This episode was so soapy-weird it's positively trippy, between the bombastic music and absurd lighting, but at least it was fun: Not one but four fairytale princes, each one played like puppets by their respective princesses, and each story ending in disaster for nearly everybody. (Lily spends the entire episode watching Downton Abbey, which would have made her the winner any old week -- because it's the best -- but really puts her ahead of the pack this time.)
Raina decides to go looking for her mom, again, sending Chuck into a tailspin, again: Depressed, growing slight facial hair, delivering every line as though about to vomit. But then, maybe he has good reason: Avery and Bart were having an affair, which she ended the night of the fire. Chuck and Nate get into a scary homoerotic fight -- Nate touting the Prince over whatever perverted shit Chuck and Blair ever had going on, even -- that sends Chuck stumbling drunkenly into the night for one last try with Blair.
Meanwhile, seems adorable Prince Louis is about to be engaged to one of ten princesses (literal!) at a big fancy Royal Ball. Dorota draws on her background to instruct Blair about the finer points of royal etiquette, awesomely, but Blair's Cinderella dreams are threatened by two princesses: his mother Princess Sophie, a hilariously regal battleax, and Ugly Sister Serena, keeping the royal heads of Monaco informed on the less-valorous chapters of Blair's history.
Of course, once B asks S to accompany her to the Ball, Serena relents, but not even Serena can help when Chuck -- blasted and crazy and hilariously embarrassing -- shows up and ruins the Ball all by himself, trying to jam an engagement ring on her finger and generally scaring the shit out of all the royal people. (Also scaring them: Manic Blair Waldorf, who spends the entire Ball circling the room like a What The Fuck Robot stuck on Insult Everybody, but of course she never notices that part.)
After that debacle, a contrite S admits both to the sandbagging intel and to supporting personally the eventual/inevitable Waldorf-Bass Empire, which causes Blair to get awesome about how just because S will never get over Dan doesn't mean that B wasn't serious about the Prince. They break up, just as definitively as always, but it's still kind of sad. The Prince, having overheard Blair's heartfelt declaration, proposes marriage -- with or without the crown's approval.
Vanessa, basically hiding in garbage cans now to spy on everybody, catches Cousin Charlie kissing Dan on the cheek and, between comparing herself to Julian Assange -- even Vanessa is now making Vanessa jokes -- and promising to get out of our hair forever at season's end, she decides to play Fairy Godmother so that at least S and B can't have her Lonelyboy.
Trouble is, Dan's scared to death of Charlie's crazy, crushed-out eyeballs, so she needs to step it up: All the van der Humphrey men, along with Rufus's new hipster protégés, are treated to a completely inappropriate business dinner that causes the first of many Charlie meltdowns -- and clues Dan in to the fact that, once again, Vanessa is dicking everybody around.
Dan sends Charlie off to murder V, but as it turns out Charlie knew exactly what she was doing: Portraying Vanessa as a sabotreuse, so that his whole Knight In Shining Armor thing would kick in and turn her crush into a real situation. She sends Vanessa yelping into the night, and claims her boy with a glinting evil grin. (Really does just take a couple days of hanging out with Serena, I guess. Aunt Carol was right!)
So you got Raina dumping on Nate, and Blair on Serena, both for loving Chuck more than anybody else and protecting him, even mid-meltdown. Nate dumps Chuck, and Blair dumps Serena, rending the NJBC to its root, which is fantastic... Until Blair tells Chuck about her engagement, and he pretty much beats her up, which is real scary. Anyway, now he's totally alone and everybody hates him like five times more than before.
Including Raina, who enlists Uncle Jack's help in finally getting Chuck to just actually kill himself next week... If the Prince's thugs don't get there first.
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Blair: "Eleanor, I don't know what time it is France, but I just got engaged and I thought you should know. Oh, of course it's not a real engagement. That would equal me being happy. No, this is one of those we barely know each other so we're going to be dating for our whole engagement, I just got beaten up by my other boyfriend, Serena tried to have me murdered kinds of deals. I'll explain at the end of the episode, when we get there."
Gossip Girl: "[Fanciful doggerel. Pitiful rhyming mumbo-jumbo, as though simply forming a sentence weren't usually beyond her skills, now she's going to be rhyming?]"
Chuck: "Private Investigator, I have once again changed my mind about the fire and the blowed-up lady and my Bart Legacy and my opinion of myself and everything and whatever. I know you love hearing me talk about Raina's stupid mom as much as I like talking about her, and I pay you enough that you have to listen to my endless chundering on. So settle in, Private Investigator. Put those feet up."
Blair: "Our conversations are so amazing! I love comparing the Met to the Louvre and jet-setter things like that."
Louis: "Sometimes when I talk it's kind of hard to listen to."
Serena: "Oh hey, assholes. I see your lives still haven't been totally destroyed. I should have woken up even earlier. Yeah, that's something I do now: Wake up in the morning. Take that, Places!"
Louis: "That giant blonde girl always makes me feel like I'm going to be trampled. I have to go the Ambassador's Salon in the Palace of International Stuff or some such nonsense."
Blair: "Sometimes when I act kittenish and adoring, it's hard to watch."
Louis: "That is because there is zero reason for us to pretend that our relationship is real."
DEMILITARIZED BATHROOM ZONE
Blair: "That was cool how you just were totally mean to both of us for no reason."
Serena: "You know what, you're right. Consider the feud dropped."
Blair: "...That was easy."
Serena: "Honestly I was having trouble remembering why we were fighting."
Blair: "Yeah, it made little sense."
Dorota: "This relationship is a joke, you guys realize that?"
Blair, verbatim: "Dorota, everyone knows that with Princes, things escalate quickly. It's genetic. After all, Prince Charming knew he loved Cinderella as soon as he saw her preternaturally tiny feet."
Serena: "Wait, he's a descendent of Prince Charming? That is awesome!"