Warning: This recap mentions mature themes, including sexual content.
In a city full of Éclats, which penthouse suite gives out black cards? That’s the question we ask Siri before inputting that other absurdly white hallway school into our no-go GPS systems to avoid any accidental gun spillage as one creeps out of a student’s bag. Over at St Jude’s, Max is giving Rafa a blowjob. Julien’s getting a little solar power by sitting outside next to Zoya. They’re doing the opposite of throwing their phones into a stream of water by clicking themselves into the ‘going’ category for a New York Legends-themed Halloween party.
Of course, it’s more on the treat side with a couples costume photo spread spooking Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and Women’s Wear Daily. Audrey and Aki are the only ones who have pre-planned by brainstorming Greta and Noah (Gerwig and Baumbach for those who aren’t on a first-name basis) with guilt-tripping Pippa and Bianca marked as their top competition. Max saddles up with two nuggets of contextual info; the first, Gossip Girl’s apparently behind the incident, and the second, he’s unwilling to admit fault to the whole Audrey and Aki polygamy fiasco. Leaving them, Aki throws a curious head tilt as he notices Max’s brief interaction with Rafa. Switched on the same computer screen once chronicling the class of 2009’s scolding tea is the morning news; either the teachers are masking up with a matching GG emblem cape saving the day by helping identify the gunman or being cuffed as the catalyst.
Otto’s getting a flare-up of commitment phobia, looking for any sort of sign to back out. If only he were boarding the same bus Zoya’s on. Instead, there’s a really cute boy with shaggy, ringlet hair and a denim jacket citing her life story; Simon Rivera is his name. A few episodes ago, Audrey’s mom was unable to get out of bed. Now she’s caught in the kitchen cooking sushi; it’s boiling up a recipe for fishy until she reveals they’re moving to Cornwall. She refuses to go; Audrey tells her friends, who are casually nodding their heads in agreement in front of her while nursing a wine glass in their hands. Aki’s looking around, seemingly confused as to what’s the fuss in a two-hour commute; a string of angry cat emojis cutely silences him. It’s then when Julien causes a shift in conversation, wondering why she’s unable to convince her fans the bond she has with her sister is genuine. Monet’s contribution is that it’s obviously because she hasn’t been her curated self, pleading to reignite her PR position; Julien allows only on the basis that it’s a safe Zoya zone.
Who, of which, is walking into the venue in a leather dungaree, not caring about Otto’s latest save the planet endeavor as her eyes mosey the room, catching busboy near the elevator. Aki’s phoning Max’s home phone, Gideon picks up. He has no idea on the whereabouts of his son. However, he has a noise detector on Roy; if he hears wailing coming up from the guest room, he’s there; if it’s dead silence, he’s moved out. Simon offers up his phone number to Zoya; she fumbles over it before succumbing. Audrey figured out a plan back on the couch, and Zoya had a costume change to attend the Halloween party with Julien. Verified by Gossip Girl, sweeping in with a perfectly timed post is the two-timing question mark. Kate puts Jordan on a WhatsApp call, believing they have shut down the account; meanwhile, he’s meme-ifying our Lonely Boy. Nick decides at that moment to call in with a favor, asking Kate to tutor Zoya.
Aki is stalking Max in the hallway in something being dubbed “the purity police,” or for another term, common sense, notifying him that whatever escapade with Rafa unfolds will always follow him around. Rafa lurks on. At the fashionable roundtable, the girls are discussing Zoya and Julien’s couple’s costume, hatching up their rivalry story to be threaded into the fabric count, a famous sister rivalry within the likes of Kourtney versus the entirety of the Kardashian clan or Deuxmoi tip waring with Gossip Girl. Finally, they decide on Beyoncé and Solange’s elevator showdown; Julien’s following the 197m Instagram count belonging to the baseball bat wielder while Zoya’s shadowing a strikingly decreased 4.8. Also on the social media platform is Simon, he may be a private account, but there’s still a pending comment as Zoya muses: Does Otto genuinely care about humanitarian work or thinks he’s obliged to? She trades seats with him, actually, upon leaving the table, him bringing it up almost immediately, making a mysterious phone call.
