Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.
This week on Gossip Girl, we have another one of Josh Schwartz’s favorite events – the cotillion/debutante ball. On “The O.C.”, this evening ended with someone getting punched in the face (I’m looking at you, Jimmy Cooper), and I have high hopes for this evening to end the same way. At this time, I’d like to nominate Nate. Besides that tantalizing possibility, this episode is also full of various manipulative/nefarious plots, so let’s dive in and figure out who are the puppets and who are holding the strings.
We open with Blair and Serena heading over to dance practice for the ball. Blair reveals she’s going with some douche named Prince Theodore. She makes what I think is a very disturbing Princess Diana reference, when she says she’s excited that the night may end with a high speed chase to the Pierre Hotel. Yes, death is … awesome? And on top of that, the New York Times has selected her for its “A Night Out With…” feature, and she plans to give them the most exciting night of the year. Somehow I expect it’s going to end up with her on her back, and not the kind of article she was counting on. We find out that Serena’s not going to the ball, but she’s meeting Dan at the practice anyway so she can introduce him to her grandmother who will be there.
Meanwhile, Nate and Upchuck are also on their way to dance practice and talking about the debutante ball. Nate asks Chuck if he knows whom Blair is going with, and Chuck asks if Nate is having sex fantasies about Blair. No Chuck, that’s just you. Nate mentions that Blair’s seemed happier and less bitchy lately, and Chuck barely hides his pride at what a few bangings can bring about. He also appears to check out a random guy walking past them (?). Conveniently forgetting his undying love for Serena, Nate admits that he might miss Blair, and Chuck tries to distract him with a shiny object. It works.
At the dance studio, the teens begin practicing the formal dances the event requires. We see Blair with the Prince, and he’s as much of a douche as predicted, with long, wavy hair like he’s going to shoot a romance novel cover after this. Chuck and Nate meanwhile are with some randoms -surprisingly not the minions – and both boys eye Blair and Prince Douche as they whirl around.
Serena spots Dan and Jenny arriving, and scurries over excitedly. Lily joins them after a few moments, bitching about how she’s on the committee with Serena’s grandmother, even though her own daughter isn’t participating. As Lily complains, Jenny stares longingly at the dancers until Lily finally climbs out of her self-absorption to suggest that Jenny volunteer to help run the ball. Jenny tries to decline at first because of her fight with Blair, but when Lily insists Jenny says she’ll check with her parents and get back to her.
Grandmama CeCe arrives – who’s had extensive work to make it look like she popped out Lily at age 8 – and immediately proves her relation to Serena by asking where the booze is. Lily practically spits in her mother’s face before excusing herself. Now that is a loving mother-daughter relationship. CeCe gives Dan and Serena a little shit about not going to the ball, but doesn’t make too big of a deal out of it despite her own great involvement. Afterwards, she sidles up to Lily to ask if Dan is related to Rufus, which Lily confirms before escaping again.
We jump from the dance practice to Chuck and Blair rolling around on her bed, making out. Yay, I’m glad to see that their ball dates are just a cover. Chuck mildly teases her about Prince Douche, but she reminds him that she can’t date Chuck openly because they don’t want Nate to find out. At that exact moment, Blair’s maid calls that Nate has arrived to talk to her. Blair looks stunned and then intrigued, while Chuck flops back in defeat. Dude, just glue a mirror on the bottom of a pool and be done with it.
After pulling herself together, Blair heads downstairs to meet Nate. He immediately tells her that he can’t stop thinking about her and how they have planned for years to go to the ball together. As Nate pouts attractively, Chuck edges forward on the balcony to listen. Nate asks her to go with him to the ball instead, and plays his trump card, revealing both a pin Blair had once attached to his sweater so he’d always have her heart on his sleeve, and the fact that Blair does not understand common idioms. It does its trick, and she agrees to go to the ball with Nate “as friends.” Upstairs, Chuck begins smoking a joint to numb the pain.
