Thanksgiving sees everybody miserable -- Chuck defeated, Nate a prisoner of Bart -- so when Lily announces she and Mr. Bass are leaving town for the holidays, Serena and Dan invite everybody to have dinner at PRADA. Interrupted in a rare show of self-knowledge, Blair decides not to flee her scheming nature and jump right back into ruining Serena's life for her. This takes the form of arranging a meet-cute between Serena and the Spences, whom she's obliged to invite to dinner after Steven apologizes and Sage bats her eyes adorably.
Blair's other scheme? Getting Chuck out of his Bart Bass funk by helping Nate draw a connection between the death of the Sheik and Bart's latest "accidental" murder, the coke- and whore-loving Bruce Kaplan. She enlists Uncle Jack to help Nate crack the Bass servers, and puts everybody at PRADA just in time to start planting seeds of doubt in Lily and Serena's minds about their respective fellas. (All of this is brilliant. Everything that happens with Blair is brilliant.)
Of course, the reality of dinner is scary as hell, since Lily and Bart's plane has been grounded and Nate takes a bored and horny Sage upstairs for some heavy petting (and computer-hacking, thanks to B's call to Uncle Jack) while Chuck watches. Downstairs, Dan acts like a little bitch the entire time and eventually gets into a fight with Steven, who announces his desire to take Serena back from him before abruptly disappearing.
After Serena gets everybody seated and gives a sweet speech, Georgina rises with a hilariously bizarre speech of her own, and delivers her greatest triumph: As it turns out, Dan has written two Serena Chapters for VF -- both insufferable in different ways -- but Georgina has made sure the more vicious of the two was published.
This is where it gets interesting, though, because when Serena asks Dan about it, he manages to have decided that he both thinks Serena is vapid trash and he is in love with her, so why is she being such a bitch just because he wrote these horrible, awful things about her? He gives a long rambling speech about how his entire neurotic obsession with the horrors of the UES is actually her fault, for being better than him, and that only by becoming what he hates most can he... Something.
Something we don't even really get a clear glimpse of until after Nate has punched his lights out -- "That was from all of us" -- and Bart's handed him his card as he's slinking out, and lonely fuckin' sad-ass Rufus has bitched him out about it: "I have a plan. And it's working." And the plan, it seems, is to write one Final Chapter (called "The Final Chapter") in which, it's to be assumed based on his hipster lack of talent, he writes the ultimate takedown: Himself, and how he was destroyed by his own need to be Inside. Or some such nonsense. I mean, what a perfect encapsulation of this show's/our country's vexed relationship with money and class, but still. Shut the fuck up, Every Humphrey.
Bart shows Lily a bit of his dark side, once Blair and Chuck -- in fine, fine form; they haven't been this great together in years -- present their evidence for the string of murders. Lily finally comes over to Chuck's side, but has to pretend otherwise for the duration of the meal, which sends Chuck back into his depression. After some high-suspense, low-drama conversation, she leaves town entirely and warns Chuck that Bart's coming after him now in earnest -- but that she memorized the 'microfilm' before burning it, because she is apparently Alias now.
So. Chuck invites Blair to go to war and it is beautiful, everything they do this week is fantastic, and we also got a great reconciliation with Lily, so that was good. It is nice to see the inherent contradictions in Dan's hypocrisy coming to light, if a bit on the nose overall -- it's the contradictions, not the hypocrisy, that have always made him (and the show) at all interesting -- although I'm sure he'll be instrumental in saving everybody from Bart Bass, sometime in the next two weeks. Meantime, Nate's still under Bart's thumb, joining Dan on the dark side, but as long as Chuck doesn't do anything dumb like get on a plane Bart can crash, he should be fine.
Next Week: Chuck gets on a plane, which Bart crashes.
Dan hooked back up with Serena, for possibly nefarious reasons. Bart Bass and Ivy Dickens both had long-term schemes going on that don't make a lot of sense, but they collided in a way that took Ivy off the board, so now it's all-Bart, all the time. Which is too bad, because Lily sided with him against Chuck, sending him into a depression the likes of which we haven't seen since he was Hamletting himself off roofs.
Dan and Serena just live in that bed now, feeding Serena all the food in the house as she slowly slips down into Liz Lemon hypothermia on a cloud of bubbly bubbles.
I miss my past for you, for you
What's the difference if it's all for you, for you
If I'm just throwing away myself for you
Serena: "A parade!"
Nate suffers, ignoring Monkey as he cries outside Chuck's door; Chuck opens a bottle of bourbon with just one thumb and drinks it with just one open eye. Obviously, only Nate Archibald has the wherewithal to get everybody out of this situation alive.
Think about that statement.
Rufus has put on a rose-embroidered rockabilly shirt, as is the custom in Brooklyn, and is sipping Cup-A-Soup or some sad shit while remembering how one time he played a show with Lisa Loeb.
He turns the radio on. He turns the radio up.
Blair, verbatim: "Dorota, did you remember my noise-canceling headphones and my Bottega eye mask? Flying alone on the holidays is like Chatroulette."
Nice. And it sets the tone for the episode, in which -- Ghost Of Thanksgiving Past-like -- our Blair actually visits, for the first time in years, and stays for the remainder. (And while I'm giving props, I can't believe I completely forgot the Five Family stuff from Jenny's last real year. So much shit happened in that episode! And I forgot it all!)
Dorota: "Don't you try and go to Paris to visit your many parents every year? And something always happens?"
Blair: "Yes, but that 'something' is always I Am Crazy. So I've reversing the causal flow. I will leave before I go crazy, and then I won't go crazy. It is going to be awesome. I won't meddle with Serena's life like always, and it'll give Chuck time to get his brood on without me getting freaked out about it."