Lily's packing for her weekend away with Rufus so they can figure out who and what they are and are going to be and whether they're scared in the good way or the bad way or whatever the gay hell they think they're doing, and Serena dive-bombs the bed, groaning in horror. Lily assumes that she's gotten expelled, and points out that whole thing about Bad Serena being two strikes already. Serena notices the packing, even though Lily just got back from her trip with Bart, and quickly surmises that she's back on the Rufus train: "You can't. Please, Mom, not this one." Which is, to me, the point of this whole scene -- not what Serena's about to pull, or the fact that Lily gives in, but that little phrase: "Not this one." Because the shared assumption of the two Rhodes women in this room is that Lily is going to fuck it up. Whatever the relationship, whatever number wedding she's on, they're planning for the next one. Not this one, but the next. The rest of the dialogue doesn't really follow that, but it does make the scene make more sense, and it's also really sad, because it says so much about how Serena's been involved -- no matter how much Lily protests -- in her mom's grownup life. Which is the fastest recipe for teen alcoholism I can think of.
Anyway, so she's like, "You cannot date and then break up with Dan's dad, because that is awful, and I would rather be Chuck's raped-up stepsister than Dan's incesty girlfriend-sister, and that loft is really tiny, and he's nice but he's not rich husband material. So you tell me right now: Dan is forever, for me, right now. That's what I think when I think about Dan: forever. Which is a thing I don't even think you can imagine, and I don't think either of us can imagine it when it's you, because you are on marriage number five, and even if we could: this is Rufus Humphrey. If you don't fuck it up, he will. So put on your big-girl panties and make the sane choice, as a serial monogamist: do you want something with lasting value and real estate as the only result, or do you want something with zero value and your daughter's total unhappiness and romantic disillusionment as the only result. These are literally the choices you're making, because at the end of the road, we are right back in this hotel suite, the three of us, and I'm either happy or dead. You still don't even know what buttons you pushed to make me and Eric both go crazy at the same time, but you know damn well how this story ends."
Which is why as much as I think this scene is dumb, and kind of manipulative, and Serena's saying this in a dumb Dan-like way that doesn't really get there, and the seams kind of show on thrusting another obstacle between Lily and Rufus: that's how TV works, and that's how this family works. It's not even like Serena's holding her mom hostage or anything, just stating how it's going to go down. Lily and Rufus break up, they cry and act like the jerks they already are acting like, but you can't promise your fucked-up kids a family that you know will not ever last, when there's actually something at stake. This is the difference between love and romance: romance gives you space to breathe, and love is what you do with the breath in your body. Romance is what you are, when you're filled with it, but love is about what you do. That's all she's asking. So I find myself, very weirdly, totally on Serena's side. And somewhat less weirdly, as Serena takes her leave and heads off to prove how much she just realized she loves Dan: so does her mother.
Vanessa drops by Chez Waldorf with the tape and some patented Vanessa stuff about "this might come as a shock," but "not everyone operates from an agenda," and in fact, "some people do things simply because it's the decent thing to do," so she's so fucking real and not into "things." Um, first of all, no good unsnotty sentence ever started with "this might come as a shock," and second of all, I can't say with authority that nobody operates with an agenda, but I'll be damned if Vanessa is one of those agenda-less people. Um, sneaking and stealing and surveillance and stalking and being a jerk are on the agenda. Of jerks! She is just the worst! Next time I see her eating yogurt on the steps of the Met, I am throwing bows! Whatever. Anyway, she tells B that the obviously blank tape she gave Chuck was obviously blank, and then congratulates Blair on surviving even a single day in the shark tank she calls a life. "Nate seems like one of the good guys, and you seem to really care about him," she calls back over her shoulder, sticking her lovely nose into one more situation that did not require it. "Yeah, you should get in a room and be balls-out honest about it, or something."