The Real Housewives of Potomac
Joy to the world the Lord has come, and by “Lord” I do mean the season finale of season five of The Real Housewives of Potomac. It’s honestly bittersweet to say goodbye to these ladies, who’ve given us so much this season. Who could forget The Great Barn Brawl of 2019? Or T’Challa attacking Dr. Wendy? Or even just last week when Karen walked out of her own Wig Shift with a Bang party. I truly can’t believe it’s coming to an end. Let earth receive her
But before the title cards roll with what they ladies have been up to since production stopped, we’ve gotta throw one final event to close out the season. And who better to throw said party than Little Miss IRS Robyn Dixon. Apparently, Robyn and Juan throw a holiday party every year for their family and friends, and they certainly aren’t going to let a measly little 90K in debt get in the way of spreading the Christmas cheer. However their Christmas cheer does not extend to Monique, as she is not invited to the party. It’s just like the Bible says, “forgiveness is great and all, but if you ever get provoked into fighting with someone on a reality TV show that’s kind of all about fighting, you’ll never see heaven or get invited to Robyn’s holiday party.” Pretty sure that’s in Samuels 4:11.
We touch down with Ms. Samuels at a therapist appointment where we dive into some of the trauma that contributed to her inappropriate response to Candiace’s prodding. Honestly, it was very refreshing to see Monique talking to an actual therapist that she found via Ashley Darby and not one of her many pastor acquaintances. Through tears, Monique likens the women icing her out to being bullied as a child, first at a predominantly white school for being Black, and then at a predominantly Black school where her and her sister were labeled “the white girls” for “talking too proper.” Woof, as a Black person who attended predominantly white schools growing up this definitely struck an emotional cord for me. It’s hard not fitting in and feeling isolated from your peers whether you’re 9 years old at school, or 45 years old on national television. Obviously, Monique being bullied as a child doesn’t excuse her actions this season, but it does explain them to some degree. “I am remorseful for my actions, but I am not sorry for defending myself when I felt I needed to,” says Monique, choosing her words very carefully when asked if she feels any remorse about The Great Barn Brawl of 2019. I hope the publicist who came up with that statement got a nice holiday bonus and Not For Lazy Moms gift bag.
But this episode is not about Monique and her journey to self-actualization, it’s actually about Michael Darby being a drunken prick. We’re introduced to Michael sipping on a Corona not helping Ashley Darby get Dean dressed for his five-month photo shoot and making jokes about the size of his infant son’s penis. “Watch his you know what,” he tells his wife. “It’s pretty big — runs in the family,” Michael quips, making the entire world deeply uncomfortable for approximately 30 seconds. The fact that this is not even top five worst things he does this episode shows that we’re in for a real doozy from our Australian ass pincher. I will say, baby Dean cleans up nicely and looks adorable in his little bowtie for that photo shoot. He’s really in his Gerber baby era.
After the photoshoot, Ashley and Michael Darby have a frank and open conversation about the state of their relationship, JK they gossip about whether or not Juan Dixon, one of the top three hottest house husbands we have, will finally propose to his ex-wife Robyn at their holiday party. Ashley Darby is under the impression that Juan Dixon will be proposing at the party, while Michael Darby says it’s not gonna happen. “That man will not do that… just something I know,” Michael says, brushing off the suggestion. Ummm what the fuck are you talking about, Michael Darby? Juan’s whole storyline this season is asking Robyn to marry him. Are you dumb? Anyway, Michael refuses to share more about why he thinks Juan’s got cold feet, saying that he doesn’t want to get into Juan’s business even though he’s happy to gossip about him on national television. What a good friend.
Meanwhile, Candiace and her
former assaulter mother get their nails done and talk about Candiace potentially becoming a mother. This is ultimately incredibly boring and uninteresting because it’s entirely hypothetical and the 907th time we’ve heard Candiace discuss whether or not she’s interested in motherhood. Girl, no one cares if you have a baby. It’s time to shit or get off the pot. Candiace is still disappointed that her former bff Karen allegedly set her up to see Monique at her wig party, but Karen maintains that’s not what happened. While preparing to shill her LaDame elixir on HSN, Karen tells Ray-Ray that she’s disappointed with how the girls acted at her party, which she left early because she got caught in a lie about inviting Monique. Even though Karen did lie, what she lied about is different than what the ladies are accusing her of lying about, and that, frankly, is not fair. Karen claims that she did not try to set up Monique and Candiace to overlap and has the iPhone receipt texts to prove it, asking Monique to come at 4 and Candiace to come at 6:30. Again, this is all sort of moot because Monique and Candiace didn’t overlap, so we’re once again talking about a hypothetical situation that did not occur. In any case, Karen seems unbothered by the situation and serves Cruella de Vil white fur realness on HSN while selling her LaDame fragrance and instructing women to spray it behind their kneecaps. That’s LaDame for you — a class act through and through.
