O Brother, Where Bart Thou? is the 13th episode of the second season and the 31st overall.
More towers than Trump, more bucks than Bloomberg. Bart Bass definitely made his mark on Manhattan. The passing of a public figure can shake a whole town, but the real story is always the one happening in private, away from the headlines - at home.
Following the death of Bart Bass, Blair decides she has something important to say to Chuck, but soon realizes it's not a good time. When Serena decides to travel to Argentina with Aaron, Dan decides to express his feelings for her. Meanwhile, Cyrus and Eleanor take a huge step in their relationship and Rufus discovers a secret that Lily has been keeping from everybody for a long time.
At the VDW's, Serena and Eric sit down to breakfast with CeCe, who has arrived to support them and Lily after Bart's death. They wonder what Lily will do after the funeral is over and she no longer has plans to distract her from grieving properly. Eric suggests that she move into The Palace and hole up with Chuck, who hasn't been heard from. Lily then comes into the room and announces that she's going on a walk in the park to clear her head and get some air. At the Waldorf's, Blair, Eleanor, and Cyrus have breakfast together before the funeral. Eleanor asks how Chuck is, and Blair says that he hasn't been returning her calls or texts. She continues that she thinks Chuck should be surrounding himself with people who care about him and Eleanor says that that's why she and Cyrus are getting married; so they can always be there for each other. Dorota brings Eleanor an envelope with things for her trip to Paris and Blair wonders how they can be planning a vacation the day of Bart's funeral. She excuses herself to see if Nate's talked to Chuck. Back at the VDW's, Dan arrives to see Serena. She admits that she's worried about Lily, Eric, and Chuck before thanking him for being a rock since it happened. Aaron also arrives and hugs Serena before greeting Dan. She thanks them both for coming by but that she wants to go to the church with her family so she'll see them later.
In the park, Lily takes a walk with Rufus. She apologizes for not speaking to him since the ball and he assures her not to worry about it. She admits that more than anything else she feels guilt for Bart dying on the way to see her at a time when she was going to end their marriage. Rufus tells her not to blame herself and she replies that he left her a voicemail that she hasn't listened to yet. He encourages her to listen to it and offers to be there with her when she does, but she says she had better do it alone. He tells her that he's waiting for her this time, no matter how long it takes. Afterwards, he leaves the park but is unknowingly spotted by CeCe, who followed Lily. Meanwhile, Chuck meets with Bart's PI, Andrew Tyler, at a bar while dodging Blair's many calls. He asks to know what Andrew was going to tell Bart on the night he died and that multiple parties are also interested in the information. Chuck reminds him that he's about to inherit a lot of money but Andrew says that Lily is also about to come into some money and that she might be more motivated to pay. He promises to be in touch and Chuck leaves to go to the funeral. Back at the park, Lily listens to the voicemail from Bart, which says:
"Lily, we need to talk. And not about how my wife is making a fool of me with her old lover. I know the real reason you were in that hospital in France."
At the funeral, Dan and Aaron wait for Serena on the steps of the church. They each get a text from Serena saying she'll be there soon and Dan notes that he got it first. Jenny's cab pulls up and she tells them that Eric told her they'll be there soon. The Bass limo pulls up and CeCe gets out, followed by Lily, Eric, then Serena. She comes up to them and gives Aaron a slight awkward hug before giving Dan a full body hug. Near the doors of the church, Eric asks Jenny if she's seen Jonathan. When she says no, Eric sadly says he thought he might want to be there. Meanwhile, CeCe asks Lily if Rufus is coming. Lily asks why she would ask that and CeCe explains that she followed Lily to the park. Elsewhere, Nate and Blair try to help a very intoxicated and disheveled Chuck to the door. They try to get him to take a walk to sober up and get him talking. Back at the church, Lily thanks Dan for coming and supporting the family. Chuck then runs up and demands to know why Dan is there. He yells that his father is the reason Bart is dead and Serena comes over, yelling that Dan has been helping the family, unlike him. CeCe walks over and suggests that Dan leave, as Chuck doesn't need to make sense on the day of his father's funeral. Dan takes the hint and goes home. On the way into the church, Lily tries to encourage Chuck to lean on his family for support and he coldly replies that he doesn't have a family.
