B wanders the city at random, looking like a million very screwed-over dollars, and it's totally hurtful to watch. She flashes back to cuddling with Nate after she found out about Serena, and fucking Chuck in the limo, and feels horrible some more. The funny thing about balloon popping is that they're going to do it anyway, but that doesn't stop us from ignoring it as long as possible. This was always going to happen, it was just the time frame and the circumstances that changed every week. And I know you'd make fun of me for bringing up Joseph Campbell right now, but this has always been a classic story, with the classic symmetries. Frivolous, feminized, fluffy or not, this show is at the very top of its game, and technically speaking, it outperforms most other dramas regularly, even outside its genre. I do honestly believe that, as a writer and as a fan, and I count us lucky to be playing outside the game by watching it.
Eric lies on a couch at the Palace, listening to his iPod, and Serena yanks the earbuds out, complaining to him before he even opens his eyes, "I'm such an ass!" He immediately guesses, correctly, that she's talking about Dan, because God knows there's not a person on earth who can make her feel awful about herself like Dan can. "He told me loved me, and all I did was stand there like a stupid mute. I mean, why wouldn't I want to hear those words come out of his mouth? But it's like it made me trust him less, which is crazy, and even if he is lying about telling Jenny even though I told him not to tell anyone, I should have come up with a better response to 'I love you.'" He doesn't even pause: "Not that I even know what you're talking about? But why would you think he was lying?" Because he's the only one she told. "Do you know how many times I was listening in on your conversations when you thought I wasn't?" She makes the hilarious yee face: "Ohhh. None, I hope." Nope. "I'm a little brother. It's what I do." He goes on to demonstrate the utility of his time in the booby hatch, using Ostroff words to illustrate her story for her: "You don't have to be a genius to figure out the trust thing. I mean, every time Mom brought home someone who said 'I love you,' they would end up married." Serena nods. "And then divorced. Didn't leave us with a strong sense of trust, huh? But that's Mom's issue, not ours. And Dan's not one of those guys." Lily's great at the game, and pays the price for playing, but it's not the only game in town. Serena gets up, pointing out that Eric's getting dangerously close to being smarter than her, and runs.