This episode was a slow burn to greatness — when these emm-effers fight, they fight WELL. Marlo is back, and she brings the best out of everyone, if “best” is “diabolically shit-terrible worst.”
Cynthia and Peter celebrated their third anniversary at Bar One with vodka and more vodka. Nothing says “I still love you” like getting drunk in a building you reluctantly pay for with alcohol that probably came from your own cabinet! New to Atlanta friends Christopher and Natalie sauntered over, and like most couples who can barely stand each other, Cynthia and Peter welcomed them into the anniversary celebration. Christopher and Cynthia knew each other a long time ago, and Peter and Natalie knew each other a long time ago, so tell me — am I too far off base to assume that at least one of these sets was boning? I got a very weird vibe. I’ve had friends for more than twenty years, too, and we don’t give off that vibe, probably because I couldn’t pick their downstairs business out of a lineup.
Anyway! Natalie, the flat-stomached fitness instructor from Cardio Cabaret a few episodes ago, and Christopher are married and have been together for eighteen years, which is important to remember later. When Peter asked how the first five years of marriage were, Natalie said, “Oh, they were great, we just fucked all the time! FUCK fuck FUCK fuck fuckity fuck FUCK.” I don’t know this woman, but I DO know she is a dirty liar, and her comment worked because she guilted Cynthia into saying, “FINE I KNOW I HAVE TO HAVE SEX WITH PETER MORE.” Goddamn you, Natalie! Cynthia was right on the verge of giving up sex and harnessing that energy to regain the power she needs to get rid of Peter forever. Bind your knees with one of your wigs, child — he already told you that if you didn’t have sex he’d leave! LET HIM GO. Leon is out there looking FINE AS HELL (did you guys know that he’s 50?!) and he probably wouldn’t threaten to leave you for having a major medical problem like some gray-faced jerks. It turns out that Chris worked with Kenya in the past, and Natalie knows Todd because he dated, cheated on, and broke the heart of one of her friends. This next part is important: Natalie said Todd has a street hustle and always finds a way to better himself, and Cynthia said, “Oh, you mean he’s an opportunist?” Cynthia said Todd was an opportunist and put that word right in Natalie’s mouth. It’s not like Natalie was praising Todd or anything, but she certainly didn’t Mama Joyce him.
Peter used a paltry excuse to lead the four of them across the street, where he surprised Cynthia with a candlelit dinner. At first I was like, “Uh, there are only two chairs — what are Frick and Frack going to do, stand around awkwardly and watch those guys eye-fuck each other over a couple of steaks?” But then Christopher started singing a song he wrote especially for the occasion. He said the song was “pretty much what Peter felt about his love” for Cynthia. I wrote down every single lyric because you guys, it is too much.
I was a lonely man, on a long and winding road
My money was tight, I was struggling to survive
But then you came my way, like an angel here on earth
And you believed in me, you helped me change my life
Ooooooooooo baby! With my looooooooooove
I may have flubbed that last line because I was laughing too hard? But come on — it is obvious that everything Chris knows about their relationship he learned by watching them interact on this show. How romantic to remind your wife that you married her for her money and connections on your anniversary! That she literally changed your life with money. So sweet. Chris awkwardly ended it by pretending to be a priest, saying “What God has put together let no man put asunder,” but he’s right — no man will put it asunder, because Mal is going to have your asses divorced in under two months. She is a woman on a sour-faced mission, mark my words!
Over at the Kandi Factory, we’re full steam ahead for Kandi’s musical, much to the chagrin of Don Joo-an and the crew. Todd quit just like he said he would, and D.J. freaked out because apparently Todd was the only one who knew how to put on a large production. Kandi put her fingers in her ear and hummed a few bars of “I can’t hear you/no one is listening,” and promised everything would be okay because it always was in the past! She’s a gambler! It looks like Kandi is going to throw at least $1 million of her own money at this project without breaking a sweat, whereas I had a hard time committing to Haagen Dazs instead of store-brand ice cream because I didn’t have a coupon, so I’m not one to judge. She wants to be the next Tyler Perry, and she’s going to get there by spending Tyler Perry amounts of money to churn out Tyler Perry levels of garbage. After he made sure everyone knew he was “scared shitless,” Don Joo-an had a stroke and started talking about throwing puzzles in a chicken coop, and Kandi soothed him by saying “Hey, this other guy has a Rolodex and I have a million dollars to burn, what could go wrong?” Aside from everything. Everything could go wrong.
