This week on our favorite show, Rich Women Doing Things, boy, do the rich women do some really rich-women things. They go to a wine tasting, which is something they do at least once a season, and it’s about as exciting for the crew at home as reading the plot of a thriller on Wikipedia. But hey, much as Cinco de Mayo does for white people, it gives them the excuse to get shit-faced in the middle of a random afternoon. They do paddleboard yoga at an empty resort pool, which is the rich-lady-est shit we have possibly ever seen, and then they scream when one of the rich ladies falls into the pool and ruins her perfect blowout. They play a game of “Never Have I Ever” on a chartered sailboat, which includes questions about stealing, pegging, and anal sex, sometimes all in the same question.
The craziest thing about “Never Have I Ever,” though, is when Kathy is like, “Never have I ever … had sex in a doctor’s office.” Girl, that is way too specific. That isn’t a question; that’s just an admission. That’s like, “Never have I ever … blown the high-school quarterback behind the school and then told his girlfriend about it the next day, and his name was Alex Sullivan and he was blond and his dick sort of bent to the left but was still nice and meaty. Oh, only me? Come on, ladies!”
Anyway, mostly what the rich ladies do is talk about Erika. At the beginning of the episode, the women go on a wine-tasting tour in a trolley, while Erika stays at home to regroup. This gives them a chance not only to do some (spot-on, sorry) impressions of her but also to talk about her unbelievable story of Tom’s accident and her son stopping the burglary and then flipping his car over. Yes, no one buys this story. It just seems like something out of a movie, like too crazy to actually happen. And then Kathy Hilton leaves the wine tasting because she has a headache and says something to the effect of “I have headaches now because when I was a kid, I was filming a Barbie commercial and I got hit really hard on the head with a golf ball.” Seriously, if that came out of anyone else’s mouth, you’d spontaneously turn into the “Sure, Jan” GIF and never revert back, like that kid in your high school who took LSD and thought he was a glass of orange juice forever.
I’m not saying Erika’s story is plausible. It sounds insane. But I understand the women’s impulse to believe their friend, especially because Erika, though withholding, has never been a liar. (Just go ahead and call her one and see if you leave the room with all your digits.) Dorit says, “We don’t want to push Erika too far, but you look like an idiot for not asking questions.” Absolutely. And I think if the women have all these questions, they should ask Erika about them, just like Geronimo for Kalamazoo surely will at the reunion. I know if she told me that story, I would take out my skinny journalist notebook and start talking like Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. “Kid, I have a million questions, see …” (This is just a reminder that Vulture no longer recaps the reunions, but I will be doing it in the Housewives Institute Bulletin, so sign up for that now.)
I think the women, particularly Dorit and Sutton, do a good job of voicing all of the viewers’ questions and concerns in this episode. Like when Erika says that Tom did a lot of good for a lot of people and none of them are stepping up right now, Dorit and her 20th ’90s-raver hairdo of the season say in a confessional, “Yeah, but if he did what he’s accused of, he did a lot of bad stuff, too.” I feel that.
Even Kyle gets in on criticizing Erika in the confessional. When the two go to play pickleball, a gym-class game that should come with a mandatory vasectomy for every adult male who plays it, Erika tells Kyle that when the divorce is finalized, she’ll walk away with nothing and that she told her lawyer she expects nothing. Kyle says, “Well, the most important thing is that the victims get their money.” Yes, she is right.
But all of this backtracking may be happening because they were kissing Erika’s ass so hard when they were hanging out at dinner one night. Garcelle says it seemed phony, and Sutton says, “They want to prove that they’re her friend, rather than ask questions,” then aptly compares the situation to what happened the previous season with Denise. I don’t know that it’s exactly as they say it is. I think this is a group of friends seeing one of their own who’s going through a tough time but was finally in a good mood. They decided to bring that out to give her a bit of respite amid all of the tumult she’s experiencing. I don’t know how to be funny about this, so let’s just pretend I made a hilarious joke and we’re all laughing. Hahahaha. Oh, Brian, that’s a good one.
It seems as though the women aren’t the only ones who want a little peace and quiet. Erika tries on several occasions to smooth things over with Sutton and comes close to an apology. They seem really on the mend until we get to their confessionals, where Erika is like, “I hate her. I was just doing this to not ruin the trip,” and Sutton is like, “Yeah, thanks for the apology, but I don’t trust her.” That’s why I think this will be a really interesting reunion because what all of the women have been saying to one another and saying to the cameras alone when they’re sipping Evian through a straw in front of a green screen are totally different.
When Erika apologizes to Sutton, she says exactly the right thing — that she’s going through a lot, she’s angry, she lashed out, and she’s sorry for that. I just wish she could have followed that up with more sincerity, rather than throwing it in the garbage like last week’s takeout. I think it’s odd for us Housewives fans because we’ve never really seen anyone so irrevocably hate a castmate the way Erika seems to hate Sutton. She never tries to pretend they’ll get along or work on rebuilding their friendship. She’s like, Thank you, next, and she stole Ariana Grande’s ponytail and added it to the back of a pair of latex pants.
Erika is acutely aware of the situation she’s in as she goes through this scandal very publicly. “If I look like I’m having too good of a time, I’m not remorseful,” she says on their three-hour boat tour, where the only storms are internal. “If I look a little too good, I have no shame. I want to have fun and I want to laugh, but if I laugh too much, I get criticized for that. And if I hang my head in shame, then I’m clearly guilty of something. I cannot win.” Nope, she can’t. Has she handled this perfectly? No. But how does one handle such a thing perfectly? There’s no playbook for this, and people will come for her no matter what she does. Lisa Rinna, the only castmate who has defended Erika throughout, says that “everyone wants her to be like, ‘Oh the poor victims’” but that her lawyers have told her not to because even acknowledging it may somehow make her culpable. I’m sure everyone understands that. I’m sure everyone can sympathize with her going through a hard time even though, yes, there are people out there going through an even harder time because of Tom Girardi. I’m sure we can all open our hearts and let all the feelings pour out of us like the vastness of the ocean, on which rich women can ride on a pirate ship with a blushing captain and an overworked chef and have the audacity to think that their shouting “I’m the king of the world!” from the prow is somehow original. Good one, Brian. Hahahahaha.