That's Blair calling Serena a whore to her face and still waiting desperately for her to call, and Eric edging further and further out over the edge trying to take down Little J, and CeCe letting secrets drop faster than the temperature, and Dan openly taking Gabriela's side over and over against Vanessa, that's Nate ruining Tripp's relationship to save his marriage and career, and Gabriela telling Dan to keep quiet about his feelings, and everybody constantly making decisions on Serena's behalf until she feels crazy: "I'm secretly on your side."
And I mean, it's a sweet and a very true statement, but it doesn't really fix anything. It doesn't matter how much you love somebody at the bottom of the thing, when you pile a bunch of hell right on top. But it's something that helps, sometimes, when the short-term is all you can see and all you can think about is how mad you are: The 90% of family, marriage, relationships that's basically just synthetic traps and obstacles created to distract you long enough to calm down and remember whose side you're on.
So, dinner. The first time through, I think I watched this whole scene about five times before I could go on. It is gorgeous. As hyperverbal as this episode is, there's just as much going on with everybody's faces, and it's just so brilliant. Dan is amazing in this scene, particularly. And it's just so sweeping and swooping and cross-cutting and the music is so delirious and it's just so realistic and intense and funny and shocking and great.
CeCe stares down the long table at Lily and smirks about how she's sitting with Rufus at the foot of the table and how happy she is to be sitting with him and her daughter glares horribly at them both and finally excuses herself to go get crunk upstairs, and Gabriela -- still trying way hard -- asks about the recent nuptials (she was boycotting the floral industry and couldn't come, of fucking course) and CeCe natters that Rufus disinvited her because she is evil, and Gabriela gives him hell about that and Vanessa tells her to shut up and CeCe gets in a dig about how it was Lily's fifth wedding and Rufus says that it wasn't his fault because he understood her absence from the wedding to be due to her ongoing death, and CeCe stretches the moment out to infinity before saying she's been in remission since August, so all of Lily's absence at the front of the season was actually a huge lie, but she does this so slowly, and then so abruptly pulls back and says she must be confused about something, that they might as well be playing Pictionary and she's drawing a stick-figure Lily with arrows pointed at her head and a forked tongue, and then they both start drinking, and upstairs Lily is downing brown liquor like she's Chuck Bass.