Well Potomaniacs, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is, we managed to make it through this RHOP season 3 finale without Candiace singing unexpectedly, another mention of Not For Lazy Moms, or Karen losing a wig mid-scene. We were not, however, able to escape without one final mention of white-Chris’s brown penis — because you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick the unsavory subjects your Housewives insist on dwelling upon.
You also can’t pick your recapper, and though I am merely the Great Falls rental to Ali Barthwell’s indomitable Potomac residency, I will do my best to fill in recapping this season-three finale without simply going awf on Michael the entire time. Though I would like to quickly state for the all-binding Vulture Real Housewives record that I dislike Michael more than Uncle Peter at his worst, more than PK during PantyGate, more than Juicy Joe at his most fraudulent. Okay, now onto the capers?!
Listen, Robyn in that Guess Who–beard and those Obama jeans was hilarious, and I always appreciate seeing these women genuinely have a good time together. But I also know some petty nonsense when I see it. This pizza-delivery mission wasn’t even well-planned! What woman answers the door to an unexpected caller in the middle of the night? And if you’re just going to be peeping-Tonyas, why mess around with the Dollar Tree disguises in the first place? Gizelle, Ashley, and Robyn are trying to pass this Great Falls escapade off as just wanting to know the truth in order to help their friend, but if they really wanted to help Karen, they wouldn’t be trespassing on her (alleged) property, they would be inviting her to a nice wig shop and telling her to pick out any singled-toned piece in the store, their treat.
In the end, they don’t even find out if Karen lives there or not, they just drop the pizza and run. Ladies, I support you being petty in the name of entertaining me, but only if you’re producing receipts.
Back in Potomac, RHOP’s very fun theme of tortured personal lives continues. Candiace’s fiancé Chris is thinking about reaching out via letter to his older son who he hasn’t spoken to in ten years. Candiace says that could be a good opportunity to explain the mistakes he’s made, and Chris says, “It’s not like I did everything perfect, but that doesn’t mean I don’t deserve a chance to make those things better.” Oh Chris, my guy, that is where you’re wrong. Perhaps your son will grant you the opportunity to make things better with him, but it does not sound like you deserve it. If you can imagine this, Candiace somehow finds the opportunity to make Chris trying to reconnect with his estranged son about herself: “I’m grateful for all of it because it’s only chiseling away at the soft parts of me and revealing the strong Candiace.” Wowzers.
And speaking of delusions: Ashley. On principle, I tend not to trust medical professionals that appear on reality television, but normalizing therapy is always good, especially when Ashley’s therapists calmly tells her all the things that I’ve been screaming directly into the microphone feature of my remote for the last 18 weeks, just hoping it might somehow get through to this woman. The therapist points out that when Michael said that despicable thing about not wanting Ashley to raise their hypothetical children like her mom raised her, Ashley’s reaction is to be defensive of her mother, but the bottom line is that Michael is saying he doesn’t want to have a child with her. “The number one question,” her therapist says, “is do you want to have a child with someone who is going to have to be convinced that they can trust you to be the mother of their children?”
The very obvious (okay, but sure, still difficult) answer to that question is NO. Instead, Ashley says, “I need a definitive answer from Michael so that I know I’m not building this relationship up for it to be in vain.” I wish Ashley would just come up with her own definitive answers for what she needs and wants, because this steely-eyed old man is never going to take what she needs and wants into consideration himself.
Ashley says that after she came back from Cannes they resumed business as usual because “it’s easier for us to get to a happy place rather than stay in the bad place.” Girl. This man is The Bad Place! He is literally that judge character from The Good Place that zips himself into a cocoon anytime someone says something he doesn’t want to hear. Ashley says she just wants to know if getting pregnant is a possibility for the future, a subject that I feel as though they have been talking about for my entire 29 years of life, and this dude has the nerve to say, “I don’t know yet. I haven’t weighed the pros and cons and all those things.” Well get yourself to a Brookstone, buy a scale with large-print numbers, and get to weighing, my dude — the time is now!
Or rather, for Ashley, the time is later. “I’m not ready to leave him yet,” she says. “So if by my 30th birthday … if by then we still haven’t reached a conclusion, then that’s it.” H’ok Ash.
The final event of the season standing between us and the Reunion (where the RHOP women appear to all be draped in their finest Herff Jones jewel-tone backdrops) is an engagement party for Candiace and Chris. Ashley complains about a rooftop party in October, but golden hour is highlighting these women to the gods, so they should all be thankful. Especially when there’s so much conversational ugliness being batted around. After Chris sits all the cast members down and gives them embroidered napkins to make up for the lack of napkins at the bubble soccer game, Ashley takes the close-proximity opportunity to tell Karen she’s glad to see she’s wearing her wedding ring again.
The Grand Dame is a lot, I know this; but in moments like this, I live for her. “Let me explain something to you sweetheart,” Karen says, briefly flashing her eyes in Ashley’s direction: “The day I care about your opinion about my ring, my toes, my toenails, my teeth, I will check myself into an insane asylum. I don’t give a fuck what you say. You give nothing but lies — you are the LI-AR.” Ashley says that Karen is just trying to “scurry away” from telling Ashley why she’s angry with her, and Karen snaps back, “Girl I’m sitting right here! You just don’t matter to me.” Incredible.
But if Karen wasn’t bothered by Ashley before, she might be now that her weird husband Michael has slithered up to Ray while he’s speaking with Candiace’s lovely aunt about her medical-supply company, and without apologizing or saying excuse me, thumps Ray on the chest: “Ray. Where are you living now?” I don’t know if it’s Michael’s terrible acting, or sociopathic delivery, but nothing has ever made me dislike him more than him ploughing through Ray’s confusion, demanding to know if they live in Potomac or Great Falls now. Ray says that Michael knows he lives in Great Falls, and Michael snipes back, “Yeah but that was a rented house, did you buy it?”
Let me tell you something MICHAEL: Home is where the heart is, and it doesn’t matter if I rent or own my HOUSE, when I lay my head down on my TJ Maxx sheets at night, I know I live in a HOME full of honesty, equality, and love — can you say the same????
That’s what I might have said to Michael, but what Ray says is, “Man, get the hell out of here!” which also works. Michael then sulks over to the women and tells Karen, “I just had a weird interaction with Ray, it was kind of disrespectful.” Truly, I didn’t think anything could make the Hugers look understated, but somehow, Ashley and Michael have managed.
The final updates on the women’s lives basically boil down to: Candiace’s wedding is still going to be outrageously expensive; Ashley and Michael visited a fertility temple and held a wooden penis, which, okay; Gizelle is maybe back with “a man from her past”; Monique and Chris are expecting a third child (but she’s not using lavender oil on her belly, do not believe the Bravo interns); Robyns’ house-flipping is still in the pre-flip stage; and Karen still refers to Ray’s tax issues being behind “him.” See you back here for the reunion where the real tea will be spilled, and the entire Lisa Frank color wheel will be worn!