Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW 2011 The CW Network Photo: Ivy/Charlie and Nate Embrace in Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 6: “I Am Number Nine”

Sometimes you try, with the very best of intentions, to grow up — but the world has other plans. The entire gang seemed to be dragged, kicking and screaming, back into the mud this week, except for Chuck (Ed Westwick), who finally showed signs of cleaning up his act. Here’s the dirt:

Blair (Leighton Meester) begs Louis (Hugo Becker) for a day pass from maturity, in order to torment her minions one more time. He grants her the royal dispensation, and she skips off with Penelope, Columbia Girl, and Asian Who Is Not Nelly to put them through bridal boot camp.

Nate (Chace Crawford) is getting adorably sulky as he realizes that he’s once more involved himself with a woman who sees him as useless for anything but sex on her desk. Diana (Elizabeth Hurley) refuses to come clean about their relationship, and — as he learns when he goes to deliver invites to the Spectator’s launch party — she’s publicly dating another, more prestigious dude.

Credit: Thelonius/Splash News Photo: Blair's Bridesmaids Walk Down the Stairs Gossip Girl in New York City on September 14, 2011

Charlie’s (Kaylee DeFer) off dispatching invites too, until she stumbles on a much bigger story: Blair’s bridesmaid Olympics. She decides to put herself in the running so she can cover the wedding. After carrying champagne in heels with the best of them (former waitresses make awesome bridesmaids), she and the other minions-to-be face a final hurdle: make out with Nate Archibald. When Nate confides in Charlie that his unnamed lady friend’s been jerking him around, she kills two birds with one stone, persuading him to take her as his date.

Chuck Bass. Oh, man. Can’t that guy even meet a nice therapist in the park? Does every single New Yorker have a secret reason to betray Chuck’s trust on file, in case they ever meet him? This week it’s sweet Dr. Eliza who’s taking the trembling baby bird that is Chuck’s newborn trust in humanity and running it over with a steamroller. Prince Louis has something on her  she owes him money? Or her dad does? How does an Australian therapist end up in debt to a prince? Whatever — and he forces her to try to re-Chuckify Chuck, in the hopes that his bad boy ways will remind Blair why she left him. However, Chuck takes her goading as a therapeutic technique, and gives her Blair’s would-be engagement ring to get rid of. Which would be a big step forward, but then he sees Eliza conspiring with Louis. At the dog park. The one where she met Chuck. We have no sympathy for her.

Dan (Penn Badgley) and Serena (Blake Lively) are in development meetings for the movie of his book. Dan, who has apparently never read a book about Hollywood, is shocked when S’s boss Jane requests extensive changes to the screenplay. Serena persuades him to drop out and let them find another screenwriter, promising to protect his story. He agrees, but to her dismay, Jane decides to turn the movie into an anti-Dan smear job.

And then they all go to the party!

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW 2011 The CW Network Photo: Nate and Ivy/Charlie Talk to Diana Payne in Gossip Girl Season 5, Episode 6: “I Am Number Nine”

At the party, Charlie makes out with Nate, making Diana properly jealous and cementing Charlie’s place by Blair’s side. Nate gets what he wants — he and Diana go public — but poor Charlie is worse off than ever, having made out with her blackmailer’s boy toy. At least she gets to be a bridesmaid! Which is not that fun! Sorry, Charlie!

Serena brings Dan to the party in an effort to show Jane that he’s too awesome to skewer. She should have taken him for a haircut first. Jane is unimpressed, but Diana (of course) has dirt on Jane, and kills the project. In return, she asks Serena to leave her job and come and write a blog for the Spectator. Wow, she’s serious about making it a Gossip Girl killer. Unlike Serena, whose precious film production career is now apparently over. (Five months! Definitely a record.)

Chuck tells Blair that Louis spied on him, and gets pissed. Frankly, we think she should be relieved to know that Louis can get his scheme on when necessary. He’d never fit in with her friends otherwise. Louis tells her he found the paternity test, which apparently does, indeed, name him as the father. Their relationship, always terrible, gets a little bit worse. And it surely won’t help that Chuck comes and makes a heartfelt apology to Blair for all his screwups. But Chuck is making an honest effort to move on, and he takes that enormous ring and leaves it at Harry Winston... on the front steps... in the middle of the night. OK, what? Never has such a melancholy gesture been so boneheaded.

Tender and heartbreaking? Sure. But still totally boneheaded.

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