I dedicate this recap to Kandi’s neck vein. May it be bold, may it be prominent, may it be a warning.
For the second time, The Real Housewives of Atlanta are journeying to Jamaica for a cast trip. Sanya takes the women, and their plus ones, to her native island, where she’s working on a collaboration with the interactive fitness program iFIT. The visit is a breath of fresh air as things were getting pretty stale in Atlanta; I think we’re all sick of the perpetual Marlo versus Kenya and Shereé versus Drew loops we’ve been stuck in for most of the season. To prepare for the trip, the ladies are doing typical pre-Housewives cast trip rituals like conversing with their spouses about things I’m sure they’ve already spoken about off-camera, packing while on the phone talking shit with another cast member, and squeezing in a bit of camera time with the family.
It’s been a while since we’ve been forced to observe the comings and goings of Drew and Ralph’s relationship. Still, I’m going to take their intolerable scenes in stride. Let’s consider it getting our vegetables out of the way before dessert. They break the ice by discussing Drew’s floating wigs, with Ralph putting on the AC to prevent any lifting. What a gentleman. They then talk about Ralph’s forthcoming book, Drew suggesting he talk about it on the trip since Kandi and Marlo are part of blended families. We find out that Ralph reneged on his decision to adopt Drew’s son, Josiah, after speaking to Josiah’s biological father, who would feel uncomfortable with it happening. I’m not surprised that Ralph would put the feelings of Josiah’s biological dad above Drew’s; Ralph lives in a man’s world of his (and Drew’s) own creation. Drew says she’s confused by the decision and needs time to process it, so Ralph tells her to “follow his lead,” and I held back vomit.
Although he no longer wants to adopt Josiah legally, he’s continuing to write a book about step-parenting. The idea is still foreign to Drew, but she’s invited to sit in on the meeting with his publisher, an invitation she takes with honor like a golden ticket, even though the book is about her child. She rightfully expresses her worry about her business being aired out in public, especially since it’s hard enough being a single parent, and obviously, her child is close to her heart. Ralph refuses to give up details about the book’s content, saying, “the book is bigger than you and I.” Oblivious of how disrespectful it is to keep her out of this process, he asks her to write the foreword, and the publisher reassures her that at least there will be a picture of the family on the back of the cover.
Let’s escape the alternate universe where Ralph holds Drew hostage before we get sent on tumble dry ourselves. Since it’s a couple’s trip, Marlo brings her friend/the florist that she kidnapped, Adrian, Shereé brings her friend Michele, and Kenya is solo since her cousin Che dropped out last minute. Monyetta is also joining in, bringing in her husband Heath, who, I’m not going to lie, got a jump scare out of me thinking it was a random white man who decided to get on their bus, but he’s definitely an upgrade from Ne-Yo. Still emphasizing the couples aspect of the trip, Sanya puts Kenya on the spot on the bus after their arrival on the island, asking about Che’s absence, and then has everyone go around and introduce their plus ones. Sanya is hellbent on shining a spotlight on Kenya being single, but I would personally prefer if no husbands or plus-ones came. Who is genuinely itching for more screen time from Ralph and Todd? (I don’t mind looking at Ross, he can stay).
They file into the hotel, which is Kandi Burruss approved, and are greeted by red, green, and gold cocktails and golf cart rides to their suites. In the golf cart, Kenya spots a handsome man and has the driver do a U-turn to approach him, getting his contact and inviting him to dinner. Meet John, another broad-shouldered, light-skinned younger man to add to Kenya’s roster, perfect for Kenya to get her groove back. Well, half of her groove because “everyone knows you can’t go full groove.” Their time in Jamaica coincides with Kenya’s birthday, so Sanya plans a surprise of towels folded in the shape of swans and rose petals strewn throughout her suite. I don’t associate swans and rose petals with birthdays; balloons and champagne would be more appropriate, so it felt like yet another nice/nasty dig at Kenya not having a partner. But Kenya is unbothered and likes the gesture, then puts on a Beyoncé-esque freakum dress that John very much appreciates.
Dinner begins on a cheerful note now that everyone’s freshened up from the plane ride with their accommodations making up for Sanya’s little house party that could. With John on her arm, Kenya arrives last — probably after texting production, making sure everyone else was seated so she can make a grand entrance for all to see. Marlo’s The Color Purple “Harpo, who is this man?!” reference during her confessional was a snapshot of the tiny part of her personality I don’t hate. The group bombards John with questions, ending in Kenya making a joke about John’s third leg.
Shereé eventually asks Ralph about his book, igniting conversation surrounding Josiah’s adoption. Marlo is heated when she finds out Ralph backed away from adopting Josiah, projecting her own experience as a foster child onto Drew and her family. She starts hypothesizing and making up scenarios of Josiah not being taken care of without Ralph’s legal guardianship, ignoring that Ralph has taken care of Josiah for most of his life. Only Marlo could have me up here defending Ralph; how embarrassing for me. Whether or not it’s strange that Ralph changed his mind about adoption, Marlo needs to mind what’s going on in her own home. Kandi brings up how Ralph can be responsible for Josiah without adopting him, provoking Marlo to … call out Kandi’s relationship with Mama Joyce? She says she thinks it’s weird Kandi’s mama comes before her man, officially waking up Kandi’s neck vein.
Marlo begins to go on a tirade about how belittled Todd feels and how apparently every man at the table said they could never deal with Mama Joyce. Kandi then says what we’re all thinking: “when you’re out there kicking it, and you sent your kids back, then you can’t say anything to him about what he’s doing.” Welcome to the party, Ms. Burruss! We’ve missed you this season! In her confessional, Marlo has the audacity to say Kandi is wrong for talking about a sensitive situation, as if that’s not exactly what Marlo is doing herself. To retaliate, Marlo goes into her narrative about Kandi “taking care of” Todd — which, so what if she is, let her redistribute her wealth — and repeating old tea Mama Joyce spread years ago. Scrambling for a read, Marlo shadily tells Kandi to worry about her man and kids. Okay? Isn’t taking care of her people one of the main pillars of Kandi’s personality? Digging herself into a deeper grave, Marlo says, “I’ve never disrespected my husband.” Girl, where is this husband that you speak of?
Call it schadenfreude, but seeing Marlo get read at dinner added another star to my review. Todd delivers the cherry on top when he jumps in, reminding Marlo that she “bought” her way into the group and no one was actually her friend. Bloop. He doubles down on his tea, reminding everyone that he previously worked on production for the show. Marlo responds that Todd used to talk shit about Kandi, calling her a country bumpkin. The tea is weak, and the read is tired. Her last ditch effort is claiming Kandi is only known in Atlanta, causing Mrs. Worldwide to flex her resume. In the midst of all this, John leaves, correctly intuiting that a future with Kenya would lead to many more nights like this.
Peach Tea To-Go
• Shereé saying her booty doesn’t smell tracks because she’s from Shaker Heights, one of the bougiest areas in Cleveland where it’s illegal for your shit to stink.
• Seeing Kenya with a dating interest is refreshing, but I wasn’t feeling any chemistry between her and John. But it made me think about what kind of man I would want for her, and I envision a rich, non-celebrity who either wants nothing to do with the show or is enthusiastic about having a role in it — no in-between.
• Kenya’s comment about Marlo sprinkling baby powder on old white men is so specific I have no choice but to believe it.