It's Ivy week at school, as everyone is stressed about getting into the college of their dreams. Or, in the case of some, the college of their parents' dreams.
We start out at an assembly, where we get a glimpse into the pressure each main character is under: Nate's dad wants him to go to Dartmouth, but the hunk isn't so sure he wants to; Dan also wants to attend this institution, but know he lacks the legacy and money of everyone else at school. Blair's top choice is Yale; and Serena's is Brown... although she ends up missing the assembly because she spent the night by her brother's side at the hospital.
Following another verbal smackdown at the hands of Blair, Serena finally loses it. These two have it out on the field hockey field, where they foul each other left and right, culminating in a decent cat fight. Who knows where it will end, too, because Blair goes home, calls Chuck and tells him to dig up dirt on her former best friend.
And Mr. Bass is glad to be of assistance. He follows Blair to the Ostroff Treatment Center and makes the assumption she is there for a drug/drinking problem. In reality, she's visiting her brother, but that's not the information Blair receives. Whatever will she do with it?
Meanwhile, Dan loses out on the job of ushering the Dartmouth rep at the Ivy party the school is hosting. He's pissed because he has better grades than Nate, who was chosen for the gig, but lacks the pedigree. Hearing this, Rufus springs into action, consults with Lily (the chair of the event) and at least gets his son in the door by creating a job for him as the beverage server. Guess it's something.
Soon, it's Friday night. Party time! Jenny goes along with her dad to help him set up his music for the event, while Serena's brother Eric is allowed out of his recovery room for a bit to act as her date. And what an evening it becomes! Nate is having trouble connecting with the Dartmouth representative, partly because Nate isn't very smart and partly because he just doesn't care. But we then we a nice side to this rich kid, as he tells Dan to bring drinks over to the Dartmouth dude, essentially forfeiting his connection and giving Dan a chance to impress the university of his dreams.
Dan does so, getting the Dartmouth rep to autograph a copy of his book for him. Nate, on the other hand? He's chewed out by his father for leaving the party - and then set up on a jogging date the next day with the Dartmouth guy in order to make up for. Mr. Arhibald sure wants his son to attend this school.
The other major happening at the Ivy party goes like this: Blair announces that her school-run charity is sponsoring the Ostroff Center this year... and calls Serena on stage as an example of how that hospital helps people get over drug problems. Eric wants to go up in lieu of his sister and tell everyone the truth, but Serena won't have it. She plays along, in order to protect her kid brother, and makes a speech in front of the entire crowd as though she was, indeed, an alcoholic.
This act impresses Dan, who learned from Jenny (who bonded with Eric at the party) that Serena was covering for her family. Our hero, therefore, apologizes to Serena for his remarks last week and she asks him to call her for a date. Score!
Near the end of the episode, Eric tells Blair the truth. And she's horrified to learn that he was actually the one being treated for a suicide attempt. Blair tracks down Serena at Central Park the next day and reads her a heartfelt letter that was written - but never sent - while S was away at boarding school. Each girl cries. Walls are broken down.
But does this mean they are actually friends now?