Listen: This was a wildly uncomfortable episode, but we have to get through the craziness of the beginning before we can address the craziness of the end.
Claudia hits her breaking point with Porsha’s “nice-nasty,” bratty bullshit, and while she's crying to Kenya and Cynthia she says the stress of the situation reminds her of high school. It’s hard to take the high road when the person you’re fighting with is a massive, floating airhead that threatens to collide with you in midair. Claudia meets with their boss, Rickey Smiley, a few days later; first, he rudely says “come on” when she knocks on his door, like that’s any way to invite someone into your office, and then when she tells him about her issue with Porsha, he immediately brings Porsha into his office. This would be fine, if he knew how to conduct a personnel meeting, and if Porsha didn’t bring a jar of gummy bears out of her purse like a toddler, but all he does is pray with them and tell them they look really pretty. Are you fucking serious? Claudia thinks no contact is better than shitty contact, but Porsha shows her ass all over that meeting, yelling and generally acting incredibly unprofessional, and poor Claudia has to sit there and pray. Jesus can’t save Porsha from herself; only a time machine and 18 years of military school could give her a fighting chance.
In other news, Kandi and Todd might be on the rocks because they have no idea how to talk to each other. Do you feel like Todd is giving up? He drops the news on Kandi while they’re packing for Los Angeles that he’s going to stay there for a week to hang out with his friends, which is just about as unacceptable as it gets. Did he say he likes a certain flight and that’s why he’s staying so long? These excuses are about as solvent as morally bankrupt Faye Resnick.
Here’s the thing: Kandi is stressful. She really is. As her friend Carmon points out later in the episode when Kandi comes back, Kandi likes to deal with things by ignoring them, and I can see how that gets to be very tiring very quickly. But they are married, and carrying on without her just puts him on her level in terms of ignoring the problem. Todd is only packing sneakers, so how much fun is he really going to have in L.A.? Kandi later tells Carmon that she was happy to go and work on the movie for a little while, but she and Todd have only been having sex once a week, and she immediately thinks he might be cheating on her. This is what happens when you avoid therapy or working on your own issues before you get married — you immediately go to the craziest option when any little thing happens. Kandi could be committed tomorrow and she’d just roll under her bed and refuse to talk the entire time she was there.
Kenya is still pressing forward with her TV show, even though Roger Bobb wants nothing to do with it, but the real story is that she literally doesn’t know how to boil water. When her kettle goes off, she puts on an elbow-length glove and tried to run water over the kettle while pouring it out in the sink. Roger Bobb, you dodged a bullet! The dialogue in her script is amazing, including but not limited to “Yellow, orange, and hot-pink Skittle-colored suits, literally from head to toe,” and a character called T. Breezy. Kenya, unable to get married in real life, makes sure the character named Kenya starts the series getting married in the most transparent move of all time. But then she complicates it with a missing dildo, right before sticking a real dildo in her ear while she’s on the phone with Brandon. Did it seem like you had a stroke reading that sentence? That’s about as much sense as it made in real life, too.
Despite having a janky script, no support, and no office space, Kenya holds auditions anyway. She forces actresses to say, “I’m lactose intolerant,” about 400 times, and then Cynthia comes in pantomiming a Jamaican woman to really bring it all home. It was really offensive (she wore a batik tunic, a crochet hat in Wonder Woman’s color scheme, and clownish makeup with an affected accent) and then got the part anyway. She really can’t act, so joke’s on you, Kenya! Actress D. Woods came in to read for the part of Kenya’s older sister even though she’s only 29 years old in real life, so that tells you how well this whole operation is going to turn out. It’s basically like Kenya is punking herself and using her own money and resources to do it, and I will watch every episode as soon as it’s released to make sure it’s the train wreck it has the potential to be.
