OMFG! What a fabulous, fantastic, perfectly dark and scary twisted mother of an episode. I know I say how awesome this show is every week, but this week, it went all awesome on its own self, resulting in quantum awesomeness, the kind that exists on levels science is just now beginning to suspect.
Catherine brings Vanessa a check in thanks for blowing Nate off, keeping him in her cougar claws; Vanessa, being stupid, goes to the Duchy to return it and discovers ... Lord Marcus! And Catherine! Boning! V asks Dan what she should do about it, and he tells her B will be all too willing to destroy everything in her path once she founds out her new boyfriend is cheating on her with his own mom.
Blair mans up in a big way after a little cry-break but Vanessa, being stupid, takes matters into her own hands. B's deal with Catherine -- which included paying off the Captain's restitution and completely fixing all of Nate's problems -- falls by the wayside when V goes to see the Duke. So: B is now without BF, Nate's still poor, and everybody hates Vanessa again, putting things back to normal. It's actually a very effective b-story that clears the decks for whatever happens next, while throwing enough curveballs and false hopes that you're never bored.
In Humphrey (meaning c-story) news, Jenny is terrorized by the Bitches into retreating back to the House of Waldorf, even though school is back in session. The only thing more disturbing than her new penchant for truancy? Her hair, which while still cute is slowly morphing into a mullet. Eric has two whole lines of dialogue, and LILY COMES HOME, but she doesn't do much interesting besides admit that she's lonely and wants to hang out with Rufus. Rufus, being stupid, shoves his PJ Harvey-looking girlfriend all in her face and tells her to get lost.
BUT! That is not the point, because the point is the rest of the episode. On the first day of school, Dan meets a new girl. She's simply horrible in every way, from her moon face to her baby voice to her stupid Jenny Lewis hair; needless to say she and Dan bond instantly. Over Rilke. B immediately jumps to Serena's defense, unwilling to let Dan get away with dating anew before S finds somebody, and begins the process of brainwashing the awful girl into the Blair Army. Serena weakly tells her to stop, but admits she's not interested in seeing Dan with anybody just yet.
Dan, of course, instantly runs up and starts calling her a bitch, so to prove she's being sincere, Serena offers to go on a date with the two of them so they can get over the problems and start the business of being friends. Dan and the girl are so aggressively boring and artsy that Serena starts drinking; meanwhile, the Bitches gang up on the new girl while simultaneously shoving lacrosse players at Serena to make Dan jealous.
Needless to say, it works like a charm, and Dan finally calls Serena a whore for that all-important billion-and-oneth time that causes her to completely flip the script! If you pause it you can actually see the moment that she slides over and lets UNEARTHLY EVIL take the wheel! She's got this whole new evil walk! And her eyes are always at evil half-mast! Even her clothes seem more evil! She tells Dan where he's allowed to exist! Plus where he's not! She assumes control of all Bitch activities! And brains! She asserts total domination over Blair! Blair Waldorf! She strands Dan in the wasteland of unfriendly high school hell he has always begged for! IN FIVE MINUTES she does these things! It's like falling in love with her all over again!
And the only thing more amazing and perfectly perfect than all this? The reveal that Chuck manufactured the whole thing, from the new girl -- whom he purchased -- to the bar hijinks, for which he supplied the depilatories. And why? Because he misses Serena 1.0, but mostly because he knows Blair will only run to him when she's been utterly destroyed, and giving Serena her groove back is a great first step. God, I love this show. XOXOXOXOXO.
Over the usual NYC shots and scenes, the dulcet tones of Gossip Girl wake us to a new nightmare: "Welcome to the first day of senior year and the onset of a new social dynasty. The big question is, with Serena single and on top of the world, will Constance become the house of van der Woodsen?" OMG yes. Over a breakfast of a thousand room service platters, Serena's laughing about Lily's success in getting Bart Bass to wear flip-flops on their honeymoon. Lily (!) admits that it was in fact adorable: "Every time we'd go for a walk on the beach I'd catch him staring down at his feet." Okay, that's pretty cute. I'm so glad Bart's not a cardboard cutout. As yet another plate appears on the table, Eric wonders if they're expecting more people -- like the entire defensive line of a football team, for example. Lily laughs at herself and explains that her version of motherhood involves over-ordering room service on the first day of school. Lily's parenting is like Vanessa's social skills: the spoils of homeschooling.
Serena changes the subject from her mother's painful lack of parenting skills to her late-night return, bemoaning the fact that she didn't immediately wake Serena on her return. "I feel cheated!" Chuck appears -- and I guess the good-boy hair is here to stay, which is fantastic -- and notes that whenever he does it, she feels violated. He turns to welcome Lily home, and Serena interrupts to tell him that if he dares call Lily "mom," she's going to kill him when next he sleeps. I bet that would make you feel super violated.
"Decaf, Serena. I was going to say 'Mrs. Bass.'" Lily thanks him and explains that Bart's in Beijing, but sends his best. "As he has done since kindergarten," Chuck emotes. Serena, who could give less of a fuck about Chuck's drama, or anybody's really, physically shoves him out of the way -- albeit lovingly -- and tries to get her mom back on track with the romantic details of her honeymoon. Which are not only none of Serena's beeswax, but also not something she should be asking her mother about. It soon becomes clear, however, that she's grasping at straws: "I could stay home, and then we could go to lunch together..."
Lily's flummoxed at this offer, given that it's the first day of school, but Chuck explains deftly about S's breakup with Dan: "Tragic, if not entirely unprecedented." Heh. Serena looks down at her plate, remembering to be sad about it, and Chuck congratulates his sister on her freedom: "Not without an upside: Humphrey was holding you back. You're a born queen!" He pats her wrist fraternally: "This is your year to rule. Why fight it?" Serena's not interested, she says, because being queen is Blair's whole thing, but what she means is that she's never had to work for a damn thing in her life and she's not interested in starting now.