After seventeen weeks at Monique’s dingy lake house, the ladies and T’Challa all have their feet firmly planted back in Potomac. Things open with a VHS-style package, with fast forwards and rewinds, reminding us that Ashley’s marriage is hanging by a thread and Monique and Candiace are about to throw down. My seat? I’m on the edge.
Before we get to the hair pulling, however, we backtrack a week and find Candiace recording a remix of her song “I See You.” It’s shocking to be in the studio with a Housewife and the musical product is…good?! This is some Kandi Burruss shit! Candiace can actually sing, which must be infuriating for her enemies and Luann de Lesseps.
It doesn’t take long, of course, for Candiace to turn things around to Monique. She informs her husband Chris (who is always around, by the way…don’t you have something to cook?) that she is “done done” with Monique, which is a hilarious proposition because you’re on the same television show. But go off.
With that showdown looming, we still need to get to the bottom of the Ashley and Michael fiasco. It’s wild that this is effectively the B storyline on the show. God bless you, Potomac. We are not worthy of your bountiful blessings. Michael, who is too emotional to eat, and Ashley, who orders the entire menu, are hashing out their marriage problems in the middle of a restaurant instead of at home. Again, bless you.
Ashley, who has come to grips with the fact that her husband was messy behind her back, refuses to go all the way and accepts his excuse that he was drunk and fell asleep before anything else happened. It’s like one step forward, two steps back with poor Ashley. Michael blames his infidelity on the fact that he and Ashley haven’t been having sex since their baby was born. I would have gotten up and stuffed a Brussels sprout down his Corona-drinking throat.
At this point, Ashley drops the bombshell that the two of them have been in an open marriage, she’s had relationships with women and Michael calls in the producer because he wants another beer! All of this over a $12 salad in the middle of the afternoon! Effectively, Michael insists that he’s said enough and wants to go home. It’s a thrilling moment. Any time a producer comes on screen, I turn into Leonardo DiCaprio pointing at the screen in “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood.” Fourth walls are being broken as they’re simultaneously being built. It’s a fascinating look into production and the dynamic between Ashley and Michael. These are two individuals who are bound by contract more than love, a commitment more than passion. There’s nothing like seeing a woman twirl around Caesar salad as her marriage dissolves on national television.
We pivot to Monique and her new Not For Lazy Moms (a name I have issues with!) office space. Monique is dealt the blow that they’ve only sold 20 tickets to their upcoming live podcast taping. Girl, you have more children than that! It does not seem like Monique has a grasp on how to run a business, as evidenced by her saying they need to switch up “whatever we’ve been doing, like, as far as purchasing things.” Might be time to sign this lease back over!
Continuing her trend of being the most beautiful woman in the world who has never seen a mirror, Gizelle shows up to go furniture shopping while wearing construction-site glasses. She describes her design aesthetic as “clean, white and blingy.” I’m not sure your home decor should echo how girls described their Escalades on “My Super Sweet 16.” Robyn shows up and the two of them sit and gossip on a couch in the middle of the store. Sometimes the tea goes cold if you wait too long.
Robyn, being the relatable queen that she is, tells Gizelle that she accidentally sent a text about Ashley’s cheating ass husband to…Ashley herself! We’ve all been there, girl. Once, I sent a text that read “why is [name redacted] such a bitch” to the aforementioned “[name redacted].” We didn’t talk for years! Robyn, being smarter and prettier than me, quickly diffused the situation and made it look like she was trying to help. I needed your guidance in college, Robyn!
Wendy shows up to her son’s karate class in red high heels because she is, say it with me, AN ICON. Her son Kruz is very cute but unfortunately does not appear to have a future in the karate art form. Wendy and her husband have, frankly, a very interesting conversation about her life and purpose. She’s become very successful in her field, but it’s not fulfilling her. She’s still living her life to please her mother, which is a tricky place to be. I like Wendy a lot, but I also hope those cameras are rolling when she tells her mother she doesn’t want to work as a professor anymore. Wendy might want to get some karate training herself to prepare for that conversation.
