In 'Goodbye Columbia,' Queen B gets stung, and Serena finds herself trapped in the rumor mill

By Sandra Gonzalez
October 12, 2010 at 11:37 AM EDT
Giovanni Rufino/The CW
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Chuck Bass warned Blair last week that she had brought out his “worst self.” I beg to differ, Bassy. In fact, last night, everyone on Gossip Girl was exactly as they should always be. Chuck set his sights on ruining Blair’s life at Columbia. Blair was determined not to let that happen. Nate and Dan’s past with Serena came back to haunt them. Vanessa let evil get the best of her. And Serena did her best to look fabulous while fighting rumors that…uhm…she had been giving away tainted Halloween candy, so to say.

The result of all this madness? The most STDelightful episode since the gang put prep school in their drivers’ rearview mirrors. Let’s get to it. (Please use protection. It’s going to get dirty.)

The episode opened with Serena’s grossly over-exaggerated cab troubles (…because we are not dumb enough to believe for one second that a girl with those gams and that cleave would ever have trouble getting a taxi). We met a man who had been making it a habit to steal cabs from Serena in the a.m. — which, because they’re in Manhattan, probably means around noon — so that he could send his nightly conquests on their merry way. There are two words that came to mind when we first laid eyes on the man responsible for her troubles, one of them is big and the other rhymes with Vick. So until we learn his name, I’ll call him Big Richard.

As a result of Big Richard’s continuous interference with her ability to get to school on time, Serena found herself in hot water with her English Lit professor. Blair, ever the intelligent person, told Serena to set up a meeting and remedy the situation before her standing in the class suffered. “The easiest way to turn an enemy into a friend is to seek their counsel,” Blair told her. Funny, because we later learned that it works the other way around as well.

Blair was gaining her newfound wisdom from accomplished women of power — ones not named Coco Chanel — so that she could better continue her quest to become one. One of her newest objects of admiration was a businesswoman named Martha Chamberlin, a guest lecturer at the school. Serena claimed to “love her,” which sounded about as convincing as when I told my guy friend I knew what a “blitz” was in football. I later Googled the term; I assumed Serena later did the same with Martha.

Nonetheless, Serena told Blair to sign her up for the class and that they’d go together, forgetting, of course, that this was college and not a ladies room. But Blair’s attempt to use her classload to keep her mind off of the Chuck situation was cut short when she ran into His Bass-ness at the registrar’s office. He was there to attend classes (a favor from the Dean) before breaking ground on the Bart Bass Memorial Rotunda. “You took away what I cared about the most. So to return the favor, I’m going to take Columbia away from you,” he challenged.

NEXT: Is it my imagination, or are the writers setting us up for a Dan-Nate romance?

This move set up the beginning of a ferocious battle unseen since Heidi vs. Lauren. (And like the battle between Hei and Lo, there may never be a clear winner — unless/until one of them gets really bad plastic surgery.) Chuck signed up for the class Blair set her sights on, then took it one step further by snagging the assistant position with Martha that she wanted (a private limo helped seal the deal). Unfortunately for Blair, her cherry pie offering couldn’t measure up. But when pie doesn’t fill the void, a man certainly will, right? So Blair invited the professor over and made a proposal to the scorned recent divorcee: An eligible, successful hunk of a date in exchange for the assistant position. They had a deal. It was a notable effort, one that would come back to bite her, of course…

Meanwhile, Dan and Nate set up a date. No, unfortunately, not together. After learning that Dan and Vanessa were back on good terms, Nate invited them to a faculty and friends mixer at Hamilton House. After slight hesitation, Dan was won over by the lure of free appetizers. Dan also invited them to a followup subtitle-free movie, but Nate declined. He and Juliet were finally going to get it on, and he was excited to ditch the nights of Scrabble and long talks. (In other words, he ready to be a man, and not a Dan.)

Well, at least he said he was. Seriously, between the matching shirts two weeks ago and the “I missed you” this week, if we’re not setting up an eventual gay story arc here, I’m calling B.S.

While I was thinking B.S., Juliet was thinking about STDs. It was all part of her next scheme, which she approached with the same vigor that Dan and Nate reserve for exchanging wanton looks.

Juliet’s incarcerated brother wanted Juliet to get Nate to steal Serena’s phone. (We later learned that this was part of a plan to get Serena kicked out of Columbia.) Juliet agreed, but it was easy to see she wanted to find a way around getting Nate involved. She’s clearly developed genuine feelings for him.

So she started with a scandal, spread with love by Gossip Girl. “Rumor has it our favorite blond could be spreading more than just good cheer. And if it’s true, there’s a test out there a few of you might not be able to pass.” Which prompted neighborhoods of men from UES to Soho to scream, “Oh, no.”

