'Gossip Girl' recap: 'Me versus you. No limits.'
On the Upper East Side, love is a battlefield -- and this week, characters are switching allegiances more often than they change outfits. Love triangles are beginning to seem quaint now that we have love pentagons, like this Juliet-Nate-Serena-Dan-Vanessa mess that just won't go away.
Thankfully, we may finally see an end to (or at least a break from) that particular drama. For approximately the 37th time in the history of "Gossip Girl" (and, for the record, the second time in this month-old season), Serena pushes both Dan and Nate too far. Lonely Boy, growing weary of Vanessa's nagging domesticity, escapes from their Brooklyn nest to visit his stepsister-with-benefits. He lies that he's gone to hang out with Nate and, of course, gets caught in that fib by none other than Juliet. Predictably, her solution is that Vanessa should confront Serena. We still don't know exactly why Juliet is out to sabotage S, but she sure doesn't let up, does she?
Because Vanessa is gullible enough to do whatever her new, scheming, not particularly nice friend tells her, the confrontation goes down at Chuck's big I'm-a-nice-guy benefit -- but it may be too late. Dan has made his decision and is back in Serena's midriff-baring clutches -- until a minute or so later, when he catches her comforting Nate, who has just broken up with Juliet after intercepting a text message from a certain Ben (last week's mysterious prisoner, I presume) who says he's got to see her. Dan leaves Serena with a curt kiss-off ("Serena, there are some people who don't need to choose") and heads home to safe, predictable Vanessa. But for how long?
Meanwhile, Juliet has chosen her mark well: Nate is still a prime dupe. Rather than suspecting something is up when she won't let him see her apartment and he finds suspicious photos of her on Gossip Girl, he decides that she's stepping out on him. Their split lasts for about five minutes, until Juliet pacifies him with the claim that Ben is her "troubled" brother who has ruined relationships in the past. Please! It's a good thing Nate is rich and beautiful, because there's no way he's getting through life on his smarts.
By the end of the evening, everyone's partnered up except for poor Serena, splayed out on her bed in a garish maroon evening dress. Somehow, she finds the insight to tell Blair what we've all known since Season 1: "If I end up with Dan, a part of me will always love Nate. And if I end up with Nate, a part of me will always love Dan. So, I don't know, I guess I need to find someone who gives me what I get in both of them." Has she finally learned her lesson? Probably not. But here's hoping Serena gets a new love interest soon, if only to rock the boat a bit.
Speaking of causing trouble, Blair just cannot leave the newly reformed Chuck and his European lady love, Eva, alone. Although she swears to Serena early in the episode that she won't meddle, it isn't long before she's going all-out in a truly demented quest to destroy their romance.
Now, I was partially right about Eva: Even if she doesn't have sinister intentions, she has been keeping some major secrets. Blair catches Eva selling the exorbitantly expensive Cartier watch Chuck bought her, but when Blair runs to tell Chuck, Eva confesses that she gave the money to Ivan, the valet whose family is struggling. Then, when Blair finds out Eva was a prostitute back in Prague, Chuck pretends he already knew. (And when he actually discusses it with Eva, he isn't even that angry.)
Finally, Blair brings out the big guns. Chuck's passport has turned up and been shipped back from overseas, but she claims she found it hidden in Eva's suitcase. Soon after Chuck sends Eva packing, he runs into Lily and the real story comes out.
And here is where I begin to question the plausibility of this final scheme. Would a champion manipulator like Blair actually believe she wouldn't get caught in such an obvious lie? Are we supposed to believe that she's so distraught about Chuck and Eva it's affected her queen bee powers?
In fact, it doesn't matter much. Chuck may have found Blair out, but by the time he finds Eva to tell her he's made a horrible mistake, she's resolved to go home. Perhaps the smartest character we've seen on "Gossip Girl" since Georgina disappeared with baby Milo, Eva has figured out that Chuck still loves Blair and actually wants to believe her lies.
So, after only four episodes, we bid bon voyage to the woman who (temporarily) turned Chuck Bass good. But let's be honest: We were already growing weary of Chuck the Philanthropist, weren't we?
As the episode closes, he visits Blair with the sole purpose of informing her that it is on: "This means war, Blair... Me versus you. No limits." Welcome back, Chuck the Lothario. My, how we've missed you.
Your weekly "Gossip Girl" fashion top five:
1. Eva's cream plaid blouse / floral skirt combo
2. Serena's big gold benefit necklace with the rough lavender stones
3. Chuck in a tux (not a rare sight, but always a welcome one.)
4. Blair's floral dress with the swingy skirt and big black belt
5. Eva's ice-blue beaded benefit gown
-- Judy Berman
Photo: Chuck and Blair, back to their old games. Credit: Giovanni Rufino / CW