Blair (Leighton Meester) and Serena’s (Blake Lively) easygoing summer in Paris is interrupted by the reappearance of the missing Chuck (Ed Westwick). After recovering from his stab wound, he starts a new life with the sweet, simple Eva (Clemence Poesy). But when his old friends draw him back to NYC, Eva soon falls by the wayside — a victim of Blair’s machinations.
Dan’s (Penn Badgley) summer is a bit more stressful: He spends it playing daddy to Georgina’s (Michelle Trachtenberg) baby, with help from Vanessa (Jessica Szohr). Turns out he isn’t the dad, and the minute he’s relieved of the responsibility, he starts blowing off good ol’ Vanessa to start sniffing around Serena again.
Serena joins Blair at Columbia, ignoring her love triangle with Nate (Chace Crawford) and Dan to pursue her professor. This is perfect ammunition for Serena’s secret enemy, Juliet (Katie Cassidy), who spends all autumn peering sneakily out from behind things... and sexing up Nate. He’s always willing! With the help of a visiting Jenny (Taylor Momsen) and Vanessa, she gets S kicked out of school, alienates all her friends, and lands her in the Ostroff Center.
But Serena’s friends are much awesomer than her enemies. Blair and Dan team up for a road trip that reveals Juliet’s true agenda: Her brother Ben is in jail because of a false affidavit claiming he’d molested Serena when he was her teacher. It soon comes out that it was Lily, not Serena, who signed the affidavit. Ben walks out of prison — and straight into Serena’s arms.
Blair and Chuck reconcile long enough for some stellar friend-with-benefits sex, but B soon realizes that she can’t live her life in Chuck’s shadow. Throwing herself into a magazine career means throwing herself into Dan’s company, and the two grow closer.
Lily (Kelly Rutherford) sells Bass Industries to one of Jack Bass’s enemies, Russell Thorpe. To block the merger, Chuck romances Thorpe’s daughter Raina (Tika Sumpter). But instead of using her and losing her, he falls for her. Just when Chuck finally engineers Russell’s defeat, he learns the true reason why Russell hates Jack: The insurance fire he set killed Thorpe’s wife.
Where we left things: Serena is newly single; Vanessa is back in town; Chuck is miserable; Lily has turned herself in; and Dan and Blair are mid-first kiss. See you next week, Gossip Girl!