Salon of the Dead is the 20th episode of the fifth season and 107th episode overall.
Even on the Upper East Side, the laws of physics dictate that what goes up, must come down. Even when it feels like our feet are a million miles off the ground. But when we've hit rock bottom, we hope that someway somehow our fortunes will change. That a great force will reverse the trend.
To celebrate their official coming out as a couple, Blair and Dan host a glamorous British-themed Salon, including guests Julian Tepper and Jenna Gribbon (founders of The Oracle Club). Lola lands the audition of a lifetime, but Gossip Girl may have other plans for the Upper East Side's latest It Girl. Meanwhile, Lily and Rufus disagree over the best way to handle the Ivy situation, and Serena and Diana face-off over secrets they both would prefer remain secrets.
The episode begins with Blair and Dan reading the newspaper and having breakfast together, Lily eating breakfast alone while Rufus plays his guitar alone at the loft, and Serena seeing that all anyone wants to see on Gossip Girl is more Lola. Elsewhere outside, Lola calls Nate and tells him excitedly that she got an audition with Lars van Trier. He's happy for her, and she says she's headed to find Serena to ask her advice on what to wear. At the Waldorf's, Blair fills Dan in on her plans for the day, which includes their first public outing as a couple at a play. Dan agrees to go. Upstairs, Serena gives Lola a dress to wear. She mentions how Gossip Girl is the only one not writing about her, but Lola says that doesn't bother her since she's kinda irrelevant, and she doesn't care about a pathetic blogger tied to their computer. Serena replies that she seems so confident nothing could make her cry, even if it should. Lola thanks her and leaves. At the loft, Dan emerges wearing a suite and Rufus asks why. Dan says it's a Blair thing, and asks when Rufus is going home. Rufus replies that he is home, and that he feels as if he and Lily have stopped being honest withe each other. Dan encourages him to tell the truth, and Rufus confesses he isn't sure that he hasn't been honest with himself or her, and that he lost himself when they got married. He admits he doesn't like how the life they built didn't include both of them, and he's tired of it; then warns Dan to not lose himself trying to keep up with Blair and her world.
At The Spectator, Diana pounces on Nate when he arrives and asks if he's late because of Lola. He admits there's a lot going on; with Lola and her career, Serena and him not talking, never seeing Dan, and Chuck on a painful mission. Diana asks what Chuck's looking for, and Nate explains he's looking for a missing relative. She excuses herself and calls Jack, where she informs him that they have to stop Chuck from snooping before he finds out the truth. While on the phone, she gets a message from Gossip Girl telling her Serena is holding the sight hostage and unless she gets it back for her, she'll reveal Diana's biggest secret. Meanwhile, Lola arrives at her audition and is told it was cancelled. The assistant shows her the latest Gossip Girl blast, which claims Lola is a diva and said said that real actors don't take direction, they pretend to. At the same time, Serena is happily reading the negative comments coming in about Lola. At the loft, Lily brings Rufus a salad and claims to have made too much. She then changes her story that she was in the neighborhood and had leftovers, before finally admitting she ordered a car with a destination in mind. She says she misses him and the apartment isn't home without him. She proposes they sell the penthouse and buy a new apartment that fits them both. He replies that she loves the apartment, and she says that while she likes the apartment a lot, she loves him way more. At the Waldorf's, Serena calls Lola and asks how the audition went. She answers that she didn't even get to read thanks to Gossip Girl, and that's it's a weird coincidence how she posted about her after being silent on the most important day of her life. Serena says that probably means Gossip Girl isn't irrelevant. Lola asks if she said anything about their conversation earlier, but Serena promises she didn't. After they hang up, Diana arrives in the penthouse and addresses Serena as Gossip Girl right away. Meanwhile, Blair and Dan go to lunch in Brooklyn. He suggests they go to a tree planting event hosted by his friend Alexis, but Blair refuses to go since their coming out is at the theatre. Dan says they can come out in Brooklyn now and in Manhattan later, because he doesn't want to melt into her world. Blair says no, because she wants to be herself after being trapped with Louis. While they argue, they're interrupted by Julian Tepper and Jenna Gribbon. Blair and Dan ask them to have lunch with them to discuss how to compromise.
