This season went out with a whimper, and the vague scent of alcohol emanating from everyone’s breath.
I’m still trying to figure out why Lisa became the enemy, and the only answer that makes sense is that they need one. Since most of the Housewives have spent their lives performing femininity through this graceful bickering, this is not a group of women who can function collectively when they have nothing and no one to complain about, and it’s far easier to cannibalize your own. Lisa is the fall guy because Brandi is too much of a coward to end their friendship on her own terms, and it’s sort of a bummer that she was able to turn the tide so swiftly.
The entire episode takes place at the Beverly Hills Centennial Gala at the Beverly Hilton, and there’s no way I’m typing that entire thing out again. Yolanda looked like an ancient Roman warrior in her white dress, and Carlton draped some scallop-edged kelp over her chest boulders and called it a day. She keeps doing that thing where she looks all around the room as she’s greeting people, never sustaining eye contact for more than a second in case Larry Flynt wheels in and offers up her dream job of jangling her bones in a den of inequity somewhere deep in the Hollywood hills. When I walk into a party, you better look me in the eye, point me towards the whiskey, and stop speaking to me for the rest of the night. Carlton wants Yolanda to make up with Lisa even though she has no idea what happened and has only heard Lisa’s side of the story, and Yolanda is like, “Hey, I’m not going to be minimized or shut down, and Lisa should be accountable for her actions.” I used to be afraid of heights, but now I’m afraid to get on Yolanda Hadid Foster’s bad side. Carlton just stares at her, slack-jawed and fully grasping at last how little of her shit Yo is willing to tolerate.
New besties Brandi and Kyle decide to ride to the party together with Maurice, who got lost in a vat of Dippity Do, and Drew, a well-meaning himbo with nice pants. I am wildly uncomfortable seeing these two together as friends, and I don’t trust them for a second. Lisa and Ken held hands and looked like they were going to a funeral, even though Lisa was wearing what looked like a mix of white sateen and white leather. What material is this dress made of? It looked about as uncomfortable as she felt, which was plenty. She says she feels sad, Ken says he feels hungry, and I feel like we’ve just unlocked the key to some rudimentary heterosexual puzzle.
Has Kyle always walked like a truck driver? Her legs are usually covered in the tentlike forgiveness of a maxi dress. She Yosemite Sammed it into the Beverly Hilton with Brandi, said hi to Yo, and then everyone stood around awkwardly once they realized Lisa was two feet away. Yo and Kyle eventually sauntered over, said hello, and stood in awkward silence until Lisa said, “Sorry I had to leave early, it was horrible.” Yo was mad because while she thought they were dead in a ditch, Lisa and Ken tweeted out a picture from the resort down the street. That is a baller move! I told you they had Fuck You money! Ken gave an icy hello as he walked by, and then he kept on walking. No one is as mad as Ken about what went down — the entire state of Ohio wasn’t as mad at LeBron James for defecting to the Miami Heat, and they were burning effigies around the clock! The ladies of Beverly Hills are officially dead to Ken, they just don’t know it yet. Yo finds his behavior deeply unpleasant, saying, “I haven’t seen Beyoncé with that kind of attitude!” Beyoncé doesn’t need that kind of attitude, because she just murders anyone that gives her a side-eye and buries them beneath the Barclays Center.
Lisa and Ken did apologize to Joyce, who still thinks they should have stayed and faced the music. Joyce tried to stick up for Kim, saying she felt bad for what she had to say even though Kim looked right at a camera during her interstitials and said, “No, I’m not sorry at all,” and Ken made more disparaging remarks about Kim being on another planet and saying strange things. It’s awful to watch him make fun of her even though what he’s saying is true; the synapses in Kim’s brain burned out like a star decades ago, and commenting on her social weirdness is the vocal equivalent of kicking a puppy.
Kyle and Joyce did shots with their husbands only to sputter, grab their mouths, and act like they were swallowing fire. When Kim approached Ken, she said, “I’m sorry for the ugly things I said,” and Ken said a very tight-lipped “thank you” before walking away. Ken just carries curtains and spends all of his days pulling down shade. Carlton and Brandi got into it when Carlton suggested she would have handled things differently if she were on the trip, even though this is not the kind of problem you can solve by putting a hex on people or making out with your baby-voiced nanny. Brandi suggested she was Lisa’s puppet, and correctly assumed that Lisa went right to Carlton for sympathy when she got home. I don’t know — Carlton wasn’t there, but she’s been a remarkably great judge of character this season, so I think she’s the only one willing to call out Magazine-gate for the pile of horseshit it is.
