Woman on the Verge is the 17th episode of the first season and the 17th overall.
In our modern age when you call someone and can't find them, you can pretty much be sure they'll get the message. But if they don't call you back, it usually means they don't want to be found.
As a result of Georgina revealing the true reason that Serena fled Manhattan for boarding school, Serena falls back into her old habits and Blair, Nate and Chuck must put their complicated feelings for each other aside to help their friend. Unfortunately, Serena is too ashamed to share the truth with Dan, leaving him only to assume the worst about his girlfriend. Rufus is thrilled when his band is invited to perform at a Rolling Stone-sponsored concert, but Lily is the last person on earth he expects to see at the performance, especially since her wedding rehearsal dinner is the same night.
The episode begins with Georgina repeatedly calling Serena, looking for her so they can talk but is unsuccessful in finding her. At the loft, Rufus is excited about performing at the Rolling Stones sponsored concert that evening. After Dan is unenthusiastic, Rufus assumes something is wrong. Dan explains that he and Serena keep fighting because she isn't telling him the whole truth about things. Rufus encourages him to try to be more understanding and maybe that will get her to talk. Dan decides to take his advice and goes off to find her. Outside the cafe where Vanessa works, Nate meets up with her. She asks when he's going to ask her on a real date but before he can answer, he gets a call from Blair that she desperately needs his help. He asks Vanessa out for that night, and they agree to meet at the concert that night. At the Palace, Lily and Bart are going through the wedding rehearsal schedule. Dan arrives and asks if they've seen Serena, and they answer that they haven't. He runs into Chuck and asks him the same thing. Chuck also receives a desperate call from Blair, who asks if he Serena came home the night before. Dan overhears a little of the conversation before Chuck notices and walks out of earshot.
At the Waldorf penthouse, Nate and Chuck both arrive and the tension is high between them. They are met by Dorota, who tells them that Blair will be home shortly. Outside, Georgina is still trying to get ahold of Serena. She heads to the Palace and is surprised to run into Dan. He calls her over and she lies that she's visiting an old friend at the hotel. He explains that he's trying to find Serena, who didn't come home the night before. She suggests he call Serena but before he can, he gets a call from her phone. When he answers, a bartender named Drew is on the other side. He explains that she left her phone at a bar the night before and Dan was the first name on speed dial and that she left around two in the morning with three guys. Back at the Waldorf's, Blair arrives. She tells Nate and Chuck that she needs their help, and brings them to the elevator, where Serena is passed out on the floor looking disheveled and upset. They take her upstairs where Blair puts her into the bath. Chuck brings hangover cures and remarks that it's just like old times. Nate asks Blair what happened, and she says Serena came by the night before and was scared but wouldn't talk about why. She explains that she went upstairs to get some Valium to calm her down but when she came back, Serena was gone and it took Blair all night to find her. Chuck asks what Serena told her, but Blair doesn't say and just replies that they need to help no matter what the problem is. Outside the concert venue, Rufus asks Vanessa what's going on with Dan. She says his problems with Serena have to do with her being jealous of Sarah but that she's confident once Serena gets to know her, all will be okay. After she says that, a large poster of Rufus is hung up. At the same time, a reporter shows the photo to Lily and asks where she took it. He asks if her and Rufus were already involved when she took it, and asked if it was too hard for her to continue shooting him after she broke his heart. Dan arrives and again asks where Serena is. Lily asks if he's tried calling but Dan replies that she lost her phone. She mentions that Chuck went to Blair's to pick her up and tells him to try there. After Dan leaves, she tells the reporter that they're out of time as she needs to prepare for her rehearsal dinner. As a final question, he asks Lily if she was able to take such incredible photos of Rufus because of how much she was in love with him. Lily, caught off guard, replies that she wasn't in love with him that much and the reporter leaves.
Back at the Waldorf's, Dan arrives looking for Serena. He finds Blair, Dan, and Chuck, who all tell him Serena doesn't want to see him. Not believing them, Dan tries to go upstairs to find her. She comes down on her own and talks to him. He asks her what is going on but she is vague in explaining. He confronts her about the phone call from the bartender and the three guys and finally asks if she cheated on him. She says yes, and Dan leaves. In the elevator, Dan receives a call from Sarah who offers to meet up with him so he can talk about what happened and he agrees. Outside of the Palace, Lily starts finding faults with all the wedding plans. Bart asks if she's okay, and she promises she is. She receives a call from Dorota who informs her that Serena is reverting to her old ways. Angry, Lily thanks Dorota for telling her and apologetically tells Bart that she needs to do something. She heads back to their suite and starts rooting through Serena's things looking for drugs. She instead finds the video Georgina sent her and starts watching, but stops before anything bad happens. After he's gone, Blair asks Serena why she lied to Dan and Serena replies that she would rather Dan think she cheated than know what she actually did. The three press Serena to explain what's really going on. Finally, Serena agrees to tell them.