Before Robyn and Juan Dixon can get their happy ending, we, the viewers, must be reminded of their hardships so we can be appropriately happy for them for getting re-engaged. We get this scene courtesy of a really intense and legitimately emotional couples therapy session. Robyn recounts her romance with Juan Dixon — how it began when they were in high school right after Juan Dixon lost both of his parents, and its ebbs and flows since that point. Robyn accuses Juan of not being “very hands on” when their boys were infants, while Juan says their marriage was not in a good place before he cheated on her. Robyn admits that she wasn’t in a place where she even cared to fight for their marriage because she was… wait for it… tired (read: sleepy). Juan says he was “lonely” in their marriage and as such looked for “affection” and “romance” outside of it. Robyn is often a supporting character on the show, a henchmen of Messy Gizzy, so seeing her take center stage this episode was really compelling. As Karen (hilariously) said, Robyn “doesn’t get many moments.” There’s more to Robyn than tax problems and ugly hats! There’s a (sleepy) woman who’s been to hell and back with her hot-ass husband. To see Robyn silently dab tears away while Juan Dixon talks about cheating on her, now THAT’s a moment. It’s the polar opposite of Candiace attempting to wring tears out of her eyes while dabbing away at nothing every six seconds. At the end of their therapy session, Juan’s voice breaks a bit on “continue to grow to be a great partner,” and I am legitimately moved and am officially rooting for them as a couple. #JuanDixonAndSleepyRobyn4Eva
But I must wipe away my happy tears for Juan and Robyn, because it’s time to party! I must say, for being 90K in debt, Robyn and Juan’s holiday party looks pretty snazzy. How are they gonna write this one off? I don’t know how taxes work for pseudo-rich people, but I bet Robyn can reach out to fellow housewife Erika Jayne for advice. I’m sure she has a great accountant. Gizelle shows up sans-Jamal, of course. God, her outfit was so close. If she simply didn’t wear the white pirate blouse and chose a different top it would have been great. Clearly, she’s not getting great fashion advice from her date Kal, because that green-blue sparkly jacket he wore was not the wave. From the moment she gets to the party, it’s evident Gizzy is sick of being asked WHERE IS JAMAL?, and says in confessional that he can’t make it because the party is on a Saturday night and preachers are famously not allowed to do anything on Saturday night because of church on Sunday. Gizzy’s energy at the party is literally that Kristin Wiig SNL character that’s obsessed with surprise parties and is so excited that she runs through walls, and at one point she asks Juan Dixon how he’s going to propose not 9 feet away from Robyn. Messy Gizzy gonna stay messy.
Can we talk about Robyn’s brother Marc in that grey blazer and red shirt with a woman’s face on it that the producers had to blur out? That was a lewk. Not gonna lie, I’m kind of attracted to him. Ashley Darby comes in serving a full Ariana Grande high pony with an already kind of drunk Michael Darby, and I’m here for it. She also kind of looks like Doja Cat which I never noticed before? On the way to the party, Candiace vocally warms up because Robyn
allowed her asked her to perform “I See You (Remix)” at the shindig. In the car, Candiace tells White Chris that Karen asked her to come to the wig party between 5:15 and 5:30 on the phone the day before, which means she easily could have run into Monique. Again, I don’t know why we’re supposed to care about this because it did not happen, but Candiace thinks this is enough ammo to come at Karen with and intends on doing so. Sigh, classic Candiace not being able seeing the forest for the trees, and also not warming up enough to sound good.
Back at the party, Michael Darby is getting increasingly intoxicated and saying rude statements to the housewives. He talks about how he loves raising baby Dean because he can “enjoy it more” than he did with his other children, and Robyn pops in that Juan Dixon wants her to have another kid. SMH, not these men asking their wives to have more babies because they weren’t present the first go round. He says he’s not drinking liquor anymore because he “gets in trouble,” which is code for he talks about “slurping sausages” and pinching cameramen’s butts against their will. Candiace arrives and gives a very frosty wave to Ashley ‘Doja Cat’ Darby showing that they’re still not on good terms since Ashley firmly asserted her #TeamMonique allegiance at the dominatricks party in the city of Portugal. It’s not a great sign that I totally and completely forgot Wendy existed before she arrived at the event, serving Emily in Paris realness with a chic lil furry Chanel beret. But, hey, at least Eddie looks hot. We don’t have time to spend on Wendy and the fact that Gizelle said “she looks like a pimp,” because Michael Darby is getting drunk and is looking to cause some trouble. He doubles down on the fact that Juan Dixon is not going to propose tonight, saying that he and Juan have a “special relationship,” Juan hasn’t mentioned to Michael that he was going to propose, and that Juan has commitment issues. Hmm, maybe Juan didn’t tell you he was planning on proposing because you’re not as close as you think and also you’re chaotic evil and like to stir the pot? IDK I’m just spitballing here.
Finally, we reach the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the first live performance of Candiace Dillard’s single “I See You (Remix). And boy is it… not very good! The track starts playing, but it’s so low that you really can’t hear it. Candiace tries to vaguely riff over the music while asking the DJ to bump the track. Girl, why didn’t you come early and sound check??? The rest of the ladies are not obsessed with the a cappella rendition of “I See You (Remix),” and now when you look up the word “schadenfreude” in the dictionary you see Ashley’s confessional smirk. There’s a truly hilarious moment where Candiace asks, “That’s as loud as it goes?” just as Michael Darby goes up to the bar and asks, “Can I get another Corona?” Peak housewives dysfunction. Eventually after a few truly excruciating moments of Candiace singing, the track comes in and basically drowns out Candiace’s voice, which is a blessing to us all. Throughout it all, White Chris is in the corner playing the role of dutiful husband filming his wife on his iPhone. “You can put yodeling on a go-go beat and you got a hit,” says Ashley Darby in confessional. Okay, lace up those shady boots Miss Ashley ‘Doja Cat’ Darby.
