'Gossip Girl': Serena's Thanksgiving nightmare

blakelively_thanksgiving_290.jpgTonight's "Gossip Girl" took Thanksgiving family dysfunction to a new height, with Trip's crumbling marriage and Serena right in the eye of the storm.

Per usual, the van der Woodsen/Bass/Humphrey Thanksgiving begins with Rufus' vision of family togetherness (you have to love the guy's optimism) and ends up pretty close to a bloodbath -- due in no small part to Serena's breathtaking ability to run headlong into the stupidest decisions ever. Rufus is all psyched to make his signature dishes, but Serena can't make it because she's working at the soup kitchen with Trip's staff, and Lily just wants to order in. Eric's a sourpuss to Jenny, who texts Jonathan to try to facilitate a big make-up between him and Eric.

Serena, shockingly wearing enough clothing to cover herself (though the leggings aren't exactly office-appropriate), goes to Trip's office to tell him (a) that she needs to hear he's not leaving Maureen for her and (b) that she's walking away. Which lasts about five seconds after Trip tells her he'd be leaving Maureen anyway after she orchestrated the Hudson rescue stunt, and they decide to spend the day watching pay-per-view in her hotel room. And we all know what that's code for.

Rufus stumbles into Lily's lie about Cece not being able to join them for dinner as he and Eric try to set up a video chat with her. So she's coming to dinner, and through a variety of circumstances, so are Nate, Trip and Maureen (that'll be fun), Vanessa and her mother, and Blair, her mother, and Chuck. Thank goodness Lily's got a caterer.

Chuck, sadly, ends up playing just a supporting role this week as Blair dreads her mother's arrival and her subsequent trip to Paris, and Nate struggles with his feelings for Serena. He gets Nate to make that forlorn expression -- one of the dozen that Chace Crawford seems to be able to manage (in fairness, he's OK this week) -- by telling him about the security camera footage showing Serena and Trip stopping the elevator to make out. Honestly, does no one remember surveillance? Propriety, people!

Nate calls security, bogarts a copy of the tape and uploads it to his phone, which he proceeds to show Maureen at Thanksgiving dinner. It goes about as well as Nate's usual schemes -- dude, you're just not a playa. Get over it. Maureen goes ballistic and threatens to go public with the tape if Trip goes ahead with the divorce.

Which leads to Lily, who's poured herself a couple of stiff drinks to deal with her mother being at the table, finding out that Serena's been playing around with Trip. She tells her to end it or she's not welcome in her house. Serena, who by the way is now wearing a catsuit, for Pete's sake, goes out to apologize to everyone and promise that she'll never see Trip again. She and Blair make up, and Blair persuades her to come to Paris for the weekend. As they're getting Serena's passport out of the safe, she finds the letter from her father and Trip comes in, asking Serena to go away with him. Blair apparently takes leave of all of the good sense she had 10 minutes before by telling Serena to go. Wha?

Trip's also doing this to get back at Nate, and confronts him. Then Chuck tells Nate to man up and go after Serena. On her way out the door, Serena confronts Lily about the letter, telling Lily she has no right to judge her. Downstairs, Nate makes a go of it, asking Serena to stay and give him a chance, but Serena the dummy gets in the car with Trip. How did that mope get elected to Congress?

Upstairs, Rufus nearly catches Lily reading the letter from Serena's father, and she quickly stashes it in the pocket of her coat. Which turns out to be a bad idea, since the coat she put it in was really Maureen's, and now all hell's going to break loose. Well, again. As much as it ever does.

On to the B stories...

pennbadgley_gossipgirl_thanksgiving_290.jpgDan's trying to figure out his feelings for Vanessa, finding himself giving her weird looks as she's acting normal and can't figure out (hello? seriously?) what's up with him. Vanessa's mom, Gabriella, calls Dan out while she's taking a break from driving Vanessa nuts and making her feel not good enough. Later, though, she warns him that if he's not sure about his feelings for Vanessa then he should keep it to himself, because if he hurts her again their friendship won't survive.

Blair finds Dorota clutching a bag with a pregnancy test in it, and mistakenly thinks -- based on a package that arrived from her lawyer about her will -- that she's pregnant. Add in the fact that Dorota and Vanya aren't speaking, and if you can't see what's coming from here, I can't help you. Suffice to say that by the end of the episode, Dorota and Vanya are the only ones who are happy about their predicament, and it's sweet to see Blair and her mother plotting to get them talking again. It does not, however, prevent Blair from trying to get her mother to drink champagne even though she demurs, saying she's not in the mood (who's not in the mood for champagne?), and offering her unpasturized cheese. Nicely played, Blair. You weirdo.

Speaking of, Blair's mother has decided to move to Paris full time, leaving Blair to "make Manhattan her own." Hoo boy.

Jenny tries to reconcile with Eric, but he's having none of it. She confronts him after Blair tells her that the whole cotillion set-up was Eric's idea, and Eric vows to beat her at her own game, telling her to watch her back. After their to-do, he ends up texting to someone (Kira?) that Jenny knows and they have to strike. It's really not that interesting.


Some thoughts and quotes:
  • When did Chuck become the moral center -- or at least the only one with sense -- on this show? I love any world where Chuck Bass is the one with the best instincts, and frankly, I think it suits him.  
  • Vanessa's hair and clothes were *so* much better this week -- she looked adorable. Serena started out relatively strong but ended up in the oh-my-ever-loving-grandma pile with that Thanksgiving outfit. Who wears skintight clothes to Thanksgiving dinner, anyway? I know they're 19 and all, but there seriously was no consideration for the Turkey Pooch?
  • Nate to Dan, after learning that Olivia broke up with Dan because she caught his "looks" to Vanessa during their threesome: "*During*? This is not your next story for the New Yorker -- I'm sending it to an entirely different magazine."
  • Chuck, to Serena and Trip: "You two ever play grab-ass in my elevator again and Serena will be staying at the airport Marriott."
  • Gabriella to Cece at Thanksgiving: "I want to hear all about the wedding. If I hadn't been boycotting the floral industry I'd have been there."
  • Dan to Vanessa, who's upset that her mother has gotten into the middle of things with Cece and Lily: "Come on -- Cece's heart pumps secrets and gin -- it's not your mom's fault."

What did you think? Lily's totally right -- is Serena making this idiotic mistake just to be rebellious? Why do you think Blair made the about-face about Trip? What kind of evil do you think Maureen has in store? And what in heaven's name is in that letter? 

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Photo credits: The CW