Credit: GIOVANNI RUFINO / THE CW ©2011 THE CW NETWORK Photo: Chuck and Blair Scheme in Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 22: "Raiders of the Lost Art"

Serena (Blake Lively) is laying in her bed doing her best Thought Catalog writer impression while Dorota brings her breakfast. “All you do all day is type, type, type. It not healthy.” Welcome to the future of American children, Dorota. Two words: Google “Tumblr.”

Elizabeth Hurley must have some sort of solids-only clause in her contract, because Diana Payne is rocking the look that must now be known as The Diana Payne: a body-hugging solid mini-dress. Plus, her apartment is full of peonies. (Flashback to those late ‘90s Elizabeth Arden commercials with Hurley rolling around in fields of flowers with puppies.) Anyway, Diana is on the phone scheming with scallywag Jack Bass (Desmond Harrington), throatily murmuring something about guests and cargo. Then, Diana calls Nate (Chace Crawford) about her missing day planner (really? Who uses day planners anymore?). Nate, who is taking many a page from the Chuck Bass book these days, answers with, “Hey, I was just thinking about you,” to thwart her suspicions that he stole her precious coded day planner. Welcome back, Nate Archibald’s personality.

Serena’s not the only one lounging pensively in a silk robe! Chuck (Ed Westwick) is wearing what looks like paisley (natch), stroking his chin while pouring over his fake-mother’s day planner. Yeah, that’s not weird at all. Chuck tells Nate he’s convinced Jack is still in NYC, not Phuket like his assistant says. Nate suggests they hire a professional. “It takes a special level of crazy to go that far to hide your secrets.” Chuck struts off in his robe, presumably calling the one girl who speaks Crazy fluently: Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester).

Credit: GIOVANNI RUFINO / THE CW ©2011 THE CW NETWORK Photo: Nate and Lola Laugh in Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 22: "Raiders of the Lost Art"

Blair kisses Dan (Penn Badgley) while he dresses, then tries to get him to shave some of that scruff off his face. It wouldn’t be the real Blair if she weren’t trying to upgrade her surroundings, after all. Blair’s decided she is no longer moping and wants to get back to her old self, at which point Dan Humphrey gets borderline adorable, calling her “OGB: Original Gangsta Blair.” Then he loses us by quoting Ray J.

Lola Rhodes (Ella Rae Peck) and Nate sit down to French coffee and fruit plates, the breakfast of the bored and wealthy. Lola wants to take Serena down, but Nate isn’t sure it’s the right time. Lola urges, “two birds, one stone,” referring to taking both Diana and Serena out at the same time. This girl is a fast learner.

More coffee drinking — but this time, it’s Folger’s in Brooklyn at Dan’s loft. He’s meeting with his publicist Alessandra, who urges him to meet with her friend for inspiration to complete his second book. The only problem? Doing so would require canceling on lunch with Blair. Turns out, they’re both on their ways towards rejuvenating their respective talents — just not with each other.

Credit: GIOVANNI RUFINO / THE CW ©2011 THE CW NETWORK

Chuck sets out to recruit Blair on his mission to expose Diana and Jack. He finds her and just before she can consider his offer to join in on the scheming, she, serendipitously, gets a text from Dan canceling lunch. Blair to Chuck: “It’s your lucky day.” Spoiler alert: It gets better.

Another spoiler alert: Things get really complicated, and fast. Lola gets Serena (or so she thinks) to join them in their plan to take Diana down, but turns out, Serena is playing both sides and working with Diana. Diana has convinced Serena she can blackmail Gossip Girl into giving up the site, but first Serena has to retrieve that little book Chuck’s got firmly in his possession. Basically, Diana is Gollum and the book is the ring and Chuck is Elijah Wood but way hotter.

Meanwhile, at Blair’s apartment, she’s doing her best Elizabeth-Hurley-as-Diana-Payne impression in a solid-blue body-hugging mini-dress. (Also: There are peonies in the entryway.) Chuck looks rapt by Blair, and for good reason. She looks gorgeous — and is captivatingly back to her Season 3 scheming self, whipping out a cipher slide. She then promptly decodes the bizarre 15-letter appointments Diana has listed for the first Saturday of every month. It’s all happening, y’all: Chuck and Blair are back together with a vengeance — and also with a touching amount of vulnerability, from both parties. Chuck needs Blair because she’s the only one who knows his full past, and Blair needs Chuck because, without him and his scheming, her existence is borderline listless.

Credit: GIOVANNI RUFINO / THE CW ©2011 THE CW NETWORK

Dan meets Alessandra’s friend Lucia at a restaurant. Lucia promptly invites him to join a prestigious writing fellowship — in Rome. Uh, didn’t Blair run off to Rome like one whole season ago? Dan is speechless at the offer, tells her he doesn’t know what to say. Lucia says she needs an answer by the end of the day and sternly adds that there are a number of young writers who’d jump at the opportunity.