Like every socialite or run-of-the-mill teenager, Audrey’s most likely gotten her culinary skills from Netflix (most recently, with the help of Cooking With Paris, extravagant frocks are the new kitchen apron), putting the finishing touches on a meal she’s cooked up for both her mom and her mom’s friends. There doesn’t seem to be a lightbulb in place when Aki walks into a pub, sighting Rafa at the bar. Can’t get through to Max? Take it up with the higher authorities. He wants to use this as the perfect photo-op between Rafa and Max to send over to Gossip Girl; it won’t happen, though, Rafa throwing it back over to him, warning him he’ll be the one trying to pursue an illegal love story. Raising his voice, the bartender jogs over, voicing concerns — evidence. Audrey’s mom is flabbergasted over hosting a candlelit dinner party, having nowhere to particularly hide as the doorbell keeps chiming.
Underneath a glowing chandelier, Kate and Zoya are continuing the bloom of their odd friendship by inadvertently discussing the morality of Gossip Girl and its current highlighting love triangle. Audrey’s mom is ushering out her patronizing friends, climaxing in a fight between her and Audrey. It turns out the dad of it all has a share in the apartment; one Audrey wants to use to her advantage in order to stay in the city. Nick wants to read Kate’s work; if it wasn’t for the romantically staged cue for violin-stringed music, then it’s the vomit-inducing words “inspire you” making us know there’ll definitely be a kiss between these two sometime soon. The second he gives back her phone (you know, organizing a date), there’s a bombardment of notifications signifying there’s been a new Gossip Girl post. This time, it’s Simon and Zoya’s meet-up. Monet and Luna want Julien to press that heart icon to like it. She, however, can’t as Kate completely shuts down the account!
The city’s secrets are now as shrouded as Julien’s face as a fishnet veil hides the darkening of her eyes; sister beside her, unruly curls kept underneath a short wig. Pondering if Otto caught the post before it went dark, understanding he most definitely did through the stiffening of his posture, rigid just like his Frank Sinatra costume. He shrugs off that he’s good before asking her if he shouldn’t be. There doesn’t seem to be a pause in the conversation to color in the question’s shades. Walking into the building to realize there’s a mirage of Beys and Solanges, a leakage of vibrant oranges stark from Pippa and Bianca in the cool tones of yellow and blue, appearing as Serena’s and Blair’s Cotillion dresses. “Best frenemies forever,” one of them snarkily perks up, a statement as true as someone declaring it has been Billy Porter’s week. First bippity boppity boo-ing into the fairy godmother before using his magic wand to cast a ragtime spell onto a crowd of Upper East Siders.
Aki’s pretty close up to Max, like alarmingly close to the point where he can see the tightly interwoven stitches of his closed mouth, sporting a “F*** me freely” white tee. For the second time, Aki’s trying to shake some sense into him, Audrey playing with her braided updo in the background of their conversation. Julien has a plan; it involves taking off Otto’s clothes. Yeah, Zoya was just as confused. There’s a threesome joke thrown in somewhere just before Zoya and Julien rush off towards Pippa and Bianca, slotting themselves in between as the cameras flash. They’re Dan Humphrey and Chuck Bass. Zoya spots Simon near the bar; he’s inquiring about Gossip Girl. Kate’s walking into another bar, finding Jordan leaning over its counter; he’s got a crush on her; she, however, doesn’t like him. She likes Nick, remember? Also, prediction time — does he project creepy, going to throw her behind metal bars later on in the season out of revenged anger vibes, or is that a poor judgment discovery?
Monet was the one to tell Pippa and Bianca. She no longer shares Julien’s vision, cutting any sort of ties with each other. Luna struts off with Julien, too. Nelly Yuki has more originality now compared to her OG days; giant glasses shielding her eyes and a colorful, furry coat make up this kookie style. She works for New York Magazine, the same one our Simon is a researcher at, having been undercover sleuthing the spotting hoarder account’s identity. A familiar student is talking to Max about Rafa; he knows they’re there together at the party. According to him, they had sex when he was a senior, too. Otto tells Zoya she has to be careful; this spiderweb of a glitzy world they’re caught in is often saturated with clout chasers, those lowly hung in morals who are either running after their fame or a story, scraping names over a dirty feed. Audrey’s an emotional drunk. She needs more attention from Aki; the buzzing phone needs hers. It’s the hospital.
Max confronts Rafa, who then tries to groom him into thinking his friends don’t care about him. He’s too smart for that, though, following after them. With a hippie bandana wrapped around his head, Nick tells Kate that he loved her story, surprised by the slightly darker turn. It’s the final arc twist of Kate acknowledging there was a sense of truth in Jordan’s words; Gossip Girl indeed forces needed conversations, sparking the revival of the account. Finally, group hugged by her friends, including a waved on over Max, Audrey’s granted the good news that her mom will be okay.
Gossip Girl airs on HBO Max on Thursdays, with episodes coming out weekly.