Dan and Vanessa are, I guess, both applying to the Tisch writing program, but Vanessa isn't telling anybody that. I guess because it would take away her entire persona as a guerrilla documentarian or whatever, but also because that's sort of Dan's territory. So they spend the whole episode refusing to critique each other's work, like they usually do so fearlessly, because it would interfere with their Relationship. Of course, once the truth comes out -- that they are both horrible writers, obviously, and hate each other deeply -- they are free to resume their Relationship with no ill effects. Although it seems possible (and having seen some of Dan's writing for ourselves, more than likely) that Vanessa has gotten in by episode's end, while hopefully Dan has not.
That Jenny Humphrey, she is fucking psychotic. She leverages last week's near-miss with the gang-rape to get Nate to spend his birthday with her, even though she knows full well that Serena has organized a surprise party and epic-scale game of Assassin in his honor. The full-on fake sex-trauma ways she jerks everybody around to keep Nate in her orbit are legendary, as is the lunge-and-kiss that finally causes Nate to sit up and take notice that he's getting played. By the end, having given it a serious go, Little J gives up on him, at least for the moment.
Eric van der Woodsen is back from having fucked Japan, and gets an adorable new boyfriend named Elliott, whom I hope -- as the only attractive non-Vanderbilt boyfriend on this show ever -- stays around forever. But probably he is a serial killer or somebody's love child or something. Maybe both, like last time... Oh, and Dorota super annoying and get engaged to large blonde Russian for make baby not be bastard.
The lion's share of the episode, however, belongs to the deeply heartbreaking story of how Chuck sells Blair's ass to his uncle Jack in order to win back his Empire. The reveal and complexity of this thread throughout the episode are such that it's difficult to do justice, but: Blair weathers several creepy come-ons from Jack Bass before Chuck flips out on her, having lost the hotel forever. She sneaks away during the Assassin game, convinced that she's doing the right thing...
GG: "Every war has its weapons. But on the Upper East Side, the rules of battle are simple: There are no rules." Assume at every act break that there will be more weapons metaphors. So it's Nate's birthday, and I guess he's been hinting at that for awhile because now every sentence he utters from under his hair contains the word. I never expected to share birthday proximity with Nathaniel Archibald but I can't say I'm disappointed. Serena brushes him off, explaining that the handcuffs and various other domination devices that she's laying out all over the room are in fact Blair and Chuck's dirty sex toys. She'd be a lot more believable if she weren't wearing a pleather tee.
It's fairly hot. So N gets all over S's business and feels the knife holster on her garter, which she unconvincingly blows off as a cell phone accessory, and then she blows him off again because she has to go shopping with Blair. Birthday sex denied! He secretly hopes she's taking him to a Knicks game for his surprise, but come on: This is a Serena Plan. It's going to be outrageously unbelievable. The Frick benefit, in fact, which is for "Asian horned toads. They're in danger?" she says weakly, and he laughs. Apparently, the big lie is that Chuck bought a table at this thing for the Asian horned toads, and therefore birthday is postponed until the weekend. "And you're going to lunch with your grandfather. That's festive!" Yeah, they really know how to blow it out collegiate style, over in East Egg.
Nate retires to cry in the shower, hurting Serena's heart, and Dorota sweeps in full of racist babies and secrets: "I feel very bad not wishing him happy birthday! Or bringing him Polish breakfast sausage in bed!" There's much broken English that gets us to the fact that Dorota has stolen Nate's phone so that he doesn't find out that they've actually planned a dorky game of Assassin in his honor. Which is truly the perfect gift for Nate! Good call. Serena's adorable, acting all faux-serious about the secrets and assassinations, but when she leaves Dorota gets real annoying all on her own.
Jack is apparently selling everything in Chuck's suite -- including that Lady Gaga/Georgina/Serena portrait with the giant glasses that hangs over everything he does -- on eBay. I guess so. There's a long conversation about how Jack is all about the takedown of Chuck's beloved Things, the horror of Chuck's new domesticated lifestyle, and a lot of other obsessive shit that only makes sense because Jack is always about these things, like a gross goateed angel on the shoulder. "Young Chuck in love. Beautiful. And sad. Bart always said you were soft." He keeps working that angle for awhile, and even says he doesn't mind that Lily's in charge of Bass Ind. since it's doing so well. But then why? Who knows. Ask Ophelia. "It's an interesting feeling holding another man's prized possession. You wonder how far he'll go to get it back, if there's anything he wouldn't do..." Chuck, of course, immediately offers to do "anything," and Jack moves in for the kill.