So Gabriel's story, which we know is at least partially untrue, is that he met Serena at Butter on the night that Georgina roofied her, and fell in love with her at that point. He hooked up with Poppy, but now is caught because he needs her social connections to fund his project. But you know -- from the second the previews bite his "I want to meet everyone in Serena's life" from Seder -- that it's going to fall apart, and of course it does, grandly, thanks to the superteam of Blair and Chuck, who needed only the paper-thin excuse of destroying Serena's relationship in order to run around being sneaky and gross like they do. Of course, this romance/alibi taunts the junkyard dog deep within the soft heart and delicate cheekbones of Nate Archibald, and he gets a jank apartment in Murray Hill so he and Blair can go to Columbia and NYU respectively, but still live together. So yes, he asks her to move in with him, but spends most of the entire storyline trying to explain to Chuck that in fact it's all about him and Chuck, of which Chuck is already aware, and how he's declaring his ownership of Blair in a fashion so creepy that even Chuck literally goes, "Why not just pee on her?" After all, it's what Chuck would do.
So Serena, piqued, brings Gabe to Lily's Palace co-op meeting, where high school girls are always invited apparently, and Blair and Chuck produce Poppy, who goes off on Gabriel in an obviously manufactured way, and he fake-chooses Serena over Poppy, thereby losing investors in his scheme to bring wireless internet to Africa or some shit. In the end, Gabe skips town and Poppy plays wounded bird, but not before Rufus drops off a check in the amount of All Rufus's Money, which Gabe talked him out of by playing on his class issues. Which is nice, because it brings Rufus into the storyline in a way that will fuck up his brain hopefully, which is second only to watching someone physically beat him.
While all of this is going on Nate asks Blair to stop running around spying on Gabriel and Serena with Chuck, because it's going to lead to backseat fucking, and she says that he has to trust her, and would he mind going back to their new apartment and christening it solo, so she can drive out to God knows where with Chuck to track down Georgina Sparks so that she can confirm that she didn't take Serena to Butter once she roofied her. This is treated like the one clincher clue by B and C, who are just ravished by each other's presence, but otherwise played as this continually more desperate game on the part of Chuck and Blair to spend time together while solving a nonexistent mystery. In the end, though, Blair is vindicated, as Georgie knows full well they weren't at Butter that night, so suddenly the fake mystery becomes a real mystery.
Meanwhile, Serena does some tricks of her own and realizes that Gabriel is lying about certain things, but Gabe and Poppy are playing this whole other game where Poppy acts like he took her for a bunch of money too, so now Poppy -- who has morphed into some bizarre cat burglar/supermodel megazord of awesomeness -- seems like a good guy, but is actually a bad guy, but actually kind of rules for taking all of Rufus's money along with that of the entire UES.
This episode felt three hours long, but like in a good way. All the people who are supposedly really close -- Serena/Blair, Chuck/Nate, Dan/Vanessa, Jenny/Rufus -- actually get some screentime together, which is awesome. Serena and Blair have a little bit of a fight about how it's ironic that Blair's obsessing over Serena's boyfriend when her own current boyfriend spent a year or two obsessing over Serena. (We're cleaning house left and right on those pilot continuity issues, I guess, but then Passover doesn't have to come but once a year.) Jenny analyzes the shit out of her Dad, gives him a hideous ring like a palm or Tarot card reader would wear to give to Lily, and basically hounds him into various decisions. Dan and Vanessa get drunk and come clean about various things, but as usual these days Vanessa's stuff -- fucking Chuck twice, for e.g. -- is way better than Dan getting a blowjob from Georgina, which everybody already knew, and plus who cares.
Blair scoffs about Chuck, obligatorily, comparing Nate to the kind of boyfriend you can hold hands with; when they end up at Georgie's location, they sleep until morning in the back of a limo and wake up holding hands, so that was awesome. But not as awesome as where they are, which is a place called OMJC, and is basically one of those creepy camps for kids who have gone all True Blood on themselves and think they've found the answer. Chuck spends his time shoving aside gay kids praying themselves straight and young women praying themselves back to virginity long enough to get fully scared to death by Georgina's intense rehabilitation/cult-like stare and smile, but it's his mention of Blair -- who's fled back to the city, realizing the Georgina thing was at least partially an elaborate plan to divide her from Nate -- that really gets the fever going. Georgie hops in a cab, "URA Fever" starts playing, and they head back to save Serena and the UES from whatever Gabe and Poppy are up to.
Is this show really just about awful people saying awful things to each other? Our vlogger thinks so.
"Eventually, every queen finds herself in unfamiliar territory outside the castle walls. In Blair Waldorf's case... The Village." Blair's walking with Nate, who has a sweet double-breasted jacket on, and bemoaning her random decision to go to NYU. "You know how I feel about ironic facial hair!" Nate tells her that the proper mindset is being happy to get into school at all -- So is she actually in? Because that was fast -- and happy that she's "super lucky" enough to have a fantastic boyfriend going to school in the same city. Which is hilarious, because really what's going on here is that she's compromised so much of herself -- and sandbagged herself so dramatically at every opportunity from Dean Berube to Rachel Carr -- that she is now being presented precisely the life she did not want, all tied up in a bow.
"I've been coming down here for years, and I'm gonna teach you everything you need to know," says Nate, who is a seasoned drug purchaser, to a suddenly terrified Blair. "The best latte, the best slice, the best pot dealer... But first, the most important lesson of all: How to ride the subway." She stares at the sign, gives him a quick icy fake smile, and then explains that the subway is "full of Mole Men and middle-class professionals," and no place for Blair Waldorf: getting from NYU to Columbia is what car service is for. He explains that they'll be on "opposite poles" of Manhattan, and plus traffic. He shoots her puppydogs as she laments, "Please don't ask this of me." It seems like she's going to relent, maybe, a little bit, but honestly at this point either choice would be fine: either she braves the tunnels and becomes the Mole Queen after some discreet screaming, or actually stops talking in that baby voice and tells Nate to go suck himself. Any of this, in any combination would be so awesome, don't you agree?
Instead, we cut to the Humphreys. Inside an antique store, presumably lured there by a vintage set of Lincoln Hawk LPs or Victrola wax cylinders or whatever they had back then. Papyrus. Rufus is going impressively nuts about buying Dan and Jenny antique things, because the tremendously riveting rollercoaster that is Rufus's finances has crested once again. Dan catches him checking out a truly hideous ring that on Buffy would be possessed by something lovely and soulless, with suspect motives. Well, Rufus wants to give it to Lily, so that's not far off.
"Rats go underground, not Waldorfs!" Serena follows Blair into the house of PRADA and laughs at her, mentioning Chuck's helicopter for the hell of it, and Blair sighs extravagantly. "Chuck. What a waste of time that was. You know, it's not a real relationship if you can't hold hands..." (So I don't know if you've seen TV before, but like obviously they're going to somehow ending up holding hands at some point in this episode.) Then she hops into that druggy, dreamy Nate talk that's getting so boring. Serena points out that part of Nate's renaissance in the boudoir is probably due to him being a total prostitute most of the time, and Blair's like, "But I won't take the subway for that ho either."