Speaking of throwing good money after bad, Porsha and NeNe get together for a wine party at her new house. NeNe forgave Porsha because she cried, and because NeNe sucks up the tears of her enemies with the ferocity of a dog licking its balls. They drank and wandered around while NeNe openly hated the décor, and they made fun of Kenya for not ever showing them her oil tycoon boyfriend. He lives in Africa, you guys! How can she possibly produce her made-up boyfriend when he’s busy not existing on another continent? Porsha said she finally feels divorced, and that she’ll only say hello to Kordell in the future if she has someone on her arm. Great — can we talk about the portrait of herself she has hanging over her fireplace? Because that’s all I cared about while watching this scene. The frame! So ornate, so crisply white. And was she naked, with her hair covering her bits? Every time I think I have a grasp on how vain the women on this show are they ratchet up the vanity by five levels.
Kenya had her family over for a dinner she barely made herself. Her dad’s sister Lisa was there with her husband Marc, and her aunt Lori and cousin Che made it over, too. Che gave beautiful, silent, side-eyed shade to Kenya the entire evening, and it was glorious. After the paper towels were handed out as napkins, Kenya dropped the bomb that she was going to have a child! One day. But definitely! Maybe. She’s basically just going to see a fertility specialist, not committing to the birth of a ghost baby after getting impregnated by her invisible African boyfriend. I loved her aunt Lori’s response (“Can you be more specific?”) and that her aunt Lisa told her to maybe focus on her family first. When asked, Kenya said she wants to have kids because her mom left a void that she wants to fix. Let’s fill our emotional voids with children! That’s always worked out so well for other people! Aunt Lisa asked if Kenya had the time and patience for a child, and Kenya screamed “Crepes!” so that conversation was over.
Even though he quit the project, Todd went with Kandi to look at the Rialto as a possible space for the musical, even though he got on the phone right away. Jo, the manager, walked out at them so fast I thought she was going to breeze right past them, leave the venue, and throw herself into traffic. Maybe she’s like Jason Statham in Crank, and she can’t let her adrenaline levels drop. She quickly showed them the theater, which costs $10,000 a day to rent, and then whisked them off to the stage. Kandi did scales to prove that she could, and Todd did a cute but terrible little voice thing that he said was his Jodeci move. Not even Jodeci is Jodeci anymore, Todd! Calm down! Jo then ran them out the door, said they had to move quickly if they wanted it, and hey, by the way, see yourselves out. Kandi likes it, and Todd said eh, you know what? I don’t like the sound of that job, so I’m back on your dumb musical, even though you have no script, no set, and no location. Kandi put her fingers in her ear again, reminded him that she always gets her stuff done, and they decided to work together. Which is totally sane, on top of their hectic personal lives and the vendetta her mom has against him. Let’s throw working together on top of Shit Mountain! As they were leaving, Jo ran back to her office to do meth and run around a human-size hamster wheel.
Across town, Cynthia decided to organize a trip to a local vineyard, because nothing brings these women closer together like vacations and copious amounts of alcohol. Mal helped her put orange juice in a pitcher; Cynthia reconsidered adding Champagne to the mix and declined since they’d be literally drunk all day at a vineyard, but when NeNe, her perpetually drunk friend Lexis, and Marlo showed up, they banged their goblets on the table, waved turkey legs in the air, and demanded booze like drunk Viking kings. Nerds, do not tell me the Vikings didn’t have kings — the closest I ever got to studying mythology was an ill-fated trip to Medieval Times when I was in fifth grade and eight hours at a Renaissance fair that I’ll never get back. I tried to read Game of Thrones and I fell asleep on the second page because there were already 55 names to keep track of, so trust me when I say that I do not care.
