Is The Real Housewives of Atlanta just a collection of scenes about how the men in these women’s lives are garbage? Between Bob, Peter, and Block, there isn’t a man in this episode who is worth his salt. Well, there is one man. One glorious man. One fine, fine, fine man: Leon.
Leon is the only man I’ve seen this season who gives a modicum of a damn about a woman’s emotional state and doesn’t rely on her to pay his bills. I’m sure he’s still got that David Ruffin money coming in. (Old black dads are still buying that DVD. It’s a great DVD; we should all buy it and put some more cash in Leon’s pocket.) We get to see Leon because Cynthia is getting ready to launch her bag line, Cargo, and she wants her daughter, Noelle, to be the face of the line. Such is the way of fashion: Making your unqualified daughter the heir to a legacy just because she’s pretty and doesn’t put her foot in her mouth on a regular basis. Fashion and politics, they’re not so different. The similarities continue: Just like in politics, Noelle manages to sully her professional demeanor the second she’s given just a little bit of responsibility. But we’ll get to that later.
First, Shereé is puttering around her condo while her son manages to unhinge his jaw and eat the contents of their refrigerator. Her son is transferring to Morehouse in the fall, but he’s trying to eat every sandwich he can find in the meantime. Shereé laments that her condo is a little cramped. There are three people living there and only — GASP – three bedrooms. How can people live like this? Thankfully, Chateau Shereé is almost finished. Her children ask if they’ll have room for Bob in the Chateau. Physically, yes. Emotionally? Well, Bob hasn’t apologized to Shereé for all he put her through. Her kids just ask, “Why meet someone new when we already know dad?” That’s … quite the question. I’m not exactly sure how or why that would be the logical reason to get back together with a cheating ex, but her kids certainly float the idea.
Meanwhile, Kandi is dropping off Ace at Mama Joyce’s house. While wearing a positively baffling high ponytail, Kandi says in her confessional that Mama Joyce doesn’t like to babysit and she had to be grandma today. Being grandma isn’t an optional status. When your child has a baby, you’re a grandma. Mama Joyce also wants to be paid to watch her grandson. As much as I like that crafty old broad, she is petty. You don’t get paid to watch your own grandchild unless you own and operate a fully licensed day care. Mama Joyce also advises Kandi on the whole Block situation. I absolutely hate on shaming people for having unusual names, but I don’t think you could ever trust a man who insists on going by “Block.” I haven’t seen Kandi just once refer to him by the name his mama gave him. (Unless she named him Block, in which case … moving on.) Mama Joyce says that if Block wants to see Riley, he needs to cough up $50,000. Mama Joyce and I agree on this point.
Phaedra and Kenya are meeting for a little tense tea to establish some friendship foundations. Phaedra asks if Kenya is willing to apologize to Shereé for giving her a tongue lashing at the mystery room. They also argue about whether Kenya called her a bitch or not. Kenya clearly said, “No bitch is going to tell me what to do in my house.” The argument is if Shereé was indeed the aforementioned bitch. Shereé was telling Kenya what to do with her house, so I suppose Shereé was being that bitch. Kenya has her man and her manor so she’s not interested in anyone’s opinions. Phaedra wants to launch a camp for children affected by the Flint water crisis and we get some photos of her in a giant fur hat, handing out water in Flint. Phaedra needs all the ladies to donate some time and money to support the camp. Kenya offers to teach “how to be a lady in public” lessons. Maybe stick with arts and crafts, Kenya.
Shereé is meeting with Bob for lunch and she has dressed up. Bob is wearing a gray sweaty T-shirt and takes her to a vegan restaurant. He was trying to keep their first non-co-parenting rendezvous casual. He succeeded. Shereé wants to know if Bob can have a conversation with her and be serious for five goddamn seconds. He manages to apologize for the extramarital affairs — after some prodding from Shereé — and compliments her on her titty glitter. They sneak out of the restaurant and go get some chicken and seafood. I think these crazy kids just might make it.
Cynthia is doing her daughter’s hair in L.A., getting ready for the brand launch. She lectures Noelle about responsibility and duty; Noelle just wants some Nobu. She has some expensive taste for a literal child. She can get some Nobu when she got Nobu money. They head out to the launch, where Noelle manages to spend 65 percent of the event sitting down because “her feet hurt” while Cynthia works the room. When it’s time to reveal the “ad,” Noelle makes everyone stop what they’re doing so someone will go find her phone. Noelle: There are dozens of cameras, including the ones for the reality show you are currently on. The memory will be preserved.
Back in Atlanta, the rest of the ladies and some hangers-on go play laser tag at Phaedra’s suggestion. Phaedra also suggests that the teams be “Black People” and “the Police.” TOO. DAMN. SOON. PHAEDRA. After the laser-tag free-for-all, Phaedra asks the ladies to stock her pop-up shop fundraiser for her Flint Michigan camp. Shereé can sell a few T-shirts. Cut to Kenya in a confessional: “Maybe she’s not in Chateau Shereé because those T-shirts aren’t selling. Kandi can sell Bedroom Kandi; Porsha says in a confessional, “We’re selling penis for the children.” Doesn’t anyone have some other trade or good they can sell? Phaedra asks if Kenya and Shereé can put their differences aside for the length of the fundraiser and that just opens the petty-ass floodgates. Blah, blah, blah. They hate each other. Kenya manages to call Shereé’s wig a “Mama Joyce–looking wig” and Kandi gets a few barbs in. I’m tired of this feud. Go live in your tired-ass unfinished McMansions.
After the event in L.A., Cynthia grabs a bite with Leon and opens up about her divorce. She thinks it might be time to start a new chapter in L.A. because Noelle wants to go to college there and Leon is there. Yes, Cynthia — go to Leon. Cynthia uses Leon as an example of how exes can love and support each other. Leon says her wedding to Peter felt a little rushed and we get a montage of everyone Cynthia knows, including herself, saying the wedding is a bad idea and should be called off. That black dress might have been an omen, girl. She breaks down crying and Leon tells her that she looks her best with no makeup on. Oh, Leon.
Finally, Kandi picks up Mama Joyce to get manicures as thanks for watching her grandson for a medium amount of time. While they’re in the car, Kandi gets a phone call from Block asking her to set up a play date with his own daughter. Kandi lets him know that it’s a little late to start co-parenting. Block claims he’s been calling and calling, but he’s not going to chase anybody. Kandi rightfully blows up. Before hanging up, she yells at him for creating bad blood even though he never talks to his daughter. Once Riley says yes or no, it’s up to Block to respect that. But damn it, man, put in a little work. Be a little more like Leon.