PBS's Masterpiece Theater series has returned for a fourth season, bringing more Whartonesque New York City social wheeling and dealing. Well, New York and, this time, Paris! A couple of our kids traveled across the pond and made mischief.

Folks, I'll be honest with you. I really was not planning on recapping this show anymore. I was done. I cared not for the characters nor their silly plot lines. I bore no love for Danielle Humphrey and her frowning barracuda face. No amity for Serena van der Woodsen, who almost assuredly smells of farts and toothpaste. I shat on your grave, Nate Archiballs! None of these people meant anything to me. And yet... And yet, last night I found myself drawn back, like a depressed wine-swilling moth to a dull, pleased-with-itself flame. Who knows why. Maybe I still feel, somewhere deep down, that we can work it out. Maybe love comes to you in unexpected places. Maybe I was just really bored and there was nothing else on, it was either this or the Bob DeNiro/Kate Beckinsale joint Everybody's Fine on Showtime, and I'd already fallen asleep to that movie the night before. Who knows why, is the point. Who knows! But for whatever reason, there I was, watching all of this nothing dance before me like the twinkling lights of the city seen from Sacre Coeur. Let's talk about it.

Paris! The eternal city! The hub of the universe! Foggy old Paristowne. Who doesn't love Paris, the Gateway to the West. As the famous balladeer Will Smith once sang, "Bouncin' in the club where the heat is on / All night on the beach of the Seine till the break of dawn / I'm going to Paris, welcome to Paris". It's a beautiful city of canals and hanging gardens, and the Gossip Girls are simply in love with it. Blair and Stinkreena decided to go there for the summrahtime because New York is so horrid in the summer. Good choice this summer girls! Everyone back here died from heat-cholera. We're all ghosts. In Paris the weather was just fine, perfect for shopping and the romancing of boys. Serena has been spreading her legs all summer like a Pigalle whore, limping down the street with her clubbed foot, tobacco stuck in her teeth from her filterless cigarettes, a bottle of unlabeled wine clutched in her hand. ("I think my whore is dead.") Blair had been occupying herself with shopping, trying not to think about her lost beloved, Chuckles the Sad Clown, whom she had broken up with for the seventy-third time last spring. Blair went shopping and then to a museum, where she met a beautiful prince named Garibaldi. Garibaldi, as his name would suggest, was dark haired and had an elaborately groomed mustachio. He wore a blood red waistcoat and a tall black top hat. He rode in an ornate black carriage and would say only that he came "from the East." Blair was intrigued! Garibaldi was so mysterious, and he had invited her to attend "the Dark Opera" that evening. Everyone in town, the occult being a new fad sweeping the city, wanted tickets to the mysterious Dark Opera! What curiosities would Blair see that evening? Was it true that the production featured a child from the darkest Carpathians who had been a child for centuries? Blair couldn't wait to find out.

So imagine her "Aww, poop-hats" disappointment when the evening came and her "prince" picked her up and it turned out that Garibaldi wasn't the prince at all! No, he was just the prince's valet and vizier. The true prince was a raven-haired young man with broad Prussian shoulders and he was to be SERENA'S DATE. Awwww fart-fiddles, Blair! What a dump. What a disappointment for poor old Blair. She was forced to sit on the outside of the carriage with Grimaldi and the horses, the smell of dung filling her nose, sadness and rage pouring into her heart. They ate dinner at a dimly lit restaurant with heavy velvet curtains and strange meats. The dark raven prince sat there silently, his obsidian eyes trained with a kind of calm menace on Serena's porcelain skin, glowing as it was in the candle light. Grimaldi reached for Blair's hand but she pulled it away. Oh she was so mad! She deserved a prince. She needed a prince. And here she was stuck with some glorified stable boy. Serena always gets everything. She asked Serena to go outside with her for a chat and dumb innocent Serena obliged, knowing nothing of Blair's wicked plot. They stood out by Paris's famous Trevi Fountain and Blair laid out the problem: She'd just gotten a letter from home saying that Serena planned to join Blair next year at Columbia Women's College. No!!! Serena is always blondely stealing Blair's muskrat brunette thunder. It was just unfair. And now this? This prince business? It was too much. It had to end.

Blair looked down at her feet, a tear trickled down her cheek. She looked back up at her old friend. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry I have to do this." And then she grabbed Serena's beautiful, hollow head and pushed it into the fountain, held it under the water until the hideous flailing of arms and legs had stopped. Serena was dead. That was that. Blair fixed her hair and went back into the restaurant. "Now it's just us," she purred at the raven prince, whose eyes were fixed on the door, waiting for Serena. Blair was just pouring wine from the decanter into her goblet when she heard the door creaking open. She turned and looked. There, impossibly, was Serena. Blue-lipped and haggard looking, but walking and blinking. "Serena... I... How?" Garibaldi smiled darkly and said "My young friend here has... abilities. Secrets and powers known only to people from... our kingdom." "I... I..." Blair stammered, while Serena took the raven prince's arm and he escorted her away. Blair turned to Grimaldi, shocked and confused. And then she learned the terrible truth. "It was a test, Madame Blair," Grimaldi said, a faraway look of lonely sadness in his eyes, like the snowy caps of mountains miles and miles away. "I am the true prince. The other man is just... A product of shadows, if you will. I thought you might not love me truly for me, and I see that I was right. Goodbye, forever." And with a ruffle of cape and the sound of an owl hooting, he was gone. Blair was alone. Awwww beetle-butts.

