The van der Woodsens are just sitting down to pretend to eat birthday cake when Chuck shows back up and they can all talk about their many different masterful schemes and worries in the wake of the party. Serena loves the part about Rufus threatening to clobber Russell Thorpe, and giggles, "So sad I missed all of this! And did anyone else see Vanessa, or am I having ether flashbacks?" Hilarious on many levels; I love that Serena would firstly assume that Vanessa's utterly random appearance for five seconds presaged some kind of mental event and secondly decide that her overdose is now a hilarious in-joke, but even better is the response: "Probably the latter? Although I did notice Blair wearing two different shoes." This episode was so insane and the party was so insane and these people are so insane, that they can sit around saying this shit and not just assume there's a gas leak in the kitchen or something.
Ben shows up, having also come and gone swiftly from the party, and he just hands over the check back to Lily and assures her that Damien won't be bothering them anymore -- he refuses to cooperate with any kind of blackmail plot even though it's been established that his testimony wouldn't mean anything given the charges -- but the token means something; Lily nods and sparkles at him a little bit and then softly and without fanfare hands him the ultimate Rhodes go-ahead: "Thank you, Benjamin."
He got the Benjamin! He is so in! Dan didn't get the Daniel it seems like forever, and Chuck just recently got his Charles back, so you know Lily's being very measured with this one. I wonder if Ben even knows what just happened?
Or does he care, because immediately he's like, "Serena, just because I halted the blackmail plot and got that check back does not mean that I don't hate your mother. That was about currying favor with you, and your barely legal fanny." She's like, "I know. But do you want some birthday cake?" Serena, eating birthday cake in your mother's house would taste like ashes. We had no birthdays in the Big House, just unending beatings and the occasional mean-spirited handjob to mark the passing of time.
So on the one hand, thanks Dan for the "friends as fashion" metaphor, but on the other hand Blair has just been fired. "Slash quit," she says in a way that you know she's going to keep saying that, and also that it is a lie, and actually my pretty editor girl we'll never see again said the sweetest thing: "Donna said they'd been watching me for a while, hoping for the best, but let's face it. I'm imploding." And for her last trick? Making sure Dan got the byline.