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Gossip Girl Recap: Mind, Body, and Scheme

GOSSIP GIRL-- "Dirty Rotten Scandals"

Last night's Gossip Girl opened with a scene we've seen many times before: With Lady van der Woodsen presiding over an awkward brunch, attempting to ingratiate herself to the recalcitrant stepchild of her benefactor. Only this time, it wasn't Lily insisting they all get along like family — it was Serena, who, in setting up house with the Poor Man's Guy From Justified, has inadvertently become her mother. Elsewhere, other Upper East Siders have also become their parents or are at least trying to be: Blair keeps slipping in her attempts to step into her mother's shoes, a milieu that Chuck, who has spent the last several episodes vainly attempting to cut off the head of Bart Bass and replace it with his own, can understand. In this final season of Gossip Girl, our characters are coming full circle and learning the lesson that all parents wish their children would: Adulthood is not as easy as it looks, especially when you come face to face with a teenage version of yourself.

More Real Than a Male Writer Letting Girls Buy Him Drinks

  • Pretty much everyone on this show has Gone Evil at some point. (Except for maybe Nate, who mostly just sleeps with the wrong women and looks so genuinely befuddled when caught that its impossible to blame him.) Now it's Dan Humphrey's turn. Once-gentle Humphrey has been flirting with darkness for a long time, but never has he been so razor-focused on the destruction of the Upper East Side, at all costs, since this season. What set him off? You could say it was his breakup with Blair or Rufus's transgressions with young Ivy, but rage has fomented in Lonely Boy from the show's very beginning, when he first locked eyes on Serena, the girl he'd never be able to keep. Clearly, the words of dearly departed CeCe Rhodes — girls like Serena don't end up with Dan Humphrey … and people like you, they turn into cocktail-party anecdotes of their foolish youth — deeply penetrated Humphrey's brain, passing all that hair. Over the years, his hyperawareness of his social position has combined with his frustration at not actually being very talented (Rufus Humphrey’s glass loft? No wonder his publisher rejected him) have formed a combustible brew: Now he's determined to be the one telling the cocktail-party anecdotes. His anger is one of the most realistic things about the show. Plus 10
  • Exhaustion didn't keep Blair from getting off some good one-liners this episode, including: "The Devil is in the details, and I’m about to start worshipping Satan."
  • "My back is up against the wall and not in a hot Chuck Bass kind of way."
  • And my personal favorite: "Do I look like I've been eating? Don’t insult me." Plus 5
  • Do you think Graydon Carter makes people call people when they're about to do an exposé?" Evil Dan demands. "Uh, yeah, actually," says Nate. Plus 2 for Nate knowing something, then doing the opposite anyway.
  • Monkey is back! Plus 1
  • We give Serena a hard time, but there is something poignant and entirely understandable about her desire to fashion a "new family" for herself, especially after all of the revelations of the past year about her cheating scoundrel of a father and dead-not-dead stepfather. Plus 10
  • Also, did Serena say, "Suck it, Humphrey," to Dan? I think so, so Plus 2 for that.
  • No points, but I think when Blair said of Serena, "She's the double-edged sword of my very existence," she was speaking for all of us.
  • "I can’t pull you away from taking down Bart,” Blair tells Chuck. This is love. Plus 3
  • Jenny has given Rufus and his teen girlfriend "her blessing" from England. They're so much more understanding of these things in Europe. Plus 1, and Plus another 1 because the specter of Jenny hangs over this whole episode. There's a hint of her in Sage's coal-black eyes, and she would have loved the fashion-show debacle, having pulled a very similar stunt before.
  • "Oh, there’s Anderson Cooper," Steve says. "I'm going to go congratulate him on his old news becoming new news." Plus 4
  • Hey, it's Alexa Chung in Blair's fashion show! "There’s no way in hell I’m going out there," she says. Oh no, there she goes. Plus 2
  • "Word travels fast in the publishing industry." Yes, though ironically not the words people in publishing are paid to write — those take ages. Plus 2
  • Poor Nelly Yuki, sidelined by Tits McGee. Sadly, Plus 5

Total: 48

Faker Than the "If You Didn't … and I Didn't … Then WHO DID?" Construction

  • What waiter would be like, Sure, teenage girl, run along. I'll just wait here for the person you say is coming to pay the check. Minus 5
  • Ahhh! Someone shaved off the sides of Chuck's hair! And hacked away Nate's long, lusterous man-bangs, replacing them with an almost Caesar-like fringe! Why is no one reacting to this? There's a crazy person running around the Upper East Side with SCISSORS. Get the Spectator on it! No points.
  • Where is Eleanor Waldorf? Minus only 2, because it is possible there has been some exposition and we just forgot, but even so, we're pretty sure she's not dead, so the maudlin mourning over the photograph and the portrait seem a little bit much.
  • What does Blair have that she requires bed rest and IV fluids just from planning a fashion show? Lohanitis? Minus 2
  • Wait a second: Last week, Serena had just found out Sage existed. Now she's living with them? Who is her mother? Wouldn't she want to meet the college-age trollop playing stepmother to her kid? And wouldn't she have wanted to see her daughter's modeling debut? Minus 10
  • Wait, Vanity Fair gets the serial? WTF. DAMN YOU ROVZAR. Minus 5
  • When someone on Gossip Girl says, “I have a feeling tonight is going to be very memorable,” while waggling their eyebrows in a sinister manner and you think it should be taken at face value, you are an idiot.  Minus 1
  • Watching Sage go from acting like an foot-stomping child with her dad to booty calls with relative adult Nate is discombobulating and kind of gross. Minus 3
  • Dan's strong anti-Ivy position seems odd. Wouldn't he above all people admire her cojones in infiltrating and wreaking havoc on the Upper East Side? Minus 1 Unless his furor is masking … love?
  • Ha-ha, Serena doesn't know who Machiavelli is! Minus 2
  • What is Ivy's plan here? Destroying RUFUS? That's like invading Connecticut to protest Iran. Minus 2

Total: 43

This episode fell just on the side of reality, thanks to the realistic depictions of the churning emotions of Serena and Dan, of all people. Only seven episodes left of the Show of Our Time — or Chicas Indiscretas, as they call it in Mexico. Join us next week as we parse whether or not Steve would actually print a blog post out on paper (Yes, he's old) and the plausibility of "Lady Alexander" (No) in our famed Reality Index!

Photo: Giovanni Rufino/THE CW