The Freshmen is the 2nd episode of the third season and the 45th episode overall.
Every fall, confident high school seniors transform into nervous college freshmen. They leave their parents homes for the hallowed halls of higher education, and like any new venture, starting college holds the promise of limitless opportunity. The opportunity to conquer a new territory, or to try and be a little less lonely. But just because the opportunity presents itself, doesn't mean everybody is ready to take it.
Blair, who is determined to maintain her Queen Bee status in college, embarks on her first day at NYU, along with Dan and Vanessa. Georgina turns up and plots to make Blair a social outcast. As Serena prepares to depart for Brown, she and Chuck have a major falling out, so she recruits one of his old enemies to help her get even. Meanwhile, Nate and Bree decide to explore their relationship further, knowing full well it could cause tension between their families, who are political rivals.
The episode begins with Blair and Dorota getting all her things ready to head to school, Dan eating a waffle before heading off to school, and Serena packing before leaving for Brown. At NYU, Chuck drops Blair off and tells her he doesn't think she'll like the dorms. She insists that she has to live in them for at least a little while to become queen, but he reminds her college isn't high school. However, she promises she knows what she is doing. At the VDW's, Serena is on the phone with Dan and she advises him to make up with Vanessa. She mentions how lucky he is to be at the right place for him, and he asks if it's the same with her and Brown. After a pause, she says she has to go back to packing. At NYU, Dan meets a girl named Katie who recognizes him from the time he was published in The New Yorker. She invites him to come to her writer's group. Back at the VDW's, Rufus tells Serena that her car is ready to take her to Providence and that he and Lily are proud of her. Back at NYU, Dan runs into Scott and Vanessa. He officially meets Scott, and then the three spot Blair heading into a dorm. She tells them that at NYU they don't know each other, and all agree. At The Palace, Serena goes to Chuck and asks for a place to stay since she isn't planning on going to Brown.
At NYU, Blair begins mentoring freshmen. She provides gift bags for them, and excitedly whispers to Dorota that things are going even better than she expected. Right after, Georgina enters the room and announces that she is Blair's roommate. She promises it was just a coincidence, and continues to unpack her things. Vanessa overhears and enters, saying that her room is just down the hall. Frustrated, Blair goes into the hallway to call Dorota and tell her that they need to plan and throw a party. At The Palace, Serena explains to Chuck that she isn't ready to go to college because she isn't excited. He asks her if it has to do with Carter and when she says no, he agrees to let her stay. But he does ask her to go away for the evening so he can meet with people to open a speakeasy; a restaurant upstairs and a club downstairs. She is impressed and agrees to let him meet with his people. Back at the NYU bookstore, Dan and Vanessa make up but before they can talk much, Georgina appears and apologizes for the past. She asks if they can go out for coffee, but when they refuse, she says she understands and leaves. Vanessa tells Dan that they were too harsh, and says everyone does deserve a second chance. She follows her anyway. Meanwhile, Nate and Bree are laying low in her family's apartment. They make an agreement to hole up together for the next 24 hours to fast forward through their relationship. That evening, Chuck is meeting with his people when Serena enters the suite, saying she had to change her shoes because her heel broke. He excuses himself to take a call from his lawyer, and Serena asks if they're going to lease him the space. The rep says they're going to, and she mentions the club, which the man had no idea about, effectively killing the deal. At NYU, Blair opens the doors to her sushi party but is surprised when no one even comes out to investigate. A girl named Amalia introduces herself, and explains that maybe no one is there because they're all watching a movie down the hall together. Back at The Palace, Chuck angrily confronts Serena about killing his deal. She apologizes, and says it was a mistake. Back at NYU, Blair finds everyone just finishing watching a documentary made by Vanessa. She tries to announce her party, but Georgina speaks for everyone when she says no one is interested.
