In "The Kids Are Not Alright," Serena and Chuck pair up to correct Lily's wrongdoings, and Blair finds her place in the world with the help of...Dan!?

By Sandra Gonzalez
January 25, 2011 at 05:55 AM EST
Giovanni Rufino/The CW
S4 E12
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  • TV Show
Genre

After a restful (and excruciatingly long) holiday, welcome back to the Upper East Side, where parental issues are more abundant than reasons to look down on people who wear tights as pants, where waiting at the edge every van der Woodsen bedpost is a panting Humphrey begging for pat on the head, where slutty women — and randy parolees — are available in pairs, and where Dan and Blair find themselves striking up an unlikely friendship (and maybe more!) despite hell maintaining its normal temperature.

Yes, so much, yet so little has changed on the right side of the concrete tundra that is Manhattan. And for that, I am thankful. So let’s get recapping.

We opened with Dan getting dressed to go sell Bibles, Blair planning her future while daydreaming (remember when I said nothing had changed?), and Serena returning from a two-week trek that she hoped would prove to the world that she had officially gone from “doing men” to “doing good by her fellow man.” She had traveled to Virginia to find the judge who helped her mom put Ben in jail all those years ago but failed in her efforts to locate him and obtain the proof she needed. Poor Serena Bra-kovich.

Meanwhile, Blair was careful not to reveal that she had spent time (one movie’s worth) with Dan while Serena was away, and instead regaled Serena with the tales of her new-found internship aspirations. (She wanted to work for a powerful woman who was No. 6 a Forbes list, blah, blah. Personally, I’d set my sights on someone from a different list. Say, for example, No. 6 from People‘s Sexiest Men Alive.) Blair’s mission for the episode became to get her resume into the hands of said powerful woman. My burning question: Did she include “Supervisor of Christmas tree dismantling” under work experience or special skills?

Speaking of skills, Chuck returned from New Zealand with a pair of flight attendants who believe tiny neck scarfs are fine alternatives to button-downs and who presumably weren’t from Virgin Atlantic. And back at Nate’s, Papa Parolee was playing Wii VD with a pair of maids whilst performing disturbing victory dances that can only be described as pajama gyration. (I’m sorry for giving you that mental image, but someone had to share the pain.) Nate didn’t join in the fun, though, because he was worried about his dad’s future. He needed a job as part of his parole terms, and Nate wasn’t so sure his pop was on the ball. But his dad assured him that he had left irresponsibility and addiction in the pokey and only craved his son’s trust — and women who were way out of his league. He had a case of the Humphreys, if you will.

Back at the Waldorf mansion, Blair scoffed at the idea of interning for her mother instead of Powerful Woman No. 6, hurting Eleanor’s feelings in the process. Not that Blair cared — but she did care when she found out the object of her opportunist actions was going to have a fitting with her mother later, and she prepared to hijack it. She would have succeeded too, if she had not forgotten that deviance is a hereditary trait. Yes, Eleanor foiled her plan — and earned my respect in the process.

NEXT: Meet the Thorpes.

From parents who are sharp to, well, Lily: She was busy trying to sell Bass Industries and keep her mangled mess of a family together. But, too bad for her, forgiveness wasn’t on the menu at yuppie brunch. In fact, nothing was, because it ended before anyone bit their croissant and even before Rufus developed waffle envy. (Rufus, fetch the coats. We’re done here. Good, boy.)

After non-brunch, Dan wanted some quality step-brother/step-sister time with Serena. (And you may put that in the Museum of Creepiest Sentences Ever.) But his advances were interrupted by Chuck, who rolled up in a limo (strike 1, Dan) with a plan (strike 2, Dan) to help stop Lily’s reign of terror. (Strike 3, Dan. You’re out.) The pair agreed to meet later at Blair’s, but (surprise!) Serena stood him up.  Dan was lenient, though, and still agreed to accompany her to this week’s Party of Convenience. He probably figured that Serena simply hasn’t learned how to tell time yet.

