Jenny's birthday is like Chrismukkah, only instead of feeling wonderful feelings, you get to watch everybody cry and have sex. This year it's Jenny's Sweet Sixteen, so Serena and Lily decide to throw her a picture-perfect memorable event. Because she's a Humphrey, Jenny turns this down in favor of board games and catching rats for her dinner. Too bad that Serena's bumped into Poppy Lifton the Supermodel, who once again reminds Serena that acting her age is like keeping down dinner: déclassé and totally childish. When the Plastics twist the knife, Serena realizes that even her mythical It Girl status is drifting away, and goes a little party crazy.
Meanwhile, Rufus learns that Dan's not qualified for the amount of Yale financial aid they were thinking, and starts stressing out about it. Lily, continuing her onslaught of shitty ideas lately, invites him to sell the DUMBO loft and move in. Which is fine, except Dan and Jenny find out about the idea and it makes Jenny even more excited about being an individual, so she sabotages the sabotaged birthday party by announcing it on GG. Hell is, of course, unleashed -- although it does afford us the opportunity to meet adorable Vanya, a cute young doorman with the sneak for Dorota.
When Lily and Rufus come home -- to a Palace riot and a PRADA catastrophe -- they of course assign the lion's share of blame to Serena, who technically did amp the party up to the supermodel level, before Jenny went wildin' on it. Between the talking-to, the grounding, and general ennui about being treated like a teenager -- after, admittedly, spending the last four years being treated like a glamorous forty-year-old starlet -- she runs off to Poppy, who whisks her away to Spain arm in arm with this weirdo S met a year ago when she was hanging with Georgina.
Speaking of sparks, there are none between Blair and Nate; he's fine with that because he's Nate, but Blair feels like the butt of a joke, because what else are you supposed to do with a Nate, besides fuck it. Noting her newfound insecurity about Blair's relationship with Nate -- and the way she's consciously trying to imply they're dating without saying it, which is classic -- Chuck pulls Vanessa into the drama. Nate half-lies to V that their breakup is unrelated to Blair, so she allies with Chuck against the imaginary idea of Nate and Blair at Jenny's rager and fake-kiss, which turns into a real kiss, which causes Blair to club Nate over the head and drag him upstairs cavelady-style. He tells her he's not interested in getting boned just to satisfy her internal propaganda and ongoing existential meltdown, and she runs off.
Nate is all hurt and tells Vanessa that she's turning into Blair, which if only. This does cause her to sleep with Chuck, who looks delicious in the morning, which is a nice development. Blair and Chuck have the conversation about how she's been fighting for him since before his dad died, and she deserves some rest and eyebrows. Of course, Vanessa and Chuck have been hot for each other for awhile, and Vanessa has zero dignity, so it all makes way more sense than it might seem on paper. Mostly, they're hot together, and it's nice to see Vanessa getting her hands dirty in the UES for once, instead of scrabbling around desperately in the background. Or Williamsburg.
Then, just as Blair is realizing the importance of Nate's friendship, versus their dud romance, he appears and says that he's into her after all, and they kiss at the duck pond. So it's back on. Blair bent over backward during the Bart stuff, so it's more Nate is like her forty thousand virgins, but he seems happy. And after the shit Vanessa pulled last week, he's got a point: why wait for an obstinate and judgmental partner to understand your familial responsibilities when you've got an obstinate and judgmental partner who already does?
In the end, Jenny apologizes for her outburst and the riot she threw, Lily and Rufus realize that they have fallen into the trap of another terrible one-episode idea, and we learn there's a reason (over and above his essential nature) that Dan's been talking nonstop about a New Yorker fan letter he got: it was written by none other than Rufus and Lily's mysterious dead '90s baby, Pilot Inspektor! Coincidences are just nature's way of getting things going, I guess. XOXO, and we'll see you back here on 4/20.
"Mornings are simply more fun on the Upper East Side. Our favorite things to wake up to? The sun in the sky, the Nikkei on the rise, and a wake-up call from your latest lover... Or your best friend." Serena's on the move, getting pastries for the Bass der Humphrey breakfast and checking in on Blair, to the latter's consternation. Between the momentary curve to the dark side with Carter, and this latest thing with Chuck, S assumes that B is in meltdown.
Blair lies that she's in her pajamas, eating french toast with Dorota. What she's actually doing is way worse than the usual meltdown, because what she's doing is replaying the Lord Marcus fantasy over again, this time with Nate, who was once her arranged marriage. She's plying him with breakfast and coffee and trying to get him bent back into shape around her future: now that Yale's gone and Chuck's gone, all she's got is the van der Bilt millions to look forward to.
"As much as I appreciate the concern, S, my downward spiral is on the upturn." The music is, fittingly enough, by a band called the Handcuffs, "Baby Boombox," about listening to vintage music you know you've outgrown, on equipment unsuited to the current time: "A crazy relic that plays a cassette for the connoisseur on the go." Her hope is that if she does all the Blair stuff, plays the songs they use to dance to -- "It's good music but not the latest" -- he'll forget how much they've all changed, and settle back into their comfortable old ways, like a jacket on a screened-in porch. She knows it's gross, so she lies even as she's walking out into traffic.
Serena hears them yelling at her to get off the phone, and the honking horns, and figures she's just hearing it on her end. In fact she is: they're both at 73rd and Madison. Blair lies that Dorota's using her handkerchief at the breakfast table -- "It's disgusting!" -- and once she spots Serena on the move, she hides lamely and hilariously behind a small topiary outside a hotel, staring past it at Serena as she sends Dorota her best wishes and ducks into the bakery; Blair trip-trops away, nervous about lying and even more embarrassed that she's out in the morning, but neither of them know they're on the same errand: supplying bribes to the family they are trying to create.
Jenny's settled into this awesome dowager neck thing, I don't know what you call it but it's like a ribbon choker that crosses once under your chin. Dan comes out into the loft waving his "first fan letter," which in fact he did not write himself, but was forwarded from the ever-indulgent New Yorker: "Some kid read my story, he loved it! Sent me his own story, I mean, he wants my opinion, but I figured it'd be good practice for Yale since they make you do a crit with your classmates..."