Ruth opens her door to an envelope, which contains Justine’s screenplay and a note from Sam: “Be honest.” She doesn’t have time to dig into it yet, though. She and Reggie and their bursting backpacks have to catch the elevator …
… and then, as Fleetwood Mac’s “Gypsy” plays, we see Melrose’s limo leading a convoy to Red Rock Canyon — and, incidentally, into an episode with no men in it, in case you couldn’t quite put your finger on what was different and amazing.
Not everyone is as excited about roughing it as Ruth is (she claims her family went camping all the time when she was a kid). Ruth assures the others they don’t all have to go on the hike her guidebook recommends — “This is not a dictatorship” — at which Debbie snits to Rhonda, “Unless you’re gonna start telling us what to do now.” Rhonda, stung, quietly says she’ll stay and make a fire, and indoor cat Debbie surprises Ruth by saying she’ll hike with her, Reggie, and Sheila: “One last hurrah before I pack it in … I can’t do a whole year in Vegas, so I’m going to go home to Randy and collect my checks.” Once they’ve set out, she elaborates, noting the firsts she’s missed in Randy’s life. Debbie hasn’t even bothered asking Mark about her staying for the rest of the year because she wants to save an ask that big for another hypothetical thing she might want, someday. She ends by saying she hates men for how free they get to be (girl, who doesn’t), but before they can really go in on men, they notice that Reggie and Sheila are no longer visible in front of them, and Ruth confesses that her childhood “camping” was actually in cabins.
Then we get to see how the events of “Freaky Tuesday” reverberate through the rest of the group. Jenny stops giving Melrose the silent treatment to tell her how conflicted she feels as a kimono-wearing stereotype in the show, in an Asian-themed hotel with waitresses dressed like geishas and serving Mai Tais; Melrose’s very racist performance as Fortune Cookie made Jenny feel terrible. Melrose thought it was okay for her to do because she’s not “some random white girl” — she’s Jenny’s best friend. Jenny disagrees.
Cherry tells Tammé (because Debbie is too chicken to do it) that they can’t let Tammé back in the ring. Tammé protests that she needs this shot: She got a late start as an actor, putting her son first. Cherry asks a passing Carmen to tell her about the permanent nerve damage Tammé is risking, which she does — but she also suggests that Tammé continue in the show as a manager (those are basically wrestlers without the actual wrestling, starting scraps and talking shit). When Carmen says that they’re like Don King …
… Tammé gets it and knows she can do it.
Over a bong, Arthie, Yolanda, Dawn, and Stacey discuss their swapped parts: Arthie loved playing a character without any geopolitical baggage. Turns out Stacey also loved playing Beirut, so Arthie suggests they trade permanently. Stacey’s into it, and Dawn is hurt to see how ready Stacey is to ditch her. Stacey suggests that Dawn and Yolanda trade too, so the Biddies could be played as “old lezzies”; Dawn and Stacey then get into dicier territory when they imply that they’re not comfortable wrestling with Arthie and (especially, it seems) Yolanda, what with all the moves where faces end up in opponents’ crotches. Yolanda icily says she will remain as Junk Chain.
Back to the trail, where Reggie has climbed up to the promised “don’t-miss” view, and Sheila is badly dehydrated. She’s catching her breath when she hallucinates a wolf. She gets down low and holds out a hand, but it turns and goes back where it came from, which is when Reggie looks down and sees Sheila’s passed out.
Having improvised dinner, Melrose also wants to improvise a Passover seder, since she’s not attending her mother’s this weekend, and everyone goes along with it. She describes the pharaoh as a “power-hungry dictator terrified of losing his slaves,” and Yolanda snorts that it sounds familiar. Carmen has to explain to a confused Rhonda that they’re referring to Bash, and Rhonda gets heated: “I don’t know about any of you guys, but last year I was sleeping in my car. And if it wasn’t for Bash and his idea for a wrestling show, then none of us would even be sitting here today. And I didn’t hear any of you complain when you got your last paycheck.” “Wait, you guys get paid?” cracks Dawn, defusing the tension for everyone, Bash’s “Cleopatra” included.
By now, it’s dark, and Debbie and Ruth are fully lost. Debbie narrates a self-deprecating version of her obituary; Ruth counters that hers would just call her an “unidentified woman” found with a soap star. Debbie jokes that Russell would make Ruth a moving tribute video, and Ruth blurts, “Sam told me he’s in love with me.” Debbie asks how Ruth feels; she doesn’t know, but when pressed admits that she’s both scared and excited. She thought she wanted a job and a boyfriend; now she has both but still feels lost. “So — what, I’m supposed to go back to the hotel, tell Sam I love him, and then what?” babbles Ruth. Debbie says that if Ruth loves Sam — which is certainly the first time she’s admitted it out loud — then that’s exactly what she should do. But before we can pursue this line, Debbie changes the subject back to herself, and the end of her nascent producing career thanks to Bash’s power play; at least Randy will need her. Ruth carefully asks why Debbie doesn’t bring Randy to Vegas. Ruth is enumerating the things he’ll like — the lights, noise, hotel pool, buffet Jell-O — when Reggie appears, basically dragging Sheila.
