Gossip Girl: Things to Do in Queens When You're Dead

Last night was the worst Thanksgiving ever! Not only was Blair wearing a 1983 Waffle House plastic tablecloth as a dress, but Serena was basically ruined as a human being. No one trusts or likes her anymore. Or do they?

It's been a little while since we last saw our beloved gossip stinks, so I'll refresh your memory as to what's gone and happened. Lee Strasberg's gender-switched ghost, Katie Cassidy, had drugged Serena at a party and put her in a taxicab express to Hobotown (Queens), after she, Vanessa, and Jenny effectively ruined Serena's relaties with Nate and Dan, her friendship with Blair, and her enrollment status at Columbia School for the Blonde. That's where we stood! Serena slurring off in some cab, destination unknown, a wicked grin on Meisner specialist Katie Cassidy's expressive face.

So what became of Serena? Well, for a while no one knew. Blair assumed that the soggy celery was home with Lily Snitserwittsen, sulking and sucking her perfect, bejeweled thumb. Lily, the New York City area's best mom, had no idea where her daughter might be, but she hoped maybe she was with Blair, hiding out for a while because of the whole quitting Columbia thing. Oh but it was the worst assuming on both of their parts because, no, in fact, Serena was neither place. Serena was neither place at all.

Where she was was the famous Booze Bottle Motel, a place in Queeeennsssss!!! where they put a lot of mostly empty booze bottles in your room and then scatter some pills around so you can really be present with the whole gritty milieu. It's mostly for gossip girls who want to slum it. Anyway, there is where Serena woke up, all moany and sex-noisy, confused, knocking over pills and bottles, making more sex noises, and then calling 911 to tell them she didn't know where she was (but she suspected it might be in Queeeensss!!!!) and could they please send a car. Which, haha. Right. OK. I don't know. Whatever. Call me crazytimes, but if I woke up with a nasty hangover in a strange place, I don't necessarily think that my first thought would be to call the police for rescue. Sadly I'd probably feel deep shame for myself, try to find my shoes, and scurry the fuck out of there. You know what I'm saying? I guess I would figure that I got myself into the mess, so it was my deal to get myself out of the mess. But maybe that's just me! Maybe the proper thing to do is, yes, call the police. So good job Serena. Kids, if you ever wake up feeling woozy in a motel room, especially one you fear might be in darkest Queens, you call the police right away. Don't search for your underpants and wallet in a vain attempt to recover from the night before, don't stumble to an ATM and hail a cab and try to forget it all happened as the borough fades in the window behind you. Just call 911 and let them deal with it. That's what you do, you hear me?

So that's what Serena did, meaning her family all got the terrible news that she was in the hospital on Thanksgiving. And... wait, what? Serena has been banged up in the Booze Bottle Motel (three storefronts down from the Choir Girl Motel, I'm pretty sure) for TWO WEEKS? Good friending and parenting, everyone. Nicely done. There was this hilarious part where Erik was talking to his mom about Serena and he was like "I'm sure she's OK, she hasn't returned my calls, but I'm sure she's OK" and then Blair came over and was like "No, I haven't heard from her, I thought she was with you" and Erik said "OK, now I'm worried." Oh now you're worried, Erik? The previous two weeks that you haven't heard from your sister since you saw her stumbling around at a party were just like whatever, but NOW you're worried. Excellently done everyone. Way to keep track of your shit. So yeah, it is exceedingly bizarre that Serena has been dead in Queens for two weeks before anyone really gets anxious about it and also that we still have no idea what exactly Serena was doing in said motel room and with whom, but whatever. The important things is that they got her out of filthy Queens and into a nice white person hospital on the Upper East Side and now she'll be safe. Or will she??

