There comes a moment in every new friendship when the glossy facade of perfection and the constant desire to impress fades away, leading to vulnerability and reality. For most of the women who have the experience of Candiace Dillard waltzing into their lives, I imagine this moment is always a bit shocking and, presumably, a check of one’s decision making process. For our new, dear Wendy, the moment happened on national television when she was forced to reckon with the fact that the woman she showed up to a dinner party with had recently called a pregnant acquaintance a “concubine” and a “roach.” We’ve all been there!
Wendy, perhaps fearing the wrath of Candiace herself, refuses to throw her friend over the coals just yet. But oh wow, was it a fascinating journey to watch her facial expressions evolve throughout that ill-fated meal. There was a clear turning point when she realized “oh no, I’m aligned with the crazy one.” It’s a delicate place to be. It will be fascinating to see how their relationship unfolds, because Candiace is great at seeming fancy free and above it all. But once those cards start to fall, it’s a damn avalanche of spades and hearts and I’m not sure if Wendy is ready.
Anyway, things are still a mess at Ashley’s “Coming Out Of The House” party, which doesn’t sound any less depressing than it did last week. As the ladies continue to squabble about apologies and tweets, we cut to a testimonial of Candiace where she says “there is a sordid history in this group of creating mayhem, foolishness and contention at tables.” Yes, girl, it’s called Real Housewives. Look it up.
Gizelle spells it out plainly: Candiace and Monique are arguing, but they’re not addressing what the argument is actually about. Monique doesn’t want to bring up Charisse because she doesn’t want to give life to the rumors and Candiace doesn’t want to bring up Charisse because she knows it makes her look bad. It’s an argument carousel. Eventually, however, Monique manages to secure something more elusive than American democratic stability: an apology from Candiace. As they leave for the evening, even Candiace and Ashley appear headed to some kind of resolution, so perhaps peace is headed to the land of Potom…
WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE ON THIS DAY??!!
We are treated to an audio recording of Candiace going off on….somebody? I think it’s Monique? She’s pissed that she was, in her opinion, blindsided by being forced into reconciliation and apologies with the group. Candiace, I really do love you girl, but we need to be doing this at the damn table! What do you have against tables?! Tables made this entire network!
As we move on, Ashley and Michael are shopping for their Sip & See, a party that somehow manages to make me even more sad than the dinner party that we just left. The Most Uncomfortable Couple in America clomps around a store looking for an outfit for their infant son and it’s at this point when Ashley says that her husband “has not been able to enjoy me from the inside” since she gave birth. Ashley will always pick the most absolutely vile way to say something and it’s a gift. She says Michael has been brought to tears by their sexual inactivity and I’m already sensing an excuse being crafted for his alleged infidelity later this season.
Meanwhile, Gizelle and Robyn do what they do best: walk around wearing makeup on construction sites. The way that these two just love a home renovation fills with me anxiety and dread. Gizelle and Robyn sit in the middle of the wilderness and talk about how they’ve both taken back their philandering ex-husbands. They’re both in wildly different situations, though, because a pink-suited pastor is no Juan Dixon in many different ways. Gizelle is having a difficult time reconciling the fact that her daughters don’t like the idea of her getting back together with their father. It seems pretty obvious to me that Gizelle’s daughters, whom I’ve stated are the three smartest women in Housewives franchise history, don’t actually like their dad all that much, despite whatever Gizelle wants to say. Gizelle is too much of a gorgeous badass to be falling for any of this! Maybe the constant presence of paint fumes has gone to her head, because something ain’t right here.
It’s time to invade Wendy’s home for the first time. There’s a real masculine, yet cozy atmosphere emanating from her shades of vanilla McMansion. Wendy’s mother, looking about two years older than her daughter, is here to teach Wendy’s sons the Nigerian language Igbo. It’s all very sweet. I love everything about professor Wendy. She is a smart, determined woman who can back it up, which is ammunition that not many Housewives (re: very few) actually have. She’s like a lioness. I don’t think Wendy is going to get riled up easily, but when she does? Watch out.