Blair and Chuck run into Nate’s apartment, where he and Lola are pouring over documents stolen from Diana Payne. (Including a deed for a house purchased from Simon Callow. LOLZ at that dig, GG writers.) Dan calls to interrupt the steamy scheming action. Blair impatiently tells him, “I’m getting my groove back!” Dan hears Chuck bellow from the other room and gets super insecure. “Uhh… With Chuck?!”

While Blair’s off scheming with Chuck, Dan meets with his dad, who has wisdom to spare. Rufus tells Dan he needs to trust Blair. Dan reveals that he and Blair haven’t said I love you — and Rufus is shocked. Maybe someone’s not as in tune to their sensitive side as they seem?

Serena tries to make off with Diana Payne’s little black book, but The Upper East Side street gang corners her in the elevator. They find the book in Serena’s bag, and Chuck lays it all on the line: “That book is the only chance I have at tracking my father down.” Blair stares down her ex-BFF and says, “Be with us, not against us.”

Credit: Splash News

Blair sends in a “seasoned professional” to gauge information out of Diana. Cue: Dorota, who is subbing for Diana’s masseuse and giving her a massage full of elbows and broken English. Dorota manages (of course) to get some key information out of Diana: that she was in Portugal earlier in the month. Turns out, this information unlocks the day planner’s first-Saturday-of-the-month code. Blair’s cipher, paired with Chuck’s eery encyclopedic knowledge of international country codes, decodes the jumbled letters into a phone number. Chuck calls the number gets them all on the list for the mysterious party at a mysterious manor.

Blair texts Dan, “don’t wait up.” He’s walking down the street (like a commoner) and sees Chuck and Blair getting into a limo. He hails a cab and follows them. Dan, don’t you have some brilliant writing to do? This insecurity doesn’t become you.

At the manor, the entire Gossip Girl cast reenacts something similar to that terrifying horror film that was Eyes Wide Shut (seriously, who wants to see Tom Cruise have sex?). Chuck is unfazed by the legions of half-clothed girls and skeezy-looking guys. “It’s more of a roving brothel,” he tells an outraged Blair, who proceeds to fend off the scantily clad ladies and keep firmly at Chuck’s side until the very end of the evening. More on that later.

Dan is sitting outside the manor in his taxi cab. “The meter’s running, kid,” the driver tells him, coining the perfect title for Dan Humphrey’s second memoir. Rufus calls to check in on his lovelorn son and gives him another dose of brilliant advice: “Let Blair have her evening.” A Lily-less Rufus has found a calling: Fairy Godfather to Dan’s Relationship Woes.

Diana is on the phone upstairs playing sex party air traffic control while surveying the security cameras. She spots Chuck and Blair and immediately summons the head of security, who clears out the party. In the mass exodus, Chuck finally corners Jack. Nate corners Diana. And Blair opens the door to find someone she never thought she’d see again. More on that shortly.

Chuck loses his throaty furrowed-brow cool, screaming at Jack: “Are you my real father? Answer me!” Before Jack can answer, Chuck is hauled off by security, and Blair emerges from the shadows, shaking. “Did you tell him what you’re really hiding here?” Jack vaguely (and vacantly) responds, “This isn’t about me. You’ve already complicated things enough by being here.”

Meanwhile, Lola and Nate have an intervention with Serena, who’s been stripped of all of her Gossip Girl log-ins and privileges. Serena insists “the real Gossip Girl hurt people but I’m different.” Nate says, “I did this to help you, not to hurt you.” Serena, in desperation, calls the number she has for GG, but it’s been disconnected.

Blair and Chuck are outside the manor. Blair just wants to go, to head back to the city. Chuck tells her firmly there’s no room for secrets. “It’s just us here, you and me.” Blair looks him over and tells him, slowly, knowing full well the consequences, “Once everyone is gone, and it’s quiet, you need to go back into that house.” She tells him the truth without spelling it out. Chuck realizes the gravity of her words and tells her, “Have Arthur take you back into the city.”

Dan Humphrey’s feelings are reaching a fever pitch in Brooklyn. He calls Lucia and tells her, “My girlfriend really wants me to go, but I’m saying no.” Lucia smirks as he adds, “Maybe next year.” Blair bursts into the apartment to find Dan reading alone on the couch. In an unexpected move, Dan flat-out lies to Blair, telling her the Institute found someone else they wanted more than him. Equally unexpected, Blair tells Dan the truth about the “crazy brothel.” Dan tells Blair he loves her, and Blair doesn’t say anything back other than, “I know.” Ouch!

Then, Chuck walks back into the manor and opens the door and finds Jack Bass with… BART BASS. After four whole seasons, Bart is still alive — BUT WHY?


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Credit: YouTube Photo: Gossip Girl Promo for Season 5, Episode 23: "The Fugitives" — Blair Goes Missing... With Chuck! (VIDEO)