Well then. Last night’s episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was another one that wasn’t so much funny as it was kind of alarming and anxious-making, this time on both the Kim and Taylor fronts. If those two were to collide in their current states, I shudder to think of the carnage that would ensue.

Last night, though, it was mostly Kim vs. Brandi and Taylor vs. the rest of the cast, and perhaps predictably, neither Kim nor Taylor came away victorious. Both interactions were a little disturbing in different ways, but let’s just say that I’m glad Kim has checked herself into rehab. I feel like we should at least have a moment of positivity before we dive into the rest of this episode.

We started at Adrienne’s house, where Paul was completely stumped by simple tasks and Adrienne came to distract him with bad news from Camille. As we all know, a couple of episode ago, Camille repeated the allegations of abuse that Taylor had made to her privately (and which she had also made to everyone else in the entire group privately, including Lisa, who Taylor didn’t even like until like 20 minutes ago). Russell caught wind of the fact that she had said those things, and he had sent an email to Camille threatening to sue her for slander and damage to his public name.

WELL. Let’s talk about that for a second. According to an undergrad communication law class that I took in approximately 2007, here’s what I know: In order for a slander claim to be actionable, it has to be demonstrably false, the person who said it has to have been negligent in regard to its truthfulness, and the person who filed the suit has to be able to prove that it did harm to them or their reputation in some way. Also, it’s much harder to prove defamation against a public figure, which Russell would have made himself by appearing on a widely watched reality TV show. In short: There’s no suit. Still, it’s totally unnerving to be threatened with something like that, and it can still be expensive to defend against a frivolous suit that eventually gets dismissed.

Naturally, all of that drama meant lots of awkwardness for Kyle’s impending White Party, and Camille had declared to Adrienne that she didn’t want to go if Taylor and Russell were going to be there. That seems like a totally reasonable decision when someone is actively threatening you with legal action, and Adrienne came up with a totally reasonable response to it: Instead of Taylor coming and Camille staying home and everyone else feeling awkward, Kyle should simply knock Taylor and Russell off the guest list.

Over at Lisa’s house, things were less tense. In fact, all they did was hire a wedding band. Wedding band sounded good! Moving on!

Moving on to Kyle’s actually. She was in the middle of frantic last-minute preparations for her White Party, which included Kyle getting her hair curled in a tent while she worried about Kim’s boyfriend. Having made seemingly no progress on her hair (besides proving to all of us that she doesn’t have extensions), Kyle then took a call from Adrienne wherein they discussed the threatening letter that Russell had sent to Camille. Adrienne didn’t outright refuse to attend the party if Taylor was going to show up, but Kyle could see the writing on the wall. She’s a Mean Girl sometimes, but she’s not stupid, and she wanted her party to go well. She promised to call Taylor and discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, we had a rare visit to Kim’s house when her kids were there, and her oldest daughter was suitably concerned about the new ring adorning Kim’s very important finger. She said it was just a promise ring, but because Kim’s not 16 anymore, her daughter was suitably dubious. Kim begged her to be nice to Ken at the White Party, but her daughter didn’t seem convinced that Ken was a person deserving of kindness. No one elaborated on what he had done to create issues with her kids, but it certainly seemed like there was an elephant in the room.

Back at Kyle’s house, the decision had been made that Taylor would be disinvited, even if it made everyone else massively uncomfortable. Camille showed up anyway and I’m not entirely sure whether or not she knew that Taylor would still be attending. Once Lisa got there, she and Kyle sat down to discuss whether or not Russell had grounds for a lawsuit and whether the rest of them could potentially be targeted. Both Lisa and Kyle then frantically tried to contact Taylor, who had been completely incommunicado in the previous days and who was still not picking up her phone. They got together with Adrienne and Mauricio to discuss what to do when Taylor eventually showed up to the party, and they all decided that she simply must be turned away. Awkward.

Kim eventually slurred her way into the party with Ken on her arm, and after repeatedly coughing in Lisa’s face (I would have kneed her in the crotch after the second cough, no joke), she took offense at being shown a picture that contained Brandi. That prompted threats from Kim to break Brandi’s OTHER leg, which is unfortunate because although Brandi may be a little dim, she’s been mostly delightful this season. Also, I’m pretty sure that Brandi has about six inches on Kim and could probably take her, even if junkies do tend to be cagey and hard to fight.

