Chuck's freaking out about the low occupancy at his new hotel (Empire), but still pissed at Blair, so he tells her to shove it when she suggests he open the club part (Gimlet, cute) early... Then asks Serena to help him publicize the club part opening early. He explicitly tells Serena not to let Blair help, but of course Blair finds out immediately. While Serena stresses over the opening -- and Olivia's sham love life -- Blair decides to help Chuck get his liquor license early. By calling Uncle Jack. So I guess we're back to manic bulletproof Blair, the scariest of all the Blairs.
Chuck finds out about the Jack thing and freaks out on B, but since Serena's working on the opening she ends up choosing to stay with Chuck rather than running wild in the streets with Blair. This gives B some grief, which she expends in the form of abuse and rage on Dorota and her Mean Girls. When flowers arrive from Jack, with condolences for granting them a fake license, she heads for the Gimlet opening, which is going forward regardless of the legalities.
There's a mind-meld phenomenon where Blair and Chuck eerily co-decide to call the cops themselves, since they're getting shut down either way -- which is fine, because now the plan is to have it be a real speakeasy until the license comes through, and in the meantime it's the most-photographed party of the year. Serena, who doesn't know about any of this, gets super-mad at Blair for setting her up for failure -- and I don't mean Serena Mad, I mean Actual Mad, like we're heading into the big Blair/Serena breakup for this year. And since she's still looking for vengeance on Nate, that means she's got maybe two friends. If you count Vanessa. And she might have to.
But at least Serena's job is safe, because over in DUMBO, Nate creepily makes Dan watch the Endless Knights vampire trilogy for the sex scenes, which are a bit too realistic -- especially considering her costar was also her boyfriend -- and Dan has all manner of freakouts until Olivia assures him the relationship was just for publicity's sake. (Highlight: Watching Penn Badgley and Blake Lively discuss fake publicity relationships without breaking character or barfing.) Meanwhile, Serena is tasked with breaking up the happy couple and getting Olivia back together with the creepster, named Patrick. It's all very complicated, but the end result is that Serena saves the day, Dan is now dating Olivia in public, and Creepy Patrick's new fake girlfriend will be Miss S herself.
Speaking of creepy, the Rufus storyline is beyond grotesque. There's a Prince Hal wig, a Joey Ramone costume, Lily and Vanya recycling the same three little kids so Rufus will still believe in Halloween, and then some heavy petting.
In Sad-Face Eric news, he and Jonathan are so grossed out by Jenny's newfound obsession with preserving herself in the midst of the Constance hierarchy that they do some treachery and earn themselves a yogurt to the head. Lily, sympathetic about the fact that her daughter just ordered a yogurt hit on her son, mildly tells Jenny to cool it. Jenny does this by inviting the boys to Gimlet, separating them, then having her Mean Girls throw eggs at Jonathan until he cries. It's pretty much totally amazing. The sad result is that Eric tells Jenny she's neither his friend nor his sister any longer, so she tosses her sewing machine/soul on a pile of old kinderwhore crinolines and commits herself fully to a life of evil and black pantsuits.
All very bleak. But there are great clothes, no Vanessa, and even Nate only stops by to be hilariously mean. Next week: It's election night for Tripp van der Bilt, which means a whole lot of Congressional folks and hangers-on will be privy to Serena's cake-hurling, backstabbing all-out war on Nate and Blair.
"Strictly Game" by Harlem Shakes plays over various spooky New York things, like witches and scarecrows and Stephen King's Entertainment Weekly column, as Gossip Girl explains to us that All Hallows' Eve is an American tradition where people dress up as other things. FYI. Like, for example, Rufus Humphrey's KISS-makeup pumpkins, complete with a necktie-long tongue: "There are costumes to make men feel like boys again..."
"Or turn little girls into Queens..." Over a landscape of shopping bags from Bergdorf and all the other places Jenny used to salivate over, before she found her gift, we light on Lily tugging a hundred of Jenny's homemade crinolines and babydolls: "Jenny, please let me go through this closet. There's no room for your new things!" She crosses her ankles like a stewardess, holding up one black original, neon pink peeking out at the hem: "Does this even fit you anymore?" Jenny snatches it away from her in protest, rolling her eyes -- "All of it does!" -- while Lily stands there crosslegged like a music-box ballerina, framed in a full-length mirror, watching Jenny try to hold onto everything at once.
I'm serious about Lily's Barbie pose, it's like something out of yoga nightmares. Her heels are about three feet apart, legs crossed practically at the thigh, while she stands straight up, so her feet are pointing the opposite of normal. Like the Scarecrow, but legwise? It makes her look like a Dufflepud, or a mermaid. I go into a similar pose whenever anybody points a camera at me and I don't even remember why -- probably some modeling tip I picked up from Sally Jesse when I was like six and still believed -- but if it looks this crazy to other people, I'm going to have to curb myself.
This will be a better year
Make a little money, take a lot of shit
Feel real bad, then get over it
This will be a better year...
Also trying on a new grownup wardrobe -- metaphorically, of course, considering he probably started dressing like a venture capitalist when he was old enough to reach the Black Card -- is Chuck, who's impatiently pedeconferencing past the lounge of his new acquisition, the appropriately named Empire Hotel. "We're #183 on Travelocity. Right behind the Holiday Inn LaGuardia!" Blair's with him, of course, trolling the grounds of their empire; neither of them is wearing lavender this week: just white-trimmed black.
"Who needs travel sites, with their huddled masses searching the internet, late-night trolling for deals?" Um, Chuck does. "That's why you should open the club!" Blair screams maniacally. "Once that's the place to be seen, you'll be so booked you can turn away the tasteless tourists in fanny packs." She turns to face him, that scary gleam in her eyes: "Now, I was thinking an '80s theme. Although shoulder pads can be overwhelming on my delicate frame," she notes adorably. "This is a business, not a high school party," he hisses, as the song ends and her face falls.