They Shoot Humphreys, Don't They? is the 9th episode of the third season and the 52nd overall.
Have you been so busy that you've forgotten what time of year it is? Let me give you a hint. Couture, quadrilles, and cutthroat competition. That's right. It's time for Cotillion.
Not satisfied with just being Queen of Constance Billard, Jenny sets her sights on becoming the Queen of all the Upper East Side by landing the hottest escort for Cotillion. Meanwhile, Nate and Chuck plot to help Serena and Blair repair their damaged friendship. Dan is upset when Olivia contemplates leaving school for a movie project, so he and Vanessa take her out on the town with a bucket list. Blair and Eric plan to dethrone Jenny at Cotillion, so they enlist a student at Constance to take her down.
The episode begins with Jenny's minions suggesting boys to escort her to Cotillion. Jenny is dissatisfied with all the options and orders them again to get her Graham Collins, the new hottest guy on the UES. They enter the dance rehearsal building and Jenny realizes that while she's the queen of Constance, she is not the queen of the other schools. Meanwhile, Blair arrives at The Empire to spend the day with Chuck. She explains their plans for the day, but learns that Chuck and Nate are having a Lost Weekend to celebrate Nate moving in. Chuck reminds her that Cotillion is that weekend, but Blair says she isn't going to make sure she doesn't run into Serena. She remembers that Lily is hosting a dinner that night for debs and their mentors, and Chuck encourages her to go since Serena might apologize. At Tripp's office, Serena interviews for a job, which she gets. Serena leaves to help Lily prepare for the dinner, and Tripp tells her she can officially start on Monday. At the NYU cafe, Dan, Olivia, and Vanessa are studying for their midterms. While to do so, Olivia is approached by a group of guys begging to know details about the new Endless Nights film that Warner Bros. issued a press release on. Olivia brushes them off, saying that the rumors about it have been going around forever and it's not happening. They leave, and Olivia promises Dan and Vanessa that it isn't happening; then sees that she has a lot of missed calls.
Back at the dance studio, Lily tells the debs to go meet with their escorts to practice the routine. Jenny goes over and reminds her that she doesn't have an escort yet. Lily tells her it's fine, and pairs her with a choreographer, citing that Jenny needs extra help because she hasn't had ballroom dancing lessons like the other girls. Jenny excuses herself before the dance begins. Elsewhere in the room, Eric meets Kira Abernathy; a student at Constance who Jenny routinely ignores. It's revealed that Lily and Kira's mom set them up to debut together, and Kira tells Eric Jenny's friends are so lucky to be friends with her. Eric replies that Jenny is obsessed with going with Graham Collins, and Kira says that Graham lives in her building and could talk to him for Jenny. Eric admits he knows Graham too, from Camp Swiss, and that he could talk to him for Jenny too, but she hates when people get involved in her personal life. Kira excuses herself to get her shoes, and then pulls her phone out. Elsewhere outside, Dan and Vanessa realize that Olivia is leaving might be serious. Vanessa suggests they embark of a 15 Things Every College Student Should Do Before Graduating bucket list, and Dan agrees. Olivia catches up with them and says that her parents, manager, and agents are all flying in to convince her to do the movie so she has to. They then head off to begin the list. Back at rehearsal, Jenny goes to the back of the studio to try copying the dance moves from the security tapes. Eric surprises her, and begins giving her tips to make the dancing easier. She admits that she wanted to make a perfect debut so everyone could forget she was a Brooklyn nobody. As they dance, she says she wishes he could be her escort and he suggests she go with Jonathan, and debuting with a Whitney is impressive. Jenny asks if he would even go with her, and Eric promises to talk to him. Jenny goes off to tell her minions to call off the search, and Eric spots her phone. He sees a text on it from Graham Collins offering to go with her to Cotillion, and he replies saying that she already has another date.
