After four long weeks of anticipation, the Potomac taglines are finally out, and boy, were they about as exciting as a colonic. Let’s get into them, shall we?
• Gizelle: “I’m pretty, petty, and always sitting on ready.” At least she stopped with the nonsense with the word on the street. 6/10
• Ashley: “You may think you know my story … but there’s always a plot twist!” Such a middle-of-the-road turn of phrase for someone whose story line is about going through a divorce. 5/10
• Robyn: “When it comes to the truth, I always arrive on time.” Robyn may have stepped it up with her on-camera work, but she still phoned in her written assignment. 4/10 (And that is me being generous.)
• Candiace: “My vocals are clean, but my reads are for filth.” It’s a bit unfortunate that this tagline is coming out after that clip of Candiace singing and never quite landing the right key at the Legends’ ball went viral, but I will still give her props for making a quip out of maximizing her career opportunities. If she had only switched that last part up to “filthy” instead of “for filth,” it would have read (pun intended) a lot smoother. 7/10
• Mia: “I may not remember everything, but you’ll never forget me.” Forgetting is not the same thing as lying, Mia. I would have done some sort of play on “liar, liar, pants on fire,” personally, but to each their own. Regardless, 5/10
• Wendy: “I’m a Nigerian queen with no time for mean.” This just sounds like a bad wrestling intro. Wendy, mama, what is going on here? 4/10
• Karen: “Just like a three-wick, I burn slow and never waver.” Referential and a bit delusional: the perfect sweet spot of taglines. 8/10
I’ve noticed that production is doing a lot of simultaneous-scene recaps this season so far — we’ll see multiple cast members give their renditions of the same story line at the same time. This episode, for example, Robyn and Wendy both relay to their partners their vantage point on why their conversation went left at Ashley’s event. Wendy tells Eddie that Robyn interjected into a conversation between her and Ashley full of aggression; Robyn explains to Juan that she fully planned on inviting Wendy to “family fun day” before their argument escalated and she completely soured on that idea as a result. Her compromise is that while she still plans on excluding Wendy, she is fine on inviting Candiace to play auntie. What I found more relevant was the men’s responses when both Wendy and Robyn tell them that Candiace stormed out after Gizelle approached her to discuss her discomfort with Chris. Juan — while a bit skeptical on why Gizelle wouldn’t have told Candiace when it happened — settles on recommending the more conciliatory approach of validating her feelings and saying that he would apologize for the situation; Eddie remains in disbelief that Chris is in the thick of such significant dialogue considering his relationship with the women, going as far as to say, “Why they trying to get Chris? This is crazy!”
This speaks to the significance of what is being discussed. Gizelle seems to feel, both in the episode and up until present day — judging from her recent conversation on Carlos King’s podcast — that people’s reactions to her statements are overblown, since she has not accused him of flat-out assault. But what she is implying, through inconsistent stories, is that Chris is a man who does not understand boundaries with women who are not his wife. That is not a light statement, and Gizelle cannot make demands that Chris apologize for behavior that she is claiming is not that serious, now that she is seeing that Candiace is not taking it well and other cast members are not playing into an entertaining storytelling dynamic.
For better or worse, post–Monique Samuels, there has been a clear standard that families are off-limits unless absolutely necessary; Wendy made her stance clear on that last season when she stood her ground against Gizelle and Robyn when she felt that they were being intentionally invasive with her family for the cameras. Either this situation with Chris is a matter that requires serious and immediate attention so that everyone can feel comfortable amongst each other on all-cast trips or it isn’t nearly as inappropriate as Gizelle presented — she cannot have it both ways. I am giving as much room as I can for Gizelle’s feelings, but the delivery has moved in a very untoward way.
The family fun day itself is about as organized as Robyn’s hair on any given day, so do with that what you will. How do you prepare three trays of food for about 15–20 Black people? That is just a recipe for disaster. Wendy, of course, declines to let Candiace escort her kids, which I felt was totally understandable — I don’t believe the two are much closer than just castmates, so to expect Wendy to entrust her children with someone else just to keep up appearances is completely preposterous, and Robyn knows full well she wouldn’t do the same. The games are not organized, there is no real system behind winning and losing here, and most of the kids who were in organized sports did not attend — I feel like production could have done her a solid and at least offered her a budget to put this event together, because I’ve seen school field days with more thought and effort. I know people like to talk down on participation trophies, but I think some jersey or something to acknowledge the day would have made it seem more cohesive. Instead, you end up with an out-of-shape Karen hopping in a potato sack, while Mia desperately tries to get her BBL to cooperate. Charrisse didn’t even show up in sneakers or with children; was she just there for moral support?
What was interesting, however, were the dynamics that revealed themselves over the course of the day’s events. Juan seems to not want to be bothered with the drama of the day and sends his sister in his stead. Karen is determined to not give Charrisse any shared camera time, and her respiratory infection conveniently flared up around the time of Charrisse’s arrival to the day’s festivities, sending her off in search of a Z-pak — which, as far as I know, requires a doctor’s prescription — and the nearest CVS. Candiace is giving confessionals doing her best impression of Kylie Minogue while inviting Gizelle to the blackest part of her ass.
Meanwhile, Ashley is opening up to more of the nuances around her separation. Michael is really resistant to Ashley’s current nesting instinct and even more averse to the idea of expanding the family, to the point that he scheduled a vasectomy and hasn’t pushed back on Ashley’s desire to end the marriage while he gallivants in Vegas. They’ve worked on preparing a separation statement that expressed mutual respect for each other and attempting to squash the rumors that would inevitably crop up due to their volatile partnership over the years, but the story leaked before the statement could go out, and Michael is seemingly not taking the public pillorying well. I get that Ashley is trying to be as amenable as possible, but having to accommodate her ex’s mood seems to be a very delicate situation that is causing more tension than just ripping off the Band-Aid and delegating the labor of negotiating this to skilled mediators.
Next week, the gloves are back off: Not only do we see the long-standing rumors about Karen’s marriage rear their head, but Robyn loses it on Wendy again, and we see Ashley bring her interactions with Chris back around to Candiace for the public forum. Until then!
• I am very curious about how Karen’s daughter got to the Met Gala. I don’t think she is an influencer like that, but maybe I am not that tapped into the Gen-Z movers and shakers.
• Eddie is about as enthused over the concept of collaborating with Peter on a restaurant as he is over the prospect of his next prostate exam, which is the appropriate reaction for anyone seeking to go into business with Peter.
• Juan’s son calling him a “world-class bench player” made me lose my breath for five straight seconds. I seriously did not know you could talk to Black parents like that and still live.
• It continues to make me uncomfortable to see Mia so openly air out her wound with her mom on-camera. I get that this is supposed to be them talking about their lives, but there are some things that you won’t be able to take back, and preserving your resentments over your mother’s neglect due to addiction for posterity is just something that I think can be saved for therapy and not necessarily the world’s prying eyes, especially since you both seem to be making strides to reconcile the relationship. I am glad that it seems that Mia is coming around to a place of empathy for the pain that her mom has endured, but it can just be really rough to watch her process repeatedly, and I am sure can be repeatedly humiliating for her mother as she manages her sobriety journey.
• I hope that Candiace’s story line isn’t limited to her fertility journey and this drama with her husband. I want better for her than that.