Is Gossip Girl on its way back up the quality ladder? It certainly seems that way. Last week’s episode was really good. And, GG fans, I’m prepared to say that this week’s installment bordered on great. And the threesome was even better in flashback form! Plus, they added a new character and he wasn’t a dud! In fact, the dude was hot like fire. Chrismukkah has come early!

The major story of the evening was the fallout after the Dan/Olivia/Vanessa threesome. Olivia started to become jealous of Vanessa and Dan’s relationship which basically amounts to a mutual fondness for frowning, caffeine, and Morrissey. It was quite amusing seeing Dan Humphrey strolling down the street like he was a love machine (“Just me, Olivia, Vanessa. Two girls, four boobs, and one Dan Humphrey. How awesome am I?”). Also, the flashbacks to the threesome were waaaay more hot than anything in last week’s much-hyped episode. I wonder if the Parents Television Council tuned in last night.We also learned a much repeated rule of theesomes: The third person is always supposed to be a stranger! Gossip Girl not only entertains, it teaches.

The tension between Vanessa and Olivia became kinda hilarious when they both were enlisted by Dan to be part of his bizarro cabaret theater skit. I’m still not exactly clear why there was a cabaret situation or why it had to involve Lady Gaga but I sense it’s best not to examine the details too finely. My favorite zinger was when Vanessa came on board to direct the play and Olivia reminded her that if Vanessa needed any tips she had worked with some of the best directors. Responds Vanessa, “If I wanna turn anyone into a bat, I’ll let you know. ” Good one, Vanessa. Actually, last night was a totally solid outing for the coffee lover (Don’t think I didn’t notice that she had the play performed in her favorite cafe! Coffee! She loves coffee!). She looked better than she has all season (she totally won the Who-looked-hotter-in-their-underwear? Award from Olivia) and she was surprisingly non-annoying. I still don’t really believe she’s not in love with Dan and that Paul fella she made a beeline for at the end does not seem like her type (Note to the girl who clearly has no gaydar: the dude likes theater and Lady Gaga. Do the math.) Is this the last we’ve seen of Olivia? That didn’t exactly seem clear. Also not clear is why she’s trusting her publicist to talk her into doing Bitches of Eastwick. Does this girl not have a manager or an agent?

The only part of this story line that didn’t work for me was the big Gaga/Snow White reinvention. It was about as impressive as my fourth grade production of Macbeth, in which I starred (imagine a lot of bad stage combat with plastic swords). It’s hard to imagine that something so janky could make Blair popular or get Dan into the Tisch School of the Arts.

Blair was really funny for this whole episode, probably because for much of it she wore a cape and a beret. I still think her attempting to rule NYU is a lost cause and feels vaguely pathetic but at least her plotting last night was laugh out-loud. I loved when Vanessa showed up to direct the play and Blair’s response was guttural “Noooooooo!”

The other love triangle of the episode was the somewhat surprising development of Nate falling for Serena who’s already fallen for his cousin Tripp. Nate’s feelings for Serena were slightly shocking but also understandable and kinda sweet. Also, shocking? When Serena admitted she had a crush on Jude Law after she saw Alfie. First of all, Serena no one saw Alfie. Secondly, if there’s any movie that made you start crushin’ on Jude, it was The Talented Mr. Ripley. Helloooo bathtub scene! Anyways, I felt so bad for Nate when Serena left him at the bar. But it was great to finally see him get a sliver of a story line. And his back-and-forth with Dan over the three-way was pretty great. One question: does he live at the Empire Hotel? What hotel has big loft-style spaces like that? I’m confused.

Serena’s cleavage was covered up in this episode although her hemline was kinda out of control. Not sure that’s exactly business casual.

Jenny began to dip even further into the dark side by befriending Damien, a drug dealing ambassador’s son played by Transamerica’s Kevin Zegers. First of all, his father must be Ambassador to Hotatonia because Damien is ATTTTRRRRAAAAACTIVE. Good casting job, CW! It’s about damn time. Also, I love Jenny getting involved with this guy. You can see the thrill in her eyes from hanging with the bad boy.

Chuck was mostly on the sidelines for this episode yet again but he did manage to sweep in at the end, rescue Jenny, and deliver one of the night’s/season’s best lines: “Dude, I’m Chuck Bass. Even Europeans must know what that means.” Genius.

All this and there was a Lady Gaga performance which was weird and slightly underwhelming. But it’s hard to complain when an episode was this chock full of good stuff.

What did you think, PopWatchers? Do you agree that this was a great-ish episode? Or were you disappointed?

Episode Recaps

Gossip Girl

Spotted: Serena, Dan, Blair, Chuck, Vanessa, and Nate — hooking up, breaking up, and freaking out. You know you love it! XOXO!

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