Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: Roughest Season Ever

Real Housewives of Atlanta. Photo: Bravo
The Real Housewives of Atlanta
Episode Title
Reunion Part 3
Editor’s Rating

It’s over! And jeez, what an ending. Did you buy it? Were you moved? Or did you shout, “Oh, come on!” at your TV and then eat a fistful of Red Vines like I did?

We picked up where we left off, with Andy asking Pee-tah! if he and NeNe ever flirted, and he said it was harmless. He also said that everyone owed Kenya an apology for how she was treated, and as much as I hate that a man had to validate what Kenya has been saying for years, it was nice to see him staying the course about what he said earlier this season. Speaking of harmless, Kenya is mostly a jerk, but a harmless, social-climbing one, and her redemption this season was a nice surprise. Peter quickly killed the inch of goodwill he’d built by telling Porsha he’d rather jerk off than sleep with a waitress, and if he was going to cheat on Cynthia, he’d “hit something big.” It’s official: His delusion is as great as my general disdain for him.

After everyone congratulated Kandi and Todd for boning two days ago, they all got sad about Todd’s mom dying of a stroke. Apparently everyone was nice to Todd — Gregg gave a tremendous speech, and Phaedra “made sure service was provided properly.” Does that mean she did the embalming? Paid for the headstone? I need more information here! Apparently Mama Joyce gave a more sincere offscreen apology, and Todd didn’t like the way Kandi presented him with their prenup, but then he told Kandi that it was okay for her to chase him a little if she wanted to be with him forever, and he has a different wedding ring to match each of his watches. I’m sorry, but that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard; your wedding ring isn’t meant to be an accessory you can change out like a goddamn Swatch band. Get it together, Todd! Kandi confirmed that her “boobs are on fleek” due to hormones and a general weight gain, and Gregg poisoned my ears with some made-up saying about headlights on a car. Why is Todd encouraging him to write a book? Why kill trees over this man’s insistence on fake preaching?

NeNe and Cynthia hashed out their complicated friendship and the “bitch” comment NeNe made to Peter in Mexico last season, with NeNe saying Cynthia only got upset about it after the season aired. I’m pretty sure you can take as long as you want to gain steam about your supposed best friend berating your husband. Cynthia said the relationship went really sour when NeNe blogged about something while they were all in Las Vegas on vacation together instead of coming to talk to her, like, across the hotel hallway. All of this makes sense! NeNe is a petulant baby at her worst, and a stuck-up snob at best. My favorite is when NeNe said she didn’t try to get Cynthia fired, and then they cut to a clip of her saying exactly that on Watch What Happens Live. When your whole life is on camera, do you just automatically forget that includes the truth of any given situation? Cynthia wants to be cordial, but all NeNe could do is wish her well, which is more kindness than she’s exhibited to anyone at the reunion so far.

Porsha did a bit about her being the Princess of Thotlandia because tits, ass, and idiocy is literally all she brought to the season. Andy tried to give her an out with a horrible transition by mentioning her grandfather having been depicted in the movie Selma, and she even messed that up by saying it was nice to see him on the screen. Does she know that was an actor and Selma wasn’t a documentary?

Andy tried to get NeNe to apologize for the terrible “half-breed” comment she threw at Claudia in Puerto Rico, and she did that non-apology thing, looking dead at the camera and telling the audience she’s sorry if she offended anyone, but not actually apologizing to Claudia. Her reason? Claudia said she was biracial, so NeNe took that to mean it was okay to call her a racist term in response. Does she know that those two words have very different meanings? I love that Claudia said, “Sure, you apologized, you did it for the Vine,” and didn’t let her off the hook.

Phaedra basically admitted that she only made up with Kenya for the camera, but Kenya let her off the hook by saying they were in a good place, and that reunions are hard because by the time they’ve happened you’re just reliving everything from the season. It is the stankest of stanks that makes Kenya look like the voice of reason, you know?

The last half hour is where the fireworks happened in the form of NeNe having a complete emotional breakdown. When Andy brought out Dr. Jeff, who is essentially NeNe’s non-angry translator, NeNe berated him for not automatically taking her side when she called the group therapy session, and that quickly devolved into NeNe looking like a caged animal and bursting into tears when Dr. Jeff asked her how she was feeling. It started when Dr. Jeff  mentioned NeNe’s issues of abandonment due to her mom; Kenya said that they probably had more in common than not, and suddenly she was whispering, “I can’t talk about my mom,” over and over again, right before she got up and tried to leave. Everyone formed a prayer circle around NeNe — except for Claudia and Kandi, who are forever my favorites for holding on to their skepticism until the bitter end. They reluctantly got up after Kenya chided them, but they’re forever No. 1 in my heart for sitting down until the last fucking second before it became socially unacceptable to stay down.

When NeNe did crawl away, Phaedra, Porsha, and Cynthia — CYNTHIA! — went with her.  Claudia’s mouth dropped open and stayed that way for the rest of the show, and so did mine.

The cameras followed NeNe outside, where she bawled like a child, and that was around the time I realized she really wasn’t acting. Back on the couches, Kenya talked about how they never saw NeNe so vulnerable, and Kandi was confused about what set her off. While NeNe came back in to do her makeup, Gregg explained that NeNe’s mom had five kids when she was really young and ended up sending NeNe and her brother to Athens to live with her aunt when she couldn’t take care of them all. NeNe has always wondered why she was the one who was sent away, and it’s really messed with her sense of self. Okay, that goddamn sucks, and I can absolutely see how it would mess with her, but has she really never considered getting therapy instead of acting like a bulletproof bitch all these years? Dr. Jeff is ready to jump up her butt at a moment’s notice!

When she comes back to the couches, Dr. Jeff explained how “pain is power” for NeNe, but everyone also commended her for having a breakthrough. Cynthia called her a survivor, and that seemed to patch a little part of their broken friendship, and NeNe let Dr. Jeff back into her life when he said that if he had it to do over again, he would adjust his treatment to make sure no one ganged up on her in group therapy again. Everyone is basically still enabling her bad behavior, then? Good job, team.

In the end, Cynthia thinks this was the best reunion ever and apologizes to Phaedra for hurting her feelings, Phaedra says “pressure builds diamonds” and kept acting like there was a rotten sock taped under her nose all night, Claudia says she grew a lot, Porsha appreciates the breakthroughs, Kandi is on a roller coaster, and NeNe learns that people are supportive when you stop acting like a complete tool. They group hugged, and we ended the season a little more friendly than it began, but still a lot more broken.

I’m so happy we went through this together! Do we all need therapy now? I’ll see you all next season.