Sweet merciful crap it's back. Ye TV Gods finally bestowed another installment of Gossip Girl upon us, having kept us wanting for nigh on a month. So was this long-awaited episode good??? Nah.

I mean, really, what was worse: the gay be-scarfed drama teacher who was supposed to be annoying and was very annoying but not in the way that the episode's authoress, young Headmistress Jessica Queller, intended it to be OR the fact that Chace Crawford and Vanessa St. Earrings were wheeled out on their dollies and posed into a hideous tableau of stilted relationship troubles? Maybe they were equally bad. But when looking at the sorry state of this episode, the play's the thing.

Yes it was the senior class play at old Ivy Britches Manor, the special academy for rich kids (and poor Brooklynites) who have been in terrible grain thresher accidents or hang-gliding disasters. Professor Scarf, perhaps hired out by the school, rescued from some dusty, sweaty off-off-off Broadway play hut to come in and teach these children better living through make believe, decided to stage a production of The Age of Innocence, that Marty Skorksee movie that Edith Wharton, noble time traveler! proud sailor!, saw and then went back to the 1600's or whatever and wrote up as a tie-in book. Nate was playing a lady-in-waiting. Nellie Yuki was a fat lady. Vanessa was Latina and therefore not allowed to be in the school. Dan was the dashing lead, Cornelius Humphsalot, and Betty and Veronica played... oh I don't know. I guess one of them was Michelle Pfeiffer and the other was Swoozie Kurtz. Those are the same movie, right?

But the stage wasn't the only place where there was drama! Oh no, backstage things were cookin'. Blair was being secretly sabotaged by some nefarious creature who wanted her out of Yale. They sent word to the Yale School for Parasailing Catastrophes, where Blair desperately wanted to matriculate, and told them of her wicked deeds. So she was bumped, and fat old Nellie Yuki trundled on into her place. Blair was angry. Meanwhile her best friend Serena was in lumpy lurve with Professor Scarf. All he wanted to do was talk—in stilted Quellerian fashion—about form and technique and theatah and the works of Jacques Cousteau, one of our most important playwrights. But Serena was in a terrible JetSki fiasco last summer, so she doesn't know how to talk about things like The Early Aestheticism of Lillian Hellman or whatever. So Fagsy droned on and on and on, while Serena just farted idly, her mind wandering inexorably back to that sun-baked day in Tortola when she bobbed on the Sea-Doo when she shoulda weaved.

Young Jenny was doing costumes for the play, because she likes clothes and wanted to be in the episode. Vanessa was hanging around because she was filming a documentary about the artistic process of a high school play, which is the lamest excuse for putting a character into an episode that I have heard since the last episode that Vanessa was in. Erik was tied up somewhere in his gay closet, softly weeping, hoping that someday, someday soon, they'll let him out. And Dan. Dear, sweet pineapple-faced Dan. He was still carrying on with Mrs. Tingle, whom he was teaching the special ways of three-minute sweaty, squinty sex. He did this by passing notes to his sister (vomit) who would then give them to the birdlike teacher. Surely nothing would go wrong.

So on the rehearsals and the episode and our miserable lives rambled. Serena wanted so badly to put her fingers gently on her teacher's scarf and undo it slowly. She yearned for it. But alas she couldn't expound on whether Kate Chopin was better than Kate Bush or something so she cried big watery tears and Vanessa felt bad. So, she started feeding Serena information through her little Blue Chips phone or whatever those things are called. "Truffaut was a French man," she murmur-gurgled into her cheek. So Serena said: "Beret." Scarf nodded his head and pursed his big, scarfy lips. "Yes." Vanessa was ready with another one: "The works of Ming Na are highly underrated!" So Cyrena gulped and blinked and parroted: "Rae Dawn Chongggg." A distant gong sounded. Scarf made sex eyes at her.

Meanwhile, Nate was pawing around like a silky little house cat and overheard Vanessa on the squawk box saying things like "Ohhh Professor Scarf, your bicep looks like Eric Bogosian's head. Which is to say, it's big." Poor Natalie was so sad to hear his beloved Vanessa whispering sweet Bogosians to another man, so he ran away. He ran and tore at his hair and sadly zipped up his sweater as the Dido song swelled, just like in that scene in Love Actually. That's such a good movie. I should have just watched that last night.

Meanwhile, at the one moment when Dan wasn't inserting himself into his teacher's gradebook, his father found a key and a note. It was a note that said "Come fuck me for a minute and forty-five seconds in my sex teacher sex hotel room, Dan Humphrey. Love, your sex teacher, Rachel Carr. PS Here is a key to the aforementioned sex hotel room." So he went over there, all mad and sex-crazed, and threw the key at her ass face and said "Stay away from my son! He's my future daughter-in-law's half-brother!" Rachel scratched her head and got out a small notepad, trying to figure out how that broke down. Rufus yelled "Forget it!!!" and stormed off. A minute later he came back into the room. "You know, the least you could do... The least you could do is have sex with me, too." And he sighed. And his eyes crinkled with tears. Rachel smiled at him, with pity. "It's been a long ten years for you, huh?" "Yeah," Rufus whimpered. "The 2000's sucked." Rachel nodded her head. "The 2000's sucked." Then she exposed her breasts and a Bruce Springsteen song started playing.

