'Gossip Girl': Chuck gets a mother (maybe); Serena gets a pill coat

chuck-THL.jpgThe puppetmaster behind the infamous "Gossip Girl" blog begins with the famous opening line from "A Tale of Two Cities:" "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." However, in this particular case, there are multiple tales of best and worst times -- all found in the one fabulous city of Manhattan.

Note to Serenate - don't take advice from your current partner's ex: We can definitely say that the standard "friends don't date friends' exes" rule does NOT apply to this particular friend group. The episode opens up with Serena on her cell, giddy with excitement over how wonderfully things are going with Nate. Who is she talking to? Oh, just Blair, Serena's BFF and Nate's ex-lover. That's normal, right? It doesn't seem to faze Blair though, so we go with it. If she doesn't care, who are we to judge?

nate-serena-THL.jpgWhen Serena greets Nate, you can feel the chemistry between these two ... definitely digging them as a couple (despite the egregious breaking of the "friends rule"). They each mutter something about how they should take this slow. Cue the sexy techno-sounding background music and two seconds later they're horizontally lip-locked. Going slow always sounds better in theory.

Next is where the lack of the "friends' exes" rule screams awkward for us. Nate sits down with Dan, who is visibly bummed because he was hoping Nate was going to be Vanessa -- who dated Nate pretty seriously for a while. Then Nate launches in on how amped he is about finally getting his dream girl, Serena -- who dated Dan for a year. Does it seem to faze either of them that they have swapped women? Nah. Instead, Dan offers relationship advice on how to make things work with Serena. How nice of him! He tells Nate that he has to take things slowly with Serena because she can get so sucked in to the romance that she doesn't come up for air. Plus, says Dan, she tends to have an aversion to talking about the relationship.

Cut to Blair and Serena, who are talking about Nate. From Blair's experience dating Nate, she offers that Serena should take it slow (we're seeing a theme). Blair adds that Serena is the one thing Nate could never have (does that not bother his former girlfriend?!), comparing her to a sundae dessert that she should not allow Nate to gorge on all at once. Blair essentially suggests playing games, which Serena responds is the "worst advice." Blair's response: "Wait 'til he stops coming back for sundaes."

Now Nate is worried that Serena will dive in too fast and burn out their relationship, and Serena is concerned that Nate's interest stems from finally having what he never could. So of course mixed messages ensue when Nate tells Serena he thinks they should not go to the French ambassador's dinner together. Serena storms out and calls up her old boarding school buddy, drug dealer Damien, to see if he has a date. Just another classic case of Serena making sound adult decisions.

Serena-THL.jpgThere's a whole plot line about Serena's pill-filled jacket (yes, having to do with her drug dealer date) that she wore to the ambassador's dinner, but that will be explained later. As far as Serena and Nate go, the misunderstanding spurred by one another's exes is all cleared up in an over-sized coatroom at the dinner. Not much talking seems necessary (uh oh, Nate - didn't you listen to Dan?) before the two are hot and heavy on the coatroom couch. All ends well for Serenate in this episode.

Blair stands by her man: We already knew that the rest of season 3 will be "very emotional" for this couple, and we definitely got a good glimpse of that in this episode. Their story centers around the mystery woman that we saw at Chuck's father's grave in the last episode. Chuck has a locket that belonged to her with a picture of his father in it, and he  wants to find her again to discover the connection. And what Chuck Bass wants, Chuck Bass gets.

Chuck bribes the locket's original jeweler to disclose who it's owner is. Her name is Elizabeth, and she happens to be staying in a nearby hotel. How convenient.

In her unrelenting efforts to climb Manhattan's steep social ladder, Blair is preoccupied with meeting a high society connection Chuck has promised to introduce her to. After a missed introduction opportunity (due to Chuck trying to track down Elizabeth), Chuck promises to introduce them at the ambassador's dinner.

Another lead on the mystery lady comes up, and of course Chuck has to bail on the dinner. Blair makes sure to let him know she's not too pleased that he's choosing hunting down some random woman over a dinner with her. Chucks response: "Some things are more important than your social climbing agenda." Blair takes note.

blair-chuck-THL.jpgBlair goes to the dinner solo, and just as she's about to make contact with this oh-so-important connection, Chuck arrives and tells her that he thinks the woman at the grave might be his mother. We know from past episodes that Chuck has always been tortured over the fact that his mother died in child birth, and his father seemingly always resented him for that. Chuck tells Blair that's always been the most painful thing in his life, so he has to see this through if there's any chance it's not true. He adds that he doesn't want to take her away from her party, he just had to tell her.

