I will say this for Heather Dubrow, an unending fount of high-school Italian teacher energy: When she does throw down, nothing can phase her. As we rewatched her clearing Taylor for accusations that were condescending to her and for making fun of her career, she was as placid and wrinkle-free as every forehead on a panel at BravoCon. Think about back in the day when she threw Shannon Beador, then in her first season, out of her house. Heather was furious, but she was calm. She never resorts to shouting, never stoops to name-calling, never sullies herself with shade. She just tells the facts like the facts with a prissy scarf around her neck and you feel like a department-store perfume sales lady gave you a life lesson.
We saw most of this fight already last episode, but Heather does take Tamra into the bathroom to see if Tamra really was talking shit about her and her IMDb page at dinner with Taylor. Of course the editors rolled the tape, and, of course, it was Tamra lobbing casual grenades like a warlord trying to depose Putin. That’s always been Tamra’s game: talk shit about people behind their backs and then find some way to weasel out if it by the time the reunion comes.
That’s what is amazing about Tamra and probably the key to her longevity: She’s more slippery than the bathroom doorknob at a sex party. Sure, she’s had her violent outbursts (think her throwing Alexis “Jesus Jugs” Bellino out of CUT Fitness), but there’s nothing you can pin on her. There’s no way you can say she started something or ended something, or stirred the pot. She’s just always there facilitating, saying whatever she needs to in order to win whatever argument she’s faced with currently.
Naturally, this all comes back up later in the episode. The next day Shannon, Tamra, and Taylor go to play on tractors, and Jenn, Heather, and Gina go to shovel shit. Or learn how to rope. The division of labor here is unclear. Farmer Kiply, a demon named spawned by Jenn’s second N, says one of the women can learn to rope, and the other has to clean the shit out of a horse carrier. Can’t they, I don’t know, take turns? Everyone gets their 15 minutes on the rope after your 30 minutes getting your Chanel shovel clogged with yesterday’s hay bales? That just seems fair to me.
Anyway, Heather and Gina are shoveling the shit because Gina can’t be within ten yards of anyone who has ever looked at another person’s spouse for more than ten milliseconds. While she’s doing this, she says she thought that Taylor was alluding to Tamra being mean about the IMDb. She brings up that Tamra has taken shots at her, taken shots at Emily, and now maybe she’s coming for Heather. To this I say, “Ah Doooooooyyyyyy.” Of course she is. That’s what she does. Is the Unabomber still writing anti-government screeds? Well, no, because he’s dead. But if he were still alive, he would be.
Heather returns this info to Tamra and tells her so that Tamra can bring it up at the lady’s fireside cook-along that night. When Tamra confronts Gina, she explains that she was trying to be a good friend to Heather by watching her back. Because, yes, we’re gonna roll the tape. We’re going to see Tamra going through her friend’s IMDb page with a level of scorn and disgust usually reserved for Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. I don’t know if Tamra did it on purpose. Still, she found a way to weasel out of the whole conversation by focusing on whatever is going on with her and Jenn.
Yes, Tamra knows Jenn is in the shit, and … [We interrupt your regularly scheduled recap to insert some Emily Simpson personal story so that she will be in this episode and therefore get paid for it by her contract.] Yes, Emily’s daughter, Annabelle, is insane, but not in the same way that the doll she shares a name with. No, she wants to be a model. But I have some sad news for our Annabelle. Everyone on TiksToks will call her a “nepo baby” because her father is Shane Simpson. You know, of the Cox Cablevision public-access talk show Shane Says? Of course. He was huge.
Okay, so back to Tamra and Jenn. Oh, wait! This is Jenn’s fifth episode, so her grace period against judgment granted to her by the Eileen Davidson Accord is over. However, this whole recap is about Tamra, which tells you all you need to know about Jenn. Tamra was going around telling Heather and Shannon that Jenn told her that Ryan “cheated on her.” Heather says that happened during a Ross & Rachel break, and she wasn’t upset. Tamra shoots her a look that says, “Bitch, I answered those phone calls. She was pissed.” She then tells the group that the first time she met Ryan, he said, “I’m going to fuck her,” even though she was married and with Eddie. Tamra learned this from her friend Heather, who is not Heather Dubrow. Heather Unibrow?
When they’re having this conversation, Heather says, “Once a cheater, always a cheater.” I don’t think this is exactly right. I do think that there are people who make a mistake when they’re young or in a bad relationship they need to get out of and the only way they can figure out is to cheat. They see it’s bad; they never do it again. I think that case exists.
Ryan, however, is not one of those. Ryan has cheated in every relationship he’s been in. This guy is basically Tom Sandoval with a better body and no nail polish. He is going to cheat on everyone. He is definitely going to cheat on Jenn. I know that, and I’m not even Allison DuBois.
As the Gina fight turns into a Jenn and Tamra fight, Tamra then drops the bomb about Ryan says and Jenn has the only natural reaction a person can have: “Why didn’t you tell me this before?” She says because it’s gross and her husband didn’t know. But what about all the times you talked when cameras weren’t around? She was never alone with Jen to be like, “By the way, this is what this guy said about me, don’t date him, he’s gross.” Also, they’ve been on vacations with this dude. Now Tamra is going to trash him just so she can do better at the show? To this I say, “Ah Doooooooyyyyyy.” Of course, she is. That’s what she does.
But we don’t have to worry about her for much longer because Gina puts on her Stetson and climbs on her high horse to let everyone know that she’s mad that Jenn may or may not have cheated on her husband. Jenn says that she was in love with Ryan and got a gift from him after the opening of her business and that’s when she told her husband it was over, but she never shacked up with him before that. I call bullshit on this. I also call bullshit on a lot of what Jenn is doing. I think Tamra lived through it in real time and knows the real story, and now Jenn is telling the story for the cameras, and Tamra is pissed that she’s “telling different people different stories.”
Anyway, Gina has to leave the campfire conversation where two girls in flannel shirts cooking bison are cowering so they don’t get hit by any of the ladies’ verbal shrapnel. She’s mad that Jenn is an adulterer, to which I say grow the fuck up. Earlier in the day, it seemed like Gina was finally over it. She brings it all up to Jenn, and, actually, Jenn acquitted herself quite nicely. “It’s not my job to make you feel good about it,” she says, adding that she’s fine with where she is in her life now, even if the way she got there was messy.
But, Gina, we all make mistakes. We all do stupid things. We learn, we grow, we do better. To hold Jenn accountable for her own mistake is a bit silly. I get that Gina is triggered. I do. But what if we got a new Housewife who had a kid die in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, and this new wife said, “I can never sit in the room with Gina because she had a DUI.” Gina would be the first one to say, “I’m a different person now. That was a mistake. I won’t do it again.” Why can’t she give Jenn the same grace? This isn’t a Jenn problem, this is a Gina problem, and I think Heather was right to tell her to hang up the phone on Travis. The new BF doesn’t want to help you get over the old BF. That is what therapy, excessive drinking, girls’ trips, and your bitchy gay friends are for. Duh.
This episode was all about Tamra, who might have started shit with Jenn and Gina, but she was smart enough to shore it up with Shannon. Actually, the two had a sweet scene where Tamra sat on a bed and cried to Shannon about how she was in the worst place of her life and she should never have trashed her in the press. They cried and they hugged and then they threw gummy bears all over the house, upsetting both the housekeeper and Kelly Killoren Bensimon. And that’s just how she does it, betray and soothe, betray and soothe. You can’t get anything to stick on Tamra except maybe this paycheck.