So Blair loses. But she will win again, of course of course! She and Serena were totes best buds by the end of the episode, and they began delicately kissing each other and then they made scissory love to one another on the bed, and outside the famous gondoliers of the Marais sang their war songs and the Mediterranean sun swirled brightly in the sky. Ah, Paris.

Back home in Stinksburg, baaaad things were going down. Remember at the end of last season when Georgina Sparks, played by Michelle Trachtenberg of ruining Buffy for a season or two fame, showed up with her big pregno-belly and was all "Dan it's yours!!"? Remember that? Remember how we all vomited and heaved for hours and days at the thought of Dan making love, let alone to Michelle Trachtenberg? Remember when we didn't even have any bile left so it was just a painful dry horking while blood trickled out of our ears and we lay curled up in a ball on the cold bathroom tile and prayed to holy Ba'al to take our lives and end our pain, because ewwwwwww Dan Humphrey humpin'? It was a really hard time for all of us. Just a really difficult time that we were, cruelly, forced to relive last night. Because there was a baby that Georgina claimed was Dan's and there was Dan saying "It could be mine" and there was us, acid shooting out of our eyes in SuperSoaker bursts, tearing at our own skin with suddenly-black fingernails. Stop it Dan, you're killing us. Literally killing us.

Is the baby really Dan's? POSSIBLY. There are two schools of thought on this: Either no, totes not, Georgina's a liar, duhhh monster. OR: Yes, Dan ejaculated into Michelle Trachtenberg (ammonia just started pouring out of my nose) and a baby was made and eventually LILY AND RUFUZ will take it!! That's what my roommate thinks. I agree with her? Either way, they won't saddle the Dan character with a baby for the rest of the series. No, he has too much sex to be doing (a murder of crows just flew out of a gaping wound in my chest) for him to have a baby. But in the meantime it looks like Gigi Sprinkles is totally going to leave him alone with the baby. She's been speaking in mysterious Russian to people and at the end of the episode it looked like she sneaked away? Who knows. CAN'T WAIT TO FIND OUT, CAN YOU?

Otherwhere (new word!) in the episode, Nate was doing stuff. Mostly he was giggling in his ruffly petticoats and clapping gaily at duels. But when he wasn't doing that, he was meeting some new lady. The new lady is played by the unsalted Wheat Thins of actresses, Katie Cassidy from the old new Melrose Place what done got blessedly canceled last season. Yeah. Two acting powerhouses like Chaz Crawford and Katie Cassidy are going to be squaring off this season. Isn't that thrilling? There's some hurbleburble about Katie's character having a mysterious Wall of Gossip Girl — photos and clipped articles and the Gossip Girl homepage website on her computer — which means that maybe she is Gossip Girl??? I doubt that. Clearly she is writing some sort of exposé about everyone. That's what I think. She writes for Ranger Rick and is writing a shocking article about how everyone's stupid. Either that or she plans to murder them all with a bomb, in which case I fully support her. Vote Katie Cassidy Gossip Girl Bomb in November 2010.

Oh, we also saw Chuck being attended to by a beautiful French (or something) butterfly, kind of like in The English Patient, only with slightly fewer thumbless Canadians. Only slightly, though. So yeah, Chuck isn't dead from bullets, which of course we were worried he was after we saw him get shot at the end of last season. Lily had been running around her mansion fretting about this while Rufus flopped his hair around and contemplated hurling himself off the balcony. What they don't know is that Chuck is fine, he's being attended to, he's changed his name to Henry Prince (because of Henry V on a nightstand) and he's going to be a whole different person now. EXCEPT THAT HE'S GOING TO PARIS, WHERE BLAIR IS. He will never get away from her, not ever! Not even as Henry Prince, not even without his trademark Chuck Bass ring that he wears to identify himself and uses as a seal when he presses it on letter wax. Not even then. He and Blair are powerful magnets, attracting only each other and no one else.

Did you notice at the end of the episode when Erik walked out and did that beautiful, slow Dance of Forgetting? He looked lovely in his flowing silk, arms swanning out, toes pointed and legs straight lines. It was a beautiful and telling dance, there in the moonlight, a soft summer snow falling on his hair and eyelashes. It told a story of a gay character that everyone forgot, that no one really wanted to have on the show. You could see that Erik was crying at one point, but that just made the dance all the more beautiful. And when he was done, you probably remember this from the episode, he stared at the camera and said "I am no one" and then he disappeared, faded away, out of existence. Well, out of existence for now. I'm sure he'll pop up some time when they need to appeal to politics or advance some lame Jenny storyline.

No Jenny last night! At least there's that. At least there is that, hopefully forever.

Oh, and Vanessa's back. She wants to have doing it with Dan. My heart just stopped. I'm dead.