So, what we’ve got is Gossip Girl doing the thing it does every week — telling us the same story three different ways — only this time you’re aware of it because of the ’80s flashback filter and the three generation of Rhodes women dancing in and out of the frame.
Lily shows up at the 55th Precinct — where Blair is still stomping around shouting about how “Serena has been here four hours!” — to get her daughter out of jail. As she’s walking back to the holding cell, she flashes to to her own time in the pokey with that boy she loved from the Valley, back in ’83.
Serena is pissed, and Lily is all, “I came down here to drop the charges, but if you want to keep pitching a fit.” Serena is like, “First of all, thanks for dropping the totally fabricated charges that you made up, but you suck both as a parent and a person, and anyway, I didn’t use my one phone call on you.”
Enter CeCe Rhodes.
What follows is Serena screaming, “I hate your guts, and I will never be like you!” at her mother, and Lily shouting, “I hate your guts, and I am you!” at her mother, all of which leads Serena to believe her best course of action is to stay in jail.
Later Serena calls Blair from a payphone in prison, which grosses Blair out beyond measure. Blair is freaking the eff out about how someone is trying to sabotage her prom (Spoiler Alert: It’s Chuck.) Serena sweetly talks her through it, and they reminisce about the prom scrapbook Blair has been keeping under her bed since she was a child, because of course she has. Blair says, “Look, you’re not going to come out of there with a mullet and a girlfriend, are you?” And Serena is like, “As if I would ever cheat on you, Blair Bear.”
At the Constance-Billiard prom, Blair says that this is it, the movie she’s been wishing herself into her whole life. Nelly Yuki & Co. flit over with some ballots for prom king and queen, and Blair’s disdain about it being a lame public school tradition evaporates when she hears there’s a tiara involved. When she finds Chuck with his hand in the ballot box, she flips out, shouting him down about how he’s the saboteur of her intricately-imagined prom dreams! Just as she’s about to physically attack him, the winners of prom king and queen are announced, and — surprise! — it’s Blair and Nate.
Serena — who made it to prom via Dan’s heroism and an NYC taxi — sidles up to Chuck and is all, “Wait, what?” Chuck is smiling like little Charles on Christmas morning: “I was taking Nelly Yuki’s ballots out.” Serena wonders about the spoiled dress, the lost corsage, the cancelled hotel reservations. Chuck is like, “That dress she’s wearing is the dress she imagined. It looks better without the corsage. Also, here is a skeleton key to the penthouse at The Plaza. You weren’t the only one who knew about the scrapbook.”
Blair dances with Nate to Fountains of Wayne’s “Prom Theme,” which is the first musical misstep this show has ever taken. I mean, this song would have been fine on Dawson’s Creek, but it’s 2009, music team.
Wait, no. It’s 1983: Malibu.
Little Lily (Brittany Snow) has been expelled from boarding school. She wants to move in with her dad, because ’80s CeCe is even scarier than present-day CeCe. Lily’s dad is like, “Sorry, kid, but I’m busy and important with my record label. Go live with your alcoholic mother.” Lily agrees to follow her mom home, but then floors her Porsche out of the parking lot in an entirely different direction.
She tracks down her sister Carol with the help of the above-mentioned boy she loved from the Valley. Carol — who, by the way, is played by the awesome Krysten Ritter — teaches Little Lily about trespassing and the way a Josh Schwartz pilot always involves a brawl. They end up in jail.
Little Lily uses her one phone call to ring up CeCe, who gives Little Lily the same speech Big Lily gave Serena at the beginning of the episode. Carol grabs the phone from her sister, all, “And now’s the part where Little Lily starts learning to make her own decisions. We’re busting up out of here, and we’re going to ride public transportation and wear fanny packs and be totally bodacious! So, bye.”
As Little Lily boards a city bus for the first time ever, her sister Carol by her side, Gossip Girl says, “Shoulder pads may come and go, but a BFF is forever.”
Present day UES: Lily forgives CeCe; Serena forgives Lily.
Outside the Constance-Billiard prom, Blair cuddles up to Serena. They laugh about crazy high school and boy drama and eating disorders and jail. Blair tells Serena that she and Nate broke up, but before Serena can question her, Blair snuggles closer and says, “Right now, I’m with exactly who I want to be with.”
Funny you said that Blair, ’cause that’s exactly who we want you to be with, too.
Next week: Graduation! Plus: Cartier Bazien and Georgina! Double Plus: Gossip Girl is apparently going down!
What did you think of the Lily spin-off? Do you hope CW picks it up for a full season?