Season 3 Refresher: Blair Waldorf

We’ve revisited Dan, Vanessa, Nate, Serena, Rufus and Lily, Jenny, and Chuck. Saved the best for last: Ms. Blair Cornelia Waldorf.

“Reversals of Fortune”: Unwilling to settle down and get boring, she and Chuck have spent their summer playing games (C faux seducing a lady; B playing scorned woman). But, asks Serena, who is she playing for — herself or Chuck? They decide to keep their games just between the two of them with Chuck playing waiter to B’s disgruntled diner. Hilarious. Her worry that she and Chuck will be boring is a strong echo of the fans’ worry — if there’s no conflict, is there no spice?

“The Freshman”: Blair in an NYU dorm. With Vanessa and Georgina. Ugh. B’s plan to be Queen of NYU experiences flop after flop: no one attends her sushi and saki party, no one likes their gift bags, she has to resort to asking Dan Humphrey to accompany her to Georgina’s roof-top rager, and her attempt to out G as a Jesus freak backfires. Two insanely sweet moments for B in this episode: with Serena on the steps of the Met deciding she is ready for a new challenge, and at the end of the episode, crawling into bed with Chuck.

“The Lost Boy”: After her French history class, Blair heads back to the dorms to find Dan and Georgina fooling around. Ew. She heads to Chuck’s suite to surprise him (lingerie under the trench coat), but is rebuffed. It’s been 5 days and Blair is getting testy. In her mail she finds a mysterious invite to the Table Elitaire, a secret exclusive society — they want her! All she has to do is contribute a Patrick McMullan photograph to their collection, and there’s one up for auction. Alas Chuck wants that same photo. They try to distract each other with sex, but when she finds out he’s still after the picture, she steals his shoes and heads for the auction. Chuck tells her she’s special without the approval of some group. In the end, Serena gives Blair the photo and Blair gives it to Chuck — she’s over la Table. Good thing, Georgina was behind the whole fandango.

“Dan de Fleurette”: Blair declares NYU hell; she tracks down the Masters of the Universe society to find out they are not Wall Streeters but He-Man enthusiasts. She thanks god when the Constance mean girls call her for help with the Jenny Era of Fairness situation, and she decides to “tutor” them — a.k.a. throw her annual sleepover. Chuck has other plans for her and just as Blair has a rapt audience, the Gossip Girl blast about Jenny and Chuck at the movie premiere lands. Says Chuck once he explains himself, “Blair Waldorf does not give up.” She finds some other private school girls who are also stuck at NYU — now she has minions again.

“Rufus Getting Married”: Blair calls Bree a “future NASCAR mom.” Convinced that he’s not all bad, Blair doesn’t want Chuck sabotaging Carter. Also, Chuck gives her what looks like a very good massage. After Georgina (temporarily) ruins Rufus and Lily’s wedding, Blair gets Vanya to pretend to be a prince and he whisks G away. Revenge!

“Enough About Eve”: Quel horror! Blair dreams she’s Bette Davis in All About Eve with Vanessa as Eve Harrington. Upon waking, Blair reassures herself, “I’m Audrey. I’m Audrey.” She’s jealous of Vanessa’s standing at NYU and wants to give the freshmen speech. Her campaigning with Josh Ellis doesn’t work so she switches gears. Phase 1: Manipulate Vanessa into eliminating Olivia as a potential speech maker. Phase 2: Use Chuck to get Josh Ellis to agree to give B the speech, not  Vanessa. She sets up the infamous kiss. Les jeuxs sont fait when Blair inadvertently reveals her lies and manipulations over the loud speakers. Yes, B, you did mess up. She tries to apologize to Chuck but he isn’t having it and at the end of the episode she’s at the NYU cafe eating croissants with Vanessa. Sad.

“How to Succeed in Bassness”: Blair wants Chuck to open the club with a theme night and starts meddling even when Chuck asks her not to. She’s with Serena when Chuck asks S (on speaker phone) not to let Blair anywhere near his speakeasy-themed Halloween opening night. Blair pretends to get it: “It’s not about me, it’s about Chuck,” but immediately ups her meddling to prove herself useful. She turns to Jack Bass to get the liquor license approved. With Chuck ignoring her, she makes Dorota hang out with her (getting pedicures, playing chess while Dorota vacuums the dorm). When the license turns out to be a fraud, she makes the most of it by using Serena’s celebrities to grab headlines for Chuck’s hotel and club. She and Serena are on the outs, big time. But Blair and Chuck are back on.

