Now, this I love, because the show has always been good about tracing downfalls, and the best episodes are the ones where coincidences accrete and little petty things like this rebound all over the echo chamber, hurting sixteen people before boomeranging back at the perp. So like, even though Vanessa started it, she wasn't really important to it last week: who cares about Vanessa? And she wouldn't even know about it if Chuck hadn't faltered, forcing B's hand and making her act out and disclose the plan to Vanessa. And if Chuck hadn't then gone back to the bar, Vanessa would still hate them both equally. But they weren't actually fighting over Vanessa at all, and while I understand she's embarrassed, nothing actually happened to her. She thought about bringing a casserole to a UES housewarming, wore a gorgeous dress, and got told to keep her hands off Blair's man. That's the extent of her wounds here.
But still: B does these things, and it bounces back in the most unexpected way, which is that for the first time in his life, Dan is actually in a position to effect real events. Nobody could have predicted that, and it is gorgeous. Less gorgeous: Dan's loyalty to Vanessa, which expresses itself in an about-face that nearly loses him this episode's gold star for behavior, which is notable also because it is the only one he has ever even slightly earned. And the fact that it's Blair ruining everything via Vanessa via Dan, instead of Dan fucking it all up on his own, is sort of depressing.
S plays with Aaron's video ball of words and whatever, it's shiny so she likes it. Aaron slides up in a massive stupid scarf and they chat. She congratulates him on his success and he awkwardly segues to how success is nothing without someone to share it with, and she's like, "They do say that." That's that van der Woodsen awesome poking out a little bit right there. She teasingly asks him who he's planning on sharing with, and he gets majorly cute: "Uh, my dad, my Nana, my dog Mookie -- named by Nana, she's a huge Mets fan -- and, uh, and you. Uh... Uh, you. I was hoping you." Inconceivable! "Maybe dinner?" She's overjoyed, but spots Dan and rethinks. "Uh, sorry. I'm ... not really dating right now." He admits to being acquainted with "the vague and unsatisfying I'm Not Dating Right Now response, but points for mentioning he's usually the one giving it. To girls! Serena apologizes in a flirty manner that implies both that she really is sorry, and that she's loving watching him twist, and he flips the table: "I can tell. Which is why I'm gonna give you a second chance." She's impressed at his immunity to the Serena Effect, and looks on. "If you can tell me the fate of Cecil the Caterpillar, I will go out with you." She's a little thrown and tells him she doesn't normally date "crazy people who speak in riddles," but he's still on his game: "Just think about it, and when you figure it out, I'm yours." He takes off. Color Serena confused and intrigued.