10/22/2012 11:15 pm ET Updated Dec 22, 2012

'Gossip Girl' Season 6, Episode 3 Recap: Dan Double-Crosses While Chuck And Blair Double-Team

Note: Do not read on if you have not seen Season 6, Episode 3 of The CW's "Gossip Girl," titled "Dirty Rotten Scandals."

Well, to quote "Parks and Recreation's" Perd Hapley ... that was a thing that just happened. This week's "Gossip Girl" wasn't quite as infuriatingly regressive as episode 602, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to feel much empathy for any of the characters when they're all such manipulative, selfish wastes of oxygen. (I know, I know, welcome to the entire premise of the show.)

But while their irresponsible behavior was somewhat forgivable when these entitled Upper East Siders were in high school, shouldn't they have learned something after five years of making the same mistakes over and over again? Dan has truly become the privileged social climber he always aspired to be, and in the process, has become worse than any of the former friends who he feels have spent the last five seasons slighting him.

Lonely Boy was once our innocent everyman, a window into an unfathomable world of excess that most of us could only shake our heads at from a safe distance, but now it seems as though the writers just want to see how unlikeable and irredeemable they can make him in the final ten episodes. (It doesn't really bother me, since I never much cared about Dan and his pretensions, but I'm assuming the character had some fans, given the vocal "Dair" contingent last season, and I can't imagine they're thrilled with the turn he's taken.) Yes, Dan's friends are terrible people, but they were born terrible people, with terrible role models and every opportunity afforded to them; Dan actually grew up with a supportive, relatively normal family and a comfortable but not excessively affluent lifestyle, and yet he tossed all those life lessons away to become just another spoiled little rich kid with more vanity than sense. That character evolution is far more disappointing than anything Serena, Blair, Nate or even Chuck has ever done, because they're used to getting away with being terrible, whereas Dan aspired towards it, even after he was given every opportunity to course-correct.

Serena's romance with Steven is just plain dull, but it's nice to see her at least attempting to make a fresh start while trying to avoid (but mostly failing) getting sucked back into the petty grudges of her youth -- it's just a pity that Sage is such a terrible actress and an obnoxious character, since unless the teen gets hit by a bus in the next few episodes, I'm guessing it means Serena and Steven aren't destined to be together for the long haul. (Knowing this show, the writers will inexplicably stick Dan and Serena back together for the series finale, despite them having a shared half-brother and Dan having no redeeming qualities at this point.)

Nate seems to be the only one trying to be honest and reliable, and even if he wanted to feature Dan's serial in the Spectator to help his flagging company, he still didn't deserve to be left high and dry after Dan got a better offer from Vanity Fair, especially since he was also letting Lonely Boy crash with him for free.

But as inoffensive as Nate's being this season, there is literally no justifiable reason for him to be with Sage -- not only is she too young for him, did we forget the aforementioned obnoxiousness? She's trying to take down one of Nate's oldest and closest friends, so what possible justification does he have for dating her? It's not as if he couldn't get laid elsewhere. Convenient plot contrivances that make zero sense, it's the "Gossip Girl" way!

After Blair's shrieky immaturity last week, she swung back to being semi-bearable in "Dirty Rotten Scandals," although only after she'd passed out and been relegated to bed rest. Despite her workaholism, she was at least given a few sweet moments with Chuck (who's also on his best behavior this season), and though her fashion show debut was an unmitigated disaster (because of Hurricane Sage's petulant involvement, natch) it was nice to see Chuck talking her down off the ledge and agreeing to join forces with her to ensure Waldorf Designs' success and Bart's takedown. The pair undeniably work better together than apart, and the only time Blair's allowed to be tolerable and mostly-sane seems to to be when she's around Chuck.

Sadly, the first part of Dan's serial also brought Rufus and Ivy's icky relationship back to the forefront, with Dan outing their relationship to all of New York and inadvertently pushing them closer together. I refuse to write any more about it, because it's still too skeevy for words.

We ended up pretty much back where we started with this episode: Serena and Steven are still solid, despite Sage's best efforts to sabotage them; Sage is still sleeping with Nate, despite common sense telling him it's a terrible idea; Blair and Chuck are stronger than ever (and barely any closer to achieving their goals); Blair and Serena are still hating each other; Dan is still being despicable and just alienated the last friend he had, and Rufus and Ivy are still making me want to vomit. Just another soul-destroying night on the Upper East Side.

"Gossip Girl" airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

What did you think of "Dirty Rotten Scandals"?

Gossip Girl Season 6