Admittedly it was galling to see Serena being so clingy and desperate with him, practically begging him to stay every time he tried to leave. With only four episodes of the entire show to go, it's time to make peace with the fact that the GG writers aren't interested in writing growth or change for Serena, or letting her "learn to swim" instead of clinging to men as life rafts. Still, after the way Dan's treated her this was pretty sad. "You were like Jason Bourne!" Really, Serena? Really?
Nonetheless their interaction actually made for the most satisfying scene of all, which served as a kind of follow-up to Blair tearing Dan a new one last week. Serena and he got into a no-holds-barred argument in which she brought up, finally, the fact that he ruined Blair's wedding and pinned it on her, and he in turn points out several of the crappy things she's done (that time when she was Gossip Girl being top of the list).
And given how few episodes are left, it was nice to be thrown a nostalgic bone in any form - whether you were ever a Dan/Serena fan or not, the callbacks to their first date and their season two elevator break-up were nice touches. So while we're not wild about their reunion, if it makes Dan into something approaching the sweet, sensitive kid he used to be then we can live with it.
What's odd is just how much the writers are trying to pretend that Dan/Blair was a bad dream that never happened. Dan pretty much said that his obsessing over Blair was all because he was in denial about Serena, which... did not seem to be the case last season. It's a weird and badly written retcon, and smacks of some serious disagreement behind-the-scenes which has unfortunately bled into the show.
That scene where Dan was carrying chocolate strawberries for Serena, and stopped only to verbally decimate Blair, played like a perfect role reversal from last season, where he was chasing Blair around and seemed like he would rather set himself on fire than be near Serena.
Again, though, Dan wasn't in the wrong in that scene. (God, we keep agreeing with Dan Humphrey. This is creepy.) Blair is immature, and she is unprofessional, and she is a bully, and Eleanor summed it up best when she said: "You're running my business like you're still the meanest girl in high school." The groundwork was laid for this earlier in the season, when Blair was scheming with her stupid minions instead of actually putting the work in, so it was satisfying to finally get some resolution and even an explanation.
The explanation comes down to Blair's insecurity - she basically sees herself as talentless and doesn't believe she can get anywhere except by manipulation and scheming, which feels pretty much consistent with the person she's been since day one, and certainly since she lost out on Yale. And while we're not necessarily sure it's progress for her to make a clothing line that reinforces her inability to move past high school, it's at least her own idea and seems to indicate some real growth for her.
What's sad is that while Blair looks set to end the series having developed and become stronger, Serena has never been weaker. Nate was absolutely bang on the money in their one scene together, when he pointed out that she's vulnerable after losing Steven and that latching onto Dan was not going to solve any of her problems.
She was ready to marry this guy only last week, and now she's so obsessed with Dan that she didn't so much as mention him. It's weird, and if Serena were a real person we would be frog-marching her to therapy pronto. As it is... can't she and Nate just get back together? He seems to be the one person who still makes an effort to understand her.
In fact, Nate was staggeringly smart and on top of things this week - dumping Sage seems to have gained him at least 100 IQ points. His friendship with Chuck is always fun, and it elevated what remains a pretty dull storyline, which was not improved this week by being tied in with Rufus and Ivy's weirdness.
They wanted to ruin Lily's event by buying all the art, she one-upped them with an awesome piece from her own collection; a painting which also just happened to be the super-secret hiding place for paperwork relating to Bart's shady oil deals which Chuck was desperately searching for. A frenzied bidding war and snarking match followed, and the upshot is that Chuck got the painting, but Ivy has the crucial documents. But we're not sure why she wants them. So in summary: Chuck is sad, Nate is sad, Ivy is insane.
We're also a little bit hazy on why Rufus is so determined to make Lily's life hell. Is it just because she was so emasculating? Or because she hated Brooklyn? Or because she left him for Bart? It seems hugely out of character in any case, and Lily's line about him still being a kept man was so deserved. Seriously, Rufus's balls have been missing in action since sometime in season four.
- "I'm so sorry, Bart, I had no idea that's where you kept RECORDS OF YOUR OIL DEALS," Lily says loudly into the phone in the middle of a public space. Subtle.
- What oh what oh what oh what was that thing on Ivy's head at the gallery? She looked like a mentally unstable poodle. We know she's a few sandwiches short of a picnic, but that perm was just uncalled for.
- "The back of artwork is really boring." Hee. Love Nate.
- "You vile little interloper." Lily has the best zingers.
- Ivy's Batman voice is driving us nuts. Does Kaylee DeFer have a permanent cold, or just smoke 40 a day? Husky is one thing, but she sounds like a teenage boy whose voice just can't quite decide if it's breaking or not.
- Is it giving the writers too much credit to suggest that Blair's "Relapse is part of recovery" line was a reference to her bulimia? Just one more potentially interesting Blair trauma that's been completely dropped, along with that one time she had a miscarriage.
- Did we mention how much less obnoxious Dan was this week? Just as we were yelling "Get a place of your own, you squatter!", he started talking about how he needed to get an apartment. So… well done, we guess Dan, for not being the worst.
- Love Bart's frantic text message to Lily. It cuts through the whole supervilllain veneer a bit when you have to use CAPS LOCK TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS.
- "I called, and I called, and I called, and then I never heard from him again." Was Nelly talking about Dan? She was making a play for him for a second there earlier this season, but presumably that's just one more plot thread that's going nowhere.