Last week, Serena taught her cousin Charlie how to blow $1,000 on clothes like it was no big whoop. This week, she indoctrinated her in the complex art of managing your friendships through stealthy manipulation and one-upmanship. She should have stuck to shopping: Serena’s mission to find out whether Blair and Dan were being "horrible friends" by sneaking around behind her back failed spectacularly, of course — Serena can’t even fasten a bra, never mind put together a Mission — and the resulting blowout, in which Blair called Serena out on her egoism and her stupidity, left Serena diminished and alone, pathetically dialing a one-night stand in France just so that she could have a French boyfriend, too. Elsewhere, other friendships exploded simultaneously: Anne Archibald, surrounded by a grotesque Greek chorus of pink-clad, Botox-ed minions, told Lily off for cold-shouldering her when the Captain was down and out, and Dan unceremoniously slammed the door in his old buddy Vanessa’s face while her soon-to-be-replacement scoped out her old room. And with Nate continuing to blithely schtup Chuck’s ex-girlfriend in his BFF’s very home, it raised the question: Who on the Upper East Side is a good friend? Only, it seems, Rufus, who in another life we imagine was a loyal hound called Rusty.
Realer Than Someone Giving a Handy at Greenhouse
• The shoe that Louis brings Blair is a Roger Vivier. And is it not the same one that she was only wearing one of during her W meltdown? Plus 5 for recap-worthy memory, costume team!
• Rufus and/or Dan keeps DVDs in a 1995-style cloth binder. Plus 5. Hopefully there’s a DMB album wedged in there somewhere behind the well-worn disc of The Philadelphia Story.
• Blair declines to wear a skirt that says,“Let’s skip dinner and make a sex tape,” for her date with Louis, but nonetheless owns such a skirt, probably from the time she and Chuck played, “I’m Coco and you’re Ice T.” Plus 2.
• Blair totally takes back an MCL cuff to/from one of her minions. Plus 3.
• Serena requires Charlie’s help to make an Internet search. Plus 2.
• Charlie, to Serena, as they launch into investigating Dan and Blair: “I’m sorry, I’m still new at this, how is this better than just asking them?”
Serena: “Well, because if Vanessa is lying and it isn’t true, then I’m a horrible friend for believing her. But if it is true, then they’re horrible friends for not telling me.” Plus 10, because that pretty much sums up the whole series.
• As does this: “Oh, that doesn’t mean anything. They went to Cornwall to find Juliet because she drugged me and tried to convince everyone I was crazy.” Plus 5.
• Blair: “No one can see me here, and even though you fall under that moniker I still need you to go.” Plus 2.
• Charlie mispronounces Veselka. Plus 2.
• Surely we’ve seen Chuck sip a single malt whiskey for breakfast before, but it may be the first time he’s admitted it’s because it “takes the edge off the coke.” Plus 2 for exposition.
• Eric: “The only thing thicker than blood is the ink on 'Page Six.'” It’s true, they make it out of blood and brains. Plus 3.
• Louis: “My parents do not approve. You are a commoner.”
Blair: “Well have they seen Princess Stephanie’s husbands? I’m not a circus performer.” That gets a meager Plus 1, because while it was a funny exchange, Louis is far too sweet to have said that to Blair.
• Blair’s dressing-down of Serena nailed her for her self-centeredness and her intellectual shortcomings — “Dan and I have a real connection. We did things like visit the Dia and debate Cahbrol versus Romer. Things that we could never do with you.” — though if she’d really wanted to hit her best where it really hurts, she would have gone for the chest, not the brain, so Plus only 5.
• Blaine Trump, scone lover. Plus 3.
• There has to be something wrong with a handsome, charming, smart prince willing to defy his family and fly 3,000 miles to see a girl who epically screwed up not just one but two dates. And there is. It’s his ridiculous gay-ass lisp. Seriously, is he talking with a macaron under his tongue? Plus 3.
• After the episode, Intel Jessica looked at her notes. “I hate to break it to you,” she had written, “but CBGB is a moral compromise.” That sounds about right. Plus 2.
• Christ, poor Vanessa. At this point, she’s like one of those dumb animals let loose onto hunting grounds to be killed by businessmen for sport. It’s clear from the look on her face that being brought on simply to be defeated is wearing on her. No points, we’re just saying. Next we hear of Vanessa she’ll be Oxycontined to the gills, living somewhere in Lowell, Massachusetts.
• The socialite that tried to kiss Serena in the bathroom at last year’s pink party was called “Bubbles Macintosh.” Plus 1.
• After seeing Blair and Dan at Paul Smith, Charlie correctly guesses that after sneaking around together for months, they’ve decided to attend a big social event together. She’s getting the hang of the Gossip Girl logic already. Plus 1.
• You’re a writer on a show in its fourth season: How do you fuck with the young actors who most likely make no secret of the fact they’d rather have moved on to bigger things? Make them say the words “Blaine Trump’s butler’s pantry,” repeatedly. Plus 5.
