We’ve reached the end of our journey with the women of Potomac this season. It’s been an absurd, chaotic ride filled with incredible highs (every single thing about Karen Huger! The Binder of Receipts!) and crushing lows (Embellished! Candiace still performing “I See You” at the sign of any live microphone!). We’ve lived, we’ve laughed, we’ve loved….which is undoubtedly a saying Gizelle has carved into sandalwood in at least three rooms of her home.
Things pick up in a familiar place: with Candiace dabbing away tears from her eyes. She’s in her dressing room with husband Chris after walking off set, moments after being confronted with Monique’s maturity and overall aura of “I can’t believe we’re still talking about this.” Candiace clearly wanted to make this reunion some sort of emotional renaissance for herself, but Monique wasn’t playing. So, she’s left to have a nervous breakdown in front of her vanity mirror.
Meanwhile, Andy continues to badger Monique with questions about remorse. Andy has been very anti-Monique during this entire thing. Just something I’m observing, Mr Cohen. For like the one hundredth time, Monique is forced to explain that she recognizes that she snapped inside the barn and she’s used the last year to figure out what happened mentally and emotionally. Most of these women (and Andy, apparently) just can’t fathom that a grown adult took the necessary steps in order to reconcile a situation. It’s a weird thing to watch.
After Candiace waddles back out, the squabbling continues. There are many questions about why Monique counter-sued Candiace, and I guess the easiest answer is that…it worked? I know nothing about the law, but even I saw that writing on the wall. Monique got sued for pulling a bully’s hair and was threatened with the idea of being taken away from her kids, so she did what she had to do. Next question.
As the legal talk continues (seriously, it feels like Andy has transformed into Judge Mathis), Ashley gets dragged into the mix. Accusations about why she wrote a character statement about Candiace are thrown about, and the validity of Ashley’s friendship with Monique is called into question. All I can say is, friendships are allowed to be imperfect and relationships evolve over time. Maybe they do have dirt on each other. Isn’t that what friends do? Protect each other? I don’t think Monique or Ashley will ever call the other their best friend, but they both understand the intricacies of maneuvering around pettiness, even if they have to get a little dirty themselves.
With the fight being put in the rearview mirror, Andy asks both Candiace and Monique for final thoughts. As she starts to cry, Monique tells a story about her father putting his finger in her face when she was younger, in an attempt to further explain why she reacted the way she did. Monique accepts full responsibility for her actions and manages to give a heartfelt, sincere and nuanced apology to Candiace. It might be the most impressive apology in “Real Housewives” history. Candiace, predictably, can’t accept most of it. Because if she forgives her and attempts to move forward…what does she have left?
As she continues to explain why she simply cannot move on, Candiace reads lyrics from Monique’s new song “Drag Queens.” Song sounds great! Let’s be clear, it is obviously in reference to Candiace. There’s no disputing that, but Monique does her best to articulate why the creative process was a form of healing. Sure, whatever, fine. But it’s really Andy Cohen who needs to be discussed here, I think. He always does a decent job of Switzerlanding himself through these reunions, but he clearly just does not like Monique. Once again, he asks her why she failed to truly apologize to Candiace, AS IF SHE DIDN’T JUST OFFER UP AN EMOTIONAL OLIVE BRANCH. SOAKED IN HER OWN TEARS. Andy concludes that Monique got bad legal advice and continues to smile and nod as Candiace gives some phony excuse about her bating language and antagonistic behavior. I’m just gonna need Judge Cohen to sit this one out. It’s full-on disorder in the court.
The conversation shifts to Karen who, for whatever reason, continues to get shit for talking to both Monique and Candiace. Why is she constantly being forced to defend herself for failing to betray a friend? It’s a rehash of a rehash of a rehash, which really just allows Candiace to play victim again. It’s tiresome. On that topic, Candiace starts crying again and confronts Karen about going to Bravo in an alleged attempt to get her fired from the show. It’s a head-scratcher initially, so Candiace explains further, saying that Karen felt “threatened” by her. Karen explains that, yes, she felt threatened because Candiace texted her “to burn and go to eternal Hell.”
I truly cannot with Candiace. She constantly says mean shit to people and then gets irrationally upset when they take offense. Karen explains that, after being told to burn and go to eternal Hell, she contacted Bravo in an attempt to get Candiace help. Both women get very heated and emotional. There’s obviously a lot of love here, and the mother/daughter dynamic is strong. You just cannot make a habit out of saying virtrolic stuff to people and then getting angry when it’s used against you. It’s an act that wore thin years ago. At this point, there’s nothing left to see.
