It's not all that different from what Chuck did to Blair, over the years: He provided a continual reminder that the world wasn't about her. That her behavior had consequences, and that it was possible for her to want things she couldn't have, and work for them. That her lot -- to want and strive and need, to see Serena get everything for free -- was true only as long as she allowed it to be.
5 YEARS LATER
Nathaniel Archibald, stepping off the Spectator jet -- which maybe the Spectator is itself just a jet now, you can never tell what shape it will assume -- tells a reporter he'll probably be running for Youngest Mayor Ever, one of these days. He throws the reporter in the river and then hauls him out again. He is no longer defined by women or relationships; he flies this jet alone. He has not yet found a person who will put up with the weird sex shit he is into. Not since...
Charles Bass and his lovely wife, Blair Waldorf, make the drive up to VITAMIN WATER estates with their young son, Henry. So-named for the son who overcame his father, and loved his child so much the war was ended forever. Eleanor showers the boy with love, limitless unconditional love without judgment, but Blair's not jealous. She's too busy violating trade embargoes with China, who by 2017 will own your ass anyway.
Eric has grown a little goatee.
So has Jenny.
William and Lily van der Woodsen giggle with the other couples. Who among us has not designed complex schemes to fool us into taking unnecessary cancer medications that gave us migraines that scared us into taking more unnecessary cancer medications? Rufus monitored her alcohol intake, in his woman sweater; Bart often threatened to throw her in the fire like so much broken kindling. It was only William, the father of her children, who never really gave a shit one way or the other.
Rufus and Lisa Loeb, wearing matching glasses, regale the grownups with tales of their artisanal something something. Later, they will take the jitney and it will drive off the road and Lisa Loeb will be stuck in a life, tending to wheelchair-bound Rufus Humphrey. She will grow resentful, over time, grinding glass into his waffle batter, putting his guitar on shelves just out of reach. Waiting until he puts on his rollneck lady sweater, then turning the heat back up. And should he ever forget himself and complain she'll smile, and lean down, tugging with one nail at his choker, and whisper-hiss, "Scream all you want. But I only hear what I want to."