The cast of Married to Medicine have never been strangers to enjoying adult entertainment, and while I’m still recovering from watching Kyle Richards have a sundae topping licked from her body in Vegas (go, girl!), a little more whipped cream never hurt anyone, as I’m sure Heavenly can attest after tonight’s episode. With Gregory and Tea’s wedding quickly approaching, the cast hungrily jumps on the opportunity to have yet another scene where the husbands and wives split up to play coy for the camera as strippers present themselves eagerly. Eugene and Cecil take command of Dr. G’s bachelor party while Toya and Phaedra throw Tea a “pamper party.”
After ten years of watching the women of Married to Medicine, we know not to let the moniker “pamper party” fool us; this will merely be a toned-down bachelorette moment with Heavenly acting like she’s never seen a man other than Damon while simultaneously getting extra friendly with the entertainment, Toya flying her freak flag, Jackie clutching her pearls in the corner, and Simone grinning from ear to ear. We’ve been here before, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. Much of this episode sticks to the classic Bravo formula of relatable family scenes mixed in with slow and steady pot-stirring within the group’s small factions that culminates at a group function due to someone bluntly blurting out the truth. We know what to expect, but the ladies do it so well that it’s not monotonous or contrived but akin to slipping into your favorite sweater on the first chilly fall day.
We’re eased into the drama as we watch a quintessential Jackie and Simone still-in-scrubs lunch; a family dinner with Simone, Cecil, and their sons, Miles and Michael; a great scene with Damon and Heavenly trying to talk their daughter, Alaura, out of leaving the state for college; and Eugene conducting the boys-only extension of last week’s sex talk. Seeing all the kids in this episode truly emphasizes how many seasons have passed. Alaura is no longer attending princess parties and teaching Heavenly how to walk in heels but is toying with the idea of going to FAMU. Miles and Micheal are far from after-school basketball games in the driveway and are close to graduating college (though neither of them is at all close to moving out of their parents’ house). And even though they’re growing rapidly, Ashton and Avery still have a bit of their childhood innocence as we listen to them ask hilarious middle-school-boy questions about periods.
Aside from the family scenes, the main topic of conversation among the women is the state of Dr. G and Tea’s relationship. Not only are we, as viewers, getting to know Tea’s relationship, but apparently, so is Tea. As she settles into the group and her new life, the other women’s ears prickle whenever she makes the same complaints as Quad about Gregory being controlling and emotionally unavailable. During a lunch with Heavenly, Tea admits that Gregory sometimes throws the fact that he pays the bills in her face. More disturbingly, she describes a time when Gregory wanted to “teach her a lesson” and lied about a home intrusion, telling her that people broke into their home with guns after she forgot to set the alarm. Word of advice that has been given to me that all women should hear: When a man displays toxic and abusive behavior in his past, it’s more indicative of his character than that of the women he’s been with. Whatever led Tea to the assumption that she would be treated any differently than Quad dissipates as fast as she inserts herself into Quad’s old life … and the producers never miss a chance to roll the tapes every time the two women have an identical grievance.
I have the same question for Tea as last week: Girl, what did you expect? Outside of her bafflement over a documented abuser acting controlling, I’m also fascinated by the fact that Tea is struggling to hold up her end of the bargain of being a somewhat kept woman (and let’s not get too carried away; she married Mini Cooper–driving psychiatrist Gregory Lunceford, not Terry Dubrow, so she’s not beating the “copper digger” allegations). Though she has a job of her own, Greg pays all the bills, and she has access to his money, but she complains to Simone about needing an assistant to go grocery shopping “so all she has to do is come inside and cook,” since Greg isn’t supporting her with the household or wedding planning. Cue the world’s smallest violin — telling Simone, who, at Tea’s age, had her own private practice, a husband, and a toddler, doesn’t garner much sympathy. And when you sign up for misogynistic, traditional gender roles as a woman, things like going grocery shopping and cooking every day without a lick of help from your husband are kind of expected. So when Simone tells Jackie about Tea’s desire for more help, in her distinctively Dr. Jackie shade, Jackie suggests that maybe Tea needs a life coach, not an assistant.