Serena had been busy completing a slightly disturbing recon mission with Chuck (See: Quoteables) so that they could have blackmail material to present Lily at the Party of Convenience, where (ding, ding, ding!) all the plots unraveled before us, including the very convoluted plot involving Bass Industries. I’ve thus far avoided talking about that aspect of the episode because (1) It’s kind of boring and (2) I’d rather opine about the clothes, ponder the thoughts that may or may not be hiding behind Nate’s baby blues, and make comments about Serena that stem from deep-seeded boob envy. But I suppose there is no more delaying…

I love intelligent scheming as much as the next person, but the Bass Industries hoopla got a little intricate for my liking. Observe: Chuck wanted to stop Lily, so he went to see a man named Russell Thorpe, who was an old friend of Chuck’s dad. Later, Lily told Chuck she wanted to sell the company to protect the name (and get more money than if it were to go to auction), so she lied and said Thorpe was the buyer. We later learned that Bart Bass had crossed Thorpe years ago, and he had no interest in helping Chuck. Thorpe, who runs his own similar business, wanted to buy Bass Industries and sell it for parts — which is exactly what Lily had feared someone would do. Lily had actually been negotiating with another buyer and had lied because she feared Chuck would sabotage it, but then that buyer backed off after being told (by Thorpe) there was a family tiff brewing over the business. In the end, Thorpe all but declared war on Bass Industries, and Chuck was worried that his father’s good name would be dishonored. (Yawn.)

The best part to come out of all this business was Raina Thorpe, daughter and not-secretary of Russell. Not that I like her, but, rather, I’m fascinated by her immovable eyebrows and unblinking eyes. She was positively Mattel-like; it’s no wonder Chuck jumped at the chance to have a little fun with her. And if nothing else, I’m excited for her (and her father — who is also now Nate’s dad’s employer) to be Thorpes in our a–es.

NEXT: Dan/Blair: Bffs?

At the party, Eleanor also confronted Blair about her plan and laid a pretty brutal verbal smackdown on her daughter that was both upsetting to my inner Blair loyalist and refreshing to someone who thinks it’s time for the schemer to do a little maturing. Just a little. And it turned out to be just what Blair needed. By the end of the night, when all the drama was done, the apologies were said, and the hilarious heart-to-hearts with Dan had been conducted, Blair had a new career goal: become editor of a high fashion magazine — a.k.a. “a dictator of taste.” (Awwww.) Please note that the parenthetical “awwww” is not an official support of whatever Dan and Blair romantic aspirations might be cooking in the kitchen. Instead, I beg the writers to turn off the stove and walk away slowly.

“Friends” I can live with. A one night stand — sure. Romance? Nay. I refuse to allow myself to fathom Blair having a meaningful relationship with a man who has chest hair creeping half way up his neck, wears grandpa ties, and who had his last sexual encounter with a girl who wears diaper-like shorts. Can’t. Happen. Or if it’s going to happen, make it quick and provide a precautionary Dair-sickness bag. I love this odd couple-friend vibe too much to have it wasted on something as seemingly disposable (in Gossip Girl land) as a hook-up. Of course, time will tell how long I stick to this opinion.

As for Serena’s quest to free Ben, she really should have believed her mother when she said she’d “take care of it” — because she did. (But why Lily insisted on NOT elaborating to Serena, I’ll never know. Maybe she enjoys being hated?) When Serena went to go visit Ben in prison, she learned that Lily had arranged to have the judge get Ben out on parole early. And as luck would have it, he was still standing outside waiting for the bus as she exited the prison and was in the mood for coffee. I’m now taking bets on whether Ben paid Serena bus fare for the inevitable ride she gave him that night.

Now for the questions: Who wants to wager that at least four of Serena’s suitcases were filled with boob tape and an industrial-strength hair dryer? Were you as proud as I was of Serena for correctly identifying the “mailbox”? How do you think Nate manages to run so vigorously and not produce a drop of sweat? (Can you hear my disappointment?) Did you shed a tear over Dan and Serena’s mini-breakup? Me neither.

More seriously, what are your thoughts on Dan/Blair? Did you like the Thorpes? Has Lily redeemed herself in your eyes? Do you like the idea of the Serena/Ben relationship going forward or is she playing with (vengeance-seeking) fire? And do you think Blair really kept her paws out of Dan’s popcorn? That sounds dirty — I like it.

QUOTEABLES

“…court records are public so you wore a push-up bra for no reason?” — Blair

“Hey, Nate. We need one more for a foursome. You in, dude?” — Nate’s dad

Dan: “You know ‘Powerful woman’ isn’t a career, right?”

Blair: “Neither is Serena van der Woodsen.”

Serena: “And who do we say you are? My son?”

Chuck: “Is it weird that hearing you say that actually turns me on?”

Serena: “This better be worth the therapy.”

Serena: “All I have in my pile are divorce papers, jewelry, and artful nudes of my mother in her groupie days.”

Chuck: “Swap piles?”

On Twitter: @EWSandraG

Programming note: As of next week, Tim Stack is back as your Gossip Girl recapper. It’s been lovely taking this filthy journey with you. You can find me recapping Glee starting with the post-Super Bowl episode. XOXO

Episode Recaps

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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