Gossip Girl Episode Recap: "Reversals of Fortune"

On the third-season premiere of Gossip Girl, many of our favorite Upper East siders headed home from various luxurious vacation spots, and Chuck and Blair learned that summer games could be dangerous. But while summer began to wind down, Serena's wild behavior heated up.

The Humphreys in the Hamptons

Rufus, Dan and Jenny spent the summer at Lily's home in the Hamptons with Eric. Where's Lily? Well, she's not with Cece, whose health has been declining. Instead, she's "away on vacation" (a rather vague excuse for Kelly Rutherford's maternity leave). Anyway, the normally grounded Humphreys found that adjusting to a privileged lifestyle was not too big of a culture shock for them. Dan's brand-name wallet full of $100 bills bothered Vanessa, but what really worried her was his lying about things such as bopping around town in a - gasp - limo!

Vanessa's new boyfriend, Scott

By the time Dan was blowing V off for B, V was ready to trash their longtime friendship. Luckily, she had her new beau, Scott, by her side. That would be the same Scott she met in last season's finale - the same Scott who is Lily and Rufus' love child. Only nobody knows this yet, except for said love child. Scott is clearly using V as an inroad to his birth parents, and so far, it's working. Scott got himself invited to the Vanderbilt polo match, and then introduced himself to Rufus (just calling himself a friend of Vanessa's). He was almost too overcome by emotion to shake Rufus' hand, but he recovered nicely by playing the music-fan card (which Rufus totally ate up). I must compliment the casting here - there is a resemblance between Scott and Rufus, which became more obvious in their brief scenes together.

Nate and Grandpa Vanderbilt

The Vanderbilt polo match provided the perfect opportunity for Nate to piss off his grandfather, because evil grandpa gave him a shiny new convertible. OK, there was more to it than that - the car was representative of the control Grandfather wants to have over Nate, and this was underscored by a reference to an internship. Nate wanted no part of this, and as luck would have it, Nate's mysterious summer girlfriend turned out to be Bree Buckley (Privileged's JoAnna Garcia). Apparently, the Buckleys and the Vanderbilts are a bit like the Hatfields and the McCoys, only much richer. At first, this family feud seemed like it would put an abrupt end to Nate and Bree's brief romance. But then Chuck advised Nate that sleeping with the enemy could be beneficial (and he alluded to his own "Ivanka thing!"). Nate got the idea to use Bree as yet another way to upset Grandfather, so he brought Bree to the family polo match and handed back the car keys.

However, it turns out that Nate really does like Bree. And she of course didn't appreciate being used as a pawn, fearing her presence in enemy territory would upset the family she's estranged from. Grandfather acted sympathetic to Bree's plight and had Nate take her home discreetly - in the shiny new convertible. As soon as they left, Grandfather showed his true colors as he plotted a scheme against the Buckleys.

Blair and Chuck, officially a couple

Speaking of schemes, Blair and Chuck found a way to keep their relationship from being boring (which to them would be the ultimate sin): They played a game in which Chuck pretended to be a cheating boyfriend and Blair was the scorned woman. An unsuspecting girl would be almost seduced by Chuck, and then berated by Blair. The two of them would then get off on this little charade. However, both Serena and Nate warned them this was a slippery slope. As they went to play another round, Blair's jealousy began to shine through, and so their summer game ended. Determined not to settle into a rut, they discovered that playing games with just the two of them could be fun, too, so Chuck played the bad waiter to Blair's dissatisfied customer.

Scandal-magnet Serena

Unbeknownst to everyone but her new pal Carter, Serena had also been playing games all summer long. However, her opponent wasn't playing along with her. Her opponent was her father, whom she tried to track down in Europe. And she got very close, only he refused to see her. Serena's solution was to attract as much bad press as possible and get splashed across as many newspapers and tabloids as possible, making it impossible for her dad to ignore her. There were stories of table dancing, being topless on a yacht and having Prince Harry do shots off of her. So far, none of this has worked. Not one to give up, Serena hopped on a horse and rode off across the field at the start of the polo match.

All this negative press did finally catch the attention of Rufus (despite Jenny and Eric's efforts to hide things from him). Though he's not yet married to Lily, Rufus was holding down the fort with the blended family and got into full "stepfather" mode (that reminds me of Penn's upcoming movie). Serena promised him her antics were over, but of course she was lying. Rufus then did something Lily would do - he paid off some photographers not to print any more scandalous pictures of Serena. Meanwhile, Serena was doing just the opposite - paying a photographer to make sure the pictures were printed where her dad would hopefully see them.

So, did the new season get off to a good start?! Are Chuck and Blair amusing or silly as they try to avoid be boring? Are you sympathizing with Scott and Serena, or do you dislike their respective shady and outlandish tactics for getting close to their parents?

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