"Do you remember who my escort was?" Of course we do, Blair. It was Nate. "Jenny, when you descend those stairs tomorrow night, everyone there will judge you, based on that moment, for the rest of your life. This is not like your wedding day, Cotillion only happens once!" Ha! Serena and Jenny are amazed by Blair for a bit, and then Blair ticks off her shortcomings: 1) The whole Brooklyn misfortune, 2) B+ escort, and 3) Finally topping it off "with a mentor who's known more for her mug shots and topless photos in Ibiza than her social graces." Serena sort of loves all of this, because Blair is insane, but eventually bounces because she doesn't want Jenny to be a pawn either. She offers Jenny to Blair, and says she didn't want to play anyway: "Actually, I'm working for Congressman Tripp van der Bilt, and I should get back to that." Her eyes get a little testy: "But you have fun tonight," she says condescendingly from Grownup Club seats: "These are probably the last people in New York who still think you matter." Hat trick! Blair takes the hit, which is three valid points in a row you must admit, and drags Jenny away by the face.
Meanwhile Jonathan is being dragged into PRADA by Eric, begging not to have to take Jenny to Cotillion even though she feels bad about everything on Halloween. "Great! She should feel bad!" Eric swears that Jenny's still only at the tipping point: "She's not Darth Vader yet, she could still stay Anakin." Jonathan sighs, hit with a dork logic fatality, and assents only so long as she's really into it. Eric lies and promises that she is, and Jonathan stupidly trusts him. So you've got Eric and Jonathan poised as the angels on Jenny's shoulders, and Eric is Blair is the sewing machine, and Jonathan's saying she's already gone and they should just shoot her, but what's really going on is that the angels are really on Eric's shoulders, because he's pulling a Vanessa right now and getting his hands dirty to help a Humphrey, and that means he is going to end up paying full price.
Tripp's all alone in the HQ on the floor working on a speech (school lunches, teacher salaries, term limits) when Serena comes running in dressed like a lieutenant in the Rhythm Nation 1812 civilian army, carrying a foil-wrapped dinner for him. "I'll take real politics over the ones at Cotillion any night. Joe Wilson has nothing on Blair Waldorf!" she says brightly, totally committed to "working" even though it's a Friday night. He starts showing her the notes but his tie nearly drops in the meal she brought him, and she helps him out with that and they get all kissy-face and then the aide from earlier shows up to make it all awkward, and then Tripp feels like a complete douche/exploiter and tells Serena to go home. And because S is either just dumb today or willfully ignoring the implications of this whole thing -- hint: B -- she honestly is like, "Well, okay!" and clomps out of there again. I don't know if it's the slow-burn or the moral propping he's gotten this year or what, but I think Tripp is my favorite person ever put in this position on this show. I feel like no matter what happens he'll be teflon and we'll just be like, "Oh, Tripp, you tragic son of a gun." But I mean, nobody survives Serena. She is a point-blank hot mess.