On this week's episode of Gossip Girl, many characters decided to try their hands at high-stakes gambling. Serena played poker in an attempt to settle Carter's debt. Meanwhile, for Vanessa and Blair, victory meant the coveted honor of delivering the freshman toast at the parents' dinner at NYU.
Nate: Always a Vanderbilt
Nate, now fully entrenched in his cousin Trip's congressional campaign, told Serena that the Buckleys were going to force Carter to pay off his debt on an oil rig in Texas. So he suggested they try to pay back Carter's debt by playing poker with PJ Buckley. Because she still loves Carter, Serena agreed. However, her former stepfather wasn't the best poker teacher, and she lost Nate's money. The stakes were then raised: Carter's freedom was wagered against a damning picture of Tripp at his bachelor party. And again, Serena lost.
Consequently, Tripp was going to lose his campaign. Not so fast - Nate wagered a fake picture. Once the Buckleys leaked it, the plan was to release the real picture afterward and make it look like the Buckleys were playing dirty. Nate and Grandfather Vanderbilt cooked up quite a scheme, and Serena was an unknowing pawn. Nate did eventually admit that he felt "really bad about lying to Serena" (like that makes it all better). In the end, Serena settled Carter's debt by helping PJ avoid this public scandal that Nate orchestrated, but Carter wanted to take responsibility and repay his own debt. He didn't want Serena's pity, so he left to settle things on his own.
Vanessa: Her Mother's Daughter
Vanessa can often be annoyingly self-righteous, and we finally saw where she gets that from. For the first time, we met a member of V's long-absent family: her mother, Gabriella (Gina Torres). However, Vanessa's nowhere near as bad as her mom, who isn't shy about voicing her views on the evils of private education ("Knowledge should not be for sale") and the shallowness of Hollywood culture. V hoped to win her mom over by delivering the freshman toast at school. But Vanessa was the number two choice - Olivia was number one, and she accepted. V was then manipulated by B into getting this honor back, at all costs. So she lied to Dan and told him not to take Olivia to the NYU parents' dinner, because Olivia was "freaked out" about meeting Dan's parents. She then lied to Olivia and told her that Dan's parents were extremely judgmental, especially about shallow celebrities.
What followed was an amusing scene in which Olivia attempted to be over-the-top Hollywood in front of Rufus and Lily (she explained that in celebrity lingo, "The Bu's Malibu"). Dan eventually cleared everything up, and soon Olivia was breakfasting with the Humphreys while drinking out of Welcome Back Kotter mugs. But V didn't get to enjoy such a cozy breakfast with her mother after Gabriella overheard her daughter say, "I wish Rufus and Lily were my parents." Gabriella hit the road, and V was left alone with her morning muffin...until B showed up to share it with her. An unlikely pairing indeed.
Blair: Crossing the Line
Though Blair's gotten better over the years, she's still a snob. This snobbery was on full display as she tried to beat out Vanessa for the honor of delivering the toast. Blair's reasoning: She's simply a better person who's more deserving of the honor ("Generations of breeding and wealth had to come together to produce me"). Step one of her plan was to get V to knock Olivia out of the running. Once that was done, it was B's turn to knock V out.
To do that, Blair made a deal with Mr. Ellis, the man who had the final word on who delivered the speech. This led to the much-hyped male kiss between Chuck and Mr. Ellis, which then led to the best line of the night when Chuck asked Blair, "You really think I never kissed a guy before?" Chuck actually seemed to be having some fun flirting with Mr. Ellis and discussing haircuts, but of course, Chuck was under the impression this was a revival of his and Blair's summer game. He had no idea Blair was using him: Mr. Ellis got number 27 checked off his Tribeca Scavenger Hunt list (kiss Chuck Bass), and Blair got her speech.
Thanks to a revenge-seeking V, B delivered an entirely different speech than planned: Vanessa hid a microphone and got Blair to confess how and why she stole the toast, as well as how she "was willing to do what was necessary, including lying to Chuck, the one person who trusts me more than anyone." And like everyone at the dinner, Chuck heard every word, and he looked really hurt.
With Blair's parents MIA (as they have been all season), it was up to Lily to give Blair a tough love speech about the importance of trust. Blair then pleaded for Chuck's forgiveness, but it didn't seem to work. Chuck brought up this fact to Blair: "The people you manipulate, I know how little respect you have for them." He then lied to Blair about having a meeting so he could simply be alone. At one point in her scam, Blair pointed out to Vanessa how funny irony can be, and here's a dose of it for Blair: Last season, Blair wanted so badly to be in a real relationship with Chuck, but Chuck was very reluctant about that. This season, Chuck has been a model boyfriend, and Blair is screwing things up.
Do you think Blair was truly sorry for her betrayal of trust, and will Chuck be able to forgive her? And who was the worst schemer this week: Nate, Vanessa or Blair?