We could say a lot of things about Shamari DeVoe. There are a lot of ways I could describe her and compare her to archetypes from literature and from my own personal life. But I think the only thing to say about her right now is: She has the absolute best catchphrase of this season.
Almost every other tagline on this show is a jumble of inexplicable nonsense: “I age like fine wine and now I’m ready to chill.” What. What are you talking about, Cynthia? But Shamari? Ugh, it’s perfection. “I may be an open book but that does not mean I’m easily read.” OKAY, MA’AM. Each section of this is appealing. It’s a perfectly constructed tagline. It’s declarative. It’s audacious. It’s so Shamari. So far, I’m all-in on Shamari.
It’s good that Shamari came out of the gate with a sparkly, midriff-baring, beaded top and low-cut white jeans, as if she was shooting her own Dangerously in Love album cover, because this felt like a pretty chill reset after the whirlwind Miami trip. It also whipped back and forth emotionally between Gregg’s battle with cancer and Eva’s trying to start a shade war with anyone who would make eye contact with her. We need some sort of emotional buffer, Bravo. Let’s get to it.
The episode starts with Eva and Porsha having a workout session with Porsha’s trainer. Eva is trying to lose her “baby weight” and Porsha put on a few “love pounds.” Both things make me irrationally angry. Could there be two more ridiculous descriptions of a few pounds on a human woman’s frame? Porsha even says that her new man enjoys having a li’l more thigh-meat to grab. Not that the only reason to lose weight would be to make your man happy. But who is complaining in this situation?
Porsha and Eva sit around after their workout and recap the trip to Miami and how ridiculous Marlo was with the room selection. Eva also gets in a few digs at Cynthia. Bitch, why? I don’t think Cynthia knows who you are at this point. There’s no fight here. You’re just calling Cynthia old and fat … for no reason. Do you think you’re competing for a job? Where is the logic here, Eva?
NeNe is taking Gregg to a hospital in Houston to get a CT scan. He’s healed from his surgery and they’re making sure that there aren’t any cancer cells anywhere else in his body. This whole segment is heart-wrenching. NeNe shows the hardest exterior but she loooooooooves her some Gregg and she doesn’t quite know how to handle all this. Gregg isn’t making it easier on her by walking around swaddled in a blanket and rolling his eyes when he has to drink a big-ass glass of sweet-tea-flavored oral contrast. NeNe isn’t used to being the one who’s got it all together in her relationship with Gregg.
This episode takes such an emotional turn when Bravo edits in Gregg singing a motivational song to himself. How dare you, Bravo. My tiny, obsidian heart cannot take this. The good news is that there isn’t any visible cancer in Gregg’s scan, so the next step is to decide if Gregg is going to start a round of chemo to make sure any microscopic cancer is taken care of.
Just watching the face of the doctor trying to convince NeNe and Gregg that the chemo is probably their most effective medical treatment is the source of some of the purest comic tension in TV history. I know it’s completely their prerogative, but listening to this doctor try to pivot them away from seeking a purely holistic approach to battling cancer also made me feel bad for him. He just wants someone to listen and take his advice without asking him about alternative medicine.
NeNe and Gregg return home and start receiving presents from friends and investigating natural and holistic remedies. Their dear friend Toni Braxton sent them a healing tree. One day I hope to be so rich and connected that I have the singer of “Un-Break My Heart” sending me healing plants. Cynthia comes over to visit NeNe and Gregg and Gregg says that one of the remedies was to eat a snake.
So how does Shamari get pulled into this whole Real Housewives of Atlanta universe? Kandi is her way in. Blaque is attempting a comeback and I’m sure Shamari seeing her husband touring all over the place made her want to get back out there on the scene. After a faux catch-up scene with Kandi, Shamari heads to the studio with Mr. DeVoe himself to record their newest project, “Mari and Me.” It’s unclear exactly where this project will “live,” but they’re passionate. She only refers to her husband as “the legend” or “legendary.” She also brags that she banged him on the first night they met and they’re still together. Weird flex … but okay. The rest of the ladies will get a chance to meet Shamari at the ATL Live event later.
It’s time for the concert and everyone is pretty excited to meet Shamari. Cynthia is planning a Bailey-be-que and asks all the ladies what they’re bringing. Porsha says that her new boyfriend is a chef. Oh, honey. He may be the hot dog king of Atlanta, but he ain’t no chef.
What follows are two perplexing moments. First Ronald says that he was excited to see Kandi and then proceeds to give her advice about XSCAPE’s reunion tour. Y’know … the one he opened for. Then Eva and Porsha get into it a little bit about Shamea and when Eva wants to include Shamari more than Shamea, she says, “She’s Black(que), she’s snatched, she’s married.” And Porsha says, “Shamea is black too;” and Eva says, “She ain’t Black(que) with a Q.” Kandi takes that to mean that Eva likes Shamari because she’s light- skinned. I mean … wow … okay, a lot to process there. For that to be true, that would require “Blaque” to be some secret light-skinned code. ‘Tis a reach, Kandi.
Finally, Real Housewives ends with one of those classic intercut conversations. Porsha is telling her mom, who has a full face beat and beautiful, long, gray hair, that she’s fallen in love and that Dennis the Hot Dog King might be the one for her. Porsha’s mom is incredibly happy that a beautiful black man loves her daughter.
Meanwhile, Kandi’s two friends/employees are telling her that Dennis goes through a pattern in relationships and it’s WATCH-TATTOO-MEAL. Dennis was apparently dating a friend of a friend of Kandi’s for a couple of years when he became official with Porsha. Also, he gets everyone’s face and name tattooed on himself. The weirdest relationship plot twist is that Dennis tells Porsha that he’s using a meal delivery service (Freshly, to be exact) but really gets other women to grocery shop, cook, and package it up for him. Forget all the “dating two people at the same time” stuff. THAT is genuinely weird, and if someone told me my boyfriend had a legion of women impersonating Blue Apron for him, I’d run for the hills.