Juliet's plot lands Serena in a world of trouble, but little Jenny's visit to Blair could change everything

By Sandra Gonzalez
November 30, 2010 at 01:37 PM EST
Giovanni Rufino/The CW
S4 E10
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  • TV Show
Genre

Half way through last night’s ultra dramatic episode of Gossip Girl, I had to pause and ask myself: Um, what show is this?

Like a punished schoolchild, Serena’s cleavage didn’t come out to play. Chuck’s was given only slightly more screentime than Rufus Humphrey and his thinning hair. There was no party to speak of — unless you count a Thanksgiving dinner served on cafeteria trays to prison inmates and their kin. And Blair (and everyone else for that matter) spent the entire episode in one outfit. Yes, one outfit. Wha?!?

Luckily, Dan and Nate and Juliet and her nefarious activities helped drag this episode out of our reality (where people change clothes only once a day) and back into the nine levels of Hell where Gossip Girl exists. Whew. I’ll admit: I was scared — I thought we’d lost it there for a minute. Never underestimate the episode-reviving power of a few homoerotic moments and a crazy bitch.

So, let’s recap.

We picked up the morning after the Saints and Sinners party that we saw two weeks ago (longest fortnight ever, no?). Dorota was packing Blair’s best Brrberries in prep for her lady’s trip overseas to spend a chilly autumn in Paris with her father. But Dorota (who had 20 pounds of baby OMGoodness strapped to her) knew Blair was merely running away from her troubles with Chuck and Serena, and encouraged Blair to make peace with pie. (No, not that kind of pie.) Blair reluctantly agreed to drop the sweet treat off at Serena’s — not knowing that Serena had never made it home.

Over at the van der Woodsen’s, CindeRufus was setting the table for a Thanksgiving feast when Eric walked in to inquire about his MIA sister, who had not responded to his concerned texts and angry emoticons. He was planning to go to Blair’s to talk to her because that’s where he (and everyone else) thought she was hiding out. I’m not quite sure why he cared; she treated him like dirt at the party and dismissed his kind words. If I were him, I would have said good riddance and concluded with a (-_-)

Lily shared my sentiment and told Eric not to go on his Serena quest. Serena’s text-message withdrawal from Columbia apparently stuck (ha!), and Lily was PO’d that her daughter — “a grown woman” — was throwing a temper tantrum. As her mom, Lily should have realized that Serena may shop in the grown-up’s bra section, but would lose a maturity contest with a piece of day-old pumpkin pie.

Speaking of aging things that stink, Dan and Vanessa were hanging out together again. This time they were shopping for a dessert simple enough that people would believe Dan baked it. In the course of their grocery-store bonding, Dan extended a dinner invite to Vanessa, telling her that he was thankful that she encouraged him to step away from Serena and preserve his “friendship” with Nate. “Friendships are important,” Vanessa told him. A look in her eye made me think she wanted to add a wink and a nod to indicate that she understood just how special their bond is, but alas, she refrained. I read between the lines, though — and I’m not talking about the lines created by the shapes on that fugly coat of hers.

NEXT: Dan and Nate continue to tease us (and each other).

Elsewhere in Manhattan, Nate was making plans to go to see his dad in the slammer before heading to his grandfather’s for dinner. Before he did, though, he ran into the family’s lawyer, who had come to deliver divorce papers to Nate’s mom. The news crushed ole blue eyes because he had seen his father change for the better. And when Dan showed up later to support his melancholy Mrs., he told Nate that he should let his parents work out their own relationship problems — whether that meant divorce or not. But Nate wouldn’t have it, and vowed to make his mom see his father for the new man he had become. “Thanks, man. Actually, no. No thanks. Your advice sucked,” he told Dan with a smile. Ugh. I need a moment. Why must they TEASE ME SO!?

In news of the less attractive, a grody-looking Serena awoke from a drug-induced slumber in a shady motel in Queens, still rocking the previous night’s makeup, dress, and jewels — think Sleeping Beauty on a bender. Freaked by her predicament — and mostly confused as hell — she mumbled her way through a 911 phone call. And because the person on the other end probably didn’t know that Serena kind of always sounds that way, they sent help.

It’s a good thing they did. (Well, “good” in theory.) It turned out that Juliet had drugged Serena to the point of overdose. Cue: Family crisis. Rufus broke the news to his kids, and while Dan ran to the hospital with the speed of a 1,000 desperate men, Jenny headed for Manhattan from her Hudson prison. (Did Jenny’s seemingly genuine concern for Serena make the stone in anyone else’s chest twitch just a little?)

At the hospital, the family — who was mourning the return of old, troubled Serena — discussed the best plan of action as the media picked up the story. Personally, in the battle of whiny college brat vs. druggy mess Serena, the latter wins in my book by a mile. But the family disagreed, and decided to force her into treatment at the Ostroff Center, where Eric had recovered after his suicide attempt.

Everyone was on board with the plan except Lily and Dan. Lily thought Serena was just “blowing off steam,” and Dan simply thought that the entire situation was out of character. Well, at least the character he knew, Blair told him coldly. Eventually, Lily decided to put Serena in the Center on an involuntary basis — and she topped off the punishment by making Serena wear a chunky, unattractive (albeit cozy-looking) green sweater. Yeah, mom really had it out for her.

