The Real Housewives of Atlanta
After a week off to watch a MAGA hat-wearing man win his seventh CTE Bowl (boring), our beloved RHOA is back with an actually exciting head-to-head matchup: Marlo Hampton vs. Kenya Summer Moore. We waste no time dropping right back into the fight between Marlo and Kenya about why they simply can’t get along, which is akin to asking why Israel and Palestine haven’t been able to sit down and just sort of talk things out. What I’m saying is that there’s history between Kenya and Marlo, a lot of which we saw via flashbacks mid-fight, and it’s not going to be worked out over one dinner conversation. I simply don’t know how you come back from bringing a literal marching band to interrupt someone’s wig launch party, and neither does Kenya, who is both unable and unwilling to let bygones be bygones with Marlo. Kenya does a very impressive job counting backwards while recalling how recently Marlo has come for her, which was not six, not five, four, three, or even two years ago, but this very year. When you’re counting backwards in a fit of rage, that’s when you know it’s serious.
In a refreshing turn of events, Cynthia steps into her typical role of fight mediator and voice of reason which she hasn’t been able to do this season because she’s been busy planning her pandemmy weddy. After Cynthia defuses the tension a bit, Marlo comes to the stunning realization that she might be in love with Kenya. “Damn, do I like her? Should we make love?,” she jokes. Hey, the line between love and hate is very thin (cc: Helga Pataki), so watch out LaToya, you may have some competition for Kenya’s heart. Porsha, who displays her immense power as an orator and leader all over this episode, says the girls should play a game because “we always bond again over laughter.” The wisdom that has. She offers up Never Have I Ever, created and executive produced by Mindy Kaling. “I played that in jail. It was so fun,” Porsha says. I need a feature film about Porsha’s night in jail and ensuing game of Never Have I Ever ASAP. All the ladies are down except Kenya who — shocker — continues her streak of being a terrible host and disappears with baby Brooklyn upstairs right when the ladies are ready to play without telling any of them. Uh oh.
Skipping a game teenagers play at slumber parties to spend time with your child might seem like a reasonable choice to make, but Kenya’s decision to skip Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Kandi goes upstairs to ask Kenya what in the hell is going on. You gotta hand it to Kenya for her commitment to keep Brooklyn off the screen, asking Kandi “Why do you have a camera here?” when she knocks on her door, full well knowing they are literally there to film a reality television show. Kandi, in the nicest way possible, asks Kenya what the fuck does she think she’s doing and Kenya plays dumb, says, “I don’t know what you want, Kandi,” and promptly shuts the door. Kandi goes downstairs and relays the message that Kenya will not be joining for Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever, which leads Porsha to organize the rest of the Housewives into a union against Kenya Moore.
While it may seem cruel to criticize Kenya for her childcare decisions, Porsha makes a pretty fair point: Kenya’s rich and selfish. Even though Marc Daly may be as succubus who is currently draining Kenya of precious time and resources, she is ultimately in a position where she can afford child care and didn’t necessarily have to bring Brooklyn on the trip with her, despite having never spent a night without her. That aside, she didn’t give the other ladies the option to bring their babies, which seems both selfish and unfair. I may not be the best arbiter of this fight because I do not have any toddler-aged children — I’m simply the mother of two beautiful, ageless twins named Anxiety and Depression — but I understand why all the ladies are pissed at Kenya, especially after the piss-poor job she’s been doing hosting. Kandi starts to cry thinking about little Blaze at home without her, while Porsha uses her powers of oration to point out Kenya’s hypocrisy to the other ladies. “I have a baby. Guess where my baby sleep at? Not with me. Where’s your baby sleep at? Not with you. Guess where your baby is? Not with you,” Porsha goes, inspiring the masses to rise up against Kenya Moore. Wow, Porsha “Norma Rae” Williams, reporting for duty.
The ladies scrap Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever and go to sleep at 10:30 p.m., properly pissed off at Kenya. The next morning, Kandi, one of Kenya’s longtime supporters/apologizers, takes her aside and tells her exactly what a terrible job she’s been doing playing hostess. She outlines it all: the private jet, Marlo’s room, and, most importantly, the crab cake of it all. “I didn’t care about riding in a private jet, but I would have loved a crab cake sandwich,” Kandi said, and who among us can disagree with that sentiment. Ken(ya) starts to break down, putting the (ya) aside and going full Ken for a moment: “I don’t have a village right now,” she cries to Kandi. “Marc is making my life really hard right now… I feel at this point he’s just trying to use her as his last bit of control over me.” While the Marc stuff is most definitely sad and real, the lack of a village part is sort of a problem of Kenya’s own making. Just a thought here, but maybe you don’t have a village, Ken, because you are mean to literally every single person you’ve ever met? Also, what does Marc Daly have to do with feeding your guests crab cake sandwiches?
