“Gossip Girl” mini-cap: Games and the players who play them

Gossip Girl‘s best storylines always revolve around Serena’s secret shenanigans, especially the kind she gets up to on her covert trips to Europe. So it was with the pilot, so it was when she murdered that one dude and married that other dude, and so it was on last night’s third season premiere. "Reversals of Fortune" had the best climax of all, though, because instead heartache, it ended with Serena stealing Nacho Figueras’s horse.

Oh, Gossip Girl — how I missed you!

Let me exposit it quickly: Over the summer, Serena got paparazzi-ed all across Europe. Blair and Chuck concocted a role-playing game to keep their sex life fresh (more on that later). Dan read his text books. Vanessa bonked Nate once in Prague, then came home and fell for Rufus and Liliy’s secret bastard-child. And Little J moved in with her gay BFF Eric, making them the most stable couple on the Upper East Side.

So, Blair and Chuck. They have developed this "game" to keep the "honeymoon" period of their relationship going strong. Instead of having sex like actual teenagers do — you know, groping around and hoping to stumble on something a little more nuanced than what goes where — they scout out women to humiliate. Then, Chuck seduces them. Then, Blair catches them and berates them ("Have you no pride? No self-respect? Take your American Girl hair and your pore-less skin and get out!"). Then, hot and bothered from their double-dose of Machiavellian scheming, Blair and Chuck go at it.

And let me just take a second here to say this about Blair and Chuck going at it: They kiss with their mouths closed, like guppies. I noticed it in last season’s finale, but didn’t want to mention it because they were so happy. They did it again last night. It’s weiriding me out because it hasn’t always been this way. Fix it, Bluck! Or Chair! (Sorry, I only know Bleighton’s ship name.)

Serena rolls into Manhattan with the paparazzi on her like her last name’s Lohan. She’s super innocent about the whole thing, telling Rufus she doesn’t know why they’re following her. I mean, gosh Rufus, she’s been in an ashram for the last month, living out a vow of silence like Elizabeth Gilbert from Eat, Pray, Love.

She spends most of the episode doing that thing she does where random people pop up on random street corners all incognito, saying stuff like, "The cameras won’t be around forever! Soon the truth will come to light! The crow flies at dawn!" And she is like, "Never! No one has ever found out about my other secret European marriages/murders/ragers and they won’t find out about this secret thing either!" Then she takes off her top and bashes into the paparazzi like bowling pins.

Gossip Girl’s approach to Serena is just as cryptic: "As for Serena van der Woodsen, you left America a star, but after your exploits in Europe, you’ve come back a super nova. And yet nothing explodes without a fuse. I wonder what, or who, lit yours."

Blair just calls her on her crap. She touches Serena’s hair the way you do with your girlfriend, and notes that she’s had it blown out. She wants the paparazzi to follow her around.

"I know what you did this summer," Blair says. "And who!"

Oh, Blair Bear — don’t be jealous.

The other, far less interesting storylines of "Reversals of Fortune" revolve around Dan’s wallet being too small for his hundreds and his diamond shoes being too tight, and Vanessa judging him for even looking at a pair of diamond shoes, and Vanessa’s new bastard-child boyfriend pulling out his birth certificate every ten minutes and asking Vanessa to get him an audience with Rufus.

Also, Nate is dating the van der Built’s arch-nemesis, and it’s the first relationship he’s ever been in where someone isn’t paying him to have sex. I’d be happy for him if I wasn’t so bored by him.

Everything, of course, collides in the fourth act — a polo match, this time!

Blair decides she’s tired of the sex games, and she wants either a legitimate threesome or Chuck Bass to herself. Finally, she and Chuck decide to spend a quiet evening alone, with a little role-play. In their scenario, Chuck is Blair’s servant and she chastises him and then they make out. So, you know, it’s not "role-playing" as much as it’s their "actual life."

At the same polo match, tired of standing trial at the Humphrey Tribunal, Serena steals a horse and gallops away. Carter Bazien chases and catches her, and finally explains her Big Secret, and it’s the dumbest Serena Shenanigan so far, even if it did result in the livestock theft. Serena is acting out, you see, because her dad doesn’t love her, and if he sees these paparazzi photos of her acting like a hooligan, maybe that will cause his Grinch-y van der Heart to grow three sizes.

Carter hits the nail on the head, I suppose, because Serena decides to nail him for his effort. And, see, look: Serena van der Woodsen knows how to kiss! I guess, for research purposes, we need to see Serena and Blair kiss to determine if the bad kisser in the other relationship is Chuck or Blair. (Its gotta be Chuck.)

Back at the Palace, Rufus pays off a paparazzi pimp with the big wad of cash Lily left behind in an envelope. Rufus calls it "the emergency fund." I call it "foresight." Lily didn’t just meet Serena van der Woodsen.

Meanwhile, at a seedy bar, Serena sits with the one photographer Rufus couldn’t find. She’s like, "Are you’re positive these photos will run in every tabloid from here to Papa New Guinea?" He assures her they will, and she’s like, "Then do it."

And the music rolls:

Here’s the story of a lovely lady
who snagged herself one billionaire per year.
Her two kids had hair of gold, like their mother
the youngest one, a queer.

Here’s the story of a man named Humphrey
who taught his kids to hate rich people most of all.
They were urchins, passing judgment
in Constance-Billiard’s halls.

‘Till the one day when this lady met this fellow
and he bought off all the paparazzi on a hunch.
Plus, they’ve got a bastard-child in waiting,
and that’s the way they all became the van der Humphs.

The van der Humphs. The van der Humphs. That’s the way they became the van der Humphs! (Doot, doot, doot, doot, doot!)

Next week: Georgina!

What did you think of "Reversals of Fortune"? My kissing theory about Serena and Blair, it’s correct, right?