New York is having an end-of-summer heatwave that’s causing two things: everyone is constantly glistening with sweat in a Beyonce music video kind of way; and a blackout. Apparently the blackout launches us into Bizarro-World, where Dan and Serena keep their clothes on, Nate grows weary of the woman he was creepily obsessing over in the Hamptons, and people give a crap about what a 15-year-old intern has to say.

“I got us a room at the Mercer; we can order in.”

So I was totally right about what was going on last week: Nate is a gigolo. He’s sleeping with the Duchess for cash and prizes that include a new Ralph Lauren suit. The problem is, it seems that doing it for money has taken all of the fun out of, well, doing it. The result of which is that Nate has grown tired of his sugar momma. He’s also taken a sudden re-interest in Vanessa, and I can’t say I blame him. The Duchess is scary and the wardrobe department has decided to stop dressing Vanessa like a crazy hobo this year. She actually looks really cute in this episode.

Of course, the Duchess finds out about Vanessa and gets all jealous and clingy over Nate, which makes absolutely no sense to me. She’s a 40-year-old married woman. I can buy that she’s sleeping with a 17-year-old high school student, but are we really supposed to believe that she’s in love with him? That just seems silly.

In any case, during the blackout, the claws come out. Nate comes clean to Vanessa about everything and explains to her that the reason he’s been ditching her lately is because he’s been obligated to have sex for money. Apparently this touches her sensitive soul, because she agrees to wait for him until he can extricate himself from this situation.

Unfortunately, Nate also came clean to the Duchess earlier, and told her where his father is hiding out. The Duchess tells Vanessa that either she leaves Nate alone, or she’s going to go to the FBI with this tidbit of information. Instead of saying, “okay, crazy” and telling Nate exactly what just happened, Vanessa leaves.

“A coming out party?”

Blair is throwing yet another party, and a very oily-looking Dan and Serena decide to co-opt it as their coming out party. They still haven’t told anybody that they’re back together, so they decide they need to do so in a public forum. However, some awkward and lonely teenager snaps a picture of them making out and sends it to Gossip Girl, so everybody knows in about five minutes.

The reaction seems to be mostly positive, with Jenny squealing a lot and saying things in a register that I am to old to hear. The reunion does not seem to be popular with the tween set however, as three living Bratz dolls come up to Dan in Central Park and tell him how disappointed they are that he got back together with Serena. Actually, two of the Bratz dolls tell him that. The third is on Team Serena. The point is, this is a really creepy three minutes of television.

In the end, peoples’ reactions don’t seem to matter, as the writers decide that they need to find a contrived reason to keep Dan and Serena apart. The couple gets caught in the elevator during the blackout, so Dan calls the building manager for help. He’s unresponsive, so Serena tells Dan to use her name. He does, but completely resents Serena for it, and this is where the show kind of loses me.

They get into a fight in the elevator and I’m very confused. I knew that these two had issues that they needed to work out, but I remember them being a little more, well, serious than this. It basically seems as though Dan can’t be with Serena because she’s Serena and she’s rich and people do things for her. It’s such clichéd class war nonsense that my eyes started to glaze over during this scene and there’s a chance that I could have missed something important: like the part where they actually broke up because Serena slept with Dan’s dad or Jenny or something.

“Do you know he hasn’t pressured me about sex once? Not once…”

Blair doesn’t find out in this episode that Serena and Dan break up, but when she does, she’ll no doubt be pleased, since she doesn’t approve of Mr. Humphrey. She goes on and on about how wonderful Marcus is in comparison, but there’s one key difference: While Dan and Serena have had trouble keeping their clothes on; Marcus seems to have no interest in getting Blair’s off.

Now, to me, this is a good thing, because Marcus is boring and I’m pretty sure he is old enough to be Blair’s father. Also, like Blair’s father, he’s gay. Okay, I’m not completely sure about that, but the Duchess corners Blair at the party and alludes to the fact that if Blair wants to be with Marcus she’s going to have to live without sex for the rest of her life—or until she can find her own 17-year-old to stalk on the side.

“You are not using Blair as sexual Dran-o!”

Chuck is having some severe problems. He has a different girl over every night, but hasn’t been able to sleep with any of them. His inability to get Blair off of his mind has interfered with, well, his ability to get off. Chuck decides that maybe he doesn’t actually need Blair back; he just needs to sleep with her one more time so he can move on. Reinvigorated by a new devious plan, Chuck goes to the party.

Having a sixth sense for these things, Chuck senses that Marcus isn’t exactly satisfying Blair, so he makes his move. Blair’s receptive, but escapes his clutches. However, after the lights go out and Marcus is unresponsive to her wiles, she makes a last-ditch effort to close the deal and tells him to meet her in her room. Chuck overhears this and decides that he’s going to be there first. Things get hot and heavy with Chuck when Blair assumes that Marcus isn’t going to meet her. Unfortunately for her, he does show up eventually and catches them in the act.

He makes a pretty unconvincing show of being jealous and punches Chuck in the jaw to try to sell it. I don’t think even Chuck is impressed. In any case, it looks like Blair isn’t going to get the title she’s after. Chuck ends up in the back of a limo with a half-naked girl, but it’s not Blair trying to mend her broken heart. Because of this, Chuck is still having problems, so it doesn’t look like he’s going to give up on Blair any time soon.

“I need people around here I can trust. Clean out your station.”

I hate the Jenny storyline. I just want to say that right now. She’s still interning for Blair’s mother, Eleanor, and still opening up her mouth and offering her 15-year-old opinion to everybody. After she gets yelled at for insulting one of Eleanor’s designs in front of Fin’s old partner on SVU, she doesn’t learn her lesson. Instead, she continues to badmouth the design to the model who has to wear it, which is overheard by Eleanor who walks in after being away for the entire summer.

Jenny tries to apologize, but Eleanor does what any boss in her position would do: she fires the ungrateful little twit on the spot. Then, the lights go out and Bizarro-World turns on. Instead of either sending her away or ignoring her, Eleanor instead reveals her fears and hopes to little J and asks her opinion. Jenny basically tells her that her design is hideous, and again, instead of smacking her, Eleanor agrees. They suddenly become besties, and they stay up allllll night designing and talking about boys and painting their toenails and whatnot. This whole storyline is completely asinine.

I’ve been enjoying Gossip Girl so far this season, but this episode really kind of pissed me off. Every relationship suddenly became completely contrived and laughable. I’m hoping this was just a blip in the road in order to get rid of Marcus and make room for new love interests for Dan and Serena. Otherwise, I’m a little bit worried about the rest of the season.
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