Previously on Gossip Girl: Blair made a friend in Tuscany - he's British, and a lord! Serena didn't have fun with anyone over the summer, as she was busy mooning over Dan. Nate was having a cougar-fest with a secret, married older girlfriend. Dan can't get Serena out of his head. Chuck is.... Chuck Bass!
We're still in the Hamptons, where they still have pretty houses, windmills and beaches. On one of those beaches, Dan and Serena come to after a night of semi-naked canoodling (and waxing, apparently -- Dan's chest is smoother than a Noxzema commercial). Serena is.... confused..... even though the night was amazing... and confusing. Dan is now confused. Serena is hesitant to get back together; Dan thought they were. Apparently not, Brooklyn Boy! But Serena is sweet and nice, and they need to think about things realistically before giving into romance... and kissing... and more kissing.... Wait, Dan - have to go! See you in the city -- with clothes on!
Blair and Lord Marcus have finally gotten on their bicycles and are laughing and cycling through the pretty Hampton streets. Blair asks what it is he does, since, well, he doesn't go to college! He's going .... wherever Blair goes! Back to the city then. Blair drops that she's been preparing to meet "the queen", aka Marcus' mom. At breakfast, Blair (in yellow ruffles, no less) is sweetly insistent on meeting the Duchess -- Marcus himself is less than thrilled at the notion. Blair picks up on it, picks up her purse made of an Italian red plaid tablecloth and bolts outside for a phone confab with Serena. Blair quickly explains who the real Marcus is ("It's like Roman Holiday but I'm Gregory Peck and he's Audrey Hepburn!") to a dubious Serena, who thinks Blair isn't really so much in love with Marcus as she is with the notion of getting back at Chuck. Blair agrees this could slightly be the case, but Marcus is a dish worth having on his own! (Or something like that)
Meanwhile, Chuck spies Marcus alone at breakfast and saunters up evilly. Can't we be civil? Chuck proffers slimy friendship, Marcus is hesitant, but good old chap that he is, gives in to Chuck's good manners.
Serena is still trying to calm Blair down, telling her she's anything but a summer fling, when Blair finally asks where S got to last night. Cue Brooklyn Boy waiting for the jitney as Serena walks up. Gotta go, Blair! Turns out Serena's jitney-ing back too. Awkward banter ensues.... can they get on the same bus without jumping each other? Their lips say yes, but their eyes say no! (What do you call sex on a bus -- the 10-foot-high club?)
Uh-oh -- Blair's back at breakfast, and Chuck's in her seat! Yellow ruffles is not amused, especially when she sees Lord Marcus and Chuck exchanging mobile contact info! Sidebar, Charles -- and it's not a question! Sqaush, Basshole? Not with my new BF! Get out of here! With Chuck gone, Blair wangles a ride back to the city with Lord M. Can she limo to Manhattan with him? Buht ahf courhse! (Seriously, this is how legit his accent is)
Meanwhile, at Casa Archibald, a purple polo-d Bangs Boy tells Argyle Mom he's heading back early.... she looks panicked. It's okay, right, Mom? Er, no, honey -- bad news. Federal prosecutors are forefeiting their assets. Accounts are frozen, inventories are being taken...and mom is cut off! She's got a plan, though -- Mom has this handled! Nate doesn't think so, but gets flustered by a call from Catherine before going into a full argument. He lets it go to voice mail -- Catherine says what they did last night was very, very stupid.... so they'll have to be smarter when they get back to the city! Oh, the naughty cougar-minx!
Just then another call comes in to Catherine... oh, hello, darling! A bad British accent responds, "Hello, Duchess!" OMG - Catherine is Lord Marcus' mom! See you back in the city to compare summer notes! It's hup-hup for Marcus, who gets into his limo alongside Blair, and pops some champagne bubbly. Gossip Girl notes there's scandal bubbling too.
Meanwhile, back on the jitney, Dan is listening to quasi hard-rock and trying to ignore Serena... who gives him a magazine with a longing look and slow touch that wouldn't be out of place in a house of ill repute. They both try to ignore those hot, boiling, roiling feelings, which are apparently not being caused by the bus... oh look, Serena brought chocolate covered strawberries, which she lovingly bites.... oh, so much chocolate! Must lick fingers! This is turning way too soft-core. Oh, Serena has to get up, just in time for the jitney to hit a bump so she can tumble into Dan's lap with a seductive "oh!" (OMG, just do it already!) She practically straddles him, puts on her best turned-on face... and drags him back to the jitney bathroom! It's totally Sex on a Bus!
Blair and Marcus are sipping limo-chilled champagne while S and D are getting all jitney with it -- what's Marcus doing tonight? Dinner with the Duchess? I'd love to come! Er, no, dahling .... first of all she's my stepmother, and secondly, it's just she and I. Blair is flustered for approximately half a second before blurting out that Marcus will miss.... her big party?! We know not of this party! Apparently neither does Blair, who babbles on, and on, and on. Marcus nimbly agrees to bring the Duchess to this all-important soiree. Blair is pleased yet panicked, and issues a text to Dorota the maid -- party 2 plan! Now!
