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In the third season premiere of Gossip Girl, the summer is drawing to a close. Here's what happened in the time since we last saw our favorite characters ...
Young Archibald went to Prague with Vanessa, where they hooked up once, but she went home (more on that later) and he stayed in Europe.
At some point he met Bree Buckley, who he learns, only upon arriving back in the U.S., is the offspring of a Republican political dynasty.
A dynasty that has been at odds with the Vanderbilts for generations.
They part ways, and not on the best of terms, but Chuck encourages Nate to show his family he's his own man by "sleeping with the enemy."
Nate looks up Bree, who's going to Columbia this fall as well, and invites her to his family's polo match the next day to prove a point.
After she got back to the states, Vanessa began hanging out with "this guy" Scott, who's going to NYU this fall. She tries to get together with Dan to talk about stuff and introduce him to Scott. She remarks about how Dan seems different (more on that later).
Dan has to go take care of business, but V gets invited to the van der Woodsens' charity polo match the next day in Greenwich, where she wants to bring Scott and introduce him to Dan then. Hearing that his family's gonna be there, he's in.
Dan, Eric, Jenny and Rufus have been living the good life in the Hamptons this summer with Lily off tending to her ailing mom Cece. Jenny and Eric seem to be inseparable, while Dan is having trouble adjusting (but secretly enjoying) being rich, and Rufus is struggling to keep the family together. His primary object of concern is ...
Our girl was in Europe, and causing quite a stir, partying up a storm and having her picture splashed across various tabloids. The question: why?
That's what we - and Dan, Jenny, Eric and Rufus, who's trying to keep this family together in Lily's absence - want to know. But they don't. Yet.
Paparazzi follow Serena everywhere. So does Carter Baizen, who turns up in New York and asks why she ditched him in Europe and ran off.
Dan eventually asks her what's going on, and says he saw the same guy - Carter - in a lot of the pics from the European tabloids. She says whatever he does, do not let Carter near her. Dan calls Blair to ask for help.
Knowing Chuck and Blair, they may be together, but they love the chase, and playing games.
So even if they're on the same team now, they have to keep things interesting. We first see Chuck on the verge of picking up a hot, blonde Blake Lively-esque model named Ashley at a bar. Just as things are about to get hot and heavy, though, Blair corners them in the hall.
She scolds Chuck, but mostly directs her venom at Ashley for trying to get with a guy in a relationship.
She leaves, humiliated ... CHAIR FTW!
Turns out it was all a game to spice things up. But are they taking it too far?
Serena suggests to Blair that their "open relationship" will not work. B starts to have second thoughts about whether or not they should keep up these charades as they go to pick out a new target. Blair says she just wants to stay in tonight.
And that's when ...
Everyone Comes Together at the Polo Match
Summer fashion and drama is in the air in Greenwich. Scott meets Rufus and tells him he's a big fan of his music. They bond.
Blair and Dan confront Carter, armed with a restraining order. If he comes with 100 yards of Blair (who's going to stay close to Serena), they'll have him arrested. But Serena has no intention of being by Blair's side.
After being called away by the refs to drop the ceremonial ball for the polo match, Serena hijacks a horse and rides off into the woods. Carter "borrows" a horse of his own and follows.
In the woods, we learn that Serena was trying to find her father, and get his attention, while in Europe - and that he was apparently not interesting.
Carter comforts her, telling her to give it up, and that it doesn't matter what he thinks, it's his loss, because she's so wonderful and all that stuff.
They go off into the woods and get naked. He emerges, hilariously, and picks up his clothes in plain sight of a couple of dudes who came looking for the horses.
Meanwhile, Nate introduces Bree to his grandfather and she realizes she's being played. He insists he's really interested in her, though, and that if it helps his family realize he's his own man, that's just a bonus.
Bree says normally she would be okay playing along, but she is trying to work out her own family issues. She's somewhat estranged, and wants things to be kept secret between them, at least for now.
The grandfather finds them and tells Nate he just wants him to be happy. He lends them a Ferrari to go back to the city. Reluctantly he accepts.
As Nate and Bree leave, the grandfather tells Tripp that he may have finally found a way to "get to" the Buckleys.
At some point while Blair was helping Serena, Chuck left, possibly in pursuit of a hot girl. Blair can't find him and worries that her Bass may have been hooked.
Vanessa tells Dan he's a sellout rich boy and storms off.
Back in the City
Blair returns home to find Chuck relaxed on the bed, and convinced he brought some girl back with him. Turns out he just had a headache, though. She suggests they try to find a new mark, he says they should just stay in. They kiss. It's both sweet and hot.
Vanessa returns to New York where she makes out with Scott on the street.
As Serena's de facto guardian, Rufus makes the decision to buy up every photo of Serena from the paparazzi.
R thinks he's accomplished the task, but learns there's one photographer the boss hasn't gotten ahold of.
Serena has gotten ahold of him. And is making darn sure he distributes his pictures of her on the horse all across Europe and Asia. She leaves her dad (presumably) another voicemail and we fade to black.
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