Upon waking, Serena pouted until she could pout no more. She resented Lily, she was mad at Eric for letting their mom commit her, she had rehab hair, and she covered her face to try to make it all go away. Suddenly, Lily’s “temper tantrum” assessment didn’t seem too far off — even though we knew the truth was that Juliet was behind all this.

NEXT: Serena gets sprung (so to speak).

Speaking of the blond devilette, Jenny paid her a visit upon beaming down into the city, and told her what happened to Serena. Juliet played dumb (her specialty), and Jenny claimed she was going to come clean (clean = not Jenny’s specialty) about their involvement in Serena’s downfall. Juliet told her to do what she wished, knowing that Jenny was going to do the (pffft) right thing. So Juliet pulled out part 2 to her plan: A photo of Serena doing a line of cocaine. Except it wasn’t Serena — it was masked Juliet dressed as her. Gossip Girl did the rest of the heavy lifting on that one later on.

Juliet also made Vanessa do a bit of bitch work by telling her that Jenny was going to rat them out and that she needed to beat her to the punch if she wanted to protect herself. “[Jenny’s] family — you’re not. You’ll lose all of them, especially Dan,” Juliet told the weak-minded. Vanessa quickly caved and told Rufus about their scheme, but pinned most of it on Jenny. Rufus reacted as expected and told Jenny to return to Hudson to hook. Okay, he just said to go back to Hudson, but her outfit said the rest. Bye, Little J. Don’t come back — unless it’s for a good (bad) cause.

Back in Dan’s conscience — which occupies the tiny space in his brain between his self-righteousness and secret gay desires — he struggled to accept Lily’s decision to commit Serena. But Nate told him, “Whether she realizes it or not, this is how she pulls people back in, and I’m not going to let it happen again. Neither should you.”

But ever the master of sucking people…in, Serena used her powers of persuasion (which apparently still exist even when the twins are hidden under a knit) to convince Dan that she was innocent. She also told him that she’d gone to Chuck’s party to kiss him — and only him. Her step-brother. (Hurl.) That was enough to persuade Dan to bust busty out of the crazy clink and head to the loft to pack for a vagabond vacation.

Over at the regular clink, Nate’s mom ended up dropping in on his dad after all, and after a lovely family visit, she decided to give his father a second chance. Problem is that Nate’s dad may have been looking for parole board fodder and not a second chance for real family. Raise your hand if you love angsty Nate!

At the loft, Serena was raiding Dan’s boy kitchen and stretching the definition of what constitutes as “brown” apple when there were intercepted by Lily and Blair. Lily took Dan aside and with all her motherly skill (aka: with none at all) told him to butt out of the situation. “You don’t even want to talk to her!” Dan argued. Lily furrowed her brow in response (yes, it can do that) and admitted that she was afraid of what Serena might say. “Maybe what she did was a cry for help and I’m the only one who didn’t hear it,” she said, crying (yes, she can do that, too. It lives!)

Blair and Serena also had a heart-to-heart in the bedroom, where Blair told a sweet story about how Serena helped her through treatment for her eating disorder (but she didn’t call it that). Their conversation was interrupted, though, by a Gossip Girl blast that had the picture of Juliet (as Serena) powdering her nose. Back to Ostroff she went — voluntarily this time.

NEXT: A revenge plot gets hatched. (Plus, the episode’s best lines.)

Meanwhile, two relationships hit rough patches. Upon learning that Juliet had drugged Serena, Ben got angry with his sister, and their Thanksgiving meet-up turned into a split-up — for now anyway. Juliet ended up taking off with the blackmail money she got from Serena’s mom. And while riding with Chuck in the limo, Blair’s chat-happy coping mechanism hit Chuck hard, and he told her he couldn’t play the friend when his feelings were still so strong.

Tragic.

But not as tragic as what’s likely coming for Juliet. In the final minutes of the episode, Jenny went to Blair with her inside info about Juliet and their scheme to bring down Serena. She told Blair to take it from there, and Blair did. She went to Dan with a proposal: Revenge in the name of love.

Now Gossip Gang, let’s talk!

First, business: Are you excited for what is sure to be great scheming next week? Did you find this week a bit of a downer, yet oddly refreshing? Will you miss Little J? Did you resent the under-use of Chuck in this episode? And do you love dark, twisty Nate, too?

Now play: Wasn’t Chuck’s maroon suit fabulous? How great was the final scene with Chuck and the pie (woah, that sounds dirty…and I like it)? Does Lily drink more wine than the entire ensemble cast of Cougar Town? Do you think Serena scrunched her face at the mention of riding a bus or because she finally smelled Dan for the first time? How much time do you think Dan spends standing in the moonlight starting out of a window? And did you totally think Blair and Dan were going to have sex at the end of the episode? (It would have been awful, but the bile rose in my throat in anticipation.)

Answer away! And as we say in Gossip Girl land, Happy HO-lidays.

QUOTEABLES (brought to you by Blair)

Out of Dodge. It’s a place, not a pickup truck.” –Blair

“Do any of these traditions include getting to the point?” –Blair

“Do they have a word in Polish for ‘pain in the ass’?” –Blair

“I mean, if Bruce and Demi could do it, it can’t be that difficult, right?” –Blair

“How many times do I have to go Courtney Love on your ass before you get the message?” –Blair

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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