That night at the VDW's, Blair arrives to the dinner. She goes to talk to Serena, who doesn't apologize, and just says that there is a list of debs and their mentors on the coffee table. Serena says that Jenny is her deb, and they begin to argue about who needs to apologize to who. Blair asks Jenny who her mentor is, and begins to tell her that she needs a better mentor to make up for everything else she is lacking in. Serena gives Blair the spot as Jenny's mentor and leaves to go to Tripp's office to work. Eric and Jonathan also arrive, and Eric keeps trying to convince him to go with Jenny. After some prodding, Jonathan reluctantly agrees to go. At Tripp's office, Serena arrives to bring him some food. She begins to try and help him with some work, but they realize that there is some chemistry between them. He suggests she go home and come back the next day to meet her supervisor, Brian, and she leaves. Back at the VDW's, Kira tries to talk to Jenny. She mentions Graham, then explains that after she found out Jenny wanted to go with him, she called and found out he was more than willing to go with her. She explains that he texted her but got a reply saying she already had an escort. Jenny pushes her aside and goes to confront Eric about texting Graham. He admits he did it, but only because she wouldn't make the right choice if given the chance. Offended, Jonathan leaves the party. Blair comes over and asks what's going on. Jenny says that Eric tried to sabotage her, and Eric says that he went to camp with Graham and he's a total creep. Jenny announces that she is going to Cotillion with Graham and then fires Blair as a mentor. Kira asks if she should call Graham, and Jenny brushes her aside to do it herself. When she's gone, Blair, Eric, and Kira vow to not let her get away with what's happening.
The next day, Blair arrives at The Empire to get a dress for Cotillion. Chuck asks if her and Serena worked out their issues, but Blair says no and goes off to get her dress. Nate and Chuck realize she's acting too calm and Chuck steals her from from her bag. She then emerges and leaves the suite. At Tripp's office, Tripp admits to Serena he wasn't aware that having her around would affect him so much and that he only wanted to help her get a job. Serena then gets a text from Blair saying she doesn't want to fight anymore, and she excuses herself to leave the office. At the Waldorf's, Blair begins to makeover Kira to groom her to dethrone Jenny and make herself queen. At the VDW's, Jenny and her friends dress up and get ready together. Meanwhile, Olivia, Vanessa, and Dan throw a beer pong party in Olivia and Vanessa's dorm. Olivia goes to take a phone call, and Vanessa and Dan agree that their plan is working. Olivia then comes back in and says she definitely has to take the movie. At the Waldorf's, Blair is impressed with how well Kira's makeover went. Kira is still unsure that anyone will think she is better than Jenny, but Blair mysteriously says they will when they see her escort. At that moment, Eric arrive in the penthouse with Graham; and they explain that Graham is there to escort Kira.
At Cotillion, Nate arrives. Elsewhere, Lily and Rufus tell Jenny she looks beautiful and she'll do great onstage. She runs into Nate, who asks if she's seen Blair. She says she hasn't, and that she's looking for Graham. He tells her to have fun, and she walks off. Elsewhere, Blair and Kira are practicing the dance routine. Nate spots her, and gives her a note from Chuck, saying he wants her to meet him in the upstairs lounge. Eric comes over and tells her she can go, and that they have it under control. Blair asks how he got Graham to ditch Jenny, and Eric explains that he told Graham that what happens at Camp Swiss doesn't stay at Camp Swiss. Back at NYU, Olivia explains that she'll be back in the fall and there's too many people depending on her for the movie to refuse it, and she's leaving for London the next week. She suggests they leave the party and they do. Back at Cotillion, Blair reaches the lounge to find Serena there, made Blair kept her waiting for half an hour. Confused, Blair asks what she means and Serena says she got a text from her to meet. Blair says that Nate sent her up to meet Chuck, and then realizes they were played. They get back in the elevator together to go down, but it doesn't move, and they realize they're trapped. Blair tries to call for help over the intercom, but Chuck replies and says he won't let them out until they work things out. He explains that he left them snacks and then hangs up. Blair asks Serena what the text said, and Serena replies that it said she was sorry and that she missed her. She asks if she texted back, and Serena nods.
