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The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Midnight in the Garden of Late and Cranky

I’m starting to realize that at the start of the show, when Kandi says, “Music may be my passion, but family is forever,” she isn’t saying it with the verve of someone who is secure with the abundance of love and attention her family provides, but with the dead-eyed intensity of a person who is aware of her own terrible fate. Kandi’s family is forever in that they will be the weight around her neck until she shuffles off this mortal coil, and knowing that now, while staring down at least 50 more years on this planet, has to be more beleaguering than listening to Kenya talk for ten solid minutes.

At the start of the show, NeNe is packing for the ladies’ trip to Savannah, where we learn that NeNe “buys so much shit” she forgets what she owns, she refuses to let her son Brentt have electronic items in his room when he goes to bed, and that she will give her grown-ass husband a curfew in her absence without batting an eye. Does NeNe text through 80 percent of her scenes with Gregg? I like them together, but sometimes I feel like she barely tolerates him, while he routinely crawls on ragged, bloody knees across the great chasm of her affection to prove how much he loves her. 

Kandi goes to see Cynthia to commiserate with her and get some advice on how to handle her horrid family, and Cynthia can relate — her mother and sister hid her marriage certificate on her wedding day in the hopes it would keep the wedding from happening! Peter is an awful pile of sour-smelling garbage, but everyone should be free to make their own disgusting mistakes. Cynthia wanted to throw herself off the balcony when Kandi told her Mama Joyce said she would “never wear a wedding dress, anyway,” and then Kandi told her it got worse — the Old Lady Gang was pulling some “hood shit” and trying to start rumors about Carmon and Todd. Cynthia is like, damn, my mom never tried to fight anybody, and Kandi cries as she tells her the gospel truth, which is that her family is so horrible and unpredictable she doesn’t even know if she wants them at her wedding or if she and Todd should just do their own small shindig. Given her startling lack of a backbone so far, I was really shocked to hear Kandi even consider not inviting her family to the wedding. And of course she shouldn’t invite them! That would be like rewarding a dog for shitting in your shoes. Cynthia has surprisingly good advice for Kandi — no matter what kind of wedding you have, your family drama will still be there, and if you don’t check your mom you’re going to lose Todd. Shockingly, we get to leave on a high note, before Cynthia reverts back to being the black Ralph Wiggums.

Mama Joyce decides to bring her reign of terror to Phaedra’s office, seeking legal advice about Nunya and Beeswax, Kandi and Todd’s LLC. When Mama Joyce leans over to say hello to Ayden, happily Facetiming about bikes on Phaedra’s lap, a pall comes over that child’s face like he’s looking at the demon from Legend. I don’t know a lot about babies — I know that their stink holes are endless geysers of misery and that, for way longer than is necessary, they have a soft button on the top of their head that, if pressed, can kill them — but I know that you can trust a child’s reaction to the presence of evil. Phaedra whispered, “Speak to Mama Joyce if you want a treat.” Ayden whispered back, “I don’t want a treat, and p.s. I’m not a dog” while looking Mama Joyce square in the face. Once he scuttled off to the welcoming arms of an administrative assistant and the promise of a train video, Mama Joyce got down to business — the business of being a craaaaaaaaazy biiiiiiiitch.

She made up a bunch of lies about Todd and Kandi, taking their words completely out of context, verbally assaulted Phaedra for introducing them, and complained that both Todd and Kandi are short people with big heads, which is apparently a deadly combo. She made sure to tell Phaedra that she thinks Todd is an opportunist, but not before she also told her that she sees the Smoke Monster, and threatening to choke Phaedra out for saying she actually thinks Todd is the one for Kandi. I was proud of Phaedra for sticking up for Todd and Kandi, but I also think she should change all of the security protocols for her building.

