Oooooklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain! Any meteorologist here in Tornado Alley could tell you with mathematical certainty that Teresa and Melissa are about to have a big fight. Before she left, Tre called her brother to ask him to spend time with their dad while she was away. In turn, Joe asks his wife to tell his sister that “she’s getting out of control,” a request that she wisely refuses. Teresa, meanwhile, remains adamant that it’s on her sister-in-law to force Joe to visit Giacinto. The Gorga siblings have so much more in common than they think, including an affinity for treating Melissa like garbage.
Teresa has concocted an additional grievance, too: Joe and Melissa went on vacation to the Bahamas on the one-year anniversary of her mother’s death. As Margaret will suggest, maybe Joe wanted to get away specifically because he knew he’d be emotional; Teresa protests that she needed her brother. What could have prevented such a terrible misunderstanding? Could they have had a conversation, with their mouths? Or else with their phones, computers, fax machines, or on personal stationery no doubt emblazoned with massive gold-foil Gs? Obviously not. (Also, quick q: Melissa and Joe came to Teresa’s house for Easter last episode, which fell on April 1 this year. The anniversary of their mother’s passing was March 3. Why is this only coming up now?)
In the van from the airport, Teresa gaily informs the group that she considered flaking on them. “Why the fuck am I going to Oklahoma? I almost didn’t make the flight!” she says, a charmer as always. The women are staying in the very nice home of Margaret’s business pal Polly. Her beef cattle ranch reminds me a little of the Pioneer Woman, without making me feel deeply, crushingly sad for reasons I can’t explain. Teresa is relieved to hear they won’t be expected to milk any cows. “Last time I saw something white come out of that was the last time I’ve been with Joe,” she says. Congratulations to Joe on his udder-looking penis, I guess.
Time to check in with the new kids on the block! We learn Jennifer has a piano in her home that no one knows how to play. “I really wanted a white piano in my new house,” she explains. When Polly invites the girls outside to take in the stunning Oklahoma sunset, Jennifer announces that she has a “very similar sunset from my backyard,” “the highest level in all of Paramus.” (I say this lovingly, having spent 20 percent of the waking hours of my formative years in the borough’s approximately 850 malls: Paramus is not famously scenic.) Margaret brands Jennifer a “one-upper.”
The grace period called for by the Eileen Davidson Accord remains in effect; I’m just providing data points. Lots and lots of data points. It’s also worth noting that, throughout this episode, Jennifer appears to be aligning herself with Teresa. Jackie is firmly Team Melissa.
Over dinner—Teresa brought her own broccoli, from… I have no idea where—Jackie shares that she suffered from anorexia. This earns her opening-up points with the group, and (stay with me here) inspires Melissa to emotionally reveal (no, you don’t know where this is going) that she paid a visit to Concetta the Catholic-friendly medium (okay) and learned that her late father wants her to know she has “another” sister. This guy fucked, you see, and Melissa recalls a mystery woman sobbing in the back row at his funeral.
Melissa’s tears make Teresa “really pissed,” because they are somehow further evidence of her disloyalty to her father-in-law. Teresa is perhaps even more counterintuitively irritated to learn that Joe has made plans with Giacinto. You may think this would make her happy, given that it is exactly what she wanted, but you would be wrong. Teresa slaps on an invisible deerstalker cap and deduces that it must be Melissa’s fault that Joe doesn’t see their dad when she’s home.
Teresa shares this theory at the breakfast table. Joe is going to “explode” if she keeps this up, Melissa complains. “Then you should make him not fucking explode,” Teresa counters. “You’re like, Your wife, your wife, your wife,” Melissa says. “I wanna be like, Your fucking sister, your fucking sister, your fucking sister, so shut your fucking mouth.” Teresa and Melissa in 2018 look an awful lot like Teresa and Melissa in 2013.
Now that sports betting is legal in Jersey, I would like to wager a carefree $20 that if Joe started spending significantly more time with Giacinto, it would suddenly be too much time, and Teresa would be yelling at her sister-in-law for hogging her only living parent, and somehow it would also be her fault that her own father died. Just for funsies!
Anyway, Teresa, Margaret, Jennifer, Dolores go fishing; Jackie and Melissa shoot guns at an “abandoned house,” which, is that allowed? And are we 100 percent sure the house is abandoned?
Margaret and Polly finally sit down to talk business in a very business conversation about business—specifically, about Margaret’s plans for a line of cowboy-princess-ballerina-doctor hospital gowns for kids (cute!)—but it is Lexi, Marge’s employee who’s tagged along for the weekend, who I find myself utterly riveted by. What is Lexi’s accent? Is she from… England? Wisconsin? Old-timey gangster Brooklyn? Outer space? Every additional syllable only confuses me more. I love her.
Melissa goes to see Teresa in her room before dinner, describing with seemingly genuine emotion how “embarrassed” she felt at breakfast. “I sometimes feel like no matter what I do, it’s not good enough,” she says, beginning to cry. “I don’t know if you’re ever really going to love me like your real sister.”
For a moment, I forget everything I know about Teresa and think, Maybe this could be a fresh start. But then Teresa reminds me. “Who gives a shit about that?” she says of Melissa’s speech in a confessional.
Please, just talk to your brother, Melissa implores her sister-in-law: “I may never be exactly whatever it is in your mind that you want me to be, but we are family, so let’s try to work it out.”
“Uh-huh,” Teresa says.