It is at this point that Serena considers her plan -- to act like a respectful adult woman and thus gain the respect due an adult woman -- and abruptly decides that she would rather just take every one of these motherfuckers down with her. I'm not sure where the impulse comes from but I know I don't approve. I mean, there's a thing here having to do with the image and getting photographed, like, she's still smarting from the image being a lie and that she's now being forced into yet another perversion of the truth, guest-starring in her own life, but I'd like it more if her speech weren't so bitchy and easily dismissed:
"I can't do this! Hi. I'm Serena, I'm Lily's daughter. I wasn't gonna be able to make it tonight because, um... I was actually at the Ostroff Center. But if it were up to my mother, she'd have you believe that I was at Canyon Ranch. That's because having a daughter who's in a mental hospital threatens her carefully protected image. She wants you all to think that she's the perfect host, and mother, and wife, but the truth is she's a selfish liar who will destroy anyone who stands in her way!"
Now I ask you, how does that make Lily look bad? Of all the ways you could make her look bad, because she does kind of awful things at a rate, this is not one of them: It just makes Serena look altogether petulant and crazy. These people don't know her, don't know Ben, don't know anything except that they're at an obligatory Christmas party for the woman who signs their checks, at a company owned by the most frightful family on the Upper East Side. Nobody ever got anything for playing the victim card, and by making these accusations both vague and personal Serena has assured everybody the option of pretending it never happened, while confirming their worst theories about her specifically. I get that this is a teen show and there very well may be a vicarious Truth To Power/Parents Just Don't Understand thing going on, but I cannot think of a single time in three and a half seasons of this show that I have not been behind Serena 100%: It's embarrassing, but not in a way that helps anybody at all. It's trashy.
Lily starts spitting out lies at a frequency double that from before -- "I told Serena she couldn't take the company plane to Belize for Christmas break!" -- and sends Eric to figure out why Serena is losing her shit, which is a funny moment. But not as funny as the next shot, which is one of the Bass people taking Rufus Humphrey aside and literally saying, "Please, Rufus, take the holiday to get things under control." Rufus Humphrey, ladies and gents, is what's going to get us past the icebergs this time. Then, of course, the dude follows up by mentioning "the upcoming sale of Bass Industries," which is the kicker, because of course Rufus didn't know about that, not because it's none of his business and frankly beyond his capacity to comprehend, but because Lily van der Woodsen Bass Humphrey is a pit viper of a woman.