Another Gossip Girl episode has come and gone…with storylines as old as the series itself, it would seem, but somehow coalescing into a pleasurable hour for the season. In an episode filled with schemes that — for the most part — made actual sense, the reveal was as shocking as ever.

Unless you happen to ever have been on the Internet in the last month. Bart Bass lives!

Elsewhere, Dan’s “I love you” feedback is less than ideal; Blair tries to find her OGB (“Original Gangsta Blair”) while scheming against Diana with Chuck, Nate, Serena, and “Serena Lite” Lola; and Rufus sits on the same chair for the entire episode. It’s riveting stuff, man! So let’s get to the roundtable.

1. Bart Bass is back! Dun dun dun!

Samantha | I LOVE Bart and am so happy he is back. I can’t think about it too deeply because it would make pretty much every Chuck plot since 2×13 make no sense, but whatever. I am just basking in the fact that all 3 Bass men were in one episode for the first time ever. And if Bart can still be alive then there is hope the Cece might be out there in hiding somewhere too. And I need that kind of hope in my life.

Kate | Yay! Bart!! While I’ve missed having Bart on the show and love his character, they get a face palm for pulling more soap opera stunts. People don’t fake their death in real life, even if you live in the 1%. So I will wait and see how (if?) they try to really explain this away, will be excited for the Bart/Chuck scene(s), and wonder if somehow we might get a Blair/Bart scene (because so many of us have pined for one). If you’re going to bring a man back from the dead, get the most out of it.

Monika |  I wish I hadn’t already known about the spoilers because this would have been such a great surprise! Anyways, I’m really excited that he’s back. It’ll be great to see what he thinks of Chuck and all the work his son has done in his absence. Maybe they will finally have that loving parental relationship that Chuck has sorely lacked his whole life? I am also really curious to hear the reason behind this whole sham.

Elodie | So Bart’s back… but where has he been?  In a whore house this whole time? I can’t decide whether this is likely or not.  I’m really confused as to whether the whole season has been leading up to this or whether nobody in the writers room knew either until Monday, because there weren’t many clues. Or was I too distracted by Diana being Bart.

Camila | Yay! I can’t say Bart is my favorite person, but he gave us great storylines in the first 2 seasons. And I want to see how this will work out. It’s a little confusing and, well, actually I thought it threw half of season 2 away, but anyway, I liked it. Needless to say that I felt sorry for Chuck and Blair, their reactions were like “What? RIP me”.

Michael | Unfortunately, I think I was too tied up in being upset that Diana isn’t Bart and why the hell the whore house was oh so freakin’ important to both not-Bart Bass and Jack — coupled with the spoilers that Bart was going to return — to be all that shocked. Considering that the reveal was a bit slow for me too (once again, probably because of the spoilers), it wasn’t much of a twist. But I’m ready to hear why the hell he faked his death. Or maybe he didn’t fake it — maybe it was Jack. Cryogenics, people!

2. “I love you” woes.

Samantha | Do I hope that Blair’s cold shoulder is a foreshadowing of the end of Dair? Of course. She had more life this episode than she had all season. Do I think it will be? Eh, I don’t know. Frankly I don’t care. As long as she isn’t isolated out in Brooklyn with Dan anymore and actually gets to keep interacting with the other characters on this show, I don’t care who Blair is with.

Kate | First Serena, now Blair. I feel a little bad for him, even though Dan has always had a talent for grating on my nerves. Rather makes you wonder about the whole Rome issue. Blair was not rushing to say it back, and you still hesitate about investing in your career over a relationship? Hmm…

Monika | I’m actually surprised this hasn’t come up earlier because we’ve known that Dan loves Blair for quite a while. I think it’s a bit soon to expect Blair to be able to say those words back to him. It’s only been a few months since they’ve transitioned from friends to lovahs and after having been in such a heavy, love-emphasized relationship with Chuck for so long and another long-term relationship with Nate before that, I don’t think B is one to throw the L word around lightly. I think Dan will just have to be patient.

Elodie | Trust and Blair Waldorf… again? Well I suppose it would help if she weren’t at a whore house with her ex-lover. I think it’s kind of cute that Dan turned down Italy (even though I think he’s kind of stupid too). I’m kind of disappointed that Blair searching for her “groove” led to the “I love you” – *awkward pause* when really the last time Blair was “on form” she and Dan were video chatting while watchings old movies together.  Ah youth. How quickly naive feelings disappear when one marries and divorces a Prince.

