Carrnal Knowledge is the 17th episode of the second season and the 35th episode overall.
While Upper East Siders are hitting the snooze button, Blair Waldorf had a rude awakening when the rooster crowed at dawn this morning.
In retaliation for not playing by the unspoken rules of Constance Billard, Blair hatches a plan to bring down her teacher, Rachel. After Chuck wakes up in a hotel and only has a minor recollection of what happened the previous evening, Nate and Vanessa try to help him fill in the missing pieces. Meanwhile, Dan and Rachel consummate their relationship after everything changes.
After the events of the night of the opera, Blair is sentenced to clean up Central Park before school. She supervises as Dorota does the cleaning while she calls Serena to vent about detention. Serena tries to see it from both Blair and Rachel's side before hanging up to bring Rachel an essay at the cafe where she has breakfast. After they hang up, Harold shows up at the park with Handsome, Blair's dog. He brings Blair and Dorota a picnic breakfast and tells Blair that he is proud of her for accepting her punishment with grace. She accepts the compliment and thanks him. Meanwhile, Serena arrives at the cafe where Rachel is and finds her sitting there with Dan. They have an awkward interaction before Dan leaves to go to school. Once he's gone, Rachel mentions a wonderful piece of writing he did. Feeling slighted, Serena asks her for more time on her essay; which Rachel grants. Elsewhere, Chuck wakes up in a mysterious bedroom. He gets up and goes to the bathroom, where he notices a strange tattoo on his arm while washing his hands. He has flashbacks to tons of beautiful women dressed up and wearing masks, then remembers one particular woman who he may have hooked up with. He calls Nate to ask if they spoke the night before. When Nate says no, Chuck says that the night before was one of the greatest nights of his life while he looks over a card with a date, time, and address inscribed. He tells Nate to write down the address on the card and to have him and Vanessa meet him there.
At Constance, Blair tells Rachel that she finished her week of detention. Afterwards, she tries to recruit her minions into helping her take Rachel down. However, the girls are not interested due to not wanting to get detention as well. Blair tries to give them an inspirational speech but the girls are still unmoved. Headmistress Queller then appears and announces that the school has a new policy that bans cell phone use during the day. She informs them that at the beginning of each day, each student is to turn their phone in and that they will receive it back at the end of the day. The girls are shocked and decide to do as Blair commands, once they realize this new policy was Rachel's idea. After they check their phones, the girls go to the bathroom to hang out. Dorota arrives soon after and covertly brings Blair a bag full of phones. She thanks Dorota and hands them out, ordering the girls to dig deep into Rachel's past to find anything to take her down with. Elsewhere, Nate and Vanessa meet Chuck at the address he gave them. He tells them that he received the card with the date, time, and address. When he arrived, he found a private gentlemen's club waiting for him; along with the most beautiful woman he's ever seen ready to pleasure him. However, it didn't go very far and he woke up alone in a hotel room. They enter the house to see if they can find any clues as to what happened. Back at Constance, the minions are unable to find anything scandalous about Rachel. Blair instructs them to make something up and leaves the bathroom. Outside, she sees Dan awkwardly trying and compliment Rachel. She sees the brewing chemistry between them and decides to take matters into her own hands by sending in a tip to Gossip Girl about them.
Later that afternoon, guys at St. Jude's congratulate Dan. He doesn't know why, and tells Jenny that his day has been weird. She takes the opportunity to show him the Gossip Girl headline about him and Rachel, that she wrote down on her arm due to not having a cell phone. He is shocked by the rumor and tells her that it's absurd. Jenny then spots Serena entering the courtyard and wishes him luck on convincing her that it isn't true. Serena comes over and asks if it's true. He swears that it isn't and she believes him. Dan wonders who would even send in a mean rumor about Rachel, and Serena explains to him that Blair got trash duty because of her. Meanwhile, Chuck wanders the house but finds nothing of interest. However, he's absolutely sure that this is the place where he was. Chuck then spots a photo of a woman holding a baby that's sitting on the grand piano. He tells them that that is the woman, and Vanessa wonders if it's the mom. Nate says there's only one way to find out and shows Chuck a flyer for the house, which is for sale. Back at Constance, Dan confronts Blair about starting the rumor. She plays dumb and says she has no idea what he's talking about. Outside, Serena gives Rachel her essay and admits that she didn't turn it in earlier because she was embarrassed about not being as confident with her writing as Dan is. Rachel tells her that Dan is confident because he's been praised and encouraged all his life. Serena then tells Rachel about the rumor and Gossip Girl. She explains how people will send tips to GG and she will spread them, anonymously. Serena walks away to go to class and once she's gone, Dan asks Rachel if she has a minute to talk. Back at the house, Chuck takes a tour of the house with the selling real estate agent. He asks about the photo of the woman and the baby and she explains that that is the nanny. They pause in the dining room, and Chuck asks if he can have the private number of the previous owners to ask about specific details related to the house. The agent is wary at first, until Chuck bribes her with his connections in the realty world. She replies that she can't be unprofessional, but leaves the folder behind on purpose with the owner's contact information while she gets them some bottled water. When she leaves the room, Chuck calls and asks to speak with the nanny when a man answers. The man replies that the nanny, Elle, is with the children at the park. Chuck leaves his number and asks for her to call him back.
