At the moment Jenny can be seen hailing a cab in the direction not of first period French, as her brother believes, but of her own ruin, an art consultant of our acquaintance named Bex Simon is leading Lily Bass through her house, which has found itself all arted up. "Kiki Smith greeting you in the foyer. Elm[-green] & Drag[-set] pulling you into the main room. And making a statement on the stairwell..." A raucous and vibrant Richard Phillips, whose aforementioned statement seems mainly to be, "I have no place in this apartment!" Lily's daughter Serena enters, looking fresh as a daisy and twice as pert, ready to start her day. Which, given our usual issues with time and space, may or may not include school today. Two subjects are discussed. The first, in which the irrepressible Bex finds herself taking part without invitation, concerns Serena's new alliance with celebrity socialite Poppy Lifton, in whose company Serena spends long, alcohol-free, nights of late.
The second and more interesting concerns a miraculous photograph dating from that period in Mrs. Bass's life to which we refer privately as the "Seveneightnineties," (or '7890s, if you like), given that she seems to have accomplished being several ages at once -- and not in succession, as was and remains the custom, but scattershot and chock-a-block. During a one-decade period that somehow managed to last about three, this particular photograph captures an impossible moment in time, in which Lily managed to share an age with both Patti Smith and Punky Brewster, and -- you've seen -- is no worse for the wear. This paradoxical image was captured by one Robert Mapplethorpe, whom even Serena has heard of -- after a humorous reference to the source material of this television series regarding photographs in which one cannot be quite sure whether one is looking at a bellybutton or another part of the anatomy -- and Bex Simon is asked to procure it, as it will soon be offered up for auction. Rather than being impressed by her mother's time-travelling tendencies, to which Serena has always turned an insouciant eye, Serena is impressed that her mother has finally found courage enough to admit to being a pornographer. "You just became the coolest mom on the Upper East Side!"
In the shared courtyard between the St. Jude's and Constance Billard Schools for Sexually-Confused & Alcoholic (Respectively) Boys & Girls (Respectively) Who Act Exactly Like Adults But Are Not Disgusting Like Most Adults Because They Are Children & Have No Accountability, Charles Bass brings his ominous attentions to bear once again on the beleaguered scion of Waldorf Design. "Ah, the besieged queen." Blair tries to brush off his attempts at the next step in the complicated game of chess he is playing with his own penis, but Chuck is not interested in being ignored. "Your throne's in danger, and you can't wage war on Serena without an ally. You need me." Blair assures him that there is no war, no conflict, and "now that Marcus has been booted back to Brighton," she is free to return to her old life as Queen, a title which Serena, by her own admission, takes no pleasure in. "And how do you plan on making the girls fall at your feet?" Chuck answers his own question with a witticism ironically employing the colloquialism "fall at [one's] feet" as a literal instance or circumstance, suggesting that Blair will trip them. This is not a strategy that Blair would discount out of hand -- indeed, she's employed it in the past -- but today Blair is coining her own colloquialisms instead: "A true monarch bestows favors. It's Fashion Week, and I'm the only Constance girl with clout."