Nate looks so dazzlingly fine in his costume that you don't notice the blatant expository nature of his speech, which answers the question: "I get why Jenny's here, because she's this clothier brownie that cobbles shoes all through the night, but why the eff is Vanessa here?" Because she's making a documentary about the staging of the play. Which is just so Vanessa it makes me want to bite through my own tongue, but her thinking is basically sound: mainly that this episode is an ever-reflecting house of mirrors in which children of privilege who live and die by the sword of gossip are in a play about the same thing, and we're watching a television show in which beautiful rich young people are doing a play about the same thing about the same thing about the same thing.
"Wealth, privilege, atrocious acting," Vanessa says about the play within the show within the thing, and the infinite regress blows his mind so bad he's like, "Turn off that camera!" and bats at it like a kitten, and then changes the subject to how The Age Of Innocence may well be "one of the most beautiful books ever," but is more importantly the most boring book ever, and Vanessa gives a straight-faced gross Vanessa speech about how "the simple act of unbuttoning a glove expresses the character's inner passion" -- because she doesn't even know how gay they both constantly are, in different ways -- and he's like, "I'll express some passion all over your face" just to shut her up. And meanwhile, your boyfriend is watching you watch this show and going, "All they do is try on clothes and unsuccessfully try to get with the same people over and over and the guys don't even know how gay they are..." It's like The Mouse And His Child up in here, which leads me to wonder: are we in fact a TV show for future people?
Chuck is having lunch alone with his stage fright -- because consider that diagnosis vis-à-vis Blair and that's another gun on the table entirely, that goes off at the end in a surprising way -- and runs into an old friend of his father's, a Mr. Campbell, who pays his respects about Bart and Chuck is very cool with him. Then he sees Carter Baizen, who is played by Leighton's boyfriend in real life Sebastian Stan (and doing a fucking fantastic job on Kings, although Jack's sickly coked-out bitterness seems to just have taken up permanent residence on Stan's face in this episode), just to add another level. You may remember him as Sexy Hobbit in the first season, who took Nate to that poker game and tried to screw him out of a bunch of money and then Chuck had to save him with that baseball. And who's that having lunch with Carter? None other than the stunningly blank Elle, who I swear to God is on every TV show now for just unfathomable reasons. Chuck gets snotty about it, because he's soooo emotionally into Elle because of that time she was a nanny-slash-prostitute and roofied him. Which, let's be honest, makes sense as one of the more probable ways to Chuck Bass's heart.