At Constance, Blair is called to Headmistress Queller's office for a meeting. When she walks in, she's shocked to see Rachel in there with Gossip Girl pulled up on the computer. Headmistress Queller says that they know she sent in the tip. Blair insists that she didn't, but Rachel says that they have a witness. The secretary sends in Nelly, who explains to Blair that she has to go to Yale and it was either Blair's record or her own. She finishes by saying they tried to warn her that she would be caught but she wouldn't listen. Headmistress Queller then tells Blair that she has no other option but to expel her from Constance. The next day, Blair tells Harold that her acceptance to Yale will be revoked once they hear what happened. He asks her if she did start the rumor and she says that anything she posted was the absolute truth. Harold says that it's clear Rachel has been out to get her from the start and informs her that he's going to have his lawyers fight the expulsion. At the gallery, Rufus tells Dan and Vanessa that he and all the other parents were called in for an emergency Parent Council meeting. He also says that Dan is the subject of the meeting and then asks if there's anything they need to talk about. Meanwhile, Nate sends Vanessa a card similar to Chuck's and a mask. She excuses herself to put it away. Dan tells Rufus that nothing is going on with him and Rachel but doesn't say more about it. In the park, Serena meets with Rachel and asks her to reconsider about having Blair expelled because it will ruin her entire future. Rachel replies that Blair is getting what she deserved by posting slanderous rumors and refuses to look the other way. She excuses herself to do something before the Parent Council meeting and leaves. Once she's gone, Serena calls Blair and says that Rachel is refusing to budge. Blair tells Dorota to give her dog, Handsome, away and Serena tells her to hang in there. She then notices that Rachel left her planner. She looks inside and decides to meet Rachel at her next appointment to return it.
At Constance, Lily, Rufus, and Harold arrive for the meeting. Harold explains that he's there to advocate on Blair's behalf and introduces himself to Rufus. Rufus replies that he's there to make sure no one else is slandered like Dan was by Blair and introduces himself. Back at the house, Chuck calls Nate and informs him that he knows who the woman, Elle, is. He lies that he's waiting for his chiropractor and Nate tells him to call the next day. After they hang up, Elle shows up holding a candle stick. Meanwhile, Dan has coffee with Rachel at an intimate restaurant. She says she feels so insulted by the rumor and begins to tear up. He leans in to tuck a lock of her hair behind her ear and she doesn't fight it. However, unbeknownst to them, Serena sees them from outside and she takes a photo before walking away quickly. Inside, Rachel pulls away from Dan and he apologizes. Back at the house, Elle tells Chuck that the invitation was meant for Bart, and that she sent it without realizing he was dead. When Chuck showed up, she realized her mistake so she drugged him to get him out there with no memory of what had happened. He demands to know who the group is and she alludes to all the powerful men in America. She tells him to stop looking for answers and to not contact her again. At the Archibald's, Vanessa arrives with the mask and the card and goes inside for a sexy night with Nate. At the Waldorf's, Serena shows Blair the photo she took of Dan and Rachel. Blair is sorry, since Dan is Serena's boyfriend, but says that they have to get to the Parent Council meeting right away. She orders Dorota to get her dog back and leaves with Serena. On the way out, Serena texts Dan to meet her at Constance right away.
At Constance, Harold argues that the internet censorship is a freedom of speech issue. The parents debate on having the site shut down and while they walk, Blair runs in and tells Headmistress Queller to check her email. She does, and the projector shows the photo of Dan and Rachel together to everyone there. Outside the meeting, Serena tells Dan that she saw him and Rachel and took a photo; which Blair is showing everyone inside. The meeting then lets out, and Rufus emerges. Dan shouts that the rumor is not true but Rufus walks away, saying they'll talk at home. Rachel also comes out and she tells Dan and Serena that she was fired. Blair comes over and says that not only is she back into Constance, but she saved Gossip Girl. Dan angrily says that she used the photo to back up a lie and she replies that she was just being eerily prophetic. Harold overhears and is shocked that Blair made the whole thing up. She tries to apologize but he just says he's going home. Dan and Serena go outside and he asks why she went after Rachel. She admits she felt like a fool and believed the worst because a part of her wanted to. They talk and break up, saying that too much has come in between them. They hug and let it go.
