It’s once again morning on the Upper East Side, but this time the opening scene doesn’t involve sipping tea while wittily quipping about Manhattan versus borough living. Instead, Chuck (Ed Westwick) is having a montage of emotional (and grainy!) flashbacks to the day he lost his father. Bart Bass — now back from the dead! — is staring back at his son’s heartbroken yet stoic face. Bart’s explaining that car accident wasn’t actually an accident and that one of his competitors was coming after him so hard he had to fake his own death in order to save Chuck and Lily (Kelly Rutherford). Chuck is rightly baffled by his father’s radio silence, growling, “What did we bury in that coffin?!” Sidebar: Why hasn’t Ed Westwick ever been nominated for an Emmy?


Back to robes and lounging in Brooklyn! Blair (Leighton Meester), once again up to her old tricks, is about to check up on Chuck via text when Dan's (Penn Badgley) phone rings. It’s Alessandra calling to convince Dan to spend the summer in Rome, which is news to Blair thanks to Dan’s clumsy lie about the fellowship wanting someone else. Dan walks in, muppet hair and all, and Blair confronts him. “Yesterday when you ended up with Chuck, I was a little nervous,” Dan sheepishly explains. “I figured you’d think I was some weird jealous freak if I told you the truth.” Blair tells him “well, YOU ARE!” before gently pushing him to think again about spending the summer in Rome. “Rome is just two glasses of chardonnay away!” Color us snobs, but we thought Queen B was more of a Moet type of girl.

Diana is once again scheming in a skintight solid colored dress when
Nate “My Personality Is Back For Reals This Time” Archibald strolls into her office looking decidedly determined. Nate takes this springtime morning as the right time to threaten Diana about her little Heidi Fleiss past — at which Diana does the most patronizing thing she can think of: She fixes his tie and calls him “darling.” As she slickly exits, he’s left a little frazzled (and maybe a little more turned on?).

Credit: GIOVANNI RUFINO / THE CW ©2012 THE CW NETWORK

Blair storms in to where Serena (Blake Lively) is sitting petulantly on a settee (remember when Serena used to be fun? Now she’s like the UES version of Typhoid Mary). Blair is hurrumphing with her hands on her hips, and Serena assumes Blair’s finally uncovered her poorly-kept Gossip Girl secret. Turns out, Blair just wants to talk about Lonely Boy and his lying. “The most important thing in our relationship is trust. After sex. And hygiene. And earning potential,” Blair announces, ignoring the elephant in the room (Dan’s haircut). Serena says she understands why Dan lied, then abruptly confesses that she’s been posting on Gossip Girl “for months now.” Blair isn’t surprised, and she is instead mock furious that Serena hasn’t better used her powers.

Chuck and Bart are still at the manor — which, in the daylight, looks like something out of Atonement — and Bart is explaining how he’s kept himself hidden for all these years. Bart explains that Diana snuck him back into the country to donate the blood that saved Chuck’s life, but that he can’t stay. “Our time is up,” says Bart. Then Bart, in true cold blooded Bass fashion, has his henchmen escort his shock-faced son out of the room.

Chuck finds his private investigator, Andrew, and tells him he must find who was after his father before his untimely death. (Spoiler alert: the angry, yelling Chuck is back, y’all! Sidebar: Where is Monkey?) Andrew tells him he can’t help him as Gossip Girl’s voice narrates, “Sometimes looking for answers only leads to more questions.” Or, in Chuck’s case… Back to Blair Waldorf.

If Chuck Bass had a superpower it would be GPS tracking Blair’s every move. The boy manages to find Blair on the street by standing stoically on the sidewalk next to his limo, brow furrowed. Then he delivers the best line of all: “Is there anywhere you have to be right now?” As we will see the rest of the episode, where Chuck’s concerned, the answer for Blair is always no.

Blair calls Serena to guilt trip her like any best friend would (we’ve all been there). While escorting Chuck to Diana Payne’s office, Blair gracefully ducks out, telling him, “I want to stay, but I have someplace to be.” Chuck turns and does his best confident stride into Diana’s office, where Diana Payne is looking smug in her chair ready to tell Chuck how grateful he should be to her for keeping his father alive. Chuck wants Diana’s help in figuring out who tried to kill his father. Diana sees her ticket out of the UES and tells Chuck she’ll help him if he helps her.

Serena shows up at Chuck’s to check in on him on Blair’s request. Chuck is chugging whiskey and Diana pops out of the background like a shift dress-wearing jack-in-the-box. Then Nate walks in on Diana and Chuck, who are trying to hatch a grown up plan. “Nathaniel, can I speak with you privately?” Chuck whispers throatily. You have to be this evil to ride this ride, Archibald. Turns out, Diana has offered to let Chuck buy The Spectator for a discount price — so long as he doesn’t let the paper run anything about her scandalous past.

Meanwhile, Dan tells Blair he talked to Alessandra and he’s decided to go to Rome — but he wants Blair to come with him. He’s essentially calling her “two glasses of chardonnay away” bluff. Blair looks visibly terrified about the idea of spending the summer with Dan in Rome. “ALL SUMMER?” She asks. Dan says yes, all summer, and not just that — in order for Blair to be approved to go, she needs to interview with someone from the program. TODAY.

