Ladies of London Recap: A Haggis Good Time

Ladies of London

The Ladies in the High Castle
Season 3 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Bravo

Ah, Scotland: the land of sheep innards, knicker-less skirts, and mended fences. What a lovely little castle trip, complete with shopping montages, local sport, deep conversation, and hardly an argument about loyalty to be found. It’s hard to even remember that this rollicking episode started with the train wreck that I like to call “Juliet-in-general.”

But that’s what separates the Ladies (from Stanbury to Sandwich) from the Housewives (the Bravo kind, not the real kind), isn’t it? They can move past one ruined meal to salvage the rest of the trip by actually enjoying each other’s company. All one needs to do is stare deep into Caroline Fleming’s eyes and remember these six magic words: “You don’t get itchy in Gucci.”

This week, Ladies of London picks up right where it left off, with Juliet screaming at Sophie, queen of beauty, grace, and volume. Juliet cannot believe Sophie implied that she’s sometimes a touch negative. Juliet’s way of illustrating that she is so not a negative person? A complete inability to say the word negative, followed by screaming, “Where was the negativity?! Because you’re ABOUT to get neg-a-ca-tivity right now by SAYING there’s negativity!” Sophie immediately tries to explain that she didn’t mean it that way, but Juliet has another, more dynamic message to deliver: “I’m giving you nega-viv-ity?! You don’t KNOW negativity. I’m going to show you nej-a-vivy NOW!”

Point proven, I think.

All it takes to get back on track for an afternoon of cashmere shopping is Sophie not rising to the freakout. She puts her face two inches from Juliet’s, then sincerely tells her that she misspoke and never meant to upset her. To ensure no more mealtime squabbles, Caroline Stanbury suggests that they split into two group for their Edinburgh shopping. It’s not a rule, darling, it’s just the right way to do things because Caroline said so.

Ugh, maybe it is the right way to do things, because these women have the time of their damn lives shopping in Edinburgh. Juliet finds the most heinous pair of bedazzled denim shorts I’ve ever seen. Julie convinces Caroline Stanbury to go inside a vintage shop … where other people have already worn the clothes. Caroline Fleming holds Marissa’s hands and mends their past grievances through the power of being Caroline Fleming. Caroline Stanbury and Julie somehow decide that they’ve been having issues because they’re just so much alike, to which say, uh, nuh-uh, but whatever.

I’m still a little unclear on what kind of “spritzer” these women are constantly drinking, but they seem to have healing properties, and I say we commit ourselves to making them America’s new rosé.

Everything is actually a little too nice, isn’t it? I’m glad that everyone is having a nice time, but as a conditioned Bravo viewer, I would also like to have a nice time. Someone better start trying to force Caroline Stanbury to eat a nectarine or something real soon. Instead, a man named Robin comes to the castle to give a pre-dinner Scotch tasting and be asked if he’s wearing knickers; he is, so is Caroline Fleming, and the Ladies of London do not like Scotch. They describe their samples with notes of gasoline, bad breath, petrol, cat bottom, and licking a piece of wood. Have they considered a Scotch spritzer?

The very Scottish man leading the ladies to dinner in an oh-so-castle-y cavern knows just the thing to cleanse their pallets: haggis. Now I, like most people, learned what haggis was from a very special episode of Lizzie McGuire. But Bravo still includes a helpful description: “a Scottish dish consisting of sheep’s stomach stuffed with minced internal organs, seasoned to taste.” What that description doesn’t mention is the man who dramatically slices a bulbous mound of haggis while reciting Robert Burns’s “Address to a Haggis.”

Despite the hacking of sheep stomach, it’s actually quite an intimate dinner since it’s the last before the husbands arrive, and Caroline Stanbury takes the time to apologize to Marissa for being harsh with her earlier in the trip. Now that Caroline has gotten the validation she was missing in the first chunk of the season, she’s presumably ready to be nice again: “People like to think that I collect tears as sport,” she says. “But it’s not my intention to kick someone when they’re down.”

Oh, is Marissa down. She starts crying as soon as Caroline apologizes, saying that she’s “not good” right now. After they talk for a bit, Juliet jumps in to say that Marissa was there for her when she first became a mom, and she wants to move past their ish to support Marissa now. This causes Marissa to break down even further, sobbing, “I don’t have anymore fight in me, Juliet … you just gotta be my friend.” Juliet doesn’t even get defensive. She just says okay, which is how you know things must really be bad. Throughout the episode, Julie voices concern for Marissa’s mental health, and Marissa eventually says, “I’m not afraid of the stigma of [postpartum depression] — I’m afraid of having it.”

Stuff can get painfully deep on Ladies of London, and I am here for the depth. (The Ladies can also argue about air-humping each other’s husbands while wearing onesies for an entire drunken night, and I am here for that too.)

But no one knows how to lighten — or enlighten — a mood like Caroline Fleming, who brought multiple packages of balloons for what she calls the “balloon game.” It involves blowing up a balloon, sticking it between you and your friend, and then using your general crotch region to pop it. I actually have to agree with CF here: “The balloon game iiiiis heeee-lar-iiiious.” Even Marissa’s spirits are buoyed as she’s mounted in a train formation by four of her closest friends and thrusted over and over again until they’ve popped enough balloons to win.

Unfortunately, the next morning Caroline is more bruised than she’s ever been by the balloon game. On the bright side, the catering people brought eggs for breakfast! Even better news: The husbands are here! Caroline Stanbury, Juliet, and Marissa’s husbands, at least, and Caroline insists that the husbands are just what they need to keep the trip on the mellow, mending path it’s been taking all episode.

Indeed, the arrival of the husbands brings a day of falconry and archery. (Just like any one of us might enjoy on a couple’s trip, right, dear reader?) Caroline Fleming stares deep into a falcon’s eyes; Caroline Stanbury reminds us that everyone is having fun because there are no rules; Julie secretly gets annoyed that Sophie defends Caroline Stanbury for having not been supportive of Marissa because she didn’t understand the extent of what Marissa was going through. All is as it should be.

But again, all this peace, love, and swallowing of annoyances is a wee bit boring. Thank goodness that it’s time to dress up for dinner. Now, I can’t imagine a world where I would put on an evening gown to have a private dinner with a handful of friends, but that’s why I watch TV — because these people are living better lives than me. Lives where they wear skirts made of gold-metal fringe and gowns have exposed side-stomach, because side-stomach is a part of the body they want to show off. The fashion makes me moan, because much like Caroline Fleming, “When something’s nice, I moan because it gives me such pleasure.”

Everyone toasts to Caroline and Cem for having them to Scotland, saying how glad they are that they’re getting back to their fun relationships again. The only moment that threatens to ruin all the jolly good times is when Julie stands to give her toast to Caroline. She goes on and on about how Caroline has taught her to have an opinion and stand up for herself because those are Caroline’s strengths. It’s awkward, and Marissa wonders if Julie is trying to threaten Caroline to back off of her, but I think Julie is just kind of ineloquent. So, bring out the castle fireworks and take a page from Sophie’s book: “When the fireworks explode, we stand united as stupid, bloody bitches.” Cheers!

A few questions for you to discuss: Who wore the best evening ensemble? At what point were you most in awe of Sophie’s hair? And where do the husbands of LOL rank in the Bravo husband lexicon?

Ladies of London Recap: A Haggis Good Time