The Real Housewives of New York City
This was not a good episode for Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Lady Godiva’s Almost-Human Hairpiece Morgans, but the fiercest read of all is that her big physical “altercation” with Bershan was relegated to a flashback. You know producers, editors, and Bravo executives love a confrontation, but this is among the first I can think of that was filmed but had to be explained by one of the cast later. Yes, sometimes the cameras are down on vacation and the women have to do a dramatic reenactment of the nights before. But the whole crew was there. We know because they had to come in and restrain Sonja before Bershan beat her like a Theragun working on one of Simone Biles’s quads.
After things got heated last episode, everyone went up to Leah’s room to chill for a little bit while Bershan hung back with Ramona, who had to tell her, basically, “Yeah, we all know Sonja is a drunk, but you can’t say it to her face because it only makes her worse, so you just have to kind of grit your teeth and bear it and hope that JonJon’s yacht or the Nigerian soccer team doesn’t come up.” Apparently, Bershan showed up in Leah’s room looking for a melatonin so she could fall asleep, and a fully tottering Sonja was still there giving Leah some sort of slurred monologue that Leah was too polite to cut short. Bershan asked Sonja if she was drunk and Sonja was like, “What did you ask me?” I know from my decades of experience at some of the world’s rattier homosexual establishments that whenever you ask a drunk person if they are drunk they will never say yes. If they say yes, they are slightly tipsy. Any other answer to that question means they are more wasted than the Pfizer doses at a Fox News vaccination drive. Sonja is clearly off her face.
Now, remember, we don’t see any of this. We have to hear Leah recounting the narrative. Know why? Because none of it makes any sense. There is no story to follow. The editors were left with a bunch of clips of slurring women that they had to stitch together, and they finally gave up. These artistes are the best that our nation has to offer. They have given us joys like Turtle Time, a disembodied hand giving Ramona Singer a glass of Pinot Grigio on Scary Island, and Bethenny quaking trying to drink a glass of water when it was about Tom. (D’Agostino, not Girardi.) And this is the best these geniuses could do.
That is because Sonja was making absolutely no sense. She got uncomfortably close to Bershan while screaming incoherencies and Bershan reacted, quite naturally, by getting her own finger in Sonja’s face. Leah tried to stop it, by pleading with them to remember what was really important to everyone in the room: her nose job. When that failed, she called in the producers and Sonja walked down the hallway, breaking the glass on the fire extinguisher because, if you asked Sonja in that very moment, it was an emergency.
Leah, Luann, and Ramona all decide that they need to talk to Sonja about what has been going on with her drinking because, as Leah pointed out, this is not an isolated incident, and it’s not like Sonja is even having fun when she’s drinking. The best reaction, however, belongs to Luann, who is trying to peddle the revisionist history that what she did in a Palm Beach hotel on Christmas Eve is not as bad as what Sonja did in Salem, the birthplace of goth. Um, Luann, you went into someone else’s hotel room, refused to leave, kicked a cop, and then told him you were going to kill him while being put into the back of a cruiser. I mean, it was better in that it gave us a whole season’s worth of storyline, but based on every other metric that counts, it was worse. Way worse. A Palm Beach cruiser full of drunk Housewife worse.
Ramona talks to Bershan and tells her that she can’t come for Sonja like that. “You were pushing her envelope,” Ramona says. There is not an idiom that Ramona Singer won’t chew to bits like a raver’s cheeks after a night of MDMA. I am firmly on Bershan’s side in this one, though. Sonja was definitely provoking her and got way too close to her personal space. If Sonja didn’t expect to get her ass kicked like a hacky sack at a Dave Matthews concert, then she shouldn’t have done that. Also, how is Bershan supposed to know all of Sonja’s issues or triggers? Anyway, Ramona convinces her to apologize when she did little wrong.
The women take a 40-minute ride to lunch to go to a restaurant that has a table shaped like a boat. That is the only reason they had to ride 40 minutes? There wasn’t a store or an attraction or at least a mildly creepy graveyard somewhere nearby? They drove the equivalent of all the way to Merrick, Long Island and back for a boat table? At least at the restaurant Bershan gives what seems like a heartfelt apology for being too familiar with a group of ladies she doesn’t know. She even listens to Sonja who seems, somehow, still wounded from the night before, even though everything that happened was of her own invention.