Camila | Ouch. Poor Dan, that one must have had hurt. I think the only “I love you” who must have hurt more is the one Blair said to Chuck back in season 2. Or maybe the one Damon said to Elena a few weeks back. Wait, I just realized both Elena and Chuck answered with something like “too bad”. Ouch again. But back to today’s episode, I think that may have something to indicate the end of Dair. And I really don’t mean to be rude, but I’m glad me and all the Chairs out there are getting Chair back. At least I think we are…

Michael | The worst part about this, for Dan even though he doesn’t know, is that technically didn’t Blair realize he loved her…like…three months ago? Wasn’t that the catalyst for her realizing she had feelings for him too? So “Now I do” in this case is probably worse than “Thank you.” Though, this is Gossip Girl…so perhaps continuity isn’t really a factor. Overall, this seems to be the Dair theme thus far — every step is more like a hurdle and together they talk it out and realize it’s not really much of an issue. Only this time, it seems Dan will skip that “talking” step…and really, who wouldn’t? I don’t think I’d begin a conversation with “Uh remember that time I said ‘I love you’ and you were like ‘Yeah, that’s great but my tummy’s o’ growlin’!'”

3. Okay, so she’s not Bart Bass, then who the hell is Diana Payne?

Samantha | Bart’s twin brother, obviously.

Kate | Long lost (or this is the Bass family, so self-involved, wholly disinterested…) Aunt?  Or if we want to keep with the crazy unrealistic story lines, maybe she’s a female clone of Bart! He just loves himself *that* much.

Monika | She’s awesome! Do we really need more of a reason than that to keep her around? Honestly, I think she’s just a partner in crime with Bart Bass. I don’t think she has any blood relations to the Bass family because they already brought up that theory and then shot it down. It would be weird to be like “But wait, she actually IS Chuck’s mother/aunt/cousin etc!”

Elodie | The fact that she runs a whore house explains so much about her wardrobe, although I am confused as to how Nate’s grandfather knew her. Uh hu.

Camila | My friend told me about Bart before I got a chance to watch the episode and I swear that during it I was thinking about Diana being his twin sister, just like Samantha!

Michael | So she’s obviously his twin sister. I like this. But seriously, what the hell? I’d be really pissed if she were just some extraneous nobody. It seems that way, considering she’s being paid by Jack. Also, moment of silence for the Bart Bass that never was. Tear.

4. Did Blair get her “groove back” yet?

Samantha | She is getting there. Like I said before, she needs to stop being so isolated so she can keep her mojo.

Kate | With how far she went off track, it’s going to take more than one good episode to prove Queen B is back. But it was good to see ‘Classic Blair’ and the whole NJBC together again. Isn’t that why people watch the show? Or is it just me?

Monika | It’s only been one episode so I think it’s a bit too soon to call it, but I have my fingers crossed. I know a lot of people might see B’s relying on scheming as a way to “find herself” again as a regressive move in character development, but I felt it was something she really needed, and that we the audience needed as well. Blair needs to feel that she is important and that she has power. By having Chuck and all of the others rely on her to crack the code and orchestrate the scheme, Blair is reestablished as an intelligent woman who is capable of being more than just a corner in a love polygon.

Elodie | I think we saw some personal growth when she told Dan to go to Italy and implies that she would wait all summer (such a long time! Woe is the life of rich unemployed college drop outs). She seemed back in her stride by the end of the episode – whether it was the body-con dress, seeing Bart Bass or using her code breaking thingy Blair certainly spent most of the episode on top. Which is a good thing because she was fucking annoying for the first few minutes.

Camila | She’s almost there and that made me soo happy! It was so fun to see her scheme with everyone. I hope this time she stays OGB once and for all.

Michael | I’m more than certain that if the scheme was written better that everyone would be singing a different tune. The real problem this season is that all the schemes are so so so stupid. They hardly even make sense. This one was on the path of intelligence rather than unnecessary as is the norm this season. Now that I read Monika’s post, I think I remember Dan saying something about how her scheming side isn’t the “real” her, but Blair seems to think it is. Once again, doesn’t mean there is supposed to be any continuity. But I think we can all agree that we don’t necessarily want Blair to stay stagnant, but a scheme for good is technically growth. Rather than, say, schemes because she didn’t get on some elitist list.

5. Serena is out as Gossip Girl!

Samantha |  I am so glad real Gossip Girl is back (aka Bart). S/he is the best at it. But seriously, Serena was like a blog-addict all episode, and her look of anger and pain when Nate and Lola took her power away was hilarious. As was her scene with the berries afterwards. Next week she will be going through straight up withdrawal!

Kate | I could get really meta here and think making Serena Gossip Girl, and her behavior during that whole period, was a giant poke at GG’s viewership. The hours we spend on Twitter and Tumblr, forum boards, and reading/writing fanfiction. You know there are days you haven’t seen the sun, just like S, curled up in bed with your laptop making posts and watching your e-mail. So just like many of us (tries to not look in the mirror), it’s probably for the best Serena no longer has the laptop. What Nate and Lola did was out of concern, and hopefully Serena will see that and she too can come back to herself.