The next day, Rufus said he heard that Dan and Serena broke up. He asks Dan if he's okay and he says that he is. He asked what happened in the meeting and Rufus confesses that after the photo came out, her fate was sealed. Dan says that he messed up, not Rachel, and he should be punished. He figures out that Rufus voted to fire her but Rufus replies that he only did so to protect his future. Angry, Dan gets up and says that Rachel shouldn't be fired and he should be the one punished. He leaves. At Rachel's, Serena brings her her planner. She admits to giving the photo to Blair and Rachel gives her back her essay. She says that it was wonderful but then says that it's best if she leaves. At the Waldorf's, Blair prepares to send Handsome back to Paris with Harold and Roman. However, Harold says that she can keep the dog and then tells Blair that he's worried about her. He says that he's disappointed in her for allowing him to defend a lie. She reasons that Yale was on the line and that she has to go there, same as he did. He argues that he doesn't care about what college she goes to so much as what kind of person she turns out to be. She offers to have Dorota pack a picnic for them to eat on their way to the airport, but Harold says that they should say goodbye then. He kisses her head and leaves, saying they both have a lot to think about. At the VDW's, Chuck opens Bart's safe and finds a whole collection of cards like the one he received. He wonder aloud what Bart was involved in as he sifts through them. He then receives a call from Alan Phillips, the owner of the house and Elle's employer. Alan explains that Elle never returned home to them and they're worried about her. He asks Chuck to call if he hears from her. At Rachel's, Dan arrives to apologize for the hug. However, she grabs him and kisses him. He asks what she's doing and she simply says that she doesn't teach at Constance anymore. Back at the VDW's, Headmistress Queller visits to tell Rufus and Lily that the board of directors has decided that they don't have enough sufficient evidence to fire Rachel and that she will be allowed to resume her teaching duties. Meanwhile, Serena leaves a message for Dan where she apologizes for everything and that she hopes they can be okay. Back at Rachel's, it's revealed Dan missed the call because he is having sex with Rachel.
- Blake Lively as Serena van der Woodsen
- Leighton Meester as Blair Waldorf
- Penn Badgley as Dan Humphrey
- Chace Crawford as Nate Archibald
- Ed Westwick as Chuck Bass
- Jessica Szohr as Vanessa Abrams
- Taylor Momsen as Jenny Humphrey
- Kelly Rutherford as Lily van der Woodsen
- Matthew Settle as Rufus Humphrey
- Zuzanna Szadkowski as Dorota Kishlovsky
- Amanda Setton as Penelope Shafai
- Dreama Walker as Hazel Williams
- Yin Chang as Nelly Yuki
- Nicole Fiscella as Isabel Coates
- John Shea as Harold Waldorf
- Linda Emond as Headmistress Queller
- Laura Breckenridge as Rachel Carr
- Kate French as Elle
- It's a New Day by Will.I.Am
- With a Heavy Heart (I Regret to Inform You) by Does It Offend You, Yeah?
- Mission Control by The Dandy Warhols
- Kiss Me Again by Jessica Lea Mayfield
- Bet You Never Thought by Brighton, MA
Blair: Never, in my 16,982 hours of schooling, have I ever been sentenced to detention!
Serena: I can't believe you added up all the hours of class we've had. Makes me want to play hooky.
Rachel: Blair! If I'm correct, you completed your detention this morning.
Blair: Yes, Ms. Carr. Signed and dated by The Preservation Society.
Rachel: I hope the experience was educational.
Blair: I made friends with a family of squirrels and had lots of time to think.
Blair (to Penelope, Hazel, Nelly, and Isabel): This. Is. Constance. Don't you see? If Cornflower Mary can come in and tell us how to run things than everything we stood for, all these years, is nothing. This isn't about Yale. This is about our legacy. What we do here today, echoes. Through eternity. Who's with me?
Hazel: Is a scandal still a scandal if you can't text about it?
Blair (to Penelope, Hazel, Nelly, and Isabel): When the truth fails you, you have no choice but to abandon it. MAKE SOMETHING UP. Idiots. *to herself* With friends like these, who needs friends?
Dan: Whatever issues you have with Rachel, she cares about people. She cares about her job.
Blair: Oh, that is so sweet. You should write a short story about it and have Rachel give you notes. Naked.
Harold: Blair is being horribly scapegoated.
Rufus: I thought that the meeting was to discuss the school's new online honor codes.
Harold: Yes, well, I'm crashing it to advocate for my daughter. Harold Waldorf.
Rufus: Well, I'm here to make sure no other students are slandered the way my son was by your daughter. Rufus Humphrey.
Chuck: Look, this whole "Eyes Wide Shut" mystery was been fun. But if my father was a part of this group, I have a right to know who they are.
Elle: Turn on CNN. Walk down Wall Street. Go to Washington. That's who they are. And if they find out that I let an outsider in... lose the card, the stamp on your arm will fade. Stop asking questions, stop looking!
Chuck: I'll protect you.
Elle: How? Your own father was one of them and you didn't even know it. Don't contact me again.
Dan (on the Rachel thing): Why were you so ready to believe the worst?
Serena: Honestly? I think a part of me wanted to. Dan, we keep trying to act like we can overcome anything.
Dan: Yeah, pretending that none of it mattered. Our parents dating, sharing a brother... I mean, different colleges next year, it's... over, isn't it?
Serena: Well, we had to try.
- The episode title is based off the movie Carnal Knowledge.
- The episode takes place on January 30th - February 1, 2009.
- The house that Chuck, Nate, and Vanessa went to was for sale and listed for $38,650,000.
- The episode is dedicated in memory to a friend and colleague named Salvatore Martorano Jr (1955-2009).
- This is Harold Waldorf's last appearance until season five's G.G.