Amazing how much more entertaining things get when love isn't in the air on Gossip Girl, don't you think? I knew things would get wickedly funnier/better without all that shmoopy Dan and Serena love-fest stuff — and of course it's always best when Chuck and Blair are flirting via scheming instead of actually trying to be together like normal people. All of these nonlovey elements came together to make a pretty dramatic return to school for these Upper East Siders.
We not only went back to school with the gang, but we witnessed the return of the so-called "Bad Serena" we've only heard delicious rumors (and seen scandalous flashbacks) about. This version of our girl appears to be less overtly mean girl than Blair but far more icy and scary. Dan asking a girl out ("Dan with boobs" as Blair describes her) does not help matters. Anyway, there's so much to talk about, so let's get started.
- Yay, Lily's back! And unhappy in her soulless marriage (of course). And she calls Chuck "Charles."
- The Bass-van der Woodsen family breakfasts might become my favorite scenes on the show. I love how Lily sorta listens as Serena and Chuck trade insults but doesn't interject or anything. For example, I'm pretty sure Serena calls Chuck a "unit" (ah, or was it "a eunuch"?) at breakfast this time around.
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- This episode reminded me of all the drinking these kids get away with — at some of the swankiest bars in Manhattan! And they're not even taking it easy with a beer or two — it's all Belvedere Vodka martinis for Serena, which is kind of amazing. I'm trying to think if I even knew what a martini was at 17 years old . . .
- Rufus has his secret new lady friend spend the night at the Humphrey pad and asks Dan to keep it a secret for some reason. Something's going on there. I need to know more about this woman.
- Jenny educates her family (and us) on the first day of school process in which Blair and her crew categorize freshman girls into two groups: projects and victims. I love that this process comes complete with file folders on these girls' lives that Blair somehow has access to.
- Serena and Dan hemming and hawing over running into each other post-breakup was so very dramatic. They were both like, "But what if . . . what if I see her/him?!" To which everyone else basically replies, "You say hi and be nice, duh."
- Of course Blair had the best advice for Serena: "Breakups are easy. It’s having to see them date someone else that’s hard. Why do you think I rub it in Chuck’s face every chance I get?"
- Dan and Serena this episode are a little bit like that chicken/egg conundrum — it's hard to tell what comes first. Does Dan's self-righteousness make Serena feel terrible about herself, therefore pushing her to be conniving and mean? Or is Serena really conniving and mean, therefore pushing Dan to unload a world of self-righteousness?
- Either way, I'm calling this round for Serena — Dan really shouldn't have asked another girl out their first day back. That really was mean. If I were Serena I would have gotten drunk (on maybe, like, a beer. Martinis give me a nasty hangover) and flirted with hot lacrosse players, too, honestly.
- I guess we should have guessed that the Duchess was having sex with Marcus but I was still surprised . . . and then I laughed . . . and then I winced. I winced even more when Marcus talked in his awful British accent about a crackling fire or something or other. Hurray for this storyline coming to an end!
- A Nair martini? Ew! And would it really make hair fall out that quickly? These girls get really, really mean! I was scared for "Dan with Boobs" before I knew she was in cahoots with Chuck, and I'm still scared for poor, tortured Jenny.
What did you think of this episode? Are you prepared for the rise of Queen Serena? Do you like how there's never room for two at the top and so Blair is already on the outs? It strikes me as funny that this whole "queen of the school" thing comes down to the opinions of three background girls who get maybe one line an episode. I'm so curious to hear what you thought!
Photos courtesy of The CW