At the loft, Dan arrives home to find Rufus playing his guitar. Rufus asks why he's back so soon and Dan explains how Chuck kicked him out because he blames Rufus for Bart's death. However, Rufus isn't fazed by this and chalks it up to Chuck being overwhelmed with grief. Dan says that that's what CeCe said and Rufus is surprised that she's in town. Rufus asks how Serena is and notes that she and Dan have been spending a lot of time together. Dan reminds him that she is dating Aaron and that they are really just friends. After the funeral, everyone returns to the VDW's for the reception. Nate and Blair escort Chuck up but he says he doesn't need them helping him because he has business to attend to. Blair suggests that he eat something and he says no before going upstairs. Nate mentions to Blair that she's sweetly maternal with Chuck but she denies it. Meanwhile, Cyrus tells Eleanor that the service was very thought provoking. She agrees but doesn't dwell on the subject. He announces that he wants to get married the next day, which Blair overhears. Eleanor says they can't get married the next day and Blair agrees. He asks why not, then suggests that they do it at the penthouse with only family there. Eleanor again says no, which Blair seconds. She also says that she has nothing to wear, a statement Jenny overhears. She offers to make her something, since she owes her an all nighter worth of work. Eleanor takes her up on the offer and thanks her. Excited, Cyrus goes off to call the rabbi. Meanwhile in Serena's room, Aaron gives Serena a plane ticket to Buenos Aires for them to spend the holidays together. She declines, saying she can't leave her family after what's happened. He asks if she's sure it's her family she doesn't want to leave and not someone else. She guesses he's referring to Dan and assures him that they are just friends. He tells her that the trip is his gift to her and if she comes, that's a gift for him. He asks her to think about it, and she agrees to.
In the main room, CeCe takes Lily aside and asks what Chuck knows. Confused, Lily asks what she means and CeCe says that he knows something about her and Rufus so she should find out what it is. Lily replies that she doesn't have the energy to speak with Chuck about it and whatever it was he already told Bart. CeCe reveals that she saw him go upstairs and that they should talk. When Lily is gone, CeCe's phone begins to ring. She answers and tells the person that she can't talk, as she's busy at the moment. However, when the person replies, she worriedly says she'll be right down. Eric then spots Jonathan, who asks for the two of them to talk privately. Upstairs, Lily finds Chuck going through Bart's study. He says he's trying to find her file, which Lily says isn't even there. He accuses her of cheating on Bart with Rufus and that he died because he felt he had to come fight for her. Lily says that he only got in the car because Chuck called and that he should have stayed out of it. She finishes that it wasn't anyone's fault, but Chuck disagrees and says Bart's blood is on her hands. She slaps him, but he only replies by saying that once he gets his inheritance, she will never see him again. Downstairs, Blair, Serena, and Nate see Chuck trying to leave. Eric also sees him and says he doesn't want to lose his brother after losing his stepfather. Chuck cooly says to him that he needs to understand that they aren't related and leaves, which is when Blair decides to follow him. Upstairs, CeCe tells Lily that Andrew Tyler was there looking for her to pay him off. Lily explains that he knows about the hospital in France, and that he's the one who told Bart. CeCe says he's going to tell the highest bidder, and Lily says she has to stop him because it's the last thing she wants to come out. She again asks her to pay him off. On the street, Blair stops Chuck and asks him not to leave. She tells him that she will stand by him through anything because she loves him. He just stares at her before saying that that's too bad. Afterwards, he gets in his limo and drives away; leaving her crying on the sidewalk.
