Sherilyn's proud, and if you really watch this bit, her eyebrow just sort of jerks, momentarily sneaky and excited, thrilled beyond OMGeorgina and back into the past, reveling in the artifice and the nastiness and the lie, putting on faces and taking them off again, being anybody but broken sick sad angry scary crazy Georgina, like always: "It's perfection." Blair's proud, and Nate plays dummy again so we get the skinny: still not calling the cops, especially now that Lily has essentially betrayed Serena by inviting Poppy into their home, so they're going to tape Poppy at lunch with Sherilyn and blackmail her. They know she'd stash the money if she got nicked, and besides, Serena says, "As annoyed as I am with Dan right now, it is his college tuition." I love Serena. "He screwed the pooch, but the kid's in a place."
Blair explains to Nate for the eighteenth time that Poppy's not leaving town, just like in the last five scenes when this kept getting explained, but also that her needs are simple: "All she's worried about right now is party invitations and keeping a front row seat at Bryant Park." So, she's pretty much Jenny S1, then? Stealing to keep up with the Tiffanys and Penelopes? Dan calls Serena to whine about the dividend call, and Serena fully goes, "I don't know, why don't you call my mom? You seem to like to talk to her these days." Which, for Serena, is like six zingers and a burn. "It's not exactly fair of you to ask me to trust the return of my tuition to ... Blair and Chuck," he groans, once again twisting his face into this semblance of getting it. Serena swears she's taking care of it, and once again he second-guesses her, just as Sherilyn's complaining about having to "drink alcohol in this scheme," to which Blair spits in irritation, "It's the Russian Tea Room. You can drink tea," and S gets the eff off the phone with Dan. But alas, it's too late. The jig is up once again. Dan should just get Lily on speed dial.
Meanwhile, Rufus and Jenny are decorating PRADA MARFA with like shabby chic thriftstore Laura Ashley duvet covers that smell like pee and plastic classy candles, and catching varmints for the proposal dinner, and Rufus is like, "Wait, am I totally out of my depth? I just remembered I'm proposing to a woman so shallow she slept willingly in a bed with the wrinkled leathery mess that was Bart Bass, and I let her. Seems like if I was complicit in her prostitution to secure her family's future I'd be more sensitive to my doing the same thing," and Jenny's like, "Don't be silly, you love each other for what you are: emotionally retarded adulterers with track records plainly indicating that you shouldn't even be in charge of yourselves, much less five or six children."
He's like, "You're right. This is a true heroic man-type love." And something about the way his posture straightens based on facile praise from his teenage daughter, of the "this shitty proposal shows you really know her" variety, the way he suddenly stands like Clark Kent based on this frippery, cape blowing in the wind, makes me want to barf. The only nutsack Jenny should be locating is Nate's. There, I said it.
Ding! Guess what though, Serena's not getting off the elevator. I mean, somewhere she probably is, but not this one and not right now: it's Lily, coming home from ... emergency mid-embezzlement shopping therapy at Barney's. Never let it be said that I didn't admire Lily's priorities. Jenny awesomely accosts her, mugging her of the bags like a fake Mumbai bellhop and marching her upstairs to get a look at the zipper of some Marchesa dress Lily wore "last week." Which of course means "back before Kelly Rutherford became the most pregnant person ever to be pregnant."
People scoff at the absurd-yet-halfassed lengths they're going to to hide the pregnancy, but I love it so much. In this scene, Lily comes in through the door and talks to Jenny. But wait, she's totally pregnant! No problem, because Lily apparently just bought thirty-six bags' worth of shit from Barney's and will come in with them hanging all over her like that lady in Labyrinth with the hump made of teddy bears and quilts and clocks and whatever. Done. And next week? Oh, she'll be carrying sixteen garbage bags full of stuff for the charity drive we'll invent, or reminiscing about Orange County in a limo with a shitload of lilies in her lap, or doing deep tank mudbath therapy as a result of jailing her daughter, or sitting behind a giant butter statue commemorating Gabriel meeting Savannah and Svetlana at Butter, or having a long talk with Chuck on that one couch with every pillow and chenille throw ever sold, piled up around her like a fort.
Everybody's still in sexy action mode as they disembark the towncar for the Russian Tea Room, but Nate stops Chuck outside. I don't have many of those weird New York things, like playing Eloise or Holden Caulfield or whatever, but I do have the weird obsession with the Russian Tea Room. I'm so not a New Yorker, like if you told me actually that's a weird name for a carpeting sample warehouse I would pretend I already know that and forge ahead with my fantasies, but for some reason it clicks into that Breakfast At Tiffany's place in my head. I just want to go to there, I don't even know where it came from. I am a rube. I am totally a Sherilyn Phillips about it. For all I know that's the joke, that of course Sherilyn would want to meet Poppy there and she'd be like, "Um okay, dork." This is why I'm constantly giving my money to con men and joining cults: it's my damnable sense of the romantic and the picturesque.
Nathaniel tells Chuck he's got it all figured out: Chuck needs to man the eff up and go after Blair or not, but it's not fair to play both Nate and Blair by ducking in only when she's got other stuff going on. And of course Nate's right -- even about how Chuck is "lying to himself" about his true feelings, I guess -- but that's not really the issue. If Chuck's in denial about his continued love of Blair, it's only as a second movement to the original thing, which is not giving in, which is itself a ghost of the very first thing, which is that he isn't worthy of her. The fact that she's not worthy of him either doesn't occur to anybody, but since none of this is the issue I think that's a healthy starting place. After all, if you had to wait until you were perfect to fall in love, there would be like five intensely boring couples populating the entire world and we'd die out in a generation. Chuck laughs until the "man up" part, and the jerky way he draws in breath, sharply, neither angry nor afraid but simply hit with something large, means something is going to happen and it's not going to be pretty.
How not pretty? Well, imagine a story that took hold of the imaginations of an entire globe of people, including me for sure, all about the natural inclination of men to devour women, and the natural inclination of women to yearn toward this, even after decades of socialization to avoid this devouring at all costs, right? How we set women up to be either virgins or whores, and how in neither case is it really about them, or what they want, and all about men and what they want to put in the women, even infants, and we still judge the women on this criterion of what they do with that incredibly limited scope of options.