As if on cue, Brandi arrived and immediately tried to smooth things over enough for them both to make it through the party unscathed, but naturally Kim couldn’t let that happen. Not only did she refuse to meet Brandi halfway and return the apology, but she seemingly tried to revoke Kyle’s apology and admission of wrongdoing as well. She did so by wagging her finger (and her workout ponytail) around like she was trying to be sassy like girls are in the movies, and naturally, Brandi told her to stop putting her finger in her face. Kim will put her finger wherever she damn well pleases, thankyouverymuch.

At one point, an anonymous hand came from outside of the frame and landed on Kim’s shoulder, as if she were about to be yanked off of a Vaudeville stage with a comically oversized cane. Whoever tried to intervene wasn’t successful, and then Brandi failed to follow through on her own promise to leave the interaction. Kim eventually resorted to repeating the things that Brandi said in a sarcastic tone of voice and telling her that pretty girls shouldn’t say bad words, all the while seemingly sure that she was winning the argument. Once Kim had been removed from scene, Kyle came over and apologized to Brandi for the scene. Funny how things change, isn’t it?

We then cut directly to Russell and Taylor getting into the back of their limo to head to the party, Russell promising to stay the entire night and drink a bottle of vodka and Taylor telling him what an amazing time they were going to have. I still can’t put my finger on it, but the vibe between them was almost…icky. Like they had just gotten finished, err, “copulating” and we were all forced to partake in the afterglow with them. That would be gross with any couple, but with a relationship that we know to be abusive, it was revolting on a whole different level.

They eventually arrived at the party and Kyle, Mauricio, Adrienne, Paul and Lisa all went out to intercept them in the front yard and explain why exactly they wouldn’t be admitted to the party. Kyle was practically sobbing as soon as she opened her mouth, but the rest of the group was not similarly overcome with emotion on Taylor’s behalf. Probably because they figured that they were the next people to be sued, right? Anyway, Kyle started half-assed explaining that SOMETHING HAD HAPPENED and she just couldn’t spit out exactly what it is, so Adrienne and Mauricio stepped in to do most of the talking.

Among them, the group managed to rather calmly and clearly explain that because Russell had threatened Camille with a lawsuit and Camille’s lawyers had (quite rightly) advised her to not have further communication with the couple, they’d have to ask them to leave. The threat of lawsuits could potentially expand to all of the people who had taken part in that conversation, which basically meant the rest of the cast, which was an unacceptable risk. They had tried to contact Taylor ahead of time so that the confrontation wouldn’t take place like that, but that hadn’t worked.

Russell, for his part, tried to convince everyone that the email he had sent to Camille had actually been quite friendly. Once Paul piped up to clarify that all of them had read the email and that lying about it wouldn’t help, Russell abandoned that tactic and he and Taylor eventually retreated to their douchey stretch limo when it became clear that they couldn’t explain their way out of the whole situation and into the party. Kyle just couldn’t leave well enough alone, though, and she ran after them and climbed halfway into the limo in order to try to explain herself and grovel for forgiveness.

At that point, Russell tried to spin the situation even further by saying that Camille had greatly exaggerated what Taylor had told her, but Adrienne put a stop to that line of crap immediately – after all, each Housewife was well aware of what Taylor had told them privately. She and Mauricio were the clear winners of the whole interaction; they were both composed, reasonable and able to clearly articulate what the problems were and how they were going to be fixed in the short term. It’s easy to see why both of them are successful at work, not to mention that the whole thing made me fall in love with Mauricio all over again.

Once Taylor and Russell left for good, Kyle went back inside to wail to the rest of her guests, which seemed a little bit overboard at this point. Taylor feigned ignorance about the entire content Russell’s email, but she didn’t seem actually surprised. Not only that, but Taylor has heard Russell threaten to sue her cast mates on camera before, which didn’t seem to phase her either. Suing people who do things that they don’t like seems to be a pattern of behavior in which they’ve both partaken over the course of their grifting, so forgive me for not believing Taylor. I suppose we’ll learn more in the aftermath…well, not next week, but whenever new episodes come back after the holidays.

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