What a dizzying, satisfying blur! For all the trampling over established plot, the bringing up old mythology only to mess with it, the retconning left and right of things established as recently as last week, somehow the pace and vigor of the performances made this one more than the sum of its parts.
In a smart bookending sequence, Serena and Dan want to make amends with everybody before they announce their romance, so they waddle on into everybody else's storylines with their usual blowsy, idle aplomb. Since she's cool with everybody at this point, S focuses on Blair, and fakes a photographic kiss with Steven to convince Sage (for the third time) to become the Waldorf It Girl.
Apparently the monarchy of UES prep schools has given way to Mob rule, as we learn when Sage summons the Dons of the five top schools and orders them to attend Blair's pop-up fashion debut. After a brief interim -- giving Serena and Blair just enough time to break up and then make up again -- Sage's anger at the ruse is trampled by the Girl Dons' authentic love of B's fashion, and even Nelly Yuki touts BxWaldorf as a success.
Dan's amends involve a trip to the Empire to apologize to Chuck and Nate, who send him on a fact-finding mission to DUMBO, where he confirms that Ivy has the Sudanese Documents while making amends with Rufus. Eventually -- after spotting her with a strange man -- Rufus kicks Ivy out and steals the documents for Lily (the woman who just last week explicitly called him a whore but now is like whatever) and, in the episode's most brutal scene, Lily destroys them in front of Chuck, ending the whole oil embargo caper (hopefully, for good) but also pulling the biggest Mom Switcheroo of a life chock full of Mom Switcheroos.
This, coupled with the fact that Bart has pulled the trigger on his Nate blackmail scheme, puts Chuck down a well of loneliness that only gets worse when he explains to Blair that their Powerful Women plan to be together will now never come to pass, because he was fated to be the failure all along. His only real mother and his only real boyfriend have betrayed him, the Feds think he's a joke, and he will be eating many worms in the days to come, so once again they have to break up FOREVER AND EVER. B runs off crying, can't enjoy her night's success, etc., but you know homegirl hangs onto that motherfucking ring.
And who is Ivy's mystery man? Why, William van der Woodsen, the only person I forgot to mention when listing her possible co-conspirators last week. Turns out she's in love with him and they're working together* -- at Lola's request -- to bring Lily down. Stupid girl doesn't realize he's still looking to get back together with Lily, and has no more interest in taking her down than Chuck does, but at least Ivy doesn't have to live with the shame of hanging around Rufus anymore.
*(...So I guess the whole Rufus thing is what you'd call a Long Con? Since it had no real goal until the Sudanese Embargo bullshit fell in their laps? The old "Help Rufus Open An Art Gallery For Like Six Months & Then Buy Some Art All Bitchy While Dressed Like Magenta From Rocky Horror Shanghai," as they called it back in the day. Kind of like how getting Aunt Carol control of Lola's trust fund involved developing multiple personalities and spookily transforming into Serena. But I mean, Poppy's big scam was about building space satellites for African children, so.)
There's a complicated bit where Ivy tries to pit Chuck and Bart against each other to see who can destroy Lily better, but you know Chuck wouldn't hurt Lily and there's no telling if Bart's even serious about divorcing her either. Ivy tries to manufacture a sex scandal -- making her the conquistadora of, count 'em, three of Lily's husbands -- but in the end a half-naked Bart Bass just threatens to beat her to death, so once those papers are destroyed this newest, grodiest couple of cons skip town. All I know is, playin' with Doc is how girls end up dead, in mental institutions, or dying of pretend cancer, so she better put on some damn clothes and run...
...Which brings us back to Dan and Serena, blithely comparing notes, completely blind to everyone else's misery: B's a hit but can't enjoy it, Nate and Chuck suffer in separate blind-drunk rages... But something about the way Dan hisses "I'm writing the Serena chapter" when Georgie calls makes me wonder if he doesn't have a few more tricks up his v-neck. I guess we'll see. My money is, reliably, on him being an asshole in some way. I'm gonna let that one ride.
Next Week: Having made amends, Dan and Serena assume everybody else is cool and they invite them to Thanksgiving (a couple weeks late). I'm assuming it doesn't go well -- Nate punches Dan, which will be nice to see -- but one wonders just how long Peepers and Doc will stay gone. Three episodes left, and apparently the finale's a doozy.
A high-stakes game of art auctioneering left Ivy with the Sudanese Documentation that will bring Bart Bass down once and for all, and we learned that her mysterious co-conspirator would be arriving soon. Nate fudged some revenue numbers to get a loan extension, which was secretly being cosigned by Bart anyway. Blair and Chuck were equally boned in their attempts to best their parents, or so it seemed, but at the last moment Blair's OCD and BPD formed a truce. Oh, and Dan and Serena and ugh. We accept the love we think we deserve, as the ubiquitous marketing for a teen emo movie recently mentioned, about a bajillion times, unceasingly and on every device in this entire house.
Old Farty Barty flips Chuck's sparsely decorated suite, which seems awfully basic for ones such as they, but whatever. Even Monkey is offended. On the upside, though, it doesn't take too long because all he has is like, that one safe that he keeps everything in all the time, which is like the only place I would even look, that couch by the window that he and Nate sometimes prop themselves up in of a morning, and a pool table for drunken billiards. And windows for abusing, of course.
Meanwhile, Dan and Serena are in her bedroom at home, having presumably just fucked or else that's just what is going on with their hair this week. This is the caliber of conversation we are dealing with:
Lonelyboy: "Wow, this is amazing. Really. And I'm not just talking about this espresso."
But we both know he's mainly talking about how amazing it is to have a place to sleep.
Lonelyboy: "I just wish we could go outside without all that attention I'm constantly begging for at all times."
Serena: "The ongoing nature of your face-heel turn where you keep screwing us all over and then wondering why everybody's mad at you is looking more and more like an extreme contrivance to isolate us both and get us together for the finale. Perhaps we should announce our love that everybody already knows about."
Lonelyboy: "But it's a secret! A secret everybody already knows about."
Serena: "Then let one more contrivance rear its head. You will spend the episode involving yourself in Chuck's storyline to no real purpose, and I will fuck with Blair's life all episode, and then we can meet back here and discuss how great things are for nobody except us."
Lonelyboy: "Yes. Amends, and then you will buy me things."
Serena: "I will. I will buy you things. Such is the way of the Humphreys and Rhodeses."