What a breath of fresh air that was, after weeks of nonsense, uncharacteristically stupid decisions and serious grammar issues! We found the entire episode, even Dorota, to be fantastically watchable, squeal-able, and in a few cases "Oh, GIRL!"-able, which hasn't happened in a while. And the best part is, the quality wasn't dependent on shocks, schemes or shipper smooching: It just made a great deal of both logical and character sense, and contained engaging and sparkling dialogue, and just the right number of Shakespeare references.
So the A story is definitely What Happened In South Beach, Santorini, France and all the other Lily Places. Serena found Lily chillin' at the Florida pad where Dr. William (nice to know Keith's brother's name, finally, so we can stop calling him Carmen Sandiego) was making his home. She and Lily fly back to the UES together, laughing about the whole grunge-era love quadrangle that meant 20 years of angst for Rufus and Lily, and several ill-fated marriages for all of them, not to mention damage to the timeline that only Grant Morrison will ever be able to fix. The upside: Lily's not banging Will. The downside: She's got an "illness" (they call it various words that don't mean anything until an abrupt blow-by reveals that it's the C word) that only Will can fix. Serena plays hopscotch all over the idea that her Daddy is back and she can finally stop whoring around, but in the end we learn -- of course -- that Will has a secret agenda we don't know about yet.
Serena's other main prob is Nate, to be specific his tumor they're calling "Little J," and all the problems crazy Jenny can toss between Serena and Nate. She's a valiant little psycho, complete with Desdemona's scarf -- and at Chuck's behest, since he's realized the only thing Nate loves more than him is S -- but eventually S catches J in the act, barks at her in a badass way we've only ever dreamt about, and tells Nate to stop being stupid and just be her boyfriend for five seconds. Nate, he's easy. But pissing off Little J? Get ready for her to pull the same shit next week.
Blair decides to throw a sort of reverse-cotillion in order for all the eligible boys of the UES to come a-callin' so she can pick one to replace Chuck. Dorota whines about the essentially unhealthy way she's going about this, but in the end it doesn't matter, because no boys will show up for her frightening Rose Ceremony. She spends most of the episode bawking like a loon about how obviously this is because Chuck has put out a "dating fatwa" -- which is awesome mostly because she says this like a million times, and then Chuck says it even more amazingly -- which sounds crazy until the end of the episode, when you find out he totally did. Also, Chuck is whoring it up on an unprecedented level, which makes him act hilarious.
Having run out of boys in the UES, Blair forces Dan to take her to a bullshitty hipster party in Bushwick, while wearing Vanessa's tights. Things are dire. She meets a cute boy named Cameron, but mostly realizes that she must grieve her Chuck life upfront, without rebounding, and lets Chuck -- and herself -- know this in a conversation and ritual respectively, both of which had us in tears. Imagine caring about this show again.
Meanwhile, that fucking Willa girl is all over the whole Dan v. Vanessa showdown for the one writing spot at the Tisch school, which Vanessa gets and which Dan pouts about. (This is one of those episodes where both of them are alarmingly cool.) The narrative here was kind of confusing, because nobody listens when Willa speaks because she's horrible, but basically, shit blows up and Dan and Vanessa hate each other because they are both fake-artists desperately trying to get validation for their nothing shitty art. So in the end, either Dan and Vanessa get back together, or they don't, or they do but with seething horrific resentments still in play, and any of these is fine, because who cares. As long as they're miserable.
What else? Eric next week, which hopefully means more Hot Elliott. Nate and Serena are back together, for now, but schisms in the van der Humphrey household -- and Rufus's expected pouty-face meltdown about accepting Dr. Will into the family -- will push Serena to do all kinds of insane shit, which is exciting. Probably nobody will say the word "fatwa," but we sort of got our fill this week, and besides: Wild Man Chuck is as fun as it gets. I, for one, would like to see how far this goes.
Good morning! And who's the blowsy blonde prowling Nate's Empire suite kitchen, looking for strawberries in his big Hugo Boss shirt from last night? While it could be literally anyone on this show, since apparently everybody lives at Chuck's house now, you know from the tired hoary joke about waffles that it's Little J. I do believe that in nineteen episodes, nineteen times we've heard that joke. Nate's hair looks wonderfully morning-esque, even as he's stupidly asking her anorexic ass why she doesn't weigh 500 pounds, given how often we're subjected to the waffle joke about her family. Not okay to ever talk about: A teenage girl's weight.
Jenny changes the subject -- after Nate points out apropos of nothing that the shirt she's flouncing around in is Serena's favorite morning attire also -- to how Serena totally ditched him at that dumb wedding and has been gone with Carter ever since. As much as I enjoy the idea that Nate Archibald is too stupid to live, sometimes it's just embarrassing. "Hey, stop kissing me and sabotaging my relationship! Oh, you say you're not doing that, even though you obviously are? Put on this shirt and no pants and run around impersonating my girlfriend. And if you have a minute to give me really bad advice, I'd appreciate it. Just don't gain any weight."
"Time flies when you're having a Wii Tennis death match, Humphrey," Nate says -- which when you think about it is at least three different untrue things at once -- and Jenny tells him that, regarding how nothing sketchy is going on and all that, could he help her lie to Rufus that she slept at Sawyer's house. (Sawyer is one of the Mean Girls but I'll be damned if I care which one at this point.) "If anyone asks, you're an insecure brunette who has an unnatural love for designer handbags." So: Nate. If anyone asks, you're Nate. The kind of plan only Nate could screw up.
"Are we still on for the Tim Burton exhibit at MOMA?" Jenny asks, and instead of pointing a finger at her little nose and taunting, "You are the Tim Burton exhibit at MOMA," which is what's called for here, he gets all kinds of excited and runs around the kitchen a few times. But then just when Jenny's got it in the bag, Serena finally manages -- after several days -- to send a text message. "Just landed. So sorry. Call you when I'm home." Nate, on hearing that his girlfriend has finally returned from her mysterious errand, thinks it might be a good idea to go see her and figure things out.
Jenny's like, "Don't push!" because Jenny doesn't understand how things work with these people. There is no "push," ever, because the only resistance in this triangle is the resistance of the other two people to letting Jenny fuck Nate. Nate and Serena can squawk all they want about the power dynamic, but there really is none: Just shiny hair and this one shirt. He stares at her with his sexy hair waving in the breeze and Jenny finally gets the hint, or so one might think. Really, she ankle-dips and has the balls to be offended. "My girlfriend just got back into town, can I postpone our date?" is just not one of the things you get to be pissed about.