Seventeen Candles is the 8th episode of the first season and the 8th overall.
According to the Catholic church, mortal sin can only be absolved through the sacred act of confession. But it looks like a certain WASP princess has recently found herself desperately in need of a little unburdening. And who is the man upstairs to discriminate?
Devastated by the current state of her relationship with Nate and still dealing with the guilt from her recent indiscretion with Chuck, Blair puts on a happy face for her 17th birthday party and attempts to hide the truth from her friends. Hoping to ease the tension between Serena and Vanessa, Dan takes Vanessa to Blair's party so the girls can have some bonding time, which ends with surprising results. Meanwhile, Jenny brings her mom home for a surprise visit, but Rufus may not be ready to forgive and forget. Nate's parents ask him to make a huge sacrifice in an effort to salvage his father's business as he faces charges of embezzlement and fraud.
Blair attends confession at a Catholic church in order to try and absolve her guilt for sleeping with Chuck. The priest advises her to stay away from those who might cause her to stray from the path of wellness, which she decides to do. Meanwhile, Dan and Serena make out at a cafe before discovering Vanessa is newly employed there. Dan says he didn't know she worked there and she replies that she mentioned it but he didn't listen. She and Serena have an awkward interaction and she quickly figures out that Vanessa knew they had sex. Meanwhile, Blair runs into Chuck outside the church. He asks her to go to breakfast with him but she declines saying she's headed to the jeweler's to put some pieces on hold for Eleanor and Nate to pick up. Chuck scoffs that Nate probably won't be celebrating her birthday with her, but she says that no one knows they broke up and it will stay that way until she fixes it. She informs him that the memory of them ever having sex will never be mentioned again and he replies that he'll see her at her birthday party that night. However, she uninvites him and walks away. At the loft, Jenny arrives home and Rufus says Alison must have been surprised to see her so late. Alison replies that she was, and Rufus turns around to see her standing behind Jenny. He asks what she's doing there and Jenny explains that she brought her back so they can talk. Rufus goes with Jenny to her room, where she apologizes for bringing Alison back but she wants to save their family. Rufus says he's not angry at her, but Jenny adds that he can't be un-angry at Alison if she's in Hudson and asks him to give Alison a chance. He agrees to and goes back to the kitchen to make them breakfast. However, he finds Alison already making waffle batter.
At the Waldorf's, Blair arrives home to find Eleanor in a panic. She demands to know if she's seen the newspaper as she throws it down on the foyer table. Blair picks it up and sees the family photo of the Archibald's leaving the jailhouse as Eleanor explains that Howard is being charged with embezzlement and fraud. She mutters that she needs to put an end to their deal quickly and goes off to call her lawyer. Blair notices how sad Nate looks in the photo and realizes she needs to call him. At the Archibald's, Howard wonders aloud why everyone is making such a big deal out of things. His lawyer replies that he's in real trouble and he's lucky Anne could afford his bail; and that the charges are nothing to be cavalier about. Howard still doesn't listen and an annoyed Nate snaps at him to listen to the lawyer. Nate asks what they should do and the lawyer advises them to present a calm united front. He then asks about a plea bargain, but Anne tells him to get some rest because what they're talking about is a conversation for adults. Back at the loft, Dan arrives home to find everyone eating waffles together. Jenny says that if Rufus can let everything go, Dan can too. Rufus asks what she means and she admits she knows about the guy in Hudson. Shocked, Alison asks why he told her but they all explain that she overheard Dan and Rufus talking; and Dan only knows because he heard them arguing on the phone. He goes to his room and Alison gets up to follow. Rufus tells her that it's good to give him space for awhile, and she hesitantly says that she knew that. At the Waldorf's, Serena asks Blair how Nate is doing. Blair lies that she told Nate to focus on his family and that he could even skip her party if he needed to. Serena tells her that she's a good girlfriend and hugs her. At the Archibald's, Anne tells Nate that she thinks he should give Blair the family ring for her birthday. She explains that she's not asking him to propose, but it's important that Blair knows how much he values her loyalty. Nate asks if she means Blair's loyalty or Eleanor's, and Anne admits that Eleanor's lawyers called. He informs her that they broke up the night before but Anne simply says to get back together. She reminds him that they're in the problem they're in because of his actions, but Nate argues that it's because Howard has a drug problem. Anne says that Howard is acting the way that is because he's scared and they really need Nate to step up to the plate for them.
