The world of Gossip Girl is fluid. Relationships, situations, and even the nature of people are constantly changing: One week, Chuck might be a cold, date-raping ne'er-do-well, the next he is a loving boyfriend and responsible businessman, then back again. But the characters — and we — know that some things will always remain constant. Like the Humphreys, whose behavior is as solid and predictable as their name. Rufus, we know, will always act Rufusy. Jenny will most likely behave selfishly and duplicitously. And Dan Humphrey can usually be counted on to tell the truth. And so it makes sense that out of the many, many signs that her father was not quite what he seemed was the phone call from her stepbrother ex-boyfriend that finally prompted Serena to question William's actions. Thank God, because if this series moved down to Palm Beach, we'd know for sure we were watching a soap opera.
And now, on to our patented reality index!
Realer Than the Humphreys All Talking About One Another in the Third Person:
• GG writes: “All I can say is this guy has some big Dior loafers to fill.” We love these incessant size jokes regarding the ol’ Big Mouth Billy Bass! Plus 2.
• Blair: “I mean, who starts a courtship during the day, anyway?
Serena: “Humans who venture out in light and aren’t named Bass?” Plus 2.
• Blair: “Serena, I have to tell you something. I’ve never been on a date.”
Serena: “What about Chuck, and Nate? And Chuck? And then Nate again?” Plus 5.
• Blair is the girl who wears the most slips of any girl under 20 in the whole world. Seriously, American Girl dolls have fewer protective undergarments. Plus 2.
• Nate says Serena is "in a good place." Plus 1.
• Blair: “Is there anything I can do? Dorota’s family has Polish mob connections.” Plus only 1, because they’re just pandering to us at this point.
• Some of Jenny’s extensions are making a break for it. Plus 1.
• William is giving Lily Ivermectin, which is basically a veterinary drug, but is also used for “river blindness.” Plus 3.
• Chuck’s pinstripe suit is spectacularly cut, we must admit. As is his tuxedo. Plus 2.
• Serena says “I didn’t mean for you to find out this way” to Lily, even though she set the whole thing up exactly to go down that way. Plus 2.
• And another plus 2 for the fact that she already forgot she put dark tights on when she put on her white sweaterdress 30 seconds later.
• Jenny: “I don’t see what we need Blair for, I mean, don’t you read Gossip Girl? Extortion’s what I do. All day.” Plus 1.
• Eric at least tells Lily to give Rufus a chance to work through it with him. So wise, young gay. Plus 2.
• The look that Blair gives her date Cameron after she says “No way would another Upper East Sider schtup Rufus — my stepfather is Jewish” is priceless. Plus 1. As is the understanding nod he gives right after.
• Chuck: “We don’t expect you to keep up, it’s beyond basic rugby strategy.” How does he know he plays rugby? Plus 1.
• Of all of the times exposition was used in this episode, Nate's fourth-wall-breaking explanation to Cameron of the nature of his group's activities was awesome. "Last year, Georgina pretended to be this rich Canadian to get Poppy, but things got all messed up when she turned her back on Jesus," he said, chuckling like a normal person retelling a hilarious, drunken adventure. "Dan doesn't normally participate." Plus 3.
• William will only invite Lily to the library benefit if Serena comes, too. Plus 3, because every time it seems like he wants to sleep with his daughter this ridiculous plot becomes slightly more believable, as gross as that is.
• Serena to Jenny: “I have no interest in your wannabe Watanabe.” Someone clearly said that to her first, but still, plus 1.
• Chuck calls Cameron’s rugby date “homoerotic.” Blair says, “you know I love that.” Plus 5.
• Lester Lanin! plus 10.
• To go to visit William's ailing patient in Palm Beach, the Van der Woodsens all change out of their formalwear into equally complicated outfits. Serena dons a riding ensemble that could be construed as casual if not for the five-inch heels and pile of necklaces, while cancer patient Lily slips into a skintight, off-the-shoulder, zebra-print minidress with diamonds. Plus 4, because to be fair, changing outfits is pretty much all they have to do all day.
• Nate knows a “Captain Lewis” from the police? Plus 2.
• Eric: “If you don’t want to be a part of this family, no one is forcing you to stay.” Plus 3, because, good point.
• Serena's lashing out at Nate — "I guess you know why I don't talk to you about things!" — after the departure of her father is totally realistic. If she can't be pissed off at her father for lying about her mother having cancer, trying to break up her family, and running off on her with no explanation for the second time in her life, she has to be mad at someone. Plus 3.
