Have you ever thought about judging The Voice? Like, aura-wise, are you more Blake Shelton, Miley Cyrus, or Cee-Lo Green? Would you be a fast-talking hard-ass or an aw-shucks sweetie as you assess a bunch of wannabes battling for an ugly trophy and 42 seconds of fame? And have you ever thought about how, even if you’re Pharrell Williams himself, you probably have next-to-zero control over the entire situation because production has that leash pulled real tight? If so, you’re in luck, because this episode is almost entirely about a lady named Angie auditioning for Jen Shah’s snowflake. I know I said last week that I’m not expecting anything about “the incidents” for a few more episodes, but it’s hard not to see this as some season three focus group–slash–contingency plan …
Anyway, back to where we left off — on Echo Lake, the gals are still going at it. Meredith doesn’t understand why Lisa needs her and Jen to have peace so badly, besides the fact that it makes Lisa’s own life easier. It’s also probably because they’re all on a television show, and this gives her a story line against which to prop up the ever-growing portfolio of Barlow spon-con. Nonetheless, Lisa understands Meredith’s hurt concerning Brooks, because when one of the Barlow boys was a kid, someone said he had a big head in a convenience store, and she’s still upset about it. I remain fascinated by the creative ways Lisa manages to bring every conversation back around to fast food, herself, or both!
Ultimately, Meredith says she needs Jen to acknowledge she did something wrong before apologizing. Jen asserts she’s done nothing wrong and wants someone to “acknowledge the double standard going on and that she’s owning her shit and Meredith should too.” I’m not sure it’s possible to insist you’ve done nothing wrong while simultaneously owning your shit. Especially when you’re also using phrases like “I didn’t mean it” or “I’m trying to defend my fucking vagina.”
In every housewife argument (and most federal fraud cases), you have to make a choice. Either you did the thing and are ready with an explanation/apology/pile of remorse, OR you did not do the thing at all. That’s it. Those are the options. Alas, with her $5,000 Louis Vuitton x Limited Too backpack held hostage and her assistant telling her never to apologize (L O L cannot wait for this trial), Jen somehow chooses both. She tells Meredith she’s sorry, says she didn’t do it, and also asks to apologize to Brooks. They hug it out and — cue the angel chorus — there is light at the end of the vaginagate tunnel.
This Jen–Brooks sit-down could have happened four episodes ago, right? While Brooks is Meredith’s child, he’s not necessarily a child in the general sense. Or at least last season, in the context of the Bravo cinematic universe, he was not treated as such — children are not given confessionals! Most househusbands don’t get them! Is Brooks a friend-of who throws down with everyone else or a child-of who shows up for cute comedic relief and to move silly little subplots along? I honestly don’t care at this point, but Bravo and Brooks should figure this out and edit accordingly. The whiplash is starting to take a toll, and there’s no way my insurance is going to cover “chaotic TV-induced cranial distress.”
Over at Sarajane’s house … oh wait, who is Sarajane, you might ask? I have no idea (just kidding, I spent three hours researching and will roll out my findings if she gets more screen time). But for now, she’s merely a vessel to introduce us to Angie, Lisa’s gift-of-gab gal pal. Angie’s not a regular girl; she’s a cool girl who alternates between juice-cleansing her gallbladder and scrubbing it raw with twice-daily Chick-Fil-A. Think you have Angie fully clocked by that fact alone? Buckle up for a plot twist, because she has a transgender kid and invites all the other wives to a casino event benefitting an LGBTQ+ nonprofit. This includes Whitney, who is (plot twist again!) Angie’s distant cousin and someone Lisa doesn’t care if Angie hangs out with. It’s not like she bitterly calls them inbred polygamist cousins or anything. Totally chill! She doesn’t care! BFFAEAE. <3
Meanwhile, Robert Jr. is saved from another enlistment lecture at the local U.S. Army recruitment office when Meredith shows up in a Balmain Texas tuxedo, cheeks blood-spattered from her vampire facial. Meredith and Mary chat about the upcoming casino night — it’s the first time Mary will see Jen “since New York.” I love that they’re not allowed to say “since we contractually convened for the three-part taped reunion special.” Mary says that Jen tweeting grandpa-husband content shows that she’s not predictable, and I disagree! I think Jen is very predictable. Predictable does not mean calm. You can be predictably chaotic. Meredith dishes on the ice-fishing apology and says if there’s any more nonsense, she’s “out and done.” Spicy.
One of the best parts of this season, besides the federal crimes, is getting to see more than the same three restaurants from last season. Valter’s survived the pandemic (I checked), but Whitney and Angie slink on over to La Trattoria Di Francesco to break out the genealogy charts. They say their mutual great-great-great-grandfather Shadrach Roundy’s name three times, and POOF, Angie’s caterer pulls out of casino night. The Bravo money may have been good, but Whitney believes perhaps the Barlow threats were even better. If Lisa’s to blame, Angie will be devastated. I, however, will be delighted because this kind of old-school nonsense is my favorite flavor of rich-lady pettiness.
The casino charity night arrives, and although everyone’s tits look stupendous, the caterer-saboteur gets the last laugh. What’s the point of getting free diamonds loaned at the door if you’re trapped nibblin’ on individual tortilla chips with exactly four kernels of Trader Joe’s Cowboy Caviar? Alas, everyone acts according to form. Some Mormon tech CEO donates a million dollars. Coach Shah and Heather bro out at the craps table. Mary talks about the bible and attempts to climb banisters. Lisa snubs Whitney. Seth makes a creepy comment about Heather’s boobs. At some point, Jen and Mary even make a pinkie promise to have a rib cook-off with their respective husbands. Everything’s all so unhinged, it somehow circles all the way back around to making sense.
And then, it’s time to brawl. After a quick costume change into a saucy little Meredith Marks x The Muppets number, Angie confronts Lisa about the catering snafu, and Lisa undergoes a complete malfunction. It’s like in Westworld when the hosts are on the verge of sentience and glitch their way into an android seizure, except the tears are 100 percent pure VIDA TEQUILA®. Lisa says it’s all unreal, and she feels “weird, upset, completely upset,” then brings in Jen and Meredith. For what? If you’re going to phone a friend to moderate your fight, Jennie is the one. Total amateur hour. The flailing continues while Angie more or less chills, leaning against her mountain of a husband, Chris. Lisa starts berating Chris, who appears on the verge of passing out from the one-two punch of wearing a three-piece suit under hot lights and huffing that box-fresh vanilla reed diffuser straight from the source. Lisa is HEARTBROKEN and begs for John before they storm out together. It’s the worst acting I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen no less than 37 BYOB improv shows. Really exceptional stuff!
Anyway, see y’all next week for sit-downs with everyone currently feuding, sex ed with Meredith Marks, and a very special edition of BOYZ NIGHT OUT.