Ah, life of a freshman at NYU. You’d think everyone was majoring in Backstabbing 101, given how quickly the claws come out on Gossip Girl once the stakes are raised. First up: Vanessa is making moves as a freshman trailblazer, and as a result of her hard work and “accomplishments” thus far in her college career (does two weeks count as a “career”?) she’s selected to give a toast at the Freshman Parent’s Dinner. Too bad she wasn’t first pick; Olivia Burke (Hillary Duff) was all set to do her A-list thing, but dear Liv ends up declining after Dan asks her to do some parent bonding over dinner. Things get even more complicated when Blair sets her sights on the toast and begins to plot to bring Vanessa down. True to form, our favorite Queen B cons V into some not-so-nice double dealings between Liv and Dan to ensure they don’t attend the dinner (upping B’s own chances of taking V out of the running).
Meanwhile dear sweet (not-so-stupid) Nate has his own agenda. He convinces Serena to buy into a secret poker match against against Beth Buckley’s brother in order to pay off Carter’s debt (working on an oil rig?). Natie throws down a few thousand dollars to enter the game for the first round, but once Serena loses, he ups the ante and offers an incriminating picture of his cousin Tripp (playing his bong song at his bachelor party), who is running for congress. Serena loses again (thanks to Nate’s lies) and the photo becomes property of the Buckley family. But here’s the catch: Nate actually set Serena up. His family photoshopped a photo of Tripp and planned to use it to up the stakes in the poker game, knowing the Buckley’s would end up looking like idiots once the photo was leaked and it was proven to be fake. Once Serena figures this out, has it out with Nate (who knew Mr. Bland had a backbone?), and tells the Buckleys the truth, she manages to save Carter from a fate worse than death: Moving to Texas. Unfortunately, S still loses when Carter decides to man up and just do his time anyway.
But in classic GG form, it’s not really an episode unless everyone‘s life is totally destroyed. Blair’s con on Vanessa extends to the dude in charge of the toasting duties and Chuck. One thinks he’s playing their old “cheating” game; the other thinks this his chance to finally kiss the ultimate Basshole. Sadly, the truth comes out when Vanessa loses her chance to do the toast, Blair snags her spot, and then accidently blabs the truth to everyone at the dinner — including Chuck. (Sorry, B. Players don’t like to get played — especially by the love of their life). In the end, everyone is left unhappy, miserable, and generally wondering how they all got themselves into this mess.
So what does the future hold for our favorite East siders? With Chuck’s club opening, Blair’s invite officially revoked, and Serena thrown into the mix, we can only imagine what horribly wonderful plotting will come next.
— By Stephanie Vacchio