This season's Gossip Girl episodes have all been enjoyable, but the season overall has felt disappointing, as there's been a lack of real scandal or overarching narratives.
Last night, that all changed - for the better! - in what was the best episode of the third season so far. Follow this link for a full recap of "The Treasure of Serena Madre."
Now for our review of what worked and what didn't in the primary story line featuring Serena, and the rest of the B-stories that supplemented it so well throughout:
Bad, bad Serena: Serena goes to Trip's office to tell him he can't leave Maureen for her and that they're done. Which lasts about 10 seconds, because she's Serena.
By a miracle of TV show writing, Serena, Nate, Tripp, Maureen, Vanessa, her mom, Blair, her mom, and Chuck join the Humphreys/van der Woodsens at Thanksgiving.
Nate is struggling with his feelings for Serena, and after Chuck catches Serena and Tripp making out, Nate gets a copy of the security tape showing it and outs them.
SLUTTY FUNERAL-THEMED PARTY? No, that's just Serena's Thanksgiving attire.
Maureen goes ballistic and threatens to go public if Tripp goes ahead with the divorce. But he wants to anyway. Lily tells Serena not to see Tripp. But she wants to anyway.
Chuck tells Nate to man up and go after Serena instead of yoinking security tapes. He does as he's told, but Serena leaves in Tripp's limo anyway. Stupid S. Poor Nate!
While we're still not quite clear on why Tripp is so appealing to S instead of Nate, we love that N's getting a real story line, and we like the chemistry between the two.
There's also the mystery of the letter Serena's dad sent, which Lily hid from her, Serena found, Lily took back, and stashed in her coat - only it was Maureen's coat!
It will be interesting to see where that leads, along with the Tripp-Nate-Serena love triangle. Thank you, Gossip Girl, for getting back to your scandalous roots a bit!
That letter also reflects Lily's shadiness. She lied about a trip she went on over the summer and said she was with her mom. Where was she? Will Rufus find out?
Dan hearts Vanessa ... even if won't admit it to her (or himself).
Meanwhile, Dan's trying to figure out his feelings for Vanessa. Her mom calls him out - he's in love with her. In the end, he won't admit it to V, though. At least not yet.
Blair finds Dorota clutching a bag with a pregnancy test in it, and mistakenly thinks that her mom, Eleanor, who's back from France and acting all weird, is pregnant.
It turns out Eleanor's secret is that she's moving to Paris full-time, though. So what's with the pregnancy test? It was actually for Dorota herself! Vanya knocked her up!
Jenny tries to reconcile with Eric, but he's having none of it ... and when she learns via Blair that the Cotillion set-up was Eric's idea, Eric vows to take her down again.
She pleads for forgiveness but he's not having it. She's changed for the worse, Eric says, and made him someone he doesn't want to be. Therefore, it's kill or be killed.
He ends up texting to someone Jenny knows and they have to strike. When Eric is openly planning to take down J, you know this is a good episode. Bravo, Gossip Girl!