After a whole calendar year of ending episodes with a lousy “To be continued …,” we get one to close out 2022 that is almost worth it. It is the TBC right after Lisa tells the group that she doesn’t think her marriage will survive and that her husband, Lenny, a half-tumescence that Cialis couldn’t cure, is dating another woman. Once again, we see the women rush to her defense (except for Julia and Adriana, who are eating some delicious dumplings by the bar), and Lisa loses her ever-loving mind.
I never loved a group of women more than when they started digging into this other woman and who she is. Lisa says the girl follows her on Instagram, which is crazier than Angelina Jolie’s blood vial, and they pull up her account. “She’s a fucking ho. Look at her pictures,” someone (I think Alexia) shouts. Marysol pipes up, “I wanna see that ho!” These are the girls that you need! Obviously the villain here is Lenny, the inventor of Scrotox so that even his ball sack won’t have wrinkles, but when you’re feeling down, sometimes you just need some friends to tell you that his new girlfriend is a ho, looks like a ho, has an Instagram account that is linked to regularly by @HosDaily, and says “Ho ho ho” more times than a mall Santa.
I also feel horrible for Lisa, even more so when we get the whole story. The way she tells it, the party during which he had his hot-mic moment was on a Saturday. On Monday, he told her that he wanted a divorce. He said he would start dating and that if she stayed in the house, she would get a front-row seat to him dating, and so would the kids. This incalculable asshole. By that Wednesday, he was already dating the other girl. I don’t think, at this point in the show, Lisa knew about the hot-mic moment. That would indicate that he was already dating and sleeping with this woman, someone that Lisa says Lenny “lusted after for a long time.”
Lisa says she is blindsided and humiliated, and while she was never really my favorite, I am now, like, a full-on Lisa stan, supporter, protector, and Cameo purchaser. (Those Birkins don’t buy themselves.) I wasn’t in her relationship, but from what I saw of him on this show, I knew he was a man who went to the Michael Darby School of Relationships. I think Kiki Barth (the perfect “friend of” because we see her only when she is either wearing or saying something fierce) is right when she says, “Just the shape of his head — you know he was up to no good.” Exactly. He looked — no, he looks — like someone who would do this to his wife. I mean, I have never seen someone who so clearly belongs at Mar-a-Lago, a fake-tan stain on someone else’s night clothes.
Everyone breaks from lunch and goes to their separate rooms to talk about the big news of the day with their bestie or call their husband to talk about it. Julia does neither. She has to go watch Zorro, who is in her room wearing a cone and a muzzle because there is no love story on earth as powerful as that between a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and her dog.
Julia and Adriana eventually talk about Lisa on the lanai, but it’s Adriana’s comment in the confessional that really hit me. She says that Lenny met Lisa when she was really young and working as a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas. She has no family that she speaks to, and he moved her to Miami, away from her friends and her life, gave her a bunch of plastic surgery to look perfect, then made her do everything he wants, including throwing parties with every girl who has ever modeled a Sexy Kermit costume on the Yandy website. Lenny groomed her. Can I say that? Hell, if Tucker Carlson can say it about drag queens, I can say it about Lenny, a herpes sore right on the tip of a dick. Lenny put her in a position where she would have to rely only on him, where she needed him for her physical, mental, and emotional well-being. He did that so one day he could do this. He could leave her without her having any recourse, money, or power in a system that will always value rich white men more than it will ever value Lisa.
What I love is that when Lisa shows up for Alexia’s birthday dinner that night, she gets a call from her mother-in-law, Marina without the diamonds. I never liked Marina, but I am so happy she calls from the house to tell Lisa that she thinks Lenny is sending the driver out to get his new girlfriend and that Marina has been banned from the house. Treating his wife like crap, leaving his mother out in the driveway in his car, ignoring his kids so that he can get laid in the bed that his wife just left that morning — this is the kind of man this girl wants to fall into bed with? Money will do such loco things to you, huh?
Lisa is getting real-time updates from people on the ground. The nanny is in the guest house, and Lenny refuses to let her into the main house, where he is hanging out with the girl and the kids are asleep. Marina calls back with more reports. Lisa leaves dinner and is now making calls from an echoey ladies’ room, and we can’t see what she’s going through, but we can hear it and it’s harrowing. How can Lenny even be having any fun? The wife is calling, the mother is in the driveway, and the nanny is knocking on the door. How is this fun for anyone?
The next morning, after staying up with Larsa and crying until 3 a.m., Lisa needs to pack up her Rimowa and head back home to take a flamethrower to that tacky-ass Star Island house with the black-bottomed pool that does not make the rockin’ world go round.