At The Spectator, Lola goes to see Nate. He says he's sorry for how the audition went and she asks if they've ever tried to find Gossip Girl. Nate says yeah, but they haven't had any luck. She says she thinks Serena is Gossip Girl. At the Waldorf's, Diana says there's no use in denying it, and she also knows she isn't the original Gossip Girl. She warns Serena that the real Gossip Girl is willing to go to great lengths to get her site back, but she needn't worry because she wants to help her keep the site and protect her identity. At the office, Nate tells Lola that idea is crazy because Serena has always hated Gossip Girl. Lola reasons that Gossip Girl has to slam Serena sometimes because if she didn't, it would be obvious. At the Waldorf's, Serena asks why Diana is willing to help her and Diana says she'll be helping herself too, since she has a history with Gossip Girl. At the office, Nate brushes off Lola's suspicions and says they need to get to their lunch reservation, but Lola says she has to go fix her audition. He tells her to stop with the conspiracy theories. Back at the Waldorf's, Diana promises to make Serena's Gossip Girl the most popular gossip site in the city, and Serena answers she has to think about it. Diana replies she'll be at The Spectator after lunch. At the office, Lola says that Serena is Gossip Girl and she'll prove it. Meanwhile at lunch, Blair and Dan learn Julian and Jenna host a salon every month. The couple then have to leave, but not before wondering if Blair and Dan can last. At the table, Blair and Dan decide to cancel their plans and host a salon to have their coming out. Back at The Spectator, Serena goes to see Diana. She runs into Nate, and they make up. He admits Lola thinks Serena is Gossip Girl, but Serena denies it. Nate reasons she's probably just upset and looking for someone to blame. While looking for her, Serena overhears Diana on the phone saying that so long as Serena stays Gossip Girl, no one will ever find out what she did for Chuck at the hospital. At the Waldorf's, Blair and Dana are planning their salon, which will be British themed. They decide not to invite Serena or Nate, but do decide to invite Julian and Jenna; along with Diana. Lola then arrives in the penthouse, who sees Dorota place her phone on a table after hanging up with Vanya. She asks where Serena is, and Dorota replies that she's probably around since she has been all day. Lola then sees Blair and Dan's planning meeting, and overhears Blair suggest Dan announce his new book. She takes Dorota's phone and sends a tip to Gossip Girl about Dan reading an excerpt from his new book at the salon.
At the VDW's, Lily tells Vanya Rufus is coming home. Vanya is excited for his return and heads down to get his luggage. The phone rings, and Lily answers it to find a hotel concierge on the other end. She discovers Rufus has been putting Ivy up at a hotel, and tells the concierge she can't verify the card. Meanwhile, Serena tracks down a nurse who was working at the hospital the night Chuck was brought in. She shows her a photo of Diana and asks if she saw her. The nurse says yes, and that she donated blood then left quickly. Serena then calls The Spectator looking for Diana, but learns she'll be attending the salon at the loft. Elsewhere outside, Lola tells Nate on the phone she has proof Serena is Gossip Girl. Nate agrees to hear her out, so long as she drops it if her proof doesn't work out. When they hang up, he invites Chuck to come along.
At the salon, Blair and Dan welcome everyone and explain the rules, that a new topic of discussion is introduced when a new course is served. When they finish, Serena walks in, surprising them both since she wasn't invited. Lola also arrives, and Blair complains to Dan about the crashers. Serena goes to get a drink, and Lola follows her. She remarks that it's exciting how Dan will be reading his new book, and asks if Gossip Girl broke the news about Inside. Serena says she thinks so, and Lola asks if she thinks Gossip Girl will break the news again, and maybe she is there. Serena explains that Gossip Girl doesn't need to travel, she has people from everywhere who send tips, then tells Lola that GG isn't fascinating to her and excuses herself. At the same time, Chuck and Nate arrive. Blair demands to know why they're there and Chuck says Nate invited them. Nate says Lola invited them, and Blair becomes annoyed. Lola explains that Serena crashed the party to hear Dan's book excerpt and she will then post about it on Gossip Girl. Nate replies that that's hardly proof, since anyone could send the tip, including Dan himself. Lola says she has a better idea and runs off. At the VDW's, Rufus arrives and meets an angry Lily. She asks if he's been secretly putting Ivy up, and Rufus says yes because he felt responsible for her homelessness. He reasons that she's a young girl with nothing, and Lily demands to know how he could help her after what she did to their family, and that she's mad he did it with her money. Rufus says he used his own personal credit card, and that it's clearly a big issue. Back at the salon, the chef says she ran out of ice, which she needs for her dessert. Blair and Dan decide to get everyone drunk to stall thing, but Lola asks why they're discussing British authors when Dan is there, with an announcement to make. Before he can say anything, Diana arrives and Serena asks for a moment aside, accidentally leaving her phone on the table. Blair and Dan leave to get ice. Lola secretly grabs Serena's phone and follows the two women into the back room. She opens the GG video upload app and begins to stream Serena and Diana's conversation live. Serena asks where Diana was on the night of Chuck's accident, and Diana answers she was in New York. Serena asks if she knows where he was treated, or his blood type, or where she was on the day he was born. Everyone then gets the blast and begins to watch, just in time to see Diana reveal that she is Chuck's mother.