• It is only when Jenny's boobs are presented at their most spectacular and Serena-like that Nate finally accedes to her advances. Plus 10, especially for the way he trails her into the other room, like a puppy following someone wearing its owner's sweater.
Faker Than "Holland" Having an Actual Medical Practice:
• Rufus and the Slutty Singleton didn't meet at the rooftop garden committee. They met at the co-op board meeting that Lily blew off. We were there! We saw it! Minus 2, because we have a gigantic diagram on our wall documenting the various connections between Gossip Girl characters, their traits, likes, dislikes, outfits worn, people schtupped. Why don't the writers?
• When the episode starts, why does Serena only think Rufus cheated on Lily? The woman didn’t come out and say it? What happened to her detective skills? This is a girl who took a real knife on a game of Assassins! Minus 2.
• Chuck: “Say hello to Blair for me. I hope she has a good day.” That was weird. Minus 1.
• As is the idea of Chuck hooking up with the cast of Cirque du Soleil. Those are athletes! They don’t dope. Minus 1.
• Why is this episode the first time we hear someone say “lymphoma”? Minus 3.
• Rufus is the worst grounder of all time. Minus 3, because even he learns a lesson. After the hundredth time he gets burned.
• Jenny's lolling-about-the-house-grounded outfit consists of a lace miniskirt, several pounds of jewelry, a leather jacket, a full face of makeup, and a hairdo that involves prom-style curling-iron ringlets. Minus only 2, because we remember dressing up like Madonna in Who's That Girl when we were stuck at home as kids — of course, we never left the house.
• Nobody would call the Slutty Singleton into the living room of a house to talk about something like that (minus 3), nor would everyone wait in exactly the same position for her to show up (minus 3), nor would Rufus pause calmly while she lied rather than immediately deny it (minus 3). And no one noticing William’s laughable “surprise” face just deserves an extra minus 5.
• It's one thing for Serena to swallow Holland's claim that she slept with Rufus — she just got her dad back, and she doesn't want him to go away, even if it means tolerating ludicrous lies and lingering incestuous glances at her bosom — but why does Lily listen to her over her own husband? Because Rufus left his scarf in Holland's apartment one time? Minus 7, because even if a tiny part of her was looking for a reason to get back together with her ex-husband, she'd still have to concede that cheating with another Upper East Sider would be highly un-Rufus-like.
• Serena: “Tibet sounds pretty good right now.” Minus 1. HA. Hahahahahaha.
• William: “I’m not going to try to take advantage of the situation to get back with your mother.”
Serena: “Well, you have been there throughout her entire sickness.” But not, you know, the previous fifteen years. Minus 1, because come on, Serena. Normally we give you points for saying stupid things, but this is just too much.
• Lily says to William, “You know, it’s really nice to be here with someone who doesn’t hate these things.” This is the person who wanted you to move to Tibet, Lils. They don’t have library galas with Lester Lanin in Tibet. Minus 4.
• How on earth would William have convinced Lily to go to Palm Beach with him for no reason? Minus 5. And why would they think that would solve anything? Minus 5. Do cell phones not work in Palm Beach? (Don’t answer that, Nana.)
• The whole exposition in the limo thing is a little bit Dr. Evil. Everybody already knew what was going on (except maybe Nate’s bangs, which have been sadly trapped in a force field of Dep). Minus 1.
• Wait, are we actually supposed to believe William's explanation of what happened between him and Lily? First of all, one doctor in a random hotel room does not “cure” someone of lymphoma. Secondly, this was about love, and not billions of dollars? William is an obvious sleazeball who has spent the past twenty years estranged from family. The pool of his apartment complex in Palm Beach most likely contains a gaggle of topless bimbos ripe for the picking; what does he need with the same forty-something-year-old poon he had back in the nineties? Minus 20.
• William: "I've got the files in my bag. Do you want to see them?"
Serena: "No, Dad, you don't have to prove yourself."
William: "I think I do." [Runs away like a totally pussy.] Worst. Exit. Ever. Minus 3.
• Wait, did Chuck chuck Blair’s chin? Minus 3.
• Chuck: “I’ll be waiting on top of the Empire State Building.”
Blair: “You can’t Affair to Remember me.” Minus only 1, because it’s too ridiculous, but also a little bit awesome.
A close call, tipped into unreality by Lily's reluctance to observe the Humphrey Law of the Gossip Girl universe. Next week, another constant is challenged in the season finale: Will Blair and Chuck get back together or will he "close his heart to her forever"? For real this time. You know the answer. Or do you?