Monika | I like that Lola and Nate staged an intervention for S. The scene where Nate says that they did it to help her really reminded me of the friendship they used to have. I’m glad that we can move past the S as GG storyline now because she was really reaching the bottom of her downward spiral. Nowhere to go from here but to a (hopefully) more interesting storyline!

Elodie | Dorota’s reaction was really funny, other than that I don’t really care. I think we will now have about 4 weeks of Serena trying to find her “groove.”

Camila | Can I just say I thought Blake Lively was sick or something? She was so… I don’t know, her voice was weird, her face was weird, the way she talked and moved and all of that. In the end of the episode it got a little better, though. And this time I didn’t feel sorry for her. It’s the best and she wasn’t really good at it anyway. Now she can do something about her life.

Michael | Why does everyone keep saying Blake’s voice was weird? I didn’t notice anything. And I watched the episode about three times. Anyway, the only real problem with the Serena as Gossip Girl story is that she only really had tension with Lola…whom I don’t care about. So I welcome Gossip Girl getting her blog back, and hopefully this pushes some growth for Serena in terms of finding herself. Maybe they will go to class at some point.

6. Thoughts on anything I forgot…

Samantha | Um, Dan not going to Paris… I mean Rome, for a girl that he has been dating only a few weeks? Did he learn nothing from the Hills? But seriously, they could Skype. And its not like Blair has school or a job or a shortage of money. She could visit him every other day if she wanted to.

Kate | Loved the throw back to season two with the private :ahem: club, and here I always thought that was such a pointless place to go. Was less keen on Dan chasing after Blair, especially when she reminded them why their relationship was good and valuable to her. Way to listen to your dad, Dan. I mean, Rufus does have the most hardcore ship in the fandom (Rufus/Waffles), so you could probably learn a thing or two from him.

Monika | I LOVED all the shots at Nate about his lack of intelligence. I was actually laughing out loud during an episode and NOT in derision! I’m also kind of wary of the re-setup of the Dan/Blair/Chuck triangle. I was sad to see Dan give up such a great opportunity simply because he couldn’t trust Blair. I thought Dair was supposed to act as a contrast to Chair and having Dan act this way only hurt that view of Dair that has been built up thus far. It’s the same way Louis and Blair’s relationship went and I don’t want a replay of that with Dair.

Elodie | I still don’t know who Chuck’s parents are and we seem to have several possibilities. Also we can assume that Bart and Diana are fucking, yes? Because as two slightly too tall, old people with bad skin, a fondness for whores, and dubious relations to Chuck, it kind of makes sense.

Camila | NJBC! I loved to see all of them together, scheming like in the old days. Speaking of scheming, it made the episode so much better than the rest of the season! It was so much fun (for me) that even Lola wasn’t that boring. And Dan not accepting the trip to Rome was kind of ridiculous.

Michael | Why would Diana reveal to Serena that she’s Chuck’s mom if she is not Chuck’s mom? Like…why all the secrecy surrounding that, you know? If she wanted to pretend she was Chuck’s mom, couldn’t she have…like…planted her own seeds and clues? I don’t know it’s weird to me that she would confess that to Serena, I guess hoping that she would tell Chuck? This should go in the Diana thing but as I near the end of the roundtable, I’m overcome with this thought.

7. What grade would you give this episode?

Samantha | A+ just because it was MILES above any other episode this season and it was almost like old times, with the NJBC, Blair scheming, and Bart Bass.

Kate | A-, as it was a very solid episode, best of the season so far! But I’m not going to give it a gold star because they still brought Bart Bass back from the dead.

Monika |  I give this episode an A+. Now I’ve seen a lot of comments on the past two roundtables saying that reviews have been biased by shipper preferences. I want to make it clear that my love for Blair in this episode had NOTHING to do with the fact that we saw her and Chuck interact extensively. I ship Dair but I can also condemn or celebrate actions of characters independently of who that character is romantically involved with. I hated Blair in the last episode because I felt that she was acting immaturely. I loved her in this episode (and this entire episode in general actually) because I was reminded of why I started watching GG in the first place. We had the sexy scandalous element, with the traveling brothel. We had the unexpected twist with Bart Bass. We had comedy with all the jokes about Nate. We finally, finally had the friendship element between the characters back in a form that wasn’t just a conveniently placed photograph. Most importantly, we had Blair back to being the intelligent, HBIC with a heart that we all know and love.

Elodie | A! Along with the 100th episode, this was pretty great! A high of the season. For sure.

Camila | A+! It was the best episode of the season, it moved fast, there was scheming, HBIC Blair started to come back and the real Gossip Girl took the site back! Everything as it’s supposed to be. And my shipper heart was happy about the few Chair scenes as well.

Michael | Psh!!! to all of you who doubted me giving a higher grade last week than anyone else. The last couple of episodes have been transitioning into something pretty good. So it’s an A from me as well, just like last week. But Kate, really, a minus because of the soap opera plot? “I killed someone… LOL JK” rings a bell!