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Real Housewives of New York City Recap: Return From ‘Poison Island’

We open on a sunny tropical island. The sand is white. The water, sparkling. Palm fronds are waving gently in the breeze. And up on the deck of their rented mansion, the four survivors of last week's heinous bitchfight are lying in beach chairs, discussing their plans for a relaxed day. Yoga? A light swim? But then — suddenly, the calm is shattered by a noise. Eyes pop open. Heads swivel toward the door. Suddenly, they hear it: "Helllaaaaaooooo!" And bam! Jill Zarin, fresh from a private plane chartered by Bobby, pours into the room like the black smoke from Lost. "Pedicures! How nice," she chirps, as the camera pans horrified expressions of the survivors.

Then, just as suddenly, Jill was off the island, and we were all back on the mainland in winter clothes. Sonja was introducing an opera singer, Jill was hosting an ice-skating party, and LuAnn and Jennifer Gilbert were trying to piece together, from the various accounts, what exactly happened on that island. And was Kelly living in a parallel universe?

We may never know what the Real Truth is. But we do know who won last night's episode! Join us as we deconstruct the complex, referential melodrama that is The Real Housewives of New York City.


"I've never been speechless," says Ramona when Jill invades her getaway with the girls. "I'm speechless!" Luckily for us, this didn't last. Pretty soon, Ramona was prattling on about how she was worried that Jill's appearance would affect Bethenny's pregnancy, comforting Alex as though she was suffering from PTSD after just seeing Jill (which, frankly, she looked like she was), and coining further Ramona-isms ("deadpan silence"). And then she kinda barfed during dinner! All in all, Ramona performed well this episode, until she inexplicably made up with Kelly and pretended everything was fine, which cost her the win. These ladies need to draw a firm line between themselves and the crazy, otherwise they're going to find themselves all dancing on both sides of it.


“I turned a corner last night to say, it’s not a fair fight,” Bethenny says, speaking of how she reached her moment of "compassion" with Kelly. But her Zen mood lasted for only part of the morning: When Bethenny recounted Jill’s entrance scene for the cameras, her eyes rolled up into parts of her brain only Jason has seen during sex. “You don’t come to St. John’s for lunch,” she moans. “It was for a dramatic entrance.”


We’ve come to realize that Alex looks better without makeup than she does with makeup, which is maybe what Kelly was trying to tell her in the last episode right before she accused her of "channeling the devil." Still, when Jill shows up, Alex looks like she’s a Mogwai who got wet — at any moment she’ll stop trembling and start steaming, and then she’ll turn into a Gremlin. “Was I breaking out in hives?” she asks, unaware that it was worse — it looked like she was about to have a Kelly Episode herself. Luckily, later things calmed down and she got back in her groove of being weird and making people slightly uncomfortable with gifts like pearl handcuffs. She didn’t win the episode, but she didn’t lose it, either. Simon did, when Alex said: “It’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean,” and made a face that made us, well, feel bad about Simon’s van Kempen.


“I really want to have my own defibrillator [sic] in the house,” explains Sonja after Ramona briefly choked at dinner, reminding Sonja of the time she gave her own poodle the Heimlich. Continuing on her spree of strange, she later informs the girls that she “always wants exotic” men, like “Chinese, Irish, Italian” dudes. Exotic? Someone should tell Sonja that the only thing unusual about foreign men is that they are more likely to say things like, “It’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean” than men of other heritages. Still, there’s some sort of social instinct Sonja has that the other girls simply lack. When Jill is greeted by a wall of silence when she arrives, only Sonja starts to greet her, out of politeness and an inherent understanding that this is a TV show, and something has to happen next. Likewise, at her party, just when things are getting awkward, she makes a gag about her dress falling off at exactly at the right time.


