What a fun episode! Everything that was wrong last week got wrenched right, as the pieces of the last chapter continue falling into place. There was good mixing of storylines, the Bart Bass stuff barely dragged at all, and everybody -- especially Georgina, back to being her crazy/funny self after last week's odd detour -- looked gorgeous. As inspiring as one would like in a season premiere, and only a week late.
Nate and Serena spot their respective significant others -- Steven and Sage -- sharing an intimate breakfast, and immediately go nuts because of how they've been burned before. Serena cues up the wolves on speed dial, Nate swears off dating anybody under a hundred, it's a gay old time. But when S makes her grownup debut as the newest boardmember of the Central Park Conservancy, hosting a gala of some kind, the truth comes out: Steven and Sage aren't dating, they're father and daughter. Daughter who, it turns out, not only goes to Constance Billard but can apparently match Serena daddy issue for daddy issue, as we end on her swearing to break up the happy couple.
Lily's finest moments this week were in cautioning Serena to overlook any cheating on Steven's part until after the gala, but her own sad version -- taking diamonds to ignore Bart's long-ago affair with Translator Amira, but mostly his transparent attempts to turn her against Chuck -- put her squarely in Tooltown for the episode. And there was much to overlook. Amira, who's gone now so oh well, has put Chuck on the trail of What Really Happened to cause Bart to fake his death, and even given him his first clue (a picture of some dude). In the end, Chuck prances around threatening his dad with vague things, making him laugh uproariously. As per.
A much better showing for Chuck in Blair's storyline, which is the greatest by far: Their breezy and loyal friendship shows a lot of promise for a dynamic the show has tried -- and failed -- to create before. But maybe that's because the focus is on Blair's career, as it should be: As the head of Waldorf Designs, her new collection is set to debut at Fashion Week. Nelly Yuki, now a reporter for WWD, arrives for a pre-show critique and spread, but immediately drops the bomb that Poppy Lifton is back in town and designing what turns out to be an identical line. While the thrust of the story is about Nelly playing them off each other (and giving Dan some incendiary advice), in the end it's actually a great lesson for Blair, once again, to hear: That her natural tendency to implode means making her flip out is usually as simple as sitting back and doing nothing. In the end, Dorota saves the day with an imported hodgepodge of fashion superstars, and Blair sets out to create an entire line in ten days.
Dan and Nate spend the episode circling each other regarding the possibility of serializing Inside II through Nate's internet concern -- a career-maker for both of them, since they have nothing else going on -- and once the fabulous Georgina Sparks's promises of a bidding war fall apart thanks to the rest of the cast's exploits, they decide to go for it. Oh, and they're roomies again after a hilarious and well-played subplot about Georgina's Dan-obsessions kicking back into overdrive. Dan's reasoning for blowing the mother up are laid out in a perfectly clear way: Between Blair's return to Chuckly form and Rufus's descent into depravity, he's a man without a home. Only by destroying absolutely everyone will he ever find peace. And you can't say that's wrong in his particular case, considering he's still holding grudges from like, the pilot.
All in all, a pretty great episode. The push and pull of youth and age, always a prime focus of Serena/Dan's stories in the early years and Nate/Chuck's in the latter, has now come to visit them all. Even Blair, with her worrisome equation of Chuck's love with life success, seems a little clear-headed now that she's actually captaining a ship. Most of all, though, the episode seems to point the vector we'll be following for the duration: We've been watching long enough that what was once a show about children pretending to be adults has become a show about adults slowly realizing that everybody's pretending to be an adult. It's a solid way to go out, if that's how we're going to do it.
Next Week: Sage becomes the face of Waldorf Designs, I think, which can only cause trouble for everybody. Nate and Dan prepare for the slings and arrows of outrage and infamy. Blair and mother issues and Chuck and his father issues, as they try to take on their parents' empires in exactly opposite ways. Maybe a little Ivy action.
Blair's inherited fashion empire is every bit as important as Chuck's disinherited real estate empire; therefore their shared intent is to both become Powerful Women before their love can once again be consummated. Serena has moved across the Park, into a strange parallel dimension called the Upper West Side, from which she hopes to rule the land as a very sophisticated Grown-Ass Lady. Nathaniel Archibald believes himself to own a company that provides goods or a service of some kind, and is dating a young lady with a preposterous name. Dan and Georgina are working to provide support for one another in becoming the most perfect assholes they can possibly be. Jenny and Eric are operating a pirate ship and black-bag private security firm off the "coast of Africa," while Pilot Inspektor has become a hair colorist and gluten advisor to the stars. Lily and Rufus are dating the oldest and the youngest creeps, respectively, that have ever creeped on this show.
UP & AT 'EM, UES
Ladyhawke sings us a pretty little song as we travel from bed to bed, watching rich white people wake up whenever they feel like it and act like it's the saddest thing of life.
Nate: "Gosh, I am tired this morning."
Sage: "Maybe it's because of all of our sex-having."
Serena: "I just wish I had five more minutes to be asleep in this track suit on your bed that looks like a couch from a plastic surgeon's waiting room."
Barry Watson: "I am so old that I wake up at four AM every morning. I use the time for journaling."
Chuck: "I have a lot more time to sit around being intense about vague things, now that I am not having sex with every single person."
Pretty awesomely, Dan opens his eyes to find Georgina staring down at him.
Dan: "I thought we agreed that you would cut that shit out."
Georgina: "Yeah, that would be dumb. Do you realize how easy it is to stalk you now that you live with me?"
Dan: "I don't live with you, I am staying on your couch because I can never go to Brooklyn again because I saw something nasty in the woodshed."
Phillip: "How am I okay with anything that ever happens on this show? I shouldn't even exist, is how little sense I make."
Blair: "Dorota! Why didn't you wake me up?"
Dorota: "Bitch because you grown up human."
Blair: "Feed me, bathe me, and take me to the atelier."