The Treasure of Serena Madre is the 11th episode of the third season and the 54th overall.
Thanksgiving began when the pilgrims and Indians came together to share the bountiful harvest. On the Upper East Side, that tradition is upheld with a bountiful harvest of secrets, lies, and scandals. -G.G.
It wouldn't be Thanksgiving on the Upper East Side if there wasn't a serving or two of some major drama for the holiday. Blair suspects her mother, Eleanor, has been keeping a big secret from her. Vanessa is supposed to spend Thanksgiving with her parents, but has a fight with her estranged mother and shows up on Dan's doorstep. Meanwhile, Rufus learns that Lily has been lying to him about her mother, Cece, and about her whereabouts during the summer. Chuck tells Nate that he has some potentially damaging information about one of their friends. Jenny learns that Eric was behind her very public embarrassment at Cotillion and Serena is put in a very awkward position when her mother invites Tripp and his wife Maureen to join them for Thanksgiving dinner.
The episode begins with Rufus handing out tasks for Thanksgiving dinner. Lily announces Serena is going to be volunteering at a soup kitchen for the holiday and she would rather buy a ready made dinner instead of cooking. Rufus pretends to be okay with it and Lily goes to order it. When she's gone, Eric suggests the invite CeCe to come over video chat so she can be there without traveling. Rufus agrees it's a great idea and Eric goes to retrieve his laptop with Jenny following closely behind. She asks if he Jonathan can come, and he admits they broke up but won't say why. Afterwards, she sends Jonathan a text asking if he wants to come anyway. At Tripp's, Serena arrives and he tells her Maureen agreed to a divorce. Serena asks what the real reason is, not wanting to be responsible. He assures her it has nothing to do with her, and she insists they can't be together until he's not married anymore. He then asks if they could spend Thanksgiving together, and she replies that she already told Lily she has to work so she could be free.
At The Empire, Blair and Chuck are headed out for the day while she complains about Eleanor's arrival; and how she thinks she is keeping a secret from her. She announces her plans to figure out what it is before they go back to Paris together, and then they run into Serena outside, who is looking for Nate. Blair quickly denounces her and gets into the car, followed by Chuck. Upstairs, Nate and Dan talk over the threesome and Olivia leaving. Dan explains how Olivia thinks she saw a certain look during, and Nate tells him to relax. Dan asks if he's going to be around for Thanksgiving, and he replies that he's headed to William's to avoid dealing with his feelings for someone. When they hang up, Serena enters and asks if he wants to go for a walk. At the loft, Vanessa arrives to see Dan, saying she got into a fight with her mother and can't stay in the dorms. She then asks if she can stay for awhile, and he agrees. At the VDW's, Rufus and Eric video chat with CeCe and ask her to be present for dinner, but she replies that she's fine and willing to make the trip to see them. She asks them to keep it as a surprise and hangs up. At the Waldorf's, Blair arrives home and finds Dorota avoiding calls from Vanya. While looking through the mail, Blair finds a thick envelope addressed to Eleanor from her attorney, and realizes she's changing her will. Before she can open it, Eleanor arrives and takes the envelope away. Elsewhere outside, Nate confronts Serena about Tripp's divorce. She admits they kissed once and she doesn't intend on taking it any further. While they talk, Tripp calls to cancel their plans for Thanksgiving because Maureen was a mess when she arrived and wants to spend the holiday together. Serena hangs up and asks Nate if he has plans for Thanksgiving, and she asks him to come to Lily's. Meanwhile, Lily runs into Maureen on the street, and they're surprised to see they're wearing the same coat. Lily asks why Tripp has Serena working on Thanksgiving and Maureen quickly plays along, saying his schedule has been busy lately. Lily asks if they would be willing to have Thanksgiving dinner with them and Maureen accepts the invitation.
At the loft, Vanessa tells Dan that she and her mother are fighting over the holiday and she doesn't have anyone to vent to since Olivia left. She asks if he's talked to her since she left, and he says no. She notices he's been quiet and that he keeps giving her a weird look. Before they can talk more, Gabriella arrives to make things right with Vanessa. She apologizes for earlier and says Rufus invited them to come for dinner. Vanessa agrees to give her one last shot but that's it. At The Empire, Serena runs into Tripp, who wants to talk since she's avoiding his calls. He informs her that him and Maureen were invited to Lily's and they'll be seeing each other the next day after all. Serena is shocked and asks if it's weird. He says all he cares about is spending time with her, and they pull the emergency stop button to make out. At the Waldorf's, Blair is still trying to find out what's in the envelope. Dorota comes back from the store, and Eleanor says she's headed to bed. She grabs the envelope, but Blair quickly suggests they spend Thanksgiving with the VDW's. Eleanor agrees to call Lily and ask, but leaves the room with the envelope. Blair complains to Dorota that she knows the secret is int he envelope, then notices her clutching a bag really close. She grabs it and finds a pregnancy test inside, then realizes Eleanor is pregnant. At The Empire, Chuck tells Nate that he found out from his security team that Serena and Tripp stopped the elevator to make out. Nate realizes he isn't leaving Maureen over the scandal, and Chuck confirms that by telling Serena that, he can leave when he wants. Nate says someone needs to get through to her, and Chuck goes to his room. When he's gone, Nate calls security.
