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Gossip Girl Recap: Episode 4, "The Ex-Files"

Gossip Girl Rundown: Episode Four, "The Ex-Files"

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.

More to discuss, just


  • 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

Join The Conversation
that Niar martini thing was just mean. altough, I kinda saw it coming. And that Amanda chick was possibly the worst actress I've ever seen! Serena is the new "Queen B". This is gonna be a very interesting story line.
pimprenelle pimprenelle 8 years
This season is officially getting better and better. Good riddance of the lord and the duchess, I thought they both really sucked. The shitty fake english accent didn't help, obv. I'm so happy Serena is finally starting to be more like Serena in the books! I HATED how Josh Schwartz was like 'yeah we changed Serena from the way she was in the books cause we wanted her to be this positive character, all about redemption and trying to be better'. How PC and lame. Gossip Girl is really not about being appropriate or showing a good example for kids. I think it is very representative of the life of real kids, at least in big cities. I know France is different, but I'm pretty sure being a teen in NY is not that much different from being a teen in Paris. So yea, hurray for Serena's return. I hated how whiny she was getting. Oh and Dan need to be slapped in his self-righteous ass face. I wish Jenny would get back in the competition and show those mean girls that she can hold her own. It might happen, who knows. Now if only Chuck could stop getting hotter and hotter in every episode. It is awfully distracting.
Lucky-in-Love Lucky-in-Love 8 years
I loved when Dan told Chuck he should wear a bell and Chuck replies "Hmm, kinky, I'll think about it..." His delivery of that line made me laugh out loud. He is perfection.
reesiecup reesiecup 8 years
it's just too good! i can't wait to see the fight scene between blair and serena. i hope serena does eventually see how much blair's done for her in the past season.
reesiekitty reesiekitty 8 years
Oh! And what is up with Rufus? Lol- he was going to see Repo Man!! And Lily was so desperate for company she wanted to go with him!! Did anyone else just want to tell Lily to go back home to her empty bed that SHE made herself and LIE IN IT?? Seriously, I just don't think Lily would be quite that pathetic and show up on the doorstep like that. Rufus actually scored points in my book for turning her down. Of course he did have the hoittie mystery chick waiting in the wings. And hey- no weird Vanessa/Rufus vibe stuff this week. I was sort of curious to see if anything actually happened there. But I guess Rufus is too much of a gentleman and a Humphery to do anything with his kids' best friend. I want to see Lily doing her own thing- Rufus certainly is!
reesiekitty reesiekitty 8 years
This episode was really fun. And although Dan was totally clueless in asking out a girl on the first day back to school and ACTING all " what? what did I do?" about it- it was totally realistic! He is young and discovered sex and Serena did not just automatically get back together with him and here's this other kind of cute, brainy girl, so.... sure! let's go out! It's totally how a real guy would think. I loved Little J- didn't like her much last season, but here, she was right on the money telling Dan that he was being mean to Serena- she has made a project of watching these girls and how they think- Dan should have listened to her. I don't think Queen S will go after Little J, as long as J is still pals with her brother. Poor Vanessa... she is so completely out of her league here. But yeah, there is no reason why she WOULD know how to deal with the complex English lord/cougar/blackmail/ wants to get it on with Nate, but has to act like his friend situation. I actually felt kind of sorry for her, she was so not getting how things work. Blair's rage was priceless though- especially when she told Nate to 'hold that non-thought' or whatever. I laughed out loud, it was so true. Actually if cluelessness is compatibility, Nate and Vanessa would be totally perfect for each other. I thought Serena's behavior ( obsessing over seeing Dan, etc) was totally believable. Even the whole " now you and your new girl and I will go out publicly so everyone will see how cool we are with it' - although any reasonable person could see that train wreck coming from a mile down the track- it is EXACTLY the kind of dumb, noble, self-sacrificing thing you would do to show how big-hearted you are and how little you care about your ex's new gal. Chuck, Chuck, Chuck... I hope the Lord sticks around just long enough for Chuck to punch him. I am wondering how B's demotion back to #2 Lady in Waiting will influence Chuck. Blair's look of semi-shock at seeing the old Queen S back and getting the pity scarf was just great. And, for the record, I dig it that Nelly Yuki is still around. She kind of grew on me- who knows? Maybe she kind of grew on the in girls too.
alikat07 alikat07 8 years
It was a good show! I'm glad Dan & Serena are over... I was sick of their "issues." I'd feel sorry for Dan if he wasn't so full of himself and so convinced he's always on the moral high ground. Serena tried to apologize all the time, but he never accepted or tried to see things her way. Unfortunately this situation is not going to bring about any realizations for him... just justify his moral smugness. I felt bad for Jenny - she was annoying last season, but I'm really liking her this season so far (the little they've shown). I hope that they show more of her, and that she can thwart the school bullies. I hate the cronies that hang around Blair & Serena. How cant they stand those brats?
vivaciousv1114 vivaciousv1114 8 years