Across the room, Kyle and Brandi were laughing about their manicures when Lisa literally pulled Kyle away and said, “It’s up to you who you believe.” The only thing Kyle believes is that she wants more attention, and will keep this magazine-based charade going for as long as possible until she gets her fill. She complained that Lisa didn’t come to her defense soon enough, saying she was a day late and a dollar short when she finally defended her at that awful lunch at Carlton’s house earlier this season. Lisa can’t win, and watching her bounce around from cast member to cast member in an effort to understand why they are so angry with her is sad and exhausting. Kyle revisited the “Are you really my friend” theme, and Lisa finally said, “I can’t do this anymore.” Good for her! Kyle is the neediest needer this side of Needy Town, and if being her friend means constantly reinforcing that you are her friend, Lisa is right to bounce.
When the director of the centennial party mentioned that Beverly Hills was 100 years old, Kyle screamed out, “She looks good for her age!” and the director had to placate her like a toddler until she and Yo screamed “Botox!” in unison, that old, obvious chestnut. I might have wished someone would come by, clamp them both into an iron maiden, and wheel them away. I’m not proud! Instead, Yo walked over to Kim and asked if she was lonely too, and then they cried about their separation anxiety and how much they missed their kids. This is the worst party I have ever seen.
Brandi’s plan was to pull Lisa aside after she had three drinks, and that’s exactly what she did. After she guzzled some sizzurp and marched her way through the crowd, she grabbed Lisa’s hand and led her to what looked like a canopy bed to talk about Scheana. I legitimately cannot believe that Brandi is still carrying on about this girl, but I think she’s a deeply unhappy person who never really dealt with her husband’s betrayal. Brandi has made Scheana the avatar for her pain — of course seeing her is going to feel like someone is running a cheese grater over your heart. Lisa tries to interject her feelings, but Brandi cuts her off, and when Lisa admits she doesn’t think of Scheana as a whore, Brandi ends their friendship on the spot. Bam! The tough part is that Scheana is kind of a ho, but she’s a reformed ho who’s on the mend and seems to feel genuine remorse. Brandi is hurt because she thought of Lisa and Ken as family, and Lisa is hurt because she let this skeletal huckster into her life. Brandi is treating this like some great emancipation or a bad '80s power ballad, telling Lisa that she finally feels free and is not part of her game anymore. Lisa rolled her eyes exhaustingly and catapulted herself onto the floor to get away from even one more second of the conversation.
There was a brief interlude where Kyle fondled her friend Chris’s boobs before motorboating them, but I’m saving my thoughts on that for my therapist.
Maurice made up with Ken in an overly masculine way that involved a lot of staring and repetition. They were interrupted when all of the women swarmed them like bees coming back to the hive, and Yolanda told Ken he was very rude to pull Maurice away to finish their conversation. Ken and Lisa were certainly lacking in social grace that evening, but I can understand how they might have wanted to have this conversation in private because it’s a very embarrassing conversation to have! These are grown-ass men talking about a fight their wives are having over a magazine — this is what their lives have become, these titans of industry. Ken swore on his dog’s lives that Lisa didn’t bring the magazine to Palm Springs, and that seemed to appease Maurice who was busy trying to keep his hair gel from dripping into his eyes.
The women are still crowded around the table, and when Ken approaches Yo tells him to “stay away,” she threatens Ken with David and then says there’s no way her husband would ever hang out with someone like Ken because he attacks women! To prove her point, he reaches out to touch her arm, and she swats him away like he was made of cake. She’s still pissed because he called her stupid when they were in Puerto Rico, and Ken doesn’t seem to care that he’s invited the Hollandaise Wrath into his life.
Someone decided to melt a bowling ball in the middle of one of the tables, and before you know it, we’re signing off. This is a house divided — friendships are failing or ending, and they float through the crowd feeling equal parts hateful and protective. It’s a strange way to end the season, with everyone feeling more like co-workers than friends, but a strong reminder of Yolanda’s overall ethos and something she’s been saying all along: “Don’t tell me you’re my friend — act like one.” New businesses will open, kids will grow up and move on, and one of them will be killed by her untrained dog, but there was a lot of love lost this season, and it’s not clear that they’ll ever get it back.
Note: We did get a sneak peek at the reunion, which I will be recapping next week. It’s the same finger-pointing, tear-inducing blame fest we’ve come to know and love, but I’m genuinely curious to see if anyone is friendly after such a dismal end.