Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW 2011 The CW Network Photo: CeCe Rhodes and Ivy Dickens in Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 9: “Rhodes to Perdition”

Somehow CeCe Rhodes (Caroline Lagerfelt) seems like a product of a bygone era, doesn’t she? Like she spent her youth nibbling finger sandwiches and knitting socks for our boys at the front. But if you do the math, CeCe was actually a young woman as recently as the 1970s. It seems someone at Gossip Girl has figured that out, because tonight’s ep is a tribute to the glistening disco wonder that is Studio 54: Big hair, shiny spandex, and scandal. Some things never change.

Apparently, Ivy (Kaylee DeFer) should have been a tightrope walker instead of a con artist, because boy is she good at keeping on her toes. Skeezy Max (Brian J. Smith) is still blackmailing her, but she hasn’t been able to cough up the cash, because thanks to Carol’s antics, CeCe has to sign off on any withdrawal that large. Luckily, Grandma’s in town for a visit. You know, grandma stuff: pat her grandkids on the head, give them some Werther’s, invite them to a blowout at Studio 54. Seems CeCe was a big partier back in the day, and she wants to revisit her glory days (and apparently flirt with Ryan O’Neal? Blech).

Ivy calls Carol in a panic, and she decides to head up to NYC and crash CeCe’s party. Just in time, because Max is getting bolder. He’s putting the moves on Serena (Blake Lively), sweeping her off her feet on a 24-hour date and even baking a cake for CeCe — but, he claims, it’s all so he can position himself to blow Ivy’s cover if she doesn’t cough up. Max might be the first guy who actually uses S for something other than her boobs.

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW 2011 The CW Network Photo: Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 9: “Rhodes to Perdition”

Blair (Leighton Meester) is still furious with the absent Louis (Hugo Becker) and his conniving ways. Somehow she decides this is Chuck’s (Ed Westwick) fault, and decides to shadow him for the day to figure out how he turned nice so she can work the same hoodoo on Louis. While attending his therapy session with him, Blair learns Chuck gave her ring back to Harry Winston, which upsets her so much she can’t even enjoy her cake tasting.

Nate (Chace Crawford) has been strutting around looking adorably puffed up in his big boy suit running his big boy newspaper. His very first day as editor, his reporters find a big story: His congressman cousin Trip’s wife is cheating on him with her sailing instructor. Remember her? Conniving Maureen? Yeah, she’s at it again. Both Trip and Nate’s grandfather ask him not to run the story, but he decides to go with it. If you want to keep family secrets secret, don’t install your most honest relative as head of a newspaper, how about.

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW 2011 The CW Network Photo: Dan Humphrey With His Book, “Inside” in Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 4: “Memoirs of an Invisible Dan”

Dan. Oh, Dan. Dan (Penn Badgley) is holed up in his loft, posting anonymous rebuttals to all his nasty reviews on Amazon. What finally gets him out of the house is a twitter user named IHateHumphrey who spews an endless stream of Dan-hate. He tracks his hater down, which apparently you can do with just a twitter handle these days, and it turns out it’s his agent, Alessandra, trying to drum up some publicity for his flagging book. He pouts; she points out he wussed out on his own tour; and they end up tweeting Dan-love and Dan-hatred side by side. Aww? Honestly, we were pretty much in the Dan-hate camp ourselves for the duration of this ep. Get over yourself, Humphrey.

CeCe refuses to give Ivy half a million dollars, because she’s sure Carol’s behind it. Unfair! Carol had nothing to do with the con artist she installed in the family getting blackmailed by her ex. Anyway, CeCe swoons, and after a little genuine TLC from Ivy, she decides to give her the money after all. Unfortunately, Serena overhears Lily call Charlie Ivy, and she realizes that Max’s mysterious ex is her cousin. She tricks Max into coming to the penthouse, where Max attempts to spill the truth about Ivy’s deception. But Carol backs her, and also steals the incriminating program that establishes Ivy and Charlie as two different people, leaving Max looking like a desperate skeeze. Which is true, we suppose. Carol gets her payout, Ivy gets her family, and Max gets real, real, real mad. It’s no wonder Ivy was willing to abandon this guy the minute her fake cousin showed up. He’s a piece of work.

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW 2011 The CW Network Photo: Blair Waldorf in Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 9: “Rhodes to Perdition”

Chuck finds Blair and they have a heart-to-heart, in which he admits that the reason he behaved so badly was that he was so scared to lose her. Hearing how much her ex adored her does not seem to make Blair any more inclined to call Louis. And Chuck may have turned over a new leaf, but he admits to Nate that he still loves Blair.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if Louis, too, is secretly obsessed with some Monaco girl who deflowered him in the back of a horse-drawn carriage and then broke his heart when she tried to trade him for Liechtenstein? They could end up together, and then Chuck could be with Blair. Seriously. Problem solved.

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Credit: YouTube Photo: Sneak Peek of Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 10: "Riding in Town Cars With Boys" — Chuck and Blair Make Out!