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.