The real, horrible sadness of this episode revolves around Apollo and Phaedra. He's upset the night before he went to jail and calls Peter; they drive around (with Peter barely watching the road, HELLO) while Apollo shows him a text exchange between Phaedra and someone called Mr. Chocolate. Apparently, she’s having an affair with yet another African man who just roams the streets of Atlanta, and together they’re counting down the days until she’s “off the plantation” and free of Apollo. The messages were pretty flirty (she apparently asked him to be her daddy and sent him praise hands and a kiss), but also easy to fabricate. My favorite thing ever is that Apollo printed out the messages so that each text literally took up a whole page. Like, was he trying to build a book of her deception? Phaedra is at a resort with the kids, and Apollo is seething. He tells Peter that he threatened her before she left, telling her, “People kill each other over love crimes like this.” Um, does it make you feel good that they got his threats on-camera? Or scared that she’s going to spend the next eight years living in fear? Because I just felt terrified, and it just got worse as the episode went on.
Peter tells Cynthia about Mr. Chocolate, but who comes in the front door of their house yelling like that? Was he raised in a damn barn? He focuses his jaundice-y eyes on her and tells her that Phaedra is having an affair, to which Cynthia said the greatest sentence of all time: “PHAEDRA is having an AFFAIR with some AFRICAN MAN named CHOCOLATE?!” She literally couldn’t believe it, just as I couldn’t believe her boobs were moving independently of each other during her confessional. Cynthia also pointed out how fucked up it is for Phaedra to call everyone and their mother a whore while she's allegedly doing this behind Apollo’s back, but Phaedra loves to live a double standard.
The real trouble comes the next day, when Apollo is supposed to be reporting to prison ... but shows up to the house instead. Phaedra is here with her assistant, Kalisha, and he barges in as she's checking the house to make sure he hadn’t damaged anything while two different people were changing the locks. I didn’t trust the locksmith simply for his lack of professionalism — no one is asking you to wear a three-piece suit, but how dare you show up to my house in board shorts with a pair of headphones dangling from your ear! Right after she tells Kalisha she’s going to freshen up her shooting skills, Apollo rolls up and asks why she’s trying to lock him out of his own house. He starts charging around the house like a wild man, not necessarily doing anything but stalking around all the same. He’s mad that she’s changing the locks, but what did he expect? The kids are, thankfully, safe with Phaedra’s mom somewhere else, but she seems totally unfazed by his erratic behavior. He keeps asking if she’s going to call the police on him, and she says no. But why not? Why did she hesitate?
After Apollo says that he put a ton of work into the house and strangely dumps over a bucket full of hinges, Phaedra calls his friend Bun, who's hiding in the bushes. Like, what is going on here?! Why is Bun in the bushes? Why is his name Bun? Apollo gets into the car Phaedra bought for him while simultaneously telling her that “this is his shit,” and then drives away … for about five seconds, and then he backs up and comes back to the house! Bun speeds up on a motorcycle, and let me tell you, Bun is effectively useless. As Apollo charges back into the house, Bun tells Phaedra that Apollo just wants to see his kids; apparently he saw them the night before and scared the shit out of Ayden by telling him the cops were going to take him away and murder him. Apollo now has a drill, and he’s just stalking around the house revving it. He approaches Phaedra, still standing in the garage, drops the drill and whispers in her ear, “Do not call the police,” as she tries to push him away. To say that it was threatening is an understatement; I was really afraid for Phaedra.
I think Apollo has something hidden in the house, and he’s worried that with the locks changed, he won’t be able to get it. He should be concerned with getting his ass to prison, but he’s not. He eventually goes back to his car, shouts that Phaedra has always left him when he needed her, and she very coolly tells him she’s praying for him. She also tells him that she might not be there when he gets out, since all he was concerned with was her leaving his stuff for him when he got home.
Phaedra didn’t seem scared, but I don’t know how it’s possible she wasn’t shitting her pants the entire time. I think she was trying to keep him from escalating, but I can’t imagine how she dealt with this so quietly. You could change every lock and put two armed guards on the property and I would still never be able to sleep in that house again.
Phaedra certainly doesn’t keep her cool next week, however, when it looks like she tries to take a swing at Kenya. See you then!