The sun rises on the campground. Whitney is up early to commune with nature, brushing his teeth with an electric toothbrush (Oral-B hive, activate), gargling with bottled water, and spitting the froth into a stream. Just like Hatchet!
Four more hours of driving — by which I mean four more hours of sniping at each other and drinking beers in the back of the RV while Hot Nate does the actual driving — and our intrepid troop of Wilderness Scouts finally arrives in Nashville. By the time they sit down for dinner, Team Shep/Whitney and Team Craig/Austen are itching for reasons to pick last night’s fighting back up.
A truly weird dick-measuring contest over the price of wine ensues, followed by an argument about whether it is permissible to press Whitney on why he won’t admit that he and Kathryn had sex. Craig and Austen carry their wineglasses outside like they’re Rihanna, so that each faction can privately gossip about the other. Craig “has no class”! Shep is “mean”!
In case there is any doubt as to where I come down on this dispute, I will make myself very clear. I don’t doubt that I would hate anyone I was forced to spend more than 90 minutes with in that trailer (except Nate — hey, Nate), but not only do I have zero tolerance for Shep’s old-money elitist streak, there are people I am blood-related to that I would allow to die before I let any harm to befall Craig Conover, my precious weirdo.
The men adjourn to a bar, where Shep and Austen introduce themselves to every woman present like they’re mounting rival campaigns for city comptroller. The goal is to lure as many new friends as possible — I’m guessing they probably wouldn’t use the word lure, but whatever — back to their massive penthouse hotel suite.
Shep, who blows a 0.351 in the bar’s coin-operated breathalyzer, crashes Austen’s conversation with a handful of eligible bachelorettes with exactly the grace and self-awareness you’d expect from someone whose blood-alcohol level is more than four times the legal limit.
Overhearing that one of the women has an early tee time, Shep volunteers that Austen has a “vicious slice,” which I gather is a Golf Problem. She responds that she has a “vicious hook,” which I gather is a different type of Golf Problem.
Either not understanding her terminology or generally being a drunk dummy, Shep makes a hook with his finger and tries to grab her hand. “What’s your hook?” he asks. “How do you hook people?” (Is it just me, or did you assume from the way the previews were edited that Shep would be asking Austen what his “hook” was?)
Austen, for his part, is left furious and forlorn. He exhausts multiple strangers by complaining about how his friends are not helping him Get Back Out There as they’d promised and that he can’t get his ex out of his mind.
“All right, this has been fun,” one woman tells him with the same energy as the get-off-the-stage music they play during awards-show speeches.
Patricia decides to part with her tradition of guys-only dinner parties and host one for the ladies. “Because it’s the #MeToo movement,” you see. The meal is artichoke-themed, which is — sort of yonic, I guess? Sure. Do we think that Patricia purchased porcelain artichoke table decorations for this particular occasion, or does the Altschul family manse have closets upon closets of food-shaped ceramics gathering dust?
I’m joking, of course. Michael wouldn’t abide dust.
The women are sitting around Google Imaging Kathryn’s boyfriend’s “Ken doll” penis (Patricia dons her reading glasses) when who should arrive but his Barbie? Just as mysteriously as the (state) senator entered our lives, he has left them — Kathryn announces they’ve broken up with little explanation. If nothing else, at least this inspires Kathryn to, finally, apologize to Danni and acknowledge her friend was right to have misgivings about Joe.
A round of tequila shots (Patricia’s first ever!) greases the drama wheels enough for Madison — who if there is any justice in this world should be made an official cast member, given that she’s almost single-handedly responsible for the entire narrative of this messy season — to reveal that she previously turned Shep down when he hit on her while she was married. Interesting! A hypothesis: What if Shep’s bizarrely intense resentment toward Madison stems not from his loyalty to Austen but the fact that she was willing to cheat after all — just not with him?
After the boys return to Charleston, Austen insists to Craig that he and Madison are still broken up. It’s just that they happened to spend time together last night, and also the only thing he wants to do is hang out with her, and also Craig and Shep fucked up his entire relationship, how could they? Good thing we all went on that get-over-Madison RV trip!
A few other key points I would be remiss not to address:
• Someone has allowed Shep to adopt a French-bulldog puppy. He plans to name it Craig. (As mother to Debbie, a rescue Chihuahua with an improbable human name of her own, I feel confident that I am among the world’s foremost authorities on this and all Bravo dog matters.) First of all, the impending arrival of Craig Jr. only lends credence to my Craig-Bethany body-swap theory. Second, I sincerely wish Shep and his dog-son a joyful and drool-filled life together, but I do hope he is aware that puppies are hard. Worst-case scenario, I am confident that Cameran will see to it that both of them survive.
• I think Metul could be a lot nicer to Naomie, and I think Naomie should check out this cult-favorite Instant Pot butter chicken recipe, which, in my very idiot-white-lady opinion, lives up to the hype. Also, quoth Patricia: “The most beautiful people I have seen of any nationality are Indian.” Okay!
• At one point, Patricia ties an antique bonnet onto Chauncey’s head as her pug frantically blinks what I am pretty sure is the Morse code for H-E-L-P-M-E. But I am in no position to judge, given that Debbie’s fairly extensive wardrobe includes a Freddy Krueger costume. In my defense, it was on sale.
Now that his cabaret engagement in New York has wrapped up, Brian Moylan will return next week to take back the reins of this season and ride it straight into the biggest armadillo hole he can find. It’s been a pleasure — bless all your hearts.