Gossip Girl has some things to explain to you this evening, over shots of worried and hurried and frantically studying Serena, Dan and Blair: "There are three things we do alone: We are born, we die, and -- if we're a high school junior headed for college -- we take the SAT. And while the test is said to measure our best traits, preparing for it inevitably brings out the worst. Humility becomes self-doubt..." Dan, for whom "humility" is a relative concept but "self-doubt" a constant, "Striving becomes obsession..." That's Blair -- whose middle names are "Striving" and "Obsession" -- shouting answers as Dorota flips her gorgeous stationary-quality flashcards one by one, "Some are driven to self-medication..." Serena, on her bed in a pile of books up to her chin, gulping coffee, hair gone wild, "While others cling to the security of being part of a group." And of course that's Hazel, Isabel and Penelope, as always, hitting a chess timer, testing themselves together. "And anyone who's used to bending the rules will find themselves breaking them." Chuck pays off a dude for nefarious purpose, and the music goes crazy.
Serena despairs in Manhattan while Dan studies wildly in DUMBO, and Rufus walks into his room without knocking, freaking Dan out on top of already freaking out. "Ugh! Dad, don't ever do that again!" Rufus is confused, because he was supposed to tell Dan when his time was up, but I think the inference is that Dan is worried that this will set a walking-in-without-knocking precedent, seriously cutting into her future furious masturbation time considerably. Whatever, it's like seven in the morning and you're studying for the SATs; focus, Dan. "The manner in which you went about it...it was like you were deliberately trying to humiliate me." He admits that he only finished half the practice test in the allotted time, and throws his pencil across the room. Rufus assures him that he's smart, but Dan is worried about his choking habit: "I'm a choker! I choke!" Rufus knows chokers. I miss Rufus's sill old choker. "T-ball. First grade. Remember this? Bases loaded, and I struck out." He was only six, but it was after all T-ball: "The ball was on a tee. Not moving." Rufus assures him that he'll come through, based on blind faith at least, and Jenny scoots toward the front door with a hurried goodbye. "Wait," Rufus says without looking, and she stops in her tracks.
"I'm coming with you," he says, and she gets preemptively embarrassed: "You're walking me to school?" He says he needs the exercise, and Little J protests that one mistake does not a "human ankle monitor" require. "You used to beg me to walk you to school! You'd cry if I didn't walk you to class," he says, but everybody knows that was Dan. Dan, already dishabille in half his uniform, admits that it's true while he gets dressed, but qualifies that this was during his post-t-ball emotional crisis. Man, I love thinking about sensitive little Dan as a kid. How cute would that be?