Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW © 2011 The CW Network, LLC. Photo: Lily in Season 4, Episode 17: "Empire of the Son"

It’s all about parents and children this week. Lily will do anything to regain Serena’s respect. Ben’s mother sells her soul to save her son. Thorpe’s hatred for Chuck is matched only by his love for his daughter. And the cold hand of Bart Bass‘s evil reaches beyond the grave to once again utterly destroy Chuck. Well, they can’t all be winners. Call your mom and say you love her for not perjuring your boyfriends into jail, and then let’s get down to it.

Chuck is hours away from closing the deal to regain control of Bass Industries. But Thorpe has other plans. First, he alerts Chuck to Nate and Raina’s flirtation, but that’s no more than a warning shot: When an orange jumpsuit arrives for Lily courtesy of her good buddy Russell, she and Chuck realize that Thorpe knows what Lily did to Ben.

And how does Thorpe intend to use hearsay from a drug dealer to make charges stick to Lily? Funny you should ask. There’s another mother visiting the Upper East Side: Ben’s. Ostensibly she’s just there to go all tight-lipped and disapproving whenever Serena’s around, but really she’s been sent by Thorpe to steal the affidavit. Which Serena, brain trust that she is, kept in her sweater drawer. Oh come on, these people don’t deserve to stay out of jail. They didn’t deserve to make it out of high school.

Chuck’s last ditch effort to block Thorpe’s blackmail attempt is an appeal to his better angels — well, his one better angel, Raina. He arranges for her to listen in while Thorpe blackmails Lily, so she can see what kind of a man he really is. Midwestern Raina is catching on quick to the ways of her new home — she storms out with enough self-righteous flouncing to do any Upper East Side girl proud — but Thorpe stands firm. Finally, Lily decides to take blackmail off the table by turning herself in to the police.

Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW © 2011 The CW Network, LLC. Photo: William and Rufus Face-Off in Season 4, Episode 17: "Empire of the Son"
When she’s gone, Thorpe reveals the real reason he’s been after Bass Industries all this time: Remember that building that Bart Bass had burned down? Apparently it contained Thorpe’s wife.

Lily heads to the police station to clear Ben’s name. He’s all, “Thx. I dumped your daughter, by the way.” That’s OK, Ben. Serena never stays interested in a guy once there’s no creepy obstacle keeping them apart. Lily’s relieved to get it off her chest, but it seems her legal troubles are just beginning: For reasons so far unknown, CeCe called Lily’s ex William Van Der Woodsen back into town.

A freshly dumped Serena finds Chuck drowning his sorrows at the bar, and together they decide they need to go find their bestie Blair. So,  that means we should expect a warm, fuzzy, friendshippy ending, right?
Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW © 2011 The CW Network, LLC. Photo: Blair and Dan in Season 4, Episode 17: "Empire of the Son"
Well, it would be, except what has Blair been doing all this time? Fretting over Dan Humphrey. They’ve continued to sneak around having this weird spy friendship. When even open-minded Rufus is like “Sure, son! Be friends with whoever you want! That is the free-loving Brooklyn way! It’s not Blair, right? Because barf,” Dan and Blair decide that even their platonic friendship is enough to tear holes in the fabric of the universe, and they go their separate ways. Nevertheless, Dan shows up at her place and demands that they test the theory that there’s nothing between them with a kiss, in the interest of science or something. And they kiss. And it freeze frames. And that’s it. See you in April. XOXO.