It was far from perfect, but "The Witches of Bushwick" certainly didn't lack for heart, suspense, or cranking the vengeance meter up to 11 after a slow start to this season.
The Jr. Junior Varsity Mean Girls - Juliet, Jenny and Vanessa - may deserve a promotion after flawlessly orchestrating one of the most elaborate schemes in Gossip Girl history.
Meanwhile, Chuck and Blair provided the B-story, but still the most compelling part of the night. When those three monosyllabic words escaped Chuck's lips? Wow. Just wow.
Unfortunately for Chair fans, this was short-lived. Still fairly epic, however.
By the end, it seems the plan perpetrated by Juliet and her fellow witches worked so well and was so brutal, we actually felt awful for Serena (and fear for what might happen next).
Chuck and Blair managed to break up, again, but only after their everlasting love was overtly expressed, and on a note that gives us hope for the future. Now that's a difficult feat!
Now did we get there? Where to even begin.
A major theme of Gossip Girl this season is whether Serena is a selfish, irresponsible vixen or just an airhead who makes bad decisions, so often wronged by happenstance and fate.
The way she toyed with Dan and Nate may not have been malicious in her mind, but became so frustrating for them (and us) that they actually bought into Juliet's grand plan.
That plan stems from the mysterious link between Ben and Serena, which was finally brought up, albeit not verbatim (she never said "Ben slept with Serena," but ... come on).Juliet bribes Lily with a piece of information presumably only she, Ben, Serena and her mom are privy to. Those of you who've theorized about boarding school look to be on point.
"Boarding school? Serena was a minor," she says, knowingly. So Ben is in jail on a statutory rape charge ... which he blames Serena for? How about himself? Why is it her fault?
Obvious open-ended questions and plot holes aside, that's why they want to take her down, and Serena's not getting much love from mommy dearest when it comes to her antics.
Fortunately for her enemies, Lily doesn't trust her, Chuck and Blair were preoccupied and Nate was just too easy to play. No one was there to save Serena this time, and she paid.
At Chuck's "sinners and saints" masquerade, in a plot device the show has already used, both Juliet and Jenny wear the same dress they saw Serena wearing on Gossip Girl.
Which Serena is this? Did Team Brooklyn fool you at all?
As if the SIM card-swapping (Jenny's apparently a CIA agent now) weren't a big enough stretch, Jenny and Juliet manage to successfully impersonate S in at least half a dozen run-ins.
Masquerading as Serena, who we are to believe Blair, Nate and Dan wouldn't recognize, Juliet kisses both fellas as Gossip Girl informants capture it all. Seriously, that site is all-knowing.
Then, as the Pretty Reckless' "Make Me Wanna Die" builds to a pulse-pounding crescendo, Jenny drops the curtain, revealing Chair kissing in front of the crowd! More on that shortly.
In her one piece of solid scheming all evening - Jenny really was carrying her in this whole thing, as Juliet hilariously said - Vanessa passed Nate's mom an application from Serena.
This turns Blair against her, because once again, she's convinced her friend is out to steal whatever's hers. Brilliant touch by Team Brooklyn. Then Nate and Dan both dump Serena.
Looks like the Date bromance is stronger than any bond with her at this stage. Hard as it is to believe this diabolical plot worked so well, it did play on real emotions and actions.
Dan and Nate really had been jerked around by S, and thanks to her own insecurities or her friend's own insensitivity, has a major chip on her shoulder about S' role in her life.
Then there's the coup de grace. Juliet somehow slips Serena something, stuffs her into a cab, TEXTS THE DEAN that "she" is withdrawing from Columbia (come on), and bolts.
As we leave Serena, she's a captive in Juliet's home. Misery, anyone?
It's been years since she returned to Grand Central, but Serena's past still haunts her.
While all this transpired, Chair found itself conflicted in assessing its past, present and future. Their feelings are genuine, but both have high-profile public images to protect.
Blair and Chuck had rekindled the passion, but were both torn by their reputations. He's the hedonistic bad boy whose business relies on bachelorhood. She ... can't date Chuck.
That's what Nate's mom Anne told her, anyway, as she tapped Blair to be the new face of her foundation. Forgiving Chuck? Not exactly setting an example for empowering women.
In any case, their sneaking around was exposed, and mere minutes after Chuck confessed he did mean those three words, it seemed they would put each other above all else.
Alas, his publicist was cool with Chair as a couple, but Anne Archibald was not. This led Blair to put herself first and break it off, which Chuck was surprisingly at peace with.
If you love someone, set them free. That was basically Charles' take on the whole thing, and while it seemed Blair did a 180 in about three minutes, it did sort of make sense.
The nice thing was that her man understood and said he'd wait for her. Maybe now isn't the time, but destiny will one day unite them for good. So sanguine, that Chuck Bass.
Overall, the episode was a bit up and down, but wildly entertaining at times, leaving us excited for the coming weeks when the gang must unite to save S from grave danger.
At least we think they will. Dan and Nate might be too busy hooping it up.
What did you think of last night's Gossip Girl? Discuss!
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