Chuck and Blair play a dangerous game with Vanessa's heart, while Dan plays the part of Nate's new BF

By Tim Stack
Updated October 21, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

‘Gossip Girl’ recap: Charles in charge?

Cardigans are one of my favorite things. Now, make the cardigan “sparkly” and you’ve pretty much turned me giddy with delight. So, when I saw Serena wearing the aforementioned clothing in the initial scenes of this episode, I was immediately sold…and instantly online searching for a metallic cardigan that could pass as vaguely masculine. Turns out there’s no such thing as a masculine “sparkly” cardigan. Still, the item won me over so much that the episode could have been solely about Serena buying an aquarium online and I still would have loved it. Thankfully, it was not. No, our sparkly gal spent the entire episode acting out against her newly strict mother and stepfather, which, in her world, means hitting the town in a fantastically sexy designer gown, sans undies (“Oh, I forgot to put on underwear!”). Did anyone else think there was weird sexual tension when Bart came home and saw her in that crazy short dress? It was a weird vibe similar to when Rufus and Vanessa were alone in the coffee shop together. I firmly believe Ausiello will back me up on this.

Is Eric’s hair getting progressively less blond as he gets progressively more gay? Coincidence? I think not. That hair was something a gay man would never stand for! We finally met Eric’s boyfriend Jonathan and I was…underwhelmed. No offense but Asher was way hotter. But Jonathan seems sweet enough. Alas, the lad wasn’t invited to the big Bass family cocktail party, basically the debut of the Bass-van der Woodsen combo. It was quite the soiree, but only one magazine got the invite: In Style. It seems fair since, you know, In Style writes about Gossip Girl on a weekly basis and even, you know, did three separate covers for the show for the Fall TV Preview. Oh, wait — that’s not In Style. That’s EW. Silly, silly Tim. [Awkward silence]. The big takeaway from this episode was the number of husbands Lily has had and the fact that there was a Claus and a Klaus. I think this was begging for a flashback or a visit from one of those gents. Lily didn’t exactly devote much attention to her children, as evidenced by Eric’s comment that “Our ringtone for you was ‘Since U Been Gone.'” But by the end of the episode, the family had reconciled around the coffee table with what looked like a Viennetta — anyone else remember those delicious ice cream cakes? Bart seemed much less creepy in this episode, which makes me think that he’s up to something. I feel some kind of revelation or twist coming.

Aw, Dan and Nate are now in a lovely little soccer bromance. For me, Dan calling Nate “Bro” on the phone was borderline hilarious. Between their new love of athletics and the commercials for the Zac Efron flick/ode to biceps, High School Musical 3, it was an awfully homoerotic 8-9pm hour. He even invited Nate to come over for chili, Scattergories, and then a sleepover! Eric’s apparently not the only one with a boyfriend. (Dan does experiment with his sexuality in the book series, FYI.) Being the goody-goody that he is, Dan, of course, can’t keep any kind of secret, so he let it slide that he knows Nate is living in his family’s empty brownstone without electricity, which really begs the question, how does he manage to flat-iron his bangs? Jenny needs to take her bro aside and teach him the fine art of dishonesty; she seems to know it quite well. Still, Nate is also the most sensitive guy in the world; he’s always pissed off even when his friends are just trying to help. By the end of the night, however, Nate was back at the Humphreys’ and sleeping on their couch. One thing that sprung to mind was that I don’t think we’ve ever really seen Rufus’ bedroom. Where is that in relation to the other bedrooms? Perhaps Rufus crashes in the gallery. I’m sure Vanessa could build him a guestroom in the café; that could probably merit a Tech Ed credit for her home-schooling degree.

NEXT: Chuck and Blair heat things up

Why doesn’t Vanessa have any friends her age besides Dan? Or do anything that’s even remotely youthful with her spare time? She’s either making mochaccinos or saving beloved Brooklyn landmarks. She should be discovering Facebook or crushing on the Jonas Brothers or something. Clearly, I have no specific ideas about what teens like, but I’m certain they don’t involve steaming dairy or obtaining local government forms. Also, what’s up with the red jeans?! That’s borderline unforgivable in my book. I can see why Blair hates her so much. Although I do love the Brooklyn Inn and can appreciate anyone who shares that love. But before I stray too far away from fashion crimes, I have to say I loved the scene in the Constance Billard courtyard when Blair and her posse reamed one of their young wannabes for wearing tights as pants. I, myself, have wanted to yell out “Tights are not pants!” to more than one passerby on the New York City streets. I’m just glad to see that I’m not alone.

But back to the episode: Blair and Chuck entered into some very Dangerous Liaisons/Cruel Intentions territory as Blair propositioned Mr. Bass to seduce and, thereby, ruin that “troll” Vanessa. It’s pretty much the perfect story line for two characters so lacking in any kind of morals or empathy. Watching Chuck attempting to purchase the inn, I wondered if an underage high school kid is really allowed to buy a bar. I guess Chuck had already bought the Victrola, but it would mean that the dude would own a place he couldn’t even frequent. The chemistry between Chuck and Vanessa proved to be surprisingly strong, though I don’t really believe that they would have fallen for each other so quickly. I do buy Blair getting completely jealous. The final scene between her and Chuck was undeniably hot…and also surprisingly hilarious (Chuck, after Blair wonders what took him so long to arrive: “If you thought that was long, you have no idea what you’re in for”). It’s good that the two didn’t go all the way and that Chuck is now making Blair chase him. The back and forth between these lovers/haters has been the heart of this season so far. But I do wonder how far this “romance” between Chuck and Vanessa will go and if it is actually genuine on his side.

What did you think of last night’s Gossip Girl? Do you think Chuck and Vanessa will really get together? What’s your opinion on Eric’s new boyfriend?