Cynthia busted out a bottle of booze she shills and everyone was sated. They all piled into an undercover airport transit service van, and wondered what the ladies in the other bus with Porsha, Kandi, and Phaedra were talking about. They were talking about Phaedra’s boobs and milk, of course, because she literally cannot talk about anything else. She disassembles dead bodies for a living — surely there is something else to talk about! Like, for example, how many spleens does the body have, or why the uterus is so much lower than I thought it was. Back on Bitch Island, Kenya is screaming that Natalie and Chris are common law because when they were in a play together Chris introduced Natalie as his girlfriend. Instead of backing her friend up, Cynthia played innocent and spewed a bunch of gossip about what Natalie said about Todd. She seriously let loose like a doll with a pull string! I almost kicked my TV when she said, “The word opportunist did come up.” Motherfucker, that’s because you conjured it up! NeNe did an imitation of Kandi, and Marlo (true to form) asked if Kandi and Phaedra were still fat. Let’s definitely get more alcohol into these sweethearts right away!
Finally, they arrive at Wolf Mountain Vineyards. The second bus was late, and Porsha and Kandi had to practically carry Phaedra up the short, hilly driveway. NeNe admitted that she used to be a wine connoisseur, but she switched to straight vodka when she started hanging out with “these bitches.” They toured the chapel, listened to Kandi say she was now going to get married at the courthouse because she was afraid her mom would object loudly during that part of the ceremony, and Phaedra said the vineyard made her feel like she was “in The Sound of Music, but without the singing.” Did I miss the vineyard in that movie? Because all I remember are Nazis and curtain outfits. Kenya started shit when Natalie admitted she eloped eighteen years ago by saying that Chris referred to her as his girlfriend and common law wife. Lexis drank an entire bottle of wine on the sly — like most invited guests, she was just there to get drunk and be quiet.
Natalie explained to Kandi that she knew Todd, and Kenya asked, “Oh, are we going there?” Natalie snapped back, “YOU went there!” and then we were off! I’ll talk about this like boxing rounds because it’s the only way I can keep up.
ROUND 1: NATALIE VS. KENYA
Natalie: Kenya shouldn’t talk about anyone’s marriage because she has never been married. Bam!
Kenya: “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Natalie: “I accept your apology.” Kenya: “It wasn’t an apology.” Bam!
Kenya: “I know a lot about your man,” and then she talked about a gift certificate
Natalie: “You’re lying.”
Kenya to Kandi: “Natalie is telling Cynthia that your man is an opportunist.”
WINNER: Kenya, by uppercut deflection to another cast member
ROUND 2: NATALIE VS. CYNTHIA
Natalie: “I never said that, lying pageant girl!”
Cynthia: “We did have that conversation, and you did say he was a hustler, which is the same as in an opportunist way.” EEEERN! Wrong, Cynthia! You said he was an opportunist, not Natalie!
Natalie: NOPE. Explains her exact words over the sound of Kenya calling her a back peddler.
Cynthia: Trying to put a positive spin on it says, “Well, you don’t want your man to not have a hustle.”
WINNER: NATALIE, for not letting Cynthia put words in her mouth
ROUND 3: NATALIE VS. KANDI
Kandi: What do you mean?
Natalie: Todd was always on the come-up, and always found himself in a better situation.
Porsha: You’re doing the same thing to Kandi that Kenya just did to you and calling out her fiancé!
WINNER: Porsha, strangely, for pointing out the obvious
ROUND 4: KANDI VS. CYNTHIA
Kandi: “I know plenty of shit about Peter that I never said to you.”
Cynthia: “That was a dig.”
Kandi: “No, but I didn’t bring it up because it didn’t matter.”
WINNER: KANDI, because Cynthia shouldn’t have butted in anyway
ROUND 5: KANDI VS. NATALIE
Kandi: I don’t know you lady! No offense to you, but no one really cares. When you say that about Todd you let me know I’m a hot bitch, and I am, it don’t get any hotter. I’m successful, and I look good.
Natalie: [Stone-faced, silent.]
WINNER: KANDI, for being so rich people are afraid to shout her down!
Next time, Kenya looks at sperm, Peter wants to confront Kandi, and people start fighting at a slumber party when the common law thing comes up again. There’s fighting! Real fighting!