There are cultural moments that stick with you and will stand the test of time. Britney with the snake at the VMAs. New York spitting on Pumpkin on “Flavor of Love.” Oprah not knowing the words to Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together.”
It’s time to add this week’s “Real Housewives of Potomac” to the list.
This was some wild shit.
Things pick up right where they left off: with Monique grabbing a chunk of Candiace’s hair in a barn that almost certainly describes itself as “rustic chic” online. And Monique held on to Candiace’s wig like it held all her secrets. When the dust settled, Monique’s face was doused with wine, Candiace looked like a squirrel’s nest and Wendy was wondering why she signed up for any of this.
Candiace gets escorted out of the barn by production as Monique turns into a middle-aged Nancy Drew and tries to find her. And find her she does! Monique runs across the field like something out of a Coen Brothers movie in an attempt to continue the beatdown. She can’t get her hands on her, but she does say that if Candiace comes around again, she’s going to “kill her.”
In the car ride home, Candiace calls her husband Chris and says “I’ll talk shit all fucking day, but I’m not putting my hands on people.” In essence, this is what it all boils down to. Monique has no problem throwing hands. She got poked and poked and poked and that bear started growling. I’m not justifying her actions, but don’t think you can consistently antagonize a woman who willfully potty-trains her bird and not expect to feel the repercussions. She’s nuts.
The morning after the fight, it’s a hard pivot to Wendy going on television to talk about the legacy of President Obama. ONLY THIS SHOW, PEOPLE. ONLY THIS SHOW. She talks about how so much of her work is about empowering Black women and how, unfortunately, this newfound reality TV venture is not helping her case. I simultaneously sympathize with Wendy and also would have urged her to watch an episode of the show before agreeing to participate.
Candiace, who will obviously milk the fight for all it’s goddamn worth, is sitting on the couch drinking tea and wondering if maybe she has a concussion. For what feels like the eighth week in a row, Candiace insists that she’s done with Monique. While the “Real Housewives” have the tendency to make up and renew friendships even after the most insane of physical and verbal battles, this one does feel different. I’m incredibly intrigued to see how the Candiace and Monique dynamic plays out for the rest of the season…if it does at all.
Meanwhile, Karen is all set to cook a birthday dinner for the old man that she lives with. Of course, when I say “cook” I mean “wear an apron and hire a private chef.” The food actually looks damn good and it’s clear that there’s still love between these two. Ray is hesitant to attend therapy to work on their marriage, so Karen repackages the idea as seeing a “life coach” instead, which is an iconic move. I actually think it’s refreshing to see a relationship play out like this. They’re an aging couple with different ideas about how they want to spend the final chapter of their life together. Ray is about ready for the epilogue, while Karen is introducing a new plot development in the third act. But they both want the story to end the same way and they’re trying to figure out how to make that work.
Gizelle and her daughters are in Atlanta to relaunch the restaurant that they now apparently own, which is as illogical as most of Gizelle’s fashion choices. Not much makes sense with Gizelle, to be honest. They’re staying in a hotel, despite the fact that her ex-husband/current boyfriend/father of her daughters lives in the same city. She has yet to tell her own father that she’s back together with said ex-husband. And she’s completely oblivious to the fact that her sweet, smart, caring daughters are very, very, very over all of this shit.
Monique and her husband Chris have a very dark, depressing debrief about the fight with Candiace. Monique insists that former NFL players have a reputation to uphold (what?!), so Chris is understandably unhappy with how things went down. Chris is, quite obviously, a man who did not think his life would turn out this way. He battles for attention from a bird and a house full of kids, he’s going on breakfast runs to Starbucks and now his wife is beating people up inside barns. It’s tough! Monique, to her credit, refuses to back down from what happened. There’s no “I had too much wine” or “I don’t really even remember what happened” going on here. Candiace talked smack. Monique went on the attack. It’s very black-and-white for her. Something tells me this isn’t the first time Monique has done something like this. I think we’re really getting a glimpse into what makes Monique tick. And what makes Monique tick is violence.
Before the restaurant relaunch of Arizona’s (??) in Atlanta (????), Gizelle and the girls eat disgusting donuts with Grandpa. I was really hoping that he was going to come down harder on Gizelle for being back with Jamal. But instead, he said he’d walk her down the aisle if the two get married again! Oh, Gizelle. That’s all she needed. She’s full steam ahead. During this sugar-high of a breakfast, it becomes abundantly clear why Gizelle is so intent on getting back together with Jamal despite red flags being literally shoved down her throat. Her daughters are leaving soon. All three will be out of the house within a matter of years and it’s clearly weighing on her. Even a cheater cheater pumpkin eater can be forgiven when that nest is empty.
In the midst of all of this chaos, it’s easy to forget that Ashley is dealing with a cheater cheater Corona Light drinker of her own. We’re barely removed from Ashley revealing that she and her husband once had a threesome after a David Guetta concert, a fact that I unfortunately have seared into my brain for the rest of eternity. Ashley brings up the idea of a postnuptial agreement in the event that Michael spills his gross seed all over Potomac again. He says he’s open to the idea with about as much confidence as a man who desperately wants the cameras to stop rolling so he can watch “Blue Bloods” and go to sleep.
It’s time for Gizelle, Jamal and the girls to take a walking tour of Arizona’s, which is basically just an Applebee’s wearing a cowboy hat. The girls want to die, while Gizelle addresses the fact that Jamal has additional children outside of their relationship. She doesn’t want to talk about them out of respect for their mothers (plural!), but it’s just another red flag that Gizelle doesn’t want to see. Maybe she’s colorblind. It would explain a lot.
As Karen and Ray sink deeper into oblivion, they invite a “radio host” into their home to help with their crumbling marriage. This isn’t just a slight pivot from marriage counseling. This is a whole gigantic leap. A large lunge. Karen and Ray have essentially called Delilah. Poor Ray. He just wants to live the rest of his life in peace, but here he is admitting on national television that he can no longer get boners. But just when you think it can’t possibly get any darker, Ray is asked if he’s still in love with Karen and he says “I think I am.” Ray, buddy. My man. Just say “yes, of course!” and get this charade over with. As our pink jumpsuit FM queen leaves the house, the proverbial walls come down. Karen heads upstairs and starts to have a panic attack, which I think is a natural reaction to your husband telling the world that he doesn’t really like you anymore.
Arizona’s is finally open and Jamal treats it as an opportunity to give a sermon, because of course he does. He’s the worst. Gizelle’s daughters, who clearly want to be anywhere else on planet Earth, are shown the ropes. There’s this whole facade about the girls learning the value of a dollar and what it means to work. But how are they going to accomplish any of that when they are….back in Potomac? Where they…live? Whatever. Also, these girls are 13 and 14 years old. Not only is it weird, it’s also illegal?
As the entire family sits around a table after breaking a handful of child labor laws, Gizelle’s dad gets up from the table, takes off his mic and FINALLY LETS LOOSE. THIS IS THE MR. GRAVES I KNOW AND LOVE. He rants to producers that Gizelle is foolish for getting back with a man who has “six or seven baby mamas.” Damn, Mr. Graves! He is, of course, right. I really need Gizelle to see this light.
What a tumultuous episode. It’s abundantly clear that the franchise cannot continue with Monique and Candiace cohabitating. I’d pay $59.99 on pay-per-view to see those two step into a room with wine glasses and knives, but I don’t think Bravo is risking that. How does a show move on when its two antagonists can’t be in the same room? How does a franchise proceed after a very blatant death threat?
How does Potomac keep delivering like this?