I guess I forgot that Real Housewives of Orange County had so much drama to cover. Normally I’m bored by the middle installment of a three-part reunion, but I found myself reasonably entertained last night, from Gretchen’s manila folder full of tweets (how do you even print a tweet?) to Lydia’s explanation of why she doesn’t do her own laundry – she doesn’t have to. (That is, incidentally, also why I don’t do my own laundry, although I take it to the lady down the street instead of having my nonexistent household help do it for me.)

1. Vicki’s face looks a lot better now that her plastic surgery has settled down. If we’ve learned anything this season, we’ve learned this: If you’re on a reality TV show and planning on getting some plastic surgery, get it as soon as your season ends so the swelling and bruising are gone by the time you have to film again. Being a veteran at this sort of scheduling, you’d think Vicki would have planned ahead.

2. Maybe I’m dumb, but I think Tamra might have actually changed a little bit. Tamra has been a mean girl for a long, long time, but if anyone has a past that explains it, she does. I don’t ever have much faith that anyone on reality TV will use the experience to evolve as a human being (devolve is a completely different story), but it’s a titanic victory of self-awareness to be able to connect your actions to their motivating neuroses and identify behaviors you’d like to change, and Tamra’s done that work. I can’t honestly say the same of anyone else I can think of on any Housewives franchise, so I think she’s earned a little credit. Being able to be a better, more functional person going forward is a whole different step, but at least she’s made it this far.

3. Gretchen came armed with a lot of evidence, but nothing really proved what she claimed it did. She had a voicemail from her agent about Malibu Country, but it didn’t prove anything beyond what we already knew from other people on the cast. She had emails from Tamra saying that she still didn’t like Alexis, but Gretchen had thrown such a hissy fit over her coming to Tamra’s dress appointment that it seemed plausible that Tamra would just tell her what she wanted to hear to get things temporarily resolved. I’ve had that friend. I lied to her all the time just to avoid her whining.

4. So THAT’s what happened with Heather and Gretchen’s warring TV roles. For the first time this season, the whole Malibu Country kerfuffle seemed clear to me. The show was toying with having a Housewife appear as a guest, and when they decided to have Heather appear in a slightly larger role, the other spot went away – the casting people had laid groundwork for both options and one worked out, obviating the need for the other. Well, if they had just explained that earlier, maybe I would have cared about that plot line before now.

5. Everyone is so sick of Gretchen that it’s starting to make me paranoid about whether or not she’s being set up. When everyone agrees too wholeheartedly about someone’s general dastardliness at a Real Housewives reunion, it makes me suspicious. It’s so rare that five out of six cast members on this show agree on anything that it starts to feel a bit too neat and tidy, although if anyone were to be set up as the villain, Gretchen’s certainly an easy target. She’s so smug, makeup-shellacked and Slade-covered that who would ever believe her? I certainly don’t, despite my vaguely tingling spidey senses.

6. They lost me at the Alexis “bullying” stuff. We’re being mean to Gretchen now, try and keep up.

7. Watching someone cry with a face full of Botox is horrifying. Gretchen’s tears looked sincere, as much as anything on this show looks sincere; I don’t know how someone can cry that hard over Slade Smiley, but she definitely did. Watching her paralyzed face trying to contort itself into a display of emotion, on the other hand, was beyond belief. Can you pull a muscle in your face? If it’s possible, I bet Gretchen did it while her visage struggled to pull itself into a shape resembling human sadness.

8. Somehow, Bravo managed to make next week’s reunion finale look interesting. This part of the reunion was pretty interesting too, and last week’s wasn’t bad. I didn’t expect that Bravo would be able to pull three hours of reunion drama out of this rather innocuous season, but they did it. Congrats. Sort of.

Unfortunately, we won’t be having a recap next week because I’ll be on vacation. I’ll be watching, though – are you looking forward to watching Brianna confront Brooks?

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