Downstairs, presentations have begun. Jenny is introduced with Graham, but a volunteer hands the presenter a slip and she retracts the statement to say that Kira is with Graham. She asks Jenny who her escort is, and Jenny panics, saying she doesn't know. After presentations, Rufus and Lily asks what happened, and Rufus asks if she wants to go again. She replies that you only get one chance, then tells Eric that she is sure Blair sabotaged her debut as revenge. Eric tells her to just let it go, but she goes off to find Blair anyway. She then calls someone and asks if they're still there. In the elevator, Blair learns that Serena went looking for her father and that he didn't want to see her. Serena admits that she might be getting involved with Tripp soon too, and Blair makes her promise to not see or talk to him again without coming to her first. Chuck comes over the intercom and decides to let them go. At the loft, Dan, Olivia, and Vanessa drink beer and hang out. They realize they went through 14 out of the 15 things, and Olivia asks why they didn't do the last one. She looks at the list, and sees that the last item is a threesome. She asks if they ever have, and then says she did once in a movie. Dan and Vanessa say they both haven't. Olivia kisses Dan, then kisses Vanessa. After, Vanessa kisses Dan. Back at Cotillion, Serena and Blair emerge from the elevator in time to see Jenny debut with Nate. Afterwards, they briefly dance and Blair tells her that she didn't see that coming. Jenny replies that she learned from the best, and her minions come up to tell her that the other queens would like to pay their respects to her. Blair and Serena then plan to leave and get something to eat after Serena gives her resignation to Tripp. Outside the main room, Eric meets with Jonathan and tells him that Jenny got Nate to walk with her. Jonathan says he saw on Gossip Girl, but he didn't come to see Jenny. He breaks up with Eric, saying that he's sunk to Jenny's level and changed from who he used to be. Back inside, Blair and Chuck are dancing together. She tells him that she is planning to spend the night with Serena, and it's a punishment for him for locking them in an elevator. Meanwhile, Jenny and her friends are on their way out to dinner and invite Eric to come. She apologizes for Jonathan, but says she didn't have a choice. He declines going out with them and on their way out, Jenny threatens Kira to not put herself on her radar or else she'll pay for real. Eric promises Kira that the next time they take Jenny down, it will be for good.
At Tripp's office, Tripp apologizes for revealing his feelings and Serena quits. He asks her to stay, since she needs the opportunity and he wants it for her. He promises to never cross the line, and they agree to keep their relationship friendly and professional. Blair comes in, and tells Serena it's time to go. Serena says it's okay and that she'll call her the next day. She leaves, and Serena apologizes for her. At the VDW's, Rufus thanks Lily for pulling strings to get Jenny into Cotillion. Rufus heads up to bed, and Lily says she'll be up after she signs something for Bass Industries. She sits at her desk, and finds a letter addressed to Serena from her father, William van der Woodsen. At the loft, Dan, Vanessa, and Olivia sleep after their threesome. A text comes in from KC saying that the director backed out so the movie is not happening anymore.
- 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
- Hilary Duff as Olivia Burke
- Matt Doyle as Jonathan Whitney
- Sarah Steele as Kira Abernathy
- Aaron Tveit as Tripp van der Bilt
- Bitch by Plasticines
- Bows and Arrows by Immoor
- I Am Down by Plasticines
- Underneath My Skin by Stella Project
- Questions and Panthers by One For The Team
- Somebody to Love by Leighton Meester (feat. Robin Thicke)
- Ready 2 Freak by Stella Project
- Whatever You Like (Single Version) by Anya Marina
- Sage by Basement Jaxx (feat. Santigold)
Blair (to Chuck): Don't get too lost, Bass.
Serena (to Blair on the debs): There are probably the last people in New York who still think you matter.
Jenny: Actually, Blair, since I'm queen of Constance and Graham Collins wants to be my escort, I don't think I need you as my mentor anymore.
Blair: Jenny, you're lucky to have me. Don't push it.
Jenny: Your era's over. And so is that headband.
Chuck: The last time I saw Blair that freakishly calm-
Nate: Was when Serena left for boarding school.
Chuck: And you know as well as I do the calm won't last. And when it breaks, there are going to be pieces of Blair all over the wall. And I really don't want to clean up that mess.
Nate: What are she and Serena fighting about this time?
Chuck: Basically how each one loves the other more than the other loves her.
Nate: Can you even fight about that?
Blair (to Eric): Little van der Woodsen. I'm impressed with your natural talent.
Blair *into elevator intercom*: Hello? I'm trapped in the elevator with someone who sucks all of the air out of the room. Send help or I'll be dead within the hour.
Chuck *over the intercom*: Not until you two work things out.
Blair: Bass? THIS IS A PUNISHABLE OFFENSE. AND NOT THE KIND OF PUNISHMENT YOU LIKE.
Chuck (to Blair and Serena): If you two want to kiss, it won't count as cheating.
Blair (to Jenny on her debut): Nate. Didn't see that one coming.
Jenny: Well, I learned from the best.
Blair: Good answer.
- The episode title is based off the movie They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
- The first boy offered to Jenny is Colby Shrefler, a 6'2' student at York Preparatory School.
- Eric met Graham at Camp Swiss, the same place Serena met Aaron Rose.
- Leighton Meester's song Somebody To Love plays during Olivia and Vanessa's dorm party.