The Debarted is the 12th episode of the third season and the 55th overall.
They say there are no accidents. Sometimes reality comes crashing into us. Other times, it dawns on us slowly despite our best efforts to avoid it. We make our own fortunes, and then call it fate. And what better excuse to choose a path then to insist it's our destiny. But at the end of the day, we all have to live with our choices... No matter who's looking over our shoulder.
On the first anniversary of Bart Bass' death, Chuck wrestles with the dilemma of following his conscience, or that of his father. Serena runs away with Tripp where they hide out at his cottage. During Tripp and Serena's drive back to New York, an argument between them brings a terrible accident when Serena is seriously injured in a car accident and he flees from the scene. Back in New York, Dan and Vanessa attempt to navigate their newly complicated friendship when Dan seeks a new potential relationship with one of Vanessa's friends. Elsewhere, Eric and Kira make plans to dethrone Jenny. Also, the relationship between Lily and Rufus deteriorates even more when he discovers a letter from Serena's father.
The episode begins with Serena and Tripp driving along a dark road while it rains. Tripp tries talking to her, but she ignores him. He tells her that he can't stand her silence because he loves her. She replies that everything is ruined and then cries out when she sees a pack of animals on the road. Tripp swerves the car to avoid them and runs into a fence, crashing the car.
Time then jumps back to 12 hours prior. At The Empire, Blair tries to bring Chuck breakfast in bed but he brushes her off. She tells him she knows what day it is, and he doesn't have to pretend to be fine. Chuck replies that it's the same as any other day and he has work to do. She follows him into the elevator on his way out, saying she's coming because she cancelled her whole day to spend it with him. At the VDW's, Lily is cleaning out the coat closet for third time since Thanksgiving. Rufus asks if she's going to the co-op meeting, but then asks if her sudden obsession with cleaning has to do with Serena. Lily admits that she won't talk to her and is holed up with a married politician, which she disapproves of. She then asks Rufus if he'll go to the co-op meeting in her place, and he agrees to go to help her out. Meanwhile, at a house owned by the van der Bilt's, Serena learns from Tripp that his career isn't suffering but that the divorce has to blow up before it blows over. She promises they'll get through it together, and they kiss. After, he tells her he's heading into town to get supplies. Back in Manhattan, Blair and Chuck arrive at a homeless shelter that Chuck is planning to buy. Blair is unhappy, saying that the homeless won't have anywhere to live and will probably venture out in her path. He continues to blow her off, and begins to head inside but she blurts out that he should either be at home or laying flowers on Bart's grave since it's the anniversary of his death. He tells her to take the car home and to meet him at the hotel for lunch but before getting in the car, she tells him that he is not his father. At the VDW's, Lily ends her closet hunt in frustration, Tripp calls someone to meet with him, and before Chuck can enter the building, Bart appears behind him and tells him he did the right thing.
Meanwhile, Jenny's friends are awed when she shows up with a designer handbag that has yet to be released. While bragging about it, Sawyer shows up and has the same exact one. She explains that her mom brought it for her from Paris, and that they should alternate days so they don't have it at the same time. Jenny coldly tells her that she has dibs on designer everything and they are no longer friends. She turns back to her other friends, and Sawyer walks back to where Kira and Eric are waiting for a recap. She explains she was totally humiliated, and Kira tells her that the point is for Carmen and Jane to abandon Jenny when they see how mean she is. They agree to begin phase two. At the NYU cafe, Dan tells Nate that Gabriela was right that he loves Vanessa but it's too late now, since she's dating Paul Hoffman. Nate tells him that he's using Paul as an excuse to avoid his feelings, and advises him to either tell Vanessa or move on. Vanessa and Willa Weinstein then come in to invite Dan to come with them and Paul to Willa's country house. He declines, saying that he has a work to do and should stay home. They walk away, and Nate tells him to go to either beat Paul for Vanessa or to hook up with Willa. He calls her name, and Dan says he changed his mind and wants to go after all. She tells him they're meeting at the dorms that night and he should come find her. Meanwhile, Rufus arrives at the co-op meeting and meets Holland Kemble. She explains that they figured he didn't have a job and would come in a matter of time. He tells her he isn't a trophy husband, and she admits her husband left her for her yoga teacher. They then begin their meeting.
