Girl, so much gossip! The title of this show is really quite apropos.
It starts out with Blair and Serena promising each other that they will stop picking their scabs and devote themselves to shopping instead. For S, this means leaving Dan and Nate alone, not stalking them on Gossip Girl, and not ruining their relationships by being Serena. For B, this means not trying to maim Eva or otherwise ruin her.
Five minutes later, Serena's got Dan cozied up next to her on the couch, investigating Eva while Blair stalks her, and then telling Nate evil facts so he'll tell Chuck. Of course, she was a prostitute in Prague -- albeit with a year of nursing school under her belt, which I guess explains her bullet extraction skills -- but Chuck doesn't care. She sold a fabulously expensive watch that Chuck got her... to pay for his valet's mother's mortgage. She likes puppies, kitties, Operation Smile. She's perfect. So perfect, in fact, that Chuck decides to give her five mil to start her own charity so she can change the world the same way she changed him, blah blah blah.
It is at this point that Blair Waldorf loses her goddamn mind.
B ganks Chuck's passport from Ivan and hides it in Eva's stuff, proving that she knew who Chuck was when she saved him, which is a dealbreaker because of all the times we've seen this storyline. He tosses her out, then learns from Lily that Blair got his passport from the valet and staged the whole thing. Eva still leaves him -- we gather more from context clues than the dialogue -- so he trots on over to Blair's and explains, in his Bass way, that she has awakened the monster inside him and now it is war, and he will destroy Blair utterly. Which destroys Blair, almost utterly.
Dan's suffering so mightily from the loss of his pseudo-child that he's given up bathing, and his hair has come out of the closet. Seeking refuge from the nonstop smothering "support" that only Vanessa Abrams can provide, he runs to S so she can teach him the art of not giving a shit about anything in this world. S and Dan come close to getting back together, but then Juliet talks V into confronting them, and by the end of things Vanessa and Dan are back together. A highlight: Rufus giving Dan the real talk facts about how not to cheat on your wife or ever leave your scarf anywhere.
Juliet wraps up another day of Serena Ruining by confessing to Nate that Prison Ben is her brother, and then taking him up to a fake apartment that belongs to some out-of-towners. Lonely again, Serena's just lying around on her bed dressed like I Dream Of Jeannie for when Blair comes running wordlessly and plops facedown in her crotch to cry her guts out and wonder when Chuck's bullet will finally hit.
While Chuck Bass Batman-voice speeches are always rough to watch -- and a distracting lot of the episode is people standing around declaiming things, as if it's some kind of primetime soap opera about rich people who have no problems -- the sheer velocity of everybody's terminological inexactitudes rocketing around the place is more than enough to steer us straight. Also: An absurd amount of hilarious faces, Vanessa looking like the full-on cracked-out harridan she's always been inside, that ridiculous Serena dress, and Dan's absolutely mesmerizing haircut. Plus extra credit for drunk Lily van der Woodsen, which is always a treat.
Next week: Chuck and Juliet probably just up and kill everybody at once to save time and then Georgina comes and kills both of them because Milo is actually a Soviet weapon from the Cold War and then Poppy rises up from a swamp somewhere and feasts on all of their brains and all that's left is Rufus crying in the wreckage and Vanessa going, "I know you feel bad about this, but probably I feel a little worse."
The changes in Chuck's character, of which we shall hear much but have seen and will see little, have nonetheless been so amazing and bizarre that it's driven our GG around the bend. This is the kind of shit she's saying now: "Has a French fairy touched Chuck with her magic wand? Or does simply being with an angel make you want to grow wings too?" ("Does a French fairy angel need a Daddy Warbucks but angel Warbucks Daddy don't grow on fairy trees at least not on a magic tree that grows in Brooklyn?") Maybe the problem is keeping up with the technical demands of GG 2.0, what with its live streaming video of every location that exists. And these "threads" all the kids are talking about these days, just like in real life.
Dorota is stealing the papers before they reach Blair and blaming it on Susan Lucci, who lives in 8-H, which I'm guessing is a studio apartment. Which is a futile gesture, which makes it a stupid gag and then the stupid gag gets stupider because Blair actually explains: "There's no point. It's all over the internet." This is why I fucking hate Dorota, because there's no way to construct a scene with her without doing obnoxious shit like that: "Joke setup, joke punchline that explains why the joke setup was unrealistic and stupid. Zero sum. Eastern European stereotype that believes itself post-racist but is in fact merely racist. Joke setup, pregnancy reference. Confusion of verb form! Maid's uniform, patronizing popularity, vicious attack followed by begrudging tenderness radicalizes and then neatly contains within its own erasure the acknowledged mindset of the racist upper class. And scene."
