Gossip Girl: The Haunting of ConnecticutS

Ahhh sweet resolution! Well, almost resolution. The half-season arc of Whatever Happened to Baby Serena is finally drawing to a close, and last night some answers were finally dragged kicking and screaming into the light.

You may remember that at the end of last week's episode, Teeny, Miko, and the gang got stuck in the abandoned glass factory Dan and Blair made a strange alliance in the hopes of hunting down their favorite actress, Katie Cassidy, and murdering her for what she's done to their shimmering star idol, Serena. Serena was curled up in a ball, rocking and back and forth, saying "Unclean... unclean... unclean..." over at the Ostroff Center for White People Boo-Boos, and they wanted their friend back. The only way they knew to save her was to set of on an adventure and return with Katie Cassidy's heart in a wooden box and feed it to Serena, thus hopefully undoing whatever hexes, charms, or curses had been placed upon her. So they set off!

Except, sigh, they had no idea where to go. For a while they just wandered around town muttering her name, mostly near respected avant garde theaters, as that's where an actress of Katie Cassidy's quality is likely to hang out in New York. But that was to no avail. Oh where could she be! They looked under beds and in closets and behind the creepy furnace in the basement, but she was nowhere, just nowhere, to be found. What were Blair and Dan to do! Ohhhhhhhh. I knowwww. They were to turn to the internet, the magical tragical device that can tell you where things are in an instant. Blair got out her computer and yelled at it "Katie Cassidy!!!!" but nothing happened. Dan shook his head and laughed, Blair clearly had never used a computer before. He knew what to do. He took a photo of Katie Cassidy and stuck it in the CD drive. And yet, nothing happened. Embarrassed, Dan backed away from the computer and he and Blair stood there for a long, long time trying to figure out how else to use it. And then suddenly it struck them like Donna's boyfriend in Palm Springs: GOSSIP GIRL. That's the name of the show they were on, and she's a real person or something, so they could ask her!! Blair went to go get her magic eight ball, but Dan stopped her and said "No, we can ask her on the computer."

Blair had absolutely no idea what Dan could possibly be talking about so she watched in amazement as he made the computer glow with light and then typed some things on the letter-piano or whatever that thing was and up came a thing where he could send a note right to Gossip Girl! Dan typed "Hay GoozipGurl, it'S DAn and blare at blare's house are u free to ansir our kweschun: whear is Katie Cassadee?" Blair was, despite herself, impressed by Dan's computer skills and all around cunning. Maybe he wasn't the dough-faced nincompoop she'd always thought him to be. A few awkward minutes of ticking silence passed until the computer sang a little tweety-bird song and there was a response to Dan's carefully and intricately worded computer message. It read: "293 Cornish Game Hen Avenue. Go get the bitch and bring her liver back for me. Yours in most holy bloodthirst, Erik, I mean Gossip Girl! Gossip Girl! This isn't Erik! I'm not Gossip Girl! I mean, Erik isn't Gossip Girl! Shit, why am I typing this?" Dan and Blair clapped their hands and hugged each other and Dan's lips brushed over Blair's hair and an odd charge pulsed through him, his knees buckling a bit, but he shook it off and it was time to find Cornish Game Hen Avenue and see what secrets, and possibly what villains, lay there.

As only a few people know, Dan's father Rufus used to be a clown in the British gay circus, and after that great old show — with its mangy old lion, its vaudeville dancers, its death-defying erotic trapeze — was shut down by the cruel, coal-eyed Margaret Thatcher, Rufus was given the clown car as a reward for his many years of loyal service. And he's kept it to this day! It's a little gay British clown car that's shaped like a butler. In the spirit of the circus's long tradition of charity, he let his son borrow the car for his little roadtrip with Blairwonka. So they hopped into the tiny automobile and drove North, faster and faster, headed to some arctic wild known only as "Connecticut." Specially, a place called Cornwall, Connecticut where Cornish Game Hen Avenue ends and the next phase of their search begins. On the way up, Blair complained about the size of Dan's car and suddenly Dan cared, for the first time, that Blair thought his car was small. "It's perfectly average size," he whined. "Bigger than average, actually. Statistically speaking. In Asia they have tiny cars." Blair wasn't impressed, or maybe she was pretending, and they drove the rest of the way to Cornwall in silence — wending down forest roads, the stands of pine tress getting thicker and thicker, blocking out the light, so far and deep into the wood that even the birds stopped singing, there was only the sound of the trees creaking and groaning in the wind.