Back at the house, Serena calls Tripp wondering where he is. He tells her he ran into William in town, and they're having a nice talk. She says she's bored, but she supports him 100%. He thanks her and says he'll see her later that night then hangs up. After, he goes back to where he's talking with Maureen. They restate that if they play their cards right, he can keep his career and Serena while she gets to keep her marriage. She asks if she can talk to Serena about the plan alone, and he hesitantly agrees. Back at The Empire, Bart tells Chuck that his plans to buy the homeless shelter seem good and like they have a good chance at success. Chuck replies that there's a few things to figure out first, and Bart replies that the residents there are not his concern. He also tells Chuck that he's become weak and even softer than he was. Angry, Chuck goes to his room and slams the doors. Back at the house, Serena calls Nate to ask if he knows how to restart the heat at the house. He admits he doesn't know, and then she asks if there's anything to do. He directs her to a book on the shelf, which has some weed hidden inside. Nate asks where Tripp is, and Serena explains that he's with William. He tells her to stay warm and they hang up. Afterwards, Maureen arrives to see Serena. She tells her that Tripp told her where she was, and that they aren't getting divorced. She also explains that Serena can have him in private, so long as she gets him in public. Serena responds that Tripp wouldn't send her there because he knows she wouldn't agree to it. Maureen admits that he was skeptical, but he didn't know that she has the letter from her father, which details the fact that he was with Lily over the summer. Maureen tells her to think about the offer, and to be lucky she wasn't forced out of the picture altogether. At The Empire, Blair arrives to find Chuck on his bed. She tells him she knows how hard it was for him to let his guard down for her, but he's changed. He replies that he's buying the building and that she needs to go home right away. After she's gone, Bart tells Chuck maybe there's hope for him yet.
Meanwhile, Eric tries to convince Carmen and Jane that Jenny is not a good queen, but she appears out of nowhere to give the girls replicas of her bag. They're happily surprised and thank her profusely. Suspicious, Eric asks where she got the money to buy them. She doesn't reply and heads off with the girls. At the VDW's, Blair has tea with Lily to see if she can talk Chuck into mourning. By the look on her face, it's clear Lily forgot it was the anniversary. Blair reveals Chuck has never visited his mother's grave and Bart wouldn't tell him where she's buried. Lily promises to go see Chuck and talk to him. Meanwhile, Serena calls Nate to vent to him about Maureen's visit. He reveals to her that his grandfather is in Bermuda, and his mother confirmed it, and that Tripp is lying to her. After they hang up, Nate asks his driver how long until they're in Nassau County. At the NYU dorms, Dan meets with Willa and she asks him to watch a performance art piece she stars in before they leave. She turns it on, and it turns out to be a video of herself naked and breathing heavily. At The Empire, Lily arrives to ask Chuck to come to the cemetery with her. She tells him that Bart was the type of person to prefer being alone but they don't have to be that way. He tells her that the best way for him to honor his father is to work, but she says it's important for them to go anyway. After, her phone rings and she answers it to find Serena on the other end. She tells her that Maureen has the letter from William and is threatening to tell Rufus, and Tripp is lying to her and not replying to her. Lily promises to tell Rufus and that they'll fix everything when she returns home. They hang up, and she tells Chuck she has to go deal with something but she wants him to consider what she said. She leaves, and Chuck throws the flowers she brought in the trash. At the house, Serena leaves as Tripp is arriving. She asks him to tell her everything Maureen said isn't true, but he stays silent. He begs her to let him drive her home and to let him explain. She says she'll get in the car but won't talk. As they drive, the scene plays back to the accident. After surveying the damage, Tripp sees Serena unconscious with a huge bleeding cut on her face, and a shattered windshield where she hit. He then calls Maureen to ask for help.
Soon after, Nate drives by and sees the police. He has the driver pull over and he gets out in time to see Serena being put in the ambulance. She asks where Tripp is, and he says Tripp isn't there. She replies that he was driving. Nate calls Tripp, and leaves him a message saying he knows what he did and they need to meet right away or he's telling the cops. At the VDW's, Lily is about to tell Rufus about William when she receives a call from the hospital informing her of the accident. At NYU, Dan and Willa are kissing when he suddenly stops, saying it isn't her but him. His phone rings, and he quickly leaves to take the call. He then heads to Blair's room to ask her to come to the hospital because of Serena's accident. Vanessa sees them in the hall and Dan tells her to come and he'll explain why on the way. Meanwhile, Chuck takes Blair's call from his limo and tells her he'll see her there. Bart appears, and tells him not to ruin his deal. Chuck yells at him to leave him alone, and then orders his driver to stop looking at him. At the hospital, Nate confronts Tripp about leaving her alone in the car. He says that what he did was unforgivable and he's telling the cops. Maureen comes up and announces she is telling the cops Tripp was with her all night, and William has Tripp's back in this case. She also says that not only is William really liked by the sheriff's department there, but that Serena's history with drinking, drugs, and overall slutty behavior won't help her. She goes back to the car, and Tripp asks to see her. Nate then punches him and tells him to never go near her again.
