Ex-Husbands and Wives is the 21st episode of the third season and the 64th overall.
New day, new designer. Whether it's love or war you're outfitting for, thank god for friends and fashion.
When things get tense between Rufus and Will, Serena chooses to stand behind her father, making Rufus feel like an outsider in his own family. Jenny and Chuck team up to find the real story of Will's return, while Blair joins forces with Dan and Nate. After many failed attempts, Chuck makes one last grand gesture to reconcile with Blair, hoping she will finally accept the fact that they are destined to be together. Elsewhere, Jenny deliberately withholds information from everyone concerning Will's intentions, and makes a move that may ultimately destroy Lily and Rufus' marriage.
At the Waldorf's, Serena is helping Blair pick out an outfit to wear on her date with Cameron. While they decide, Blair admits that she's never been on a real date with a stranger before. After they talk, Serena tries to leave, but not before Blair asks what's going on with her. She admits that she needs to get home to Lily because she thinks Rufus cheated on her with Holland, and that William thinks Lily should keep her stress level at a minimum so they can't tell her. At The Empire, Chuck is on the phone with Jenny; telling her that he's having a pharmacist look into the pills she stole from Lily. She tells him that she's grounded and can't use the phone, but she wants to be kept in the loop. When they hang up, Rufus enters her room to confiscate her phone again. Nate leaves to go see Serena, and accidentally reveals to Chuck that Blair is going on a date. However, Chuck isn't that interested, as the pharmacist finally calls him back.
At the loft, Dan enters to find Rufus lecturing Jenny while ordering her to do her homework. She retorts that she can't without her books, so he leaves with Dan to go get them from the Lily's. At the VDW's, William brings Lily her medication and they reminisce on her pregnancy with Serena, when she drank a lot of apple juice. He apologizes for the speech he made at the Columbia gala, and she accepts his apology, then mentions that the homeopathic remedies have clogged her humidifier. He offers to check it out, and she lets him. At the loft, Chuck calls Jenny on the house phone and tells her that the medicine is good for battling parasites and African river blindness, but definitely not lymphoma. He explains that they now need to find the prescribing doctor, which he already did. The next thing he suggests is for them to go to Blair and ask her for her help to find the truth about who is prescribing the wrong meds and why. Forgetting Jenny is grounded, he instructs her to meet him at the Waldorf's and hangs up. She debates what to do for a minute, but leaves the loft. At the VDW's, Rufus and Dan arrive to pick up Jenny's book. Upon seeing them arrive, Serena acts cold toward Rufus and informs him that she knows about what he did with Holland. Confused, Rufus says he already told them about sabotaging William's move into the building, and she says that's not what she means. At that point, William, Eric, and Lily come downstairs to ask what's going on. Not wanting to say what he did, she tells him to leave, but he decides to call Holland and ask her to come tell everyone what she told Serena. She comes, and reveals to everyone that she and Rufus slept together.
Shocked, Rufus says that that is a complete lie, but Holland stands by her story. Lily heads upstairs to be alone, and Serena and Eric also excuse themselves, but not before Nate arrives in the apartment. Afterwards, William says that that kind of stress isn't good for Lily and asks both Holland and Rufus to leave. However, Rufus goes upstairs to tell Lily that Holland is lying, but Lily reminds him of the time he left his scarf in her apartment. She also mentions how he didn't speak to her for weeks after he found out about her kiss with William, but he promises he didn't do anything and will talk to her when she's ready. Downstairs, Serena tells Nate that she wanted to keep Rufus away until Lily got better. Nate reasons that there is no way Holland is telling the truth, since he knows from experience that Rufus is a good guy. Annoyed, Serena leaves to go be with her family. At the Waldorf's, Chuck and Jenny wait in the foyer for Blair. She eventually ventures downstairs, but refuses to help after hearing them out. Elsewhere outside, Lily and Eric take a walk. She admits that she doesn't want to have another divorce, but Eric assures her that she should do whatever makes her happiest and healthy because having her alive is all that matters. Meanwhile, Dan and Nate go to see Blair to ask her to help. They agree that there is no way Rufus cheated on Lily and they have to get to the bottom of the situation. When they arrive at the Waldorf's, Blair is sitting downstairs with Cameron. She tells Cameron that people often come to ask for her help since she's so supportive, then excuses herself and asks them if Chuck sent them. Dan explains the situation, and Blair admits that the Holland story is a bit weird and there has to be something deeper going on. She agrees to help after Cameron says he wants to see her world, and they begin to investigate.