Somehow, LuAnn seems to keep herself outside of Jill’s mental tractor beam for two episodes now, and to correctly assess the terrible awkwardness of Jill’s surprise-visit plan. “To kick you out after arriving is jut unheard of,” she tells Jill later. “But I understand why she did it.” Of course, her streak of class ends when she is caught talking about Kelly behind her back when Kelly is literally behind her back. Thankfully we know by now that Kelly is not bothered by people talking about her insanity right in front of her. “I’m thinking who uses that word [hobag] these days?” She asks Kelly, observing that the woman “is 12.” It seems to us that LuAnn’s making a real recovery from a bad period on the show. When she sat down with all the girls for a gossip session, she was so reasonable and almost fun that she won the episode. It was certainly a feat Jill couldn’t have pulled off. And then she was genuinely cute on her skates!


Ramona’s best play of the episode was when Jill burst onto the scene on the island and honked, “Ramona, we came!” Ramona quietly responded: “Why?” Indeed, Jill, why? That’s the question we’ve been asking of you this entire season. One thing we have not been confused over, however, is whether or not she’s a disgusting person. Onto our reasons!
Her inability to comprehend other people’s existence or motivations leaves her constantly surprised when people react poorly to her actions: “I walked in there and yelled surprise, and it was as if someone died,” she said later, shocked. “When they saw me, it was like a ghost, and not a good ghost, not a friendly ghost.” Oh, Jill. Like anybody ever confused you for fucking Casper.

She may really have rage problems: Jill’s face when she insists to Ramona, “IT WAS A SURPRISE” is like she’s a monster who wants to eat Ramona’s face. Please, please, no one “surprise” us like that.

She has the memory of a goldfish: “Ramona and I have had our ups and downs over the years, but I always thought I could count on her,” she says, even though season after season, she has always been exclusively cruel and derisive to Ramona.

She thinks all business is her business: “Who the hell is Alex to butt her nose into my business?” she asks, even though she was the one to butt her face into everyone else’s vacation.

She is all about stunts: She couldn’t wait to talk to Bethenny until they were alone? She had to do this stunty scene? That’s how you know someone is serious about saving a friendship — when they perform a reality-TV stunt (to be fair, Bethenny is guilty of this same exact thing).

She only changes her behavior when she realizes it’s making her look bad: “I want to start over,” she announces. “I don’t want to have a fight with anybody.” It took Bobby, her sister, and probably several Bravo producers to convince Jill she had to change her story line in order to salvage her reputation.


But seriously, Jill is clearly making a change for the better, and it's clearly on purpose. So we should give her some credit! She had some funny moments this episode, like when she dug it hard-core on the ice, and when she made a crack about Kelly and the jelly beans. She also seems to be genuinely happy for Bethenny's pregnancy and engagement. This may be the last time we ever play our favorite game again!


The first thing Kelly has done right in the past few episodes is to flee the vacation house in the dark of night. And that’s saying something. “It was an out-of-body experience,” Kelly explains later, making it seem like she was aware she went nuts. But the clarity only lasted a moment before she went on the attack. “From the minute we were together,” she said, “it was everything I hate, talking badly about people, gossiping about people, trying to one-up one another.” It might not be clear written down, but when she said it aloud, she was talking about the other girls and not her own insanity and meanness. Then she said this thing: “I was trying to talk to [Bethenny], human being to human being, that I’m trying to find true love and she said, 'You should have a one-night stand.'” And then this thing: “So then she was attacking me for wanting true love, so I called her a hobag, which she is.” (Remember, this is the one who doesn’t like to talk shit about people behind her back.) And then, and somehow this was the best part, she said: “And then [Bethenny] was talking about being a cook,” even though the whole point was that Kelly said Bethenny was a cook. Over and over and over. Thankfully, both Jennifer and LuAnn shut her down on this point, observing that Bethenny is well known in society as a chef. As if that all wasn’t crazy and delusional enough, Kelly then claimed that Bethenny admitted to attacking her in the press — which she didn’t. God, that dreck of a woman is a mess that isn’t even hot.

Auxiliary losers:
Bobby: Poor guy is trying to cut the awkwardness and it’s so bad he can’t.
Jennifer Gilbert: For trying to catch a photographer with the most awkward double kiss ever.
That crazy person LuAnn was standing with while Jill was speaking at the party: Oh wait, that’s her megasuccessful producer!

Photo: All images courtesy of Bravo