Over in DUMBO, who even cares, except Gabriela is a fantastic actress and Dan is maybe the best ever in this episode, and they hug and kiss and talk about Vanessa's not really so bad, and she tells him not to fuck with her. "You gave me some great advice, I'm going to return the favor. When Vanessa told you her feelings all those years ago, you broke her heart." He feels guilty anew, like he'd sort of conveniently but necessarily forgotten that chapter; it's a really good moment. "And your friendship almost didn't recover. So unless you're sure that my daughter is who you want to be with, I suggest you keep your feelings to yourself." He makes that face at her some more, caught in the love. "Because if you break her heart this time, your friendship won't survive. And that would be a tragedy, because you are a great friend for her." That would be a tragedy inside a tragedy inside a tragedy, actually.
Gabardine touches his hand and is pretty much fabulous, and he really takes it to heart. Then V comes out of the back bedroom yelling about her homo boyfriend Paul Hoffman with the teeth, and how his parents want to meet Gabriela and confirm for themselves that Vanessa is a real person, and Gabriela's like, "Do I go meet the boyfriend, Dan?" and it's just totally pointed and awkward and weird, but look who we're dealing with, so Dan's like, "Go meet the homo boyfriend with the teeth, I'll just stay here making that face." Gabba-Gabba-Hey is proud of him for keeping his gorgeous mouth shut and looking out for V for once.
So Serena is now downstairs, and Nate suddenly time-warps down there so he's behind her, yelling not to go with Tripp, and he starts talking like Swamp Thing very slowly about how he is in love with her and has always been in love with her, forgetting that he already told her all of this. And she's sort of searching his face, and wondering if she loves him back, and wondering if she can somehow rope him into an even bigger hell mess, and trying to take in the majesty of his crazy fucking face, and he begs her to take a chance on him, and she thinks about it but not really, and Tripp's in a limo going, "Are you coming?" And Nate's eyes immediately well up when she looks back at him, because he knows he lost again to the Smarminator, and she feels really guilty, and he really does start to cry, and her last look is of extreme sympathy for his trials.
Dan says goodbye to the Abrams Coven and there's a pretty great moment where Vanessa giggles and says she likes his new face and thinks it's cute, but the way she plays the moment is just brilliant. I've always liked her as an actor, but there's something about the look she gives him before leaving, it's like wistful and like she's still in love with him but is so accustomed to being his Joey Potter that she can't even convincingly consider the idea that the face is for her, so we're still friends and wingmen for each other even after we slept together, and the whole time he's making the face that's just for her and she can't even see it. It's amazing.