Gossip Girl: Episode 1.3 "Poison Ivy" Recap
Gossip Girl: Episode 1.3 "Poison Ivy" Recap
It is Ivy Week this week on Gossip Girl, in which the girls of the Constance Billard School and the boys of St. Jude's vie for the attention of visiting Ivy League representatives. The girls are responsible for organizing the Ivy Week mixer, while the boys compete to be ushers for the sought-after reps, which means hanging out with and fetching drinks for them.

Pressure is high, especially for Nate (Chace Crawford). During one of his daily runs through Central park with his dad, Dartmouth dad (Sam Robards), Dartmouth dad tells him in no uncertain terms that his future will include going to Dartmouth for college, attending law school afterwards, and marrying Blair. Nate's sputtering about wanting to go to USC falls on deaf ears.

Dan (Penn Badgley) also wants to go to Dartmouth, but thinks that getting in is an uphill battle since he doesn't have legacy there.

Blair (Leighton Meester) has her heart set on going to Yale. Poor little rich girl, she prattles on and on about how much she loves Yale to her housekeeper because mommy isn't there.

At a school assembly, at which Jenny's (Taylor Momsen) all-female a cappella group performs, the students are told that Ivy Week is the most important week of their young lives because it will dictate where they will get into school. And as Veronica Mars tells us, Upper East Side parents expect no less than Ivy League for their offspring. See, though, I've been to college, and I think that Jenny's a cappella experience is way more valuable than an afternoon getting drinks for some college rep who probably doesn't want to be there in the first place.

Serena (Blake Lively) is unfortunate because she wants to go to Brown (Oh no! Not Brown!), and is running late, having spent the night with her brother Eric (Connor Paolo) at the rehab center. She gets to school just as the assembly finishes. Blair bitches to her that Brown doesn't offer degrees in Slut. Leighton Meester totally rocked the delivery of that line.

Serena and Blair continue their argument at field hockey practice. Blair totally starts it by first hitting Serena with her stick and then bodychecking her to the ground. Game on! They get into a full-on brawl. I can totally get behind this fight even though it doesn't occur at a fancy party because they are wearing their cute little field hockey skirts. Serena offers a truce, but Blair ignores her by faking an injury, as if she were a flopping soccer player.

Dan, Nate and Chuck (Ed Westwick) all interview to be the Dartmouth usher at the Ivy Week mixer. Dan babbles and makes bad jokes during his interview. Nate says that he's not that into Dartmouth. Chuck's reason for being this year's Dartmouth usher is because he is Chuck Bass. None of that means anything, however, because Nate gets the position because he's Dartmouth dad's son. Dan is obviously upset about being turned down, but Nate isn't all that happy about it either, considering his ambivalence toward Dartmouth. Chuck gets assigned to be the Yale usher.

Dan goes home to his loft of neo-hippie Williamsburg gentrification and slams his bedroom door. Jenny says matter-of-factly, “We're Humphreys. Not exactly royalty about town.” Sometimes I think that most writers of television shows such as Gossip Girl have never gone to college because they never get it right. I think that being second in his class has a lot more caché with college admissions than being some silly usher at a silly party. Considering that the trend these days at elite schools is to attract students from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, I'd say he's a shoo-in for Dartmouth. Also, why does it have to just be Ivy League schools? I would hazard that getting into Amherst or Swarthmore (Wellesley for the female students) is just as prestigious, if not more, than Harvard, and would afford them a more favorable student to teacher ratio to boot.

Rufus goes to the Ivy Week committee chairwoman, who happens to be Lily van der Woodsen, and convinces her to give Dan a position at the mixer. She agrees off-camera to put Dan on the refreshments committee and to make Rufus the head of the entertainment committee. This means that Dan will be serving punch to everyone and Rufus will be playing his guitar, suitable jobs for poor, trust-fund-less saps like the Humphreys, if you ask me.

Blair and Chuck scheme to find out why Serena came back home from boarding school. Chuck not very inconspicuously has his limo driver tail Serena as she enters the Ostroff Treatment Center. He thinks she is there for a drug problem and reports back to Blair, who wants to use this information to bring about Serena's total social destruction.

The party is underway and Dan is working hard ladling punch. Serena, who isn't even interested in Yale, casually brings the bitchiness by making Blair look bad. Nate really doesn't have anything to say to the Dartmouth rep, so he asks Dan to take over entertaining him. Dartmouth dad is not pleased with this turn of events, and Nate finally tells him that he doesn't want to go to Dartmouth.

Both Jenny and Eric are at the mixer as well. They get to talking, and Eric tells Jenny, who looks terribly out of place with her Eleanor Waldorf original that Blair gave her last week, about his attempted suicide. She promises not to tell anyone, but it looks like she doesn't need to because Blair's got something up her well-tailored sleeve.

Dr. Ostroff, of the Ostroff Treatment Center, is in attendance at the party, and Blair decides to announce that as the head of the community outreach committee, they will be donating money to the Ostroff Center on behalf of Serena, who is clean and sober thanks to the center. See how she did that? See how she implied that Serena has a drug problem and now her chances of getting into college are next to nil? It's no fistfight, but I suppose public humiliation will do in a pinch.

Instead of telling everyone about her brother, Serena pretends that she does have a drug problem. Afterwards, she asks Blair for a truce, but Blair snits that nothing she can do to Serena is as bad as what Serena did to her. Serena stalks off, defeated, and Dan follows her to offer support. She accepts and they make plans to hang out sometime.

Meanwhile, Eric decides to clear things up for her sister. He tells Blair that he's the real patient at the Ostroff center, and shows her the scars on his wrists to prove it. Blair looks guilt-stricken.

The day after the mixer, Nate wakes up shirtless in Chuck's suite. No, not like that. Nate is on the couch and Chuck recovering in bed after a wild night with a wild Princeton chick. Nate goes to Central Park for his daily jog with his dad and is surprised and dismayed to see the Dartmouth rep there also. His dad clearly doesn't accept that Nate doesn't want to follow in his footsteps.

Jenny goes to visit Eric at the Ostroff Center. They are really cute together. We also find there that Blair did not, in fact, ruin Serena's chances of getting into college—the Brown rep brought flowers for her because his own cousin did some time at the Ostroff Center for a drug problem.

Serena is at her special hideout place in Central Park, where Blair comes to find her. Blair reads a letter that she wrote to Serena while she was away at boarding school but never sent about how her world was falling apart. Her father left her mother for a 31-year-old male model (Didn't see that one coming! Gossip Girl is awesome!) and that Serena left without even saying good-bye. Both girls cry, and a shaky truce is achieved.

-Debbie Chang, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of The CW)