In 'The Townie,' Blair and Dan head out on an info-seeking mission to clear Serena's name and find more than they anticipated.
Gossip Girl Townie
Credit: Giovanni Rufino/The CW

We’ve always known that Lily van der Woodsen was a rather decrepit human being — that’s if you’ll let me get away with using the term human being for a person who only recently proved the muscles in her face were capable of expressing something other than snobbery. But this week, Tin Mom really outdid herself in the huge-bitch department, causing everyone — including her spawn and her little dog Rufus — to turn against her. ‘Bout time, I say.

What I didn’t anticipate, though, was Serena’s mom taking the brunt of the blame, and Juliet and her under-eye circles getting off scot-free. Half a season was spent building up Juliet as the villain, and she leaves without even a slap on the wrist — or in the face? I cry foul. My lone hope now is that she picked up some form of mouth herpes from Nate that will flare up every time she tries to scheme outside her income bracket. But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Let’s back up and recap our path to this injustice.

The episode opened with Dan and Blair piecing together the parts of the Juliet Express’ trip to Crazytown. And while they had an easy enough time figuring out the stops, they had trouble when trying to determine the reason for the trip.

Inside Ostroff, Serena was on mend enough to ditch the drabby sweater we left her in last week and step into something more (un)comfortable for a stroll around the grounds with Eric. While he was there, Serena begged her younger brother to make their mom tell the society folks the truth about her whereabouts. Serena wore her rehab badge proud — but I suppose anything was better than her Harlot Letter.

This new serious approach to her treatment meant she also was on 72-hour lockdown from visitors and other forms of contact (including cell phones). This posed a problem when Blair and Dan arrived to play Sherlock and Homely. Without answers, they decided to do some recon of their own. After some help from Gossip Girl in locating Juliet, the two headed for Cornwall, Conn., to, as GG said, “Find the bitch.”

Over at Nate’s house, his mom was bummed at the thought of having to forgo holiday parties in light of Nate’s dad’s upcoming release from prison. Lucky for her, Nate walked in with news that his dad had plans to lease a home outside of the city after his release — meaning he didn’t want to live with them — leading her to declare the divorce was back on. Something in her crazy eyes made me think she would have sooner thrown daddy Archie off their penthouse roof than missed her Christmas parties. The man should consider himself fortunate.

I really thought the worst of him after we learned about his hush-hush lease — and pretty boy did, too. But Nate learned during his visit to the prison (to break the news about the once again in-progress divorce) that his dad had rented the house in a romantic gesture. Well, as “romantic” as using the recipient’s money can get. Next time, maybe Mr. Archibald should try buying a token of his affection from the Use Your Own Money, Mooch department.

NEXT: Blair and Dan make a housecall.

Daddy Nobucks ended up forgiving Nate for assuming the worst and invited him to go watch sports as a peace offering. (Oh, what I would have given to hear the inmate catcalls when Blue Eyes strolled those prison halls.) Nate returned the gesture of kindness by offering his dad a post-parole place to stay and by purchasing some new non-orange clothing for his dad. My guess is that Nate’s dad will have some troubles adjusting to the outside life, yet ultimately move on. The real hurdle, I think, will be accepting that his son is a raging metrosexual with a same-sex emotional lover. Still better than a halfway house, though … maybe.

Back in Cornwall, Juliet had returned to townie life. She knew the mailman, drove a clunker, and made mall plans. (Cue mental music: Robin Sparkles’ “Let’s Go to the Mall.”) And hell was about to freeze over because Dan and Blair had just arrived in the quiet (and secretly hoppin’) town together in a classic-yet-commoner vehicle that had Blair complaining the entire way. I find it sweet that Serena is the only person on the planet Blair would likely put herself in that position for.

When they finally pulled up to the address Gossip Girl had given them, Dan and Blair found themselves in the middle of a college frat party hell. Body shots, same-sex kissing, and beer pong. But sitting in the middle of the pot smokers and strip board games, was a familiar face: Damien (Kevin Zegers!). Like a lone man holding a smoking gun in the middle of a field of dead bodies, there was no way he didn’t have the info they sought. And he did. It turned out that he had sold Juliet the drugs that Serena OD’d on, and he had more information about the Juliet/Serena connection than even he realized. The truth didn’t click until they made an eye-opening housecall to Juliet’s humble (very humble) abode.

While they worked to clear Serena’s name, Serena spoke with a therapist from Ostroff, who is lucky Serena didn’t go too far into detail about her slattern past because the gang would be rocking the Columbia mortarboard before they finished. Instead, she gave her a truncated version of her sort-of romance with a teacher at boarding school. His name was Ben Donovan — Juliet’s brother. (Damien figured this out, and Serena didn’t learn this until the end of the episode.) Well, it wasn’t so much a romance as it was a crush where the slutty, underage side of the equation wanted nothing more than to get her teacher into the sack after being stranded at a motel by a rainstorm — because that’s the best way to reward the rare man who appreciates you for your mind. He declined, but not before being spotted with Serena at the motel on the rainy night by Serena’s then (likely enamored) classmate Damien.

