Vanessa, exasperated, tries to explain the street-level reality of today to Blair, which she should know is a failing proposition: "Georgina wasn't turning people against you, Blair. You tried to bribe people into being your friend with sushi parties and gift bags, and nobody liked it." B's not hearing that, and she's already rewritten the whole story in her head anyway: "I don't need these losers to like me in order to follow me. Fear works better anyway." She offers Dan the chance to avoid "social Siberia," and takes off.
Vanessa does a weird rapper move like she's not feeling it bro, and she and Dan wig out over the concept of popularity. Honestly every conversation between these two is like the first conversation about this topic. But then Katie and some assorted coterie come running up to ask if Dan's going to Monkey Bar, and he realizes Serena was right -- not that he will, of course, ever make this connection -- and he's totally popular. Vanessa sees it, and points out that if there really does have to be a Queen, it doesn't have to be Blair. Dan likes the sound of that shit, and immediately barges over to the DJ booth.
While Blair is explaining to the people that they are not to stick their heads out of the limo sunroofs, etc., Dan grabs the mic and tells the crowd that Blair invited people from Georgina's past to embarrass her. Georgie looks down, sad and not for show. Vanessa is, of course, as impressed by this as she is by everything Dan Humphrey does, because that is why she was born. "But you know, we're all starting college here..." (Ooh, except Pilot Inspektor who made up teachers and now makes a totally scary face because college is by his count the 1847th thing Lily and Rufus took away from him and handed to Dan or something.)
"And college is supposed to be a place where you're not judged by what you believe, or the friends you make. You're here to make new friends and start over, right? So last time I checked, I mean, I think this party's... Pretty fun, yeah? Yeah, okay. So who wants to leave with Blair? All right, and who wants to stay here and drink cheap beer wit [sic] me? YEAH! It's a no brainer!" We are all embers from the same fire, now.
Word. But I like the idea, this very fantastical idea that going to college is some kind of revolutionary praxis where the things that matter suddenly don't matter and the lion can lie down with the lamb and whatever. I like that. It's a very comfy thing, comfy like how senior year is the last time you ever get to feel moral certainty. And it's true that the world is a lot bendier here, and those first few weeks of freshman year really account for about two years emotionally, so: At this point in orientation week it's truer than it will ever be again, for any of them, for the rest of their lives. I like that. It means that Blair doesn't have to be a bitch, and Serena doesn't have to be a fuckup, and Dan doesn't have to be Lonely, and Vanessa has her choice of Dans instead of just the one, and Georgie doesn't have to burn. All these things will resolve, the truth will out, but right now they're all free, and that feels good.