"Don't worry," Serena says. "You're safe, for now. I wanted to give you the opportunity to fix things. To prove you're not ... who you probably are." I like this plan, actually. It's like the Serena version of a Blair plan. Blair plans are always, "I'm going to throw this cat in the swimming pool and see what people do, and then decide what to do next while everybody's swimming around screaming trying to get away from the cat." And Serena's like, "This is a picture of a cat. How do you feel about that? Okay, now here's a real cat. Oh, you didn't like that? Forget the cat. Here's a picture of a dog." If he'd been like, "Serena, I accidentally stole everybody's money and gave it to Poppy" right now, she'd be sad but she'd help him fix it. She probably wouldn't even break up with him. She provides as many options as possible for everybody to get out alive, which is by far my favorite characteristic in a person.
He tries to explain how sorry he is, and she sighs. "I don't know what you are right now, except a liar and a thief. But you can change one of those by giving the money back." He feels awful, and she insists with her eyes, but he admits he can't do that. She gives Chuck the lightest, quietest nod, and he approaches. "Gabriel, why? If you were just using me, why come back? Why act like you care about me now?" Gabriel doesn't have an answer, but Chuck doesn't need one: "You're not leaving my hotel until you repay your investors. It's your choice. Either you hand over the money or we hand you over to the Feds." He whispers, with fraidycat eyes, that he can't; he would if he could, but Poppy made off with the money.
(Which twist makes me sad only because there's a good thing about Poppy -- Serena not hiding her light under a bushel -- that, even though it only ever caused trouble on this show, is now sort of invalid. Which means that Poppy was really just a lightweight Agnes, pushing Serena to do all sorts of Evil Shit like think for herself and stand up to Blair and Dan. The fire inside Poppy Lifton is a lie, which means that Serena still has not had one single person in the entire world legitimately tell her how wonderful she is. And when people do, it's always men, and when she believes them, they turn out to be lying or otherwise pieces of shit. Georgie was just trying to make her as crazy as she was, and Poppy was doing whatever the hell the script required. And by the same token, the good things about Georgina -- her capacity for change, her desire for redemption -- end up shit on as well, and every time Serena asserts herself she ends up burning everybody, and even Jenny couldn't manage to stand up to Rufus without becoming homeless in the process and eventually running back to him, and Lily's reversing her stances all over the place... So Serena's still an idiot, and any girl who opens her mouth eventually gets it shut again. It's nowhere near as ugly as the Rachel Carr stuff got, and even that turned out okay in the end, but at this point I think only Blair can pull off eventually being a human being. Somebody's got to have a voice and not go crazy in the process, but putting money on Blair Waldorf to do anything without going crazy in the process is ... really long odds.)