After another 40 minutes back to the hotel and another few hours in glam (seriously, Leah and Eboni need their glam squad during a pandemic on a trip to Salem, Massachusetts, so that they can eat at boat tables in abandoned restaurants?), it’s time to go to a séance, which is at a restaurant with table-shaped tables. This is when Lu, Ramona, and Leah decide to have the world’s worst intervention. As Dr. Seuss once wrote a book about how to give an intervention, “You would not, should not in a car. You would not, should not in a bar. You would not, should not on a trip. You would not, should not nipple slip. You would not, should not be a meanie. You would not, should not over an espresso martini.”
When they finally confront Sonja they get the same answer she gives every time, that she feels safe to let loose around her girls, and she doesn’t drink at home when she’s alone so she doesn’t think she has a problem. Many addiction specialists say that when someone’s drinking gets in the way of their relationships or their work that means they really have a problem. I would say that Sonja’s drinking is getting in the way of her work, because it has made her bad at her job. She is no longer fun to be around, no longer fun to watch when she’s that wasted. Yes, her workplace usually encourages the consumption of alcohol, but for Sonja, it’s no longer working.
Maybe it was always going to take a séance to finally get through to Sonja. They all sit down around a table like it’s a scene from a Miss Marple mystery and one of them is about to end up dead. (My money is on Lu.) There’s some dude there who tries to give a message first to Bershan. He says it’s from her grandfather and he says that she is like a mountain goat and she is high up on the mountain but she’s not yet on the mountain but she will be sometime soon. Everyone looks at this guy like he just opened a giant Tupperware full of egg salad on the bus. Next, he asks if Luann has an uncle figure in her life. She says no. “Can I give you his message anyway?” No, dude, you cannot. I don’t want to talk to strangers who are alive and now you want me to listen to the message from some dead dude I’ve never even met? You are crazier than a spider in a Dodge minivan.
Finally, Marion, the main medium (would that make her the large?), is like, “Dude, hold my kombucha and pay attention.” She discovers that Leah’s grandmother is there but it’s a faint connection because she wouldn’t believe in what they were doing. Then she talks to Eboni’s grandmother and loves her attitude. She makes Eboni cry by imparting the message that she can continue the family tradition of being a strong woman. Marion is either legit or had a very long planning meeting with the producers.
When she gets to Ramona she is talking to Ramona’s younger brother, who died two years ago. She tells Ramona that he was a lost soul and he’s not sad that he passed over because he was in a lot of pain. Ramona, who has told us a bit about her abusive home life growing up but not much, starts to have a bit of a breakdown. She says she neglected her brother at the end of his life because she couldn’t fix him. “He was my brother and I pushed him away,” she cries several times, the nerves in her forehead straining against the Botox as she takes refuge in Sonja’s spindly arms.
But it’s Sonja who has the real breakthrough. Marion gets to Sonja’s father, who never had time for her when he was alive but apparently has lots to make up for. Through Marion he says he’s mortified for what he did to Sonja and is trying to apologize for it. Sonja nods and sobs. When Marion asks if he had an alcohol problem, Sonja nods again, the tears welling up, the clown mask that she has so firmly affixed sliding for the first time in ages.
Marion tells Sonja this is the crux of all of her problems, with men, with money, with booze, with abandonment issues. She tells Sonja that she needs to seek help for this. “I’ve recently started seeing a healer,” Sonja says. “A healer is a great addition, but you need therapy,” Marion retorts, the first person to speak actual sense to Sonja since the last Blackberry was pulled out of her clogged toilet. When Sonja says she’s seeing a therapist too, Marion says, “I hope this person has a Ph.D., because you need a bit more.”
Yes, Sonja needs a bit more. She needs so much more. She needs Marion to never leave her side, figuring out her problems and prescribing her solutions. She needs to admit to herself, her friends, and the world what is wrong with her. She needs to talk to her damn therapist about her father, already. How did that not happen in the first session? Was it because Sonja just nattered on about bus fare or bottles of Wesson oil or her time partying with Puffy Diddly? Marion figures her out in ten minutes, and it’s the most fascinating scene of this entire season.
After the women left, Marion went into the staff room of the restaurant to gather her witchy belongings and hop on her broom to go home. There was a redhead waiting, wearing a tight black skirt suit with her hair sutured up in a French twist held together with two white Bic pens. “I think this is all you asked for,” she said, handing Marion a fat envelope engorged with $100 bills. “Thank you for telling her she needs therapy. Did you give her my card?” Marion looked at her with a face that read, “Bitch, have you seen me work?”
The redhead smiled and nodded. “Excellent,” she said. “Excellent. Now when she calls for therapy, I know just the doctor who is going to answer.” She pulled out a pair of smart-looking glasses from the inside pocket of her blazer, and by putting them on, like the reverse of a nerdy girl in a ’90s teen rom-com, Jill Zarin took on a whole new role.