Back at the Waldorf's, Blair is reading articles online about the Archibald scandal when her phone rings. She sees it's Nate calling and she immediately answers. He admits that they may have been too hasty about the break up. She reminds him of all their history and that he would have to be willing to work hard for a new relationship with her. On the other end, Nate looks at the ring and tells her that he has a special present for her. She excitedly says that she can't wait to open it at her party and hangs up. Afterwards, she calls the jewelry store and asks if any of the items she put on hold were picked up. The clerk says that the diamond necklace was and after they hang up, Blair does a happy dance while thanking God for granting her wish. At the loft, Alison goes to talk to Dan. He asks if she's back for good and she replies that she doesn't know. She also says she understands that he's mad and is not going to defend what she did. He informs her that he's mad because she left and then she lied about when she was coming home, abandoning their family. Finally, he says he shouldn't even have to tell her what she should know and leaves the loft. Jenny also leaves, wanting to leave them alone to talk. At The Palace, Nate goes to see Chuck to talk. Nate explains that Anne is asking him to give Blair the family ring, and Chuck accidentally reveals that he knows they broke up. He continues that Anne is pushing him to do so to ensure Eleanor's loyalty though the scandal. Chuck advises him to move on from Blair, and to not always do what his parents expect him to.
At Blair's party, Serena asks where Nate is. Blair says he should be there soon and then asks where Dan is. Serena replies that he said he's coming but she hasn't talked to him since that morning. At that moment, Chuck enters the party and Blair quickly walks away. Serena notices Chuck follow her but doesn't do anything about it. Meanwhile, Dan thanks Vanessa for letting him vent about his family all day. He then gets a text from Serena, wondering where he is. He tells Vanessa that he's going to meet up with Serena and that he doesn't understand why they don't get along since. She offers to spend some time that night with him and Serena but he explains that he's going to Blair's birthday party and isn't sure she should dive into that world headfirst. However, Vanessa is confident she can handle it and insists on going anyway. Back at the party, Chuck and Blair talk. She realizes that he likes her as more than a friend, which he doesn't deny. He admits that no one could ever be as surprised or ashamed of how he feel than he is, and Blair tells him that his feelings for her must die. Outside the party, Nate debates going in but runs into Jenny. She apologizes for telling Blair about the ball and he asks if she's going to the party. She answers that she was planning on it but doesn't know if she wants to anymore, especially since Blair invited her before their fight; and brought her an apology card. He asks if she wants to take a walk with him and she accepts. Upstairs, Serena sees Dan arrive but is slightly disappointed that he brought Vanessa. Serena introduces Vanessa to Kati, Is, and Blair, all who regard her coldly. At the loft, Alison tries to apologize to Rufus and begs him to talk to her. She confesses that she did it with the neighbor once and never again. He asks that if that's true, how come Jenny had to go bring her back herself. Alison says he knows she wasn't happy in Brooklyn and that in some ways, she's happier now. She continues that she was there for him in all the years he put his music first, surrounding her whole adult life around him. Tearing up, she tells him that all she needs is for him to care enough about her to try and make it work. Also tearing up, he replies that he does care and they kiss.
Back at the party, Blair plays with her phone; waiting for Nate to call or text. Chuck comes over and she says that Nate always calls her at midnight on her birthday. He mentions that it's odd how he suddenly wants her back now that Eleanor is wanting to end the deal with his father, but Blair doesn't buy it. She replies that no way would he do that to her, but Chuck says that she knows deep down that he would do anything to help his family. Chuck proposes a deal: if Nate calls at midnight, he'll leave her alone forever but if he doesn't, she spends the night with him. Blair initially says no, but then agrees. Inside the party, Dan explains to Serena that he brought Vanessa so they can bond. Serena asks him to tell her something she likes so she can try and bond with her but before Dan can, she suggests that they play Guitar Hero. They begin to play together and actually have fun. After Serena's turn, Vanessa alludes to Dan having a bad day and Serena asks what kind of day he had. Vanessa asks if he told her, and he confesses that Alison came home. Hurt, Serena excuses herself, and Dan follows. She tells him that she's hurt that he still tells Vanessa everything first because she wants to be his person. He confesses that having a girlfriend is a new thing for him and he doesn't know the rules yet. She explains that she doesn't want to compete with Vanessa over his attention and he asks her to go somewhere alone with him the next day so they can talk about his family in detail so much to where she's sick of it. Serena smiles and says that sounds perfect. Meanwhile, Jenny and Nate discuss their family problems. He shows her the ring and says that he's supposed to give it to her even though he doesn't want to; because them breaking up was the right decision. Jenny notices that he sounds sure about that and he replies that while he wants to help his parents, he doesn't want them to control his life. Back inside the party, Chuck tells Blair that it's 12:01 and Nate didn't call. Serena then brings out the cake and everyone excitedly tells Blair to blow out the candles and make a wish. She tearfully says it already didn't come true and walks away.
