This franchise has completely destroyed the way I rate reality television. Every week as I’m typing my silly little words and listing headline options in hopes my editor will choose the most “Picking Dingleberries Out of Teddy’s Ass” one, there comes the dreaded moment when I gotta assign a star rating. Before RHOSLC, if shit happened and there were at least two quotable jokables, we were well on our way to a solid four stars. But now? Shit happening hits different. Sheshu tattoo be damned, “It’s All Happening” now sounds less like a tease and more like a threat. Turns out there is such a thing as too much happening, and we passed that milestone somewhere very shortly after “federal fraud arrest caught live on camera.”
In both the show timeline and in the real timeline, it’s a perpetual onslaught of mess. Not the fun kind! In the factory of my brain, there is one of those little whiteboards that says “days without truly fucked incident,” and the little lad who has to go run over and reset it down to zero every time I open the internet is positively exhausted. It’s more exhausting (though not surprising, *cough cough* Kelly Dodd, Ramona Singer, and everyone who cheers them on) that Bravo continues to at best just vibe in their negligence, and at worst be fully aware and encourage it to continue. Before I go long on how cranking out a bit more Amplify Our Voices content for Black History Month is not gonna cut it, and how “the system not being broken, but working exactly as designed” fully extends to the Bravo Cinematic Universe, I guess we should probably get back to Zion or whatever.
We pick up exactly where we left off, at the dinner table, everyone fully losing their minds. Meredith is still doing the “TERRORIZED, TRAUMATIZED, GOODBYE” Gene Wilder routine, but with a sprinkle of Cruella De Vil and a dash of Weakest Link that can only be coming from the addition of a caftan and a heavy pour. Jen is still going off at Jennie, then Meredith, then who knows who, missing at least 2.4 of her acrylics and 17 percent of her eyebrows. Mary is still lurking around different corners muttering under her breath, presumably about whether that Thom Browne cap is now fused to her frontal lobe. Whitney is still flouncing about in the dress that only exists to showcase the tattoos she had to have nabbed at the Sturgis super-spreader event, conjecturing about Jen and Meredith perhaps boning the same bro. Lisa is still dressed for her blacksmithing apprenticeship as she dry-eye sobs to Heather about being a punching bag while also plotting some shit-stirring for later. Oh yeah, and apparently there’s more (see: Jen-Mer sex sister-dom), but Meredith is a “kind enough soul” to not bring it up.
Instead, she calls Brooks on speaker with the door open. After a quick vibe check, he’s all like, “Wait, if you turned her in, who gives a fuck?!” and “I feel so bad for all the husbands.” Meredith says, “These are not my friends; I need to wipe the whole circle out,” which is the most ominous shit I’ve heard on television this week, a week that also included “Who the fuck is Lottie Matthews?” Jen creeps on in like a kid who just ralphed on their Gucci jam-jams. After Meredith explains she didn’t wanna be on the bus because it would be five hours of tension and that she has compassion for Jen, they somehow end up crying into each other’s faces before realizing “we have three more days to go.” Lord help us.
It’s the next morning. Mary’s up and at ’em in her Brooks Marks sweatsuit. Heather’s in bed scrolling through her phone. Ah, peace at least. Will this moment of respite continue? Perhaps extend to a classic one-two Bravo punch of outdoor sports and a culturally appropriative group activity? OF COURSE NOT. Meredith has added Mommie Dearest to her vocal repertoire and is on some “DO. NOT. BRING. MY. SISTER OR MY FATHER INTO IT. SPEW YOUR LIES. I’LL CALL THE CIA WHILE I’M AT IT” nonsense. Heather, Whitney, and Jen hide under the covers with nothing but a water pitcher, a straw fedora, and six ounces of Sugar Babies as protection.
Lisa walks right into the eye of the storm with her tiny can of Perrier, all “oh no what happened?” Girl, you know what happened. How are you going to act surprised when the shit is, in fact, stirred after you went in with a spoon and a strong wrist? Like, maybe try dealing with that 3 a.m. Big Gulp comedown solo-dolo instead of tiptoeing into other people’s rooms and leaving ticking turd-bombs on their pillows like the world’s most cursed tooth fairy? Meredith continues on about how “every time we sit down to have a conversation, it turns into this very hostile situation where we’re getting very angry and speaking to each other in a way that is not nice.” If nothing else, I’m glad someone has finally put my partner’s qualms with every Real Housewives franchise into a concise statement. Lisa agrees to give Meredith space.
In the kitchen, Mary continues being dismissive toward Jennie, Jennie continues being dismissive toward Mary. Given that both of these women are on a one-way train to “fired for racist bullshit,” I’m not even going to dive into this bottomless pit of yikes. Against all odds, everyone ends up dressed and back on the sprinter van for a day of being one with Mother Earth. Cue extensive footage of Mary managing to have enough energy to body shame people while also flailing up, down, and around various cliffs, insisting she grew up doing this. Okay.
Back at the villa, the ladies are all completely knackered. Upon seeing Lisa’s fresh Big Gulp and realizing it’s at least 10 p.m. as Jen gets her glam on (a real fuck you to her mom’s cashed retirement fund!), I was afraid. Not just for my sanity, but for my decrepit little fingers at the thought of transcribing yet another screamfest. But by the grace of God, for the first time in the history of RHOSLC, the producer gambit of getting the gals good and exhausted pays off!
It’s copacetic across the board! Meredith shares her favorite parts of the day! Lisa tries a new strategy of whispering everything to keep the vibes right! Everyone gets an invite to a VIDA event via Barlow voiceover that was definitely added in post! Mary apologizes to Jennie! Jennie casually confesses to going to anger management and assaulting her husband — oop, spoke too soon re: copacetic! But overall, it’s a victory. In fact, it’s more than that. I’d say it’s a sizable pile of debaucherous hope.
Everything that happens once the girlies head downstairs to hit “Club Zion” is a first for the franchise. No, it’s not Jennie on the pole or Whitney’s bare titties exhibiting new levels of buoyancy or Meredith guzzling wine from a trifle dish before climbing into bed with Lisa. It’s proof that these women just might have it in them to have moments of actual friendship. Can they do it without three weeks of trauma bonding, federal interference, and six handles of Tito’s? That remains to be seen.
Alas, see ya next week for Heather’s live demonstration of the difference between a gallop and a canter, more screaming about the memorial, and Lisa calling Meredith “a whore who’s fucked half of New York!” Can’t wait.