While Eric and Elliot try to figure out Serena's love life, Lily and Dean Reuther are busy flipping out about the Colin situation, which has been leaked to Page Six. Although Lily shows real mama-bear power in the meeting with the Dean, threatening her with just about everything she's got, it's only a matter of time before Operation Smile gets rolling again.
Jenny shows up to warn Lily and Rufus about Juliet's plans to bring down Serena, explaining about the Page Six situation too late to help. But -- psych! -- it was all a big plan by Jenny, Juliet and Vanessa to set Serena up for a truly terrible fall. Stealing Serena's SIM card means the Three Witches can send and receive texts without Serena knowing: Thanks to Vanessa, Dan and Nate have made up once again and decide to force Serena's choice once and for all. The Three Witches mess with their minds for awhile, but since nothing can stop them from loving Serena, they step things up even further.
Meanwhile, Blair and Chuck are happily in a Friends With Benefits place. Anne Archibald harasses Blair about a girl-empowering charity that can't get any Chuck on it, while Serena's old boss KC harangues Chuck about not having a girlfriend. There's a weirdly loud, confusing scene in which Blair and Chuck change the Empire's Black & White Ball to a Saints & Sinners Masquerade to safeguard Chuck's bad-boy reputation, and make some adjustment to Blair's charity situation that I still don't understand and that doesn't matter. All this secrecy and texting turns up the heat, and before you know it Chuck's gasping out how much he loves her and Blair's politely pretending he said nothing.
Lily invites Juliet to tea and tries to threaten her, but Juliet finally explains the Ben situation: Like we expected, he was a teacher that got jailed over rumors that he slept with underage S -- something Lily's already covered up once (but still may or may not have happened, I'm not sure). Lily pays her off, and gets into a huge fight with S. Chuck and Blair worry separately about the three little words for a bit, but Blair eventually strips to her underwear and runs to the Empire party to find out once and for all if he meant it. He did, they both did, they are in love and now they will be together. Before they can even kiss, Jenny-as-Serena exposes them, but they decide to take the plunge and declare their reborn relationship. Meanwhile, Juliet stalls Serena's entry to the party just long enough for her and Juliet -- also dressed like Serena, in an identical masks -- to send GG some pictures of "Serena" making out with both Dan and Nate. (And constantly changing size and shape!)
Anne explains a harsh truth to Blair -- in terms of reputation, men are rewarded while women are tarnished -- which Blair realizes is not only unfair but totally true when Chuck manages to spin his relationship with her into a positive, making B a Page Six star in her own right. Though C offers her a replacement charity, B realizes she must be Blair Waldorf first and Chuck Bass's girl second: Though they're very much in love and having wonderful sex, she needs to work on her own image first. Sweet and sad.
Vanessa submits Serena's resume to Anne Archibald for the foundation, so now Blair feels double-betrayed, and takes her turn yelling at Serena before running off. GG blasts the two-timing XOXO pictures, and even though this has already happened once to these people at this exact same party, nobody can comprehend the idea that somebody dressed up like Serena did all these terrible things.
So now B, N and D, Lily and even Eric assume that Serena has betrayed them, turned back into a drunken ho, and once again gone running pantsless into the streets. But -- unbeknownst even to Jenny and worthless Vanessa -- the truth is way worse: Juliet has roofied Serena and kidnapped her, texting Columbia with her resignation before tying her to a bed and filling her up with drugs to make her look like she's on a bender and nobody will miss her! Unnerving! (Not to mention fun music from Little J's band, where she has gone real-life crazy to the point that even Tim Gunn was horrified.)
In two weeks: Serena is a drug hostage! Everybody thinks she's at rock bottom and doing drugs in the fleshpots of New York, but really she's in Juliet's clutches! Blair and Lily are so disappointed they might give up! Only Dan (?) can save her! And then they go on the run! And make out!
While GG talks about choice paralysis on the UES -- Dom or Krug? Winston or Cartier? Tory or Stella? -- Serena continues to have choice paralysis on her gay boyfriends. I mean, which one is Harry Winston and which one is Cartier? Such a valid comparison. "Nate is more like Stella McCartney, in that his mother keeps vegan snacks in her false leg, while Dan is more like Tory Burch because he masturbates to internet videos of homeless men fighting each other for food."
Eric and the complicated visual known as Possibly Still Bisexual Elliott have been GTD all over Serena's boy problem: Charts, graphs, pie graphs, graph charts, chart pies. Filling in Venn diagrams with colored pencils. Sadly, we don't get to see much of their research, but Dan is -- on one bullet-pointed and point-weighted list -- pronounced "Brooklyn (-1), Smart (+2), Scholar-Sexy (+3), Almost Related and Relent[lessly pretentious, presumably]." The last two don't have scores visible but who knows, it's all very complicated because Elliott seems to be somewhat more than neurotypical, as they say.
Nate meanwhile is "Upper East Side (+1), Athletic, Preppy-Sexy (+3), and No Siblings! (-1)." I don't understand how that last one gets a negative score, though. What part of Dan's siblings is a good thing? And why isn't there a graph of hair cuteness? Because Dan's hair was really cute for awhile.
Anyhow, by the time Serena arrives to pick them up for lunch, it's gone full threesome and they've made the interlocking Venn diagram include all of their facts together somehow. All the above facts are represented, but Dan is also "Excellent Writer, Sincere, Poetry," the boys overlap at "Six Feet Tall, Second Chance," and Serena is pronounced "Smarter Than She Thinks." Oh, and all three of them are "Cute." This is the kind of shit you want to find on CW's website in its awesome detail.