The next day, Lily is surprised when CeCe shows up for dinner. Right after she does, Gabriella, Vanessa, and Dan arrive. Out of earshot, CeCe tells Lily that everyone, especially her and Rufus, seem to have a lot to talk about. Outside, Blair tries to trick Eleanor into revealing her pregnancy or catching a symptom. She asks Eleanor if she's nauseous, but she answers that she's jet lagged. Chuck reveals he brought her favorite champagne, but Eleanor replies that she isn't in the mood for it. Upstairs, Tripp and Maureen arrive and are greeted by Serena. When Maureen goes to say hi to Nate, Tripp tells Serena the hardest part is over and they'll get through it. After, Blair, Chuck, and Eleanor arrive. Blair is surprised to see Tripp. She walks off with Eleanor, and Chuck tells Serena and Tripp that if they ever play grab ass in his elevator again, Serena will be kicked out of the hotel. Meanwhile, Nate and Maureen talk and she asks if Tripp is having an affair. Nate admits he is, but he has a way they can end it quickly and quietly. He shows her that he has a tape, and she is willing to see it if it ends their relationship. Elsewhere, Jenny pulls Blair aside and demands the truth about what happened at Cotillion. Blair asks what she's talking about, and Jenny says Jonathan texted her saying he's surprised she and Eric are still friends after what happened that night. Blair reveals that Eric's plan was solid and stealing her escort and leaving her alone onstage was his idea. Rufus then calls everyone to the table. Before dinner starts, Lily excuses herself. Gabriella asks CeCe for all the details on Rufus and Lily's wedding, and she says she wasn't there because Rufus didn't want her there. He says Lily said she was too sick to travel, but she says she's been in remission since August. Confused, Rufus reminds her that Lily didn't come home until October and she quickly recants her statement. Vanessa tells Dan her mother always sticks her nose in everyone's business, but Dan defends her. She asks again about the face, but directs it at Jenny, what takes the opportunity to blame Eric. She reveals she knows what happened at Cotillion and he doesn't deny it. On the other side of the table, Maureen asks Tripp and Serena how they can be so happy despite doing such a bad thing. Nate tells her to quiet down, but she reveals she has a copy of the tape and will release it unless they end the affair. Chuck realizes Nate stole the tape from the hotel. While she's showing it to them, Lily looks over Serena's shoulder and realizes what she's been doing. Blair tells Eleanor she knows she's pregnant, but the look on her face tells Blair she was wrong. Jenny excuses herself from the table, followed by Blair, then Vanessa. CeCe then tells Rufus that she's glad she was invited.
Upstairs, Serena tries to explain things to Lily, who asks if she knows what it's like to be left. Serena tells her it's not like that since Tripp really cares about her. Lily replies that he's hurting someone who believed the exact same thing, and finishes by saying she isn't welcome at their home again until she ends it. In Jenny's room, Eric tells her that she lost any rights to honesty when she chose being queen over their friendship. He explains Jonathan was sick of his constantly trying to excuse her behavior, and that's when he tried to take her down, hoping that if she could be taken down once she would realize what she had become. She replies that he lost Jonathan because he tried to oust her, and he says he lost everything and it's her fault. Finally, he says that she has to watch her back, same way as she told Kira to watch hers. In the lobby, Blair is eating pie alone when Eleanor comes down to tell her she isn't pregnant; but she is moving to Paris full time, as she and Cyrus bought a beautiful penthouse. Blair asks who the pregnancy test was for, and then they're approached by Vanya, who asks why Dorota is avoiding him. They realize who the pregnant one is. Upstairs, Gabriella tells Rufus that it's weird that Lily wasn't honest about CeCe going into remission. He excuses himself, and Vanessa tells her again to lay off. She reminds her of the time she bought them tickets to a show and she spent the whole time talking to a homeless man instead of spending time with her. Gabriella replies that she cares about people, but is starting to think coming was a mistake and she should leave. Vanessa agrees, and she does so. Serena then comes downstairs, breaks up with Tripp, and apologizes to Maureen. Later, Blair goes to sit with her in her old room, and says Chuck filled her in on what happened. They make up, and Blair asks her to come to Paris with her for the weekend. Serena decides to go, and they go to find her passport. Upstairs, Rufus asks Lily why she stayed with CeCe when she was better instead of coming home. Lily admits that while she was sick, CeCe became kind and loving and she wanted to enjoy her company while she could, and lied because she felt selfish leaving him alone with the kids. CeCe then enters after overhearing, and Rufus goes to clear the table. Lily thanks her, and CeCe asks if he knows about her little trip. She says no, and CeCe reminds her that not all secrets can stay hidden. Downstairs, Eleanor and Blair give Dorota a plate of off for Vanya, and tell her she needs to talk to Vanya right away. They send her down and wish her luck.