Jenny arrives at the gallery to ask Rufus if she can go to the ball. She spins it as a charity event – true, girls will be giving it up for free that night – and says that even though it’s the same night as Mrs. Humps’ art show, she can do both. Rufus flatly refuses, and Jenny turns to leave, pissed. She bumps into Mrs. Humps on they way out, who excitedly offers Jenny a pair of vintage black heels she bought for her. Jenny snottily informs her that she wouldn’t be caught dead in someone’s old shoes. I know the point here is to show that Jenny’s going to the dark side, but I totally agree with her on used, sweat-stained funky shoes. Why not just offer her some used panties next time, mom?
At the hotel, Lily tells CeCe that Serena’s adamant about not going to the ball, just like Lily didn’t go herself, so there’s no use trying to get her to change her mind. CeCe says she doesn’t give a shit about the ball, and reveals that the reason she came back is because the doctors found something in her lungs. From what we already know about this woman, I’m really surprised it’s not in her liver. Either the writers are being inconsistent, or this old hag’s up to something. Sure enough, she goes on to say that her dying wish is to see Serena debut (even though she doesn’t care about the ball?), and Lily tearfully agrees. Crafty old crone, I’m telling you.
Nate’s in the process of buying a fugly tux, telling the snooty clerk that he has to wait for Blair to arrive before it has final approval. Blair rushes in late, with bed head and smelling of sperm, and immediately begins flirting with Chuck over texts while Nate babbles about the logistics of the ball. He finally realizes she’s not listening, but before he can find out who she’s texting, she tries to dash off without even commenting on his outfit, which is very un-Blair-like. She leaves, and Nate stares after her, confused and annoyed. As Gossip Girl tells us, Natey-poo didn’t realize what a good thing he had till it’s gone.
Lily and Jenny are strolling around the shoe department in a ritzy store, and Lily’s asking Jenny if she’s sure Rufus doesn’t mind that they’re now BFFs and Jenny’s going to the ball. Jenny lies and says he’s totally down with it. Is it just me, or is it totally weird the way these two are hanging out? I know Jenny was supposed to call Lily about whether she could volunteer, but how did that become cruising the mall together? Did Jenny just ask her brother’s girlfriend’s mom/father’s ex-lover to take her to the big-girl stores? I don’t know what’s weirder – Jenny supposedly doing that, or Lily supposedly agreeing. Anyway, turns out that Mrs. Humps is there too, buying fancy new shoes for Jenny with money she must have earned giving hand jobs to homeless people. I don’t like this woman, but this is a sweet gesture especially considering what a bitch Jenny was to her last time.
Mrs. Humps sees Lily with her daughter, and approaches them with a shocked look on her face. Lily tries to cover the awkward moment by thanking Mrs. Humps for letting Jenny go to the ball, which simultaneously shows that Jenny was planning on ditching Mrs. Humps’ art show, and that her so-called charity event is actually a debutante’s ball. Hurt and humiliated, Mrs. Humps says it’s no problem and quickly leaves the store without buying the expensive shoes, refusing Jenny’s offer of coming with her.
Serena and Dan arrive at Blair’s for a luncheon, talking about how Serena’s now going to the ball (having given in to the dying grandmother ploy as long as she can “be herself”), but Dan won’t be escorting her because of the art show. CeCe spots them and approaches, bringing with her that Carter kid who screwed over Nate at that poker game. Only this time, he’s showered and no longer wearing flea-covered ponchos. Upgrade. CeCe refers to Dan as Serena’s “friend” and announces that Carter will be taking Serena at the ball, since he’d make a much more proper escort anyway.