Serena explains that something else happened the night of the Shepherd wedding, something she wanted to forget but now Georgina is blackmailing her with. The story is told in a series of flashbacks.
After having sex with Nate, Serena desperately needed to leave the venue due to her feeling so guilty about what she did. She had plans to meet up with Georgina later and she went straight to their meeting place, a hotel. When she arrived, she found Georgina there with a guy named Pete Fairman. Unbeknownst to Serena, Georgina had previously set up a hidden camera to get a genuine Serena van der Woodsen sex tape. On the tape, it's shown that Pete asked Georgina if she was sure it would work, and she replied that Serena goes down for anything. Still upset and dwelling on what happened, Serena wasn't much fun and definitely not in a sexual mood. Serena goes to throw up, and Georgina tells Pete Serena gets in the mood after she hurls. When she comes back, she starts making out with Pete but before anything happens, Serena stops him and says they should do a line of cocaine first. She hands him the line and he does it, and immediately starts having a seizure. Panicking, Serena yells for Georgina who instructs Serena to find everything she touched and to take it with her. Before they leave, Serena calls 911 from Pete's phone. After leaving the hotel, Georgina tells Serena they have to split up in case people were looking for them. Serena decided to stay behind to see the paramedics save Pete's life but instead sees them carry out his dead body. Afterward, she caught a train, landed in Connecticut, got a hotel room, and convinced Lily boarding school was the best option.
After she finishes telling the story, Blair realizes it makes sense why Serena never said goodbye. Nate asks what exactly Georgina wants, and Serena says that when she found out Serena matured, she got angry and befriended Dan. Blair asks why she can't just tell Dan, but Serena replies that she'll show Dan and he'll hate her for it. She makes them promise not to do anything.
That evening, Blair, Serena, and Chuck arrive at the rehearsal dinner. When Lily spots Serena, she pulls her aside and starts demanding answers about her whereabout and drug use. Serena says she wasn't on drugs and Lily tells her not to lie to her. She says that her only option left is to send Serena to reformatory school and walks off. Upset, Serena starts crying and hugs Blair. At the concert venue, Vanessa brings Rufus his guitar when Dan arrives with Sarah. Rufus asks where Serena is, and Sarah promises to take care of Dan for her. Dan promises to be in the front row. While walking away with Dan, a girl yells out Georgina's name. Dan notices, but she plays it off and leads him away. Back at the dinner, Blair tells Lily that she doesn't know the whole story and that she shouldn't send Serena away. Outside, Nate calls Vanessa to tell her that he's taking the subway and might be late. Vanessa mentions that Sarah and Dan are there, and Nate tells her that Sarah isn't her real name and he'll explain when he arrives. At the dinner, Chuck brings Lily an address she asked for. Nate calls Blair and informs her that Georgina is at Rufus' concert with Dan. Blair tells him she's coming to pick him up and tells Chuck she knows where Georgina is. Meanwhile, Lily tells Bart she's leaving to do something with Serena. He offers to come but she says no and leaves.
Lily brings Serena to Pete's parents house so she can talk to them. Lily encourages her to go in and when Serena asks how she can do it, Lily promises to be right by her side. At the concert, Vanessa confronts Georgina. She tells her she knows Sarah is not her real name and that Nate is on his way to fill her in. She continues, saying that her and Dan absolutely hate liars and Georgina walks off. Dan shows up and asks where she's going. Vanessa explains that her name is really Georgina, and Dan remembers that's what someone called her earlier. Before she can say anything else, Vanessa is asked to help Rufus with something. She instructs Dan not to go anywhere but when she leaves, he goes and finds Georgina, who is sitting alone and crying. Outside the Fairman's home, Lily reminds Serena that Pete was an addict for years and his own parents couldn't get him to stop, there's no way Serena could have. She encourages her by apologizing for ever doubting her and lists Serena's good qualities. Finally calming down, Serena asks Lily to take her to see Dan. At the concert, Georgina lies to Dan and says that she lied about her name to protect herself from a scary ex boyfriend and that it was her mom's idea to change her name and move out of town. She also confesses to Dan that ever since she met him she's been falling in love with him. He asks her to go somewhere quiet to talk, and she says Rufus is about to come on. He assures her that it's fine and they leave.
