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'Gossip Girl' recap: Grace Kelly and Mr. Hyde

Mr hyde With only three episodes to go in Season 4, "Gossip Girl" is finally fun to watch again. The writers pulled out all the stops this week: Glass shatters! Blood spills! Engagement rings gleam! Friends and near-strangers double-cross each other! A disastrously drunk Chuck Bass revives his catchphrase, "I'm Chuck Bass"! Even Nate earns his screen time.

After a few days of fairy-tale romance, Blair and Louis' relationship suddenly gets real when his mother, the queen of Monaco, bursts in to break them up. To Blair's horror, she announces that Louis is about to get married. He won't officially be the heir to the throne until he's hitched, and mom is dead-set on her son wedding a fellow royal. To make matters worse, Serena -- who is still angry about Blair and Dan's kiss and is also apparently a diehard member of Team Chuck -- is the one who tipped off the royal parents to Louis' new girlfriend. It's a pretty evil, slightly out-of-character move, and S spends most of the episode looking conflicted over what she's done.

But Blair, being Blair, doesn't even consider giving up on Louis, even after the queen pulls out B's sizable Gossip Girl dossier. (Serena strikes again.) She makes a great speech: "I've had a past. But all my wrongdoings, all my secrets are right there in front of you. ... I can be the next Grace Kelly." And that's all it takes for Blair to earn a spot among the monarchy at the bizarre, "Millionaire Matchmaker"-style cocktail party the queen throws to help Louis meet -- or, more accurately, help her choose -- the woman he'll marry.

Everything is going perfectly, until Chuck shows up on a tip from Nate. Intoxicated, rowdy and bearing an engagement ring, he believes Louis is just Blair's latest test of his love. And if he has to break them up by muttering dirty nothings in the queen's ear, well, he's game. "Tell your prince where your heart truly lies," Chuck dares Blair, with all eyes in the room on them. He topples a tray, storms out and a humiliated Blair is left to apologize and flee.

She assumes that's the end of the road for her and the prince, but he overhears a conversation between Blair and Serena (besties again!) that proves she really does love him. "I want you to choose joy in your life," Louis tells her. And then, he proposes.

For some reason, Blair decides that this is the moment to confront Chuck with her news. By the time she gets to his place, he's even worse off than he was at the party. To say that Chuck doesn't take the news well would be understatement; their encounter ends when he grabs her, in perhaps his grossest move since he tried to force himself on Jenny Humphrey in Season 1, then punches through a window. The icing on the razor-filled cake? A tiny shard of glass cuts Blair's face, and she hightails it out of there like the place is on fire. Reader, she calls her mom.

Speaking of fires, there's another reason Chuck is in such fine form this week: a letter turns up that proves his dad was having an affair with Raina's mom, and that Avery was planning to go back to Russell before Bart torched the building. This spurs yet another moment of existential angst -- and the situation goes from bad to terrifying when a fed-up Nate refuses to keep covering for his friend. He tells Raina the truth about her mother, and she gives Nate an ultimatum: It's her or Chuck. Thankfully, since decision-making isn't our boy's strong suit, the sight of a bloody Blair running out of their apartment finally sways Nate to Raina's side. The last time we see her, she's on the phone with Jack Bass.

Meanwhile, even the Humphrey loft is exciting this week. Charlie is determined to land Dan, but he just wants to be friends. Enter Vanessa, with some pointers, because she wants to make sure her former best friend is settled down with a nice girl -- not Serena or, God forbid, Blair -- before she heads out of town again to study abroad. (Does this mean the character's about to be gone for good? I'm crossing my fingers!) But Charlie isn't as sweet as she looks. She purposely mangles the advice and then frames Vanessa for setting her up. As delicious as it is to see Brooklyn's most boring stalker get a taste of her own medicine, something tells me Charlie at her worst makes Serena look like a saint. Anyone want to hazard a guess at the top-secret incident that got the newest Upper East Sider kicked out of college?

"Gossip Girl" has had an uneven season, but it's still an improvement over last year. (Remember the long nightmare that was Dan dating Hilary Duff? And the awful threesome?) Now, let's hope the writers can keep up the over-the-top momentum through the finale.

"Gossip Girl" meta-commentary of the night:

"I've read Gossip Girl enough to know that Dan can't resist a damsel in distress, and you happen to make the perfect villain." -- Charlie to Vanessa

"Gossip Girl" highbrow reference watch:

"I realize that lately I've exposed more secrets than Julian Assange." -- Vanessa to Charlie

Your weekly "Gossip Girl" fashion top five:

1. Blair's gauzy, baby-pink Jenny Packham party dress with the silver beading

2. Chuck's hot-pink, paisley Thomas Pink tie

3. Blair's short-sleeved, black-lace dress

4. Serena's silky, pale-pink Rachel Gilbert top with the studded front

5. Dan's plum-and-navy striped shirt with the three-quarter sleeves

RELATED:

Full Show Tracker coverage of "Gossip Girl"

-- Judy Berman
twitter.com/judyberman

Photo: Serena attempts to calm Chuck. Credit: Giovanni Rufino / The CW

 
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