Despite the bright-red flags waving wildly in Tea’s face, Tea and Gregory move forward with wedding festivities. The women put on their best lingerie and prepare to be pampered by greased-down men with bulging muscles, and the men board a party bus filled with strippers’ asses shaking buoyantly in G-strings. They make their way to the strip club, where Gregory runs around dancing behind the strippers, guffawing in his high-pitched voice, sounding like a character from Fat Albert as he tries to invite a dancer named Tequila to the wedding. It’s the usual, “I’m a straight man who talks about marriage like it’s jail but insists on being married” shtick from all the guys, which is about as predictable as the behavior that went down at the ladies’ party. Except, like a message straight from the universe (or, for us, a present from the Bravo gods), a call from the wedding planner informs Tea that in order to accommodate the event, the venue is charging an extra $13,000 or $14,000.
Toya, Simone, and Heavenly all declare in their confessionals that they would call off the wedding after such news, with Heavenly stating that it’s a bad omen. The phone call sends Tea into a tizzy, and she aggressively rebuffs her twin’s attempt to comfort her, and things escalate as Tea storms out of the room, yelling about how she doesn’t fuck with her sister. She’s so distraught that, at one point, she has to be held back and escorted into the bathroom. With Tea gone from the room, Heavenly shares with the group — mind you, this is all two days before the wedding — that she believes the marriage was rushed and the couple isn’t ready due to communication issues they need to work out. When Heavenly is the voice of reason, albeit a messy one, you know things are in a dire state.
Based on the editing of the promo for tonight’s episode, it’s implied that Tea’s outlandish reaction was caused by Quad’s appearance, but all the smoke was for her sister. However, I’m an older sister to a set of twins who knows those fights (and the subsequent makeup) are especially turbulent, so it doesn’t surprise me that she took her wedding-planning frustrations out on the person closest to her. What is surprising is Tea’s complete reticence when Quad arrives, thanks to Phaedra. So far, Phaedra has been lying low as she slips into the world of Married to Medicine, methodically sniffing out her new environment like a predator preparing to mark its territory. Now, three episodes in, she’s gotten more comfortable, and Shady Phae Phae is ready to open her bag of tricks, the first being extending Quad an unsolicited invitation to the pamper party.
Quad emerges to the sound of Heavenly’s cackles while everyone exchanges bewildered looks, collectively gagged by the ex-wife of the bride-to-be casually showing up at a wedding event. Phaedra, queen of hiding her hands after pulling the pin out of a grenade, acts like this is a completely normal situation and says her reasoning behind asking the former Mrs. Lunceford to come is because “everybody wanted to know about where Quad is,” and she wanted to “help them remember” how fun she is. Then, to Toya’s bemusement, Tea asks Quad to sit directly beside her, and the two awkwardly embrace in front of everyone. Toya calls out the fakery, noting that just a week ago, Tea said she didn’t even want to hear Quad’s name. Tea gives a haphazard excuse, saying she merely didn’t want Quad brought up at the engagement party. Toya takes the reins of the event she planned and requests Phaedra to escort Quad out, which Tea endorses. Quad slinks out, and Toya warns Phaedra not to bring Quad to the wedding, sending a clear message that she hasn’t forgiven or forgotten last season’s behavior.
• Damon and Heavenly’s reasoning behind wanting Alaura to choose a local college, specifically the weather and AI (???), was so funny. It’s bittersweet seeing them get ready to let their baby girl go.
• I’m also randomly obsessed with the new friend-of, Dr. Alicia, who literally just sits silently in the corner of every scene with a deer-in-the-headlights face. It’s like the meme: “I love her lack of energy! Go, girl, give us nothing!”
• I missed Dr. Jackie and Dr. Simone’s lunches! I love those moments of transparency as they discuss what they deal with as OB/GYNs. Seeing them openly speak about STDs and awkward conversations (Jackie’s tea about knowing the husbands of some of her patients who contracted STDs was so messy and funny) demystifies talking about sexual health.