After Candiace’s, um, spirited performance, Juan Dixon takes over the mic and finally gets down on one knee and proposes to Robyn. Here are the notes I took while watching: I’m screaming. I’m so happy I’m so happy I’m so happy omg omg omg if Candiace and Wendy don’t get the fuck out of the frame omg thank you Gizelle for pushing them back. Robyn seems genuinely so excited and thrilled I love love. I’ve never seen Robyn look more alive (or awake). Messy Gizzy was also thrilled, dropping “Whatcha gotta say now Crocodile Dundee?” in the confessional to shade Michael Darby, who is officially “wasted” and has begun ordering shots at the bar and trying to book a spot on Juan Dixon’s bachelor party roster. Are they that close that he would get the look, honestly? Doesn’t Juan Dixon have, like, hot NBA friends that he could invite and not Michael?
At some point, Karen is told by the producers that this is the season finale and that she has to show up, so to the women’s chagrin she arrives to the party with Ray-Ray wearing an adorable little hat. Almost immediately, the women sequester themselves and try to take Karen to task for “setting Candiace up” at the wig party, but the accusations roll off Karen like water off a duck’s back. Instead of owning up to her lies, Karen says some cockamamie thing about taking seven flights to get to the holiday party and then forgives the women for how they acted at her wig party. Very shrewd move on Karen’s part, as forgiving them keeps her in a position of power. She then launches into a long and confusing monologue about eating Kentucky Fried Chicken after her wig party, before ultimately denying ever setting Monique and Candiace up. “I don’t think I have to say everything,” Karen says, deflecting in a relatable way. This fight is dumb because we all know that the producers wouldn’t allow Candiace and Monique to come within 10 feet of each other. It’s evident that some of the ladies dislike Karen and this is their way of trying to get her, but it’s simply not sticking for me.
Candiace, however, insists on making this “a moment.” She starts yelling at Karen about getting beat up by Monique (again), which leads a blackout Michael Darby, who could have simply minded his business, to go up to White Chris and say, “You need to control your wife.” Yikes. “Michael, you should get the fuck out of my face,” says White Chris before shoving Michael away. Much like Candiace did with Monique, Michael has effectively baited White Chris into getting into a fight with him, and then proceeded to act surprised when things turned physical. Are Michael Darby and Candiace… a match made in heaven? Maybe so. The white-on-white crime leads to security getting involved and Michael immediately claiming that White Chris hit him, and then having to backtrack because that absolutely didn’t happen. Big Amy Cooper energy coming from Michael throughout this all, but lucky for him he’s got Ashley Darby to defend him, who starts yelling at Candiace, calling her a hypocrite. Michael Darby — who’s threatening to sue White Chris — pushes Juan Dixon away with much more force than White Chris ever pushed him, but you don’t see Juan threatening to sue Michael Darby, do you? “A man touched me,” Michael Darby screams, belligerently. Truly, have you ever seen anyone as pathetic as Michael Darby in your whole goddamn life?
Michael somehow wanders into the production area where he continues to cause a ruckus. He flicks Ashley’s arm with a force that made me say “No” out loud at my TV, and then flings a bodyguard’s arm away in a hallway. Ashley has to scream at him like a literal child and no fewer than 15 men corner him in the hallway to get him to leave the event. “You are embarrassing the fuck out of me,” Ashley Darby screams at her husband. Yeah… no shit. “If I ever acted like you did in that hallway. Fuck off,” Ashley Darby says, unintentionally making a really important point about this season and race in America. At this juncture, Black people, especially Black women, can’t afford to move through life in the way that Michael Darby does, doing and saying whatever they want and acting on their every impulse. Earlier this season, Monique acted impulsively and fought against someone whom she felt was attacking her and her family, and we all saw how that ended up for her: excommunicated from her friend circle with a lawsuit that would potentially take her away from her kids for over five years. White men get away with so, so much, and Michael Darby’s behavior at the holiday party is a testament to that. The rules are not the same across the board.
A confessional with Monique reveals what we’ve known all along, that the court decided that The Great Barn Brawl of 2019 was a “mutually consented fight” and not a one-sided attack. As such, all complaints were dropped. “You’re not gonna send me to jail because you’re embarrassed that you got dragged when you asked to get dragged,” Monique says, to close out the season, before her title card reveals that she’s written a song about the Candiace fight called “Drag Queens,” which I need to hear yesterday. In her white/stolen confessional outfit, Candiace seems very upset with the court’s decision, but as the saying goes, if you mess with the bull, sometimes you get the horns.
What a season. Thank you for allowing me to step in mid-season and go on this journey with you all. Until next time. T’Challa forever.