Dan was so freaking annoying in this episode. He needs to get off his high horse. He was just so self righteous. And Vanessa was annoying too. They both need to get over themselves. I felt so bad for Blair. I'm not sure what's going to happen next. I have the feeling that either she's going to shut down Serena quickly or let her insecurities get in her way. Either way I think that maybe her bulimia problem may come back into play soon. And of course Chuck was properly devious in his totally hot way. :D I loved him in this episode. However, I don't think he's learned his lesson yet. But he will if he wants Blair back.
tulipsaki tulipsaki 8 years
What I don't understand is how Blair and Serena were ever friends in the first place, if Blair is so into being Queen Bee, and Serena has been the Queen before?
LoveSarah LoveSarah 8 years
Ugh, I Love that Herve Leger dress. And as some one else said, I would love a Chuck Bass, too :D
couture-yourself couture-yourself 8 years
I love, love, loved this week's episode. I didn't want it to end!! I'm excited for Queen Serena...except I know it's going to interfere with her friendship with Blair, which is really one of my favorite parts. I hope Serena gets Dan back so badly. Seriously, asking a girl out their fist day back to school, a bit mean. He got on my nerves. It broke my heart when Blair found out about Marcus & the Duchess (even though it was a "duh" thing), because she seemed genuinely hurt. But, I loved her revenge. It pissed me off that Vanessa had to go mess it up, I really didn't like her in this episode...although, it was unfair of Nate to get so mad at her...she really was only trying to help. Ugh. That Amanda girl annoyed me to no end...even before finding out she was involved with Chuck's little plan. I couldn't believe they were all out at the bar drinking! That's crazy to me!! The things never-ending amount of $$ gets you ;-) I was also shocked at how utterly demonic these girls are! It's unbelievable.
sbtroxel sbtroxel 8 years
i love bad serena but i love blair and serena as friends too so i know that will get messed up then resolved but still im a blair fan all the way. Also i hope jenny has something good happen to her. I love this season and show
aoitenshi aoitenshi 8 years
I love good Serena and bad Serena - I can't choose! Of course Serena's going to be a different Queen Bee from Blair. They have different personalities, and it would be boring if they acted the same way. I still want Serena to get back with Dan though, eventually.
kia kia 8 years
I love Chuck Bass, he is so delicious with his personality. The only thing I am shuddering at is the thought of Serena going after Little J at any point. That will be doubly evil to that little sophomore. Or if Serena turns her back on Eric.
Swen Swen 8 years
this was one of the best episodes ever. now i cant wait for more drama!!
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Actually, a text to one of my friends last night read: "I so want a Herve Leger. Also a Chuck Bass."
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
Can I just say how much I want a Herve Leger dress? They're so fabulous.
popcorn19 popcorn19 8 years
I LOVE it!! One of the best episodes in a while!!!!
sarahstella sarahstella 8 years
nevermind. it's splendid.
sarahstella sarahstella 8 years
is the white tee serena wears under the vest with her plaid skirt the boyfriend tee from brass plum?
fifafifa fifafifa 8 years
I love smarmy, icky Chuck. Love him and his mad scheming. Blake's acting is soooo bad and stilted, but I'm kinda psyched for a mean queen Serena (though I do actually prefer Blair - she kind of makes her meanness charming in some weird way). Can't believe I'm watching this show...
supertramp supertramp 8 years
I thought it was so good, honestly. I thought nothing good might happen in this episode, like it might just be subtle and it was but in a really amazing way. I thought the whole little Dan & Serena tension was going to get annoying, but then when those followers came it was like oh, here comes the drama. & also when Serena started crying b/c Dan moved on so quickly, " It hurt" It was touching, but then the bitch came out. And when she said "Never again. Next time everything goes through me." I wasn't going to think much of it but then their faces like lit up. OMFG! Marcus and Catherine. Ewww! That was so awful. I felt bad for Blair because she didn't want to get screwed over, but then again she is doing,"A twisted four play" with Chuck as Serena puts it. But freakin Vanessa. OMG! Doesn't she know that when Blair Waldorf says she'll deal with it, that she'll deal with it. I mean I know she was trying to help,but get some commen sense for crying out loud. Now Nate isn't all clear now, but at least Marcus is gone and we can get back to Blair & Chuck. Okay and something is wrong with those girls for being so mad at Jenny "for what she did." She lied about sex, so what? She was trying to help someone, even though she compromised her integrity. Well anyways, I think Serena's Reign may be interesting. I don't think she'll be as Blair though becauase B is more interesting. But when Serena made Blair wear that headscarf thingy, I was just like "Ohhh my gosh"
Advah Advah 8 years
I'm with you Buzz, I'm SO happy we're done with the Dan-Serena romance thing, it was getting properly disgusting. I'm not sure what I think of her as the new Queen B, but at least glad to see she's not whiny anymore! Also super happy the Lord is out, that was a completely boring story-line. Can't wait to see what else Chuck as in mind to get Blair back! And as much as a I hated Little J at the end of season 1, I'm starting to really like her. :) I hope she won't get anything bad...
CYL CYL 8 years
You mean the dress? The scene when she was flirting with the jocks? Its a Herve Leger
brilee23 brilee23 8 years
what brand was the purple shirt that serena wore in the bar? does anyone know? PLEASE let me know :)
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