Oh, sweet Baby Jesus’s birthday, this is just the episode we needed last week, which was so toxic that Julia Roberts signed on to save everyone from it in Erin Brockovich 2, this time with 100 percent less Tom Girardi. The episode picks up the morning after Dorinda lit the Black Flame Candle and her evil shouting magic bursts the eardrums of everyone in a small Massachusetts town and somehow makes a black cat the president. Before she’s even de-mussed her hair, Dorinda is on the apology tour.
The first stop on the Redemption Caboose is Brandi Glanville, say her name three times and she will try to have sex with you. Dorinda starts off with, “I love you.” Why do the women spend all episode saying, “I love you.” It’s like episode four of The Bachelor with all of these L-bombs dropping out of the sky like the corpses of so many flying ants. Brandi says it to Vicki, Taylor says it to Brandi, Tamra says it to Phaedra, Marco says it to one of the sound guys named Neil. What is going on with all of this romance? Did Len put Molly in everyone’s yogurt or something? Is that why Brandi is rubbing her cootie catcher on anyone who has ever graced the first chair on Watch What Happens Live?
Anyway, Dorinda apologizes and says she “said the wrong thing” when she wished for death on Brandi’s son. She says, “I should have just said someone close to you.” Brandi replies with the correct thing, which is maybe she shouldn’t have said anything at all. Maybe she should have, in Vicki’s immortal words, zipped it. Brandi finally asks the question on everyone’s minds, “Why are you so mad? It’s happening every day with one of us.” Dorinda says what happened with her and Jill is different, but what about what happened with D and Tamra? Or what happened with D and Vicki? Or what happened with D and that one really saucy nutcracker decoration that wouldn’t stand up straight?
Later, on their way to the winery, Brandi says that when she first got fired from her show, she drank too much, lashed out, and was generally miserable. Dorinda was acting just like this while she was still on the show. The anger definitely comes out more when she’s drinking, but Dorinda is an angry person for many reasons (I think most of them are related to Richard’s death), and I think that being put “on pause” just made her madder than a hatter.
As everyone around the breakfast table hopes that they can have a day without as much drinking where everyone behaves like adults, Vicki says, “You hit below the belt. I’ve never been around that. It is bizarre to me.” What? Vicki, did you block out the last 14 years of your life? Were you not there when Tamra tried to get Gretchen Rossi “naked wasted” so she would cheat on her fiancé with Tamra’s barely-legal son? That was so below the belt it was around the ankles. It was so below the belt that it was below the belt of someone in China on the other side of this flat Earth of ours.
This is just a little interlude to appreciate what is now one of my all-time favorite Real Housewives scenes. Vicki is in her pajama jammy jams talking about death for some reason, and she tells the group, “If I die right now, you tell everyone that she died sad.” Of all the insanely hilarious Irish Catholic guilt things to say to a group of people. It’s so insane it is impressive. She tells them she wants to die with love in her heart, but because she’s without Steve, she’s sad. I can’t wait until this is on her gravestone. “Here lies Victoria Denise Gunvalson Jr. She died as she lived: sad.” I will lie under it and have my picture taken, like Shannon Beador at a relationship retreat.
The ladies go to a winery which is marked by Phaedra giving a prayer, which I could have done without, but it seemed to counteract whatever black magic was powering Dorinda, so I guess it worked. Vicki then asks all the women about what it was like to leave their franchises. Phedra won’t talk about it because she can’t come right out and say, “Kandi is on some bullshit,” but she thought it real hard. Dorinda says she’s “on pause,” and Brandi tells her that she’s in denial about that. She also tells her that with her behavior on this trip, she will be “on pause forever” and never has wisdom come from the mouth of a babe. All of those Twitter stans seem pretty quiet about wanting Dorinda to return after her behavior on this here program.
The women go around the table and talk about their favorite moments on the show, like when Vicki surprised her son Michael at college, Tamra got engaged on camera, and Eva got married on the show. I wish they had fans vote and the women got to see what our favorite moments were. Or, better yet, have the women talk about the worst moments, the things they would take back, the tortures they had to endure for our entertainment. Dwell in that darkness. Cue up some Morrissey songs and let us all wallow in our angst. Nothing makes you feel the supple, supple skin of teenagers like Moz and a good cry.
