This week, our lovely cast spent time rabble-rousing about nips, tucks, and new potential Bravo bedfellows from the pews — but before we get into all that, I need to quickly address the mask situation on this series. How much longer are we going to hold up this face shield absurdity for the sake of, I don’t know, fashion and TV? If you have to switch to KN95 masks for your pop-up shops with customers — at which point Kandi remarks, “can’t nobody recognize each other,” indicating probably just how rarely they wear them — why continue the pretense that the face shields are protecting anyone from COVID? They might as well film with the masks off, since they already spend 80 percent of their camera time with them off anyway; the shields honestly look like gag props. Just one gal’s humble opinion.
Since we don’t yet live in a world where my thoughts are pro forma standards yet, the shields make their presence at Kandi and Todd’s surf and turf tasting menu event/birthday party for Mama Joyce, where Marlo is attempting to move past her melodramatics in New Orleans but being met with a strong Heisman from the likes of Porsha and Shamea. Personally, I feel like refusing to high-five someone like Porsha does takes on a whole other level of insulting in these times of COVID — but if there is anything Porsha has shown this season, it’s that she knows how to stonewall someone when she feels slighted.
This does, however, lead to the most hysterically confounding exchange of words between the women over Marlo’s back health:
Porsha: I actually meant to text you back and ask you — how was your back …
Marlo: My back is okay, I have a brace on now.
Porsha: Oh, you have a brace from when the kids —
Marlo: — when the kids jumped on my back, yeah. And I’m mad cause I wanna try and go get lipo but then I gotta wait until my back gets a little better.
Shamea: But you already had lipo.
Marlo: No I had lipo … twice.
Shamea: So did he jump on your back before or after your lipo?
Marlo: No, he jumped on my back before.
Porsha: Before you got lipo?
Kandi: … Wait what?
Porsha: So you got lipo recently?
Shamea: Right before the trip.
Marlo: … Wait, what did you say?
In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it matters whether or not Marlo lied about the scheduling of her plastic surgery. Her back could be hurting because of her nephews as she claimed, it could be because she was on that operating table, or it could be because she’d fallen and she couldn’t get up and doesn’t want to get Life Alert. Who knows why she ultimately couldn’t make it bounce in the home of bounce music? I am assuming that this is the point that Porsha is attempting to make, particularly since they have all gotten nips and tucks and various injectables of their own; I mean, Kenya gets a breast lift and reduction in this very same episode. It just doesn’t particularly land the same, probably because sex work hasn’t become socially accepted in the way plastic surgery has. That said, Shamea does provide us with quite the gem in “let’s see your stomach without the cuts then,” so I’d prepare to see that on a GIF keyboard near you.
Speaking of that tasting party, our reigning warrior princess, Mrs. Moore-Daly, pulls a move that is not unfamiliar to any circle of heterosexual girls that have gone out together: leaving a party early to go see about a man. The Kenya-Marc saga continues to be my least favorite version of Kenya — which is in some ways tragic because it is likely close to the most authentic parts of her that we get to see onscreen. After the repeated public humiliation that has played out both on the show and in blogging and reporting, the undisputable beauty continues to find love in a hopeless place, holding on to brief appearances in the city for Brooklyn’s birthday and noncommittal text messages as an indication of the future — even though the last time she did this, she ended up with her face cracked deeper than a Kintsugi bowl at her lawyer’s office. “Gone With the Wind Fabulous” is Kenya at her best; I don’t know how we bring some of that magic back in, but I hope we can get the levity to start outweighing the vengefulness in her onscreen and offscreen chaos.