“The Grandfather, Part II”: Serena and Blair are still pissed at each other; Blair’s waiting for an apology that ain’t coming. She needs a friend and can’t find a worthy candidate until she and the new mean girls are hanging at the NYU cafe and B spies a blonde with a Valentino 360 bag. Blair brings Brandice to the Van Der Bilt party, and boy oh boy that Brandice recognizes a lot of the politicians there. Blair and Serena both pretend their lives are way better than they actually are. Blair sees Patrick peeing in a plant and then puts him in a suite because he’s too drunk for such a classy party. Serena finds out that Brandice is an escort, and Blair retaliates by calling Serena the prostitute for fake-dating Patrick. Into the cake B goes! Blair tells Serena that unlike Serena, she’s building her life; Serena isn’t her #1 anymore (Chuck is); their friendship is over. And so is Blair’s with Brandice when she finds out that the call girl story is true and that Brandice used B for her connections. Blair tells Chuck at the end of the night that he’s all she needs, but her expression tells another story.

“They Shoot Humphreys, Don’t They”: Blair is supposed to be a cotillion mentor but is reluctant to go to the VDW because she’ll have to see Serena. S doesn’t apologize to her, so Blair insults her and takes on Jenny as her mentee. That arrangement doesn’t last long; Jenny fires her, telling her she’s a nobody now. Blair teams up with Eric to make over Kiera and turn her into Constance queen. It nearly works. Chuck traps Serena and Blair together in an elevator and they finally talk. Blair is a good friend to Serena, listening and offering sound advice to stay away from Tripp. She also makes peace with Jenny, impressed by her Nate Archibald debut.

“Last Days of Discostick”: That Serena-Blair peace didn’t last long. Blair saw the sexual tension between S and Tripp at his office and Serena’s denials of it infuriate Blair. Blair focuses her energy on winning over the Tisch kids who are putting together a fairytale themed cabaret. They mock Blair. Well, no one mocks Blair Waldorf and gets away with it. She uses Olivia to get into the showcase, Olivia brings Dan, and Dan recruits Vanessa. Producer Blair sees the discord between the three during rehearsal and correctly identifies the situation: “Did you doofuses have a threesome?” She blackmails Olivia and Vanessa into finishing the show, it’s a success, and, as the icing on the Waldorf cake, Blair sets up a very special event: the Tisch kids get to see Lady Gaga rehearse “Bad Romance.” Cyrus Rose and Lady Gaga are pals; who did you think Poker Face was about?? Rarely does Blair so fully and completely triumph. Love this episode.

“Treasure of the Serena Madre”: Thanksgiving! Blair is still pissed at Serena and she’s also suspicious of her mother’s return from Paris. There must be a bomb to drop. Blair tries to find out what the secret is — seeing a pregnancy test in Dorota’s bag, she assumes Eleanor is preggers. At the VDW thanksgiving, she tries to get Eleanor to admit it and gets increasingly frustrated. Then she storms off, demanding pie. Eleanor tells her the secret isn’t that she’s pregnant; she and Cyrus are moving to Paris permanently, leaving New York for Blair to rule. So who’s pregnant? Dorota! Win! Blair makes peace with Serena and invites her to come to Paris but ends up going alone when Chuck stays behind with Nate, and Serena goes off with Tripp.

“The Debarted”: Blair tries to get Chuck to face his feelings about his father’s death but he keeps pushing her away. She turns to Lily for help, despite being hurt by Chuck’s cruel dismissal. At the hospital Blair is a genius friend to Serena (their little scene is one of my favorite moments between them) and then finds Chuck in the hallway. She gives him such a beautiful speech about what kind of man he’s become and how important he is to her and to his family. Getting up, Chuck kisses her hair and says thank you. (I cry my eyes out every time I watch this scene.)

Watching Blair try to win over the NYU crowd was annoying this season; it’s hard to see her at the bottom. After her victory over the Tisch crowd, I think we’re finished with that NYU Queen storyline. And with Josh and Stephanie promising us more UES and less NYU as well as emotional arcs for Blair and Chuck — I think fans of Blair who have been disappointed with her character’s turn this season may cheer up. Starting tomorrow night! Can not wait.

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