Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW ©2010 The CW Network Photo: Serena Gets Dramatic in Season 4, Episode 11: "The Townie"
The gang is having a home-cooked (wait, who among them can cook?) meal at The Empire, now that they’ve mostly all ditched or been ditched by their parents, and are prepping for their holiday getaways. Chuck’s headed to Australia to meet up with Uncle Jack (shudder) in hopes of teaming up to take back Bass Industries. Nate’s gonna spend some one-on-one time with the Captain now that he’s on parole. Serena’s going to go upstate to get in touch with the judge that issued Ben’s sentence and wants to make a cute rural road trip out of it with Dan (Imagine the outfits! And they’d get to use that car again!). Dan declines, saying that this is a battle she’s going to  have to fight on her own. All right, Humphrey... you understand her better than anyone else, blah blah blah. But think of the tweed! The tweed!

So that leaves Blair and Dan. All alone in the suite. All Christmas long. With nothing to do but bicker and fight and snipe and snark and get on each other’s nerves and hate each other and have ALL the sex. Just sayin’ — it wouldn’t be the first time Blair rang in the New Year with a scandalicious new notch on her bedpost.

But wait! That’s not all! Before heading off on her odyssey of redemption, Serena makes a pit stop at Staten Island. That’s right, New York’s hottest inmate is getting a visitor. Ben looks like he might laugh, puke, cry, or all three when Serena walks through the door. “I don’t know what to say,” he says. “Neither do I,” says S. But we doubt that... In fact, we’re guessing these two have a lot to talk about.
Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW ©2010 The CW Network Photo: Blair and Juliet Face-Off in Season 4, Episode 11: "The Townie"
Juliet tells her everything, finally confronting S about the statutory rape charge and how it destroyed her family, and that’s why she’s been on such a rampage ever since arriving in New York. But Juliet has her facts wrong: Serena never pressed charges. Serena, as we now know, never even touched Ben. But somebody signed that affidavit claiming that Ben both smuggled a minor across a state line and got freaky with her. And it wasn’t Serena.

Back at the van der Woodsen’s, the Bass Industries holiday party is in full swing (because even an episode as intense and plot-heavy as this one HAS to have a party!). Lily is playing host, cheerfully deflecting questions about Serena’s drug problem, which is totally getting on Erik’s nerves. Serena shows up, still in her cozy-time rehab sweater and leggings, and stands alongside Mommy Dearest. And right there, in front of all the most powerful people in NYC, she tells them all that her mom is a liar and that she put an innocent man in jail!

But that’s not the only thing Lily’s done wrong: Rufus drops a juicy little nugget he picked up at the party: Lily is selling Bass industries! And she was going to do it behind Chuck’s back! Chuck looks wounded; we totally wanted to give him a hug and dab away the tears with his pocket square, but he storms away. Then, one by one, everyone peaces out. Ouch, Lil, that’s gotta hurt. Guess she’s not so different from CeCe after all.

One week later...
Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW ©2010 The CW Network Photo: Ben and Serena in Season 4, Episode 11: "The Townie"
The threesome find themselves at a little two-story in desperate need of a paint job, and meet Juliet’s mom. Damien tells Mama Sharp that he and Juliet went to school together, and then the subject of Ben comes up. “He was a damn fine teacher, no matter what anyone said,” says mom. No matter what anyone said, as in... OhMG. It’s all coming together now, isn’t it? That’s right: Ben Donovan, the naughty hottie in the orange jumpsuit, was fired for sleeping with a certain blonde student and jailed for statutory rape.

Meanwhile, back in the present day, Juliet gets Ben on speed-dial (what is it with that prison and their surprisingly lax phone privileges?) and lets him know she’s coming back to the city. He warns her not to go near Serena, and she does everything but give him the finger before hanging up. Luckily, at that moment Nate shows up at the prison for another father-son hangout sesh. Ben (probably recognizing him from Juliet’s crazyperson collages) tells Nate to keep Juliet away from Serena. Soon the word is out to everyone: Juliet’s coming back to NYC. Set your phasers to kill. But of course, Serena walks into her room at the Ostroff, turns on the light, and who should be sitting right there in her leather easy chair but Juliet Friggin’ Sharp?
Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW ©2010 The CW Network Photo: Sneak Peek at Gossip Girl Season 4, Episode 11: "The Townie"
Phew! Episode 4.11, “The Townie,” was a doozy, with so many secrets revealed and OMG-bombs dropped that we’re still trying to clear through the smoke. But the good news is that the mystery of Ben and Juliet has finally come undone, and we have a feeling there’s a so-wrong-it’s-right romance on the horizon.

It seems Dan and Blair have spent the rest of their Thanksgiving break putting their heads together and trying to figure out the full extent of Juliet’s crazypants scheme. Blair, who basically invented the crazypants scheme, is right in deducing that the only thing that could drive someone to kidnap a girl and pump her full of drugs would be good old fashioned revenge. And what could Serena have done to deserve such an all-level attack? Hasn’t this been the question we’ve been asking all season?

Meanwhile, Chuck and Lil are busy smoothing over all the bad press surrounding Serena, because when your daughter’s spent a week in a drug-induced coma, the first thing to do is make sure the family business won’t be harmed, right? Lily manages to convince the New York Post that Serena just had a bad case of the sniffles, so everything’s better, and that was the end of the episode.
Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW ©2010 The CW Network Photo: Damien Returns in Season 4, Episode 11: "The Townie"
Nope, there’s still Dan and Blair’s Frontier Justice to attend to, which is not helped by the fact that S has decided to go under 72 hour lock-down at the Ostroff Center — completely cutting off her friends and family so she can talk to a therapist and have some dramatic, film-grainy flashbacks. B and Lonely Boy turn to Gossip Girl for help in tracking down Juliet’s whereabouts, which leads them to Cornwall, Connecticut — the kind of place you might stop at on a road trip for a sandwich at the soda fountain and maybe some kind of overpriced saltwater taffy. At the same time, Serena takes us (and her therapist) on a little trip down memory lane.

Remember the countertop sex with Nate? The hotel? The OD? Ah, youth. Well, we never found out what happened AFTER that whole debacle. That’s right, the troubled Miss VdDubs fled to the one place where her reputation couldn’t follow her... Cornwall, Connecticut.

Blair and Dan arrive at a party in Cornwall that must have been cut-and-pasted from an episode of Skins: Drugs, strip poker, and red cups aplenty. Major props to our girl B for not passing out on the spot, even though she looked as though she was sifting through a landmine as she tiptoed through the tulips passed-out coeds. But why on earth would GG send our new favorite odd couple to such a totally declassé party? Enter Damien Daalgard, who’s doing some bangin’ business at this particular soirée. Turns out he used to know Juliet at the Knightley School when he and Serena were there together.

Damien tells Dair about Juliet’s “big purchase” right before the kidnapping went down, and agrees to take them to Juliet’s family’s house. But just as they’re piling into Herbie the Love Bug, who should roll by in a dinged-up mid-size sedan other than Miss Sharp herself? Homegirl high-tails it out of there, knowing the jig is up.