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Gossip Girl Recap: Your Dark Side Is Showing

GOSSIP GIRL-- "Where The Vile Things Are"  Pictured (L-R): -- Blake Lively as Serena Van Der Woodsen and  Penn Badgley as Dan Humphrey

"You have a dark side," Eleanor Waldorf observed of her daughter in last night's episode of the Show of Our Time, prompting Blair to embark on an ill-fated mission to behave "more like Grace Kelly, less like Grace Jones." It's fitting that Blair's supposedly sinister alter ego would take the form of a disco queen, as Blair is probably, actually, the least dark person on the show. Even the flirtation with Jesus that followed her miscarriage was campy. Compare her to Serena, whose feelings of being unloved were proved right when she overdosed on a train, went missing for months without anyone noticing, and was subsequently dumped by her boyfriend after his teenage daughter, who hated her, sabotaged their relationship. Or Dan Humphrey, who came to this show an innocent idealist and has morphed into a bitter, meanspirited jerk. Every time the camera lands on his face, we expect it to pan around and show that one half of it is a grinning skull, like Harvey “Two Face” Dent. And was anything darker than the scene at the auction, when three of the most disturbed souls on the show, Lily, Ivy, and Chuck, spent millions of dollars in a frenzy of trying to ruin each other's lives, the favorite sport of the Upper East Side?

And now, onto the reality index!

More Real Than a Socialite Being Involved With a Charity for "Children Who Can't Smile"

  • “What is this, Downton Abbey?” Eleanor says when she walks in and sees the way Blair has lined up the atelier staff. Plus 2. We bet Eleanor secretly lusts after Matthew even though she married a Mr. Bates.
  • Blair says the Sage Sex Dress has sold to the “Three Bs”: Barney’s, Bergdorf, and "the lesser but still relevant Bloomingdale's.” Burn. But, true. Plus 4
  • “I'm just glad everything is out in the open,” Rufus says to Ivy. “And you had money to save the gallery from tonight's opening.” Oh, Rufus. Not only has he remained “a kept man,” as Lily observes later, he’s still utterly unable to tell when the blonde he is sleeping with is a total liar. Plus 5. We all have patterns.
  • Most of the people who RSVPed Yes to Rufus’s gallery opening are Gossip Girl crew members, or as Rufus puts it, “no one.” Plus 5
  • Also, it looks Steve Krieger and Hans Meminger, from Lily’s sex list, replied in the affirmative, too. Guess Rufus isn’t the only one who’s mad. Plus 1
  • Bart and his banker friend got the idea of where to stash their super-secret documents from the movie Traffic. Plus 4, because even billionaires wish they were as cool as Hollywood villains.
  • “Chrystal and Cristal, two of my favorite things,” says banker guy. Plus 2 for nailing the caricature.
  • How can someone who hides everything for everyone pick his birthday for his password? Plus 2 because, again.
  • “Is that me as Mrs. Mingott in a fat suit?” Oh, yes it is. Plus 5
  • “Is Olivia Munn staying here?” Nate asks when he sees Chuck scrutinizing the hotel security tapes. Plus 1 because he wishes, that cougar-lover.
  • “If you need to find a new place, I happen to know someone who knows everyone, has terrific taste, and who happens to have the afternoon free to help you look,” Serena says to Dan. “Who?” he asks, briefly forgetting and thereby highlighting the hilarious fact that this is the way Serena always talks. “Oh right, you.”
  • Chuck fantasizes about his father “playing pinoccle with Bernie Madoff.”
  • Vanity Fair has printed like three excerpts of Dan’s book, but he’s only just now gotten his first check. Plus 3
  • “There's nothing, and the back of artwork is really boring,” Nate complains to Chuck. Plus 7
  • Ivy dresses like an actual prostitute to go to the Art Production Fund event, presumably to have the perfect Pretty Woman experience. Plus 1
  • Artist Todd DiCiurcio makes his second cameo. Plus 1
  • So, let's get into this Dan and Serena business. Idiot savant Nate is right: Serena is hurt after being dumped by Steven, which is the reason why she's jumping stupid, abused golden retriever into the lap of someone it's clear will hurt her. (Her mother's comment in the last episode that she was hoping Serena and Dan would get back together helped nudge her toward believing this is fate.) Just last episode — when Serena was planning on getting married — she looked Dan straight in the face and saw his bitter, rotten walnut of a soul. Now, to justify this lapse in judgment, she's recast that moment as "needing to believe Dan was terrible." But no: Dan really is terrible. "Are you sure?" he asks her as they head to the bedroom. Unlike Serena, he knows this is going to end badly — for her. As for Dan, he'll get, as he said, exactly what he always wanted: a new ending for his story. The golden girl who rejected him for "everyone on the Upper East Side," as he puts it, is now pathetically debased. Money doesn't buy everything, will be the moral: But more checks from Vanity Fair may get Dan closer to a doorman building. Plus 15

