Blair, searching desperately for A) Replacement Serena and B) A place for Chuck in her life, combines the two into a terrible idea. She invites Chuck along to EAT to get S some food, and babbles at him about how nothing has to change, and he's happy to hear it and happy about everything until she says the magic spell, about how no matter what happens, and then his whole body shudders and he points silently behind her, at Jennifer Humphrey entering the Ostroff, stomping through without even noticing them, like a ghost.
It's a very, very sad little moment. Somehow for Chuck most of all. Jenny as the ghostly embodiment of Chuck's guilt and the ways he'll always be denied his heart's desire: Are you satisfied yet? Imagine how you'd feel if he never raped even more people.
Jenny comes running up to Rufus, to come clean about how her dastardly behavior of pulling on a curtain and turning on a spotlight -- almost as evil as inviting someone to the opera, in terms of this show's most storied crimes against humanity -- that mayhap provoked Serena to go on a Queens-bound bender and murder herself. Considering how Jenny's the only person on this show who ever gets shit done, her heightened sense of importance makes sense. God knows she's driven every boyfriend Eric's ever had four-fifths of the way to Columbine doing way less evil shit than that.
Rufus basically understands the plan -- knock S down a peg or two -- but of course he gets all tangled up in the Rufus Is Important of it all. Like he's mainly offended that Jenny came home for Serena's benefit and not to create the Humphrey Triforce of Awful. "Why can't you ever create schemes to remove me as the Queen of School or the Page Six It Girl? Think about me every now and again?" Well Dad it's because you have no pegs left.
Serena has disappeared! All of them! No Serenas left! Look under the bed she is not there! Who's that riding by on a bicycle? Not Serena van der Woodsen, I know that much! Dan has taken the S out of Ostroff Center.
We're pretending Eminem is relevant long enough for him to sing a little song about how Juliet's last-ditch hold on sanity was Nate, and now without Nate all that's keeping her from biting on the big steel doors of the iPrison -- "iPrison! Where texting and Gossip Girl blasts are often available! But not always!" -- is the thought that probably she can still kill Serena somehow. If she could just rewire this bomb to take out the whole of Manhattan it would take the Otroff Center... Little does she know that Serena's in the last place anybody would think to look for her. ("Anybody," in this case, meaning "anybody besides Vanessa." Meaning actual people.)
So while Juliet is feeling unhinged, who should show up but stupid Nate, followed by gullible Anne, who walk straight into the dragon's mouth of wishing the Captain was a real person and the jaws snap shut on them and they're lost forever like a family of Greek tragedy. Juliet's like, "I remember when I had a family, a brother, a hot cousin who bought me things, a hot boyfriend who was too dumb to deceive. And now I have none of those things. And why? Because... Well, because of... Who am I? Who was she? ¿Quién Es Esa Niña?
And then it's just flashes in her brain of Serena and a thunderous voice going eat the flame be the flame the flame is life and before you know it, she's packing up her Dexter Morgan kit bag and heading out into the wide world to look for anybody that looks like Serena, which is everybody, which is... Who's that girl in the Barney's window, looking so haggard? So broken, the twigs and bits of peat that Vanessa trails everywhere clinging to a hem. Who is she, looking like she just visited her insanely hot brother in jail for the fifteenth time today? Why, is that Serena? Eat the flame, be the flame. And then before you know it Odile's a parakeet, scratching at a mirror. And nobody even calls 911 because they all think she's Serena van der Woodsen.
Just kidding, I totally zoned on that whole part. I guess she saw the Captain yukking it up with his retarded family and it switched on something in her brain and little did she know that it was Nate that needed saving. Or whatever. Dan and S are in DUMBO packing up Vanessa's horrible peat-and-twig vegan eating disorder food and the usual voluminous scarves that Serena is constantly packing, because they are going on the run, Jailor Man and Sailor Sam left far behind. Like a drifter, they were born to walk alone. They're taking a midnight train going: Anywhere. First, though, a little loony-bin makeout sesh.
Interrupted in turn by the dour scowling faces of Lily and her van der Humps making everybody uncomfortable. Even though Vanessa headed Jenny off at the pass by confessing for her about what they did, Jenny's answer to that is relatively straightforward: She tells the actual truth. Jenny's nuts but trustworthy, Vanessa's an asshole with a dangerously high sense of her own integrity. Rufus, of course, spins this into "But the only one of you that I can legally harm is you, so I'm going to be horrible to you and tell you to leave the City for an even longer time this time, because Vanessa's not my child and Juliet is somebody I still am not sure who that is."
So Jenny wanders off into the city and Rufus is like, "Wait, I forgot to parent!" But this is the only road she's ever known, so she just keeps walking. To keep a date with destiny, and pistol-whip Tim Gunn for all that shit he said about her, and start that hot new career of singer-fashion designer-model-cobrasnake that's so hot right now. Candles, hand-dipped, purses hand-designed, parties she appears at for a fee. Underage boobies for free.
Serena tells Mums -- and even more harshly Blair -- to eat a dick, and retires to Little J's old room. "The only way I'm going back there is in a straitjacket," she says, which is sort of like Mr. Mxyzptlk telling you his secret, because fine: "Here is a straitjacket. Put it on with some tights and heel boots and set it off with a chicken bucket for your hat. We'll go out and meet some guys. Like some Italian guys or whatever." It's not like the girl comprehends the line between clothes and not-clothes.
Dan heads into the room to get all up in the Blair/Serena situation, and Lily tells him to back off. Not for the right reasons, of course, but because she wants to get into a fight with yet another teenager. I mean, "Please don't kidnap my daughter from the boobyhatch" is sort of a compelling argument, as is "I was there for the public devirginizing of Nate, I was there for the coke-fueled threesome, I was there for the murder of Pete Fairman, I was there to get Ben locked away for What Happened At Boarding School. Meanwhile what, you can't manage to date her for more than three episodes at a go? Do you not comprehend what she gets up to when she's taking a break from you? Horse rustling. Whoring it up on a global scale. Working her ass up the Left Bank and down the Right Bank. Santorini. Chappaquiddick plus wolves. Give me a break. Until you've covered up a murder for that girl or gotten pretend cancer don't you dare condescend to me about that girl. She is thirteen pounds of trouble in a curvy twelve-ounce package."
Lonelyboy holds his own. "Yeah, well I have it on good authority that you are a bigger problem for her than all the other things." They talk about how much they love each other and it's brilliant. Dan's point is that Lily doesn't want to talk to Serena about anything, ever, not really, which is true. And they slippery-slide around the whole Lily's Ben Secret thing but Lily just kind of gulps and pretends that's not the issue right now.
Blair, meanwhile, is trying to talk S into treatment based on the way Serena rode her the whole time she was bulimic, walking her to doctor appointments and walking her home again. Compelling, not least because it's a thing we never talk about anymore. And then just as Lily talks Dan into considering a backslide into his default paternalism, GG releases