Well, Dan and Nate weren’t worried, but Juliet put the fear into them. She also told Nate that he’d have get an STD test before he could get with her. He agreed, and Dan went as a wingman. I bet he was just secretly worried, too.

That was certainly Vanessa’s perception. In fact, she wore the crazy, suspicious girlfriend pants the entire episode, and they proved as unflattering as her actual pants usually are. Though, I have to admit, Vanessa’s co-scheming with Juliet to steal Serena’s phone made her far less annoying than I’ve ever found her to be. (Juliet had told her she should steal it and see if Dan had e-mailed Serena about the rumor. The e-mail, she claimed, would have the truth.)

NEXT: It’s not Vanessa’s party, but she’ll cry if she wants to.

At this week’s Party of Plot Convenience — in this case it was the Hamilton House mixer — everything came to a head. (Not to mention, everyone looked fantastic! Serena’s dress was my favorite, especially when we saw it was paired with purple tights when she was at the bar.)

Vanessa stole Serena’s phone from coat check and found out that she could trust Dan, and that he did want to make their relationship work. Juliet took a turn with the phone, claiming she too had boyfriend issues to check on. She actually used her time with the phone to send an email to Serena’s professor that offered sex in exchange for a good grade.

Like most things involving Serena, everything went south. The Dean and Serena’s professor told her about the e-mail and threatened her with expulsion. Distraught, Serena told them how her phone had been stolen. That’s when Juliet approached and suggested she call her phone. They found it…in Vanessa’s bag. (Planted, of course.)

Vanessa declared her innocence in regards to the email and the Gossip Girl rumor, but had few (or no one?) on her side. Her attempt to rat out Juliet was equally unsuccessful, and she burst into tears in the middle of the party.

I have to admit, I actually felt bad for Vanessa at this particular juncture. I hope she returns with the vengeance of a Bass 5 hurricane. Okay, I won’t get greedy, I hope she returns with any sort of attitude. I’m confident she will, especially considering her exchange with Juliet. “I had to protect myself,” Juliet said. To which she replied, “You’re right, you do.”

While Vanessa was in tears, Chuck and Blair were tearing into each other. I wish I meant that sexually. But, no. After Chuck derailed Blair’s planned hook up (he replaced Blair’s eligible man with a woman!), the two had a very public confrontation in the hall. Turns out they had each done their own digging on Martha and came to the party prepared to blackmail her. Seriously, Jeffrey Dahmer had fewer skeletons in his closet than this woman. Everything from tax fraud to threesomes. Unfortunately, Martha heard them talking about all they had uncovered, and then delivered the most accurate statement I’ve ever heard on this show: “You students are psychotic.”

With that, she walked out and resigned her position indefinitely. Chuck was pleased. Blair not so much. But Chuck made it clear that this was only the beginning. “Whatever you want, wherever you want it, I’m going to be there to take it away from you. I won’t stop until you have nothing.”

He was serious. In the next episode, he likely plans to unearth the one secret Blair has been keeping from hitting the presses: His night with Jenny Humphrey.

Before we get to this week’s burning questions and best lines, let me air some minor gripes: What IS up with these voiceovers? (They are horrible!) Is Rufus even necessary any more? His presence was rather superfluous in this episode. And did Dan’s gesture during his conversation with Rufus make you laugh, too?

Now, the important stuff: What did you think of the episode? What do you think is the real story with Big Richard? Is Blair really “over Chuck forever”? Did you think Nate’s love scene was a nice apology from the showrunners for making us watch Dan Humphrey hump?

NEXT: The best lines of dialogue from this week’s episode!

I’m sad we have to wait two weeks until a new episode, but let us not mourn. Instead, celebrate a great episode in the comments! (More on Twitter: @EWSandraG)

QUOTEABLES

“Oh, if only there were a device of some kind to keep the time.” –Blair

It’s like she’s reading my mind!

“I shouldn’t have told you about the cotton-swab thing. That was insensitive.” –Dan

There goes lunch.

Minion: How do you go from Better Homes and Gardens to the N.R.A?

Blair: It’s a short trip; believe me.

Truth.

“Mmm. I almost forgot how much I used to enjoy your pie.” –Chuck

How many people literally gasped? …and then fanned yourselves?

“I said ‘civilized’ not ‘lobotomized.'” –Blair

It’s okay, Blair, she doesn’t understand either word.

“College is just high school with more expensive books.” –Serena

And more STD scares.

TV ADDICTS, STOP WHERE YOU ARE! Embedded below, listen to the second edition of EW.com’s TV Insiders podcast. Dalton Ross, Annie Barrett, Michael Slezak, Michael Ausiello, and Tim Stack (EW’s resident Gleek) break down the week in television—specifically Glee, Dancing With the Stars, and Survivor—and present it to you in an easily digestible audio format. Or click here to download TV Insiders to your MP3 player!

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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  • 09/19/07-12/17/12
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