Having spotted Blair, Dan and Damien together earlier, Juliet eventually found herself back in the city — at Ostroff. Like Juliet’s brother, I was fearing the worst (…or best?) and thought she’d gone there to kill Serena. But no. (Sigh.) She just went to tell her the truth: She was responsible for her brother being in jail after signing an affidavit, claiming he had sex with her. The only problem? Serena never signed anything, but she knew who would have…

NEXT: Mom’s the word.

As per Gossip Girl‘s usual M.O., everything came out at a party. This time, it was as the Bass Industries holiday party, where following a successful interview with the Post, Chuck and Lily worked the crowd like pros. I rather liked them as a mother-stepson business team — until we learned that Lily was a dirty trifflin’ backstabber.

Rufus of all people was the one who uncovered this — which was surprising because he’s always had trouble simply getting a clue, much less discovering interesting new information. But every dog has his day, and on this day, he learned from a party guest that Lily was planning on selling Bass Industries, meaning she had lied to Chuck’s face earlier in the episode regarding this very subject.

After Serena arrived and made a scene, Lily came clean about it all. She had reported Serena’s affair with the teacher to the school in order to get Serena into Constance. (She based the entire story on bathroom gossip.) When the school alerted the authorities, it was too late to back out, so she signed the affidavit to 1) put the matter to rest and 2) keep the story out of the papers. As a result, Ben got five years in prison as a plea deal.

Thus began the Lily Shun of 2010, which will likely last until the show returns in 2011, unless they banish her to Hudson, too. I’m indifferent, but I’m surprised all of this wrapped up into a neat little box of collective disdain for one of the worst mothers on TV. At least Nate’s mom owns up to her awfulness. (Like when she admitted she needed her socialite status more than her husband. Ha!) But so many questions remain as we head off into hiatus. (NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!)

For one, if Serena gets Ben out of prison, will she be signing her mom’s ticket to the slammer for perjury? Is this the last we’ve seen of Juliet? And how great were all those Dan and Blair scenes!? For real, readers, they were awesome. I love Dan and Blair’s adventures, and I love the fact that Blair pointed out to Dan how whipped he was by Serena — and they’re not even dating! I hope they don’t ruin the Odd Couple vibe with romance. (Don’t. Freaking. Do. It.)

In more reflective ponderings: Didn’t Ben break your heart in those flashbacks? Would you feel worse if he hadn’t been involved in the very high school revenge scheme? Do you think the family will ever forgive Lily for what she’s done? Have they once and for all seen the light or is that just the reflection from Lily’s giant earrings shining into their pupils?

In less serious news, were you more surprised than I was that Dan had a reflection in the computer? (I was convinced he existed only in the part of my mind that enjoys creating new reasons to be annoyed.) What kind of graphics do you think is on the Lincoln Hawk van? (In my head, I imagined Rufus as a Centaur. Then my mind puked.) And I consider myself about as well-versed in strange intoxicating concoctions as I am in witchcraft, and I can’t decide which Serena was up to during the flashback to her boarding school days. What the hell was that green crap she was drinking? (UPDATE: Commenter Annie claims it was a “green fairy.” Clap if you believe.) And did I consume a green mystery drink or was Serena’s blue jacket in the flashback sparkly? (I want it!) And what was with the big meal at the end? I thought Thanksgiving was last week?

NEXT: A giant helping of the week’s best lines.


“You can show up at a masked ball and not expect at least one social-climbing doppelgänger to try to impersonate you.” — Blair

Dan: We’ve seen worse.

Blair: Well, I was going to say “done” worse, but yes.

Blair: What do you mean no visitors? I don’t think you realize who we are.

Dan: Who she thinks she is, is more like it. Look, I’m family. I’m Serena’s brother, er, step-brother, technically, which I do mostly try to put out of my mind seeing as how we dated pretty seriously…

Nate: Wow. I guess I thought the mean girls got a little nicer once they grew up and had kids of their own.

Nate’s Mom: Quite the opposite, I’m afraid.

“Police and parents. Of course that’s your plan Humphrey.” — Blair

Dan: That’s your plan? Disguises and accents?

Blair: I never said anything about accents — can you do any?

“Gossip Girl? She’s not a Ouija board, Humphrey.” — Blair

Blair: Is it pedal to the metal? Because I swear if I shoved my feet through the floor, I could run faster.

Dan: You know, I’d tell you to stop being a backseat driver, but how can you be one if you don’t know how to drive?

“Let me consult the GPS. Oh wait, that’s me.” — Blair

“If this is Juliet’s house, she’s even freakier than we thought. Who pretends to be poor?” — Blair

Dan: If she is really in there, what’s our plan? I mean, what are you going to do? Are we just going to march up to her and pull her hair?

Blair: For starters.

[Blair sees unconscious man with “I <3 Balls" written on his forehead] "Oh, well, at least he's owning it." — Blair

“I think I figured it out. Serena had an affair with her teacher — because let’s face it: it’s Serena and what else is there to do in Connecticut…” — Blair

“You are one knitted tie away from Mr. Donovan territory.” — Blair

On Twitter: @EWSandraG

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