In spite of the fact that it appears that everyone is sleeping with someone new or no one at all, Season 3 of Gossip Girl seems to be floundering without much direction. While the changing natures of many of the main characters seems to be a main focal point, there is still no clear cut feel for the remainder of the season and what things may come. Blair and Serena’s tattered friendship seems to be a key plot point, and it’s fairly obvious that the ooey-gooey Dan and Olivia duo are destined to have a short shelf-life in spite of their massive amounts of PDA. Eric pulled a vanishing act and was nowhere to be seen after last week’s falling out with Queen J and Jenny herself was sidelined with a flu bug.
On the bright side, Nate got something to do other than be pretty background scenery and Dan and Olivia were marginalized to a nearly pointless side-plot involving Jimmy Fallon and Dan being dubbed “Bathroom Boy” on national television. The real kicker was that there was nothing nearly as interesting or perv-a-licious surrounding the “Bathroom Boy” moniker, as the story later played out. Nate, however, took center stage this episode with his family drama and the return of his domineering Grandfather. Playing an integral role in his cousin Tripp’s campaign to gain a New York Congressional seat, Nate teams up with Grandfather Van Der Bilt and his circle of Upper East Side friends to run the Van Der Bilt hype machine.
Chuck Bass volunteers his hotel to become official Van Der Bilt campaign headquarters, hosting the election night festivities. Vanessa, the official campaign chronicler with her video camera in tow, has been assigned the task of making a flattering documentary that will help to improve Tripp’s numbers in the polls — which thus far, are dismal. Business picks up when Vanessa captures Tripp saving a drowning man in the Hudson river, diving in and selflessly pulling him to safety. This is primo, vote-getting material if it wasn’t for one small problem: Vanessa reviews the tape before submitting it to local news outlets and sees the “drowning” man getting into the water and immediately flailing. Uh-oh. This smells like something Grandfather Van Der Bilt would cook up! Faced with a conflict of loyalty to Nate who granted her this career-making spot and a sudden jolt of Humphrey-esque self-righteousness, V ponders the greater good.
Meanwhile, Serena has been charged with an equally cumbersome task by her boss lady, Cuthroat K.C. As Patrick Roberts’ new (fake) girlfriend and assistant publicist, it’s S’s job to get Patrick photographed at Van Der Bilt campaign headquarters as a P.R. stunt to help him land a role in a political thriller. Serena, who has been drilled by K.C. that her only value is her social network, attempts to get back into Nate’s good graces to score a “plus one” invite to Tripp’s election night fete. After ripping Nate a new one for his role in sending loverboy Carter Baisden packing to Texas, this won’t be too easy.
Fortunately, Tripp sees S talking to Nate and is completely unaware of all that transpired behind the scenes of his campaign and his cousin’s involvement. Tripp cordially invites Serena to the big night along with Patrick. Serena’s problem is solved… Temporarily.
Serena still finds herself in the icy glare of Blair Waldorf, former BFF. Sequins and lame collide when Blair and Serena encounter each other in the dorm hallway. Blair snarks on Serena turning her back on her friends and S retorts that Blair has no friends, only minions.
Offended by this slight, Blair enlists the aid of her minions to find her a suitable new BFF to bring to the Van Der Bilt campaign headquarters party. While holding court at the campus café, Blair spots an attractive blonde with a Valentino 360 bag on her arm — a bag so exclusive that even La Waldorf was wait-listed!
She approaches the blonde (who we find out is named Brandeis) and immediately strikes up a friendship, inviting her to the Van Der Bilt affair that night.
Blair waves her new faux friend under Serena’s nose at the party and Serena tries to do the same with Patrick. Blair’s not buying it since Patrick has lodged himself at the bar and instead of scoping the scene and doing research for his role, is researching the inside of a flask. Although Patrick is a lush, he still has an eye for the ladies and spots straight away that Blair’s new friend Brandeis is a high priced call girl!
Serena tests the waters herself with Brandeis (who’s networking attempting to close deals of her own with the political hoi poloi) and both she and Blair confirm that Brandeis is a call girl. That doesn’t stop things from getting all sorts of Teen Krystal and Teen Alexis between S and B. Blair, ashamed that her new pal has been called out for her ho tendencies (because hoes are your friends and hoes are your enemies), flings it in Serena’s face that she’s essentially “whoring” herself out to be the fake girlfriend of Patrick the Washed-Up Lush and sacrificing her friends and integrity to be K.C.’s flunky. In turn, Serena pushes Blair face first into Tripp’s patriotic-themed cake.
The real icing on the cake is that Blair’s new “shopping buddy” used Blair to gain some new, influential clients. Brandeis is then discreetly escorted from the hotel to avoid a scandal for both Chuck and Tripp.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t stop a scandal from brewing thanks to Vanessa. V gave the tape to a news station showing the man Tripp saved from “drowning” to be a plant. The story exploded and Tripp comes close to dropping out of the race after flipping out on his grandfather for interfering.
After being berated for his change in character and dwindling moral compass by Vanessa, Nate takes one for the team and makes a public press statement saying that he was the one who had staged the “drowing” as a way to bolster Tripp’s campaign. In spite of the fact that the stunt was a clever ruse, Tripp won the Congressional seat.
As it turns out, Nate wasn’t the one who contrived Hudson-gate. It wasn’t even Gramps Van Der Bilt, although everyone automatically (and rightly) assumed it was. It was actually Maureen, Tripp’s seemingly innocuous, red-haired, All-American wife who concocted the entire plot. Even better, she did it with the intent that everyone would believe Grandpa Van Der Bilt had orchestrated this ploy. With Gramps’ credibility diminished, his influence over Tripp and the rest of his family would falter as well. After all, who is Tripp going to believe? His scheming grandfather, or his doting, mild-mannered wife? Well played, Maureen!
Setting the stage for next week’s episode and a possible “inter-friend-tion” to repair Blair and Serena’s BFF-status, Serena shakes off the reigns of K.C. and her non-Sunshine Band gig as a publicist’s gopher and ducks drunken, embarrassing Pattrick into a cab after scrawling “K.C…. I quit” on his shirt.
Next week’s episode teases a possible three-some between some of the main players! Hopefully, it will deliver the goods and not just a set up for disappointment.
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