The four of them sit down with Lily, Blair and the minions, and CeCe orders a new drink from a servant, saying she doesn’t like her ice to get lonely. I’m so using that the next time I go out. Everyone but Serena and Dan begins to kiss Carter’s ass, oohing and ahhing over his legendary exploits and his return to mooching off his rich mommy and daddy. It’s clear here that CeCe wants to have some Carter loving, but since she’s too dried up, Serena’s a good second choice. Carter agrees with CeCe that he’s learned the errors of his ways – but then adds that they weren’t all errors, and winks at Serena, who lowers her eyes. Oh Serena, Serena, whose pants haven’t you gotten in? It’s clear though in this scene that Dan has become quite intimidated. Man up, Humphrey.
Jenny’s at home trying on a dress, when Mrs. Humps walks in to self-righteously lecture her. Jenny snaps that if she hadn’t returned, her stupid art show wouldn’t be in the way of the ball. Umm, Jenny, you’re the moron who brought Mrs. Humps back. None of us are happy with you about that. Mrs. Humps finally loses it, and announces that Jenny will attend the art show, and then be grounded. Jenny shrieks indignantly. You got busted cheating on your mom, shut up. I honestly don’t know which one of them is more ridiculous.
Nate’s back to talking Chuck’s ear off about Blair’s strange behavior, and admits he thinks she’s seeing someone else. This gives Nate a hard-on, for he evidently is only interested in what he can’t have. Fickle bitch. He finally asks Chuck to find out who the asshole is, and a shocked Chuck exclaims “me?!” which is a pretty amusing double entendre. Once he gets over the shock though, Chuck realizes that this assignment has some interesting possibilities.
Back at Blair’s, CeCe corners Dan to give him the rude “you don’t belong here” speech that Lily came thisclose to giving him in the first few episodes. It’s got all the whammys in there – he dresses wrong, he doesn’t speak their language, he has bad teeth (okay that one was me). She goes as far as to call him a charity case and a cocktail party anecdote, and finally suggests that he just turn tail and sneak out. It’s a pretty awesome speech, and proves that this woman is already cold and she ain’t in the ground yet. Dan just stands there silently and takes it, but before he can respond, Serena runs up and asks what’s going on. Smoothly, Dan replies that he just became her escort for the ball, and Serena squeals happily while CeCe narrows her cataracts at him. Game on, hag.
Can I just say here that I can’t fucking stand Rachael Ray? Her Dunkin Donuts commercials are constant throughout this episode. Way to sell out to a fast food chain that primarily sells fried dough, you untalented twit. And the way she shrieks out of one side of her mouth like she’s had a stroke? HATE. And don’t get me started on the Giada chick who thinks cleavage is a necessary ingredient in all recipes. Whew, I feel better now.
Okay, back to the show. Blair is meeting with a guy from the NYT when Chuck strolls in to overhear her gushing about Nate. Jealous, Chuck begins talking about how Nate ruined her birthday, and Blair stomps on him with her Manolos to get him to shut up. Perplexed, the reporter leaves, and the happy couple bitches at each other for a few minutes before Blair announces Carter’s on his way over to retrieve his jacket. This pisses Chuck off even more – remember, he was jealous of the way Carter wooed Nate and then screwed him over – and she kicks him out.
CeCe is trying a new tack, and has now gone directly to Rufus. She gives him the same lecture she gave Dan, and offers to buy all the art in the gallery in exchange for Rufus preventing Dan from escorting Serena. This would be enough money for the Humphreys to take that dream vacation to Coney Island, since I’m estimating the worth of Mrs. Hump’s paintings at five bucks each, tops. Although Dan’s attendance at the ball is news to Rufus, he tells her to eff off, his answer implying that she tried to buy him off before when he was dating Lily. She shrugs and says she’ll just buy off Serena like she bought off Lily – revealing that she made Lily choose between Rufus and her inheritance, and Lily chose the solid gold sheets.