Total: 55

Faker Than That Richard Phillips

  • Rufus is slicing four pounds of strawberries and has filled a giant pitcher of orange juice for breakfast for himself and Ivy. Minus 1
  • Most of the people who have RSVPed Yes to Lily’s fancy benefit auction are Gossip Girl crew members. Minus 3
  • Serena appears at breakfast clad in a nightgown, ancient Egyptian breast plate, and men’s smoking jacket. Doesn’t she ever just want to put on some jeans? No points taken, because then we’d have to go back and subtract them for all the other times she’s appeared in Breakfast Sequins.
  • Similarly we will not deduct points for the continued denial of Scott, Lily and Rufus's Secret Son From Boston, who has gone unmentioned since his arc ended four seasons ago. Sometimes I will be doing some ordinary activity and I’ll suddenly remember him and be like, “OH MY GOD, WHERE THE HELL IS SCOTT?” so it's weird that never happens to them.
  • Wait, why did Eleanor entrust her “multi-million-dollar corporation” to a 20-year-old with no business experience, again? Minus 4
  • About this Sudanese oil business. First of all: What kind of idiot brings papers about a super-secret illegal deal to a meeting in an envelope bearing the freaking seal of the bank of the country they are illegally, super-secretly trading with? Minus only 2, because, obviously, this guy is not the sharpest knife in the drawer. And seriously: Behind a painting? Does the arrow in the Prada print point to an illegal arms stash, too? Also, who needs to write a note to self reminding them where they put the super-secret illegal documents? How hard is it to remember “behind the painting”? Way easier than trying to recall plot points from a movie that came out twelve years ago, I bet. So minus 5 for that. Why the painting? The real crazy thing is: Why were there papers at all? Why not just destroy the evidence of your illegal, super-secret deal? Minus 10
  • It takes four to five hours for Bart to see Lily's e-mail about the painting. Don't guys like him have BlackBerries? Minus 5
  • If people get stuck in the elevator, they press the emergency button, pound at the doors, scream until they're hoarse, and freak out about not having enough air. They don’t sit down and have heart-to-hearts. Minus only 2, because Dan and Serena have experienced this before.
  •  “I had no idea that’s where you hid the records of your oil deals,” Lily says loudly into her cell phone. OOPS. Minus 2
  • No points, but where is Georgina? She would have loved this auction. And are Sage and Steven just gone forever now? It would be great if, in the Christmas Special, all the Ghosts of Character Arcs Past came back to haunt the rest of them for their sins.

Total: 34

The fifth-to-last episode of the Show of Our Time came out on the side of realism, largely because of the cringy authenticity of the Dan-Serena situation. Next week could take a steep dive, if they push the story line of him as her Mr. Big, and if Chuck and Blair break up forever AGAIN as indicated in the promo. We shall see! Xoxo.

Photo: Pat Harbron/THE CW Network