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The Real Housewives of Orange County Finale Recap: Fatale Attraction

The Real Housewives of Orange County

Femme Finale
Season 13 Episode 18
Editor’s Rating *****

The Real Housewives of Orange County

Femme Finale
Season 13 Episode 18
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Bravo

If there is one thing that became shockingly, abundantly clear while watching this finale episode of the Real Face Pullers of Aquafina Gulch, it’s this: None of these women know what a femme fatale is. Emily — who, much like a Keurig pod or a Tenga Egg, seems like a one-and-done kind of Housewife — throws a “Femme Fatale” party, but she doesn’t entirely explain the theme. In preparation, she takes Tamra and Kelly to go looking for outfits at a … sex shop? They’re buying whips and things. What sort of film noirs are these ladies watching? Oh, that’s right, they wouldn’t know what a film noir was if it was an Instagram filter that made their face-fillers look 100 percent authentic.

Tamra even refers to this as a “hooker party.” Kelly’s dressed closest to theme in a black-and-white sexy outfit with a wide-brimmed hat that says, “I will sleep with you but then I will probably kill you in your sleep.” When her date Alex picks her up she asks him, “Do I look like a hooker?” She thinks that’s how she’s supposed to look. And leave it to MVP Kelly Dodd to be the only woman in the world who wants to be told she looks like a hooker. If he had said, “No, you don’t,” she would have taken off her pants, put on a gold lamé thong, and asked, “Can you hear me now?”

Emily, who organized the party, dresses in a bustier and corset, which could evoke the sort of seductress vibe that a femme fatale gives off, but almost everyone misses the mark. Have they not seen Double Indemnity? Didn’t just one of them want to copy Barbara Stanwyck’s bangs and dark glasses? Apparently not, because they all just sort of wear black revealing outfits, mostly with feathers. Even Emily had no clue how to outfit this party. There’s a huge wall of fake black-and-gold flowers and a girl in a giant champagne glass with a bob, long strands of pearls, and a red boa. She looks more like every Housewife dressed for a Roaring ’20s party than she does a femme fatale. There is one blessing: At least this wasn’t a Gatsby-themed party.

Shannon is one of those who totally did not understand the theme. She shows up in a black-and-white sequined jacket over a matching dress. She looks the best she has all season, but is totally off topic. Instead she looks like the owner of a gallery in upstate New York on the opening night of an exhibition of an artist who will totally be forgotten once the scent of the Tom’s of Maine mint toothpaste he uses fades from the gallery space. She later changes into a leather jacket, a pair of jeans, and an Axl Rose bandana to go to the Poison concert. She looks more like a femme fatale wearing that than she did in the Barbara Bush for Sears dress she showed up in. She should have just rocked that one look for both occasions.

The party is the sad culmination of a sad episode. Victoria Denise Gunvalson Jr. sits at home and asks her life-sized Elf on a Shelf Steve Lodge, “Do you think anyone will notice my tweak?” meaning her face-lift. Vicki, you had it on national television, everyone is going to know that you’re stretched tighter than Jon Hamm’s size-small Jockeys. Emily picks up her mother, who just emerged from a year of crippling depression, from the airport and that is entirely sad and I don’t even want to talk about it. Gina deals with how she is going to tell her children that she and their father are getting a divorce. Again, so sad I don’t want to talk about it at all.

The party turns out to be just as weird and sad. Not only are all of the women there, but all of their extended families, including Tamra’s Ryan who says he was going to wear his “assless chaps.” Oh my god. Of all the things I hate, there is nothing I hate more than people who say “assless chaps.” People, all chaps are assless. The design that makes them chaps means that there is no ass. You do not need to say it twice. Saying “assless chaps” is like saying “fingerless mittens” or “miserable Shannon Beador.” The adjective intrinsically goes with the noun. What he really means is “chaps with my ass hanging out,” which is an entirely different thing. It has more to do with what one is (or in this case is not) wearing under the chaps than the chaps themselves.

The strangest thing about this very strange party is that there wasn’t even anything for the women to confront each other about because nothing happened this whole season. The one fight we get is between Gina and Shannon. Shannon is mad that Gina told her that her friends were worried about her mental health. She takes this as Gina saying that she’s mentally unwell, which is not what Gina said at all.

The problem with Shannon is that no one can talk about her because if they do it is somehow against her. She contorts everything into being a criticism. It’s like she thinks so little of herself that she’s just waiting for everyone to criticize her so that she can prove to others, and by extension herself, that she’s not an awful disgusting person. That, in and of itself, makes her an awful and disgusting person. What a vicious cycle it is for Shannon, waiting for every tiny slight to be a giant undermining effort. Gina was trying to help but somehow Shannon turned that person against her entirely.

The absolute worst, though, is when Shannon confronts Emily about when Emily compared Shannon to her mentally ill mother. Shannon says, “But you threatened to kill Kelly twice.” I have never seen someone misinterpret something so entirely and willingly in my entire life. Emily, normally a level-headed woman, had a fit of temper when Emily made fun of her husband. Shannon has exhibited a suite of behaviors for years that would lead one to believe that she should seek, if not regular therapy, at least psychiatric treatment. That she would think Emily’s one comment is equivalent to what she is going through is just one more symptom that shows she needs to be under the care of a psychiatrist with a liberal prescription policy.

This all doesn’t get resolved as much as it gets ignored into oblivion, which is where it should stay forever. This whole season should stay at the bottom of a deep, dank well, the kind of place some girl from a Korean horror movie would crawl out of before feasting on the souls of all humanity. That is what this season was, one of those girls set to destroy us one pleasure-seeking neuron at a time.

The only thing this season had going for it was Kelly Dodd, who I love more and more each week. This week we’re introduced to Alex, Kelly’s latest human dildo that she gets to show off at parties. Alex is not only nearly a decade younger than Kelly, he is also, as they say in some areas of the country, a hot piece of ass. Kelly then goes introducing him around the party as the “big-dick daddy from Cincinnati” and telling people he has “his PHD: pretty huge dick.” One, I entirely believe that Alex is well endowed and Kelly just wants everyone to know that she is getting it and getting it good. Two, I appreciate her even more because of this, because Kelly, if anything, is a good time. That’s what we all need more of, good times. We all need to just relax, let our faces settle, move out of our casitas, forget that our oldest sons have inner-lip tattoos, remember that even if we have shitty mothers we have good mothers-in-law, and, most importantly, pour one out for Kelly Dodd. We couldn’t have made it through this season without her.

RHOC Finale Recap: Fatale Attraction