Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW 2011 The CW Network Photo: Serena van der Woodsen and Diana Payne in Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 7: “The Big Sleep No More”

Oh, man, we cannot believe it took Gossip Girl this long to do a Sleep No More episode. The theater experience is a) set in a creepy old hotel (vintage!), b) induces a sense of voyeurism in the audience (like Gossip Girl!), and c) is insanely trendy in among NYC’s beautiful people (like Blair and Nate and Serena!). Oh, and did we mention that everyone wears masks? Do you think two people will kiss in a case of mistaken identity? You betcha.

So how does everyone end up in creepy masks, making out with the wrong people? Oh, the usual. Chuck (Ed Westwick) is trying to walk the straight and narrow since his apology to Blair (Leighton Meester), but she doesn’t buy it — she’s sure his new do-gooder persona is a trick to lure her back. Though Dorota cautions against it, she’s determined to unmask him. When she finds out he’s hosting a benefit performance of Sleep No More, she decides to crash it.

Parties are the last thing on Ivy’s mind — Nate (Chace Crawford), who’s still sulking about Diana’s (Elizabeth Hurley) lack of commitment, keeps hitting on her. Diana sweetly tells Nate he can see other people, while also making clear to Ivy (Kaylee DeFer) that if she so much as looks at Nate she’ll smash her into tiny tiny bits.

Poor Ivy has no intention of falling for Nate — she already has her hands full manipulating Serena. S’s blog isn’t getting many hits, and Ivy tells Serena to get Gossip Girl’s attention. S is like, Seek attention? Why, I mustn’t! Okay! and she goes out and hits on the first cute guy she sees.

Credit: Jackson Lee/Splash News Photo: Blake Lively Walks on the Gossip Girl Set in New York City on September 1, 2011

Unfortunately, the guy she hits on is Ivy’s ex, Max (Brian J. Smith). Serena asks him out, but wimps out at the last minute, leaving him stranded on the street. The exact same street — it turns out — that Nate is chasing Ivy down, trying to get her to admit she likes him. She shuts him down until she seeks Max, at which point she needs some place to hide and decides that Nate’s tonsils will work.

Their snog makes it on Gossip Girl, to the ire of Diana, who makes Ivy ask him to be her date to Sleep No More. Diana’s creepily similar interest in Nate and Serena is about more than we thought — she assures a mystery caller that she “won’t lose” them.

Who’s not partying? Dan (Penn Badgley), who’s on his book tour — supposedly. In fact, his agent calls Rufus and tells him he hasn’t been showing up to his readings. Rufus finds him skulking in the loft. Turns out Dan’s bestselling first novel isn’t getting him huge crowds at Barnes and Noble. We think we speak for the entire world when we say CRY US A RIVER. Rufus gives him a buck-up-little-camper speech, as he does.

So then everyone goes to Sleep No More. Let’s see if we can keep this all straight: Nate arrives with Ivy. She sees Diana at the bar, who tells her to take him inside. They go in. Then Max arrives and Diana tells him Serena’s already inside, and describes Ivy’s dress as Serena’s. Then Blair arrives, tailing Chuck, and is herself tailed by Dorota. Then Serena arrives, and Diana tells her Max isn’t there yet, leaving her pouting at the bar, looking stood up. Remember, anyone who’s gone into the performance is now wearing a mask. Got it? No? Congratulations — that’s very much what it’s like to attend Sleep No More.

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW 2011 The CW Network Photo: Diana Payne Looks Stunning in Blue on Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 7: “The Big Sleep No More”

Nate runs into Diana inside, who tells him that Ivy’s using him to make her boyfriend jealous. Diana then tells Ivy to kiss Nate — who turns out to be Max, thinking he’s kissing Serena. Nate is actually looking on as his date macks on another dude. Ivy grabs Max and drags him outside, frantically trying to distract him from the fact that she’s running an enormous con, but he’s having none of it. Max goes back to look for Serena, but doesn’t find her.

Blair corners Chuck and starts stroking her neck and trying to feed him Red Hots, both things he apparently finds wildly erotic. Finally, the temptation of a pregnant lady pushing candy at him is too much, and he snaps and kisses her. She slaps him, her worst fears confirmed — but actually, he was only doing what he did at the request of Dorota, who arranged for Chuck to act evil to allay Blair’s doubts that she’d made the right choice.

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW 2011 The CW Network Photo: Diana Payne and Ivy Dickens in Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 7: “The Big Sleep No More”

Serena tries to beg off blogging, even after Diana arranges to have her lonely date turn up on Gossip Girl, because she’s used to being made fun of. So Diane goes after a softer target, planting a story on Gossip Girl that Charlie’s off her meds. For someone who hates Gossip Girl so much, Diana sure sends her a lot of business. But it works — when S sees how Ivy is freaking out (though not for the reasons she thinks), she decides to team up with Diana to take down Gossip Girl. She may have less sympathy once she finds out Charlie’s really Ivy — which seems inevitable, because Max is staying in town, and he’s found society pics of “Charlie Rhodes."

Diana and Nate get back together, and she appears to genuinely care about him. But the second he’s turned his back, she’s back on the phone to her co-conspirator — it’s Nate’s grandfather, William Van der bilt. Dun dun dun! Man, worst Pop Pop ever. Bet he doesn’t even have any Werther’s Originals in his pockets.

And what of poor Dan? Well, apparently, Rufus’s Lincoln Hawk parables have lost their effectiveness: he’s still sulking in the loft. We have very little sympathy.

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