Guys, what are we going to do about Ashley, a bag of potpourri left behind at a White Elephant because no one wanted to take it home? It’s a little bit fun to watch someone so awful on television but at the same time, it’s awful to watch her on television. She’s sort of like looking directly into an eclipse: You’re amazed at a marvel of the universe but you also know you’re scalding your retinas and probably doing irreparable harm.
Let’s look at all of the awful things she did this episode, shall we? Because the only thing better than trauma is reliving that trauma with some jokes thrown in. First of all, she continues her fight with Kathryn at the dinner table, telling her — in front of all of her friends — that Kathryn doesn’t see her kids enough, and that Kathryn didn’t go visit her son in the hospital enough. As Kathryn explains to us, she wasn’t allowed to go visit because Thomas barred her from going. Ashley takes a break from flicking her hair to stand up and literally talk down to the women at the table.
Meanwhile, all of the men sit by and do nothing. Craig, Shep, and Austen cower over in the corner not wanting to be involved (but they sure do want to hear the gossip when it’s all over!). Whitney interjects to try to get Thomas to shut Ashley up, but doesn’t directly defend Kathryn against her. Thomas stands by and is all, “I say, I say, I say, what is going on here?” like a paunchier Foghorn Leghorn. He has the power to shut this all down, but won’t get in the middle of it to tell Ashley to pipe down.
Danni literally has to drag him aside and tell him to get Ashley to stop disrespecting Kathryn over literally nothing, and he still won’t do anything. He’s afraid of hurting Ashley’s feelings because, I don’t know, she’ll stop sleeping with him or something? He refuses to get into the fight, but certainly doesn’t have a problem shouting at Chelsea to “shut the fuck up” on the ferry ride back to the house. He’s the absolute worst kind of coward.
Eventually Thomas does take her away, and everyone rallies around Kathryn and tells her how well she handled it. It’s a very sweet moment and I was very proud of Kathryn. Whitney literally says that two years ago Kathryn would have stabbed Ashley with a fork and, well, I wish I were two-years-ago Kathryn.
Meanwhile, Ashley’s off in the parking lot saying, “I kissed her ass and kissed her ass and kissed her ass.” If that’s Ashley trying to get someone to like her, I would hate to see how she acts when she’s not trying to impress someone. The best line of the whole episode, however, is when Ashley says that Kathryn must be really messed up if the courts took her children away and left them in the care of a convicted felon, sort of missing the irony that the convicted felon she’s speaking of is her own actual boyfriend.
Thomas and Ashley then return to the restaurant (mostly because they have to take a ferry to get home) and go inside for drinks. Shep meets them at the bar because Shep would meet Kim Jong-un and the ghost of Muammar Qaddafi if they were in a bar. Shep tries to get Ashley to be “deferential to the past” between Thomas and Kathryn that they all lived through, that she knows nothing about. She absolutely refuses and tells Shep, who is Kathryn’s friend, that she doesn’t like Kathryn.
The next day, Ashley turns on Shep again when he sits down to talk with her and Thomas while the rest of the party ignores them because she’s alienated absolutely everyone who is staying at the house. When Shep gets up to walk away, she says, both condescendingly and sarcastically, “Nice talk.” Shep then goes to the women and tells them all how much he hates her. Shep Rose does not hate anyone. Shep Rose is like the essence of a Margaritaville restaurant distilled into an aging slacker. He doesn’t care who you are; if you want to hang out and have a beer with him, he will find something nice to say about you. And even Shep hates Ashley. That’s like Oprah hating a breadbasket.
Once everyone takes that boat ride from hell back to the house, Ashley still keeps at it. While Danni and Kathryn are outside with Thomas trying to go over the events of the night, Ashley corners Chelsea, who is trying to go to bed, to talk more about the situation. I love Chelsea so much, because she just says, as polite and matter-of-factly as can be, “The evil I saw tonight, I don’t know how you come back from that.” Ashley reacts by saying Chelsea’s name repeatedly at the end of each sentence, as if it’s some kind of magic spell, like her words alone can turn Chelsea into the Babadook.
The next morning, Thomas tries to talk her into apologizing to smooth things over, but she refuses because those were her “actual feelings.” Ashley instead decides to act as if nothing has happened. Everyone is waiting awkwardly for Ashley to address the problem and maybe apologize, but instead they just stare at their scrambled eggs in awkward silence. Ashley and Thomas stay behind at the house while everyone else goes fishing or catches crabs. She paints his toenails and lobs pleas for him to propose to her like they’re canisters of napalm.
Whitney also stays back and watches his iPad in his room. Why is Whitney even on this show? Yes, I know he’s one of the producers, but can’t he fire himself from his own show? He surely doesn’t want to be there, because he never acts like he does. He just sulks around, going through the motions on group trips or finding ways to slip out before everyone eats breakfast together. Then, when they go off on an activity, he’s upstairs working on his normal life or something. He looks miserable, like a football team forced to watch the high school production of Pippen. Just retire already, dude. We don’t need you at all.
Know who I do need? Austen and Chelsea. I have never been a “shipper” but if there is one couple that I am rooting super hard to get together it is … Tom Schwartz and Tom Sandoval on Vanderpump Rules. But these guys are a close second. They’re so nice and sweet together, and I know Austen parties too much, but can’t they just give it a shot and make it work? I would like that. If not, can Chelsea please make out with the hot guy who drives the crab boat? I just want her to find love and be happy because she’s so nice and normal and as pretty as a #Manhattanhenge Instagram picture.
Austen’s “girlfriend” Victoria, who saw an Instagram pic of Austen and Chelsea together, freaks out that they were cuddling and Chelsea was kissing his arm. Dude, they looked miserable in that picture, as Austen points out. If that’s what you’re going to get upset about, then, well, maybe be friends with Ashley or something. Because there is one thing for certain: Ashley needs friends like Kathryn needs darker eyebrows.