Cameran must have drawn the short straw because this week, it’s her turn to work a shift as Eliza’s designated chaperone. On the bright side, they do get to meet up at a nail salon, but I suspect that pedicure chair does not have a massage setting powerful enough to alleviate Cam’s anxiety at the sight of the cooler full of kombucha that Eliza brought along. Sipping a complimentary mimosa that I hope for her sake is one part orange juice, one part sparkling wine, and ten parts grain alcohol, Cameran insists she loves Eliza like a “little sister” (not her own little sister, I’m assuming, but someone’s), but readily acknowledges her lack of a filter.
We learn that our newest cast member is “Charleston royalty,” ninth generation on one side and 15th on the other. Her father is former South Carolina state representative Chip Limehouse, whose chief career accomplishments include gritting his family-values teeth through an appearance on Sacha Baron Cohen’s Who Is America? and having a very public affair. His well-documented misbehavior precipitated a decline in Eliza’s own society status (plausible!), she thinks, as well as her poor reception at Patricia’s dinner party the other night. (No, baby girl — that was all you.) “We ain’t all had easy lives,” Eliza observes knowingly. A hypothesis: Eliza sees herself as something akin to Emma Stone’s character in The Favourite when in reality she is, generously, the 12th most interesting of the 17 rabbits.
Someone with the hyphenated first name Anna-Heyward (it’s the attention to detail in Southern Charm’s world-building that keeps me coming back) has been convinced to serve as Craig’s operations manager, which is surely what Sonja Morgan would call her interns if she lived below the Mason-Dixon line. He credits Anna-Heyward’s scheduling, organizing, and general “nagging” services with the recent strides he’s made in life, which the editors helpfully illustrate via a 12-second sequence of Craig effortfully stirring a protein shake while wearing a furry, monogrammed bathrobe. I wish I could be a fly on the wall in Anna-Heyward’s next job interview, in which she tries to put the most professional-sounding spin possible on the fact that her responsibilities at her last position included explaining what a W-9 is to her employer and retrieving at least one enormous box of beef jerky that he doesn’t recall ordering from his doorstep.
Naomie, meanwhile, drives Gizmo on her lap to work at L’Abeye, a women’s-apparel e-commerce site she co-founded, and for which she seems to do the vast majority of the modeling. (If L’Abeye’s branding didn’t specify the pronunciation luh bei, there is a 30 percent chance I would have called it labia.) This entire sequence of adults doing their adult jobs with apparent competence is boring, which leads me to suspect that this a real company that might actually succeed.
As assuming full custody of her kids becomes an increasingly likely possibility, Kathryn moves into a very beautiful, very expensive place with four bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and, best of all, exactly zero TRavs. Chelsea throws a housewarming party at her own adorable new home, stylishly appointed with Edison bulbs, Adirondack chairs in primary colors, and mysterious bird-shaped objets.
Like any good hostess, Chelsea has an extensive repertoire of frightening drinking games at the ready, like dizzy bat — shotgun a beer, press your forehead onto a bat, spin around in a circle, you know the drill — and the aptly named hammer nail, which involves banging nails into a stump with a hammer. Everybody wins, in that nobody is rushed to the hospital. That said, Austen is a little upset that Chelsea isn’t serving his as-yet-nonexistent beer, but has instead gone with an actual product that you can purchase and consume in this realm.
Chelsea, by the way, has a new boyfriend, though he’s away at work. Nick is a professional sailor and professional jawline whose enthusiasm for trucks, hunting, and dip has her country-girl heart all aflutter. I personally experience a stronger sexual attraction to Chelsea’s orange Smeg fridge, but I’m happy for her!
The last time Kathryn and Whitney had sex — back before she had children, or eyebrows — he swore her to secrecy, only to eventually confess what happened to Thomas himself. Now that they’ve done it again (oh, and they have), you’ll have to forgive Kathryn if she takes the liberty of going ahead and telling everyone (oh, and she does). “It wasn’t bad!” Kathryn effuses. (Cameran and Shep will pose a delicious hypothetical: What if Kathryn, until recently the object of Patricia’s undisguised loathing, proves to be the source of her much-wanted grandchild?) Later, over lunch, Whitney neither confirms nor denies — so, confirms — his fling with Kathryn when Austen asks him, “Are you dating with anyone?”
Shep, alas, is not dating with anyone. His now ex, helpfully identified by a chyron as his “girlfriend of a week,” dumped him because she saw photos of Shep on a couch with other women on Instagram. “I like couches,” he protests.
Shep meets Cameran for a beer on her dock, taking it upon himself to empty the crab trap. “You can’t just grab a crab,” she warns him sternly. Nevertheless, he reaches inside. He is immediately, painfully, and repeatedly pinched by the crab. Shep kicks the “defiant, brave” crab back into the water to its freedom, on the grounds that it reminds him of himself.
I love you, Shep, but you are not the plucky crab in this handy visual metaphor. You are the human man who insists on jamming his hand into crab traps where it does not belong, only to suffer the swift and terrible consequences.