Because she's taller, Serena holds Lily's red umbrella over Dan's head as they're walking down the street next morning, the day of the wedding, with coffee and muffins. "You know, if you're about to apologize for Chuck, it's really all right. I mean, he's upset, and there's bad blood... It wouldn't be entirely true to say that I get it, but I'm fine not getting it." I literally could not stand it if he knew the gift he gave Chuck before Bart died, if he understood how twisted it got later. Nobody should know these things about people. "That's really big of you? But that's not actually why I called." Serena folds up the umbrella and tells him about Aaron's Buenos Aires plan. Her eyes are full of hope, begging him to stop her. Sadly, he is Dan Humphrey.
"Okay well um I've never been so I don't know how helpful I can be with travel tips..." -- Serena rolls her eyes -- "...I mean I know that it's uh summer there, so... Pack a bikini?" She tries to get him started: "Dan. When we heard about Bart's accident, we were in the middle of a conversation?" He remembers: it was about sex. Aaron and Serena, Lexi and Dan. "But that never happened," Serena points out hopefully (and skillfully; I can't think of a nicer way to let him know she still hasn't "extended herself" to Aaron), "So..."
Still not getting it. "Sooo... I mean, I guess now it will, right? At least for you..." Serena is just about to lose her shit; it's like watching someone stupid play Pictionary: "Or..." Dan shakes his head, just honestly confused at this point. And after all, he and Rufus decided in a completely separate conversation that the Dan/Serena door was closed and locked, so why wouldn't Serena know that and agree? "Well, are... Are you asking me to ask you not to go?" Which is a little direct, and not really the point, but while girl games are infinite there's always a point, which is that somebody has to say it, and Serena will be damned if she's the one, because she's got a good thing going on, and Dan's being particularly obtuse today, but...
You know, it's challenging to find Serena and Dan's relationship interesting even when Blair and Chuck aren't skateboarding the volcano rim and turning in career-making performances. But I am totally sympathetic this week, because -- while it's never really repetitive, because their conversations always lead somewhere by the end of the episode -- in this one they have the Herculean task of embodying not only the Lily/Rufus/Bart triangle with Aaron, the Lily/Rufus historical parallel from their own past, and the Chuck/Blair "you go first" thing, but also their own actual storyline. And all the while, this actual storyline is being constantly fucked with by all the other people nudging it this way and that in realtime. Without Lily and Rufus pushing them around -- dishonestly -- in order to make their own shit work out, that would still be a pretty intense deal.