It took half a season, but Gossip Girl has finally figured out that there is life after high school — provided that life is not college. Writing all of its college-aged characters as 35 year olds works brilliantly.
This episode was one of the strongest in the entire series, concerning extra-marital affairs, grappling with the death of a parent, and political scandals. You know, typical college freshman stuff.
We open with Serena and Tripp driving down a rural highway. He tells her he loves her. She responds that everything is ruined. Suddenly, three wolves appear in the middle of the road. I wait for them to transform themselves into shirtless Taylor Lautner. Instead, Tripp swerves to avoid them. The car crashes. Then we flash back to a much simpler time, twelve hours earlier.
Ghost of Daddy Issues Past
It’s the anniversary of Bart Bass’s death. Chuck pretends he is not upset, but Blair knows better. “You, Chuck Bass, are not your father,” she assures him. Unfortunately, Chuck’s conscience thinks that is a bad thing. He is, literally, haunted by visions of a disapproving Dear Old Dad throughout the episode. He has a vision of Bart giving him advice as he considers buying a building currently used as a homeless shelter, which is a little on the nose. Be less obvious, show. Ghost Bart tells Chuck he does not have what it takes to succeed him. Opening his heart to Blair has made him weak and soft. Blair asks him to let her in, saying he’s changed. Bart appears again. After a stern look from his Dad, Chuck decides to buy the building and throw the homeless people out in the street. Bart says there’s hope for him yet. Blair asks Lily for advice, revealing Chuck has never gone to visit his mother’s grave because Bart would not tell him where she was buried. Evil? Or foreshadowing? Lily asks Chuck to come to Bart’s grave with her. He refuses, saying work is the way to honor his father.
The It Bag
Jenny gets the new ‘It Bag.’ One of her minions, Sawyer, has the same one. Jenny kicks her out of the clique. It turns out it was all part of Eric’s plan. Jenny gifts the other minions with the bag, claiming the reason she was upset with Sawyer is because she ruined the surprise. Eric wonders where she got the money for that many designer purses. In the aftermath of the car accident, Eric and Jenny make up. Then she heads off to sell Ecstasy with her Eurotrash diplomat date.
Rufus Is the Worst Husband Ever
Lily is dealing with the anniversary of Bart’s death by going on a cleaning binge. She refers to Serena as a teenage Rielle Hunter. Ha. That is spot on. She asks Rufus to sub for her at the co-op meeting. Rufus seems blissfully unaware of what day it is. What a lousy spouse. At the co-op meeting, a gorgeous multiracial woman subtly snarks on his lack of a career, implying he’s a trophy husband. Oh, he’s no prize.
Lady Macbeth Reincarnated
Serena and Tripp have retreated to the Vanderbilt cottage. Tripp is excited that Barney Frank has asked him to serve on the finance subcommitee. Ha! Tripp tells Serena he needs to meet with his grandmother when he is actually meeting with Maureen. Maureen proposes keeping up the appearance of married life while he sleeps with Serena in private, so she can achieve her goal of being a powerful politician’s wife. Maureen is one of the best villains this show has ever had because she is solely motivated by the desire to achieve her goals, not to get revenge or be the Queen Bee. Maureen visits Serena, revealing she has the letter revealing that Lily and Serena’s Dad met in a hotel room. She threatens to ruin Lily and Rufus’s marriage. She may be overestimating how much Serena cares about her mother’s latest husband. Nate tells Serena that his grandfather is in Bermuda and Tripp was lying to her. Serena calls Lily and tells her about the letter. Lily, who seems to be over the whole kicking Serena out of the house thing, says she will tell Rufus everything. When Serena confronts Tripp, he can not deny lying to her. He begs her for a chance to explain. She tells him she’ll accept a ride back to town but doesn’t want to talk. We again see them swerve to avoid the three dogs of the apocalypse. Serena is unconscious and bleeding. Tripp is fine. He calls Maureen for help. Nate arrives at the scene. The police are already there. Serena is on a gurney. Tripp is gone. What an ass. He’ll make a great congressman.
Dan Continues to Have Far Too Many Sexual Options
Vanessa invites Dan to join her, her new boyfriend Paul, and her friend Willa at a country house for the weekend. Nate persuades him to go for it. I like Nate as the Girl Whisperer. Willa shows Dan a video of her nude performance art piece. I wonder if she read James Franco’s op ed. Dan ends their make-out session because he can’t take Willa’s gold lame shirt, er, the fact that she’s not Vanessa. But looking at that ugly shirt may have rendered me barren. He gets a call about the car accident and calls Blair who calls Chuck. Yes! I love it when all the characters on the show come together, even if it’s because Serena is a pretty princess whose life matters more than everyone else’s. At the hospital, Dan tells Vanessa he loves her. She thinks he’s saying it out of stress.
Bart taunts Chuck for abandoning his business meeting as he heads to the accident. At the crash scene, Nate confronts Tripp, who lamely says he called 911. Maureen insists she is Tripp’s alibi. Serena will look like the driver and, with her history of reckless behavior, nobody will question it. Someday Maureen will make a great secretary of state. Tripp says he wants to see Serena. The suddenly awesome Nate decks him. I hope Serena realizes how lucky she is that he still wants her.
Maureen gives Rufus the letter out of what seems like genuine sympathy for his plight. Lily returns home to find the letter in a table. Rufus has drinks with the hot woman from the co-op.
At the hospital, Chuck recalls Serena taking him to see Bart in the hospital after the car accident. Lily tells him there’s nothing they can do. In the best scene of the episode, Blair finds him fighting tears. Chuck tells her that he was weak when it mattered most. He left his father’s side when he was dying and has been fighting to prove him wrong ever since. Ed Westwick is so good here. If there were any justice, he would receive some critical recognition for his work. Blair thinks he ran because he couldn’t handle having feelings but is now strong and is becoming a man in way that his father never was. Aww…. These two have one of the most mature, honest relationships on television. She takes Chuck to Bart’s grave site. I feel a couple of tears in my eyes. A woman is laying a bouquet of yellow roses — his mother’s favorite flower — on the grave. She disappears but leaves yellow roses and a watch behind. Is she A) his not-so-dead mother? B) a con artist? C) some other relative? D) another one of Chuck’s hallucinations? GG has given us the mother of all cliffhangers before going on hiatus.