The next day, Dan and Serena take a walk where she reveals Aaron's plan to take her to Buenos Aires. He's taken by surprise and she tries to ask him how he feels. He turns the questions on her and asks how she feels about the trip. She admits she likes him a lot and he suddenly says he needs to go back to the coffee shop because he was given the wrong muffin. At the Waldorf's, Blair sees everyone preparing for the wedding. Cyrus takes her aside and says that while he knows it's overwhelming how fast everything is happening, he's very happy to have her as his stepdaughter because he loves her. Blair then breaks down into tears and confesses that she told Chuck she loved him but he didn't say it back. Cyrus hugs her and comforts her by saying that he just needs time. Eleanor walks by and is pleased by seeing the two finally get along. At the VDW's, Lily asks CeCe how her meeting went with Andrew Tyler. CeCe says it went very well but that despite that chapter being closed, she still needs to decide what she's going to do about being in love with Rufus. Lily admits that she's not sure she's going to do anything about it at that moment. Serena walks in and overhears Lily say that she loves Rufus, and comments that that's why Chuck was so upset. Lily tries to explain to Serena about everything and Serena asks if Rufus told her he wants to be with her too. Lily says that he has and Serena advises her to be with him if that's what she wants. Lily asks about her relationship with Dan and Serena says she's going to try and make it work with Aaron, especially since they're going to Buenos Aires. Lily says she thinks that's great and the two hug.
At the loft, Dan arrives home to find Jenny finishing Eleanor's wedding pantsuit. He tells her about Serena's Buenos Aires trip with Aaron and that he encouraged her to go. Jenny asked why he did that and he answers that he didn't want to play games about his feelings with her. She advises him to tell Serena that he still has feelings for her and that she'll be at Eleanor and Cyrus' wedding. They leave together to go over to the Waldorf's. Immediately afterwards, Rufus gets a call from Lily, wanting to know if he wants to go away with her. He instantly agrees and they make plans to go to a bed and breakfast together. Meanwhile, Chuck meets with Andrew Tyler again. Andrew gives Chuck the information and says he's the only bidder for it. However, Chuck says that the secret probably isn't worth it if Lily didn't spend every dime she has covering it up. Andrew explains that he dealt with CeCe, who claimed that Lily wants to stop hiding her past. Chuck then asks why he should pay for information that she's just going to reveal anyway but Andrew just tells him to make a decision based on him becoming the richest kid in New York while sliding the envelope towards him. He then pays Andrew, takes the envelope, and leaves. At the Waldorf's, Serena arrives to find Aaron waiting in the decorated apartment. She tells him that she talked to Lily and that she is going to Buenos Aires with him after all. At that moment, Dan and Jenny arrive in the apartment. Jenny goes upstairs to bring Eleanor her clothes and Aaron goes to check on Cyrus. Dan pulls Serena aside and tells her that he doesn't want her to go with him. She informs him that he's too late because she already said she's going and because Rufus and Lily are in love. Serena also admits that she asked Lily not to follow her heart once and she can't do it again. Dan asks if she's going to give up on their relationship for Lily, and Serena confesses that she's skeptical that their relationship would even work out a third time. She finishes by saying that she's dating someone else now. Blair comes up then and asks for Serena's help on fashion advice. She goes upstairs with Blair and says goodbye to Dan. At the VDW's, Chuck tells Lily he can't believe she wants her secret to be public knowledge. Confused, Lily wonders how he has it since CeCe paid Andrew, but Chuck answers that CeCe must have lied to her and Andrew. She begs him not to turn away from the people who love him and that that's a lesson Bart never learned.