Before we bid adieu, it’s time for some of the men of Potomac to air their grievances. However, neither Jamal Bryant nor Michael Darby will be joining the festivities. In a season where so much drama revolved around the two of them and with both men having serious questions to answer, trotting out the husbands without those two is like having an N*Sync reunion with only Chris and Joey. What’s the point?
As things get settled, Andy attempts some small talk with the men and asks Chris Sameuls if he has seen “The Last Dance,” to which Chris responds “I was too busy watching filthy lies spread on my wife.” Oh okay, Chris came to play! Before we get to Chris, though, we check in everybody else. Eddie is so charming and wonderful! Chris Bassett is teaching online cooking classes or something! Ray doesn’t really appear to know he’s on television!
It’s revealed that, for the second time this season, Gizelle has employed the services of a security guard. Always doing the damn most. Gizelle is concerned for her safety after Chris Samuels went on Instagram Live and said he wished he wasn’t a man so he could slap some of the other cast members. It goes without saying that Chris’s comment was not only bizarre, but exceptionally inappropriate. So, while Gizelle’s antics are clearly just for show, she had every right to be offended. Chris does his best to walk back his comments and apologize, but he keeps referring back to “the plot,” which was discussed in the second part of the reunion.
“The plot” is confusing as all hell, so let me just copy and paste what I managed to decipher from last time: Monique’s former friend Gigi tried getting on the show by telling former cast member Charisse that Monique was sleeping with her trainer and that one of her kids was not her husband’s biologically, which was then tossed around as a plot device by Gizelle and some of the other women after Andy Cohen’s baby shower in Los Angeles.
As both Chrises start to go at each other, Chris Samuels stands up, which leads to Gizelle reprimanding her “security guard” for failing to make sure he sits down. Gizelle, you’re probably paying this man minimum wage in the middle of a global pandemic so you can have your little fun. Leave him alone.
It all gets a little muddy because Monique and Chris claim to have intel that Gizelle attempted to talk about “the plot” on the show, but it never aired. Cut to: unseen footage of Gizelle talking about it on the show. She uses the classic Housewives excuse of “everybody has been talking about it, but I didn’t want to say anything,” meanwhile there’s a camera pointed in your face. There’s a lot of footage that went unseen this season that paints the likes of Gizelle and Candiace in some negative light (i.e. Candiace calling Monique “ghetto” after the fight) and it just begs the question: why? Between Andy’s treatment of Monique during the reunion and the slanderous stuff that got left on the cutting room floor, it all feels less than authentic.
The light shines on newly engaged Robyn who, fresh off a major financial crisis with the IRS, wants to have a destination wedding. According to her, the Embellished hats are flying off the shelves and will help to pay for the new house that she and Juan are building on their own. Lord, I am not looking forward to that storyline next season. I have seen Robyn and Gizelle in enough hard hats to last a lifetime.
The conversation circles back to Chris Samuels and his crusade against the women for “the plot.” At this point, the threads are too tangled and disheveled to salvage anything here. It’s clear that Chris came into the reunion with a one-track mind, and the inability to deviate has thrown the entire thing off the rails. Truthfully, I think he’s upset about something that never really happened. And his insistence on bringing it to the table is giving the paternity rumor far more fuel than it ever dreamed of having.
It’s time to talk about Michael Darby, which is disgusting. Despite my previous derision of his absence, I’m glad he’s not here. He was paid minimal mind, which is fine by me. Leaving his pregnant wife alone to answer for his abhorrent behavior is bombastically wrong, but what else do we expect? I just hope Ashley can, one day, find the courage to leave, if that’s truly what she wants.
Before the husbands take off, Ray surprises Karen with plans for a vow renewal for their 25th wedding anniversary. Karen is genuinely moved and flustered. Karen stays winning! The Chrises come to a conclusion amongst themselves, but not before Mr. Samuels tells Gizelle to “get some help.” The way that both he and Monique came for Gizelle throughout the reunion was startling. I don’t think the Samuels clan will be invited to whatever restaurant Jamal Bryant decides to buy his daughters next.
As things wrap up, it’s clear that there isn’t much conclusion or finality here for many of the relationships, and it makes you question: how do things move forward? It’s a struggle to think about Gizelle or Candiace filming with Monique again, let alone reconciling. Is there a show if that’s the case? How can Housewives be Housewives if the group is irretrievably broken? The answers will come in due time.
One thing, however, is certain. The ladies of Potomac know how to deliver. And just like Gizelle’s fashion sense, I suspect they will continue to find ways to surprise us.
Images courtesy of Heidi Gutman/Bravo