Gossip Girl recap: Sin City
In 'Easy J,' Jenny Humphrey returns in peace, but soon finds herself waging war with Blair
Two weeks without Gossip Girl was pretty much hell. I was starting to think kind thoughts, consider the feelings of others, and smile at people (without thinking something malicious) . It was a scary feeling. Now that storm of accidental decency has been weathered, and it’s good to be back. Unfortunately, we tracked a Jenny Humphrey across the living room carpet. Hopefully next time we’ll remember to wipe our feet.
The return of the littlest Hump to the city also came with a valuable lesson: War is not the answer — but it is the question. Lucky for us, on the Upper East Side, the answer to almost every question is: “Yes, and I want it now.”
We opened with Blair having a prophetic dream that paid homage to the Audrey Hepburn classic Wait Until Dark. In the dream, Blair was attacked by a masked, hair extension-ed intruder with a cheap headband. In case you were wondering, it was not Chuck in drag. (Thanks for the tres disturbing mental picture, Serena.) It was Blair’s sixth sense telling her she’d soon be seeing dead people. Rather, people who were dead to her.
Meanwhile, Serena, continued her studies in the areas of fine linens and using men’s shirts as sleepwear. (She will no doubt graduate with honors.) Her tutor for the evening was the cab stealer we met last week, whose name turned out to be Colin, which I pronounced as colon. Despite mounting evidence, they didn’t have sex, she told Blair after being given an accusatory glance. They actually stayed up all night talking about Lichtenstein and Warhol, she said.
No, seriously, those weren’t safe words. She was telling the truth. Color me surprised, too, especially considering she was sleeping in what looked like her boy shorts. Clearly, that was the best way to keep things platonic. After all, it’s not like she lives a few floors away and can go home when it’s appropriate. Oh…
But while yesterday’s dress did not, in fact, get infused with today’s shame, there’d be plenty of time for today’s outfit to pick up some shame of its own. (And it happened more quickly than even I thought it would.)
Once at school, Serena came face-to-face with Colin. Much to her surprise, she learned he was their new psychology of business professor. So much for her aspirations to be a model student. (That’s “model” as in “ideal,” not “stand there and look pretty.” Although…) But, honestly, what would any season of GG be without Serena having a tryst with an older man in some position of power? At this rate, by season 10, she’ll be in a love affair with a 90-year-old oil heir, yet still crushing on Dan and Nate, who by then will have confessed their love for one another.
Speaking of Nate, he and Juliet were this week’s B plot, as in it BE not that interesting. Well, at least it wasn’t until the very end. (We’ll get to that twist in a bit.) Otherwise, it was the same tiresome back-and-forth between the two of them. Nate sought out Dan for a problem with Juliet. Dan gave him half-hearted advice because he secretly wants Nate to himself. Etc. Etc. The one kicker this week was that Juliet’s lie finally caught up with her at the expense of Nate, something she had been trying to avoid.
NEXT: “Volunteering as part of a prison literacy program?” Does that sound like the behavior of a Gossip Girl character?
Nate whined to Dan on his way to visit his dad in prison, then ran into Juliet, who was waiting outside the pokey gate for visiting hours. She lied to him after he asked why she was there, saying she was volunteering as part of a prison literacy program. He didn’t believe her, but let it go. When he later checked up on it, he found that there was no one at the prison with her last name, and apologized for not trusting her.
By then, however, it was Juliet who should have been apologizing. She had told her incarcerated brother that Nate’s father was a new inmate there, and that she had run into Nate while trying to visit. She then said she didn’t want to lie to Nate anymore. At first, her brother seemed to agree that she should follow her heart and stop the ruse. Then he turned around and arranged to have Nate’s dad jumped in the library. Juliet’s brother then texted her, “Get my message?” Her distraught face told us she got it loud and clear.
If Jenny’s face was capable of showing any emotion, I’m sure she would have had a similar reaction when Blair walked into the van der Woodsen home to find her unpacking her cauldron and broom. She was in town to meet with Tim Gunn for a possible shot at attending Parson’s School of Design.
Truth be told, Little J crawled into town more meek and fearful than gutsy — which is just the way I like her. Desperate for a chance to stay in town minus retaliation, Jenny even bargained with Blair for a day pass. She agreed not to leave her home (except for her interview with Mr. Gunn), not “destabilize [Blair’s] social order,” and to head back to Hudson immediately after her business in the city. Blair agreed.
When Dan and Eric got wind of the harsh — albeit fair, if you ask me — agreement, they weren’t pleased. “She’s the wicked witch of the Upper East Side. I’m sure one of her monkeys spotted me getting off the train or something,” Jenny said. Please, Dorothy you are not, Little J. Nor any other character for that matter, as I don’t recall any of them asking Oz for legitimacy.
Still, she stuck to her new Zen Jenny morals. “I have no interest in going back to being G.I. Jenny and warring with Blair,” she said. Though we all know that deep down inside the only thing Jenny has in common with Gandhi is the occasional hunger strike. She’s really just like the rest of them. And we’d soon see a return of the Little J that Blair built.
We also welcomed back Dan Humphrey’s man-parts this week. When Chuck paid a visit to the van der Woodsen home, Dan took the rare opportunity to act like a big brother and practically shoved his Bassness out the door. (I don’t blame Dan for being testy. Imagine being in his position; your step-brother slept with your full-blood sister — eew.) Still, Chuck left the house with what he had gone to obtain: Jenny’s fashion portfolio — or an S&M coloring book. I can’t be sure.