Just when you think that Lisa leaving will make the episode boring, we have Alexia to, once again, carry this whole thing on her trash-talking back. While Lisa was crying in a hotel-bathroom stall, the rest of the crew is playing a card game around the table. Julia asks the group, “If everyone here was a prostitute, who would make the least amount of money?” Julia says it would probably be her because she doesn’t want to get out of her tacky pajamas. Alexia, who just unwrapped a $25,000 watch from her husband (which she somehow spun into being a woman who doesn’t need a man), says, “You know how to be a prostitute; you’re Russian.”
The editors didn’t even need to add in the record scratch. They didn’t need to add the crickets. They didn’t need to add the awkward moment of silence while Alexia talked shit about approximately 70 million Russian women. We all saw it; we all knew it. It wasn’t just what she said — it was the tone. She later tries to say, “It was a compliment. Russians are known as the best prostitutes.” Nope, that wasn’t it at all. If that is what she meant, she would have said it. She also could have made it a joke — not a good one, but something like, “Oh, Julia, give yourself more credit. You know Russians have the best caviar and the best prostitutes.” As I said, not good, but I can see it.
No, Alexia meant it. She meant that Russian women are hookers, and those who aren’t treat men like they are. Why does she think this? Because she saw a documentary on Netflix. Alexia also thinks that Meghan Markle is the queen of Montecito and that opening a big cat zoo in her backyard would be a good idea. That’s what you get for watching Netflix documentaries.
At the table, Julia does not like the comment and makes her dissatisfaction known, but we don’t hear about it until the next day. On the way to a Cuban restaurant, the bus stops at a roadside food-truck situation. Alexia and Julia are the last two to order and are standing outside of the Sprinter, where the rest of the women have already assembled after placing their orders. Alexia apologizes for the night before, and Julia takes a moment to explain why it hurts. She says this is something she heard her entire life: that as a pretty Russian woman, she had to be a prostitute because that is all they are good for. This was a moment for Alexia to say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t know that. I’m sorry I said it.”
But no. Alexia’s problem is that she cannot be wrong. Her other problem is that she can’t argue in good faith. These are two related problems that make each other worse, sort of like doing way too much cocaine when you’re already drunker than Marysol at the end of a day of filming her confessionals. Julia tells Alexia that people always say this about being a prostitute, but Alexia is the one who lived off her ex-husband’s drug money. Okay, a low blow but effective. Alexia immediately gets flustered and on the defensive, but I think Julia did a deft thing in saying, “You think all Russians are prostitutes. Other people think all Cubans are drug dealers. Both of those assumptions suck, so let’s not use them.” I think this is a very generous read of Julia’s intentions, but there we are. (Also, we all know Adriana told Julia that morning, “If she brings it up again, mention that her ex is a drug dealer.”)
Alexia tells Julia that she is the only one telling the truth and everyone else is lying. Is she the only one telling the truth about Russians being hookers? What exactly is she right about? She won’t say, and it is not clear. On the bus, the fight continues and Adriana gets right in there, meeting Alexia’s Netflix documentary with Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami, an actual Netflix documentary about drug dealers that Alexia is actually in. Alexia says she is grateful for that documentary because it shows a different side of her sons’ father. Does she mean it shows the bad side? Because everyone remembers the good side. Again, totally confused. Alexia then goes for Adriana by saying that drug dealers aren’t worse than prostitutes; the people who are the worst are people who date married men. Adriana counters with Alexia dating Todd while she was still married to her ex-husband, Herman.
The volleying. The back-and-forth. The destruction. The women grunting. What is this — one of Martina’s tennis matches? We end with another To Be Continued, this time not about Lisa but a good old-fashioned Housewives squabble about dating histories and some light bigotry. You know, the usual. But as the To Be Continued is fading to black, Lisa wakes up in the back of an Escalade, making the three-hour tour back to Miami. She looks at the car’s interior and then quickly out the windows. There is water everywhere. And sun. A few clouds in the sky cast shadows onto the water, making it look deeper in places it’s not. It’s just an illusion. She doesn’t know where she is for a moment and is unsure of where she’s going. It’s home. It’s her house. It’s where she’s safe, she thinks, as the grogginess dissipates like smoke from an extinguished candle. Then she remembers her husband, his mistress, the kids, her mother-in-law, the nanny, the driver, the night before, the crying. She remembers it all and wants to go back to sleep — or at least dive into one of those dark spots in the ocean (or the Gulf), hoping she can somehow lose herself in the cold.