At first Blair assumed her Wait Until Dark–themed nightmare was a literal interpretation of her fraught relationship with Chuck. “He was lying in wait for me just like he was in real life!” she tells Serena, of the mysterious intruder Dream Blair struggled with. “Only it wasn’t him,” she says, mystified. “It was a woman, with long blond hair.” Serena, of course, couldn’t care less. But the dream troubled Blair for the rest of the episode. Could the assailant have been Jenny Humphrey? Yes, she decided, although that, too, seemed facile. Trying to understand one’s unconscious thoughts is a messy and difficult endeavor. It is fumbling about in the dark, blind, helpless, in a constrictive pencil skirt. You grasp at strands, wondering what the hell that thing is and where it came from and what it could possibly mean, but the answers are always elusive. In the end, it’s Chuck who gives the best interpretation of Blair’s dream. The menacing figure who grabbed her ankles and held her down while she struggled wasn’t him or Jenny. It was herself. “We’re holding on to the pain because it’s all we have left,” he explains to her. “We don’t have to. We have a choice.” And thus, another facet was added to the character of Chuck Bass: nattily dressed billionaire, twins enthusiast, and now, speaker of profound truths.
And now, on to our Reality Index, in which we sort through this week’s episode and differentiate the Hallmark moments from the ones that ring true.
Realer Than a Teenage Boy Gratuitously Using the Word “Shuttlecock”
• Blair: “What have we here? Bed unslept in. Hair in missionary disarray. Yesterday’s dress with today’s shame all over it.” Plus 4 for a morning-after description so vivid we felt greasy looking at Serena for the whole first half of the episode.
• Colin collects Lichtenstein and Warhol. Plus 3
• Serena takes the fact that Colin collects Lichtenstein and Warhol as a sign that he has a multi-layered personality and interests beyond making money, when in fact those are the exact artists New York City finance guys with precisely no personality or interests beyond making money are most likely to collect. Plus 3
• The scary music leading up to the first shot of Jenny Humphrey seemed over the top until her goth child prostitute drag queen image appeared in the frame, and we literally gasped. She looks like the little girl from The Ring! The only thing more frightening would have been if she’d flashed her underage boobs again. Plus 2
• After listening to all of the truly sensible, inarguable reasons Serena should not get involved with the known womanizer who lives in her building and also happens to be her teacher, Serena pouts adorably: “I really like him, though!” Plus 5, because love conquers all, especially the stupid.
• Tim Gunn expresses more interest in Jenny’s personal life than in her design philosophy. Plus 2
• Serena, who just last week was given a stern talking-to by the college dean after a professor at the school received a sexy message sent from her cell phone, agrees to accompany another professor to a public event at which he is to receive an award for being an eligible bachelor. Plus 6 for the aforementioned reasons. At least she knew to wear a demure pantsuit!
• The party is at the Boom Boom Room. Plus 1
• OMG IT’S IVANKA AND JARED KUSHNER!!!! Plus 20 BECAUSE THEY ARE EXACTLY LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE!!! They smile and nod and say hello to people whose names they don’t remember! That was so spot-on!!!!
• Isaac Mizrahi! What are you doing here? Are you late for the Fashion Week episode? Plus 2 anyway, because it’s always nice to see Isaac, though it would have been nice if he had a bigger role, as he’s got to be a better actor than Tim Gunn.
• Blair, to minions: “This isn’t Congress. Accomplish something!” Plus 1, since cynicism about Washington is so au courant.
• Rufus suggests they all have dinner at Babbo and tells Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner it’s “lovely” to be at their party. He’s really getting a taste for the finer things in life. Plus 2
• When Nate has a Sensitive Man Attack about how Juliet wouldn’t stay for breakfast, he calls Dan. Plus 2
• Also, Nate says he was planning on taking Juliet to Tom’s for breakfast when just a few weeks ago, before he got her in the sack, she rated Norma’s. Plus 4.
• Even Dan seems kind of impressed with the insults the writers came up with for Chuck to casually hiss at him: “I’ll let you get back to your Hemingway complex,” and “So dramatic, you should be a writer.” Plus 2
• The only books visible in Colin’s office are copies of his own. Plus 3
• Lily’s takedown of Serena is actually more like an accurate assessment of her life thus far: “We all know you would have moved on to something more your speed eventually,” she says. “A pretty girl like you can get the attention of a pretty girl without an education, so why bother?” Plus 2
• Blair to Chuck: “If you’re here to deliver more humiliation, Dorota can sign for it.” Plus 3 for long-suffering Dorota, put-upon even when she’s not in an episode.
Faker Than a Member of the Fortune 500 Showing Up to Receive an “Eligible Bachelor” Award From an Alt-Weekly
• Wait, creepy prison guy is Juliet’s brother? Weren’t they just telling each other how cute they were a few episodes ago? Minus only 1, because this show does love incest best.
• The whole Blair and Her Minions versus Jenny Humphrey thing is so ridiculous we can’t even get into it. Why does Jenny even go along with Blair’s “banishment” and quarantine of her to begin with? Why not say to Blair, “Clearly you are a psychopath who truly believes you are the supreme leader of a totalitarian nation, but in reality we are two teenagers. While three to four people of questionable mental capacity seem to take seriously the laws you’ve made up in your head, they are not actually recognized here in New York City, where we are governed by the U.S. legal system, a system that not only gives me the right to call the police and have you arrested the next time you walk into my house and start threatening me, but to shoot you dead if I see fit. Good day.” Minus 20
• “Business Psychology” should not actually be that difficult a class, even for Serena. We’ve all seen the Gorilla basketball video. Minus 2
• Tim Gunn’s reaction when Jenny’s models appear is totally absurd, and not just because of his acting. A prospective student sending out a line of models wearing dresses that spell out the word WHORE probably wouldn’t even be that unusual at Parsons, never mind offensive. Minus 5
• A lot of Serena slut-shaming goes on in this episode, and yet no one at any time looks at her chest in the outfit she wears to the Observer party and says, “I didn’t realize this was the Golden Globe awards.” Or, “I’m sorry, what did you say your name was? Serena van der Boobsen?” Or even “Holy hell, look at those bazongas!”Minus 10. This is a show where even the sight of a badminton racket is cause for entendre, and yet when the main character shows up with giant inflatable balloons strapped to her chest no one blinks an eye?
• It’s nice to see Eric again, though his attitude has us wondering if the newly acquired bulk in his upper body has to do with ‘roids. All he does is lately is glower and seethe! Minus 2
• Speaking of physical attributes, Dan’s chest hair in this episode was mesmerizing. It’s almost like it’s creeping up to meet his extra-long sideburns, like those uncontrollable weeds they have in Greenwich. No points, just an observation.
• If Juliet’s brother has to use a prison pay phone to call her, where is he texting from? Minus 7
• Why does Serena insist on rounding up her family and leaving right in the middle of Colin’s speech? Minus 1. These people and their dramatic exits.
• We can see Serena believing in Colin’s sincerity after the Let’s Talk All Night About Art gambit. We can even understand how her ego might have allowed her to swallow it when he said, “Tell your mother I’m crazy about you! I could be your future!” after knowing her for, like, a day. But when he said that she’d inspired him to reshape his life so that it included “Fewer models and martinis, more flow charts and footnotes”? Come on. Minus 5
Total: 53 Due to real-life quasi-celebrity appearances and true-to-life dicky behavior from dudes, this episode came in on the reality side. Will the same be true for next week, when Blair and Chuck come together maybe again for the millionth time? We’ll be watching, and scrutinizing.