Lily learns finally that Juliet was Ben's sister, and explains her version of things. Thanks to Eric's dramatic gesture, Serena and Lily agreed that she should put down the absinthe and come home. But because of her Charley Gordon subtle climb in grades at Knightley, Constance wasn't feeling her. Or any other schools. So Lily went to CT to throw money at Knightley and change her grades, and while she was there she heard some girls talking about how Serena van der Woodsen and some teacher were fucking. Instead of being horrified or defending her daughter, Lily thought, "I can use this." So she threatened the school with legal action if they didn't help with Constance.
The trouble is that Knightley, of course, actually had to take action on this -- "I didn't know what I had set in motion," Lily says -- and so at some point the DA called her, and by then it was quote "too late." Which, Lily gets to her point here in a weird way but basically, and this is key, she assumed the whole time just like everybody else that it was true -- because it's Serena and let's face it, what else is there to do in Connecticut -- so even forging the affidavit was done to protect S. I mean, I get it. I don't even think it's that terrible. I never do, when Lily pulls this shit. I'm sorry for Ben, and all, but it's not the worst thing in the world to assume that Serena would behave exactly the way she behaved, note, or that any man would be powerless before her, which is supported by what actually did happen as far as anybody knows.
Serena yells for awhile about how she honestly, truly, absolutely did not sleep with Mr. Donovan, not for lack of trying, and tries to get Lily to, I don't know, break down or something. I'm not really clear on what Serena's aim is here by screaming over and over, "You sent an innocent man to prison!" I mean, let's go get him out of jail. Let's play the quiet game, and fix the problem. Making people feel like shit should take a backseat when you're asking them to do something for you.
Backed into a corner, Lily babbles some kind of "we've all crossed the line at some point," hoping probably for backup from Blair, but then fuckin' Rufus throws his snot nose in there and makes everything ten times worse. "It's not so easy when you're the collateral damage! Lily, do you have something you need to tell Chuck?" Lily goes cold as ice and thinks about punching her husband in the neck, because my God Rufus is just Rufus 24/7. He does not take a break from being fuckin' Rufus. Ever. She's like, "Listen motherfucker, if there was something I wanted to tell Charles, I would have told him." But Rufus keeps going, full-speed ahead, as if what he really wants is to move back to DUMBO or end up paying alimony and living in the Lincoln Hawk van with only a barrel and suspenders for his clothing: "Lily's selling Bass Industries!"
Instead of backhanding him for being a piss-pants little tattletale, she gets into it with Chuck. Who is, of course, not having it. And further to the theme of perfect image -- and that of red/silver PRADA as Lily's domain -- the framed picture on the table behind Chuck is of Lily, wearing the exact same outfit and earrings she's wearing now. Amazing. They confront and backbite for a bit and finally Lily just goes ahead and says, "Do you really think the board would allow me to give the company to someone who just disappeared for three months? Your instability is the reason that I ended up in charge in the first place!"
We call those fightin' words. So Charles leaves under a hailstorm of lack clouds and danger sounds, and everybody stares at Lily and finally runs away from her before there are more flashbacks -- Lily stands with a pillow over Pete Fairman's still-jerking form, Lily whistles for her wolves outside Tripp's summer home, Lily impregnates Georgina with a turkey baster full of Dan's semen, Lily pushes a man into the Hudson and then saves him, Lily hands Jenny her first tube of liquid liner and shadow to match, Lily cuts the brakeline on Bart's limo, Lily invites Miss Carson to the opera -- with Serena doing her usual "I owe you nothing" exit speech she always does, and Rufus just hating on her wicked hardcore, and then she's all alone. In her gorgeous house, in the middle of a room that once held ten judgey judgers judging, and now contains just pinot. Score.
A week later Dan and Blair have cooked an Empire dinner for the NJBC, and there's a funny about how Nate enjoys pretending to be middle class until you have to clean up, so can they call housekeeping now? Blair says no, Nate still has to clean up. Chuck's off the hook because it's his hotel, and now he's going to New Zealand to enjoy "a taste of summer, and girls who like sex games in the rainforest." Dan wheedles his boyfriend Nate into helping clear the table -- it's awesome -- and Serena ignores a call from CeCe, who is calling on Lily's behalf. She's in Montecito, and while Rufus will be joining her, he'll be doing it in a separate car, thank you very goddamn much.
Since Lily is refusing -- refusing -- to help Ben get out of jail, Serena's going to drive upstate to find the judge that signed the false affidavit, and invites Dan along for the drive. In other news, Serena has called Dean Reuther up on the phone and "explained" about how she quit school a few minutes before going on a bender that ended in her near-death, so of course she got back into Columbia. "She was not happy, but she did reinstate me," Serena says, as if... I dunno. If I were Dean Reuther I would put out a hit on Serena's life at this point and yet no matter how many times she says "YOUR DRAMA IS NOT WELCOME" she keeps letting S back in. To take her one class and one short seminar she loves so much. Dean Reuther is a complex elixir I'm not sure I'll ever understand. Or maybe Nate was right: Maybe drama is Serena's way of ensuring you'll never let her go.
"Goodbye, friends," says Chuck at the door, and after a beat, "Dan," he nods. Heh. Blair offers to walk Chuck out, having noted the proximity of New Zealand to Australia and thus to Uncle Jack. Deal with the devil, or an enemy-of-my-enemy situation? Um, it's both. Dude, you cannot be serious this time. He fucked your mother into being brainwashed, if you recall. Slept with Blair to mess with you and then bought her, expressly and precisely for the sole purpose of sinking your relationship. He is obsessed specifically with you, destroying you, owning you, overwhelming you, messing with you. If he goes to Jack at this point it's going to be an amazing shitstorm indeed, and I cannot wait.
Nate silently leaves with Chuck, and Blair is bummed, and then I guess she leaves or something, so now it's just Dan and Serena in Chuck's bedroom. She wants him to come with on the road trip, she really does, but he's all, "I have to write" and she's all, "But I'm going to be having sex with you obviously" and Dan goes, "It feels like this trip is something you might need to do on your own." Out of nowhere Serena goes, "I've been trying so hard to prove to the world that I've changed, but I think the person that doubted the most was me. I'm gonna work on that." Dan wishes her luck and kisses her and they are very sweet and she's disappointed but on some kind of Eat Pray Love journey upstate so she'll forget about it soon enough.
While Diddy sings that song about how his illegitimate children sometimes make him feel sorry for himself and isn't that a fucking pickle, Nate calls the Captain to say that he will not be going to any halfway house but in fact will be living at the Empire, he's already told the parole board the address and he's currently buying his dad clothes. It's very sweet and the Captain cries so manfully, but that's another shitstorm I can't wait to see. So hmm, you've got Rufus and Lily in an uproar, Chuck facing off against Jack again, and the Captain living in Nate's house. I wonder if it's going to be a boy-heavy back half of the season? Daddy issues and such for the boys for once? Usual