I feel like with this episode you could have just put it on the lowest setting of fast-forward and gotten the gist of the whole thing without having to bother with watching it end to end. It’s sort of like putting a podcast on 2x speed to just plow through it, or putting your pinky in your partner’s booty button so they’ll just blow their load and you can roll over and just get yourself some sleep already. At least in that final scenario someone is getting laid, and there is certainly none of that happening here.
The episode starts where we left off, with Leah screaming about Heather for no particular reason and Heather receiving it with a face like a stepped-on Cinnabon. It’s just awful. Yes, I feel for Leah that her grandmother is dying and that she is having a hard time, but that is no reason to treat other people like shit. Is that the legacy she thinks her grandmother wants? As Heather says, she has displayed a lot of compassion toward Leah, but Leah still jumped down her throat like an overeager COVID test swab. I can’t believe Heather is taking it this well.
The group’s party van gets to its intended destination, which looks like the Southampton Adult Daycare and Amazon Fulfillment Center, for the 1970s Halloween Beauty Pageant. This party seems to answer the question “How many themes does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” with “all of them.” Now, we have been to many Real Housewives’ parties in the past where the guest list is only the women on the show, but this cast party really takes the 1970s Halloween Beauty Pageant Flapper Dress Bunko White Barbecue Children’s Birthday Party Business Launch Capri Room Unveiling Halle Berry From B.A.P.S. cake. The entire party is literally the five women on the cast, Heather, Luann’s daughter and niece, Hank the host of the event, and two twinks he lured from Almond in Sag Harbor with the promise of ketamine and a hot tub party at Shep Smith’s house.
For their talents, Luann twirls a baton like she’s trying to spear the cherry at the bottom of a Shirley Temple, Ramona does 40 pushups that are shallower than a creek during a drought, Leah twirls two hula hoops on her arms in an attempt to channel Grace Jones but Grace Jones just let out one sharp “HA!” that shattered all of the bones in Leah’s body, Heather chanted “Be aggressive, B-E aggressive,” which is also the name of her new line of bleed-in period undies, and Sonja Tremont Morgan of the Kapow Boxing Gloves Morgans performs as a mime but misunderstood the assignment and actually does charades instead. Eboni does a spoken-word performance where she says, “The Black woman has had to have a greater lens on society than any other group … And when Black women win victories, all of society benefits.” This is not spoken word, this is just getting in front of four of Luann’s employees and saying things that are true. The one true thing I can say about this entire night is that a talent competition where Sonja does not perform a caburlesque is actually the Miss-ed Opportunity Pageant.
The next morning Leah is gone and we find out that she didn’t make it back to see her grandmother before she died. Ramona is very sad about this fact, so I can only imagine how she is going to crack up when she learns of the eventual death of Coco, the oldest living dog in New York. At breakfast, Heather apologizes for her microaggression of saying that Eboni was “articulate” and Eboni forgives her and explains why it annoyed her because “it is assumed Black women can’t speak the Queen’s English,” to which Luann immediately says, “Kind of like Ramona,” which is a sick and accurate burn and I think that Ramona’s skin is still peeling off in layers because of it.
Not much else happens in this episode. Ramona meets with former Million Dollar Listing: New York cast member Michael Lorber, who looks thinner, grayer, hotter, and generally richer than he did the first time he was on television. He really learned from that one season and still probably hates Ryan Serhant like bees hate Jameela Jamil. Ramona is trying to get her realtor’s license with Michael’s sponsorship and, know what, this is actually an excellent idea. If you don’t know about the chaos that ensues when a Real Housewife starts selling real houses to wives, then you need to check out Kelly Killoren Bensimon’s TikTak.
Leah and Eboni take Sonja on a trip to box with Martin, everyone’s favorite personal trainer and shit-talker, and, sadly, he does not have the kind of coochie-crushing insight into Sonja’s life that he did into Tinsley’s last season. Eboni and Leah want Sonja to stand up for herself against Ramona and Luann, but she’s hesitant. Even when she’s fighting Martin she’s hitting him with weak shrimp scampi punches instead of meaty hamburger wallops. Martin asks what kind of names Luann calls her and the girls tell him that she calls Sonja a slut and a one-night stand. “If I call you a stupid slut, that’s how hard you’re going to throw punches?” he says, and Sonja responds by really socking it to him. It’s a real Laugh-In rerun. (If you got that joke, you are as old as the hills and also older than The Hills.) Honestly, the best part of the whole scene is that Sonja shows up wearing a mask by Jill and Ally, the new clothing brand by Jill Zarin and her daughter Ally.
Finally, Eboni has an election results watch party and, [a sigh deeper than the subway stop in hell], I don’t want to do this with the Housewives. This past election was stressful for everyone, and we’re still feeling its aftereffects in many ways. How quaint that they all think they might know who won by the time Uber shuts down for the night. All the girls come except for Ramona, I assume because she’s at home with her Donald Trump Jr. sex doll that is actually a CPR dummy and/or the real Donald Trump Jr.
At the party, Sonja points out that Ramona posted pictures of herself with Eboni and also another Black friend of hers on Instagram as a way for people to think that she has Black friends. Come on. We all know that Ramona doesn’t have Black friends. We saw her 52 closest friends at her birthday party last year and the event looked like the Night of a Thousand Callista Gingriches. Sonja gets very upset about this and says she doesn’t like people that treat activism like a handbag, like it’s some kind of accessory that is going to score them clout.
Sonja, of course, is right about this, but she’s monologuing with a tone and timbre that makes it sound like she’s screaming out of the bottom of an empty Absinthe container. Eboni mentions that Sonja is a real lightweight if after just one drink she’s slurring and stumbling around like she’s auditioning for a role in Shameless. Is Sonja back on her water pills again? What is going on that when Sonja drinks just a little bit she turns into a parody of a drunken person? It’s bad enough that she’s wearing this pink, sparkly formal dress over Eboni’s house when clearly the dress code was Just Wear a Black T and Jeans But Strap a Giant Tulle Bustle to the Back of It. Leah really nailed that dress code. Her sister Sara came close, but instead of wearing a giant tulle bustle it looks like she’s wearing Bethenny Frankel’s old jawline.
Finally, late into the night, Sonja walked out of the party, putting her tie-dyed mask on in the hallway. Somewhere, in an Upper East Side penthouse, a redhead was sitting at a monitor watching a POV feed of Sonja walking toward the elevator. She could see her pushing the down button on the elevator, she could hear it ding when it arrived, she could see Sonja flirt with the doorman on her way out and get into an idling taxi waiting outside. At one point during the evening, our redhead was a little worried when Sonja looked right into the tiny pinhole in the nose bridge of the mask, looked directly into the camera that she placed there. But she didn’t see it. Sonja just had to dust off some Cheeto crumbs that had gotten all over her mask.
Once Sonja was in the cab, yammering on to herself and calling people on the phone who only want to half-talk to her, Jill Zarin decided it was time to turn off the monitor. She had been watching for hours, taking notes, storing all this information up for later. It had been a long night. She got up with a sigh, stretching and yawning from a hard day’s work, as New York City twinkled like a million unoccupied cab lights.