This episode begins with a reminder that at least some of the “Housewives” are actually married. “None of the other ladies’ husbands met them at the airport with roses,” Alex sighed to Simon over her oysters and filet mignon. “Well, not many of them have husbands anymore, do they?” Simon smugly replied. Cut to a hotel penthouse, where Ramona waits, bug-eyed, with her Pinot Grigio and a slip, for Mario, who is late. “This is such a surprise,” he says when he finally does arrive, as though he walked into the hotel room expecting someone else inside. Ramona delivers one of her usual speeches about how great their marriage is and then lists how many years they’ve been married, for the hundredth time. Is she worried he’ll forget? Because the face Mario made when she said it indicates he not only knows the amount of years they’ve been together, but the actual number of days. Sometimes, we are taught, still being married doesn’t mean still wanting to have sex with your spouse.
Eventually, all of the women were reunited with someone after their trip to Morocco. Kelly with her kids, LuAnn with her boyfriend, Jill with Bobby’s tailor, Cindy with … her brother, and Sonja with her bankruptcy. Homecoming isn’t always sweet! On to who won.
LuAnn had a funny and cute reunion with Jacques, but you couldn’t help but roll your eyes at them. Do they always have to go to French restaurants? Must they always abuse the staff in French? Jacques gets a pass, but LuAnn, come on. Rein it in. Not two episodes ago Kelly proved her French was stronger than yours. Still, LuAnn was so visibly excited to see Jacques that you knew — unlike, say, Jill, — that she was truly, actively, giddily in love. That glow stuck with her through most of the episode, until she sat down with Alex and immediately switched to LuAnn the Evil Shaman With the Ring of Power She Bought at a Head Shop. Before Alex even started talking, LuAnn was already defending herself, making snide remarks and rewriting history. Sure, Alex puts herself in the middle too much, but that doesn’t change the fact that LuAnn is, as Alex puts it, frequently “haughty, condescending, and frankly, vile.” Better watch out, Countess, or next season we could start playing “Reasons why LuAnn de Lesseps Is a Disgusting Person.”
As bizarre and uncomfortable-making as Alex and Simon’s reunion was (honestly, what was that “sexy” outfit he bought her? It was like a ghost costume from the eighteenth century), it did honestly seem like they were excited to see one another. “A basket full of panties!” Alex said, awkwardly but happily. “I love it.” Not long afterward, in the Skweez meeting, she was the first to break the ice about Sonja’s bankruptcy. Sure, she did it by scrunching up her forehead like a pug and looking kind of scary (rather than, say, supportive or warm). But in a way she was the only Housewife who could have or would have done it in a kind way. Can you imagine if Ramona had brought it up? She was sort of doing okay in the episode until she ratted out Jill for (rightly, probably) not inviting Ramona to the Skweez meeting, and lets LuAnn have the last word in during their water date.
Rather than at a romantic reunion, we first see Jill and Bobby in an emasculating suit-shopping episode, where Jill makes all the decisions as Bobby meekly suggests “a pocket” here and “a little bit of a sheen” there. Jill stomps on his
You’d think by now Ramona would know to rehearse her on-camera moments with her family so that they get it right, but something about the way Mario reacted when she told him about the fortune teller felt unscripted. As in, he didn’t know what to say. As his smug face froze into a half-smile and he stumbled for words, it was hard not to feel bad for her. Fast-forward to a minute later and Mario’s inexplicably shirtless, sitting in a chair in track pants like he’s being held for questioning by a Bond villain. This whole encounter lasts far too long. Later in the show, Ramona does a pretty spot-on dissection of Jill as a bad girlfriend: She’s the one who can’t be happy for you when you’re happy, but loves it when you’re down. But when she says, “If I had been there, I would have slapped the shit out of her,” you had to laugh. Ramona is obsessed with the idea of herself as a businesswoman — she would have been right there with Jill lecturing Sonja on what she did wrong. Somehow Ramona just can’t see herself. We’d say open your eyes, but …
Unlike the other married ladies, Cindy has to come home to Howie and her assistant Sam. This would have been a relief, except for the strange, almost anticipatory eroticism between her and her brother. The mood was lightened immediately when she showed the gallery of photos of the trip, and said, “I’m gonna tell you who yelled at me when.” Unfortunately, she barely appeared in the episode.
Kelly turned up even less, only popping up two thirds through, and only in one of those three-minute little interstitial segments in the middle of a commercial. So, yeah.
Sonja didn’t come home to a person, she came home to a disaster. We first see her bitchily admitting to cutting Cindy out of pictures from the trip, which … was just weird. And then we see that she doesn’t cut the tags off her clothes, which is also … weird. Not because of the practice, really, but because Sonja actually expects people to believe that she does it so she “can remember the sale price.” No, honey. You leave the tags on the clothes so you can return them after you wore them. This is Bravo you’re on; we also watch Gossip Girl and we know this trick. Try Rent the Runway next time. But beyond that bit of subterfuge, she handled the bankruptcy in a pretty straightforward and even sort of sad fashion. Honestly, when it hit the news last year we really wondered whether it would make the show. It’s to Sonja’s credit she let that happen. (Or more likely to the credit of Bravo lawyers, who crafted an ironclad contract. Maybe next time she gets into a business deal Sonja should use them.) When she teared up in the confessional and admitted to Ramona that she was afraid of losing her house, she won a lot of sympathy points. Okay, so she’s not perfect, and she’s probably a terrible businessperson, but we’ll give her at least this one win.
Mario: As weak as his reaction to the adultery accusation was, and as insanely uncomfortable as the seduction in the hotel room went, he sort of did look good with his shirt off.
Amina: Sonja’s niece. Pretty. Probably now worth more than Sonja.
Bistro Francais: For being one of the only restaurants on the show to have customers in it (for once a Housewife arrived at a place at night!). We’ll forgive the very obvious cell-phone pic that was taken of LuAnn as she entered.
Jacques: Once again cute and good spirited.
Alex’s Hidden Flask: Well that explains some things.
Howie: “I watched your kids for a week,” he protests lamely. “You didn’t watch my kids for a week,” Cindy snaps back. “You had two nannies.” Oh, go make out already.
Dr. Sadick: Something was not right about that whole scenario.
The Facialist at Dr. Sadick’s Office: Honestly, she should probably get fired for mentioning a client’s bankruptcy to her face. (While she was massaging it, no less!)
Bradley: Kelly is friends with … teenagers? Can’t we just call him a babysitter?
La Gazzetta: And we’re back to restaurants being empty and serving only water.