Meanwhile, Nate hails Jenny a cab home. He hugs her but unbeknownst to them, someone takes a photo to send to Gossip Girl; which she reveals in a blast. Kati and Is razz Nate for cheating but Blair admits that he isn't cheating because they broke up and he was only going to get back together with her so that Eleanor would help Howard. She goes to a room to be alone and Serena follows. Crying, she explains that they ended it but it was her birthday wish for them to get back together. Blair asks to be alone and and slams the door. At the Archibald's, Howard and Anne ask Nate how Blair liked the ring. He returns it to Anne, and says that despite their hopes that the Waldorf's will save them, he's not going to be apart of it anymore because their relationship is over. Howard pleads with him, saying he needs his support and help with the situation. Nate simply replies that he better hope they don't call him up to the stand and leaves the room. At the loft, Rufus and Alison cuddle after having sex. Jenny comes home and goes right to her room, where she happily smiles at her parents being back together. Back at the party, Vanessa asks Serena if Blair will be okay. They agree that being a good friend can be challenging and that they're both protective of Dan in their own ways. Dan sees them talking and laughing together, and asks Serena if she was bonding with Vanessa. She smiles and says she can't answer that. He asks if she wants to leave but she replies that she should stay to be with Blair. Meanwhile, Chuck goes to see Blair and brings her a gift. She opens it and finds the diamond necklace inside. He helps her put it on, and says that something that beautiful should be on someone worthy of it's beauty. He apologizes for real about Nate letting her down and they kiss. However, Serena walks in on them making out but backs out before they can see her.
- 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
- Taylor Momsen as Jenny Humphrey
- Kelly Rutherford as Lily van der Woodsen (Credit only, as she does not appear in the episode)
- Matthew Settle as Rufus Humphrey
- Jessica Szohr as Vanessa Abrams
- Margaret Colin as Eleanor Waldorf
- Nan Zhang as Kati Farkas
- Susan Misner as Alison Humphrey
- Sam Robards as Howard 'The Captain' Archibald
- Francie Swift as Anne Archibald
- Nicole Fiscella as Isabel Coates
- Peter Maloney as Priest
- One Week of Danger by The Virgins
- Birthday Song by The Shapes
- Love Is Colder Than Death by The Virgins
- Rich Girls by The Virgins
- Feathers by Two Hours Traffic
- Nice Buddy by Puffy Ami Yumi
- How We Breathe by Pinback
- Fernando Pando by The Virgins
- Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd
- How Does It Feel by Eskimo Joe
- Kissing Song by Dawn Landes
- Radio Christiane by The Virgins
Priest: What troubles you, my child?
Blair: After being broken up with my boyfriend for exactly twenty minutes, I succumbed to inebriation, performed at a speakeasy, and surrounded my virtue to a self absorbed ass. The only good news is that he's a total pig who will act like it never happened, thank god.
Priest: *clears his throat*
Blair: Sorry. Truthfully, I'm not even Catholic.
Priest: You don't say.
Blair: But losing my virginity to Chuck Bass? None of my friends will ever understand. I'm ready for my punishment. Whatever you and God think is fair. Flogging, fasting, putting that thing with the teeth around my thigh like Silas.
Priest: How about some food for thought instead? Don't drink. Keep your clothes on. Try avoiding those who might cause you to stray.
Blair: Oh, I plan to. Thank you, Father. It was very good advice. You don't grant birthday wishes, do you?
Priest: I'm a priest, not a genie.
Blair (on her party): You're officially uninvited.
Chuck: Never stopped me before!
Eleanor (on the Archibald scandal): This is an absolute disaster.
Blair: It must be awful for them.
Eleanor: I meant for me!
Blair (on Dan and Vanessa): I can't believe he told her you guys were going to do it.
Serena: Well, I told you.
Blair: That's different, I'm a girl.
Serena: Yeah, well so is she.
Blair: Exactly my point. But even if she wasn't, when you get a boyfriend you become the best friend and the best friend becomes the second best friend.
Chuck: Look, I care about three things, Nathaniel. Money, the pleasures money brings me, and you.
Blair: Do you.. like me?
Chuck: Define like.
Blair (on Vanessa to Serena): Oh, sweetie, you did not tell me she looked like that. This is such a problem.
Dan: I tell Vanessa everything, alright? I have since I was six.
Serena: Well you're not six anymore, Dan. I just... I was just hoping that I would be the person that you would want to tell these things to now.
Dan: I want you to be that person too. Really, I do. This whole girlfriend thing is very new to me, you know? I just - I don't know all the rules yet.
Serena: Well, Blair says in a relationship the best friend-
Dan: Serena. Are you really taking relationship advice from Blair?
Serena: Good point.
Nate (on doing what his parents want): I just think that, if I do this now, when does it ever stop?
Jenny: Well, it'll only stop when you stop it
- The episode title is based off the movie Sixteen Candles.
- This is the first appearance of St. Joseph's Church, where Tripp van der Bilt marries Maureen van der Bilt and where Blair eventually marries Prince Louis Grimaldi.
- This is the first onscreen appearance of Alison Humphrey.