We know that when it comes to naming a Gossip Girl episode, films get the tongue-in-cheek nod of a twisted title. But this one might as well have been subtitled “Desperate times call for desperate measures.” And on the UES, “desperate times” mean family feuds, failing fashion lines, and murky financial secrets. In short: everyone has retreated inside their darkest fears... but we’ll get to that later.
Dan (Penn Badgley) and Serena (Blake Lively) lay in her oversized bed mulling over whether to go public with their relationship. Dan’s argument: “Who cares, seize the day,” standard Humphrey stuff. Serena, meanwhile, is concerned about how their friends will react and wants to “make amends.” Yes, because every relationship is borne out of a 12-step program, to say nothing of the fact that they were already in public in the last episode...
The Bass men are, per usual, at each others’ throats — perhaps these two should be in charge of the amends making instead. Chuck discovers his father ransacking his apartment (and handily for an old man, we might add). Bart Bass realizes that Chuck Bass (Ed Westwick), despite having purchased the rainbow lady painting, is not in possession of the microfilm.
Ivy (Kaylee DeFer) then prances in (via the in-room elevator) and says “oh hai I have your precious things.” Basically, she’s Gollum (she’s even got the raspy voice to match) and the Empire Hotel is the Eye of Mordor.
Nate (Chace Crawford) is still trying to drum up honest money for The Spectator, oblivious to the fact that Bart Bass is already in charge of the purse strings. Pulling his best Oliver Twist impression, Nate begs the financial advisor to find a way to salvage the paper. “It’s everything I’ve got Mr. Moyer, now if you could please get me some more time.” Quivering lip not included.
Serena shows up at Blair’s studio anxious to be forgiven so she can have sex with her former-and-now-maybe-again boyfriend. “I’ve come to make amends,” S says, sashaying in like Paris Hilton on an exotic animal farm. Blair can’t be bothered with this forgiveness business and tells her nothing can be fixed. Serena stages a friendship sit-in. There are a lot of prints going on in the aesthetic realm, presumably in an attempt to insinuate dramatic tension. Mostly it just causes headaches.
Back at Chuck’s apartment, Bart tells Ivy to name her price. Turns out, although she kind of looks like a prostitute, Ivy doesn’t want money. Chuck glares at her, jaw clenched. Bart says “surely there must be something else.” Ivy says: “All I want is for Lily (Kelly Rutherford) to be left with no one and nothing.” If wishes were horses, little girl.
In a twist that takes us further away from what we want (more Chuck and Blair), we’re thrown into Ivy licking the face of another UES Dad. Turns out, Ivy’s partner in crime — the person she called at the end of Episode 6 — is William van der Woodsen, Serena’s father. Then she makes out with him. 1) What is it about all Baldwins that makes them hot? Our theory: their special brand of smize. 2) POOR RUFUS, always stranded by his lonesome in a sea of exposed brick.
Serena’s friendship sit-in eventually leads to photo-based blackmail (as per usual), and she suggests that she send a photo to Gossip Girl in a convoluted scheme to get Sage to be the face of Blair Waldorf designs. Naturally, Sage sees the photo (what else do children do but read the internet all day?) and comes running to Blair for vengeance. Blair, like Ivy, barters for power, insisting that Sage call a meeting of the Secret Society Dons.
Hooker Gollum is back in the arms of The Hot Baldwin. “Acting like I’m into Rufus when I’m really in love with you is the hardest thing I’ve done in my entire life,” Ivy tells William. They gallivant off on some gross date adventure — but not before Rufus spies Ivy kissing William goodbye (although he can’t tell who it is from across the street, so our vindication is delayed for two more commercial breaks).
Dan shows up at Chuck’s to spill his feelings to his bros, being all “I’m sorry guys I need to make amends.” Nate then utters the best line heard this episode: “Who would have thought Chuck Bass turns out to be the good guy and Dan Humphrey the villain?”
Back at The Spectator (which is sorely in need of a logo redesign), Bart shows up to tell Nate he’s the HBIC and threatens him with a future far worse than his father’s. It’s like a Greek myth but with less fire and water and more tartan plaid. After some blackmail, Nate gives his BFF up, spilling Chuck’s plan to Bart so he can beat his son to the microfilm. Bart calls Ivy and tells her the agreement with Chuck is just a diversion, ruining Chuck’s plan to have Ivy arrested — and for no harm to come to Lily.
Dan’s forgiveness parade takes him to Rufus’s apartment, where Roofie, bless his heart, is wearing another shawl sweater and moping about finding Ivy making out with another old person. Ivy walks in, oblivious to how her reality has shifted, yelling “HONEY I’M HOME!” Rufus says “I opened my heart to you, I believed you when you said you were protecting me from Lily, at least have the decency to tell me what was true and what were lies.” Ivy tells him “there was someone else before you, I thought it was over, but I ran into him last week and it wasn’t.” She puts the society in sociopath.
Sage figures out that her father and Serena are definitely not back together, and bails on Blair’s pop up show. Blair, in a fleeting moment of weakness, tells Chuck, “It’s my faith in you that’s firing me up to fix this mess.” He clenches his jaw and walks away from her. Blair confronts Serena, accusing her of sabotage and demanding she “come up with a new scheme!” Serena, acting like a true friend for once, tells Blair, “Your line is wonderful and you need to start trusting yourself. Your clothes are beautiful and original like you.”
Nate is at the bar drinking. Chuck finds him and joins in on the fun. Nate confesses “it was all my fault” and tells Chuck that Bart cornered him and he had no choice but to spill the dirty deets.
Ivy meets Bart to hand off the microfilm, but makes Bart take his clothes off as collateral, to show Lily that she can steal “both her husbands.” Turns out, Rufus has already slipped the precious microfilm out of Ivy’s mysterious stamped envelope and run to Lily’s to make amends. Gossip Girl’s voice drives the point home: “They say nothing inspires forgiveness quite like revenge.” Sigh, if only Madeleine Stowe could rescue this plotline.
Lily and Rufus have tea. Rufus confesses “Ivy is not who I thought she was.” Lily patronizes him: “You always see the best in people.” Rufus tells Lily he wants to make peace. Dan then walks into Lily’s apartment, watches Rufus hand over the microfilm, and texts Chuck to alert him.
Chuck returns to confront Lily, but she throws microfilm in the fire, believing Bart’s lies about his son. Namely, that Chuck was out to ruin Lily and not protect her from her own husband. Lil, get a grip.
Blair finds Chuck a broken man at the bar. “I should have always expected the only parent to ever love me, my mother, who chose me as a son, abandoned me. I finally had the evidence to vanquish my father and she destroyed it to protect him.” Blair insists, “We’ll find new evidence, we’ll find another way.” Chuck is steadfast when he tells Blair they can’t be together — because she’s held up her side of the pact while he’s failed at his. “Go. Just go.”
Serena and Dan have finally collected enough punches on their forgiveness cards and meet back at the vdW apartment to gloat. Dan tells her, “I’m sure you are the one, whether I’ve admitted it to myself, you’ve always been the one.” Serena tells him she’s sure she wants to be with him for the rest of his life.
Dan’s phone rings; it’s Georgina (Michelle Trachtenberg). Dan whispers, “I’m writing the Serena chapter.” Amen.
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