This was the best Gossip Girl of the season so far, even though it had one of the worst possible outcomes. Yes, there is the big Chuck Bass man-on-man kiss. But that’s only a small part of the episode. Everyone lies and manipulates because they are afraid to be honest with their friends, lovers and families.
Blair Manipulates Chuck And Vanessa
Blair has an All About Eve inspired nightmare about Vanessa stealing her thunder. This is important because we get to see Chuck and Blair in sepia tones. Leighton Meester and Ed Westwick have got to be two of the best looking people on earth. The source of Blair’s anxiety is the competition for who will get to give the toast as the freshman parents’ dinner. Vanessa is selected. I think it must be an honor for the student with the worst hair extensions. It turns out that the alumnus who is choosing the winner, Josh Ellis, wanted movie star Olivia all along. When she returns to New York, he offers it to her. Blair persuades Vanessa that she should manipulate Dan into keeping her from attending the banquet instead of just telling Olivia she wants to make the toast.
Blair convinces Chuck to reprise their kinky summer game with Josh as the target. Chuck is fine with hitting on a guy, saying it will only take him five minutes. Chuck was bi in the books, so this is consistent. Josh’s gay flirtation: asking Chuck where he gets his haircut. He leans in for an all too brief kiss before Blair does her scorned woman act and chases him out of the bar. Once they’re outside, Josh gloats, “Number 27 on the Tribeca scavenger hunt. Kiss Chuck Bass.” Blair is now giving the toast. OMG! Blair just lied to Chuck for absolutely no reason. He would have been happy to make out with Josh for Blair’s sake.
Vanessa Manipulates Dan and Olivia
Vanessa convinces Dan that he should take Olivia on a casual date instead of introducing her to Rufus at the freshman dinner. Vanessa’s Mom Gabriella, played by the awesome Gina Torres of Firefly, comes to town to watch Vanessa make her toast. She is a hilarious caricature of judgmental liberalism. Gabriella goes on a rant about how terrible Olivia is because she is famous. No, she is terrible because she is played by Hilary Duff. When Olivia calls Vanessa to find out why Dan changed their plans, she ascribes Gabriella’s anti-Hollywood attitude to Rufus and Lily. Olivia, miffed that Dan is ashamed to introduce her to his parents, persuades him to take her to the banquet.
Nate Manipulates Serena
Nate persuades Serena that they can pay off Carter’s debts by beating PJ Buckley in a high stakes poker game. Somehow, Serena is a card shark from spending a summer in Monte Carlo as a child. I suppose it’s no more improbable than her being Tyra Banks’ publicist. Nate stakes Serena 25 grand. She loses the first round, but ups the stakes to Carter’s debt. Nate offers up a photo of his politician cousin Tripp with a bong in return. PJ wins the hand. Nate seems despondent that he has destroyed his cousin’s career. Serena blames herself until she overhears him telling his grandfather that the photo was fake and he has the real one. He explains to Serena that he did everything to make the Buckleys looks bad. He doesn’t care about Carter. Did Nate steal Chuck’s brain this episode? Or is the Ivy League making him smarter? Serena doubles crosses Nate and warns PJ the picture is a fake. She tells Carter she settled his debt. Instead of being grateful, Carter is upset she fought his battles and leaves her.
The Most Improbable Gossip Girl Gala Ever
At the improbably formal freshman dinner, Blair tells Vanessa she’s no longer the toastmistress. Olivia is a total famewhore bitch to Rufus and Lily to prove a point to Dan. Dan and Olivia realize Vanessa played both of them. Olivia tells Vanessa that she would have been happy to give up the toast if she had been honest. I am so sick of Olivia’s saintliness. Vanessa’s mother overhears her saying she wishes Rufus and Lily were her parents. Ouch. Gabriella thinks NYU has corrupted Vanessa. She’s right. Vanessa uses a strategically placed microphone when she confronts Blair about her treachery. The entire gala overhears Blair making snobby remarks about Vanessa. Chuck is devastated to hear that Blair tricked him. Olivia gets to deliver the toast after all. I hate that Vanessa outsmarted Blair. She’s Vanessa!
Blair begs Chuck’s forgiveness. He is not willing to let Blair off the hook. I wait for Dan and Olivia to let Vanessa have it, but it does not happen because she gets away with everything. I guess we are supposed to be sympathetic because she lost her Mom’s respect. That is not enough for me. She is no better than Blair and I wish the show would acknowledge how much Vanessa sucks.
Don’t tell me it was Charade again. I know how terrifying you find Walter Matthau. – Chuck
I know how little you respect the people you manipulate. – Chuck, to Blair
Vanessa Abrams is a tired cliche from the 718. – Blair
She is a two quadrant speaker. Is it smart to lose everone over 25 on parents weekend? -Blair, on Olivia
You really think I never kissed a guy before? – Chuck, to Blair after kissing Josh
When will you learn? Some people are simply better than others. – Blair to Vanessa
My dinner canceled. He had to fly home. Something about a revolution. – Chuck
Where did you learn how to give a pep talk? Guantanamo? – Blair, to Lily