When they finally got to the address given to them by the ancient and mysterious Erik Gossip Girl, it was a big mansion with lots of fancy cars parked outside. What? Katie Cassidy is secretly rich? Then why on Earth would she pretend to be poor? That's not how it works! Intrigued, they just up and let themselves into the house, because sure, and what they found shocked them indeed. There were kids, lots of them, teenagers and early collegers, and they were having a party. With Beirut playing and weed smoking and cocaine snorting and one shirtless dude with a cigarette chatting up some chippies (weird work day for that extra, right?). It was suburban rich kid hedonism at its finest, parentless abandon coupled with ski mountain sun-bleached blonde hair, the kind of party that the poor boys living in the post-war bungalows across the railroad tracks can only dream of, their cots squeaking and squeaking as they think fitfully of girls named Heather and Allison.

So it was a rich-kid rager of a jamboree, but something didn't quite feel right. "Katie Cassidy would never have this kind of party," Dan declared. Blair, for some reason, was inclined to agree. "Well, Gossip Girl never said that this was her house, just that this was a place to start looking..." So mysterious! (And what of this message written on Blair's snitch: "I open at the close"? What does that mean? #nerdville) And then they saw him. And they knew why they were there. They gazed upon his suede skin and his hair, as thick as a collie's. There he was: that villain, that trout. That dastard, that bastard, that sex palace built of flesh and bone. Yes, it was the kid from Air Bud. Hahaha!! What is he doing at a teenager party in the deepest wilds of Connecticut? Oh, you know, he's selling drugs there, of course. Plus he went to boarding school at Ravensbrook, right nearby. At the mention of that name a lightbulb went off in Blair's head. Of course. Serena had lived here, here in Cornwall! After she shtupped Nate and was cast out of New York, she was sent here to attend Ravensbrook. And the kid from Air Bud was her classmate. Amazing. "To Godric's Hollow!" she yelled. (No she didn't. #nerdcityusa)

Then there was a series of flashbacks to those heady days, with Serena drinking absinthe and putting on plays with Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and other wild things. And the kid from Air Bud was her totes crushing on her nerdy tutor, if you can ever imagine the kid from Air Bud ever being a nerd! So Serena was a wild child in boarding school too, except... except when she was with a teacher, a beloved young teacher who had her read Madame Bovary and Fear of Flying and Tropic of Cancer and then he was shocked when Serena tried to entice him into bedding her at a B&B on a rainy night across state lines. And do you know who that teacher was? Yes, it was Rufus. Ha, no! No. No. It was, duhhhhh 5000, Katie Cassidy's jailbird brother. Somethin' statutory had allegedly gone down and the guy got thrown in the clink, even though he'd been the responsible gentleman teacher and said "No, no. I'm going to go fix the car tire so we can get home, you sit there and read those Sappho poems I assigned you." Hence the revenge plot. Hence Katie Cassidy's terrible wheelings and/or dealings.

Speaking of Katie Cassidy, she spotted Dan and Blair in Cornhole! Yep! See, Dan's car is mayyyybe not the most inconspicuous thing on the road, so they weren't terribly hard to spot. In a panic, Katie floored it back to Manhattan, determined to settle her shit with Serena once and for all. She told her brother this and he got scared, scared that she was going to do something too drastic again (you'll remember that the brother was mad when his sister drugged Serena). And it just so happened that Nate was at the jail for a conjugal visit so the brother yelled at Nate "Warn the Duke! And Serena!!!!!" Nate tore out of there like it was a fetish club on police raid night, determined to do some rescuing. Meanwhile in Connecticut, all the pieces had come together, the kid from Air Bud had been the one to sell Katie Cassidy all of her wicked drugs, including ether! Hahah, ether. What do Serena van der Woodsen and Michael Caine's character in The Cider House rules have in common? Both will eventually die from ether. Also, both run houses full of orphaned children in coastal Maine, though Serena's isn't exactly a benevolent organization.