Dan’s getting ready for the ball when Rufus storms in. Expecting a grounding or worse over skipping the art show, Dan begins apologizing while Rufus begins grooming his son like a gorilla picks out bugs. Dan asks what’s going on, and the two men trade CeCe horror stories before Rufus sends his son out to kick CeCe in her gouty legs. When Dan arrives at Serena’s, he immediately tells her that CeCe is a manipulative old hag instead of waiting until he got her out the door at least. Talk about premature ejaculation (uh oh, Serena, this doesn’t bode well for the bedroom). Even though Dan has never been anything but trustworthy, Serena won’t believe him, and tearfully asks him to leave. CeCe, hovering in the background, suggests that it’s time to call Carter. And the score is now even.
Chuck is skulking in his limo as usual, spying on Carter strolling down the street outside Blair’s. He uses his phone to capture a video of Carter and sends it to Gossip Girl. A short while later, the video’s gone public, and Nate thinks that it means that Blair’s dating Carter. Well played, Chuck. Nate’s pissed that someone else has his toy, and Chuck swiftly convinces him that Carter needs a beat down.
The ball has finally started, and Serena is standing with Carter, Blair and the minions when she realizes that someone changed her bio blurb that’ll be read when she makes her formal entrance. Instead of talking about teaching English to foreign children and ending world hunger and shit, it now lists her goals as those of a vapid, rich housewife. She thinks Lily changed it, but we saw earlier that it was only after CeCe manipulated Lily into it. Serena’s hella pissed, and Carter takes the blurb and makes a few adjustments we’re not privy to. Jenny’s also at the ball, having decided that if her brother gets to go, she gets to go – only she didn’t tell anybody. I’m sure it’s totally worth it though. Being a volunteer looks super fun, as Blair threatens to go Naomi Campbell on one poor girl’s ass.
Nate and Chuck arrive, and Nate asks Chuck what Carter is doing there. Chuck explains that Carter’s using Serena as his cover, but says now’s not the time to deliver the beat-down as the guys take their places in line. Nate however can’t resist the urge to get in Carter’s face and vaguely threaten him and generally look not at all menacing. If I were Carter, I just would have pointed at Nate’s outfit and said, “Look at your powder-gray tux, bitch. Don’t you belong in the servants’ line?”
The girls begin ascending the staircase one by one, as their bios are read aloud by Estelle Costanza. But when they get to Serena, Estelle proudly announces Serena hopes to the whore of as many billionaires as possible before settling down, before realizing what she’s saying and shutting up. Lily is mortified, especially as Serena sarcastically curtsies in her direction. CeCe remains as expressionless as a statue, albeit with a little trembling. Whether that’s rage or the gout, I’m not sure.
After the presentation of girls, the couples begin to twirl around the floor while two singers perform an eerie modern dance on the stage. Nate’s staring daggers at Carter the whole time, and when the couples have to switch partners, Carter and Blair wind up together. Carter says something random and innocent to Blair, and Chuck quickly whispers in Nate’s ear that Carter plans to give Blair a golden shower. Pathetic, easily manipulated Nate storms over to Carter and punches him in the face. Missing plot thread – you’d think that NYT reporter would be all over that rich boy brawl action. He must have had to go cover a story about a kitten with two tails or something.
The elders are outraged, but Blair merely wails that her dress got torn. She hobbles to the sidelines, and finds Jenny about to leave in an attempt to sneak into the art show before her parents notice her absence. Blair insists that Jenny help her fix the dress (remember, Jenny is quite the little Betsy Ross with a sewing machine… even though I doubt she currently has one shoved in any orifice), and even promises to forgive everything if Jenny agrees. Jenny, of course, does. See, she and Nate are perfect for each other – spineless and stupid.
Serena goes to confront Lily about the change in her bio, and accuses her mother of only caring about how Serena makes Lily look to others. As Lily eyes CeCe in the background, Serena continues with her accusations, which of course directly mirror how Lily feels about CeCe. But before Lily can get the balls to tell Serena that it’s CeCe doing the dirty work, Serena flounces off to take care of Carter. Turns out they did hook up once before, and as they chat, Serena finds out that CeCe arranged to have Carter escort Serena over a week ago – convinced that she could somehow change Serena’s mind about going. Ruh-roh.