The two women then see Lola, then head back to the main room, where everyone is shocked. Chuck demands to know if it's true, and Diana says it is. Chuck becomes very upset that she never said anything after being around for months and leaves. Serena then confronts Lola, and Lola realizes she was right, that she was Gossip Girl. Blair and Dan then arrive back and realize their salon failed. Blair says their new world failed and she doesn't know where they're left, since neither wants to join the other's world. Meanwhile, Lola says she isn't sorry for what she did to Serena, who begs her not to tell anyone what she knows. Nate overhears and goes to leave. Lola follows and asks where he's going. Nate replies that he's going to find Chuck, and that he can't forgive her for what she did to Chuck. He leaves after she has nothing to say for herself. Serena thanks her for not saying anything and leaves. At The Empire, Diana arrives to speak to Chuck and Nate. Nate tells her to leave, but Chuck says she can stay because he wants to know the truth. At the Waldorf's, Dan arrives to spend the night with Blair. Dan says that their relationship is their world, and not about joining one world or the other. At The Empire, Diana tells Chuck that she met Bart when he was still with Elizabeth, and she was attracted to him because of his charm and how he had the world at his feet. She explains they had an affair, that ended when she got pregnant. Chuck asked why she gave him up, and she confesses she was a mess and mixed up with the wrong things and people, unstable to raise a child. Then Elizabeth couldn't get pregnant, everyone had a solution. When Chuck was born, she left town but when she heard Elizabeth had died, she came back. Chuck realizes Elizabeth couldn't stick to her end of the bargain and raise another woman's child as her own, and that's why she left. Diana says that she wanted to see Chuck, but Bart wouldn't let her because he didn't want to confuse him. She says she came back to watch over him from afar, and that she didn't intend for things to become so serious with Nate, and no harm done if Chuck never found out the truth. Chuck asks what to do now that he knows, and she answers that it's his decision and he knows where to find her. She leaves. Meanwhile at the Waldorf's, Lola comes to give Serena's dress back to her. Serena asks why she didn't tell Nate, and Lola admits that she knew it would hurt him and she couldn't ruin both him and Chuck's lives. She asks why she does it, and Serena says she only became Gossip Girl recently and that she likes it because it's the only thing she has control of. Lola reminds her that she's doing exactly what was done to her and everyone to other people, but Serena argues that she survived so it's whatever. Lola replies that she's retiring from the UES and leaves. At a coffee shop, Rufus sits alone and goes to pay when his debit card is declined. At the Waldorf's, Serena writes her final post on Lola, how she is over. In Blair's room, she and Dan debate artists in bed. At The Empire, Nate and Chuck drink alone silently. At Juilliard, Lola calls Carol and says she was right all along about the Upper East Side, and she has no more ties to the van der Woodsen's or their life. In a car, Diana gets a text from Gossip Girl, saying that the secret she revealed wasn't the worst one.
- 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
- Kaylee DeFer as Ivy Dickens (Credit only, as she does not appear in the episode)
- Kelly Rutherford as Lily van der Woodsen
- Matthew Settle as Rufus Humphrey
- Zuzanna Szadkowski as Dorota Kishlovsky
- Aaron Schwartz as Vanya
- Ella Rae Peck as Lola Rhodes
- Elizabeth Hurley as Diana Payne
- Julian Tepper as Himself
- Jenna Gribbon as Herself
- It's Nice To Be Alive by Ball Park Music
- Tongue Tied by Grouplove
- Trap of Mirrors by The Pass
- Touch The Lightning by Lemon Sun
- Youth by Foxes
- Possibilities by Frankie & The Heartstrings
- Pen and Self by The Uglysuit
- Lose The Swagger by The Broken Remotes
Nate (to Lola): Just because you're cousins doesn't mean you have to be best friends. My cousin tried to kill me.
Dan (to Rufus on him and Lily): Usually you two are the king and queen of reconciliation.
Rufus (to Dan): I know you're happy with Blair, and maybe in time you'll learn to love wearing this tie. But don't lose sight of yourself.
Lily: Rufus, it seems I've made too much salad... Fine, I had it delivered, but it's a generous serving, enough for two, and I just happened to find myself in this neighborhood and I thought maybe you might like some leftovers.
Rufus: ...You just happened to find yourself in this neighborhood?
Lily: ...I may have ordered a car, with no other destination in mind than this one. Please, take it.
Rufus: I will eat your refuge but we both know that's not why you're here. Why can't you just admit you wanted to see me?
Lily: Okay, fine. I missed you. I said it. Rufus, the Upper East Side holds all the comforts I desire - clean sidewalks, Bergdorf Goodman, and people whose job it is to open doors. But there is no you. And you're the only comfort I really need. The apartment just doesn't seem like a home without you in it.
Blair (on Dan's tree planting event): Just because a tree grows in Brooklyn does not mean I have to plant it! I'm not going green, I'm going home.
Blair: I just spent the last year of my life playing Marie Antoinette to Prince Possessive.
Diana: I'm a woman who has lived. I have plenty to hide.
Dan (on who to invite): Nate?
Blair: At a salon? I'm not even going to dignify that with a response.
Nate: Any interest in taking a field trip down to the 718?
Chuck: Sure. I haven't been slumming in awhile.
Lola (to Serena): I'm genuinely sorry that I hurt Chuck today. I'm not sorry I hurt you.
Lola (to Serena): I'm officially resigning from the Upper East Side. I have a whole life at Juilliard where the drama is reserved for the stage, and I think I belong back there. So if you want the Upper East Side back, it's all yours. You're the only It-Girl who matters anyway. You see to that yourself.
- The episode title is based off the movie Shaun of the Dead.