At camp, Melrose is explaining about the wise child and the wicked child when Jenny says she’s going to bed. Melrose protests that they’re almost done, but Jenny snaps, “You’re just talking about yourself and pretending like it relates to everybody else.” Melrose says it’s a parable, but promises to stay on track if Jenny stays. Dawn doesn’t know how to connect to the story of Jews from thousands of years ago, and Melrose points out that “trauma and mass oppression” aren’t that far back in Jewish history: She knows they’d rather she joked around than talk about her aunt who died, with her eight children, in Treblinka, or about her dad’s refusal to live in a house without a basement or attic, in case they have to hide again. “We hid on a boat,” says Jenny. To everyone’s shocked silence, she describes how fortunate she, her father, and her uncle were to escape Cambodia, but that every other person they knew there died: “So I understand what it’s like to survive a genocide and not talk about it all the time … I get to be one of the lucky ones — like, really, really lucky. And now I’m jumping out of a fortune cookie every night pretending like everything’s fine.” Sobbing, Melrose says she’s sorry, and everyone gets up to encircle Jenny with love, which is how the hikers find them, with Sheila still out of it. Melrose: “Oh my god, is that Elijah?”
When everyone’s split up for bed, Rhonda tells Carmen that when she slept in her car, she’d park somewhere pretty so she could feel better about her life when she woke up. “Your life is pretty good now, right?” Carmen asks. Rhonda thinks she’s trying to pick another fight, but Carmen’s sincerely asking if Rhonda’s happy with Bash. She is, though she says she knows it’s awkward for Carmen. Scoffing, Carmen says her crush on Bash is long dead, though she would like a boyfriend, and it hurts her feelings that everyone crashes in her room when their roommates are having sex because they assume Carmen’s alone. Rhonda’s excited to talk boys, and busts out paper to play MASH. One of Carmen’s guys is Keith … but another is Manny from the kitchen! Go get him, Carmen! We already know he wants to be a luchador in the show! Make all his dreams come true!
In their tent, Yolanda and Arthie argue about whether Stacey and Dawn are homophobic or just ignorant. This leads them to discuss whether Arthie is really gay — that she won’t say the word is possibly a sign — or just in love with Yolanda, specifically. “I can’t fuck with a straight girl who doesn’t know who she is or what she wants,” says Yolanda, shutting down. “I didn’t say that,” Arthie protests. Yolanda: “You did.”
Ruth is alone at the campfire with Justine’s screenplay when Sheila comes out of her tent, feeling better. Ruth’s talking about how great it is, and worrying about how Sam must feel, when Sheila abruptly removes her wolf tunic and wig and throws them on the fire. “Are you out of your mind?” Ruth gasps. Sheila screams that she’s never been so clear: “It was getting in my way. There are so many things that I want to do, and become.”
The next morning, Debbie repeats to Tammé that they have to bench her, and Tammé tells her about the manager concept. Debbie suggests that Tammé have Rhonda tell Bash so he takes it better, and adds that she’s leaving to be with Randy. “Bring him here!” Tammé shrugs. “If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t’ve waited so long. Even with Ernest — I should’ve dragged him to a few auditions, especially when he was a baby and didn’t know any better.” Debbie might not credit Ruth with parenting insights, but Tammé and Debbie have been bonded as fellow working moms since Tammé complimented her étagère in season 2. “Don’t fold your tent and give up on a show that you produce and star in,” says Tammé firmly. “Stay and fight. That’s what I’m trying to tell myself.” I LOVE THESE TWO SO MUCH.
Sheila comes out in Ruth’s jacket, bottomless except for her underwear, astonishing everyone seeing her without her lupine armor. She’s starving, and when Ruth notes that the buffet is open 24 hours …
… Dolly Parton’s “Light Of A Clear Blue Morning” plays over everyone packing up to leave, and Ruth slides the screenplay back in her backpack, finding Sam’s note again.
So Ruth does decide to Be Honest, heading straight from the elevator to Sam’s door. She finds it open and goes in to see it emptied of his personal effects; the housekeeper making it up confirms that Sam checked out that morning.
Time to find out if, when it comes to Sam, Ruth’s more excited than scared.