Back at the Schemers Anonymous meeting, Lola shows up at Nate’s apartment to blow things up, looking all messy-haired and boho-chic. Nate can’t out Diana’s secret because it would sour Chuck’s deal to buy The Spectator — so Lola offers to do so without knowing Chuck’s true intentions for making a deal with her.

Credit: GIOVANNI RUFINO / THE CW ©2012 THE CW NETWORK

Back in Upper East Side Barbie Dreamhouse, Blair phones Serena strict instructions. “Text me what Chuck’s mood is like when they leave. That way I’ll know if I’m needed.” Serena does her best friend duties and interrogates Blair, asking her if her indecision about Rome has nothing to do with Chuck. Blair dodges the question, choosing only to stare begrudgingly at the Rome travel guide Dan just gave her while reiterating to Serena that she wants constant updates on how Chuck’s doing. One of these things is not like the other, B.

Blair tells Dan she’s in on the Rome plan. As he walks away, Blair looks sullen.

Diana gives up the name of Bart Bass’ attempted assassin: Mason Nevins. “One of your father’s fiercest competitors,” Diana explains while handing over the intel to Chuck. She tells him when and where to meet Mr. Nevins. Then, The New York Times calls Diana asking her for a comment on an anonymous tip sent in about her secret whorey past. Diana grabs the information out of Chuck’s hand and tells him the deal is off.

Blair is arranging the cake for the Italian fellowship coordinator when she gets a text from Chuck. She concocts a ruse that she has to go get gelato, because it’s a more fitting dessert for their company. Dan is left with Dorota, mophead still spinning.

Back at the Waldorf estate, the Italian guy shows up to interview Dan, but Blair’s nowhere to be seen — until Serena steps off the elevator, attempting her best Blair Waldorf impression in a bevy of flower prints and a huge strand of pearls, all topped with a turquoise headband. She kisses Dan, charms the Italian, and Dorota meanwhile makes the most epic montage of fake smiling faces ever seen in Gossip Girl history. While the fellowship coordinator takes a phone call, Serena lies to Dan and tells him Blair’s with her mother. But before the Italian can leave, and after he’s told Dan that both he and “Blair” are officially accepted for the summer, Eleanor Waldorf barges off the elevator looking for her daughter. Looks like two can play the lying game, Dan Humphrey.

Credit: GIOVANNI RUFINO / THE CW ©2012 THE CW NETWORK

Meanwhile, Blair is in her element, plotting on how to take Mason Nevins down with a couple of first-rate fake hookers, otherwise known as Lola and Ivy. “Do you think this is the first time I’ve entrapped someone with prostitutes?” B yells when they interrupt her scheming with their skeptical chirping. Blair leaves to find Chuck, and then Andrew the PI shows up telling the girls Chuck sent him and wants them to take him to Bart. (Spoiler alert: He’s lying.) Blair finds Chuck on the street and confronts him about sending Andrew (she spotted him in the lobby). He insists he didn’t, so the two of them storm back up to the fake prostitution den to find no one there.
 
Ivy and Lola lead Andrew to the mansion, at which point Chuck and Bart and Blair show up with a group of henchmen. Chuck tells everyone but Bart and Blair to leave — and then they proceed to question Andrew, who spills all. Apparently Bart hired Andrew to get dirt on Mason Nevins, who found out and threatened Andrew’s family. “It was either you or me and I turned,” Andrew confesses, shaking. The police then show up, having recorded every word.

Meanwhile, Serena has already given up the truth that Blair is actually with Chuck. Dan then spills his insecurities about Blair not saying “I love you” back, and she explains that Blair’s only doing what she has to — because Bart Bass is alive and Chuck needs her.

Later that day, Serena and Blair are sipping tea while staring wide-eyed at each other. Blair confesses she’s not ready to tell Dan she loves him. “I really want the next person I say that to to be the last.” But Blair’s going to Rome. She tells Dan she’s in, that “there’s nothing I want more than to spend the summer right by your side.” Is it just us, or does Dan never looked convinced of Blair’s sweet words to him. (Yeah, we’re always surprised by them, too, Dan.)

Then, the shit hits the proverbial porcelain Upper East Side fan. Gossip Girl is back — and she’s got a page straight from the diary of one miss Blair Waldorf. And it’s not just any page; it’s a page in which Blair details the moment Dan told her he loves her... and how her heart may be harboring other feelings? And guess who gave up the goods: Her BFF Serena vdW.

Blair stares helplessly at the skyline while Serena, who also got the blast, sits solemnly in her vast staircase. The episode leaves us with more questions than when it began: Who is Gossip Girl? How will Dan react to the blast? How about Chuck who’d all but given up on a romantic future with the love of his life?

We already know a few things that will happen next week… But, who will Blair choose in the end — and will it be as simple as loving one man more than the other?

Credit: YouTube Photo: Gossip Girl Season 5 Finale Promo! Dan Kisses SOMEONE ELSE in Episode 24: "The Return of the Ring" (VIDEO)