Wow! Twisty-turny, deftly directed, and some of the breeziest, cleverest, straight-up funniest acting we've ever seen from this crew. This season has raised the bar in some ways. but I gotta say, that was quite thrilling. And more than a little touching, to be honest. For once, the A+ isn't just an act of protest against letter grades.
So Blair is burning the candle at many, many ends, trying to balance W and college and Powerful Womanhood and figuring out her Chuck stuff, but of course it's not long until she unravels. There's a lot of tickery-tock about the various million things she has to get done, delegating minions and getting dragged into every other storyline more than she has in recent memory, but by the day's conclusion she's lost W and ends up in DUMBO, eating Brooklyn pizza, and falls asleep curled in Dan's arms. Watching, of course, The Philadelphia Story*.
One of her many duties? Delegating the drug-mule position Damien's put Eric into, which starts off as Penelope's job but -- after finally begging him for help -- Dan accidentally ends up doing, once S and E come to Blair for help with this drug deal scheme. Unluckily for Damien, Dan screws it up, so Damien shows up looking to blackmail Eric for the money to pay back his cokeheads.
Since it's Eric's 18th birthday, he now has access to his Rhodes trust (and all the bullshit that comes with it, already) and pays out of that. Lily surprises them mid-deal, and finally comes clean about her guilt in the Ben matter. This mends the rift between Lily and her children, but Ben admits he's going to take a bit longer.
Doesn't stop him from threatening Damien with actual death, or confessing to the beating hit he ordered on the Captain back in jail, though. Random Vanessa overhears this conversation, and hoping to get back into the UES circle tries to warn Serena that her boyfriend is a killer of people, but of course who's going to answer a call from Vanessa? Also awesome: Vanessa appearing out of nowhere right when everything was hitting the fan, getting screamed at by Dan and running off into the night as though she was leaving the show, only to then get all implicated in this ongoing steamy angry thing with Ben and Damien. And yes, her hair is looking comparatively fierce.
Meanwhile, relieved of his blackmail funds and unable to rat out Lily, Damien runs to Russell Thorpe. Who needs a break, thanks to the fact that Chuck's corporate espionage has endangered the buyout of Bass Ind. And why? Because Charles and Lily (!) have finally made up (!) and run a scheme on Russell together (!) that involves her pretending to be sick of Rufus (!) who makes a last-ditch save of pretending to be a douchebag in order to seal the deal (!) and all of them do all of this while making crazy faces, and it's so delicious.
Altogether, it was one for the ages. Lily, Blair, even Dan all managed to show us colors we haven't seen in four years of watching them do this shit. And again, I can't mention enough how satisfying it was to see Lily and Charles back in action. I might have teared up at that reveal. Even Rufus was pretty much perfect. For an episode that was mostly people talking about what happened in every other episode of this season, followed by mental breakdowns, I gotta say this was a home run. Well done.
*(You know, the one about the self-righteous writer who spends a day falling for the uptight society bitch -- whose impossibly high standards for herself and everyone else drive everybody batty -- only to eventually help shepherd her back into the arms of her caddish former lover? AKA one of the greatest movies of all time? God, I love this show. Fucking genius.)
What else, something else was fantastic. Oh, right! Nate turning it all the way up to fully spectacular. Watch him sniff his own sweater! Watch him take Raina off Chuck's hands (permanently?) and smoke her out! Watch them dance to Ke$ha and feed each other ice cream and talk like big stoned potheads! Watch them totally do it in some nonstandard way that makes them both grin like the Cheshire Cat.
Watch Nate vogue. Nate vogued! Stoned! With Raina Thorpe! Epic.
Next week: Who cares, that was awesome! But in the interests of sustaining our XOXO, it looks like Dorota goes after Blair for having a secret affair with Lonelyboy, while she's presumably rewriting her life plan into something even more bizarre. Chuck probably comes running back to her and flips out, Russell goes after Lily once again with Damien's gross help, and the family stands united for the first time in a very, very long time. I give it five minutes.
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Gossip Girl, why do you keep talking about the Rolling Stones? Normally everybody tunes you out because you make no goddamn sense, but even the most passive viewer seems to have picked up on your bizarre little theme this week. From a writing perspective it makes sense -- pick up a ball, run with it -- but for all the times to suddenly get cogent and precious, why the Rolling Stones references?
Dan is fussy because Serena and Ben are dating in his presence, staying up late playing those raucous Scrabble games Serena enjoys so much, drinking coffee, looking all blonde and cheekbony together. He bounces, and Ben's left with the pressure of Serena trying to get him to come to Eric's 18th birthday party that night. "Serena," he says, wincing at the very idea of Lily's existence. "I'm not eating her food, or drinking her wine, or smiling and pretending that everything's okay." Because usually Ben's such a bubbly fellow.
Eric's playing sick -- remember, the last time we saw him he was getting collared and homoeroticked by Damien Dalgaard in a funny hat -- and Rufus is saying shit like, "How's the patient?" and "Do I need to change my breakfast with Thurston?" and generally getting in everybody's way. Lily sadly cancels the birthday party, which as it transpires is a Little Kid theme -- Ace Of Cake-type cake, cotton candy, clowns, bunnies, clown-bunnies, forests of balloon bouquets, whatever gaywaddish Katy Perry nightmare accoutrements -- which is in addition to being completely awful is also not: A thing.
Blair does not have time to zip up her own dress, so busy is she being the new Anna Wintour despite being a teenager, and so she's leaning on Dorota even more than usual, even unto Serena noticing this is happening. Seems Blair's Powerful Womanhood is now so powerful she does not require sleep, and is living purely off her own crazy. S thinks this is because Chuck and Raina are all in love with each other's hidey-holes, but Blair assures her that she has become cold steel inside and will be taking everybody down with equal fervor and it has nothing to do with them, and then checks off a whole Cliff's Notes list of the shit they could possibly talk about (Ben, Lily) her typical responses to these topics (fuck off) and then, looping back around, another thing she doesn't care about: Raina was just named the head of G.I.R.L.S. Inc., Anne Archibald's foundation for the furtherment of lady-types (OUCH) for which Blair was once upon a time willing to give lap-dances, before the Three Witches turned themselves into Serena and locked her up in a cloven pine that time.