In another limo, BFFs Chuck and Nate are debating the pros and cons of Marcus vs. Chuck. Since Marcus has that lord thing going for him, Chuck needs to cozy up to Sit Up Britain to find his weaknesses. Nate is dubious. A call for Chuck - he can't talk right now, sorry! Nate says don't mind me, but Chuck's surreptitious looks tell us the conversation was probably about Nate himself... uh-oh, for good or bad?
We're finally back in Brooklyn, as is Rufus, who enters his gallery and finds half of it taken over by a coffee bar, courtesy of Vanessa! (Actually, it's very cute) V is apprehensive about about Rufus' reaction... he's very pleased, and thinks people will actually come to his gallery now! Vanessa, having borrowed some yellow ruffles from Blair, is giggly and happy. Vanessa and Nate have a mini heart-to-heart: he enjoyed the tour, but is very glad to be home.
(Is it us, or is there some kind of.... chemistry brewing between Vanessa and Rufus? Let's hope so, if only so we can christen their coupling "Vanufus"!)
At Nate's Manhattan townhouse, the Feds are crawling all over the place -- Nate will not stand for this! Arguing ensues, but Mr. FBI will not be talked down to by so many bangs. Nate places a call to Catherine... can they talk? He sounds desperate.
On the squash court, a pink-and-plaid Chuck is working on unnerving Marcus. Something wrong, mate? Can I help? It's the Duchess... no one's ever good enough for her, even Marcus' most top-flight girls! What's Marcus to do? Blair will automatically be crushed and not good enough. Chuck plays supportive while gathering all this intel in between thwacks. With game over, Chuck gets Marcus' home phone number -- Gossip Girl wonders, is a bromance brewing? Or the end of Blair's Bid To Be British?
At Chez Waldorf, Blair is pleased with Dorota's last minute party planning, except for this horrid guest list! "But they are your friends!" Blair needs high-profile guests, but not so high-profile they will outshine her... she has to be a crown jewel. Get hopping, Dorota! Serena enters, bemusedly. Oh, a party at the Hudson? Really? B, you don't have to do this! A stressed Blair says oh yes she does! It's training for hobnobbing with oligarchs and dictators! Serena thinks that part is not a problem for Blair. Oh, doesn't Brooklyn Boy like soccer, or football, or whatever they call it? Can he come, Serena? S says yes, and tries to use the opening to talk all about her feelings and thinking and pondering... Blair is oblivious and drags her off for more party preparations.
(PS -- Serena is wearing white pants. We hope this was filmed before Labor Day!)
Nate, still rocking the purple, shows up at Chuck's -- can they talk? Actually, Chuck's busy with business stuff -- he's selling his shares in the Victrola (remember the upscale burlesque house?). Chuck gives Nate some line about having to be all high-falutin' in comparison to Lord Marcus, but wethinks something else is afoot. Nate is confused (which, granted, is his natural state) and a little terse, and heads out as Chuck heads back to Mr. Lawyer -- will this be done in time for Mrs. Archibald tonight? Aha! Chuck is totally bailing out Nate's family! Good guy, that Chuck.
Serena and Dan are deep in phone conversation -- they've both been thinking. You go first, Dan! Brooklyn Boy thinks they should take some time apart..... Serena is saddened as sad music plays (so much for that cute outfit for tonight) and tells Dan about the party and his needed presence for football/soccer knowledge.... will he still come, even though they need... space? She wants to see him! Dan relents and says okay.
Oh - Nate has made his way to Brooklyn and Vanessa's coffee bar! Yellow V and Purple Nate are all serious about his Dad's situation... what's to be done? Vanessa lightens the mood -- she can totally teach Nate's mom the ins and outs of Salvation Army shopping! Before they can get too cute, Nate's mom calls -- she was able to fix things after all! She got a loan! From who, Nate asks. Doesn't matter! Someone offered, and it was the right thing to do... ah, the light is starting to shine through Nate's bangs, as he puts two and two together and comes up with Chuck Bass. Gotta run for now, V -- sorry! See you later tonight? PS - I really missed you this summer..... V is sad yet happy. Missed you too, Nate!
A maroon-suited Chuck is waiting at the Hudson as Catherine walks up.... "Charles Bass?" she says imperiously. Chuck's jaw drops ever so slightly at the much younger (and prettier) than expected version of Marcus' stepmom. She doesn't usually take meetings with "children" (ouch!) so what does "Charles" want, exactly? Have a seat, Duchess -- Chuck will explain it all for you.
On the Hudson rooftop, Blair's party is tasteful, lovely, featuring classical music.... and dull as all get-out. Blair feels the ennui taking hold.... even Serena can't muster enthusiasm. Finally Dan shows up with his all-important football knowledge -- "Dan! Come meet the Lord!" Awkward banter ensues... so much for Dan's help. Uh oh -- Chuck is here, with Catherine! Blair storms up to him, just as Serena realizes a humongous car crash is about to happen on top of the Hudson. Serena can't get there in time -- Blair makes a crack about Botox just before Catherine introduces herself as Duchess Beaton. Blair is aghast, Catherine is disapproving, Serena is cringing and Chuck is smug as a bug in a rug. Well played, Mr. Bass!
