Half-cocked references to Pynchon and Atwood, yeah, but on the other hand, Chuck gets to say "Chichi, get the llello," so: even stevens. If you're thinking Blair's is one of those Masquerade Balls where nobody can tell who anybody else is even though they're itsy-bitsy little masks made out of papier-mâché and stamped tinsel, you're not wrong. It's just that this show is awesome. Jenny's not invited, although Blair lets her down easy. For Blair, anyway. Nate finds some coke in his dad's study, and runs to Serena for moral support, but he's brutally rebuffed when he tries to turn it into a love connection. Later, the Captain totally pins it on him, creepsterly. Meanwhile, Serena and Dan separately geek out about whether he's too cool for a Masquerade Ball, and separately decide that they should go together. Enter Vanessa Abrams, an old flame of Lonelyboy's. And boy, is she alternative. A real nonconformist. Perfect for Dan -- although to be fair, he's totally charming again this week. He hurts S's feelings trying to stall them both, so S goes with a horrible blind date from Newport who eventually bones Kati and Iz. Vanessa talks Jenny into attending anyway, and Dan decides to crash. Lily also takes Rufus to a party at Eleanor Waldorf's, in order to make Bart Bass jealous. It works. Also, his date is Caridee, so deal with that. Little J gets her masked revenge by stranding Chuck naked on the roof, where he is forced to gay up offscreen once again. V sneaks in, discovers the truth about Lonelyboy and S, and throws drama. Meanwhile, Jenny gets spooked out of her skin by a sudden declaration of love and kissing from Nate, who thinks she's Serena. Blair doesn't see this, but she does see the total lack of Nate on her jock at the Ball, and feels betrayed anyway. Everybody else makes out okay: Jenny continues to rule, Dan makes passionate declarations of love to Serena, and he and Vanessa decide to work on their friendship. Somehow, though, I don't think Lonelyboy's necessarily as decided about all this as he proclaims. XOXO.
Oh, you'll never guess what I didn't read on Gossip Girl this week! Guess who's back in town? Vanessa Abrams! Who? The more pertinent question would be: Who cares? Well, we do: Vanessa Abrams is the female version of Dan. We're still looking for the male version of Dan. In the books, she's an irritating shaven-headed photographer/artiste, but here she seems to hail from that post-national future world that has past brought us such irritating beauties as Vin Diesel and Kristin Kreuk. A genetic mash-up worthy of the Gorillaz. And even better: not an asshole. I mean, I admit that Dan is wonderful, no matter what particular teen-boy issues he may have, and God knows I hated him in the books, so I'll reserve judgment for now. The second she starts taking artsy pictures of pigeons pecking condoms in the street, though, I am throwing down.
"Spotted: S and Lonelyboy mackin' in the Meatpacking. Opposites do attract, but for how long? And who am I?" You know the drill, XOXO and et cetera. The GG.net website itself makes an appearance here, and again later, and it's pretty much your usual bloggy-blog: Perez- or Socialite Life-style pictures and text, with a billion things happening in the first and third columns. Jenny's in a store obviously doing Blair's grunt-work as GG fills us in on the awkward Regency parallel for the week: "Long ago, when European royals grew bored with palace balls, they took a page from the peons and added some pageantry. Couture and canapés are just another Saturday night until you add a mask, but preparing for a ball is an event in itself... Which is why queens invented handmaidens." The distractingly hot guy helping Jenny get all of Team Blair's dresses and bling together assumes she's going to the Masquerade; Jenny's hopeful but basically knows better. "Here's hoping," he says, and drapes this ridiculously beautiful bracelet, dripping with diamonds, across her wrist: "We'll put it on Blair's tab." She protests, but he calls it a loaner and just tells her to bring it by after the ball. This makes Jenny feel like a classy red-carpet girl, and she almost passes out from the glamour.
B and S lounge around on Blair's bed, looking luxe. As usual, Blair is ten times more noticeably garbed than Serena: a lovely purple velvet dress with a bow. And Serena is wearing...van der Woodsen manqué, flowy and sweet and grownup. Serena's aghast at the intensity of this year's costumery -- "something about a custom-made corset, and I hear there are wigs involved?" -- but Blair explains that she's going all-out because of a secret plan having to do with oblivious Nate. "It's a game. It's a scavenger hunt. Nate starts the night with a clue, which leads him to a lady-in-waiting, who gives him a clue to the next lady..." S is like, "You have 'ladies' now?" Yes. Of course she does, S. Welcome to, like, life. "If he finds me before midnight when the masks come off, he can claim his prize." Serena takes a moment to figure out what that prize is, and Blair gives some awesome hubba-hubba eyebrows, and then S feels totally creepy and weird about lying in bed talking about how B is finally going to sleep with her boyfriend, with whom S already knocked boots. And to be fair, S is right: that's awkward. "I just figured that after everything that's happened, or...hasn't happened, I should find some way to make it special." S tries really hard to get on board with this entire freaky convo, because obviously B has done whatever necessary internal logic puzzles that make this discussion okay. Which: good for Blair. Nothing says emotional health like actually dropping your bullshit when you're claiming to have dropped your bullshit. On the other hand, nothing says emotional wreck like pretending to have dropped your bullshit.
I think it's somewhere in the middle, and mainly B's using this conversation to Mean-Girl Serena into cosigning B's relationship with N as a real life grownup reality, which she's not explicitly yet done. The old I'm Going To Fuck My Boyfriend & You Will Facilitate This In Some Token Way trick. Which we've all used from time to time, if we're being honest. "Well, that's really romantic, Blair." Serena offers the possibility of her not going anywhere near this doomed tryst and ruining it by sheer dint of -- her Serena-ness? Her Sereniquity? Her Serenity -- but B's not having it. If Blair fucked Nate in the woods and Serena wasn't there to see it, what exactly would be the point? See: "No, I want you to come. In fact, I was hoping you would be one of my ladies. Would you give Nate the last clue?" Already did that, sweetheart, but I admire the balls-outness of this. It's so Blair to prove that everything's fine by violently making sure that everything is not fine. But if the plan works, then it really will be, and that's so Blair too. She's like a very violent mathematician. "Solve for X? I'll fucking set X on fire." But she really does mean all of it at the same time, because that's how people work: "Tonight is all about starting over." Her voice, and her face, get harder and more willful with every word: "I trust you. And him." And because S knows as well as we do that this is how Blair gets shit done, S gives in completely, literally bowing down to her: "Well, then I will be honored to serve you, my queen." Besides, since N can hardly be trusted, S is bringing Dan anyhow, right?