...XO! Lily's got secrets! Secret number one: Mapplethorpe photographed her in his latter days, probably with a bullwhip up her "bellybutton." Secret number two... HER NINETIES LOVE CHILD WITH RUFUS HUMPHREY. Okay, not totally sure about that one. But it's big, it's bad, and Bart's none too happy about it. In other boring grownup news, Jenny is still the only adult on this show. As she will have you know. Rufus and Jenny have all manner of fights about how Jenny's been skipping school for weeks to avoid getting abused by the Plastics, but eventually she once again tells him that she can do whatever the heck she wants, and is dropping out for good. Which is fine, because -- get this shit right here -- he would have done the same thing at her age, if he'd been as talented as her. Jenny has got it ALL FIGURED OUT.
Serena has been hanging out with celebutante Poppy Lifton as part of her ascension to the throne, which Jenny leverages to fill out Eleanor Waldorf's front row at Fashion Week. Of course, Jenny doesn't realize she's bumping the Plastics when she does so, wrecking weeks of scheming by old Blair-Bear to get back in with them again. Needless to say, between Serena being fabulous without her and getting sabotaged so close to home, Blair goes insane to a degree we haven't seen since Serena came back from boarding school. In an effort to screw Serena and Jenny at the same time, she causes all the models to disappear into thin air, and then when Jenny tries to salvage the show by replacing them with Serena and her A-list friends, she sends S down the runway in a dress of Jenny's design, thereby attempting to ruin Jenny, Eleanor and Serena in one fell swoop.
Needless to say, it backfires -- bad. Serena works it or whatever and becomes a supermodel, and Eleanor and Jenny forge a stronger bond than ever. Desperate to be included and hurting for company -- just like Chuck wanted! -- Blair re-befriends Jenny so that her mother will at least (hopefully) remember her name. Jenny's happy, because she is retarded but also because this is apparently all she ever really wanted. Plus she'll have so much more time to insinuate herself creepily into the Waldorf family -- eating disorders and all -- now that her days are free. Homeschooling is so totally the new cutting.
Poppy gives Serena a little book called Be Your Own Windkeeper and lectures her about how she needs to become empowered because the wind can make you a goddess, and Blair is taking her wind away because she is a lightning bearer. Or no, wait. That's last week's recap. Any case, Serena takes this message to heart and tells Blair straight up that she can either keep trying to bring Serena down with her Machiavellian desperation, or she can let Serena's lantern shine brightly and eclipse her completely like a true friend, but if she chooses A then Serena will murder her like that dude she killed last year.
But OMG whatever because the real story here is Dan and Chuck, who finally do it after just over a year of foreplay. Best Dan storyline ever! You see, a little leprechaun tells Dan (I'm not making this up, although I will say that this particular leprechaun works at the Paris Review) that he needs to experience new things. So of course he goes to Chuck. Chuck feeds him a bunch of ecstasy and makes him do a bunch of shots, they go to (what Chuck convinces Dan is) a sex club behind White Castle and then Chuck takes away his shoes, wallet and phone and leaves him on the street in Manhattan. Then, instead of writing an imaginative story, Dan once again writes down his experiences verbatim.
The leprechaun says that this was not real enough, and tells Dan to get inside Chuck's head (pants?) even more, so Dan plays Jedi mind tricks on Chuck and then punches a guy to defend Chuck's honor -- still not making any of this up -- and they spend the night together in jail, where Chuck admits that Bart hates him because the first Mrs. Bass died in childbirth (Unless he was Lily's '90s lovechild with Rufus!). Dan is sympathetic to the point of having strange new sensations in both heart and pants, but just before they actually do it, gay-style, in jail... Chuck finds some scrap of paper on which Dan, being a total dillweed, has scrawled notes to himself like IT'S NOT GAY IF IT'S RESEARCH and FIND OUT CHUCK BASS'S SECRET AND EXPLOIT IT INSTEAD OF ACTUALLY WRITING ANYTHING CREATIVE/GOOD. He tells Dan that he is going to be sorry, and then leaves him in a jail cell with two advancing leather daddies who are themselves straight outta Mapplethorpe, bringing us full circle. XO...
"When the white tents blossom in Bryant Park, it can only mean one thing: Fashion Week." Gossip Girl thinks about this for a moment, over unremarkable shots of fashion people and fashion things; people thinking fashion thoughts and wearing fashion fashion and drinking Vitamin Water. "The time of year when any Park Ave princess would trade her last Prada Pochette for front row seats to the best shows. And we hear the seating chart to Eleanor Waldorf's show is being made by our very own B..."
Amid a fashionable hustle and bustle, Blair has chosen once again to rock the pilgrim funeral look, having returned to a soberer self now that she's reprioritizing, and manipulates the seating chart for the Waldorf show, which is what she was born to do. She points out to her mother a particular art director who's just run off with the husband of a photo editor, in what we assume is a hilarious expositional "blind item" of sorts relating to adulterous and more than likely deeply uninteresting art directors and husbands of editors of photos, and so, Blair explains, she seated the entirety of Vanity Fair between them. Eleanor is grateful for the help, and B quips that she wanted to "avoid a catfight in front of the catwalk," playing -- you see -- off the linguistic similarities between the two heretofore unlinked portmanteaus. This is quite humorous, even to Blair's mother, who provides her with a minim of that attention and approval for which Blair unceasingly strives: "I told Laurel my daughter could make a better seating chart than that drug-addled publicist. It's a blessing she was hauled off to rehab for stealing her son's Ritalin." Still not as funny as when she ran those bitches over in the Hamptons. Just ran them the fuck down.
"And you and Serena will be with me backstage, of course?" Blair exposits loudly that this is their most sacred tradition, and that entire nations rise and fall on their successful commencement and completion of this duty, et cetera, and mentions that she has seated the Plastics and Hangers-On in the second row, and both Eleanor and her daughter agree that it is good to bribe one's compatriots with privileges, and to presumably manipulate them with the threat of taking away said privileges without cause or notice, thus making Blair the subject of "worship." Eleanor squeezes her face somewhat affectionately, and thinks privately about how it's Blair's obesity that's really the problem.
Daniel Humphrey and his fair sister make their way through a sunny crowd of be-uniformed hateful youths -- here a Dalton, there a St. Jude's, all united in disgust that Dan continues to draw breath -- discussing the ways in which not their poverty but their own self-destructive shame about their poverty has resulted in behavior ranging from the pathetic (being mean to Serena) to the sociopathic (shoplifting from friends), which has in turn resulted in the two of them being exactly where they belong: in near-boiling water, invisible and for all intents without sovereign existence. And yet there seems not a great deal of malice in it, just a sad regret of all that oxygen wasted, and I certainly shouldn't wish to overstate the case. After all, as Wharton wrote: "It is less mortifying to believe one's self unpopular than insignificant, and vanity prefers to assume that indifference is a latent form of unfriendliness." Dan's insignificance borders on the cosmic. And yet ...the central figure; the pivot point around which our universe revolves. Call it The Dan Show.