Lily laughs and gulps her wine as Serena puts the screws to him: "No, I'm waiting on some friends. We are allowed to bring friends, right?" He's like fine, sure, whatever, and heads back to Lily, but no: "Bart? Just curious. Does Mom know you told Eric he couldn't bring his boyfriend?" Bart promises her he did no such thing -- and his love of Eric, since early in Season One, has always been a huge sign that we should take him basically at face value -- and Serena plays the Saturn card: "Really? The fifteen-year-old and the billionaire? Sounds like a discussion between equals."
The song is about Lily again -- this party, and this night -- but it's about Serena too, declaring her territory against advancing forces, which is Blair's natural setting but something she's only learned to do lately, from Daniel Humphrey: "Take Back The City," by Snow Patrol. "Take back the city for yourself tonight/ Or I'll take back the city for me/ God knows you put your life into its hands/ And it's both cradled you and crushed/ But now it's time to make your own demands... No need to put your words into my mouth/ Don't need convincing at all/ I love this place enough to know I have no doubts/ It's a mess, it's a start/ It's a flawed work of art... I love this city tonight/ I love this city always/ It bears its teeth like a light/ And spits me out after days/ But we're all gluttons for it/ Tell me you never wanted more than this/ And I will stop talking now: One perfect partner, one eternal kiss." Oh Lily.
Now, I have no doubt that Bart is actually involved in white slavery or something, but at this point of the story it's important for us, and for Serena, to consider seriously the idea that he's actually okay, because our natural setting and hers, from decades of television, is to assume that magnates are evil incarnate and deserve all the Sue Ellen bullshit they get. And I'm not issuing a call for mogul love, I'm saying that Josh, again, needs to illustrate that there are better reasons to hate people than their success. "Serena, I hope that over time you'll see that I want what's best for this family. In the meantime, I suggest you talk with your brother." Serena's eyes! Are full of hate!
Blair greets Chuck, quiet and sweet and even, and he nods her way. She goes into sexy-Batman voice: "Do I get a progress report? Does Vanessa still think you're buying that beer hall of hers?" He assures her that he's going to do it for real, and she laughs. "Fine. But you're still gonna crush her, right?" She tries, as desperate as we've seen her for now, to catch his eyes, to show him her dress and how it matches his scarlet jacket, how she is giving in as long as you don't say it out loud: "We made a deal, remember?" Chuck excuses himself, and she stares down, at the dress. His hands, below her robe, and this dress now: she's doing Serena's thing, putting herself in the cage and hoping she's right so that nothing is her fault.