her bedroom later, though, he decides not to collect his winnings. He asks Blair to tell him that she loves him, much as she wanted him to do in the season premiere, but like him, she can’t do it. He tells her that until she can, she can’t have him.

I’m unclear as to whether he’s just torturing Blair because he’s Chuck Bass and that’s kind of what he does, or if this whole situation with Vanessa has somehow broken the spell Blair had over him. What do you think?