Vanessa, not satisfied with putting every necklace she owns on her body every single day and watching them breed more and more necklaces so she can put them on her body, has purchased or found on the street in a pile of trash a sweater of such retarditude it's like so sad. It's a sweater with its own one million necklaces! So she has to compete by wearing six pairs of earrings that are also wearing earrings. I hate her so goddamn bad.
So Serena comes into the van der Bilt suite just as Vanessa's getting off the phone with a producer who wants to buy her footage of the incident, and Serena pretends desperately to care for about five seconds, then asks her where Nate is and would she please shut up. She heads on over to Nate as lonely Vanessa's still babbling about her footage, and Nate tells her to have a demitasse of pee and jump in the river, and she totally ignores his eyebrow rage in favor of just looking him in the eye and going, "I need you to put me and Patrick Roberts on the guest list for Tripp's party tonight." Nate cannot believe her behavior!
They rehash about how Nate whored her out to PJ Buckley, and Serena unwhored herself while saving the campaign from the kind of fraud they can't stop perpetrating, and somehow that makes her an asshole, and once again Serena tries the "we're even" card, which Nate knows enough to dodge: "I wouldn't exactly call revenge a solid foundation for a friendship." Then Serena manages to be totally awesome: "Who said anything about friendship? All I need is an invite plus one." Word! Get over yourself!
I mean, I know this episode is intended in some ways to show her getting "worse," or like careening into something bad, but from where I'm sitting she's only getting better: "I am not asking you to hold my hand and get ice cream, I'm asking you for a professional courtesy that will raise profile not only for us personally but also for the causes we're getting off the ground." Valid, and once again S wins the Grownup Club crown without appearing to try, but not good enough for Nate, whose high color presages a hissy.
Luckily, Tripp appears looking fine and S deftly gets him to verbally invite her in front of Nate... Then pats Nate condescendingly on the shoulder and thanks him sweetly before catwalking the fuck up out of there. Serena likes Tripp. He's like them, but older. He knows Grownup Club back and forth; he's held onto his decency, he swims with sharks. He knows the difference, between the smoke and the fire itself. He can remember the gap between the image and the thing itself; she admires that. She needs more people like that.