Dark days for the girls of gossip, as Blair, Serena and Vanessa all managed to self-destruct in a variety of imaginative ways. Defying Newton’s law, it seems a New Yorker cannot continue scheming indefinitely without some sort of Machiavellian karma stepping in.
Basically, there was a speech, and it was the single most important thing ever for Blair to do (until the next most important ever issue comes up). Putting a spanner in the works was that she was third in the running to make it, behind celebri-student Olivia and social-whiner Vanessa. Evidently only four girls actually go to NYU, and clearly Georgina wasn’t going to be asked.
Blair being Blair, this wasn’t a good enough situation. So she manipulated everyone to try and improve it, however, in a bizarre plot twist involving Chuck and a gay kiss (apparently not his first!), her scheme backfired. At episodes end, Chuck hated her and she was in some sort of (Brooklyn?) purgatory, mournfully eating croissants with Vanessa.
Why was Vanessa giving Blair the time of day? Because the self-righteous one had taken a leaf out of the Waldorf playbook and, second in line for the speech, had tried to destroy Olivia and Dan’s budding relationship to give herself centre-stage. Well, she didn’t get to give the speech, but she did lose a hell of a lot of moral credibility, only somewhat redeemed by the revelation that her intensely annoying personality IS NOT HER FAULT. No, no, Vanessa Abrams is that way because of DNA. Her mother, visiting for the occasion of ‘the most-important speech ever’, turned out to also be a sanctimonious bore, disappointed even by her uber-ideological daughter. As she ragged on Vanessa that ‘knowledge should not be for sale’, I almost, almost, felt a bit sympathetic towards her. But then I came to my senses.
Meanwhile, in a strange plotline that had pretensions of Casino Royale, but was more akin to a bad Austin Powers spoof, Serena and Nate were playing poker, to save Carter Baison from a fate of hard-labour for his prior sins. Apart from the obvious – that in 21st century Manhattan, who exactly gets exiled to what came across as a North American gulag – here’s something to ponder. Does Nate actually go to Columbia? Or does he spend all his time trotting around on dangerous liaisons with Serena, with $25,000-plus in his jacket pocket, so that the writers can create enough sexual tension between them for them to finally get together?
As it turned out though, Serena and Nate won’t be living happily ever after, at least not in the near future, because he backstabbed her to help his family’s political ambitions, then she returned the favour right back at him. The marvelous thing about the GG universe though, is that such actions rarely have beyond-the-episode consequences. Bets are (poker pun intended), they’ll have an affair by series end.
Good episode, complicated by too many disparate strands of scheming. Best line had to be Blair, in response to Lily’s rather less-than sympathetic words of wisdom after Blairs very-public meltdown: ‘Where did you learn to give a pep talk, Guantanamo?’
Liked that Blair was referring to Sun Tzu for battle technique, with some help from Napoleon (‘he’s always good for a few zingers’ she says). Found out why Serena is such an airhead; she spent her formative years in Monte Carlo, which is obviously great preparation for a normal life. Also, for the odd moments we saw Jenny, she looked like she was dressed for Halloween, with her blood red lips and heroin chic eyes. Can’t work out if that was intentional.
A few quibbles though. Where was Blair’s headband when she was playing power-games at the meeting with the man in charge of the speech. And how much do you have to hate someone to bring them back from Japan either a talking ‘compliment watch’ or a ferocious looking giant claw. Olivia clearly has some anger issues.
Oh, and one last thing. Vanessa, the fancy dress store called. They want their Red Indian costume back.