NEXT: An unfortunate spelling lesson for Jenny; Tim Gun is dismayed.
Knowing Blair’s minions would be on Jenny’s trail, Chuck later told Jenny she’d have to pick up her portfolio from his home. His plan to get Jenny to the top of Blair’s revenge to-do list worked perfectly. Although clearly not for Jenny.
Blair replaced the five dresses Jenny had prepared to show Tim Gunn with ones that spelled out the word “W-H-O-R-E.” It was pretty clever; you have to admit. And terrible. To Chuck, though, it was predictable, so he was ready with a Save the Day plan to make himself look good in the Humphreys’ eyes. Though they honestly should’ve known he was up to something. I never noticed until this week’s abundance of phone exchanges that Chuck sounds mischievous. All he had to do was add an evil laugh at the end of each phone call. If his victims couldn’t figure that out, it’s their fault. Then again, none of them have ever been very good as resisting the lure of a good party.
This week’s Party of Convenience was a New York Observer event where Colin was honored for being Most Likely to Have Incurable Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Tim Gunn gave Jenny her second chance (and accidentally spilled about Chuck’s involvement with her interview), Lily van der Woodsen wore Thunder Beads as an accessory, and Serena put the eighth and ninth Natural Wonders of the World on full display.
When she wasn’t busy catching a chest cold, Serena was losing a bit of her mother’s respect. (Lily learned that Serena had yet again chosen a man over her future.) So mom vdW used a little reverse psychology* and helped Serena have a change of heart. (*Lily read about it in a book…because she’d never heard of it before?) But it didn’t last.
After the party, Serena went to his office to “leave a note” that explained her reasoning, but was once again persuaded by Colin. He was refocusing his life, he said, “fewer models and martinis and more footnotes and flow charts.” (Poll: How long until he starts creating footnotes and flow charts about models and martinis?) She believed him and agreed to stay in his class if they kept it platonic.
As for knowledge you can’t get from a book (only TV), Jenny turned to her old ways and retaliated against Chuck and Blair by telling Gossip Girl the then-secret truth about her exit from the city. Horror. Embarrassment. Shame. And I’m just talking about Jenny’s makeup. Though, the same could be said for Blair’s reaction to the very public humiliation.
In Vanessa’s absence, Dan decided to suck fun instead and told Jenny to return to her Zen state — and upstate. “If this is what you’ve become after just one day back, maybe Blair was right after all — maybe you should go back to Hudson,” said the wet blanket.
NEXT: An unexpected alliance is revealed. (!!!) Plus: The episode’s best zingers.
To our disappointment, Jenny agreed, and confronted Blair and Chuck outside. “Despite what happened today, I can’t beat you. In order to beat you, I have to become you, and I’m better than that. At least I want to be,” she said. So she left. But not before delivering one last zing, saying “Together, you’re invincible. But now that you’ve turned against each other, it’s just a matter of time until your mutual destruction.”
They agreed later that she had a point. And called a truce in a tear-inducing scene, where Chuck admitted that he thought their breakup was fate. “We’re holding on to the pain because it’s all we have left,” he said. “We don’t have to. We have a choice.”
So they shook on it. Sparks flew. And tears fell.
Over at Juliet’s even more tears fell because Nate broke up with her just as she was about to tell him the truth. The final kicker? As she hung up with Nate, Colin walked in the door. They’re working together.
Okay, readers, I’m officially pooped. What an episode! But now it’s your turn to tell me what you thought. Did you like Little J’s return? Are you glad it was brief? Did you like Tim Gunn’s cameo? How many cigarettes do you think Juliet’s brother had to pay to get access to a cell phone in prison? Could the Three Little Pigs have worn uglier outfits while walking around Columbia? Did you like the moment between Nate and his dad? And are you ready for more answers regarding the conspiracy plot?
“Um, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go sit with them. From what I hear, badminton players know how to handle a shuttlecock.” –Chuck
“I need you three little pigs to huff and puff over to the van der Woodsen’s.” –Blair
“Yours is not to wonder why. Yours is to do or die. Now, go!” –Blair
“Yeah. It’s 100 percent, vintage, crazy-ass Blair” –Jenny
“How can I argue with big brother? I’ll just grab these blueprints Lily left for me and let you get back to your Hemingway complex.” –Chuck to Dan
Chuck: Before you say anything, I’m only calling because I saw Gossip Girl. I wondered if I may be able to offer some assistance.
Dan: Unless it’s a murder-suicide, I think I’ll pass.
Chuck: So dramatic. You should be a writer.
“I have a Blair-shaped target on my back.” –Jenny
“I love watching you squirm.” –Chuck
“Give it up, Blair. Everyone knows I did, and who I gave it to.” –Jenny
“Why don’t you skywrite the word ‘Double cross.’ It will be more subtle.” –Blair
More Gossip Girl chatter on Twitter: @EWSandraG
LOVE TO TALK ABOUT TELEVISION? Then don’t miss this week’s TV Insiders podcast! Annie Barrett, Dalton Ross, Michael Ausiello, Michael Slezak, Missy Schwartz, and our resident TV critic Ken Tucker weigh in on the best show on television right now, and dish the latest happenings on Project Runway, Survivor, and Dancing With the Stars. Click here to download the TV Insiders podcast to your MP3 player, or listen to an embedded version below!