Previous episode: "A Portrait of a Lady Alexander"
From the previous episodes this season, there's been this feeling that our beloved (jk) characters were becoming their previously 16 year old selves, but it hadn’t been quite cemented yet. But this episode did that. And then I had a rage blackout. THIS SHOW YOU GUYS. (Note: I acknowledge that using this Blair and Dan picture is trolling, but figured this was the last time I could actually use one ever again.)
This episode centered on the cotillion ball—where Sage is coming out into society. With a soundtrack provided by only Frank Ocean songs (GG actually being culturally relevant?!), I couldn’t decide if the writers could tell that the Ocean songs are mocking the rich, but considering the following events of this episode, probably not.
Dan is still staying with Blair—who is attempting to use Sage’s striptease at the end of her fashion show to attract buyers for her collection—by making a “sexy” cotillion dress. Blair is a little worried considering that’s more Serena’s jam than hers, but as Dan so helpfully mentions “missionary doesn’t work for you as I recall.” DAN IS TRYING SO HARD. And I love him for it.
Family life has changed Serena! She’s making pancakes! But Barry Watson is ignoring her and she’s nervous about it. And he forgot to invite her to Sage’s cotillion. Don’t worry she’s going anyways.
Georgina, per usual, gets the choice lines in the episode also those extremely based in truth. When she goes to demand Dan’s chapter about Blair from him—she find him staying in Serena’s old room that she says is making him a “diva with poor work ethic.” Dan hilariously enough agrees with the diva part but not the work ethic part—I guess banging all your literary groupies counts as work? An encounter with Dorota lets Dan see that Blair has been wearing Chuck’s ring around her neck, but he still won’t send her chapter. So he sends Chuck’s instead.
Ivy and Rufus are boring, so I’ll go ahead and sum this up here. Basically Rufus finds out that Ivy has Carol’s part of the Cece’s estate. He’s wary at first but then is excited about being a kept man again. Oh, also Ivy is helping Chuck bring down Bart sort of, mainly so she can try to get back at Lily.
Chuck goes to Nate for advice? Weird, right. But Nate gives some thinly veiled advice that might point to some bad financial things he’s been doing at The Spectator. Oh Nate! Nate is taking Sage to cotillion and Chuck provides a really great comeback in “The third time coming out is a charm.” Is that a subtle nod to the Chase Crawford/Ed Westwick relationship rumors?! Apparently, Nate is the advice guru because Serena rolls in after Chuck asking Nate for advice on Barry Watson. She asks Nate if Sage has said anything to him about Barry Watson. Please Serena, like they talk.
However, directly after this conversation, Serena goes and snoops through Barry Watson’s things. And she discovers a HUGE diamond ring. And since ladies are go crazy when they see diamonds (studies have proven), Serena freaks out. Sage walks in and sees Serena freaking out, so of course she sees the ring and confronts Barry Watson about it. He acknowledges it that it seems fast and that she’s young. But he hasn’t loved anyone this much since Sage’s mother (Good parenting call BW). He’s planning on proposing at the cotillion. Of course because none of these awful people have to do everything in public.
Dan brings Blair coffee while she’s making one of her minions pretend to be in high school to show off a Waldorf original. Said minion hits on Dan to which Blair responds: “No debutante would go with anyone from an outer borough.” Fair enough. Dan uses his Chuck story (which has no mention of attempted rape, brothels, drug use, Blair hotel swapping, getting stabbed in Paris, etc.) to make Blair question her relationship with Chuck—mainly because there is no mention of her in it.
I can’t handle this season how similar Serena is to Lily this season—so when she sits down to discuss Barry Watson proposing—it’s super awkward. Mainly because Lily shuts Serena down (maybe the best parenting she’s done) but not without mentioning that she thought Serena would end up with Dan. Oh no. But don’t worry it doesn’t faze Serena—she decides she needs to go get a manicure so her hands are perfect!