Back at the theater, Serena was suddenly embroiled with the whole who-gets-into-Yale-now kadoodle. Someone had sent word to Gossip Girl that she was only in at that particular school because of her Page Six status. Everyone was mad at everyone else. Serena blamed Blair, Blair blamed Dan, Nate blamed Vanessa, Chuck blamed the Illuminati (more on that in a second), and for some reason Georgina popped up and blamed Eric Bogosian. Everyone was so mad! Especially Professor Scarf... because the play was on!

So they rolled Nellie Yuki on stage and she sang "Old Man River" while Dan and Nate and Blair and Serena all bickered at each other. Special guest star Charles Isherwood focused his beady eyes on the proceedings and nodded slowly. So basically, in what was the biggest bullshitz of the night, Nate broke character and just started railing on things and plays and stuff being dumb. So then Dan started it too and Blair and Serena and then the set caught on fire and everyone died. Oh, no. Dozed off there for a second and started having a wonderful dream. What actually happened was that Dan figured out that it was the wicked Rachel who was doing all of these wicked deeds so he looked at her, promptly came in his pants, and broke up with her. Just like the pros do it.

So everyone stabbed Rachel and she said she didn't even know who she was anymore and then Blair swooped in and issued one last knifing, but not before Teach reduced her to a whimpery, questioning mess. She deserved what had come to her, this Yale banishing, this trustlessness. It was all her scheming fault, every last thing. She rushed off. At the same time, Serena was confessing her love for Professor Scarf. He looked at her all bug-lipped and said "S. I'm gay." She shrieked "No!!" and grabbed at his scarf. She tore it from his neck. And then his head fell off. As she held the scarf in her hands, she looked back and forth at the scarf and the head, the scarf then the head, the scarf then the head... After about 45 minutes she finally put it together. "Ohhhhhh. He's gay."

Dan had a creepy talk with his secretly-proud Dad, who then got up onto the counter, raised his meaty arms over his head, and dove off. The scene ended as he was alight, agonizingly, in midair.

Nate and Vanessa had a dopey fight about how she's all into like artz and culture beats and stuff and he's like, into, ESPN. Which, oh Christ. WHEN HAS NATE EVER BEEN LIKE THAT? NEVER, JESSICA QUELLER. N-E-V-E-R. If Nate had said "You're into culture beats, and I'm into smoking doobies," I woulda believed it. If Nate had said "You're into culture beats, and I'm into sitting on the toilet for hours on end while reading old Sally Forth comics," I definitely woulda believed. But ESPN? No. Fail. That character detail is in no way earned. Either cast someone else to play that part, or write Nate as the listless, genital-less sex robot he is. Puhhleeze.

During all of these proceedings Chuck was investigating The Case of the Not-So-Dead Hooker, which costarred Brooke Burns or like David Charvet in a wig. It was a Baywatch Nights plotline at best, with Chuck meeting all manner of deception and then finding out, in the end, that the broad was vicious little money-grubber. Ah well. The whole silly No. 1 Cat Fishes' Detective Agency storyline did reintroduce Gay Prince Jack, who for the purposes of this show is named Bailey or Carmichael or Elantra or something. Whatever. Carter or whoever found Blair all meepy with a martini at some sort of bar and he offered to buy her a drink. I guess this was meant to imply that they were to be having sex on each other, because at the same time we were shown Dorota in a pink bathrobe ushering in the young swain Chuckles B into Blair's apartment. He was there to re-woo her. She was being Woo'd by Halifax or whatever. What will become of this tiresome romantic polyhedron? A whole lotta nerfin, is my guess.

So, yes, dear Gossip Girl. Your shadows have offended. After the long wait we got this silly, starchy, weakly strung-together little snoozer of an episode. I don't want to get angry watching Gossip Girl, but I did last night. The thing was sorta redeemed though when, at the end, Dorota shuffled on stage wearing her pink bathrobe. She stood in a pool of light and looked out.

She stands and looks out on the audience. There is a sad calm about her. She heaves a sigh. Finally, she speaks.

DOROTA: When I was little girl in Warsaw, I was seeing a play every week. My father take me to National Theater of Poland. Every time it was being a play by Stanisław Wyspiański. Sometimes The Wedding. Other times The Return of Odysseus. That was being my favorite. At home, I read original Odyssey. About lost person, who comes home again. A good story.

A pause. She considers something.

DOROTA: In this city. In this house where I live there are always things disappearing. It is boyfriends or it is clothing or it is storylines just ... pfft! They are gone. So quickly in this house, how things disappear. How light is moving from one window to next, all the months of the year. From my room I can see street. All the people. Dippty dippty dippty. Down street. Little ants. All moving away from this house. Sometimes when Miss Blair is asleep and I am in house, awake, alone, I sit by window and I think I am Penelope. Waiting for many lost things to come back to me.

She pauses again. Laughs a little.

DOROTA: Other times I am just running around like chicken! Coo coo coo! No head. Like that. All party dresses for the girls and young men in tiny pants who come to see the girls. There is one girl, she is so lovely. Her name is Nate. Short hair, wears American slacks. But skin like dreams. Like stage lights in Warsaw, her skin. I think, in another life, we will be sisters. We will not be in house all the time, as I am being. No, we will hold hands and dippty dippty dippty! Down street. Just like that. Like everyone else.

She smiles. Sighs.

DOROTA: Well. Back to cleaning.

Her light fades, the stage is black. Curtain.