Eric wakes up in the morning to find Serena asleep on the chair beside him, bathed in light. She immediately starts apologizing for being "a terrible sister," and he blows it off because he's so happy to see her. And because the show has "gossip" in the title: "Must be a lot of rumors why you're back." She assures him that none of the rumors involve him, just as Lily would want it, and she comes breezing in: "What do I want, baby? For Serena to sleep in her own bed? Possibly wearing pajamas." Heh. They wish their mother good morning, and Serena invites them to breakfast out; Lily pretends to pause to think, then ixnays that, saying she'll be getting Eric a croissant down the street. She pronounces the word croissant perfectly, exactly like somebody hauling the name Lily van der Woodsen around the Upper East Side would say it. Awesome.
Serena follows her into the hall, to Eric's weak protests. "Let me guess, you told everyone Eric's just visiting Grandpa in Rhode Island?" Lily sighs, caught: "Your Aunt Carol in Miami." Serena's horrified by this, that Lily would just hide him away so his suicide wouldn't affect her reputation as "Mother Of The Year," but Lily's like, "You don't know me!" She talks about how it's been hard over the last year, what with Serena off "doing who knows what with God knows who," and Serena swears for the hundredth time that she was not being a bad girl at boarding school. Just mysterious and kind of sad-eyed for some reason. "As happy as I am to have you home, you have no idea what it's been like." I like how the mystery of Serena's disappearance and return have warped into this whole other thing of why things went bad while she was gone. I like Serena and her whole deal, a lot, but I do like that it comes down to more people than just her.
"Diamond Hipster Boy" by Washington Social Club plays at the Humphreys' West Side apartment. You can tell they're totally poor by how their house is nicer than an award-winning castle from the pages of Castle Architecture Digest. This would be Dan and Jenny, last spotted being in love with Serena at Grand Central, and their dad Rufus, last spotted being hot all up in your grill. He turns the Sandy Cohen up a notch: "Guess whose dad is cool?" Not actually a trick question: he produces a copy of Rolling Stone in which his '90s band, Lincoln Hawk, was featured. That would be the first time I laughed out loud, like really loud out loud. There were some giggles, but you say "Lincoln Hawk" to me, I might laugh until I pee a little. That's so awesome. Sylvester Stallone has never done a better job than as the traveling trucker-slash-competitive arm wrestler that he played in that one movie. So anyway, Lincoln Hawk is number nine of the Top Ten Forgotten Bands of the '90s. "Hey, way to be forgotten!" chuckles a game Dan, and Rufus gets all literary about Serena's plight: "But that's how you get remembered."