Anyway, Serena gasps into life and comes vaulting into the room. "The internet? What's that?" Well, it's a series of tubes that brings us the news of Chuck's purchases. In particular, a limited edition Baignoire Cartier watch, the cost of which the selfsame internet is now on fire trying to figure out. Dorota says something dumb and leaves. Blair, of course, cannot go to Chuck Bass's charity gala at the end of the episode, because she and a diamond-encrusted timepiece cannot exist in the same location at the same time. Also, he never bought her anything that expensive, which B has to believe is the real problem so that she can pretend it's not about general Chuck angst but also that it's not a problem because if it were the real problem, that would make her pretty gross. The amount of grossness B exhibits in this episode is pretty spectacular notwithstanding, and anyway Blair has already decided that this is more proof that Ivva is working her French fairy magic in order to get Chuck's money, which of course is usually the case.
Serena points out that none of this is Blair's business at all, and Blair points out that S is being just as creepy, maybe twice as creepy, because she's spying on Nate and Juliet, and also and even worse, "Humphrey and Dumpty." (Nice one.) Serena remembers the whole thing about how life was better in Paris because none of these idiots existed when they were gone, and B calls her a whore from her free-love stint over there, and talks some sense: "Maybe Dan and Nate will see the error of their ways and break up with those girls. Or they'll marry them, and you'll die hitting refresh."
This, Serena knows, is a very good point, so she backs off. The girls agree to stay away from their various boy issues, and just be cool for once. "No plotting, no meddling, no Blair Waldorfing," S makes Blair promise, and they decide to stay home from the gala tonight so they can just head into the full-on Grey Gardens territory that was always going to be their endgame. They've got pretty good game pretending these things, but even when they're promising they know they are both lying and today will end in bloodshed. Still, even having the thought that their behavior could stand to be adjusted counts as growth, in a certain sad way.
Also sad in a certain kind of way: Humphrey and Dumpty playing house with no baby in the house. Well, unless you count Dan, who has fallen into post-parting depression now that Milo is gone. He's not showering or changing his clothes, which is the Williamsburg version of Blair's turn last year as chatelaine of the Empire: Find the cliché that's closest to whatever you're already doing, and then just do it twice as hard. Vanessa, same strategy: She makes Dan some vegan pancakes and calls him "sleepyhead" and basically tries to act like the little momma in a bohemian hell-rhapsody. These people would be a lot more likeable if they were actually what they're constantly pretending to be, but the show would be a lot more boring if that happened. Honestly, if everybody were as mature and insightful as they're acting this morning, life would just be waiting around for Rufus to do something fucked up. As it is, Dan wants Vanessa to just shut up and stop badgering him to cry about the baby, and then he wants her to die because guess who just showed up? Rufus and Lily, looking worried and smothering.
Chuck makes conversation with his valet Ivan about this and that, sports, things he doesn't care about, flowers, things he does care about. Nate crawls out from something looking delightful, and then Juliet appears out of nowhere with an obvious lie about how she dunked her phone in a latte or something. Chuck tells everybody that he's starting a $5M charity at the ball, but he doesn't actually know for what cause: "Petroleum apocalypse, the education crisis, poverty, disease, not to mention the recession. It seems outside my Bassian bubble, the world is a pretty screwed up place." Then, their worldviews increased by the power of Bono and Coldplay, the two spoiled rich kids and their secret hooker girlfriends drink some champagne with diamonds in it and light their cigars with hundred-dollar bills and chat about their inner lives.
It takes very little time. While Chuck and Nate are in the other room "getting the champagne" if you know what I mean, Juliet congratulates Ivva on how Chuck has stopped raping people for the nonce. Ivva says something to the effect of how Chuck Bass is a spectrum of possibilities and rape is only one of these, but she grades on a curve or something. In the other room, Nate pulls back from their sloppy hungry kiss just long enough to ask why Chuck's doing philanthropy things now, because if he's going gay Nate's gonna have to get his loving from Dan Humphrey from now on.
The next thing -- I love Nate, he's always having these thoughts out of nowhere, that just bubble up from inside his brain at the weirdest times -- Nate's like, "You know what? Juliet has never invited me over to her apartment." Chuck rolls his eyes and Nate starts listing all the other ways that Juliet is a mysterious person clearly out to destroy Serena van der Woodsen. Chuck's like, "Probably she's fucking lots of other people and that's why she's always busy. Is that a problem?" Nate admits it's not really a problem, forgets whatever they were talking about, and then says goodbye because Juliet suddenly has to leave because her dead phone just rang and an imaginary emergency has presented itself. "Wasn't her phone dead at the beginning of this scene?" he asks Chuck, who just stares at him cross-eyed trying to replay their conversation and figure out what Nate's on about from context.
"So what is this, a talk-about-your-feelings intervention?" Dan, you're looking at Vanessa and Rufus. Isn't everything a talk-about-your-feelings intervention with those two sandal-wearing ladies? Lily is classy enough not to punch a hole in the wall at the thought, but stays mum. They try to talk about how depressed Dan is about the baby leaving, but Dan is resolute about the concept that he is not actually depressed about that and just turning into a hipster. He points out his new, extremely adorable/distractingly homosexual hairdo as just one example, but they're not buying it. He calls Milo a "waste of a summer" and runs off to Nate's strong comforting arms. Or so he says, and they all buy it, because nine out of ten that real