So anyway. As we all know, the Ostroff Center for White People Maintenance is a supermax facility, so Katie Cassidy just walked right into Serena's suite, plopped herself on a couch, and waited there, in the dark, like a creeper. Eventually Serena strolled in, after a particularly satisfying therapy session in which she learned that she's a vain and useless person, and then click! went the light, and there was fearsome Clytemnestra herself, Katie Cassidy, and she was there to settle a score. Except, ha, in typical Gossip Girl fashion, the feud was over in three seconds because Serena was like "I didn't file charges against your brother" and then the scene cut to Lily.

Lily! Lilyyyyy. Lily's character emerged a bit late this episode, but it ended up being all about her. She's so poised and cool and blonde and glittery like glass. Nothing can touch Lily. Or at least she'd like you to think that. Of course everything touches her like everything touches anyone, she's just a human being like you and me, she poops and farts and burps and picks her nose just like the rest of us hideous muckmonsters. But she projects a veneer of anusless magic and grace, and she will do anything in her power to protect that pale light show. Anything like take some random gossiping girls' rumahz about a teacher and a student at a faraway boarding school and make it a real thing, bring it up to school administrators, get the man fired and put in jail, forge an affidavit with her daughter's signature, pay off a stranger to keep the whole thing silent, murder a witness under a bridge, grabbing his neck from behind, choking him, saying "Sshh shhh shhh" and stroking his head as he dies. These are just things that Lily does to protect her Lily Whitism. She is also doing another terrible thing, as was revealed this episode. She and Chuck had been spending a lot of time together working on Bass Industries and, yup you guessed it, Chuck fucked Lily like a jackhammer right there on the family's glass waffle table. OH GOD NO. Oh that was so gross. I'm sorry. No, no. The real secret is that Lily has been planning to sell Bass Industries before Chuck has a chance to get his hands back on it. Which is a terrible thing to do to your cheating, lying, lothario stepson. Just a terrible thing.

At the end of the episode all of these Lily white lies came out and she stood there, piddling herself, while everyone stared and yelled and shook their heads and stuffed their fists into their mouths to choke out the sobs and wails (that was Rufus) and in the end everyone left her. Lily, standing there, in her palace of silver and glass, with her perfect ice blonde hair arranged in a softly swooping yet tightly bound updo. Poor Lily. Poor luminous Lily. What will she do? Well, I assume she'll be somewhat exonerated, at least on the Serena/teacher front. Remember in the flashback where Serena was all drunk and using nerdy Air Bud to get her way? Well, I think there was something there and that maybe Air Bud had something to do with everything awful happening, because she used to be mean to him. Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but... I don't know. That's hows I sees it.

Oh, yeah, so. Our final scenes: A prison interrogation room, our shamed teacher sits there, waiting for someone, not sure who. The door opens. It's shambling old willowbeast Serena. She's crying. His eyes well up. "I have to talk to you..." she mumblemoans. "I don't know what to say..." teacher says. They stare at each other, watery eyed. And over in Brooklyn, two people gazed at each other the same way, realizing they'd be the only ones around for Christmas. Blair and Dan. Could it finally be happening, after all these years? Oh gosh I think so. So they regarded each other, strange new warmth in their hearts, and the lights faded to black for now, our gay clown circus over for the evening. (And until next year maybe?) So everything will hang in limbo and suspense until we meet again.

Meanwhile, up there somewhere in Connecticut, the parties will rage on. And kids will take too-big gulps of warm beer and the walls will tilt and become the ceiling for a moment, but they'll right themselves again and kids will continue on. Kids will burn their throats with shitty weed and soak their heads with excellent weed and feel the first spidery bits of Knowledge invading their brains. Kids will topple onto each other in overstuffed bedrooms and they will smell like sweat and shampoo and they will giggle and feel special and alone in the world for, oh, five or so minutes. And kids will tear the house down, break plates and glasses, precious heirlooms. Kids will run out onto the wide back lawn when they see a tangerine dawn sliding up over the lake and the trees, and they'll yell at the sky, having beaten the night, and behind them the lights of the house will seem cozy but faraway. And kids will dance to music, grind to beats, throw hands up at choruses, belch and yell and push each other, laugh and whisper, grow and regress.

Because that's just what Connecticut is for — a green place to pass the time before you get to where you are going.