The Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Not Begging, Dying, or Trying

This week, Phaedra deals with Apollo's unfortunate right to see his kids. Photo: Bravo
The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Episode Title
The Countdown Begins
Editor’s Rating

For half of the cast, this episode was an exercise in humility. Kenya acts like this meeting with Roger Bobb was the first time anyone has ever turned her down, even though we all watched Walter publicly reject her. Roger Bobb even gives her a soft pass on her truly awful ideas for TV shows, which range from mean girls to retired supermodels to marrying white guys to twirling, all while wearing a surprisingly offensive cape blazer. You’re not Solange, Kenya! Her weird ideas coupled with her bonkers outfit really amped up the possibly escaped-mental-patient look in her eyes, which is probably why Roger Bobb tells her that he wouldn’t be available but would help hook her up with some writers after his lawyer called her lawyer. (I feel like a disproportionate amount of Kenya’s conversations end with people threatening to call their lawyers.) After she oddly tells him that she was supposed to be a doctor — she just didn’t go to medical school, the primary gateway to actually being a doctor — she meets with Brandon and decides to produce a TV show about sisters on their own. That could mean anything from a web series to a straight-to-DVD release only available at 7-Eleven, so I’m not holding my breath.

Since all Bravo TV shows are required to cross-pollinate, Phaedra meets with some of the doctors from Married to Medicine to figure out how to tell her kids about Apollo going to jail. Too late, Phaedra! Apollo already half-assedly broke the news to them last week. Surprisingly, the doctor inadvertently agrees with Apollo and says she should tell them their dad is on a time-out. Phaedra doesn’t want her kids “near murderers and molesters,” even though it’s not like they just let people roam around prison like a college dorm, but I think she mostly just wants to be done with Apollo.

Here’s the thing: I don’t disagree with her. I think it’s super shitty to have to bring your kids to prison to see their dad when he’s a known felon. Maybe it would be different if he wasn’t guilty — there could be some life lesson about fighting for your rights or something. But he is guilty — he’s incredibly, super-duper guilty, and sort of a remorseless dick about it, to boot. She doesn’t get a say in what kind of relationship her kids have with their dad, but she shouldn’t have to bring them to prison while they’re young enough to still be damaged by something so traumatic. Apollo really isn’t thinking about his family right now, which is evident when he goes to see Randy, the only lawyer in Atlanta, to ask about divorce. Randy is on Apollo’s side and tells him that he absolutely has to see his kids, but I want to know how either of them kept a straight face sitting next to an attorney named Thad Woody. That is the fakest, porniest name of all time. Who is he really, and what is he hiding from? Randy thinks Phaedra should have known better for marrying a felon, and I think someone in the business of law should be slightly less transparent about their bias.

NeNe and Porsha meet for lunch to have heart attacks about the menu and talk shit about Claudia. NeNe is more excited to see grilled pork chops served with a fried egg than she is to see her own friend! After Porsha regales Oprah’s advice about eating a salad at the end of her meal to help digestion, she tells NeNe that she doesn’t want Claudia at the party the radio station is throwing for her. The radio station where they both work. NeNe is too busy “studying for Broadway” to come, which is the most made-up excuse since “the dog ate my homework,” but Porsha is too busy declaring Atlanta a personal war zone to notice. It's fuckin’ weird the way they both decide that Claudia’s life isn’t even worthwhile because she's never been married — right? Considering that Porsha is divorced and NeNe divorced her husband because she was in a bad mood, I feel like neither of them is really qualified to decide that marriage makes them better people.

Claudia gets the last laugh, though, just by being her gloriously candid self. Why on earth is she confiding in Derek J? He gossips more than Joan Rivers on speed. He comes over looking like a low-rent Lenny Kravitz with some wigs for her to try on, and she starts rumbling like the San Andreas Fault, spilling all over the place about hunting Porsha down like a “big-eyed, dumb-ass doe.” When she puts on her first wig and says looking like a Kardashian might help her land a black man now, I just about fell out. She’s going to that party because it’s for the radio station, and she’s “a motherfuckin’ lady.” We all know she’s going to whoop metaphorical ass, but I forgive her.

Poor Kandi is having a tough week; after poor ticket sales from a possibly janky promoter, they decide to cancel the tour of A Mother’s Love. I feel like Todd had a good point about how ineffective Kandi’s team is, but it was WAY too soon for him to bring that kind of thunder while she's crying in the kitchen, freshly hurt from the news. And she has a right to be upset — her name is on the line, and lots of people quit their jobs to take part in this, so it looks bad all around. What looks way, way worse is her rolling up to a meeting about ending the tour for financial reasons in Todd’s brand-new Corvette. I can almost forgive Don Juan for making such massive fun of Todd and Kandi by invoking her crazy aunt’s nonsensical ode to bullshit, but I still wonder how he has a job despite his open contempt for them both. If Katie from Vanderpump Rules can finally lose her job, no one on Bravo is safe!

When Claudia finally makes it to the party with her dagger-sharp earrings, Porsha is already in full-on spotlight mode, just twirling and reapplying makeup for anyone within five inches of her face. Her boss makes a dumb-blonde joke about her at her own “welcome to the radio station” party, and then Porsha’s grandmother calls Claudia a “wicked city woman,” which I am having engraved on my headstone (which will look nice next to my also-engraved urn). I think she said it because of the picture Claudia posted of herself and Kordell.

Porsha tried to ignore Claudia, but Claudia called her over and sat her down anyway, and Porsha uttered the greatest sentence she’s ever spoken: “I have the gift of discernment.” First of all, she absolutely does not! Second of all, who starts an argument that way unless you’re trying to convince someone you’re clairvoyant? Claudia just wants to be professional, but Porsha wants to be an asshole, so she tells Claudia there’s nothing fake about her. Um, except everything about Porsha is fake, and Claudia’s eyes work perfectly fine, so she has no trouble pointing that out. In the end Porsha gets up and leaves because she’s not only wrong, but she acts like an absolute baby when anyone points that out. Porsha: 0, Claudia: 1,800.

Cynthia’s only contribution this week is listening to the awkward poem her daughter wrote and read to her in a park next to Leon. It was all about a fleeting romance, and full of teenage poetry stuff about someone stealing her eyes and how much she wants to run around in some guy’s brain. Cynthia’s antenna was fully extended, and Leon asked which movies she was watching because this sure as hell wasn’t about a real dude. No matter what I think about Cynthia, I have to admit that she and Leon are pretty good parents.

At first it looks like Phaedra is building a public case against Apollo with all of this “he’s crazy” stuff, but in the previews for next week, he looks legitimately threatening. How did she expect her mom to react when she told her that Apollo is acting crazy, threatening to burn the house down and punching holes in the walls? Of course her mom told her to pack her shit and go! Since Phaedra’s priorities are always with keeping her kids safe, it’s strange that she doesn’t want to leave when Apollo is at his most violent, right? And how on earth did she have the nerve to serve her mom boiling hot sweet tea?

Next week, Apollo will show Peter some printed texts that are supposed to verify Phaedra’s affair, Claudia will break down over how high school this group is, and it looks like Apollo might try to push Phaedra?! Jesus, what a mess. See you then.