Vanessa is putting out flowers at the gallery coffee bar as Rufus walks in -- he's been downtown talking to his agent about another tour. Can Vanessa stick around and run things while he's gone? Vanessa is surprised he wants to go on the road again. Rufus thinks he does -- and she's willing to stay whatever he decides.
Back at the Hudson, Serena forces Blair to apologize to the Duchess -- OMG, I am so sorry about what I said about the Botox! Your work is flawless! Blair then proceeds to insert her other foot in her mouth by rattling off a list of misdeeds that Chuck must have told Catherine about. Er, Chuck didn't say a thing -- and don't waste any more of your breath, Blair! Doesn't matter anyway -- Marcus will *never* end up with a lowly Waldorf. Blair is crushed.
Just then Nate walks in! Serena tries to head him off at the pass -- Catherine is shocked to see her boytoy there. Nate? Catherine? Blair is confused. Serena flails about trying to cover for Bangs Boy -- they know each other from book club over the summer! (What was the book -- the Kama Sutra?) Serena tries to explain the myriad connections, but Gossip Girl does it better: "What's this? Chuck's date and Blair's date are mother and son? Nate and Blair are exes? Nate and the mother are in a book club? Now there's a novel plot twist!"
The plot totally thickens!
After the break, Blair is moaning to Serena -- the party's a bust, her whole life is a bust! She was only manipulative and deceptive because she really likes Marcus! Show the real B to the Duchess, says Serena, and it'll all be good! Be yourself, B! Blair is extremely dubious.
Meanwhile, Nate confronts Chuck about the money - how could you do this?! You're loaning my family money? Why did you do that? Go behind my back? (Why are they arguing? Chuck did something totally nice.) Oh, Nate's upset that Chuck lied to his face! Whatevs, Bangs Boy!
Dan's at the elevator as Serena catches up to him -- let's get out here? Who are we kidding, she moans as she throws him up against the wall and smooches him. They have to give in to these powerful forces! Giggling and kissing ensues as Nate walks up.... he's bemused, just as he gets a text from Catherine. Meet her in the library! Serena and Dan get the elevator to themselves for more make-out time.
In said library, Nate and Catherine commiserate how messed up things are... and Nate thinks it's time for them to move on. Sneaky Catherine says they shouldn't.... can't he just tell her what's bothering him, and what's going on? (Don't do it, Nate! She totally wants blackmail material!)
At the Humphrey loft, Rufus checks his voice mail - a totally cute message from Jenny. Is he missing his little girl growing up? And his son the budding writer's maturing into adulthood? OMG, my kids are so cute -- how can I leave them?
Uh oh - Nate's spilled the financial beans to Catherine. The scandal will destroy Nate's mom! Nate misguidedly thinks he can handle it.... Catherine says he sure can, with her help! Just between us! I care about you! Uh oh -- what will Nate have to do in return? The way Catherine saunters up to him makes us think he'll have to remake "American Gigolo."
Uh oh redux -- Blair is a woman on a mission, looking for the Duchess. In the library! Another car crash is about to ensue.... as Blair walks in and sees... nothing! But then she hears smooching and moaning...Nate and Catherine are on the floor practically doing it! Blair echoes our sentiments exactly: "Oh my effing God!" (She really says "effing"!)
Nate is less than flummoxed -- guess I don't have to explain myself to you, Blair? Blair says no - on your way, Bangs Boy! Catherine will be along in a minute, Blair says as she taps into her full power reserve. B politely rips Catherine up one side and down the other.... claws are being unsheathed! Oh Duchess... won't you find it in your heart that I have true feeling for Marcus? Wouldn't that be best for both of us? Just then, the Lord himself walks in... oh, Blair is such a treat! Catherine approves! Marcus is happy, Catherine is glowering, and Blair is victorious!
At the Humphrey loft it's family reunion time -- Dad, you're here! Hugging ensues. Missed you so much! Dinner's ready for the family, and bonding ensues. Rufus is super-happy to be home.
At the van der Woodsen/Bass home, Blair and Serena are all la-la -- you were right, Serena, I just had to be myself! Spying Chuck, Blair asks for a moment alone. Uh oh... that's not sarcasm in Blair's voice, it's victory! Chuck's plan backfired! He lost, but it was a solid effort.... but tomorrow is another day for Chuck Bass.
(OMG, they are so both turned on right now!)
Nate's on the phone with Vanessa ... he's, like, really sorry he couldn't get back to the gallery, and can't make it tonight. Hang out another time? Call you? OK. Awww -- Vanessa had the coffee bar all decked out super-romantic, with takeout Chinese to boot. A sad Nate settle back into a limo in his new role as Catherine's private Richard Gere. Money is exchanged -- he's on the payroll now! Color me your color, baby, color me your car....
Scandal is officially brewing in Manhattan. Welcome home, upper East siders!
XOXO, Gossip Girl