We got a peek into Kenya’s closet as a bit of comic relief. She sang another dumb madeup song for the sixth week in a row so I’m certain that she’s trying to parlay this steady decline into a recording gig, made fun of Phaedra like the mean jerk she is, and showed her ever-present assistant Brandon her gun, because some lunatic sold Kenya a gun. Surely Kenya threatening to shoot her castmates on vacation will get her booted from the show, right? The only thing more frightening than Kenya with a gun was the way-too-deep V-neck Brandon was trying to rock, which made me want to peel back every layer of my eyeballs with a cheese knife until I hit the optic nerve. Men of America: I cannot, and I will not.

Porsha doesn’t have a closet so she went shopping with a stylist that I can’t figure out if she hired just for this excursion, or for her life. A tiny lady with intense bangs greeted her and quickly wrapped Porsha’s foot in a golden cage that climbed her leg like a rash, grinning that only five pairs of this shoe were made in the entire world and they “only” cost $7,000. She ended up selling Porsha a different pair of shoes, tiny gold boots that looked like they were shedding spikes and only cost $3,500. Porsha said that buying only one pair of boots was budgeting, and then the earth opened up and long-clawed demons dragged both of them into the fiery pits of hell, where they would be forced to wear low-top Converse and spend their eternity paying back Sallie Mae loans one penny at a time.

Kandi, possibly bolstered by Cynthia’s pep talk, FINALLY had a "come to Jesus" talk with Mama Joyce. She laid out a list of grievances and asked her why she was trying to start so much shit with Carmon, to which Mama Joyce replied, “We were joking.” I choked, I died, and I came back to life to stare with fresh eyes at this psychopath! Mama Joyce said Kandi picked Carmon over her, and Kandi did a smashing job of defending both herself and Carmon. Kandi pointed out that Mama Joyce had been married three times by the time she was her age, and Mama Joyce finally said she was done, that from here on out she “washes her hands of the relationship and would do her best to stay out of it.” These are not the words of someone who has made a mature and rational decision; her calm countenance after her weeks-long residency in Crazytown does more to inform me that she has come to peace with her lord and savior before she straps a suicide bomb to her chest and decimates the entire wedding party. Kandi should stay on high alert, threat level Your Mom Is Goddamn Unhinged, because I don’t believe this change of heart for a second.

Finally, NeNe and her friend Mynique are at her country club, waiting for the rest of the crew so they can board a bus to Savannah. The most important thing to remember here is that NeNe asked for everyone to show up at 11 a.m.

Kenya showed up at 11:25 a.m.
Peter and Cynthia showed up at 12:30 p.m.
Porsha showed up at 12:45 p.m.
Kandi showed up at 1:45 p.m. after stopping at Chik-Fil-A for an entire meal.
Phaedra showed up at 2 p.m.

NeNe tried to be cool, but Kenya lost her ever-loving mind, EVEN THOUGH SHE WAS LATE, TOO. NeNe stomped off to pray at home, saying, “Lord, I know you are not putting me on the road with these bitches. Please help me not to kill someone today.” She felt that everyone was being highly disrespectful to her, which they were, but sat and said nothing. Instead, after they all piled into the bus, Kenya stood up and reprimanded everyone like a kindergarten teacher, claiming that she should get second pick of the rooms because she was on time (she wasn’t) and second to arrive (she wasn’t, Mynique was). Kandi jumped up and told Kenya to sit her ass down, and Cynthia wanted to know who died and made Kenya the principal of the bus? Phaedra said NeNe should have gotten a different ventriloquist dummy, one that wasn’t “an escapee from Whore Island,” and, while the bus is still parked, the vacation started how it is sure to end, with seven women screaming at each other and NeNe wondering if she was wrong to put the trip together.

Next week, it looks like they make it to Savannah. Porsha is not down to sleep with ghosts, but she also thinks the Underground Railroad is an actual train — I can’t anymore, I really cannot. Every time she speaks I have to Poltergeist myself into the TV screen and live in any other show until she’s done — and Kenya is still yelling at everyone.

What do you think? Has Mama Joyce changed? Can someone send the police to get Kenya’s gun? Will NeNe actually kill someone in Savannah? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you next week!

Photo: Bravo