Rufus beats it back to DUMBO, where Dan's getting dressed for the ball. Dan stutters and tries to explain how it's okay that he's dumping his mom for the cotillion, even though his sister just about got herself hit trying this, but since it's now personal, Rufus is like, "Fuck your mom and her art show. You go show that Rhodes woman what a classless Humphrey man can accomplish!" Oh wait, I was making that up, but then he actually said it: "Tux looks great. Shoes look great. You look so great! You're gonna make me proud. Show that Celia Rhodes what us Humphrey Men are made of!" Dan's like, "Once again you are being weird and vicarious about my love life." Rufus explains how Cece came to visit him, and then father and son make eyebrows at each other. Humphrey eyebrows of incoming truth and weird family history, and Dan's new mission to eff with Cece.
At the Palace, which...all of this is happening before the ball? When did it stop being yesterday? Whatever, time and space. Flossy flossy! Cece's like, "Get a load of this bullshit! I'm so sure Serena's going to take a year off school and teach English in South Asia." Lily asks what on earth, besides faking cancer, she's expected to do about her daughter's good-hearted choices. "Well, if Serena's doing this for me, it has to be right. Besides, it took me years to restore our family name after your exploits. Trust me, you don't want to do the same." Lily makes a huh face. I don't know; she doesn't seem to still be the kind of woman that would imprison her mentally ill son anymore, thanks to the sunshiny powers of Humphrey proximity, but I still think the family-name concept is something that should be taken pretty seriously.
Serena calls up Jenny to ask where the heck she is, and Jenny sadly tells her the bad news about how Alison feels like parenting today so she can't go. "I don't understand. I thought that this was like your dream. Besides, don't you want to see your brother in a tux?" Jenny, on learning that her asshole father has just contravened her asshole mother by letting Dan go to the ball without telling anybody, gets a righteous fire in her belly. She tells S she'll be there soon, and makes the most awesome face after hanging up, like, "Huh. Ain't that a bitch."
Chuck's back in his evil Batman limo surveilling Carter outside stately Waldorf Manor, and his face is grim as he sends Gossip Girl the pictures, like a post-millennial monogrammed hanky.
Serena's got some distracting danglies happening from the top of her dress, but of course she looks amazing. Dan gives her one hundred kisses and then brings up the fact that her grandmother is a dangerous psychotic. Serena, of course, does not take this well, and of course it's no help that Dan's displaying his usual inability to say anything without chomping on his big old Humphrey Man feet while doing it. "I know she's got the whole free spirit act perfected..." Um, act? He never really gets to the point -- which is that she totally threatened him to his face, which is valid -- but for reasons of the script, instead he just kind of...calls her grandmother an asshole about twelve times and then sits back, like, "See? You have to pick me over her." Which Serena is not going to do. He even manages to call Lily a bitch, somehow, in the middle of it. This is all devastating for Serena, coming out of the blue as it does, and in the characteristically dumb way of Dan Humphrey, so she starts crying and pretty much asks him to leave. It's heartbreaking. But what are you going to do? "You just called my grandmother an asshole. Like twelve times. Without explaining yourself at all. Please leave." Poor girl. He kisses her cheek goodbye, and she's not feeling it. The second he's gone, Grandma Cece appears once more out of the gloom all like, "I got Baizen on speed dial, ho!"