The next day, Serena spends the morning with Dan after sleeping at the loft. Dan suggests she talk to Rufus if she wants advice on what to do, and she decides to think about it. At NYU, Blair finds Georgina handing out flyers to a party she is throwing. Blair accuses her of trying to ruin her social standing, but Georgina says that no matter what, she will always be a loser at NYU. At the VDW's, Serena heads over to see Rufus but finds Chuck beat her to telling Rufus she isn't going to school. He leaves, and Rufus says that if she goes to Brown that day, Lily will never have to know about her lying about leaving at first. She adamantly replies that she has already decided not to go, and leaves, thanking Rufus for the talk. In the elevator, she calls Carter and asks if he wants to go out with her that night; and he agrees. At NYU, Blair tracks down Dan and asks him to take her to Georgina's party. That night, Blair and Dan arrive at the party and he tells her not to wear her trademark headband. She also thanks him for taking her. Upstairs, he introduces her to Katie and runs into Georgina. She warns him that Blair is just using him, but he says that he's been the person not welcome at parties and he's not going to box people out the way he was. Meanwhile at the apartment, Nate and Bree are sharing things about each other. She goes through his pockets, and realizes he's sentimental deep down. At a bar, Carter and Serena hang out when he spots Chuck. They agree to go over and mess with the business meeting he's having. After a few moments, Serena announces Chuck's plans to the businessmen and ruin his deal. He realizes she set Carter up to come with her and ruin his deal, and then tells her that he told Rufus about her not going to Brown because he was genuinely concerned for her. Back at NYU, Blair gets a text from someone saying that they've arrived at the party. Meanwhile, Dan, Scott, Vanessa, and Katie hang out. Katie questions Scott's professor recommendations, but he becomes defensive and says he doesn't want to. On stage, Blair gets everyone's attention and begins to thank Georgina for throwing the party. While she talks, members of Georgina's old bible camp (from Season Two's Southern Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) arrive and begin handing out flyers about Jesus and the wonders of Christianity. Blair announces that the party is a conversion party that Georgina threw to convert the vulnerable freshmen.
Back at the bar, Carter is angry that Serena used him to screw over Chuck. He tells her to find a new bad habit and leaves. Back at NYU, Blair quickly begins inviting everyone to go to a private room she rented at a bar. Dan asks what she's doing, and Blair gives a quick summary and invites him to go to the bar. Vanessa argues that Georgina wasn't turning people against her, and that no one liked her attempts at bribery. Blair again invites Dan to come and walks away. Vanessa remarks that just because someone has to be on top, it doesn't have to be Blair. Dan thinks it over, and goes onstage to reveal Blair's plan to everyone. After Dan's speech, Blair leaves alone. The next morning, Rufus arrives at the loft to see Serena. She apologizes for everything, and he apologizes for blowing up the way he did. She admits she deferred from Brown for a year and she realizes that the only reason she was going was because Lily wanted her to. She wonders how she's going to tell Lily, and Rufus offers to help her figure it out. At the apartment, Bree finds out that her family heard about her being with Nate. She explains that if his family can accept them being together, maybe one day her's will to and if not that's a risk she is willing to take. Meanwhile, Blair and Serena meet up on The Met steps. They talk about conquering each obstacle in their life, and Blair admits that she's glad Serena isn't going to Brown. At a cafe, Scott brings Vanessa a review of every professor he had over the summer and apologizes for his weirdness the night before. She says it's okay, and Scott asks if Dan going onstage is like him but she says no. Elsewhere outside, Serena catch up with Carter and tells him that he isn't her bad habit. She says she doesn't want anyone else, and they kiss. At The Palace, Blair arrives to see Chuck and gets into bed with him. At the party site, Dan wakes up to Vanessa calling him to hang out. He says he's still hungover and says no. After he hangs up, it's revealed Georgina also slept with him on the roof.
- 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 (Credit only, as she does not appear in the episode)
- Kelly Rutherford as Lily van der Woodsen (Credit only, as she does not appear in the episode)
- Matthew Settle as Rufus Humphrey
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Georgina Sparks
- Sebastian Stan as Carter Baizen
- Zuzanna Szadkowski as Dorota Kishlovsky
- Joanna Garcia as Bree Buckley
- Chris Riggi as Scott Rosson
- Embers (as made famous by Just Jack) by Hip Stars, Inc.
- Good Girls Go Bad by Cobra Starship (feat. Leighton Meester)
- 1901 by Phoenix
- Hot Mess by Cobra Starship
- Summons by Names in Vain
Chuck (on dorms): Fluorescent lighting? Communal showers? Public school girls? There's a place for that and it belongs in the back of a video store.
Georgina: Jesus and I have redefined our relationship.
Blair: You mean he dumped you because he found out you were Satan!
Chuck (to Serena): Look, sis, for people like us, a college degree is just an accessory. Like a Malawi baby or a poodle.
Georgina: Face it, Blair. Once upon a time in a far off land, you were a queen. But here, you're just a loser who will never fit in.
Serena (to Rufus): Do you know you're more afraid of my mother than I am?
Katie: So was everyone at your high school totally jealous of Dan for being such a great writer?
Blair: Dan's a writer?
Dan (to Georgina): I'm sorry. I've been the person not welcome at parties and if now I'm on the other side of things, I'm not gonna treat people the way I was treated. Even if it is Blair.
Georgina: I didn't invite you here.
Bible Counselor: We though out little lamb had been lost for good.
Georgina: I AM lost for good.
Blair: Are you okay?
Chuck: I am now.
- The episode title is based off the movie The Freshman.
- Leighton Meester's song Good Girls Go Bad is featured during Georgina's party.