Remember that nice boy LA Serena met at the beginning of the summer when she randomly got a job from David O. Russell? Not so nice. Feeling a little Blairness about Serena effortlessly taking over his job, he arranges to have her deliver marijuana to that pee-smelling vampire-knight actor from the Olivia years. She flails a bit, but her cockblocker finally explains to her what it's like for those of us who are not Serena van der Woodsen. She vaguely comprehends that it is probably very shitty for us, and vaguely quits or whatever. She ends up getting a way better job out of nowhere, of course, and we don't ever find out what happened to him -- or care -- but it's nice to see her actually think about shit and make decisions, even if they're really still Chuck's decisions.
Because meanwhile Chuck is racing his motorcycle around, dating lesbians, doing all the things Kristen Stewart does, to make the visions of a hairless, sparkling Blair appear. He is a danger junkie! Wearing his scars on the outside, these days! Jumps off roofs, rather than just blubbering at the edge of them! Bleeds just to know he's alive! This Eat Yes Love philosophy -- delivered with just enough hilariously tongue-in-cheek smarmy arrogance -- convinces Nate to pretend he's a movie star at this Hollywood party, which leads him inexorably into the bedroom of Elizabeth Hurley, who coincidentally has designs on Nate and the UES anyway. Nate is, as usual, the best.
Except, as usual, for Dan, who gets wind of a Vanity Fair reprint of one of the chapters from his as-yet-unpublished book Inside and must entreat Prince Louis to get it pulled, since it concerns Blair kissing him in the foyer that time. That glorious, long-ago time that she did that. (I don't know if you know this, but it might be helpful to know the masthead at VF, which goes: Associate Editor, Editor, Department Editor, Editor-In-Chief Graydon Carter, Prince of Monaco. So that's how he can help with this.)
It pulls Prince Louis away from an already-stressing (and super-bitchy) Blair, who is throwing fits over minor shit because she doesn't even want to marry him anyway, because she is in denial about being in love with Dan by thinking she's in denial about being in love with Chuck. So while Louis's off once again fixing her shit, Blair begins to imagine a conspiracy and runs to -- of course -- Dan to whisk her off to the Hamptons, where he stashed Eric's broken bloody body sometime this summer.
Dan agrees without explaining the reasons she should not call off her engagement, being a weak sort of fellow, but before he can take her out of the city and ruin her life for her, Louis arrives at the loft. Blair leapfrogs right over the obvious explanation (that just like every other guy she's ever dated, Dan is fucking him) and into a confused sort of inability to understand why Dan would do that. And of course Dan can't say that he loves her in front of the Prince, or out loud, or anywhere except in his diary with the heart-shaped lock, so she leaves pissed. Which, okay, but it was still a shitty thing for him to do. So of course he is immediately rewarded with a $10K advance from Vanessa for the book.
Serena elects to stay in LA when the boys head back to us in the UES, so she's all alone when she runs into Cousin Charlie from Florida, or whom we know as Out-Of-Work Actress Ivy, who has moved to LA to work in a restaurant with her awesome boyfriend (played by the lovable and talented Brian J. Smith, which means he'll probably turn out gay anyway). For some reason Ivy flips right back into character the second she sees Serena, which I'm hoping means the possibility there's a secret level of crazy underneath the crazy she was pretending to be last year, because she gave good crazy. And if not quite, well, there's always Georgina.
Not a lot we've not seen before -- winking about reusing plotpoints is not the same as writing a new story, FYI -- but it's always nice to see Nate get his tadpole on, and frankly there's a twist in the way Blair keeps playing Louis against his family that feels different even though it's verbatim the same shit that she pulled every episode last season. But Dan's journey looks amazing this year, and they're doing wonderful things with Serena so far, Chuck's heading into self-parody which is where he should always live, and with Nate it's kind of like hanging a lantern on his uselessness makes him sexier or something.
Also: Blair and Dorota are both pregnant, so deal with that shit. (Which reminds me, who's a brother gotta blow to get Tavi on this show? Did we just miss that window completely?)
Go behind the scenes with the show's cast as they filmed in Los Angeles.
WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS
Vanessa ran off with Dan's book, stomped caveman-style into a publishing office and, brandishing a femur, made them publish his book anonymously. Apparently she also secured reprint rights for one particularly Blairish love chapter with Graydon Carter. Then, like an overaccessorized rabbit, she sped off to España and was shot in the pancreas and died horribly, still clutching the papers that proved her baby belonged to Rufus all along.
Dan and Blair were in love, but that didn't stop her from letting Chuck on up into her Prince Grimaldi situation. While she was willing to ignore Adele's wisdom and ditch the Prince for her demon lover, it was Chuck that decided (iffily on her behalf) that she'd have a royal wedding in the fall, before heading out for a post-Blair homoerotic tour with Nate around the world -- as it were -- to Chiang Mai, where Chuck won a yacht.
Cousin Charlie was nuts, and then it turned out she was Ivy. We still don't know who the real Charlie is, and maybe we'll never find out or care, but Ivy went back to Florida to be with her awesome boyfriend and held onto some of Charlie's trustfund checks just in case. In the interim, she and the boyfriend have moved to LA...
Which is where Serena headed, to "find" herself some more, and then "found" a perfectly pleasant-seeming young man whose job -- helping with a screen adaptation of her favorite book -- she also "found." Turns out she has a Gladwellian ability to connect projects to people and people to other people, so her stint as a PR PA wasn't so far off. Also, consider this postmodern touch at the end of Beautiful & Damned in which a Fitzgerald character references a Fitzgerald novel inside another Fitzgerald novel, and telescope it to here:
"You know these new novels make me tired. My God! Everywhere I go some silly girl asks me if I've read This Side of Paradise. Are our girls really like that? If it's true to life, which I don't believe, the next generation is going to the dogs. I'm sick of all this shoddy realism."
The book (collected for publication and immediately filmed in 1922) is about finding a reason to live, a vocation: What do you do with yourself when you have nothing to do? A question Nate and Serena -- in particular, of the five leads -- have been asking for four years now, with never anything so much as a big question mark as follow-up. But maybe that'll change this year.