Rufus begins his set and Nate, Blair, and Chuck arrive. Vanessa is not happy to see Blair and Chuck, but Nate tells her they can go be alone and walks away with her. Serena also arrives at that moment looking for Dan and Georgina. Chuck informs her that Dan is still around but Georgina is gone. Serena happily tells Blair that she found closure and she can tell Dan everything now, and asks her to find him with her. Backstage, Lily goes to call Bart but not before she hears Rufus onstage. She goes out to the audience and watches the end of the song. Before he finishes, Rufus spots her and continues to watch her. She leaves and he runs after to catch her. He does, and stands in her way. She asks him to get out of her way, and after he refuses, they passionately kiss. Inside, Blair receives a call from Dan's phone. She passes it to Serena, who is surprised to hear Georgina on the other end. She reveals that she knows Serena told their secret and if she wants to play, they'll play. Unfazed, Serena says she's not afraid of her anymore. Georgina replies that she should be, because all bets are off, and alludes to sleeping with Dan. Serena thinks Dan won't, but Georgina asks if she's sure and hangs up. She hangs up when Dan comes back, and he thinks she was calling her mom. While telling him her mom was happy for her, she secretly takes the battery out of his phone and throws it away. Georgina asks if she's sure it's fine that he's missing the concert after party and he assure her he is. She kisses him and he kisses back. The two walk off holding hands.
- 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 (Credit only, as she does not appear in the episode)
- Jessica Szohr as Vanessa Abrams
- Kelly Rutherford as Lily van der Woodsen
- Matthew Settle as Rufus Humphrey
- Michelle Trachtenberg as Georgina Sparks
- Zuzanna Szadkowski as Dorota Kishlovsky
- Robert John Burke as Bart Bass
- Lisa Loeb as Herself
- Cities In Dust by Junkie XL
- Off The Wall by Cham Pain
- Fight Song by The Republic Tigers
- Stay" by Lisa Loeb
- Hook and Line by The Kills
- Everytime by Lincoln Hawk
Rufus: I don't know if you know this, but you can be a pretty judgmental guy.
Dan: So you're saying that I should learn to be someone else around her so she can be herself around me?
Rufus: Couldn't have said it better myself.
Chuck (after arriving at Blair's and alone with Nate): Maybe this is Blair's idea of a perverse double date.
Reporter: Do you think you were able to take such incredible photos of Rufus Humphrey because of how much you were in love with him?
Lily: Well, I wasn't in love with him... that much.
Dan (to Nate, Blair, and Chuck): Don't all of you hate each other?
Blair (referring to Chuck): I had sex with him in the back of a limo.
Chuck: Several times.
Nate (to Serena): I had sex with you at a wedding while I was her (Blair's) date. Once.
Chuck: I'm Chuck Bass.
Blair: You can tell us anything. We don't judge. We're the non-judging breakfast club.
Serena: You all know Georgina Sparks.
Blair (referring to Chuck): Some of us better than others. Don't act like you didn't lose your virginity her in seventh grade.
Chuck: Sixth actually and I've been avoiding her ever since. The bitch is a psycho.
Blair: What if I told you I knew where Georgina Sparks was right now?
Chuck: I'd say let's get the bitch.
Vanessa (to Georgina): I'm not a big fan of liars and neither is Dan.
Serena: What are you doing here?
Blair: I'm a big Leaky Hawk fan.
Chuck: You're out of luck, Georgina's gone.
Serena: And Dan?
Chuck: I'm out of luck, he's still around.
Serena: I'm not afraid of you anymore.
Georgina: Well, you should be. Because all bets are off.
Serena: Why? What are you going to do?
Georgina: It's not what I'm gonna do, sweetie. It's who I'm gonna do it with.
- The episode title is based off the movie Woman on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.
- New York Post - Lily and Bart's article is seen published in this newspaper
- Rolling Stone – Lily and Bart are being interviewed by this magazine
- The Breakfast Club - Blair references this classic movie when she says "We're the non-judging breakfast club."
- VH1 – Rufus mentions this American cable network
- 1 Oak – Serena left her phone at this bar
- P.J Clarke's - Blair mentions this historic bar in New York
- Reid Salon – Lily’s rehearsal dinner will be held at this event space in the Palace Hotel
- Queens - Rufus's concert is in this borough of New York City
Food & Drink
- Bagels - Chuck brings these for Serena to have for breakfast because she has a hangover