Blair takes leave of her former swain and presents the Plastics with their bribes: second-row seats at the Eleanor Waldorf show, or as Penelope explains, "Total movie star seats." Of course, Blair's moment of triumph is, as ever, nipped by frost in its first bloom as Serena impinges on her ascendance both personally, having finally arrived at school, and by proxy: it's at the moment of Blair's presentation of the tickets that Hazel notices Serena in the pages of Women's Wear Daily, where she's been photographed in the company of celebutante Poppy Lifton. In that moment, the young women can speak or think of nothing else; Blair leaves in a huff, causing Serena to ask what's wrong. "I'll just leave you to your fans," Miss Waldorf spits, causing Miss van der Woodsen to roll her eyes with a curious and exhausted mixture of pity, irritation, and clairvoyance.
"Watching you fail spectacularly gives me so much joy," Chuck mutters as Blair crosses the lonely world back to him. "And you know what you give to everyone, Chuck? Misery. There's a reason you're always out here alone," she says, striking out as one who has been harmed, but without much conviction. Chuck points out -- for the education of Blair and the edification of we the viewers, who hadn't even noticed Nate's absence -- that Nate is away, at his grandparents' house. One can only imagine the clientele they've got him in bed with, but more importantly: school is, once again, apparently optional. Had I known that fact fifteen years ago, I would no doubt be a world-famous fashion designer as we speak. "Nate's only friends with you out of habit. The only person with fewer friends than you is Dan Humphrey, and at least his lame '90s dad likes him. And that's because he's something you'll never be: a human being."
The jury is, as they say, still "out" on that account, but the speech itself is pure Blair Waldorf excellence. "Lame '90s Dad" is a perfect encapsulation of everything Rufus stands for; the grudging admission that Dan Humphrey is something akin to a human being; most of all the casual explication of a likely truth ("Nate's only friends with you out of habit," in other words, he's merely scatter-brained, and after all, isn't it likely that all of these people are only "friends" out of habit? Which explains why we don't talk to anybody from high school by the time we turn twenty?) which exposes the hurtful underpinnings of a close personal relationship. That's one stone Blair shouldn't have thrown, but she won't know that until tomorrow night.