Blair had previously tried to get Sage to wear a Waldorf design to cotillion but she had declined. Upon hearing about Barry Watson and Serena’s upcoming engagement, Sage changes her mind and goes to Blair—since Blair is the only person who can take Serena down. However, Blair doesn’t trust the youths (most realistic portion of episode?) because they can’t be trusted scheming on good faith. They need a two tiered approach. Blair calls Lily to discuss her concerns regarding Serena’s engagement noting that “Serena’s enthusiasm is like the bat signal of bad ideas.” This is true.
Dan knows Chuck isn’t going to cotillion with Blair, so he takes her. Blair agrees only because she can overlook his upbringing since he’s in Vanity Fair now. And I know that this is going to end poorly. Chuck ends up showing up at cotillion, since none of these people have anything else to do. He basically assumes that Dan is obsessed with him since he’s written about him twice. Dan compares the whole thing to the myth of Hera, Zeus and Cronos. And makes sure to mention that: “Zeus tricked Hera to be with him after he raped her.” Dan is really trying for Blair—and at this point he has to because Georgina has threatened to leak his sex tape with Serena by midnight if he doesn’t get her the Blair chapter.
After finding out during her manicure via Gossip Girl that Barry Watson has returned the ring, Serena goes to cotillion anyways to win him back and of course to blame Lily for this sudden turn of events. Of course this Gossip Girl scheme is classic Blair and the youths aka Sage aren’t into old school scheming so Sage leaks the sex tape herself (after stealing Georgina’s phone) and it plays on the wall during the party.
This is after an exchange between Serena and Blair—where Blair tells Serena she would never permanently ruin Serena’s happiness and warns her about Sage and the alliance free youth of today. It’s a really nice moment that made me hope that maybe the show would just end with Serena and Blair running off together (I believe they do have several more-than-friends moments in the books). But don’t worry, with that sex tape everything falls apart. Blair slaps Dan and says this is worse THAN WHEN CHUCK HAD SEX WITH JENNY. I can’t even. And Blair tells Serena that she needs to prove that she can take anyone from Blair (this seems pretty valid)—and that despite everything she would always stop if she knew it would really hurt Serena. Serena obviously doesn’t have those boundaries. And we are back to them not speaking.
Sage, in her escandalo Waldorf dress creation, is pleased with herself and even offered employment by Georgina. But when Nate realizes that Sage leaked the tape, he leaves her and she isn’t pleased anymore. I hope this means this whole Nate dates a 17 year old storyline is over.
Barry Watson realizes Serena is a terrible person and breaks up with her. And guess who is left?
Serena and Dan.
Blair goes to Chuck and they have the same conversation that they’ve had for the last 3 episodes. However, Chuck does acknowledge that he was afraid that Dan was always the better man. Also, at this rate Chuck and Blair will never be together because all of his plans to foil Bart keep failing. Now, Lily is done with him too. Same goes for Blair too. Even though Sage’s sex dress got her some buyers, Eleanor is coming back to fix this decorum disaster.
Serena is taking her whole break up with Barry Watson too well—as is in her nature I guess. And she’s eating pie with Dan and they are giving each other many looks. Basically, there was no point in watching season one because everything is essentially resetting itself.
Although, Serena says the most feminist thing for her after Dan gets a number while they are sitting there: “I get dumped over our sex tape and you get numbers. That’s not fair.”
So there’s that I guess?
Quotes of sadness/truth/Georgina missing her teen years:
• Dan on Blair not wearing Chuck’s ring on her finger: “That shoulder to arm space is where I can get her back.”
• Lily to Serena on men: “You don’t have boyfriends, you have life rafts.”
• Georgina on cotillion: “I forgot how much I love being 16.” (She dances with a clearly underage dude after saying this.)
Next week: Serena and Dan for the billionth time.
Gossip Girl photos via The CW.
Kerensa Cadenas writes for Women and Hollywood , This Was Television and is the Research Editor for Tomorrow magazine. You can find her other published writing at her website. She tweeted some depressing things about Gossip Girl last night.