Credit: PATRICK HARBRON / THE CW ©2011

It’s a brand-new day on the Upper East Side, which means Dorota is strolling into Blair’s (Leighton Meester) bedroom with divorce papers. Blair, looking resplendent, gushes her daydreams about her future with Lonely Boy: “Now we can walk down Madison Avenue hand-in-hand without worrying about Louis changing his mind!” Spoiler alert: It’s not Louis who’s in danger of changing his mind.

Flash to Serena (Blake Lively) with her new BFF, her laptop, emailing Gossip Girl. Ms. vdW is refusing to hand over the GG reins until after she does “one last thing,” which sounds ominous and sinister. Serena’s taken to this whole scheming thing like a Wasp to gin martinis in the summer.

Nate (Chace Crawford) and Chuck (Ed Westwick) are having a bro-sesh and are — jarringly — both wearing sweats. Chuck is sporting some serious ‘80s Bruce Jenner Olympics attire, rocking a two-piece red sweat suit with what looks like tapered ankles. Leave it to this guy to go HAM on the sportswear front. Anyway, Nate has a lot of feelings about Diana's (Elizabeth Hurley) return to The Spectator and is somehow optimistic that she’s not returning with ulterior motives. Chuck Bass knows better and suspects some major scheming. “Why else would Diana be back? Can’t be for a love of journalism.” Also, Chuck pronounces “spectator” with a  hard lean on the a — “Spectayyyytor.” Coupled with the red track suit, it’s pretty much the cutest Chuck scene ever.

Serena and Blair have a meeting of the scheming roommate minds. Serena spots the divorce papers and (fake) gushes how happy she is for Blair to finally get her happy ending with Dan (Penn Badgley) now that the Louis chapter is over, but Blair suddenly gets a GG blast about her impending divorce. Serena’s got a tight grip on the UES puppet strings and isn’t stopping at anything to exert her power over the land. Blair is curious as to why Serena hasn’t been in the spotlight at all, and Serena confesses her (fake) desire to shine the limelight elsewhere. Blair’s brilliant suggestion? Create the next Serena van der Woodsen. Sidebar: Apparently bold prints are IN FOR SPRING, judging from Blair’s floral dress and Serena’s black-and-white art deco skirt.

Later, Blair and Dan having breakfast at her apartment. We like to envision a Blair Waldorf morning as starting with Bellini’s and ending with éclairs. Dan is seated across from the divine Ms. B., being loquacious about his ideas for their dreamy day together: go to a museum, listen to Bright Eyes on the subway… ZZZZZZZZ. Blair’s totally distracted by the divorce papers and clumsily lies to Dan about how they don’t have the royal seal on them yet. Dorota gives Blair some major side-eye as she leaves the room, and somehow Mr. Lonely Boy manages to convince Dorota to hand over the document. He spots the seal and knows Blair’s lying to him, fighting visions of a second-thoughts-having Blair.

Lola’s strolling arm-in-arm with a ruddy-cheeked childhood friend who also happens to be devastatingly-hot. World, meet David Gregory, a veteran soap opera star who plays Aiden, Lola’s acting friend who is in town to check out Julliard. Nate runs into them and bolts immediately after Lola brings up Diana Payne’s name. Turns out, Lola has no clue about Nate’s new friend in town and his history with her between the sheets — until she looks to Gossip Girl for answers.

Credit: PATRICK HARBRON / THE CW ©2011

Meanwhile, Diana has decided to move into Nate’s office. “I am entitled to an office. I choose this one.” Apparently this includes hanging pictures of herself. (Who doesn’t have huge, framed, professional glamour shots of themselves hanging on their office walls? Oh, Diana Payne, your narcissism knows no bounds… Or does it?)

Lily and Rufus are holed up in Brooklyn arguing about money. Don’t be fooled; despite the prevalence of brownstones, Brooklyn still has its fair share of glass houses. Rufus took it upon himself to talk to Ivy (Kaylee DeFer) and managed to convince her to move out of their apartment if Lily agrees to unfreeze the assets left to Ivy by Lily’s now-deceased mother. Lily, bless her heart, delivers one of the best lines of the episode: “You do not negotiate with terrorists, especially ones from Florida.” Rufus hands Lils the phone, and she pretends to agree to call Ivy and make peace… But really, she just stands there in the kitchen, silently, wearing VERY LARGE JEWELRY.

Back on the island of New York, Chuck, thankfully, has changed out of his track suit and back into his tailored suit — and is leaning over a mahogany desk, speaking intently with his private investigator, who tells him his mother has been living in Vienna for the past six months. Sensing Chuck’s coming existential life crisis, the P.I. suggests turning to a friend for help about his mommy issues. Chuck, looking forlorn while staring out his window, says: “The one person who was there the whole way through is the one person who wasn’t in my life anymore. Blair Waldorf.” Then, the PI delivers some major news and life advice in one fell swoop: “Then why did you pay her dowry?”