Meanwhile, Chuck and Jenny arrive at the office of the psychiatrist who prescribed Lily's meds. Jenny begins to talk to the receptionist as a distraction while Chuck pokes around the office for any information. The receptionist says that the doctor won't be back until next week, and Chuck says that will be fine, as he saw she'll be attending the New York Public Library gala that night. But before they can leave, they run into Blair, Dan, Nate, and Cameron, who are there to see Holland, who is revealed to be the psychiatrist in question. Afterwards, Jenny goes to the VDW's to look through Lily's meds to see if there's any with a link to Holland. At The Empire, everyone reconvenes to discuss the new information. Chuck reveals that Holland will be at the NYPL gala that night, and Blair tells everyone to meet at her place that night because she'll have tickets. At the VDW's, Serena arrives back with William, and asks if the juicer he bought is really a good present for Lily. He tells her that it will make Lily smile, and Serena takes the chance to say that maybe all this happened so Lily could see she wasn't with the right man. William says he isn't going to take advantage of everything to get close to Lily, and tells Serena that he's glad they can spend time together and goes to leave. Before he does, Serena suggests they go to the library gala with Lily, and he agrees. She goes upstairs to find Jenny near where Lily keeps her medicine. Jenny, having just found another bottle of the Oxy, lies that she's there to get a dress. After arguing briefly with Serena, she grabs one of her dresses, along with an old photo of her, Dan, and Rufus, then leaves. When she's gone, Lily comes downstairs and Serena tells her that William invited them to the library gala. Upon seeing the juicer, Lily happily agrees to go. At the Waldorf's, everyone meets up to attend the gala. Blair informs Chuck that Cameron had to go to a rugby dinner but they're continuing their date later. After a minute, Jenny arrives in the apartment and lies that she found no ties to Holland in the medicine. Blair announces that she has a contingency plan, and tells Nate that they're going to need his family connections.
At the gala, Blair realizes Serena is there and notes that that complicates the plan because she can't see them. Then she goes over the plan again with Chuck and Jenny: they have Jenny wait for a doctor from the AMA, and blackmail Holland into either telling the truth or risk having her medical license revoked. Jenny asks for a phone while she waits, and Blair obliges. She goes to wait for him, and Blair and Chuck head into the event. Once she's out of earshot, Jenny calls the doctor's office to inform him that Nate won't be coming in; sabotaging the whole plan. Unbeknownst to her, Serena spots her on the phone and decides to call Rufus. Inside, Serena happily watches William and Lily dance. Meanwhile, Blair and Chuck have an idea and go up to Holland, claiming to be a couple in desperate need of therapy. Downstairs, Rufus surprises Jenny and she tries to explain that she's trying to help him. Dan then comes down and asks if she's seen Holland, and Rufus asks if she's there. Dan gives them a quick update on everything and Rufus takes Jenny's ticket to go talk to Holland. However, Serena comes down and sees them all together and walks off angry. Nate follows, but she refuses to hear him out. She says that there was a reason everyone else would band together to scheme against her and her dad, but he was supposed to be on her side. Meanwhile, Chuck and Blair vent to Holland, who tries to encourage them to make an appointment at her office. While Blair talks to her, Chuck texts Dan to talk with a random guy within eyesight. He then tells Holland that the man is a member of the AMA and will revoke her license if she doesn't explain what's going on. Rufus then comes up, and asks what's going on. Holland, unsure, what to do, tells them that she only wrote the prescriptions as a favor and the person they really need to talk to is William. Meanwhile, Jenny takes William aside and tells him that Holland is about to tell everyone about his plan to split up Rufus and Lily. She tells him that if he wants to escape, he needs to do so right away. He asks why she's telling him, and she admits that she wants them both to get their family back. Elsewhere, Dan thanks the man for playing along, then spots William, Lily, and Serena leaving the event. Rufus approaches and asks if he's seen Lily, and Dan tells him she just left with William.
