Vanessa, no doubt going through every nook and cranny of the random library or dining room or library or swimming pool or wherever Nate left her, assumes that it's Nate returning when the door snaps shut in the darkness. But no: it's Catherine. "Actually, I was looking for him myself." And you know, it's a sign of respect that I really appreciate actually, that this is an act break. It's not Dan/Serena finally fucking tearing each other limb from limb, it's not Blair tying Marcus to the bedpost or finally getting that threesome she deserves, or Jenny becoming Eleanor's favorite daughter or Rufus cutting Lily's name into his skin over and over in the dark, but just this: Vanessa, being smarter and stronger than anybody ever was, in the dark, with an adulterous MILF who's, frankly, nearly respectable at this point. The two least-talked-about characters, Vanessa and Nate, totally own this episode, and I like how the episode is just going to pretend we care. That's sweet. And it kind of... makes you care.
"Vanessa, is it?" V stares disgustedly at Catherine, who is about to stop being polite and start getting real. "Oh, I see. You're thinking, look at this awful woman who's taking advantage of an innocent young boy." Yep, pretty much: "Nate told me everything. I think what you're doing is disgusting." Catherine points out how Brooklyn-sad this tableau is, then: "And yet you're here, waiting for him, willing to forgive and forget. You must really care for him." Dude, the Duchess can say any line of dialogue, no matter how Chronicles of Ridic it is, and it's still awesome. I'm so thankful for the aristocracy on this show right now. Vanessa blows her off Blair-style about how she wouldn't understand, but Catherine begs to differ: "See, that's where you're wrong. You have no idea how I feel about Nate and what I would do to keep him. You want me to tell you?" OMFG YES. Please, please let it involve paparazzi on the Pont D'Alma levels of corruption. It's totally scary, but to her credit V doesn't back down.
Blair Waldorf sits on her bed, pretty as a picture, waiting for her life to begin. There's a sound at the door, and she nearly whispers. Anything is better than this, anything is better than knowing you've pledged your life to a pursuit as fruitless as Eleanor and Harold's. All she needed, she said, was for him to look good, and for her to look good. They'll look good together. But the Duchess can't be right; she can't be that girl. That whiny-why-won't-he-fuck-me girl. She saved Jenny from that; she would never be there in the first place. She loves her mother, and she loves her father. She loves Eric van der Woodsen. This is not the story she belongs in. She wills herself out of that story, and into a new one. She invites him in, to a prettier picture: "Marcus, is that you?" And her visitor's response, well. The whole Gossip Girl dress-a-like thing was meta, but here you've got a British guy doing an American guy's impersonation of a British accent when Chuck says, "Blow out your candle." And ordinarily that would be casual snark, noting the particular absurdities of like this business we call show, but: that's all they ever do, isn't it? It's all she's ever done: impersonate somebody, impersonating somebody else, impersonating perfection. The burlesque. She listens to this lie, and what it means. Heathcliff at the door pretending higher aristocracy, Jay Gatsby with all the money in the world. She blows that motherfucking candle right the hell out.