Back at the house, it is time for Christmas in September, and we see a whole crew of people transforming Blue Stone Manor while the women are off trying not to get too plastered on the Bay State’s second-best wine. There are so many decorations. Dorinda for sure has a Christmas room like Deborah Vance in Hacks. Wait. Blonde. Older. One daffy daughter. Is equal parts funny and cruel. Wait, are we sure Dorinda is not Deborah Vance? Has anyone seen them in the same room together?
The only person who takes the Christmas theme seriously is Phaedra, who comes downstairs in a red minidress with a huge slash across the chest with both of Santa’s Fun Bags hanging out for all to see. Talk about stuffing some stockings. Talk about coming down the chimney. Talk about donning our gay apparel. Wait that is Brandi who is trying to smash her muffin on all of the women at the gathering. I give her extra credit for really grinding in Vicki, who keeps talking about how much she loves me in a way that is so insistent it’s almost homophobic. Brandi won’t let it drop, though, and while it’s probably not the best tactic, a little gay panic always adds a nice little frisson to any dinner party. When she offers to give Vicki a lap dance, Vicki says, “I can’t have a lap dance, I am a professional businesswoman.” That sounds like a line she cribbed from a Sandra Bullock rom-com where she spends the movie’s first half looking for a man to loosen her up.
Brandi is all hot to trot and tells everyone the dress she’s wearing was going to be her reunion dress, but at the last minute, Denise Richards had her kicked off the reunion. They all talk about how Denise did Brandi dirty, and Tamra reveals that when everything went down, Denise called her to ask her advice on how to deal with it. She also says that Denise totally denied everything. When asked who she believed, Tamra says, “Denise.” Then she’s like, “Oh wait. I misspoke. I meant Brandi,” and we get a “30 seconds earlier” clip of her saying the opposite, which is a burn so hot that not even Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road would go near it.
Tamra then shares a story with us that at BravoCon, Denise was all hitting on her and inviting her back to her hotel room to hang out. Tamra says that she is married, but otherwise she might have banged her. Seriously? That’s why? One quick call to Eddie and he would have been like, “Yes. Please do it. Take pictures. I beg of you,” and then he would have died. You know that Eddie has a weak heart. It would have been too much for him, but I think just enough for Tamra.
The rest of the evening is quite nice, mainly because Dorinda isn’t drinking. She says she feels like she’s being watched and she is cause everyone knows that after two martinis, “Martini Scrooge” will come out and ruin Christmas once again. It is actually a sweet, silly night where the ladies share gifts and get naked and then marvel at how Dorinda made it snow in the middle of September, and all I could think was, “Damn, that shit is expensive.”
After all of the festivities, Vicki was completely exhausted, mostly by Brandi’s continued come-ons, and went upstairs to get some rest. She decided she needed something to relax and drew herself a nice warm bath and lit some candles. What else says Christmas night like a hot bath and some candlelight? (Maybe some egg nog and a Hallmark movie, but I digress.) Vicki sunk deep in the tub, letting the warm water pull at all of her muscles, feeling the knots in her neck relax a little at a time, like the tight ropes as you lay in a hammock.
Suddenly the door started to creak open as if it was the wind, and Vicki could see something floating in the air. It was her Hitachi Magic Wand, but what makes it magic isn’t that it floats. She was alert but didn’t know to get out of the tub. As the door opened even further, she saw a robed woman standing in the doorway, holding the wand by its plug. “Who are you?” Vicki asked. “Why do you look familiar? And why do you have my vibrator?” Vicki was working up so much anger that she was almost vibrating.
With a little laugh, the woman flicked her wrist and tossed the appliance in the cooling bath water. The electricity shook Vicki’s body, splashing water around and sending little blue shock ripples across the surface of the water. The voltage kept going and going, even as Vicki’s eyes bulged and her tongue danced, and her body finally settled into a damp heap in Dorinda’s guest bedroom.