See, the doctor at the hospital found some no-no pills in Serena's tummy so they think she has a drugs problem, meaning she needs to get sent to a white folks' home for a while to recuperate. They have reason to commit her against her will or something, so it's up to Lily, who's proven herself a caring and responsible mother, to make the decision. Should Serena be locked up in the Sedgwick Family Memorial Wealth Sanitarium? Should she be allowed to go free, like a slurring Elsa the cub? Decisions!! They are very hard. Blair thinks that Serena should be committed, because she's seen Serena get like this before and she doesn't like where it leads (mainly it leads to Nate and Serena having sex parties, which Blair thinks is gross and sad). Lily is kindaaa leaning that way too. Rufus had his hand stuck in a vending machine so he couldn't weigh in, Erik was trying to find a doctor or orderly who at least vaguely resembled Noah Wyle, and Dan... Dan was unhappy. He loves his stepsister so, loves to put his parts in her parts so very much, that he just can't imagine the poor dear locked up in the keep or tower of some crumbling castle high in the east 80s. So he is adamantly anti-incarceration. But while there is some disagreement about what fate will befall Serena, everyone can agree that she is troubled and doing bad things. Or is she??

Well obviously WE know she isn't. We know that Dame Katie Cassidy has been doing wicked things to her for weeks now. You know who else sorta knows that? My friend Jennifricka, who breezed into town from Hudson-on-Hudson after hearing that Serena had been found in an outer borough consorting with Moors and other dusky folk. See, that was going too far! Jenny is perfectly happy ruining Serena's friendships and dating life, but sending her to Queeeens!! to mingle with ethnics??? NO. That is too much. So she hopped on the Amtrak's Regretliner regional service and was down in Manhattan in a jiffy. She told Vanessa that she was going to tell everyone what they did because it was the right thing to do and Vanessa was like "Awww hellllllll naw," and ran and told Ruf the Goof that it was all JENNY. Ha ha. Isn't Vanessa the best? And doesn't she make so much sense? You know, turning from a normal-ish character into a raging monster in like... an episode? She's so awesome. I hope she stays on the show! But will she???

We'll get to that huge question in a bit, but first, yes, everyone was mad at Jenny because Vanessa told everyone it was her fault, and then Jenny was like "No, no, it's Katie Cassidy, it's not me, it's her!" and Ruf shook his head and said "I'm not Vanessa's mom or Katie Cassidy's mom, I'm your mom. And as your mom I tell you to leave this place. Leave this place forever." So Jenny was effectively been given the heave-ho. She just needs to settle one more score before she goes. That involved, oh I dunno, just telling Blair the truth of what happened after finding Katie Cassidy's apartment all empty and moved-outy. Yeah, see Katie Cassidy knows that she got the full revenge she was supposed to get and then some, so it's time to hightail it outta there, to go someplace where the gossip girls will never look for her. Queens, probably. But first she had to see her brother to tell him the good news. Only it wasn't good news! The brother kind of freaked the geek when he heard about the drugging and whatnot, that was going too far, and Katie Cassidy had to be all "Look, brother dear, this isn't just about you anymore, etc. etc." And it was totally Katie Cassidy's Acting Moment. That's the Emmy reel, guys. It's a wrap. I mean, it was fun to see someone actually act on the show, especially someone like three-time Irene Ryan ACTF award recipient Katie Cassidy. But yeah, she's on her own now, brotherdear is mad at her, so she skipped off into the shadows never to be seen again. Until next week. (And a later scene where we saw that she's still bribing Lily about the mysterious boarding school thing, so snerf, whatever.)

Meanwhile Serena was beginning to doubt her own goodness, because Katie Cassidy had sent a BLAST, a Gossip Girl BLAST, to the Gossip Girl Blast, that was blasted everywhere, that showed what looked like Serena — same bobble blonde head, same mask, same strange curvature of the spine — doing cocaines at the party where she disappeared. If she didn't remember doing cocaine, then what else didn't she remember? Maybe she really is a secret drug addict! This sad realization came to her while she was at The Loft, because Dan sneaked her out of rehabs so they could gae all puddle-eyed at each other and fall in love all over again. "It was you I was coming to kiss," Serena said, "Only you." Dan's pants ripped in the groin area and he said "Uhhummmmmm." Then the blast came in, Serena figured she really is a secret druggie, and then they kissed, and then she was led off to the cracker cabinet, like a mumbling Blanche at the end of Streetcar. (A role Katie Cassidy played, to much acclaim, a Jefferson Award even, at the Goodman in 1986, opposite Will Patton's oddly polished Stanley.) So poor Serena is nobly interred, Dan is nobly bonered, and Katie Cassidy has already put miles between her and the problem.

