Gossip Girl springs back into fine form with an episode that ties together the floundering storylines of the past few weeks. Chuck and Nate scheme to get Serena and Blair back to BFF status. Jenny continues down the path to the Dark Side, owning to her Queen of Constance status at her society debut. And Dan and Olivia’s syrupy sweetness gets an added ingredient in the form of Vanessa.
Things kick off with preparations for the society debut of scads of teenage New York socialites, one of which is Queen J. Seems that Cinderella hasn’t found a suitable Prince Charming to stand with her at her debut, nor dance with her at the cotillion. Self-conscious of her Jenny From the Block Brooklynite status, she deems that no one less than hunky Graham Collins (a heretofore unseen character) will do. After brushing past a slightly dumpy “nobody” named Kira, Eric picks up the slack and talks with the girl who wants nothing more than to be friends with her idol, Jenny. Additionally, she knows Graham Collins and wants to hook him up with Jenny as an “in” into her circle of minions. Eric volunteers to be Kira’s escort to her debut.
Eric, still fuming over his humiliation at the hands of Queen J a few weeks ago, attempts to play nice with Jenny. He offers his own boyfriend, Jonathan, as her debutante escort, citing that he comes from the prestigious Whitney family and will make her look good. Indebted to her step-bro, Jenny accepts. Meanwhile, Eric intercepts a text message from Graham Collins who offers to escort Jenny. Replying as Queen J, Eric politely declines the invite on the grounds of already having an escort.
Meanwhile, Eric’s big sis, Serena, fresh out of a job with K.C. has accepted a position with Nate’s cousin, Congressman Tripp as his publicist. She gets more than she bargained for when Tripp confesses to having a crush on her. Factor in that he’s married, a politician, and Serena is a blonde and you’ve got yourself one helluva JFK/Marilyn situation right here. Although Tripp made no creepy advances and was quite sweet about it, Serena rightly bolted.
Across town, Chuck and Nate decide to get in touch with their inner Lucy and Ethyl, conspiring to mend fences between Blair and Serena. When Blair walks in and is eerily, cheerily calm, Chuck notes that it the last time that he saw her that chipper was when Serena went to boarding school. Smelling that Blair will likely implode in a shower of Chanel in T-minus several hours, they get cracking on a plan centering around the cotillion where both Blair and Serena are slated to be mentors to the soon-to-be-debutantes.
B and S engage in a standoff at Serena’s place, pre-cotillion headquarters, with Blair sniping Jenny from Serena’s mentorship and claiming her as her own. Under Blair’s tutelage, she deems Jonathan Whitney a subpar escort, citing her own stellar (and straight) choice of her then-boyfriend Nate Van Der Bilt as the man who walked with her at her own debut. Noting that a girl’s debut is “not like you’re wedding! It only comes once!” she takes Jenny under her wing. Meanwhile, Eric and Jonathan put their tousled heads together to try to figure out how to stop Darth Jenny’s Vader-esque turn to the Dark Side.
Back on campus, Olivia and Dan are cutesy-ing it up with Vanessa in her perennial supporting role as “good friend/good roommate.” They find themselves bum-rushed by the café geeks grilling Olivia about the email blast about the possibility of an Endless Nights 4. Olivia brushes off the rumors before her phone is gang-raped by her agents, parents, and other assorted handlers pressuring her to do the movie.
Olivia realizes she will have to postpone her “normal” college life and return to school next year. As a parting gift, Dan and Vanessa offer to give her a whirlwind “ultimate college” experience to remember. Shots, beer pong, and other relatively tame college hijinx ensue on the itinerary Dan and Vanessa download. The one thing left that needs to be done on the list is a three-some. Surprisingly, Olivia seems to be the most keen to do it, and “do it” they do. (In spite of the controversy surrounding this plot point, the only thing racy about it was fully-clothed, three-way kissing between the two gals and one guy. The aftermath was implied with the three of them sharing a bed in a dimly lit room. Hardly anything worthy of Emanuelle status.) But no one gets off that easily. (Pardon the pun.) As it turns out, Endless Nights 4 has been cancelled, leaving Olivia to have her “normal” college experience… Not quite so normal now after doing the three-way nasty with Dan and Vanessa (who has now broken free of the Friends Zone!).
Back at the pre-cotillion festivities, Little J is making friends all over the place! She discovers that Eric blocked her date with Graham. Eric says it was for her own good since he knows Graham and thinks he’s a douche. Jenny retaliates by insulting Eric publicly, and moments later, publicly disses and dismisses Blair as her cotillion mentor. Jenny promptly texts Graham back and tells him she needs an escort.
In turn, Blair decides to take dumpy little Kira under her wing and vows to make her Queen of Constance. This mentorship course also includes a wonderful speech in which Blair notes how both Jenny and Serena aren’t worthy of friendship and subject their “friends” to “emotional Ponzi schemes.” After a mini-makeover which turns Kira into (sort of) a beautiful swan, Blair decides that she can do better than scoring someone else’s boyfriend and nixes Eric as her escort. Instead, Kira gets to bring shiny, pretty Graham Collins to escort her to her debut.
Under the impression that Graham will be escorting her at her debut, Jennifer Tallulah Humphrey receives the shock of a lifetime when Kira Abernathy is announced with Graham Collins as her escort, leaving Jenny looking fabulous in her black gown, but utterly dateless and alone. Humiliated, Little J turns the tide and gets even shinier, prettier, college boy Nate to don a tux and stand in as her escort, cementing her rep as Queen of Constance and making her the envy of all… Even Blair Waldorf.
Eric, however, has a less-than-stellar time at the cotillion, seeing his former BFF/current stepsister/neo-nemesis emerge smelling like a rose. Even worse, Jonathan dumps him cold at the event, not liking the vengeful little sprite he’s become. Eric may have lost Jonathan, but he’s gained a new friend in Kira, whom he enlists to help unseat Queen J from her throne.
Blair, however, has been occupied, having been conveniently trapped in an elevator with Serena, as per Chuck and Nate’s plans, baiting the two former BFF’s to cross paths with conciliatory texts pretending to be one another. Once trapped in the elevator together, Serena and Blair make up and repair their friendship, with Serena confiding in Blair why she’s been so off-centered and self-centered lately, relaying the bit about trying to contact her absentee father and Congressman Tripp’s feelings for her. Blair advises her to stay away from Tripp and consoles S about her daddy issues… And somehow, the Tripp/Daddy thing suddenly makes sense.
Speaking of Daddy Van Der Woodsen, the show ends with Lily intercepting a letter from Papa V der W to darling daughter Serena. Guess we might get to meet S’s daddy after all!
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