In her hospital room, Lily apologizes for everything and Serena asks if Rufus is there. Lily says she had him stay at the apartment to find her insurance papers, and she replies that she has her insurance card. Lily admits she was about to tell him but then the hospital called and she didn't want to bring him into a scene where she didn't know what to expect. Serena says she needs to rest, and Lily leaves the room. Blair enters then, and hugs her. Serena tells her she was right, but Blair doesn't reply. Chuck also arrives, and has a flashback to the night Bart died.
In the flashback, Serena sees him in the hall and tells him to come into the room. He enters, and sees Bart hooked up to several machines. He overhears a doctor telling Lily how sorry he is, and she tells Chuck that the doctor's did everything they could. Serena asks him to stay and be there with them, but he walks out.
In present day, Chuck is overtaken with emotion and sits down on the floor. Blair comes out and sits next to him. He asks how Serena is, and she replies that she's going to be okay. He reveals that Bart always thought he was weak and that he couldn't be there when he died. Blair tells him that he couldn't handle feelings then, but he's a man in a way that his father never was. They get up and head for the cemetery so Chuck can properly say goodbye.
In another flashback, Chuck sees the doctor put a sheet over Bart's body signifying his death.
Meanwhile, Jenny and Eric finally make up. She admits she figured he set Sawyer up with the bag, and he says he listened in on the call, which she figured and is why she set up the gifts. They call a truce and go to get Serena a gift from the gift shop. At the VDW's, Rufus is heading out to the hospital when he runs into Maureen. She gives him the letter from William, and says he needs to read it. Back at the hospital, Dan tells Vanessa that he loves her. She doesn't say anything back at first, then says that he probably said it because he's under intense emotional stress. She goes to see if Serena needs anything and leaves. Later, Lily, Eric, and Jenny arrive home. She finds the apartment empty, and then sees the letter on her desk. Meanwhile, Rufus and Holland meet in a bar to talk. At the loft, Dan arrives home alone. At the hospital, Serena wakes up to find Nate asleep in the corner of her room. Back at the VDW's, Jenny sneaks out to meet with Damien. They go to do a delivery, and she thanks him for setting her up with the bags. He tells her that she earned the money herself and if she stays in business with him, she'll have enough cash to rule her kingdom forever.
At the cemetery, Blair lets Chuck go to the grave alone while she waits in the car. He walks over, with his mother's favorite flowers, yellow roses. When he gets closer, he sees a woman standing there crying, and that she also left yellow roses. He asks if it's Lily, and when the woman turns to him it's clear it's not her. She says his name, then runs off into the dark. Chuck slowly approaches the grave, and sees that the woman left behind half a locket: one side inscribed with the letter E, and the other containing a photo of Bart.
- 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
- Connor Paolo as Eric van der Woodsen
- Kevin Zegers as Damien Dalgaard
- Robert John Burke as Bart Bass
- Holley Fain as Maureen van der Bilt
- Aaron Tveit as Tripp van der Bilt
- Laura Harring as Elizabeth Fisher
- Sarah Steele as Kira Abernathy
- Megan Guinan as Willa Weinstein
- Sherri Saum as Holland Kemble
- Too Late by M83
- Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z (feat. Alicia Keys)
- Suicide by The Raveonettes
- Right Where They Left by White Rabbits
- I Hear (Click, Click, Click) by The Rosebuds
Rufus: If it helps you out, I'm totally free.
Lily: I had a feeling you might say that.
Blair (on Chuck's business venture): This building is a homeless shelter. A: Gross. And B: Really?
Tripp (on their arrangement): Why are you okay with this?
Maureen: We both share a dream we aren't willing to give up on.
Bart (to Chuck): But to be honest, I haven't seen anything in the last year that suggests you have what it takes. If anything, you've been a disappointment. You opened your heart to Blair and it made you weak. You cannot be one person at work and another one at home. If you're soft, you're soft. And let's face it. You're soft.
Nate (to Tripp on leaving Serena): Look, I know we're family. But what you did is unforgivable.
Chuck: My father always thought I was weak. And in the moment that mattered most, I was. I couldn't be there when he... I left. Ran away. I've been pushing myself to prove him wrong and... pushing you away.
Blair: I don't think you ran away because you couldn't handle death. I think it's because you couldn't handle feelings. But you aren't like that anymore. You're strong. You carry people. You carry me. You're becoming a man in a way that your father never was. Come. Let's say goodbye.
Dan: Vanessa. I love you.
Vanessa: I love you too.
Dan: Not really the reaction I was hoping for
- The episode title is based off the movie The Departed.
- A school picture of a young Chace Crawford is in Tripp's cottage.
- In all other episodes featuring Tripp, the name is spelt with two "p's". However in Nate's phone, Tripp's name is spelt with only one.
- Blair's dorm room sign says in small print: "For all inquiries, please contact Dorota at (212) 555-0127."
- This is the first appearance of Robert John Burke as Bart Bass since season two's It's a Wonderful Lie.