Serena is abashed, and somewhat weirded out by Elliott's sudden rainmannishly SAT Math score of 800 ("They go that high?") and his explanation that, much like an online dating service, they're using math words like "probability" and "set theory." Which they are not, but like Serena's gonna call that bluff. She calls them "E'sHarmony," which is a joke that makes sense out loud but is weird to explain on paper, and tells them it doesn't matter anyway.
The big cliffhanger last week, where Nate literally wandered into Serena at random at the exact second she had summoned Dan from DUMBO, causing her to stare with her mouth hanging open and smoke coming out of her face, was as usual not that interesting in its resolution: She called Dan, making her choice, but then Nate showed up and "said some things that [Serena] couldn't ignore," and but then she ignored them, ran up to her room, and has been avoiding them both ever since. "I presume they shared the cab back to DUMBO and jerked each other off like usual," Serena does not say.
Eric makes a joke about Serena running away and ignoring things, and then Lily comes in looking like she's about to pull out a gun: Page Six has run a story about the very important doings of zillionaire Colin Forrester and the circumstances of his leaving the Defense Against The Dark Arts program at Columbia. And why? "Funny business" with Serena vdDubs. Which Lily already knew, and even Serena seems to have figured out that she broke up with Colin when she wasn't looking, but the problem is that Dean Reuther -- damn her Serena-obsessed eyes -- scours Page Six for news of her only student and wants to have a parent-teacher conference -- like always happens in college -- about Serena's ongoing whoredom. And for that, Lily does not have time.
Serena asks Lily to call the Page Six and tell them she wasn't actually kissing Colin Forrester at the ballet in front of everybody that saw them, because it's so mean to gossip, and then before she can even apologize for ditching the boys for lunch, Elliott's off counting the ceiling tiles again, transforming toruses in his head, imagining infinite toothpicks and then counting those toothpicks, imagining what emotions must feel like, nervous about the wall-to-wall facial expressions and emotional nuance impinging on his safe, quiet world of numbers and straight lines. Well, it's said boys only ever marry their mothers, so I guess it's lucky Eric has found him so early in life.
Dan, of course, reads Page Six first thing just in case there's something he can leverage in there for his personal agenda of forcing Vanessa Abrams to commit suicide, so of course he calls Serena immediately and invites her to their home, to hide from the Post and all its minions. "Brooklyn is a great place to avoid nasty looks... Unless you throw your recycling in the regular trash, or try to open a giant chain store with questionable labor practices..."
Nate appears from the doorway of Dan's bedroom, looking ruddy and post-lacrosse satisfied, pulling on somebody's underwear, who cares whose anymore, and lounges about with a whole deal about how he already made that same call, minus the "lame Brooklyn joke." However -- I love when Nate does this -- he has bad news. "Even though we both did the exact same thing at the exact same time for the exact same reason, I wouldn't get your hopes up." Loony-eyed optimism: It's how Archibalds survive.
They fight and fight and fight and the slappin' turns to touchin' and the touchin' turns to sex and then there's no history left. And then fuckin' Vanessa walks in -- Dan wide-eyed, panting, Nate's bowtie between his teeth -- and she's like, "This was exactly my plan! The two guys I like doing each other is exactly what I wanted to happen in my house."
However that works out in her head, I think we can all agree that Abrams needs a win. Yes, they say, You have once again proven victorious. Dan's all, "Every nerve ending in my body is electrified!" Nate goes, "There is a fiery pit of hate burning inside me! Ready to explode!" And they let Vanessa watch.
Actually, how great would it be if everybody switched literary modes, for just one episode? You could have Blair take over Nate's Brideshead stuff and fall in love with a random cousin, while Dan could be Daisy Buchanan for a day, caught between PRADA and DUMBO-pretending to be-PRADA. (Run Vanessa over! In a Model T!) Nate could start hallucinating that he's Audrey Hepburn, or Fred Astaire, and do a little dance number. Chuck could be Punk Rock Princess, playing electric violin while the Empire burns. Lily could be a sad old has-been rock star, and Rufus could take her Russian tragedy into all-new monologue territory. Serena could be the new Buchowski, sitting on window ledges and smoking cigarettes and having Tom Waits thoughts. It would be outrageous.
So then some confusing things. I thought I had it figured out by Wednesday but there's been a lot going on this week and I may have lost the thread again. Chuck and Blair are all lovey-dovey about (1) a benefit he's throwing before this (2) board meeting with the Hotel Association about the Empire. Classy, a Black & White Ball just like the day I fell in love with Kristin Cavallari. Meanwhile, Blair's big thing tonight is (3) a dinner meeting with Nate's mother Anne Archibald before (4) a meeting with her board about a lady-empowerment foundation, G.I.R.L.S. Inc., that Anne's forming with Martika's band of Toy Soldierettes and Stacy Ferguson, the Duchess of Piss and Meth.
So that's four things they're doing today -- no wonder this was so confusing, also Chuck mumbles and the music is loud, and they are very sexy -- plus now they're thinking about having a romantic (5) dinner at the very same restaurant to which Blair wanted to take Anne, before her dinner with Anne. I think. Chuck offers to call off either #2 or a #1 pre-planning meeting (6) to have this dinner date (5). Which has nothing to do with anything, but is actually cool because this episode is about whether or not they like each other more than they are into building their various Empires and empires.