Dan, back at his mom’s art show, receives a mysterious phone call and ducks out to find Lily waiting for him on the street. Lily proceeds to tell Dan that since Serena started dating him, Serena’s become a lot more boring, err, I mean, responsible, and she thinks Serena and Dan are a great couple that should be together. Dan’s like, gee Mrs. VDW, that’s sure swell of you, and she convinces him to come back with her to the ball. I’ve never been to New York, so I’m not positive, but how realistic is it for Lily to go running from the UES to Brooklyn and back in the span of what seems to be 30 minutes, tops? I’m thinking as likely as them killing off Vanessa in the next episode. Sigh.
At the ball, Chuck asks Blair to dance, and when she asks where Nate is, he says that Nate got thrown out for throwing punches. Blair recognizes the gloating look on Chuck’s face, and quickly pieces his whole scheme together, accusing him of plotting it all for his own enjoyment, and of not caring that it ruined her night. She tries to run away, and he grabs at her to keep her from leaving. Furious, she declares their affair over, refusing to let him explain he did it all to throw Nate off the scent (and get some handy revenge on Carter while he was at it).
CeCe approaches Serena, saying she got the bio changed back for the official publication. Serena bitterly tells her that she stood up for CeCe when Dan called her a meddling old hag, and asks if CeCe’s even sick. CeCe finally admits that was all a lie, as we suspected, and giggles over it while making some lame sexist excuse about the place of women. Serena insists things are different these days, and seeing Dan appear behind Serena, CeCe reluctantly agrees. Dan and Serena silently move to the dance floor and twirl and kiss, clearly made up. Anyone else tired of this pattern, with them having a misunderstanding and making up practically each and every episode?
Chuck bounds up the stairs of the ball, in search of Blair, when he spots her swapping spit with Nate and cooing about how hot it was to watch him punch Carter. Blair is oblivious to Chuck’s presence, but Nate looks up and creepily winks at his friend. Oh well, Chuck gets the last laugh on that one when Nate realizes that he’s not exactly about to venture into uncharted territory. In fact, Chuck’s got a whole atlas he can borrow in his limo.
Jenny finally makes it to the gallery, and finds it completely empty except for Mrs. Humps. She apologizes, and Mrs. Humps says that every choice Jenny makes determines what kind of woman she’s going to be. Just like when mommy chose to cheat on daddy, she made herself a hypocritical whore. She tells Jenny to look inside herself and see if she likes the person she’s becoming. Boring, that’s what you’re becoming. Do something interesting for the love of God. And seriously Mrs. Humps, keep your trap shut on the advice.
Rufus calls Lily, tells her about CeCe’s little visit earlier, and over Lily’s protests announces he never should have let her let him go, and then hangs up. As Lily stands there, dazed, she sees Dan and Serena kissing and acting very much in love, and she exchanges a fond smile with Serena as the happy couple heads out the door. There’s something a little ick here about the way Lily is clearly projecting her relationship with Rufus onto Dan and Serena, but I’ll let it slide for it truly is a romantic moment.
The episode ends with its usual montages of images set to Gossip Girl’s narration. Blair and Nate, definitely looking like they’re having sex and Blair not looking anything like a virgin – not like pretty boy would notice. Chuck, running away from his troubles – goddamnit stay and fight you little wuss – and to the airport. And CeCe, actually very ill, with a bag full of prescription medicines and a shaking hand. Wow, I admit it, that shocked me. Score one for Gossip Girl.
So what did you guys think? Were you as surprised that CeCe is really sick as I was? Where is Chuck going and how much do you hope he returns by the next episode? Is Blair on a slut spiral, and which of the two boys really has her heart? And is anyone else up for more Nate as long as he remains shirtless? See you in two weeks!