• “There’s not a woman in this room who didn’t take some pleasure in your downfall, myself included,” Anne Archibald tells Lily icily. “You may want to adjust your dress. Your monitor is showing.” Plus 1.
• Charlie goes all the way to Brooklyn to say three sentences to Dan, then says, “I’ve taken up enough of your time.” Now she’s really getting the hang of how things work around here. Plus 2.
• Dan to Vanessa: “Vanessa, I know we’ve been friends since we were little and we both like pierogis, and my dad really misses you, but just to be clear, so there’s no misunderstanding down the road, we are not friends anymore.” That was, like, the most Dan Humphrey speech ever. Plus 5.
Faker Than a New York Socialite Believing for a Second That the People She Goes to Parties With Are Her Friends
• Wait: Lily put a man in prison for three years, and she only gets nine months of house arrest? Eh, Minus only 5.
• And Dorota is the person who has to tell us this? For shame, writers. Minus 5.
• We are to believe Lily shops at Gilt Groupe? It was one thing when country mouse Juliet used Rent the Runway. But if Lily was using any online shopping site, it would be Moda Operandi, socialite Lauren Santo Domingo’s site for the tragically underserved super-rich. Minus 10.
• Blair’s Blonde Minion: “What’s more important than school?” Um, Blair? Minus 5.
• Blair would never “take a page from Gwyneth and Chris.” Minus 3.
• Ew, Blair takes Louis to Veselka?? Couldn’t she have gone to Gramercy Tavern and booked the private room? Minus 3.
• Prince Louis, who wants to keep a low profile, arrives at Veselka in the East Village in a limousine. Minus 3.
• Blair: “They moved the party.” Dan: “Who moves a party?” Has he even been paying attention to this show for the past four seasons? Minus 1.
• Blair doesn’t need to ask Dan Humphrey what he’s doing at Veselka — he introduced it to her. But wouldn’t she ask Serena why she was so far downtown? Or at least worry that she’s back on the drugs? Minus 1.
• Serena assigns her young, hot cousin to flirt with the ex that she’s clearly still interested in. Because that’s always a good idea. Minus 3.
• Like Raina Thorpe would have all her legal documents, like her birth certificate, in a shoebox. She probably wouldn’t even know where that stuff existed. Minus 3.
• Dan was at Veselka and then he’s randomly walking on 16th between Broadway and Fifth? Saying he’s near NYU? That makes no sense. Minus 1.
• Lily got snubbed for Blaine Trump? That doesn’t smell right — it certainly wouldn’t have happened to Martha. Minus only 1. But Minus 5 for the fact that they couldn’t call first, but instead sent Anne Archibald to nastily steal away the food.
• How was Charlie “following” Dan by walking toward him in the direction he was walking? Minus 2.
• Why would Blair tell Dan to meet her at Paul Smith? Would Dan even know where/what Paul Smith is? Minus only 1, because costume designer Eric Daman has been dressing him in PS style, but in the world of the show it seems as though it’d be a stretch for Lonelyboy. (Oh, and Minus another 1 because there’s no Paul Smith on Madison Avenue.)
• Have you ever noticed that the curtains are always drawn in the spectacular Bass/van der Woodsen apartment? Having been on the Gossip Girl set, Intel Chris and Jessica know this is because the exteriors are just lit-up fake backdrops of skyscrapers, so we won’t deduct any points. But it’s too bad they don’t shoot in the Palace anymore, with that spectacular real view of midtown.
• Rufus really didn’t seem to know that CBGB is a John Varvatos now. Minus 1.
• They keep referring to “The Trumps.” But Blaine Trump was only married to Robert Trump, and now they are famously divorced. They had no children, so there are no plural “Trumps” on Blaine’s wing of the family anymore. Minus 5.
• That picture Charlie took of Blair and Dan was from less than ten feet away. Surely they would have noticed her? Minus 2, because Dan has already mentally decided to sleep with her, so he should at least be able to recognize her.
• If you watch the opening sequence of the Pink Party, there is an older woman standing like a crazy person pretending to talk to someone who doesn’t exist, right behind Lily. No points deducted, because this is maybe what you’d do if you were at the home of a confined convict.
• We never saw any evidence that Lily froze out Anne when it came to the Captain. In fact, Anne ditched the Captain a second time so people would continue to be nice to her at parties. Minus only 3, because really, with all this blonde witchery, who can keep track?
• If Avery Thorpe really was killed in that fire, they’d better have a good explanation for how the hell they were able to keep that a secret. Minus 5
Wow, a rare wash! But that's because several of the show's plotlines are living on borrowed time: the mysterious (non) death of Avery Thorpe. The even more mysterious normalcy of Louis the prince of Nowheristan (a.k.a. Monaco). Once these plots unwind, we expect the show to dip into deeply absurd territory again. Until then, put your own tallies in the comments and we'll recap them all on Friday!