Gossip Girl

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | 1 USERS: A+
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Pictures From an Institution, Or: The Bulls of Bendy Law
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Normally Matt & Kim means Dan and Vanessa are back together, but in this case it's an altogether more brain-bending possibility that's got the hipsters hopping: Dan and Blair Waldorf, roaming the city with double espressos discussing the entire Juliet arc. Specifically, everything that happened last week. The commentary is pretty great: "You can't show up at a masked ball and not expect at least one social-climbing doppelganger to try and impersonate you," Blair points out, which is true for this show, and they discuss how dressing up like somebody and posting pictures of yourself doing coke is itself pretty weak sauce for the NJBC. These are people who more than once have had their enemies kidnapped and shipped off to Eastern Europe. Georgina alone! Not only did she get the Minsk Surprise, but also remember when Blair informed her that Jesus thought she was an asshole? That was so great.

For B, the part where "the Juliet Express goes off the rails and heads straight for Crazytown" is, of course, when Serena found herself full of drugs and suicide in a motel in Queens, finding the whole thing so very compelling that despite having neither a drug problem nor any reason to be suicidal, she checked herself in. Dan's curious as to the crazypants inner life of Juliet Sharp, which Blair finds amusing: "As someone well-acquainted with the darker human emotions, let me offer my theory. There is only one motive powerful enough to fuel a gaslighting like this, and that is retribution."

Right on the head, as usual. And I mean, Dan's fascinated by all this, but you know Blair doesn't actually care why Juliet did what she did. All B cares about is finding Juliet and curb-stomping her ass: She's not an unsub, we don't need a profiler, we just need somebody to hold our earrings when they come off. Never complain, never explain. Motives are for the poor.

Eric visits Serena at the Ostroff to discuss how great it is that she's getting treatment for all her problems she doesn't actually have, but of course Lily is busy. Doing what? Oh, meeting with the Post so she and Charles can show a unified front in defending the family biz and rep from this latest Serena fuckup. Serena's only request is that Eric sandbag those efforts by telling everybody who will listen that she's crazy, out of her mind, loony tunes. Which concept is itself all of those things.

I mean, there's a hazy sort of sense to this idea, that Serena needs to put a stop to Lily's nonstop constant WASPy lying. But coming clean about going into rehab is not going to affect anything, so really it's just a more sophisticated way for Serena to act out while still believing she has the upper hand morally. I think it's bunk and I think it's a great way to put Eric in the middle, where his ambiguity about everyone in his family can really flare up, but he's onboard for the same reason Serena is, which is to punish their mother for treating their problems like... problems. All of which would make them look like vapid dicks if we didn't know where the overall storyline is headed, which is that Lily somehow managed to get Ben put in jail through her Rhodes Woman actions, which is what unleashed Juliet in the first place.

"I know I've put her in a tough position, but please promise me that you'll try to keep her honest about where I am and what's going on. No stories about Aunt Carol's in Miami, like when you were here," Serena says. And I mean, just what are you suggesting?

"My gay son tried to commit suicide, I just thought you should know that. I just thought that was appropriate to tell you, Social Acquaintance. It reflects poorly on me, my family, and gay kids, but I just really wanted you to know about my failures as a parent. Hey, where are you going? I have yet to tell you about my daughter's tit-flashing tour through the Aegean Sea, or the time my son tried to rape both my daughters and then got shot outside a Czechoslovakian whorehouse! And find out what you've been up to!"

Even though Little J's intel about how Juliet was behind the climactic coke-snorting photos is, let's say, a gamechanger, for some reason Dan and Blair are taking their time with it. Like, wouldn't you call your friend up and say, "Hey, girl! Turns out you're not a cokehead or a suicidal blackout drunk. Let's go shopping!" No, instead you get a good night's sleep and then make a coffee date with fucking Dan Humphrey? Anyway, they get to the Ostroff and are brutally rebuffed.

Blair wants to get through entirely on the strength of her ability to scream and be Blair Waldorf, but Lonelyboy goes into some kind of babbling tailspin about how Serena is both his sister and his lover, which earns him no pity at all. "Humphrey, they treat people in here for less serious complexes than that. Do you wanna get committed?" That's all we need, to add the self-centered perseverations of rehab to Dan's already epic solipsism. Can you imagine him in a therapeutic situation? And how did that make you feeeeeeel?

Eric shows up and tells them that they are not on the list, there is no list, because Serena has entered a 72-hour lockdown. No Lily, but also no Eric and no Blumphrey. Just Serena, that one magazine she's been trying to read all season, and all the diaphanous scarves and toga dresses you can stuff in a giant purse. Blair explains that Juliet was the perp in both the OD and the coke pictures, but Eric is unconvinced: "Whatever screwy series of events got her in the front door, she's here now. And she's getting the help she's probably needed for a long time."

I love how she went from a suicidal drug addict to just, you know, troubled generally. This is like Girl, Interrupted where she never figures out why they put her in the mental hospital and nobody actually knows why she's there so the whole time they're like, "It's because you're... You know, like how you are?" Diagnosis: Serena. Nobody would turn down free therapy, you know what I mean? But really, three-day radio silence so some doctor can say, "You have stunningly textbook abandonment and approval issues centering on men because of your dad, and thanks to your rockstar mom that's also twirking with some serious hypersexualization from a young age, you have a codependent relationship with a bulimic prone to addictive behaviors which borders on the sexual, and guess what: You're going to spend your entire life being objectified as a sexually attractive woman, which means the entire world is working overtime to make you crazy anyway. Suck it up."

In the best storyline of the entire episode, Anne and Nate Archibald talk about parties. That's literally the entire storyline: Talking about parties, deciding what parties are worth, are parties better than this thing or that thing, what would you give up for parties, what would you give parties up for. Parties: Good or Evil. Parties: Fact or Fiction. Nate is pro-parties, his mother is also pro-parties, but there's a curveball that makes this conversation a little bit more surprising than you might think.

See, there are many parties. (As Nate points out, it's the holiday season!) But Anne cannot go to the parties, because her drug-addict kidnapper of an embezzling husband is or is not getting out of prison. Not even Lily will deign. So between many parties and the Captain, which cannot exist simultaneously, Anne has to pick one. At first she picks the Captain, but then just at the most ironic moment she picks many parties. Parties wins again.

Meanwhile, there is a lot of hustle and bustle around this second thing that is going on with the Archibalds that is even more banal than the thrilling question of Parties v. Not Parties, but it's so trumped up and trying so hard to be an actual storyline that it ends up being confusing: The Captain wants to buy a house in Rhinebeck when he gets out, which Nate interprets as a cunning plan to disappear and not be his dad anymore, but really it's so the Captain and Anne can run away together. To Rhinebeck. And so Nate's incess

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