Except that you can never discount Jenny Humphrey! Never can! She found the mask and the empty apartment and somehow this was proof of what had happened, so she went to Blairwonka of all people and was like "B-rocks, we got a problem, it wum Katie Cassidy what did all this, yes the Katie Cassidy." Blair said she was right to have banished Jenny to Mantua-on-Hudson and we all groaned at that old business and Jenny wrinkled her raccoon eyes and then, with a glimmer of black light, she disappeared into a seam, flitted out a window, evaporated up into the sky. She is gone. As is Vanessa, at least for now. Jenny sent her a text message basically saying "Ya burnt" and Vanessa was all "Gullllllllp" so she called her momz and was like "I'm coming to the kibbutz." Goodbye girls! Safe travels! May we never see your crispy hair again!

Blair went to Dan of all people (seriously Stephanie Savage, when are these two gonna complete the incest circle and do it already?) and was like "Let's get that Katie Cassidy bitch," so get her they will. Oh they will. Or will they??? Yes, they will, next week. Oh OK..

Um. Oh, ha ha ha ha. Sad things. There was this whole nonsense plot line with Nate and his sad dad in the hoosegow and about how Nate's mom Frostina, mistress of ice, is going to dibborce him. Dibborce!!! Nate is so sad — is it his fault? will he have to move? can he keep his pet turtle? does this mean his parents don't love him anymore? — and really wants his parents to stay together, so he organized a meet-and-greet for them at the prison, just one meet and greet, and that was all Frostina needed for her heart to melt. "I'd been talking to a lawyer for months and thinking about this for longer, years even, but you know what? Seeing your dad one time, in prison, for fifteen minutes, really changed all that. Thanks, Nate." Nate beamed happily and flopped his hair around, he fiddled with his phone, wanting to call Dan so he could fiddle with Dan's.... phone, but he couldn't, so he just skipped off merrily into the night, not really letting sink in what the prison guard had told him, that Nate's dad is up for parole and the family man image will help his case. So clearly Nate's dad is still a jerkmonger and he's just puhtending to be into his stupid smooth plastic family. Once he gets outta the clink, he'll be robbin' the elderly and chasin' Canal Street cooch 'til the cows come home. Just you wait.

So that was basically that. It was the Thanksgiving episode, like I mentioned, so there were lots of amber-tinted shots of uneaten turkeys, of pies pumpkin and other. There was also a lot of wistful music in this episode, was there not?? So much sad man plinky-plunking. It really does a number on a wine-soaked heart. I found myself swept up into a strange emotional haze at the end of the episode, Thanksgiving montage and all, cheerfully mournful music and the like. Dan staring out at the roaring city, hoping Serena would be OK, and thinking too about Nate visiting the prison, thinking about a little corner cell by the window, where they could just... be... together, free from the pressures and mores of the outside world. Lily was sobbing into her Riesling about what a miserable goddamned parent she is, and Rufus tried to put on his best disagreeing sweater, but not even that could do the trick. Lily is a terrible, no good mother, and he didn't have the strength to lie and tell her otherwise. Later they were all huddled together in Serena's well-appointed room at the Ostroff Center for Addled White People, and they ate frencha fries, and Lily hugged her blurry daughter and it was a new kind of tradition, a new holiday, Thanksgiving as rebirth, a strange, invented solstice.

And elsewhere, you know. There were turkeys carved and glasses poured and secrets buried and tongues bitten and laughs caught and released. Families, by blood or by bond, sat down and shared a meal and everyone was everyone, sturdy inside themselves as best they could be that day, listening to stories, telling old jokes, once again content but also strangely frightened to be a person who has people, someone who has so very much to lose. But ah well, those thoughts were chased out and it was onto seconds. Sometimes the best thing in life, the only thing, is to take another helping.