We join Candiace and Chris as they shop for one of his three (?!) kids from two of his previous relationships. I never remember that Candiace is a stepmother of THREE. It often feels like she might not, either. In the biggest coincidence of all coincidences, Candiace says she might as well use this time to buy a gift for Ashley’s baby, as well! She’s been invited to her Sip & See, you see! It’s funny how this all works out. Candiace picks out something blue for Ashley’s baby because it’s a boy and that’s about as much energy as Candiace is going to put into this.
The unfortunate reality of Monique potty training her pet bird while her children are nowhere in sight confronts us. Karen, whose major storyline so far this season is being enemies with the aforementioned bird, arrives in heels, leggings and a baseball hat to chat with Monique about what to do about a problem like Charisse. It’s actually quite confounding how a woman as inconsequential as Charisse has become such a looming presence this season, despite almost no screen time. They’re all too blind to see that Charisse is merely a puppet being controlled by a puppet master who believes in gender-normed baby gifts.
It’s Gizelle’s birthday and her daughters can see right through Jamal’s extravagant displays of affection before the festivities can even get underway. Jamal tries way too hard, from his clothes to the way he treats his kids. All they want is to be left alone and to see Nicki Minaj in concert, DAD!!!! Instead, he’s surprising them at school and making them partners in a restaurant (?) in Atlanta (???). There’s an energy to these forced family gatherings that is very dark and far beyond teenage angst. These girls are clairvoyant, I’m telling you! They know this isn’t going to end well for their mother (or them, for that matter) and they’re doing everything in their power outside of staring Gizelle in the face and shouting “HE WILL NEVER FULLY LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!” Sometimes you have to find out the hard way that a megachurch pastor who refuses to live in the same city as his family is a bad guy, but I can’t fix everyone’s problems!
It’s time for the Sip & See, which means it’s time for Ashley to talk about babies getting herpes in their eyes. This woman knows no bounds. The party looks absolutely terrible. It took an entire team of people to put a bunch of cheap chairs in a circle? A chalkboard says that baby Dean’s favorite activity is “cuddles” and his favorite song is “Radio by John Mayer.” This baby is a sensitive high school boy in the Midwest.
The party is for Dean, but it’s really about Candiace and drama. She shows up a little late and with a gift (two great power moves) and marvels at the gorgeous view out the high-rise windows of her mortal enemy. Ashley, whose entire parenting strategy is rooted in precaution and overbearingness, has no problem placing her newborn son in the arms of a woman who, just months ago, threw a knife at her head.
But before these women can get too comfortable, Charisse arrives. Charisse herself is just a vessel. And yet, she’s the only other woman sitting around this weird sectional with the regular cast member as Ashley’s son obliterates her tit. It’s all a little forced, a little weird and more than a little iconic when Candiace, a grown woman, hypothesizes about when Ashley’s daughter will stop being so ugly. Ashley is using her baby as armor, Wendy continues to defend her new friend Candiace against her better judgment and Robyn is probably asleep.
Candiace, never one to really back away from drama, leaves the party in a huff. If the devil had an advocate and if that advocate was me, he might say that Candiace left that party knowing damn well that she left a warthog in the room for everybody else to discuss. Ashley, the woman who didn’t take her son outside for months because she was scared of wild animals, leaves her son inside to chase after the woman who has made her life a living hell.
Moments after Monique shades Candiace for leaving the party, she does the exact same thing after being confronted with Charisse. Candiace, meanwhile, refuses to address her beef with Ashley, despite being right next to her on a random park bench. IF NOT NOW, WHEN? WHEN???? These women are running around in damn circles and I’m getting exhausted. We leave things inside Ashley’s strangely wallpapered apartment without her anywhere in sight, as Charisse plays coy and Monique is left to walk home alone in a Big Bird yellow minidress.
Something tells me we’re never really getting to the bottom of the Monique/Charisse drama, which is unfortunate because this feels like some Beverly Hills chicanery. I expect more from you, Potomac! Prove me wrong!!! This episode ends as tenuously and shaky as it began. That’s the beauty of these relationships. Just when you think you might have things figured out, an ugly ass rug gets pulled out from underneath and we’re left to take stock of where everybody stands.
Until next week!