Most episodes of Real Housewives fit into one of a handful of categories: parties, fights, party-fights, narrative filler, vacations or reconciliations. Episodes sometimes fit into more than one of those categories, but they’re always at least one, and they usually follow week-by-week patterns. For example, after a party-fight episode, there is usually either a narrative filler episode followed by a reconciliation the next week, or an immediate reconciliation. Those reality TV truces usually don’t last, of course, but it helps move the season forward. Last night, however, we got a rare treat: the second fight episode in a row.
It didn’t start out as a fight episode. First, we had to get this week’s portion of Meghan’s fertility plot out of the way because it doesn’t fit anywhere else in the cohesive whole of the show, and neither did Meghan’s and Heather’s quickie trip to DC to advocate for colo-rectal cancer care. (More on that in a second.) Last night, it was time for Meghan’s doctor to harvest her eggs in order to make an embryo, and Meghan greeted everyone she met along the way by telling them her ovaries were sore. She was then knocked out and put into gynecological stirrups in front of god and everybody, which is a thing I had never really considered happening to me, but now that I have, it’s my third-greatest fear behind heights and someone forcing me to watch Suicide Squad.
While she was in the process of going from conscious to knocked out, Meghan babbled about how much she loves drugs even though she’s only “done weed,” which was a real Shannon-quality attempt to look cool. The only time I’ve ever had anesthesia, I babbled about mascara. I wonder what my therapist would say about that. Anyway, the only meaty part of this scene was when Meghan came to and mentioned to her doctor that she had met his wife recently, which he quickly corrected to “ex-wife,” and we then found out why: he used to be married to the shrieking, malevolent, vaguely Eastern European brunette that helped stir up the fight at the 70s party. The doctor looked both embarrassed and a little scared at the mention of her, which seemed about right.
Later, Meghan and Heather ventured to DC advocate for better coverage and more funding for colorectal cancer screening, which is an absolutely worthy cause whose mention got awkwardly shoehorned into this episode. Meghan’s speech was fine, even though the editors did do her the disservice of editing together all her “uhs” and “ums” to make her look bad, but the most interesting thing was Heather’s convo with Meghan during the previous evening’s dinner. In it, Meghan casually mentioned that after her egg harvest, she FaceTimed Jimmy to tell him she was awake and it had been successful. Not only was he in Florida playing golf, but he passive-aggressively chastised her for making him interrupt his game to answer the phone. Folks, they are for sure headed for a long, happy marriage in which that child will definitely not be resented by one of its parents! I just know it.
Back at the ranch, the rest of the cast had broken off in pairs to discuss the explosive end to the 70s party. Vicki and Tamra, Kelly and her husband, Shannon and her husband. Everyone but Shannon mentioned the possibility of a setup (and Meghan presented what will perhaps be the smoking gun later in the episode); at Shannon’s house, her husband farted in her general direction and she went to an energy specialist to get her back “cupped” in order to solve her problems. As far as I can tell, all Real Housewives are contractually obligated to have an energist, life coach, psychic, spiritual advisor or all of the above. Later in the episode, Tamra saw her spiritual advisor/personal trainer to discuss rhinestone bikinis and stripper heels over a heart meal of hard boiled eggs from a plastic bag.
The real meat of the episode, of course, was the far-too-soon meeting of the minds between Shannon and Kelly. Kelly is the one who reached out and arranged the whole thing, and although the tone her voice during that call seemed to suggest a desire to make peace, it’d probably be hard to sound any other way while lounging in your perfectly white living room with a full wall pulled open to reveal the beach. Kelly has her flaws, of course, but at least she has the good sense to have a location-appropriate house instead of an Anywhere, USA McMansion in Southern California.
Kelly and Shannon got together at the end of the episode, of course, and things went south before any alcohol had even been served. Kelly is not great at pleasantries or subtlety even when she means well, as we’ve all surely noticed by now, and although I think she probably tried her best to mean well with Shannon, that plan immediately went out the window. Naturally, Kelly wanted to establish how close Shannon is with the woman at the party who started all the trouble, and Shannon immediately shut that line of questioning down. If she were smart, she would have said, “You know, Kelly, she and I aren’t particularly close. I bump into her around the neighborhood and she’s always fun and I just thought she’d be a good party-goer. It was a terrible coincidence and I’m sorry it happened–you know how much everyone is in each other’s business around here.”
Shannon’s not that smart, though! She couldn’t come through with a good PR response that would neutralize Kelly and shift the conversation to her bad behavior at the party, even though Shannon had time to plan one. Personally, I think that if you’re going to be conniving, you have to consider the aftermath and how you’ll handle any accusations before you even start your plan. Instead, Shannon got defensive, and then she became angry that Kelly did anything but sit down and immediately apologize to her, which is an expectation that seemed entirely unmoored from reality.
Because Kelly has anger issues and Shannon is a perpetual victim in her own mind, the fight then rolled into the content of what was said at the party, including whether or not Kelly called Shannon ugly or just Shannon’s costume. (Shannon’s costume was ugly.) Then here was the bit about Shannon’s husband’s affair, which I’m sure feels like fair game when you’re completely plastered and suspect you were invited to a party only to be humiliated over your own past marital strife. There was also the whole thing about Kelly’s alleged affair, this one supposedly a dirty little secret, and when Kelly mentioned it, Shannon went with a classic riposte: YOU STARTED IT!!1!
The two of them argued their way straight into the end of the episode, often attracting sideways glances from their fellow diners in the seemingly lovely garden establishment that was unfortunate enough to host this fracas. They could have both admitted they acted like drunk children and said some bad stuff that they shouldn’t have, but if people on Real Housewives resolved fights like that, the seasons would only be four episodes long.
While all that was going on, Meghan and Heather were planning a party, and during the conversation, the most interesting piece of evidence in the whole episode slipped out: right before the big fight went down at the party, Shannon had come out into the event space’s main area to retrieve the two trouble-starters specifically and take them to the back area, which is where the fight went down. Bravo then kindly provided video of Shannon doing exactly that, which sure did look like she was setting the stage to further embarrass Kelly, at the very least. That part, of course, could be true even if the party weren’t a setup in and of itself; Shannon may have seen her opportunity to take Kelly down a peg and jumped on the chance. I’m still betting it was a setup, though.
Next week, we will surely find out more details, or at least we will find out who gets called a C U Next Tuesday in the teaser at the end of the episode. I will for sure tune in for that.
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