Rufus is with his kids, walking down the street and being just disgusting, like he's never been to New York before, telling people to have a nice day and singing fucking "Zip-A-Dee Doo-Da" on the F train, enraging people who do not speak English and even getting on Jenny's nerves. When you're a Humphrey, you're always on the F train.
Before his kids drop him off at the Ostroff Center for Terminal Annoyingness, he spills that he's going to take that hideous effing ring and give it to Lily and ask her to join him in matrimony, digging his toes into the marble floors of her apartment and ornately shrugging with his shaggy hair in his eyes and the most awful childlike belief in their future together shining out of him as brightly as a train coming right at you. They do not tell him to knock it off, but encourage him instead. First, though, he's gotta have some weird drama queen moment with Eric where he asks for Lily's hand or some shit, because once Serena gets the hell out of there, Eric will be the man of the house. Sweetie, long after you're married that will still be the case.
Serena texts Dan right then that she'll be skipping the stupid van der Humphrey brunch where all this idiocy will be going down, because she has to save the Upper East Side again, but of course Dan can't leave well enough alone, so he decides to bring her some cappuccino and get her in line. Then Rufus gives Jenny noogies, and the embarrassment spreads so far that Rufus Humphrey becomes the Cloverfield of dorkiness, dropping little arachnoid dorkinesses everywhere that go skittering off to annoy people in all directions.
Serena jumps to her feet when Blair enters, grateful as hell, but is surprised by the Archibald following along behind. Blair shrugs: "I'm just as flummoxed as you are. I got out at 53rd and made a run for it, but he's faster than he looks." Instead of telling her to go to hell and getting out of there, Nate just sort of hums, because whatever. "Don't tell me, that hick gave you scabies," Blair says, and Serena levels with her about the scam, begging her not to throw the "I Told You So" out there, because S will lose it if that happens. Blair immediately shuffles toward her in the ridiculous green/gold paper toga she's now wearing, and swears she didn't want to be right about this.
"I don't know, I don't know. I keep trying to figure out what was real and what wasn't. I... it doesn't make any sense," Serena says, because... Serena's weird. Um, it makes total sense? He spinned you right round, baby. It happens. I love it because she honestly thinks there's something else going on here. And for her part, there is: Gabriel seems convinced that he's in love with her too. I guess that magical connection was real? Not that it survived the bottom line, or a basic BS test, but it's hilarious either way. Blair nods sagely: "Feelings never do. They get you all confused. Then they drive you around for hours until they drop you right back to where you started." Nate almost has a thought, but then doesn't.
"I need to fix this," Serena vows, and Nate's all about helping because he wants in on this "help Serena" thing, but also because he is nice. She starts to tell them what is no doubt a brilliant plan with zero chance of failure, and meanwhile Chuck comes home. With Georgina in tow, looking all around for Blair excitedly. "I agreed to give you a ride," he gruffs. "That's all, meals are not included." She swears she's not looking to make a meal of B at this time: "One of the most sacred acts is the ritual of forgiveness!" G chirps, and he is just so incredibly brusque and awesome: "Why is it when you say ritual, I think human sacrifice?" She points out that she's had since this time last year to go after Blair if that's what she wanted, but then Chuck for some reason leaves her unattended in his house so that he can go explain the nonexistent reasons he brought Georgina back to the UES, which by the way he never does, because they are nonexistent.
Blair sits with Serena, very supportive, while Serena babbles and babbles on the phone telling Gabriel's voicemail this lie about how she doesn't know anything about anything, she just wanted to talk to him about a thing, which is that she is fake pregnant. Chuck enters and Blair rolls her eyes, because she knows he's going to jump on her about stealing his limo ("Hope you had an enjoyable ride back on my leather seats") but she shushes him until the phone call is over, by which time he's over it.
"A pregnancy ruse. Cliché, but effective. Make sure you arrange the meeting someplace where the authorities can surround him. No open spaces." Nobody meets his eyes, because they know he's going to yell about the lack of authorities, because they know he's right, because he's always right, which is a theme in this episode. He starts yelling at them about not calling the cops, and Serena explains how Lily can't find out about this suddenly, because of the bracelet or watch and all the diamonds on it and how that means she finally believes in New Serena. Chuck's like, "Oh, I am taking over now because you guys are fucking this up," and he and Nate get into a dumb little tête-à-tête about taking care of "it" where "it" equals "Blair" and "taking care" means driving to the country in the middle of the night, and whatever. Lots of exposition to get through in order for this fast-moving train to pull out of the station. Blair tells Serena straight up to let Chuck take over, and Serena's like, "He will call me back because our feelings are so real," and Dan appears out of nowhere, having overheard them talking about the stolen money.
"I just came to coerce you into family brunch," Dan explains, and Chuck slyly asks him if he saw "something" in the living room, but Georgina's I'm sure already done three weird things we'll never know about in the time they've been having this conversation, probably looking for Blair or Jesus or something room by room. "Not that it's any of your business, but Serena's fake boyfriend's investment was also fake. He made off with the money. You can go now," she snaps at the end, truly Mean Girl for a sec, and Dan kind of freaks out because of how Rufus stupidly wrote Gabriel a check for Dan's "college money." What? Yeah, that forty grand that was going to put Dan through four years at Yale is gone. Effin' shame on the F train, that is.
Serena feels all kinds of guilty because when it's Brooklyn the money stops being pretend and starts getting real, but begs him to let her fix it before he goes running to his stupid father. Which frankly, what on Earth can Rufus do, in any circumstance, besides fuck things up way worse? It's not about pride, it's about Rufus panicking like an eye-rolling broncho and giving Gabriel a piece of his mind in some Vanessa way that would somehow end up getting everyone murdered. Blair scoffs for the eighteenth time at the idea that Serena could ever formulate a plan, much less pull it off, and goes, "Unfortunately for him, the only way her plan is going to work is by some act of God!"
...So there's holy music, and Georgina comes wandering in all creepy/angelic, and says hi to everybody. And the whole room goes absolutely silent and absolutely still, like a snake just crawled in, for a beat just long enough that the next thing -- everybody screaming at everybody else like their hair is on fire -- is maximally hilarious. This script makes very little sense, but it's fun, and the way it's directed makes it one of the most enjoyable episodes ever, but I've had trouble pinning down exactly why.
(The acting is really phenomenal, and it's paced really well, and the act breaks are super-exciting, and it has one of the most touching Blair/Chuck scenes ever, somehow getting water from that well once again... But it's so clearly a bridging episode, because it has to give us enough gas to not only set up the finale but also breeze past next week's half-and-half mix of Gossip Girl and Untitled Spinoff [that's what I'm hearing, 25 minutes of Totally '80s Lily and 20 minutes of our kids], and somehow keep Georgina boiling that whole time. It shouldn't feel as exciting as it is. And there's only like two songs instead of the five or so that we usually get, and not a lot of literary references, so I don't know. There's not like one thing you can pin it on, it's just really well done.)
"Uh, we need to get this crazy girl out of here," says Dan, hilariously since he's not really invited either, and Serena putting one giant foot down ("Chuck, what is she doing here?") and Nate sort of wringing his hands and nattering, and Blair being hilarious ("Are you trying to have me killed, Bass? Oh my God I am going to scream if somebody doesn't get her out of here right now") and Serena actually expositing -- while getting angrier than she usually gets, which she can do with Chuck -- "So is this how you found out about that night at Butter? You bring Georgina here?" The last one just exactly as loud and strong as you would think, given what G did last time, and how little S had to do with punishing her for it. Meanwhile, the phone's ri