At the Waldorf's, Eleanor and Cyrus get married in front of Blair, Serena, Dorota, and Aaron. Back at the VDW's, Chuck burns the information Andrew gave him into ash. Upstairs, Lily packs for her trip with Rufus and takes off her wedding ring to put in a box. At the loft, Rufus also packs for their trip. Back at the Waldorf's, Cyrus makes a toast to the newly blended Waldorf-Rose family. As they toast, Dorota whispers something to Blair. She goes upstairs to find Chuck sitting tearstained and silent on her bed. She asks what he's doing there before going over and holding him. Back at the loft, Rufus is in the middle of leaving a note for Dan and Jenny about him going away when CeCe arrives. He explains that he's on his way out but she insists she has something he needs to know. She tells him that all she wants is for Lily to be happy and that what she knows has to do with her. Rufus replies that if that's so, Lily can tell him herself. CeCe says that she gave Lily a chance to do so, which she didn't take; and instead asked her to pay a lot of money to make it go away. She continues that the real problem is that Lily is still in love with him and the longer she holds onto her secret, the less chance they have of making it as a couple. Meanwhile, Aaron and Serena leave for the airport. She admits that she thinks that this trip is going to be good for them. He asks if she has regrets and she says no. Back at the loft, Dan arrives home to find Rufus sitting in the dark. He sarcastically thanks Rufus for telling him that he's in love with Lily and that he should have said something before he told Serena about his feelings. Rufus quietly says that he will never be with Lily and that Serena doesn't know what she's talking about. Dan notices the suitcase and the note and asks if he's going somewhere, to which Rufus replies that he's just going out. Back in Serena and Aaron's car, she sees Dan calling her and she declines the call. He admits that he knows she still has feelings for Dan but that he wants them to have a real shot without her trying to figure out what she feels for him. Back at the Waldorf's, Blair lies next to Chuck and watches him sleep. At Grand Central Station, Rufus arrives to find Lily waiting for him. He walks over and asks her to tell him one thing: if the baby was a boy or a girl. Back at the Waldorf's, Blair wakes up to find Chuck gone and a note waiting in his place. In the note, he apologizes for everything before telling her that she deserves better and not to come looking for him.
- 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)
- Taylor Momsen as Jenny Humphrey
- Kelly Rutherford as Lily van der Woodsen
- Matthew Settle as Rufus Humphrey
- Margaret Colin as Eleanor Waldorf
- Wallace Shawn as Cyrus Rose
- Connor Paolo as Eric van der Woodsen
- Zuzanna Szadkowski as Dorota Kishlovsky
- Caroline Lagerfelt as CeCe Rhodes
- Matt Doyle as Jonathan Whitney
- John Patrick Amedori as Aaron Rose
- Kevin Stapleton as Andrew Tyler
- Signs by Bloc Party
- These Days by Xu Xu Fang
- The Mourning Son by Xu Xu Fang
- Biko by Block Party
- Slow Show by The National
CeCe: In times of great uncertainty, it's even more important that we continue our daily rituals.
Serena: You haven't eaten a Cheerio since you've been here.
Eric: I mean, we know that's gin in your coffee cup.
CeCe: My point exactly. Life must go on, as it always has.
Rufus: Lil... I'm waiting for you this time. Six months, six years, I'll be here.
Rufus (to Dan): So, like it or not, death changes things. It clarifies them. It pushes some people closer together and others... further apart.
Nate (on Blair with Chuck): Worrying about him, offering him food... it's downright maternal.
Blair: I'm not maternal, I've just been spending too much time with Cyrus and I'm turning Jewish.
Lily (on Bart's death): It's no one's fault.
Chuck: Yes, it is. It's your fault. His blood is on your hands.
Blair: Chuck! Stop! Don't go. Or if you have to leave, let me come with you.
Chuck: I appreciate your concern.
Blair: No, you don't. You don't appreciate anything today but I don't care. Whatever you're going through, I want to be there for you.
Chuck: We talked about this. You are NOT my girlfriend.
Blair: But I am me. And you're you. We're Chuck and Blair. Blair and Chuck. The worst thing you've ever done, the darkest thought you've ever had... I will stand by you through anything.
Chuck: And why would you do that?
Blair: Because I love you.
Chuck: Well that's too bad.
Blair (on Chuck): Only a masochist could ever love such a narcissist.
Serena: You love Rufus. You always have. And you married Bart anyway and now he's dead.
Lily: Well, I might have flushed out some of the more subtle nuances, but yes, I suppose that's the gist of it.
- The episode title is based off the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?
- Because of Kelly Rutherford's pregnancy starting to show, she is filmed only from the waist up from this point onward.
- According to the newspaper article about Bart''s death, his first wife and Chuck's mother was named Evelyn.
- Lily mentions a bed and breakfast in Cornwall, Connecticut, the same town Serena ran away to for boarding school.
- This is the last appearance of Aaron Rose.