At the VDW's, William, Lily, and Serena arrive home. Eric asks how it went, and William explains that one of his patients in Palm Beach has taken a turn and he needs to get there right away to help. He instructs everyone to get packed while he arranges for a helicopter. Lily goes upstairs, and Serena tells Eric to please come because it's finally their chance to be a family. On her way into her room, she receives and ignores a call from Nate. While packing, she gets a call from Dan and she tells him they're already packing for Palm Beach. Dan tells her everything: that he's the one who got the wrong meds, and had Holland lied about the affair. He also reveals that he knew the pills don't help her illness and he didn't want them traced back to him. She hangs up, then goes to talk to William. She asks if it's possible for them to fly out the next morning, but he insists that he needs to leave immediately. Then she says that people are saying he's behind the Holland thing, and goes to check on Lily; but not before Rufus arrives to talk to Lily, who is on her way downstairs. Rufus asks William if he wants to tell everyone the truth or does he want him to. Meanwhile, everyone else is on their way to the VDW's and they recap on the whole plan. Back at the VDW's, William says Rufus is a liar, and defends his diagnosis of Lily. He offers to prove himself with her medical files, and goes down to get them. While they wait, Rufus assures Lily that he would never cheat on her. Eric asks if Lily is even sick, and Rufus reaffirms that William was lying since he got to New York. Serena defends her dad, saying he isn't lying and he will be back. At that moment, everyone else comes into the apartment. They mention that the lobby is empty, but Serena insists that it isn't; since William wouldn't leave her. She goes down to check, and Dan follows. Meanwhile, Nate decides to call the police and Blair wonders how William knew how to get out of town. Chuck says one of them had to tip him off, and Jenny takes responsibility.
Serena tracks William down at the helipad and asks him if the story is true. He admits that when he cured Lily the first time, he fell in love with her again and he realized he wanted to be a part of their family again. He apologizes, and says he was scared he wouldn't be given a chance. She tells him to go before the police get there, and that while she doesn't forgive him, she doesn't need to punish him so he can leave. They embrace, and William leaves as the police sirens grow louder. Back at the VDW's, Lily apologizes to Rufus for not believing him. She then goes upstairs, and Jenny reminds Rufus that she thought she cheated on her and was out to leave town with her ex husband; plus that he and Lily are always having problems that have nothing to do with William. Finally, she asks what's so wrong with wanting her life to go back to normal, and Rufus answers that their life is their normal and she is the one who needs to get back to normal. He goes upstairs, and Eric tells Jenny that if she doesn't want to be apart of their family, no one is forcing her to stay. She thinks about it, and leaves the apartment. Downstairs, Blair and Chuck wait together, and he tells her that he knows she felt the pull between them all night. She says that doesn't change anything, but he disagrees. He proposes that she meet him on top of The Empire State Building the next day, or he will close his heart to her forever. She promises she won't be there, then leaves with Cameron. As they walk away, Cameron tells Blair about rugby, and she catches sight of The Empire State Building. Back at the helipad, Serena finishes with the police and takes a call from Nate. She says that she got to William before the police, and he should know now why she doesn't tell him things; then hangs up. Afterwards, she gets back in her car and thanks Dan for coming with her. At The Empire, Nate is pouring himself a drink when Jenny enters with her suitcase. He gestures inside, letting her know she can stay.
- 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 (Credit only, as she does not appear in the episode)
- Kelly Rutherford as Lily van der Woodsen
- Matthew Settle as Rufus Humphrey
- William Baldwin as William van der Woodsen
- Connor Paolo as Eric van der Woodsen
- Sherri Saum as Holland Kemble
- Ben Yanette as Cameron
- Zebra by Beach House
- Paradise Circus (Gui Boratto Remix) by Massive Attack
- Mr. Workabee by Priscilla Renea
- Moonlight Magic by Alan Moorhouse
Blair: Who starts a courtship during the day anyway?
Serena: Humans who venture out into light and aren't named Bass.
Rufus (on Holland): Lil, I'm sorry, I had no idea she was an insane person.
Lily: After five marriages the last thing I want to do is put you and Serena through another divorce.
Eric: It might sound cold but they do get easier.
Cameron: So, you guys do this kind of thing a lot?
Nate: Oh, yeah. A lot more than you think. Last year, Georgina pretended to be this rich Canadian to get Poppy, but things got all messed up when she turned her back on Jesus... Dan doesn't usually participate.
Jenny: I would give it all back: the clothes, the parties, the limo rides, just for one day that felt normal.
Blair: So, are you ready to make the fat lady sing?
Dan: I'll settle for making the lying doctor lady confess.
Nate (on William and Holland's plan): No wonder you admire it. It's almost like something you would do.
Blair: Thank you. It does have the fingerprints of my genius.
Serena (on the police): I don't need to forgive you. I also don't need to punish you so if you leave now, I'll make sure they don't come after you.
William: I love you, Serena.
Serena: I love you too, Dad.
Chuck (to Blair): I did the most dangerous thing I could when I said I love you. But it was worth it. If I got through my fear for you, you can through yours for me.
- The episode title is based off the movie Husbands and Wives.
- This is the first episode where Vanessa's absence is explained by her internship in Haiti.