So Chuck spends the whole episode careening around in a crack-fueled rage in the wake of Bart's death. It's been a few days -- during which Lily's also been going privately nuts, Dan's been taking care of Serena, and Chuck has been missing -- since the accident, and today marks the funeral. Dan and Aaron cockblock each other about Serena for awhile, and then Chuck shows up with a wildly inappropriate show of disgust and hatred for, in order, Dan, Lily, even Eric. Nate and Blair spend the early bits of the episode following him around like good girlfriends, but B sort of loses interest once she FINALLY SAYS IT ... And he doesn't care.
Everybody runs around trying to find out the big old Lily secret, and CeCe lies and says she'll pay off greaseball PI guy, but then doesn't, so it goes to the highest bidder: Chuck Bass. The reason for that is that she wants Lily to come clean so that she can make a fresh start... Even more surprisingly, she visits Rufus to tell him she wants her daughter to make a life with him, and can't do that until he knows the secret. Chuck reads the report about the secret, then a last-minute plea from Lily about the people that love us convinces him to A) burn it and B) go directly to Blair's house, where he cries in her arms like a baby.
Dan and Serena are totes boring some more, but basically Serena gives Lily permission to be with Rufus and agrees to stay with Aaron even though he pretty much sucks, which is sad for Dan, but not as sad as Dan's face when he sees Rufus sitting around the house looking suicidal after learning about the secret. The secret! The secret! Of course, Lily thinks they're running off to Cornwall to have '90s nostalgia sex and fall ever more deeply in love, but no.
Scared by Bart's death, Cyrus -- with the help of Little J -- manages to move his and Eleanor's wedding up to the day after the funeral. It's really quite beautiful, and of course Blair is ecstatic about it, and Dorota looks like one million dollars. Everything's happy and sort of wonderful, and then you get that bonus act: Chuck's gone missing because B "deserves better," Serena flies off to Buenos Aires with Aaron Rose being douchier and nastier than he's ever been, and the heartbroken Rufus confronting Lily with just one question: Was their child a boy or a girl?
See you Twelfth Night 2009, when Chuck apparently: goes even more apeshit, visits an opium den, and jumps off a building.
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"More towers than Trump, more bucks than Bloomberg... Bart Bass definitely made his mark on Manhattan. The passing of a public figure can shake a whole town, but the real story is always the one happening in private, away from the headlines, at home."
But what's home? Home was the Palace: that was where they made their family, and that was where it fell apart. Now home is just another rental apartment, where Lily runs when she's deciding. Bart's home was divided. At home, in the Palace and at Lily's second apartment, there are funeral flowers, and the staff set out the clothes for the bereaved: a suit for the mourning son at the Palace, a black dress for the widow in her other life. The widow's mother sits at the breakfast table, surrounded in bounty and tasting nothing, reading the New York Journal while my favorite Bloc Party song, "Signs," plays. It's about the year of magical thinking, our desperation in the wake of loss:
Two ravens in the old oak tree and
One for you and one for me and
Bluebells in the late December
I see signs now all the time
Half of bargaining isn't about getting him back, it's making sense of the world he left you stranded in.
The mother of the widow calls her grandchildren to the breakfast table, and they demur; nobody's hungry these days. She gives them that wise look they all share, their Rhodes-side birthright. She speaks in epigrams and riddles; like every mother and every father she gives with one hand and takes with the other, watch: "In times of great uncertainty, it's even more important that we continue our daily rituals." Serena protests that she hasn't eaten so much as a Cheerio since arriving; Eric blurts that they all know she's got gin in her coffee cup. Serena giggles with him, giving him a tiny shove, and CeCe smiles that secret Rhodes smile. "My point exactly. Life must go on, as it always has." Serena brings her brother to the table and asks after their mother.
Lily isn't eating much, or sleeping; she hasn't been in the days since the Snowflake Ball, when her husband died. "All she does is make lists and yell at people," Eric says, and they all shiver blondely, visions of Waldorfs dancing in their heads. "People mourn in their own ways," CeCe says, and thinks about her future.
"What happens tonight," asks Serena, "When it's all over and there's nothing left for her to do?" What happens when the rest of the world comes crashing back in, loud into the silence? What happens to their family? Eric's thinking ahead: "Maybe she'll move into the Palace and hole up with Chuck." He's mourning in his own way: "Ah yes," CeCe snorts. "The bottomless minibar and the comfort of the twins in room service. It's a scandal!" Lily enters, looking productive and quoting with a Rhodes smile: "People mourn in their own ways, Mother. I've been assured by the hotel that if Chuck isn't alive and ... well, well, at least he's alive." At least he's alive, seeing signs everywhere. Bargaining.