Monique and husband Chris go for a walk and discuss the financial instability of Not For Lazy Moms. Monique says she’s spent nearly $200,000 on “start-up costs.” Somebody come help this woman. I can’t watch this anymore. It’s hard to even understand what she’s doing. Monique, if you’re looking for a creative outlet about parenthood, you’re allowed to just record a podcast in your basement! For free! TWO. HUNDRED. THOUSAND. DOLLARS?!?! It’s bewildering.
Robyn strolls into her parents’ house to talk about her relationship with Juan. Speaking of, where is Juan? We’ve been inundated with appearances from the two Chrises and Michael’s blotchy mug. The least we deserve is a shot of Juan taking out the trash or something. Robyn’s mother and father seem like very nice people who have no desire to be on camera and, for that, I respect them. Her dad, who manages to take a break from booking gigs at dueling piano bars in the greater Potomac area, gives Robyn some sage advice. Robyn suggests that she and Juan might attend marriage counseling together, to which I say “amen!” Let’s see Juan’s ass on that couch.
Ashley, her sister Jessica and their mother go shopping at an absolutely empty mall to buy a Homecoming dress. Jessica, who is 14 years old, says she doesn’t want or need a date for Homecoming, thus showing more independence than her older sister has ever managed. Good for you, Jessica! As Jessica peruses this bizarre store for something she wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear in public, Ashley and her mom get down to the nitty gritty about Michael. Ashley is positively SHOCKED that her mom would even DARE to be upset at Michael for cheating on her. Her mom gives her some stern warnings about moving forward and Ashley contends that the latest scandal acted as “strikes 1, 2 and 3,” which is not how strikes work. If we’re playing baseball, girl, that means Michael is already out. Despite the insinuation that Michael has already drawn his last straw, I remain unconvinced that Ashley will ever leave, no matter how messy and despicable that middle-aged human roasted marshmallow becomes.
It’s time for the ladies to drink wine inside a barn and celebrate Gizelle winning a Pulitzer Prize. They start slamming Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio like six-year-olds with Gatorade at halftime. Ashley arrives late and, instead of addressing the headlines about her husband, says she might want to have another baby with him! In real time, investigative Housewives journalists know that Ashley is, indeed, pregnant again. It’s all very sad to watch.
Credit to Ashley, though, because she eventually starts spilling. Like, a lot. She’s overflowing. She’s a fountain. There’s no easy way to articulate what she revealed, other than to state it plainly: Ashley and Michael had a threesome with a stranger after a David Guetta concert. It’s the most disgusting Mad Libs I’ve ever read.
With the image of Michael Darby butt naked after an EDM show in the rearview mirror, it’s time for the main event: Monique vs. Candiace. As their issues come to light, Candiace immediately picks up a knife. I couldn’t love these women more. Candiace is mad at Monique for being “asleep” when she left the lake house. But anybody who has ever held a grudge will tell you that this obviously isn’t about that. It’s about years of pent-up frustrations and grievances, and this is just the access point to start letting some of that out. There are eighteen conversations happening at once and it’s electric.
As tensions reach a fever pitch inside the barn, Candiace starts twirling around and Monique calls her a “Chia pet.” Kudos to both Gizelle and Robyn for making absolutely no effort to calm things down, instead watching with devious smiles on their faces. Eventually, Candiace dares Monique to pull her hair. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s to not provoke a woman who is reckless enough to spend $200,000 on a failed podcast venture.
The hair gets pulled. The wine goes flying. The plates get smashed. There hasn’t been this much anarchy inside a barn since “Footloose.” And, per custom this season on Potomac, we’re graced with a “To Be Continued.” Normally, I begrudge this sort of thing. But this episode already brought so much adrenaline and chaos, I can’t complain about my gifts being spread out.
There are so many layers in play at once during everything the Potomac women do. It’s cinematic. It’s deep. It’s what dreams are made of.
Bring on the aftermath.