At the loft, Dan catches Gabriella before she leaves. He tells her that Vanessa is giving and kind the same way she is, and that she is truly an amazing person. Gabriella tells Dan that he is in love with her, and that it's all over his face. Vanessa then comes in, and he lets them talk alone. Back at the VDW's, Tripp confronts Nate about revealing the affair, saying he's angry that he can lose everything. Nate replies that just now realizing that he is losing everything makes him pretty sure he did the right thing. Tripp leaves, and Chuck comes up to Nate. Chuck asks why he didn't tell him the truth, and Nate says he did; and that Serena deserves someone who would sacrifice anything to be with her. Chuck asks if that includes stealing a tape from his best friend's business, then advises him to tell her how he feels to give her the chance to be with a guy who does deserve her. Upstairs, Serena is rooting through the safe to find her passport. Before she can, Tripp comes up to tell her that he doesn't care about losing Maureen or his career since she is all he cares about. He tells her that he's going to be downstairs and he wants her to join. Blair admits she didn't think he had it in him, and Serena asks what she should do. Blair tells her to go, and they hug. Before she closes the safe, she spots a letter addressed to her from her father postmarked from weeks ago. Eleanor calls up to Blair, and Serena tells her to go so she can be alone. She begins reading the letter, and then heads down to the elevator. Lily asks where she's going since everyone is gone. Serena tells her that Tripp is leaving Maureen and that they're going away together. Lily tells her she is still responsible for breaking up a marriage and it's a huge mistake. Serena asks her what she knows about mistakes, and hands the letter over before leaving.
Back at the loft, Gabriella excitedly tells Dan that she and Vanessa are on good terms now and are moving to a hotel for the weekend. Dan offers to let them stay, and she decides to give him some advice. She tells him that unless he's sure he wants to be with Vanessa because their friendship won't survive another heartbreak. Vanessa emerges from the back, and says Paul Hoffman texted asking if she and Gabriella would want to meet with him and his parents for a drink. She asks if she wants to go, and Gabriella asks Dan if she does. Dan says yes, since Vanessa really likes him. She tells Vanessa they'll go. Back at the VDW's, Nate catches Serena before she leaves and begs her not to go, revealing his feelings for her. She debates it, but ultimately chooses to leave with Tripp. Back at the loft, Vanessa and Gabriella leave for a hotel. On the way out, Vanessa hugs Dan and thanks him for everything. Back at the VDW's, Dorota tells Vanya she is pregnant and he is overjoyed. Upstairs, Eric texts Kira that Jenny knows about Cotillion and they need to strike as soon as possible. In the coat closet, Lily rereads the letter but quickly shoves it aside when Rufus comes down looking for her. He asks where their wedding album is, then notices she looks weird. He asks if she's okay and she says yes, then goes to get it. Downstairs, Blair, Chuck, and Eleanor leave to get in the car for the airport. He notices a heartbroken Nate, and asks if she minds if he stays. She kisses him, and leaves with Eleanor. He goes over to Nate, and offers to get drunk with him and they walk off. In their car, Serena and Tripp leave the city together. Back at the VDW's, Maureen arrives to get her coat she forgot when she left. She asks Dorota to tell Rufus and Lily everything was wonderful and gets into the elevator. Right after she does, she discovers the letter from Dr. van der Woodsen in her coat pocket.
- 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
- Margaret Colin as Eleanor Waldorf
- Caroline Lagerfelt as CeCe Rhodes
- Zuzanna Szadkowski as Dorota Kishlovsky
- Aaron Schwartz as Vanya
- Aaron Tveit as Tripp van der Bilt
- Holley Fain as Maureen van der Bilt
- Gina Torres as Gabriela Abrams
- The Only Exception by Paramore
- Last Dance by The Raveonettes
- Whatcha Say by Jason Derulo
- White Sky by Vampire Weekend
Eric (on Lily wanting a hassle free holiday): Sorry, Rufus, but you can't really blame her. Our Thanksgivings tend to end with french fries in a diner and someone having been in a mental institution.
Nate (to Dan on his threesome): If this is not your next story for The New Yorker, I am sending it out to an entirely different magazine.
Dorota (clutching a bag): Ms. Eleanor ask me to pick up a few things for trip to Paris. It's private.
Blair: You know what isn't? The INS tipline.
Chuck: How often does the other woman get a happy ending?
Eleanor: Is it just me, or does my daughter just seem to get crazier and crazier?
Jenny: You don't have anything to say to me?
Eric: Your sweet potatoes are bland.
Blair: Doing the right thing takes courage and strength. At least that's what I've heard.
Serena (to Lily after finding the letter): You don't get to judge me. Ever again.
Chuck (to Nate): Come on. Let's get drunk.
- The episode title is based off the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
- CeCe's phone number is revealed to be (805) 555-1046.