For a moment, we wonder if Blair is going to make the right choice. Blair has a history of going with the selfish option when push comes to shove, but we've seen her mature in recent episodes, and her love for Chuck outweighs any social climbing preoccupations. We breathe a sigh of relief when she says nothing is more important than being with him during this.

Chuck and Blair track down Elizabeth, who tells Chuck that she was only Bart's girlfriend for a few months and simply stopped by his grave that night as an afterthought. She adds that Bart gave all his girlfriends the same locket.

Chuck turns to Blair and apologizes for wasting her time. Here's when the Blair we know and love steps up for her man. She excuses herself to the ladies room and approaches Elizabeth, laying it out for her:

Blair-Elizabeth-THL.jpg"Chuck might have bought your story....but I originated that innocent doe-eyed stare....Chuck spent his entire life believing he killed his mother. If you know anything that could take away even a second of that pain, it would be cruel not to share it. Otherwise, leaving town means never having to say you're sorry."

You go, girl!

Chuck is melancholy at the end and is disappointed that he let himself believe there was a possibility his mother might still be alive. Blair lovingly comforts him and tells him she'll always be his family. Serena and Nate, you might be hot. But this couple has our heart.

We're left with Elizabeth calling Chuck as he leaves his cell on the couch. She's makes the call while looking at a locket with a picture of a woman (her?) and a baby.

Nothing says love like helping with a drug deal: Damien shows up to Jenny's room (not quite sure how he got in the house?) with a box of treats. The illegal kind. Basically Damien needs to get these drugs to one of the French high society guests at the ambassador's dinner, and Jenny has the brilliant idea to incorporate her fashion know-how into a drug deal. Good to see she's putting her skills to good use these days.

jenny-damien-THL.jpgJenny makes a jacket with compartments that hold all the pills and plans to wear it as Damien's date. But Serena's phone call changes all that and Damien informs Jenny that they'll have to do dinner some other time. For some reason, Damien, who's previously taken his illicit dealings pretty seriously, seems rather nonchalant about potentially risking a high dollar drug deal to rekindle an old flame. There's just something about Serena, I guess.

Well, lo and behold, Serena doesn't want to take her drug-laden coat off, and Damien's smooth moves don't persuade her to part with it. Serena looks like she's about five inches taller than him too, so he was smart to back off when he did. Would have been even smarter just to take Jenny in the first place. But smart decisions aren't the name of the "GG" game.

Jenny ends up saving the day at the end when she spots the coat on the floor (from Serenate's sexcapades) and barks at the coatroom attendant to make sure its intended recipient gets it. Damien seems impressed with her technique and suddenly sees her in a new light. It's love at first - wait, second - drug deal.

Rocky times for Rufus and Lily: Rufus returns from a trip to Telluride and pretty much avoids seeing Lily for most of the episode. He tells Dan he's avoiding her because he doesn't want his worst fears validated. Dan plays the grown up in this scenario and basically tells his dad that's no way to handle the problem.

Rufus continues to ponder his next course of action, and while do so runs into a fellow tenant (a hot woman) on the street who asks him if he wants to talk about things over coffee.  Uh oh. We know where this is headed.

Rufus eventually works up the nerve to confront his wife, and she confirms his (almost) worst fears. Yes, she did stay with her ex-husband overnight in a hotel room. But no, she did not sleep with him. She only kissed him.

This news doesn't comfort Rufus, who says he has to leave to figure out what he's going to do. But anger gets the best of him, and he presses "24" on the elevator, which takes him up to coffee woman's apartment. Quick, Dan, tell your dad he's behaving like a child again!

The leftover couple: Everyone else got paired off and that left Dan and Vanessa to get matched up. As we mentioned in an earlier post, this feels a lot like when "Friends" tried to force Rachel and Joey together. But perhaps these two will surprise us? So far though, not much to tell. Dan tries to reach Vanessa sporadically throughout the episode, and she evidently isn't taking/returning his calls. More to come on this unlikely relationship in next week's episode.

Quote of the Night (it's a tie!):

Blair (to Elizabeth): "Chuck might have bought your story....but I originated that innocent doe-eyed stare....Chuck spent his entire life believing he killed his mother. If you know anything that could take away even a second of that pain, it would be cruel not to share it. Otherwise, leaving town means never having to say you're sorry."

Damien (to Jenny): "I have a puzzle that needs solving, and I know how much you Humphreys like games."


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Photo credits: The CW