It doesn’t take much to bring a politician down, but as the late Ted Kennedy could probably have told Tripp Van der Bilt, crashing a car and running away from the scene is a pretty foolproof way to do it.
But before we get to that, we must address the real cliffhanger of the episode. Was that really Chuck’s supposedly dead mother at Bart’s grave, yellow roses and all, or was it just another one of the ghosts he’d been seeing all day?
It was inevitable really. For too much of this series we’ve had hero Chuck, the good guy, the nice guy, the sensible one.
That perfect exterior had to crack at some point, and when better than on the anniversary of his fathers death.
Chuck was dealing with a dilemma so unpalatable even Blair was disgusted; essentially whether he should screw over some homeless people for financial gain. We knew what his soulless corporate Machiavelli of a father would have done, although the ghosts were on hand to helpfully remind us, but it was less clear for Chuck. As he wrestled with his demons he was brusque, dismissive of Blair and generally a nasty piece of work.
Anyone else delighted to have the old Chuck Bass back in business?
While Chuck’s mental frame unraveled, Jenny and Eric were fighting, supposedly playing nice, and mingling with drug dealers (yes Mr Belgium is back). Bleugh.
And implausibly, some arts student offered herself up on a plate to Dan and he rejected her to declare his love for Vanessa, who quite typically couldn’t give a toss. Love hurts Dan, but don’t worry, its all fodder for your debut bestseller.
More tragic was that tonight perhaps marked the first step in the decline of the Rufus and Lily fairytale, Volume 2.
We knew Lily had a secret to do with the original Mr VdW, and it turns out (courteously of Maureen, who has become increasingly akin to the mother in The Manchurian Candidate) the former couple had a tête-à-tête last summer.
The exact content of the liaison is yet to be revealed, but Rufus is already seeking (at present platonic) solace with another woman and something tells me Maureen’s description of Lily as a “cheating whore” is not too much off the mark.
Especially because just moments after we learn that she forgot it was the anniversary of Bart’s death, and to add insult to injury then pretended to Rufus that was why she was distracted.
And of course, the big drama of the evening involved Serena. It didn’t take long for her romance with Tripp to go up in flames – literally – as the lovebirds love-nest was invaded by scorned wife Maureen.
It appeared that despite his declarations of undying love, Tripp actually valued his political career more than his teenage blonde bit on the side, and was quite happy to abandon her when things got ugly.
Which, as it turned out, was somewhere around the time he crashed the car in the middle of the night, moved the injured Serena into the drivers seat and legged it to sort out his alibi. But of course Nate, trusty, reliable Nate, was there waiting at Serena’s bedside – after he punched Tripp in the face, that is.
Hopefully this was just a blip in the inevitable Serate / Naterena / Arch van der Woodsen hook-up.
It was a dark episode, brilliant and brimming with gripping plotlines. But a few comic moments lightened the mood, not least Serena’s plaintive comment; “I knew what I was getting myself into.” Uh, pretty sure you didn’t hon.
And of course, I’m sure we were all shocked to discover Nate’s penchant for Hemingway. But its OK guys, he doesn’t read. Promise. He just used to hide his pot stash inside the book.
At least some things in the Gossip Girl universe still make sense.