In any case, the Kandi one-on-one gives Kenya the strength to half-heartedly apologize to all the ladies for her being a shitty host and also for bailing on Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever. She then hands over the hosting baton to LaToya (thank god), who leads the women in a drunk workout, which looked as fun as it was ultimately unproductive. Drew and Porsha opt out of the workout — Drew because of her knee, Porsha because she wants “to keep her big ass” — and Drew reveals that she is confused about Kenya’s erratic behavior and the ladies’ willingness to forgive her and move on from the night before, accusing everyone of being phony and fake. Ummmm it’s called being on a reality television show? Catch up. Porsha, decked out in Ivy Park, perfectly explains how she can dislike Kenya and still get along and have fun. “That’s a Black life that I value, but our relationship don’t matter,” says Porsha regarding Kenya. An incredibly powerful and honest statement. The Hosea L. Williams jumped out.
Speaking of civil rights, we get a painful and powerful reminder of the injustice that is still rampant in our busted country when we watch the ladies come together to watch the announcement of the charges in the Breonna Taylor case. This is one of those moments where hindsight makes the show difficult to watch. We now know that the only charge brought against the men responsible for her death was “wanton endangerment,” which Canadian Tanya accurately likens to “driving while texting,” but on that day, the housewives had some modicum of hope that perhaps justice would be served. Of course, it wasn’t served in any way. Watching Porsha break down in tears upon hearing the announcement of the charges was especially heartbreaking, knowing all of the time and energy she put into demanding justice for Breonna Taylor via activist groups like Until Freedom and her multiple protesting-related arrests. “It just doesn’t feel like a Black woman that I even belong in America,” Porsha says. “It just feels like I’m here on borrowed time if something can happen to me and nothing can be done.” A forever fuck you to Jonathan Mattingly, Myles Cosgrove, Brett Hankison and, of course, Attorney General Daniel Cameron.
We quickly have to wipe our tears away and forget all about the systemic racism of policing in America because it’s time for dinner and we’re going to Coconut Joe’s! The ladies all get dolled up for dinner, knowing that Kandi has organized a dungeon-themed bachelorette party for Cynthia to attend after their meal. Kandi casually mentioned that she got all the ladies dungeon attire, imported a stripper named Bolo (like the tie) to dance in a glass box, and, on top of all that, took out $4,000 worth of ones for the ladies to go to town with. Imagine being so rich and carefree that you could go to your bank teller and ask for $4,000 in $1 bills? Them “No Scrubs” checks really do keep rolling in. Before dinner, three full days into their group vacation, Drew realizes she doesn’t know shit about Canadian Tanya and I realize that I also don’t know shit about Canadian Tanya, which I am ultimately okay with. Despite my lack of interest, Canadian Tanya shares a little about herself: she’s been with her “life partner” for nine years (eyeroll), they are not married but they are very much together. This feels like it might be important info to remember when the dungeon party rolls around…
At dinner, Drew decides to be messy and come for Kenya, introducing a game called “The Realest or The Fakest.” Drew, honey, you were doing so well last episode with the headshot of it all. Let’s cut this “authenticity” crap out and embrace the fact that you’re filming a television show and let’s find you a better, more compelling storyline than “my husband closed on our new home without me,” okay? Drew uses this game to call Kenya out on her half-hearted apology from earlier that day, leading Kenya to feel attacked by Drew. Somehow, once again it becomes The People vs. Kenya Moore, with all of the housewives against Kenya, which is precisely what Kenya wants because she loves playing the victim. “If y’all want to have a sisterhood and have support then be my motherfucking village then. Step up and be my village,” Kenya demands.
The thing about villages is that you kind of have to like or at least not actively dislike the people comprising your village, and Kenya seems to not realize this crucial fact. More so than any other Atlanta housewife since Nene Leakes (miss you girl!), Kenya Moore is a narcissist, and as such she is unwilling to sincerely apologize for her actions and unable to put herself in the other women’s shoes and see what a pain she’s been this entire trip. She is truly incapable of thinking about the other women’s lives and families and sacrifices they made to go on this trip, so of course she said she didn’t need to give the other women the option to bring their children on the trip. I will say I did laugh out loud when Canadian Tanya quietly tried to order appetizers and Kenya yelled at her for doing so and not paying attention to her speech, and then proceeded to check her phone and ignore Canadian Tanya when she was explaining herself. This is why I never order appetizers for the table — it’s a thankless job. Ultimately, Kenya delivers another half-hearted apology to the group, not because she is sorry but because she knows that’s what people do in these situations, and Shamea makes the most nuanced and perceptive insight about authenticity and “realness” when she makes all the ladies fake laugh until they are actually laughing and feeling better. The ladies laugh all the way home where a Chanel-clad stripper named Bolo is waiting for them with his dick in a box.