This week, we have finally gotten to the root of this church caper that has been vexing Drew. After expressing her frustrations with her husband that their daughter — who is around 2 years old, and could be blessed by her mom, who is also a pastor — will no longer be blessed by Prophet Lott, she explains that it is all because after being brought to seek his counsel by her and her assistant Danny, Latoya allegedly began to enter into a relationship with “the Prophet” who, according to Drew, has a fiancée and young child. I could sincerely understand if Drew had arrived at the conclusion that she did not need a religious leader who was so derelict in his duties to bless her child, but somehow, this became the fault of Latoya’s Jezebel wiles. With such an immature decision, the girls made a U-turn right back into Bolo Court, henceforth rebranded as Pussy Prosecution & Patrol, held right in the middle of Cynthia and Porsha’s Black-owned pop-up event (which seemed to be a moderately attended success, although social distancing and tight camera shots make everything hard to gauge).
Atlanta, as a city, has such a juxtaposition of indulgent abandon and religious forthrightness that it is near-inevitable that these moral scandals predicated on religious leaders emerge, whether they are substantial or aggrandized by puritan pearl-clutching. In this case, it seems to be a bit of both, depending on what you believe. No matter what, Drew going out of her way to attack Latoya for potentially dipping it low with someone she sought for guidance is about as sensible as the wigs she continues to select on her own accord, but it was the declaration of her Delilah Spirit that really threw me for a hyperloop. Did I get knocked out and wake up in an adapted Toni Morrison plot? Drew really made it sound like Latoya walked in that church, patted her pussy three times, and the whole congregation caught the vapors.
If they got together — for what it’s worth, both Latoya and “the Prophet” deny this to be the case and insist it was just a 4-6 week life coaching program, although both her mother and ex-husband imply otherwise — then if anything, he would be more liable for choosing to engage with a woman who entrusted her spiritual growth to him at a vulnerable time when he has (or does he?) a young child and (ex?)fiancée. But if Jamal Bryant has taught us anything, it’s that men on the pulpit have been getting away with some of the most flagrant violations this side of the pearly gates. Moreover, there needs to be some consistency about what is on and off limits to be discussed on the show. If Porsha doesn’t need to be accountable for her off-camera personal life, than neither should Latoya, if it is not harmful to anyone (and Drew having to find someone else for a blessing is not a material harm, I have been more inconvenienced by the MTA during rush hour). Most importantly, I can’t believe all this is being done over a man that looks like a walking “Black men defying stereotypes” meme. Call me judgmental, but I don’t need my spiritual leaders to be dripped out.
In next week’s finale, Marc and Kenya’s arc comes to its inevitable bitter conclusion, the women come together for the holiday party from hell, and Drew shows Toya how serious she is about excising her Delilah spirit. Toodles!
• Marlo may not have taken up a peach of her own yet, but she has finally earned her way up into Moore Manor, after a half season of maneuvering and strategic alliances. I am happy that Miss Hampton has corrected a longtime slight, but I hope it is worth the expense of needless backbiting and jabs at Porsha’s personal life. That aside, her laughing it up with the girls and approving of the Gucci designer tastes of Mr. Lott, going “yes prophet, because I need to make a profit!” is exactly the version of her that is so entertaining.
• Discovering Drew works out with no socks on is nasty as hell and her sneakers must smell like the inside of Bolo’s penis slipcovers. I will never understand why people volunteer their bad hygiene habits; they needed a full-on content warning of Ralph sniffing her feet because absolutely NOT.
• I have to say, all the B-roll footage of the pro-Black signage and graffiti – even in last week’s episode, when they had a brief segment honoring the electoral work they were doing in Georgia – really feel bittersweet with the recently implemented voter suppression laws in the state (and shows why organizing doesn’t just start and stop at the ballot box).
• For someone who brags about how well she can cook, Kenya sure seems to never have any food in her fridge. A girl can’t get a Blue Apron subscription or something?
• I respect that Porsha’s commitment to stonewalling Marlo didn’t preclude her from selling some of her bedsheets on national television. As she said, “I appreciate you supporting my Black business, just stay out of my business.”
• I don’t feel the need to dive too deeply into this, but there is just no way in this universe that Mike Hill has never motorboated Cynthia Bailey before.