The new episode of Gossip Girl is called “The Serena Also Rises,” and she certainly does! Serena rises from the ashes of Dan’s smoldering smugness to take her place among the elite, Jenny Humphrey becomes an incorrigible force to be reckoned with, Dan and Chuck become boyfriends and Blair becomes the odd queen out.
It’s Fashion Week in New York City, and Blair, stinging from losing Chuck to his insecurity and Marcus to his step-mama, looks to reclaim her footing. She’s thrilled to be in charge of the seating chart for Eleanor’s show. As tradition, she and Serena watch her mother’s show from backstage, so she assigns her fawning posse prime seats in the second row. Since Marc Jacobs‘ show will be taking place at the same time as Eleanor’s, Blair knows that the in-crowd won’t fill the seats so she might as well get cool points from her friends.
Blair presents her pals with the tickets and they’re OMG happy until they see a picture of Serena in a newspaper and then that becomes so much cooler than their tickets. Chuck rubs Blair’s nose in the fact that Serena is now palling around with Poppy Lifton (sounds like Paris Hilton without the mug shot and jail time) and that the gang is in awe of Serena’s good fortune and even better connections. Blair is becoming more jealous of Serena’s meteoric rise.
That same morning, Dan and Jenny have a bro-sis talk about how it feels to be invisible on campus. Dan says that he likes it because now he can concentrate on his
pedestrian awesome writing (he has a new mentor) and Yale application. Jenny mumbles something about school, and Dan rushes to Italian class while Jenny rushes from her classes over to Eleanor’s dreaming of Italian shoes.
Jenny has been skipping school like there’s a truancy contest she’s trying to win. Her prize is gaining Eleanor’s trust. Eleanor is so dependent on Jenny that it makes you wonder how Eleanor ever survived all these years without the girl. Jenny convinces Eleanor that NYC’s newest celebrity, Serena, and her friend Poppy should be in the front row. Their attendance will guarantee that Eleanor’ show is the happening event. Great plan, but not for Blair.
Blair percolates with jealousy when she learns that Jenny changed the seating chart to place Serena in front. As payback, Blair visits Rufus to rat on Jenny for ditching school. Super-cool Rufus loses his super cool and tries to reign Jenny in. Well, good luck with that, Rufus.
Later, Dan goes to see his new writing mentor and Dan’s told what most of us already assumed — that his writing stinks. It’s boring and predictable. The mentor challenges Dan to live a little, and the wildest thing Dan can come up with is hanging out with Chuck.
Dan shows up at Chuck’s begging to experience the world of Chuck Bass or for the purposes of Dan’s story, Charlie Trout. Chuck must be really lonely because he agrees to hang out. They go to a bar and underage drink and pill pop (ecstasy?) the evening away. In the limo on the way home, Dan gets all mushy about how great the night was and how they should do it again. Chuck boots him out of the limo shoeless. Guess it was unrequited love.
At dinner with Poppy and Lily, Serena feels bad about not watching the show with Blair backstage. They convince her that sitting in the audience is fun and that Eleanor specifically asked for the favor — certainly Blair would understand that. Poppy tells Serena to invite Blair to the Marc Jacobs after-party and all should be swell.
Serena goes to Blair’s to talk, but Blair’s too jealous and hurt that Serena is blowing off the tradition and blowing up as a celebrity. Serena snidely tells Blair that she’s definitely going to Eleanor’s and plans to have the time of her life! Aw, lovers’ quarrel.
Dan obviously found his way home, because the next day he was back with his mentor. The mentor was unimpressed with Dan’s wild night and tells Dan to learn Chuck’s secret and bring back a story with teeth.
Dan shows up at the same bar and overhears Chuck’s sad phone conversation with his dad. Chuck then propositions a woman, angering her boyfriend, and Dan steps in and slugs the guy, which lands both Dan and Chuck in jail. Touched that Dan had his back, Chuck confesses that his father hates him because Chuck’s mother died in childbirth with him. His dad has never forgiven him. Chuck is bailed out and mistakenly receives Dan’s personal belongings rather than his own and sees Dan’s notes about gaining Chuck’s trust to write a better story. Ouch.
On the night of the fashion show, Blair has the coordinator switch Serena’s seats to the back row. Jenny steps in to switch Serena back to the front. Eleanor sees the commotion and dismissively shoos Blair backstage. Blair manages to release all of the models just minutes before the show is to start! Jenny comes up with the idea of having Serena, Poppy and other young socialites walk the runway in Eleanor’s outfits. Blair, pretending to be supportive of the idea, hands Serena the final dress. Serena takes to the stage wearing a green dress made by Jenny! Eleanor is horrified, except the fashionistas in the house love the dress.
Jenny forges a peace with Blair once she realizes that Blair’s motivation was not to ruin Jenny but Serena. Serena and Blair have a heated throwdown discussion where Serena tells her BFF that she will no longer dull her own shine to spare Blair’s feelings. It’s on now.
Also, in this episode we learn, like mother like daughter, Lily has some secrets that Bart has dug up. If Lily thinks she killed some guy in a drug overdose, I’m going to scream!
But this episode was clearly the start of a cold war between Serena and Blair. Blair’s insecurities make her so vulnerable, it’s hard not to feel for her. Was Serena right or wrong for not honoring the tradition? Can Blair survive a war with Serena?