Southern Charm Recap: Pillow Talk

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Photo: Bravo
Southern Charm

Southern Charm

Gone Girl Season 5 Episode 12
Editor's Rating 4 stars

This week’s episode was really a quest to see who could be the most pathetic. Naturally, I think it’s Ashley, a woman who went to a midrange restaurant in Charleston with a voice craggy from crying and was presented with a box from a jewelry store by Thomas Ravenal. She thought that inside would be an engagement ring and that it would make her life totally better. Instead she got a silver bracelet with big plastic-looking black stones that seemed like something a high-schooler would buy at Target for his girlfriend’s Valentine’s Day present.

As Ashley continues on this show, she just displays more and more bile. She’s like a dragon’s stomach that has been dislodged from its body. Her dinner with Thomas was just awful. He tells her that she needs to find some interests outside of him because she’s too clingy and needy. First of all, Thomas moved her to Charleston knowing that she has no friends or connections, he can’t expect her to get on her feet and join the Junior League over night. He should set her up with some people. So, yes, he’s right that she’s clingy and needy, but he’s not helping make that any better for himself.

She then says she’ll get a job as soon as she gets her nursing license, but we haven’t seen her make any steps toward getting it. Also, isn’t there a nursing shortage? They should make it easy for qualified nurses to transfer their registrations, right? She’s eliding over the fact that she really doesn’t want to get a job because she wants Thomas to pay her bills, pay her telephone bills, pay her automobills, and then maybe baby they can chill.

Her clomping over to Patricia’s in the middle of the night to talk about how her relationship with Thomas is disintegrating was one of the most painful things I’ve ever seen. You could almost see the panic attack happening behind Ashley’s eyes and Patricia had as much sympathy for her as she does for a spilled green drink on an Equinox counter.

Patricia’s advice is valuable though. She tells Ashley that men don’t change. I think she’s right in that people don’t change, and if you enter into a relationship expecting the person to improve or rewire his brain, you’re setting yourself up to be back on Bumble very quickly. Pat also tells her not to bother with Kathryn or the children and to focus on being the girlfriend. That is totally right because the only trouble Ashley gets in is when she tries to assert her authority over Kathryn. Finally Pat — who brilliantly poised herself with an art book when Ashley arrived as a sign of cultural dominance — tells Ashley to decide if this is the man she wants. What Ashley seems to be forgetting is she has agency here too, and to let Thomas hold all the cards is to let him have all the power. And if you give Thomas the power it’s like putting a 10-year-old behind the wheel of a golf cart.

Craig had a meeting with Patricia as well and was exactly like watching a contestant on American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance that you know is going to be awful and not even realize what a fool of himself he’s making as he does it. Craig is like the William Hung of pillow pitches. Patricia gave him two weeks to come up with a design. Craig takes two months, and when she asks him to come over right away, he shows up four hours later with broken flowers and the same design he showed the woman at the fabric store two episodes ago.

Patricia knows immediately it’s clip art and was too kind to laugh in Craig’s face, as his friend Warren said she would, but she does the equivalent and cancels their deal. Poor Craig. Like always, he was set up to fail. He didn’t know how to go about making this design and should have known that he wasn’t equipped for it. He’s not a graphic designer or an artist; he’s just a dude who can sew. Asking Craig to design a pattern to go on the pillow is sort of like asking a dancer to write the music for someone else’s ballet. It just didn’t make any sense.

But this fits into Craig’s narrative so easily, as the man who can’t do anything right, who is constantly in over his head, and isn’t nearly as smart as his haircut would make you believe. What about when Naomie and Chelsea talk about how he can’t go visit Cameran’s daughter because he won’t get his flu shot? Naomie tells Chelsea it’s because he once read a story about a cheerleader who got her flu shot and now she can only walk backwards. That is a true story. But what they all leave out is that it has been disproven and widely considered a hoax. Man, is there anything more Craig than that?

Also pathetic: Whitney and Shep at lunch with the newly nursing Cameran. Whitney, like the unoriginal puerile jizz sock that he is, has been talking about Cameran’s boobs and lactation the whole time she was pregnant, so she shows up to lunch with some of her breast milk to make him drink it. He does and then spits it out everywhere because it is disgusting. Shep takes a shot too because, as Cameran pointed out, it’s not like Shep to ever turn down a shot.

Then Whitney asks her if she’s going to get vaginal rejuvenation. She tells them both that she took a mirror to her vagina and it looks all nice and tight down there. They both almost choke on their pulled-pork sandwiches when she says this. I particularly love Cameran’s brand of feminism. She lets these guys engage in all of their stupid immature, mildly misogynistic behavior, then she just confronts them with the reality of herself and her body and makes them gag, both literally and figuratively. If they’re going to joke about her body, she’s going to confront them with the truth of it, and, in every single case, it’s more than they can handle.

Some would say that Kathryn was the most pathetic this episode, but I think she was the most brave. Everyone got a little suspicious when she was supposed to go boxing with Naomie and didn’t show up. No one heard from her for a week, so Naomie and Danni showed up at her apartment to talk to her. She wouldn’t answer the door even though her car was in the parking lot. Finally, the property manager did a wellness check and discovered that she was alive, but just didn’t want to talk to anyone.

Many of them assumed the worst, that she was either off the wagon or that she was injured either at her own or someone else’s hand. Shep, always the Pollyanna, thought that maybe it was just that her phone screen was so cracked she couldn’t possibly use it. We’ve seen Kathryn’s phone screen. That is not a bad assumption.

Kathryn eventually shows up at Danni’s house in a Barbie-pink sweater with fuzzy cuffs and tells her that she just got really depressed. She acknowledges that she was on antidepressants and was feeling so good that she decided she didn’t need them. When she stopped taking them, it really messed with her head. Oh, sister, have I been there. So many Americans have been there and when that happens these incidents occur. I’m just really proud of Kathryn for reacting to it appropriately, talking about it openly, and making steps so that it will never happen again. Her predicament was not at all pathetic. In fact, her response was empowering, and that is something Ashley, no matter what she does, will ever master.

Southern Charm Recap: Pillow Talk