[Pause while we yell OMG WHATTTTTTT over and over again.]

Oh, Chuck.

Credit: PATRICK HARBRON / THE CW ©2011

Serena takes Lola shopping in preparation for the huge lingerie party Diana is throwing. They try on a bunch of dresses that are basically slips in disguise, and Serena manipulatively pulls the fire alarm while Lola is clad in what is basically a negligee. Cue: Gossip Girl blast of the latest It Girl looking sultry on the street. Lola is understandably mortified but seemingly convinced that her star is rising. Sensing this, Serena convinces Lola that her best bet at luring Nate away from Diana’s wiles is to show up at the lingerie party wearing her best skanky silk.

Credit: PATRICK HARBRON / THE CW ©2011

Dan, angsty about Blair’s lying, turns to the only other boy with just as many feelings: Nate. But even Nate’s too busy for this heart-to-heart and tells Dan: “I think you’re Humphreying out here.” Then he fills Dan in on the little Chuck-paying-Blair’s-dowry-secret, and Dan’s insecure mind is off and running with reasons why Blair might be delaying her divorce — all having to do with Chuck

Meanwhile, our favorite KGB expat is threatening Blair with taxis instead of limos and the Waldorf finally breaks, confessing to Dorota the reason behind her hesitation to sign the divorce papers: “I feel like once I sign those papers, I’m closing the door on something I’m not quite ready to let go of,” Blair sighs. Cue: Chuck Bass’s arrival! So many feelings.

Chuck tells Blair he needs her, but she doesn’t understand why. “I don’t understand what you want from me,” she says, all Stone-Cold-Steve-Austin while sitting on her velour settee. 

Chuck: “Someone to talk to, I guess. You met her, you know what I went through.” He’s talking about his mom, in case you missed it. But Blair is convinced Chuck has an agenda, and Chuck, bless his heart, doesn’t blame her — but finds another listening ear in Serena, who just so happens to be descending the stairs as he walks to the elevator. Cue: Gossip Girl blast about Chuck being at Blair’s apartment. This girl is giving Georgina a run for her conniving money.

Dan gets the Gossip Girl blast and calls Blair, thinking their secret meeting is about the dowry, but Blair reveals she had no idea about Chuck’s little dowry secret, and she abruptly hangs up on Mr. Lonely Boy to go find Chuck.

Credit: PATRICK HARBRON / THE CW ©2011

The lingerie party is a Who’s Who of the Upper East Side, framed by pulsating music and neon pink lighting. Where’s Heidi Klum? Anyway, more hilarious Florida bashing: Lola brings Aiden as her date to spite Nate. Aiden quips, “We do not have parties like this in Florida.” Lola: “If only they had dental hygiene in Florida.” Burn! Then Lola spots Nate and Diana, who are attending the party as a “united front,” and introduces herself. Three can play this game! Diana deflects Aiden’s advances, and Nate accuses her of not being over him. Diana grabs Aiden and heads for a dark corner to strip him of his innocence. Turns out, Lola and Nate have been in cahoots all along! They record Diana’s dirty deed with the — gasp! — 16-year-old Aiden.

Blair finds Chuck at the party and confronts him about the dowry sitch. Chuck is pissed that Blair knows, and Blair continues to berate him about trying to “buy” her. “I knew it; you thought you could buy me back. You bought my divorce and you came to collect your prize.” But the look on Chuck’s face says otherwise. “I just wanted you to be free,” he explains, before walking away into a cloud of metaphorical dust. Dang, B! Give the dude a break!

Credit: PATRICK HARBRON / THE CW ©2011

Then Dan appears, apologizing profusely for telling Blair about the dowry. Dan admits he saw the unsigned divorce papers, too, and Blair confesses that her hesitation to sign them has nothing to do with Chuck. “My whole life I wanted to be a princess, and it was this whole whirlwind of royalty and tiaras. I never really got to be a princess.”

Blair’s not the only one grieving the loss of her crown; Serena’s plan to make Lola the new It Girl worked all too well — but Lola doesn’t want to be anything but the “Every Girl,” sweetly explaining to S that she just wants to use her power for good, not evil.

 

Credit: Asadorian-Mejia/Splash Photo: Dan and Blair Kiss in New York City on February 6, 2012

Dan, intent on giving Blair the royal treatment she deserves, makes her don a pink fluffy dress and meet him on the museum steps. Then one of the sweetest moments in Gossip Girl history happens: Dan hands Blair a tiara and kisses her, creating a regal moment out of thin air.

Chuck, meanwhile, finds out that the woman he thought was his mother (Elizabeth) isn’t really his mother. Turns out, she was in a monastery in Tibet at the time of the blood donation. So who is Chuck’s mom? We have a few ideas, but only time will tell… 

Want more Gossip Girl goodness? Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter! You know you love us. XOXO