I would generally recommend therapy for any and all involved after any Real Housewives vacation (including hotel staff, shuttle drivers, and airline pilots), but since therapy is what brought them to the Philippines, we only have psychology to blame for whatever happens in the next two episodes.
But so far, so good! It’s a miracle, right? There wasn’t even drama during the 15-hour trip! Even I’m willing to throw elbows on a two-hour flight. Demetria is there, and yes, I’m going to mention it again for the 50th time this season that I do not understand why she’s always hanging around! Demetria is like the shingles virus come to life: If you’ve already watched an episode of The Real Housewives, you might already have Demetria inside of you. I don’t even dislike her; she’s just distracting. It’s fine — everyone packed 900 bags and Porsha traded sweatpants for her arrival outfit, which is just her general gaudy, sparkly, boob-focused top and high heels. I look like a straight-up goblin when I travel, so I’m not one to front, but Porsha will find any excuse to talk about clothes to distract us from the fact that she sounds like a righteous fool when she talks about literally anything else.
They’re headed to a detox resort in Manila, which means there will be “no booze, no meat, and no drama” on this vacation. Claudia is so new that she doesn’t understand how crucial those three elements are to a Housewives journey, but this group is also so fractured, a few days of detox will probably serve them well. The other missing element is NeNe, who is busy flubbing lines and freaking out the Cinderella director in New York. I thought he was going to kick a dookie down his leg when she asked if she could use more than one accent, but he calmly asked her to “be spare with that” instead and secretly popped three Xanax off-camera, I’m sure. It’s possible that her leaving therapy gave everyone else room to breathe, and you’ll notice that the drama level drops significantly whenever she’s not around. I know that NeNe has been around from day one, but my plea to Bravo is this: Drop NeNe. Get her off of this show. Her toxicity is no longer amusing or even remotely entertaining, and she’d clearly rather be taking advantage of other opportunities. Remember when they downgraded Countess LuAnn on RHONY, giving everyone else the opportunity to rise to their most epic levels of foolishness? Legs were thrown! Faces were cut! It got ridiculous and 80 percent more watchable. NeNe is too big a personality at this point, and she sucks all of the air out of the room. It was cute that Gregg took her to see her name in lights, but as I was watching this, I thought about how great it would be just not to see her at all anymore.
Claudia appealed to Phaedra’s best side right away by giving her the biggest room. Say what you will, but Claudia is a smart motherfucker. The other rooms weren’t shabby at all, and after unpacking and comparing NeNe to cancer, everyone went to bed. Over in her room, Phaedra was busy telling Porsha about the caffeine enemas offered at the resort, resulting in the two best things I’ve heard on TV this year: “Anything you put in your butt will take pretty fast,” and “I don’t drink coffee, but I’m sure my butt wouldn’t mind a sip.” MY BUTT WOULDN’T MIND A SIP. I apologize to every barista on the Eastern Seaboard, because I’m going to be talking about my thirsty butt at least through the summer. Everything is basically really chill at this point, which is a record for any Real Housewives vacation.
When Phaedra met with Claudia later that afternoon over salad, I thought for sure they were going to fight, just because time and history dictated it. Instead, Claudia was really earnest and honest with Phaedra about her own painful divorce, and talked openly about her suicidal thoughts, major depression, and how she eventually came around to understanding vulnerability. Phaedra didn’t want to talk about what brought her to the point of wanting a divorce, but she opened up about her fears, which were mostly about how she’s handling Apollo’s sentence and their divorce with her kids. It’s always amazing to me when someone who has been on a reality show says they’re “so private,” but I guess Phaedra just means she’s embarrassed to air her dirty laundry out in public. The cool thing was that Claudia let her guard down and Phaedra responded in kind instead of acting like a stuck-up troll, and that passes for real maturity in this group. In the meantime, Kenya was talking to Brandon while she was going so slowly on a treadmill she almost tripped over the belt, and Brandon forever fell out of my good graces by wearing a baseball cap embroidered with the Monster Energy drink logo. Nope!
Kandi met Phaedra for round two of the Friendship Throwdown in a lovely foot- and scalp-massage cabin out on the grounds, because the best time to fight is when someone is trying to calm you down using the healing energy of the earth. I am way interested in these coconut-oil foot baths, and less interested in Kandi and Phaedra mumbling their way through a conversation about how they’re in a good place. Kandi just wanted to make sure, since she was still hearing from other people that they were having issues, and Phaedra waved it off by saying her comments were lost in translation. She did mention feeling a little bad whenever Kandi posted pictures on Instagram while she was hanging out with everyone else, and that made me a little sad that a grown-ass woman with children and 18 jobs has even a second to feel FOMO. Did you see the sly-ass way Kandi reminded Phaedra that NeNe used to be one of her biggest detractors, after Phaedra said NeNe was giving her the most support? She might not unhinge that jaw more than a millimeter to speak, but that’s still enough room for fire to shoot out of her mouth! Phaedra waved it off just as the masseurs said, “It’s done now, God bless you,” and I’m sure she felt the same way. As usual, God is the best scapegoat. Everyone went to yoga, and Kandi, who was already struggling, fell dead-ass asleep in the middle of corpse pose, snoring and everything. I have never felt closer to her, or laughed harder in all my life, than watching her saw logs during the gentlest yoga I’ve ever seen. The spirit of Mama Joyce is DEEP in her!
Finally, everyone put on their best floor-length gowns, bohemian white dresses, and Las Vegas bridal-party body-cons to head to dinner, where Claudia had contraband booze and chicken. We’re 45 minutes into the episode and drama-free, but dinner is always where everything kicks off. It took a while; Claudia intentionally assigned seats to keep everyone away from their besties, and even Porsha and Cynthia are getting along. After explaining that they will all take a donkey ride to a volcano tomorrow, Claudia asked Cynthia if she has anything to say to Phaedra. Cynthia apologized for getting up in her business, and Phaedra just iced her out and said nothing. What! This is supposed to be a place of healing! Of course Porsha takes this small opening as a chance to be a giant asshole, and in the process of yelling about something, she tells Kenya to hush up. This wouldn’t even be a big deal, but moments later, she screams, “I’m not going to sit at a table and be shushed!” when everyone piles on and tries to get her to stop talking. I can’t even handle her hypocrisy, or the fact that she has no idea how to spell that word!
Claudia accidentally (or not?) breaks a glass while she’s trying to get everyone’s attention, and when she has it, she implores everyone to let Cynthia and Phaedra speak to each other. Phaedra just calmly says she has nothing to say and sips her soup, which is the most baller move she has in her arsenal. I’m going to start carrying around a Thermos just in case I have a remote chance to do this to someone.
Kenya, who drifts toward a fight like a moth to bug-zapper, decided to use this very moment to bring up her own struggles with Phaedra, and how frustrating it is to get Phaedra to engage with her. The casual flashback to Phaedra pumping milk instead of talking to Kenya made me howl! Deep down, Phaedra still believes what Apollo said about Kenya even though he’s proven himself to be criminally great at lying, so much so that he’s in jail for it right now! Kenya asked if she would at least have a conversation with her about it, something private and away from everyone else’s opinion, and after much consideration, Phaedra said yes. There was much rejoicing! Glasses were clinked and broken, and the whole night ended with everyone laughing about their butts. I guess Claudia’s wish for everyone to go home with good memories might come true.
Next time, it looks like they really are taking donkeys to a volcano, NeNe is so scared by her Broadway debut that she bursts into tears, and Phaedra and Kenya hug it out. See you then!