Serena goes, "Mom!" Which gives Rufus one more opportunity to act creepily/awesomely like Lily, but of course it's Actual Lily, finally back from her IRL drama and wearing a dangerous amount of no makeup. She kisses them and talks about how "CeCe" is feeling much better so she came to surprise them, and is generally delightful for a second before she asks what the hell Serena's even doing there instead of Rhode Island. It's awkward, but not as awkward as it's going to get.
If you stacked Dan Humphrey on top of Vanessa Abrams and lashed them to that teacher's aide at Yale from last year that I hated, you still would not have the embarrassing tryhard power of one Olivia Burke. "So I've been reading the course catalog, and everything just sounds so interesting! Like Cold War Philosophy! And The Bible As Literature! The Post-Impressionist Movement! I want to take everything!" Instead of telling her to take a fucking chill pill, Dan just makes fun of her Jersey roots, because he is classless but also blind to what dorkiness looks like. She bares her barn-door teeth at him and explains she's determined to take full advantage of this situation, because she had to convince a lot of people to let her go there. (Versus Dan Humphrey, who is there because Georgina garrotted Poppy Lifton and threw her in the river, and has spent this entire coffee-walk trying to find a way to inject his internship with Jay McInerney into the conversation.) He welcomes her to NYU and she heads back to the dorms, and they are basically cute.
Serena wraps up her pitch about Brown, and Rufus idiotically sticks his choker all up in there about how he was "against it at first," but that once Serena questioned his manhood and called him out for being a male prostitute in her mother's employ, he realized there were "benefits" to deferring a year. Serena promises to get a job or an internship or whatever bullshit, and Lily stares at her with that Rhodes look. Finally, Serena begs her to speak... And she pulls the same shit as always: "Serena, if this is just a case of cold feet, fine! I mean, classes have barely begun!" Serena informs her, once more, that not going to Brown means, you know, not going to fucking Brown. Lily points out the total obviousness of how the whole point of going to college is figuring out who you are and what you want to do, but then scribbles over her very valid point by immediately jumping to the Eat, Pray, Love tour over the summer, which is Serena's cue to act all cryptic about how she didn't find "what she was looking for" during EPL 2009, which was her Dad.