“Gossip Girl” mini-cap: Trysts and turns

I can honestly say that, no, I had “Never Been Marcused,” prior to this Gossip Girl, but now that I have been, my head is spinning. There were more twists in this episode than an Agatha Christie play. (Not quite as clever, of course, but, hey, it’s a teen drama.)

At least the confusion over what fad term of female sexuality best labels Catherine, Nate’s summer fling, has been resolved. It turns out she’s a step-MILF with major cougar tendencies. The big news this week is that Catherine is Marcus’ step-mama, and by the end of the episode, she became more than just Nate’s Mrs. Robinson — she became Nate’s sugar mama. Well, she is a pretty hot mama so I guess it’s just Mother’s Day all around.

Things happen quickly in this show. Blair, who thought Marcus was a tool until she found out he had blue in his blood, is now professing her love for him to anyone that will listen (which means Serena). Blair is upset, and assumes that Marcus doesn’t like her all that much because he doesn’t seem to want to introduce her to his parents, the Duke and the Duchess (or if you’re a Fergie fan, The Dutchess).

As we watch Blair worry herself silly over Marcus, Serena has confusing issues of her own. After spending the night on the beach with Dan in what can be assumed to be pure sexual bliss, Dan and Serena awake and agree that they should move more slowly in their reconciliation. Huh? Haven’t they spent an entire summer thinking about this? I’m already bored with Dan and Serena. Ugh.

Though uncertain about their relationship, Dan and Serena are so attracted to each other that they can’t keep their hands to themselves, leading them to begin a series of sexual encounters in public places such as the aforementioned beach and the bathroom of the bus that is taking them back to NYC from the Hamptons. What’s next — the courtyard at Constance Billard during an all-school assembly?

With the entire gang back in NYC, Blair plans a party so Marcus can see that she’s cultured and worthy of dating a lord. Chuck now realizes that he missed his opportunity to win Blair’s affection forever when he gave her the deer-in-the-headlights look rather than telling her that he loved her. So, he’s on a mission to win her back — in his Chuck Bass way, of course.

Chuck befriends Marcus to get the inside track on Marcus’ insecurities (he already knows Blair’s) so Chuck can use their insecurities to foil their relationship. He learns that Marcus’ stepmother, known as the Duchess, is hyper-critical of the girls that Marcus dates and is so mean and cold to them that she chases them off. Perfect!

As for Nate, he’s dealing with the fallout from having a loser father. At least he’s still rich as opposed to having a loser father and being poor, but that’s probably going to change. (Not the loser-father part, though.) The FBI is in the process of freezing and seizing all of Nate’s family’s assets. Bummer! Nate’s mother calls and asks Chuck for a loan. Chuck sells his share of the nightclub and sends the money to Nate’s mother, being the good friend he is. Of course, he can also use this good deed to show what a great fellow he is, just in case Blair ever asks him for proof. (I love that Chuck can go from good guy to Satan spawn in 0.43 seconds. That’s talent.)

Chuck meets with the Duchess and tells her about Blair, and then actually brings her to Blair’s party. Blair, not knowing who the woman is, immediately insults her age and her looks. Catherine informs Blair that she’s Marcus’ stepmother. Oops. You know a relationship starts off on the wrong foot when that foot is yours and it’s lodged in your mouth.

Serena, who’s there with Dan but not there with Dan, recognizes Catherine as Nate’s summer secret. Nate arrives to the party and is shocked to see Catherine, Blair and Serena. Serena introduces everyone because she’s polite like that. What fun! Now if she could just introduce Dan to a clue.

Blair keeps trying to apologize to the Duchess, but the Duchess isn’t having it. Catherine pretty much tells Blair that she’s not good enough and not proper enough and not enough enough for Marcus.

In the meantime, Nate gets annoyed and embarrassed with Chuck’s involvement in his family matters. Nate begins to walk out of the party but gets a text message from Catherine asking him to meet her in the library. Catherine propositions Nate with money for his family — all he has to do is to continue to be her secret Ken to her Barbie. That leads to sexual mischief on the floor of the library, and Blair walks in, catching them in an OMFG moment. How come no one on TV ever locks a door when they are trysting? The good news for Blair is she has her compromising bait to use over the Duchess, and the two agree to an uneasy peace. The Duchess is really no different than Blair, a social climber willing to play games to advance up the social ladder. The Duchess has to respect that, right? We’ll see.

Finally, Rufus has returned from his endless summer road trip and he spent way too much time having heart-to-hearts with Vanessa. WTF? Did anyone get the FILF vibe going on there? And where the heck is Lily van der Woodsen? OK, now Lily and the Duchess is a pairing that I can fully support. Make this happen Gossip Girl!

So what are your thoughts? Was the episode filled to the brim with too many storyline tricks and deliberate details? Does anyone else want more Blair and Serena tension on some level? And what is going on with Serena and Dan, and at what point will viewers roll their eyes?