Chuck and Lily join forces to stop Bass Industries from being dismantled. Blair settles into her new job and Serena tries to avoid putting pressure on Ben (and fails miserably).
Recap after the jump.
Blair's latest assignment as new manager of the W magazine office is to arrange to follow around a socialite on Valentine's Day. Her coworker suggests Serena, but not keen to throw a spotlight on her friend, Blair suggest Raina Thorpe instead. Enlisting Serena's help to seal the deal, she is not worried about the Chuck/Raina thing because from her perspective it's fake anyway. Meanwhile Dan has written an article detailing the dynamic of living with someone who is dating your ex and tries to submit it to Epperly, but since she's left, he has to submit it to Blair instead. She's still unhappy about his betrayal in Episode 13 "Damien Darko" and is dismissive towards him.
Speaking of Dan's housemate Ben he has money woes what with having just got out of jail and is not having any luck on the job front. Dan sets him up with the catering firm he used to work with back in season 2. It's a start at least. However, when Serena calls him up and starts babbling in her usual disconnected-from-all-semblance-of-reality way, he has a brainfart and lies, claiming to have landed a job as a tutor. She goes off next to talk to Raina about doing Blair's piece, but while they're shopping together and trying out dresses, she susses that Raina and Chuck's relationship is real. Not wanting Blair to be hurt by it, she tells all and nixes the deal. Later on now having nothing better to do, Blair and Serena meet up to have a girls night in but as a thank you for warning her, Raina has sent Serena a dress she was trying on as a gift along with a card. Blair reads it, and having heard from Dan the truth about Ben's new employment, begins scheming.
Chuck is desperate to prove to Thorpe that Bass Industries is worth keeping intact. He, Lily, Thorpe and Raina meet for brunch and Chuck makes a grandiose promise involving a party he plans to throw to show that the Bass name has a large cache, because as I'm sure you're aware there's no such episode of Gossip Girl that doesn't have some kind of party or ball going on. Thorpe promises to put his takeover plans on hold but Chuck later finds out from Nate's dad that what Thorpe said and what is actually going on are two very different things. It seems that Thorpe is committed to following through on destroying the company, but Chuck can't figure out why until Raina makes an offhand comment revealing that Lily used to date Thorpe but left him for Bart, Chuck's late father.
Figuring this to be the reason, Chuck goes directly to Thorpe and lays it all out. Thorpe is skeptical that Chuck could really cut out the only family he has left in his life, but Chuck calls an emergency meeting of the board to have Lily removed. Thorpe is pleased and tells Chuck that he will find a way to keep him involved with the company intact. At the party, Chuck has prepared a special room and a romantic meal with Raina to celebrate. Dan, in search of Blair, sees them in a passionate embrace before being approached by Lily, who is looking for Chuck.
Blair is interviewing Serena at the party for the W piece and steers the conversation onto Serena's boyfriend Ben, who just happens to be working the party behind the bar. Because everyone on this show is a giant snob, this is apparently a big embarrassment even though we already had this storyline with Dan and Serena way back when. Blair was trying to get back at Serena for blocking her off from Raina but Serena explains that she was just trying to protect her. Blair insists the relationship between Chuck and Raina is not real and storms off to find him, running into Dan instead.
Upstairs, Lily confronts Chuck and they have it out. She's upset that Chuck has gone behind her back to cast her aside without consulting her on the issues and doesn't think her past affair with Thorpe has any bearing on what's going on anyway. Raina is unhappy with the way Chuck treats his own family. Thorpe comes along after they've both stormed out doing an evil chuckle revealing that he planted certain reports with Nate's dad knowing he'd pass them onto Chuck and that he's still going to dismantle Bass Industries, only now Chuck has no family, no company and apparently no girlfriend either. Dan and Blair go to the special room and Dan explains what it was for. Blair is initially disbelieving but then Chuck comes back in with Raina trying to talk her round except she won't have any of it. Blair sees the depth of his feelings for Raina and is thoroughly dejected. She makes up with Dan, admitting she had already passed on his article to be published in Vanity Fair and then goes home to make up with Serena who quickly forgave Ben for lying since it was kinda her fault to begin with.
Nate's dad is fired by Thorpe since he clearly can't be trusted but he does swipe a keycard for Thorpe's office and gives it to Chuck allowing him a limited timeframe to sneak in and check whatever he needs. Nate pretty much stands around uselessly in the few scenes he's in but at least he's not as useless as Rufus who maybe has one line in the entire episode. Meanwhile Eric has been out doing charity work for Meals on Wheels but when he returns he's accosted by an irate Damien who blackmails him on pain of sending Lily to the big house on perjury charges (over the false accusations against Ben) into helping him with some untold scheme, presumably revenge against Ben, perhaps Dan and Nate as well. At the episodes end, Dan and Blair are on the phone to each other syncing watching a movie. Awww, true love continues to blossom there.
I ventured onto some fansites after the episode to see what deranged Chuck/Blair shippers would be saying and no surprise, it's all bile and death threats against Penn Badgley. No doubt, part of what makes me hate that pairing is the obnoxious fans. Gossip suggests some cliffhanger for a Blair/Dan relationship lies shortly ahead but apparently, the prince from the Paris episodes is returning, so that could throw a spanner in the works. Nate needs a proper storyline, stat. Bring back Juliet, that should liven things up. Sadness over a broken affair was way too petty a motive for Thorpe. I'm betting and hoping whatever is truly behind the hostile takeover is plenty juicy. This ep did ok, a bit shallow in the details but every character played to type and it did a nice job setting up for future developments, the boring boring Serena/Ben couple aside.
"Gossip Girl" airs Mondays on The CW at 9:00 pm EST.