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'Gossip Girl': Don't mess with S

September 23, 2008 |  7:31 am

Gg_blairserena It's the start of the new school year on "Gossip Girl" and it seems Machiavelli and Sun Tzu were high on everyone's summer reading lists. After all, power plays and war strategies are necessary tools in high school, where courtyards are riddled with social land mines and ambushes by the resident bullies are a corridor away.

A war is brewing on the Upper East Side with Serena van der Woodsen at the forefront of two major battles. The first is with Dan Humphrey, who'd normally be an unworthy opponent if he hadn't previously served as her moral compass. The former golden couple attempt to be friends after their breakup, which, in high school, is nearly impossible (heck, it's still impossible after high school). Jealousy rears its ugly head when Serena sees Dan chatting up the new girl, Amanda, and the competition to one-up each other begins. Let's face it, Dan doesn't stand a chance. He may have flexed his Casanova muscles a few episodes ago, but Serena is too great a force to be reckoned with. She's got an army of minions that are prepared to do her bidding, not to mention a wider scope of influence and a closet filled with tight dresses. Dan knows his days are numbered when he walks onto the school courtyard and is avoided by his classmates like the plague. Time to wave that white flag, Lonely Boy. Messing with S equals social suicide.

The episode marks a moment I've been waiting for: Bad Serena is back! But this isn't the reckless, sloppy Serena that we had gotten a glimpse of last season; this is the confident, commanding and vengeful Serena we all knew lay dormant behind that perpetually apologetic pout. Her evolution from heartbroken sap to society superpower may not have been entirely organic (of course, Chuck played a role in unleashing the beast), but it was refreshing nonetheless. It's about time she reclaimed her dominance of Constance Billard's ruling clique, so we shall see if she's a leader who prefers to be loved or feared.

With an invigorated Serena primed to take over the Upper East Side throne, it leaves its current occupant, Blair Waldorf, vulnerable once again. But unlike her bouts with Jenny, Blair would not only face a worthy adversary in Serena, but one that knows all her moves. Is there enough room at the top for both or will they jeopardize a friendship over politics? If they do duke it out, It'll be a battle of epic proportions -- I can't wait!

Since the focus is now shifting back to school, it's about time they got rid of the extracurricular affairs that were bogging Nate and Blair down. Even though I knew Marcus couldn't be trusted, I didn't think his exit would be so Jerry Springer. Hooking up with his stepmother? Can I get a "ew"?! I thought they'd both be part of a more elaborate plot, but I suppose incest and pedophilia are problems enough. Catherine may be gone, but Nate isn't out of the woods just yet. His father's whereabouts are no longer a secret, and those aren't kept for very long on this show.

Will Nate's troubles ever be resolved? Who will emerge victorious: good Serena or bad Serena? And who do you think will win in the Battle of the BFFs?


-- Enid Portuguez