At this time of year, it’s always important to think back on your blessings. 2020 has been messier than Michael Darby after a few Coronas, but as the season finale of “The Real Housewives of Potomac” looms, let us harken back to some of the gifts we have been given. We’ve seen a grown woman potty training a bird, we’ve learned that Ashley is horny as hell at EDM concerts, we’ve witnessed Karen damn Huger rise like a phoenix from the ashes of Gizelle and Robyn’s questionable life decisions. This year has been hard, but because of the women of Potomac, it hasn’t been a total wash. I thank them for their services.
To kick off the finale, our ladies are getting ready for the holidays and Robyn is planning her annual party. Robyn, perhaps we take a year off when we owe the federal government almost one-hundred-thousand dollars!!! At the party, Juan is set to propose to Robyn again. A re-proposal? A reprosal? Do you get down on one knee if you’re doing it a second time? Whatever, Juan can do anything he wants. Gizelle, who has more sexual energy on one phone call with Juan than in her entire relationship with Jamal, is excited for the big moment and will undeniably attempt to make the entire thing about herself.
Monique heads to therapy, which is basically the only chance we get to see her because the group has mostly iced her out. She talks about that feeling of isolation, dating back to her childhood. It’s a very cathartic, emotional conversation and I felt like I got something out of it myself! Monique’s therapist suggests that she writes a letter to Candiace. I would have preferred that she told Monique to crash Robyn’s holiday party instead, but that’s why they won’t let me be a therapist! I’ve tried!
As Ashley is getting baby Dean ready for a photoshoot, Michael suggests that his five-month-old son has a huge hog. As the shoot begins, Michael gets on the ground and starts rolling around like an adult baby. Ashley maintains that she and Michael are on the path to a healthy marriage, which is bad news for most, but good news for people who like jokes about baby dicks. After Michael doubles down on his hatred of Candiace and her husband, the attention shifts to Robyn and Juan. Michael, who is sexually attracted to Juan, doesn’t believe that Juan is actually going to propose to Robyn. He claims to have some inside information on Juan, which seems to intimate that Juan is…gay? Is that what’s happening here? Michael says he simply cannot say anything else, but of course he’s already said all he wanted to say. Michael is obsessed with Juan (welcome to the club!!!), but the way he talks about him is so creepy and odd. Run, Juan! Put on four Embellished hats and flee the country!
Candiace and her mom (a dastardly pair if there ever was one) get together for a date at the nail salon. Candiace waxes poetically about how her mother has stepped up in the absence of Karen’s support after the incident with Monique. Candiace mistakes motherly wisdom for loyalty. She doesn’t want tough love, she wants somebody to back her up. As soon as Karen, a woman who she put on the same pedestal as her own mother, started to disagree with her, she jumped ship. That’s not how it works, Candiace. That’s not what mothers are supposed to do. She’s just looking for a ride-or-die, not somebody who challenges her and pushes her to be better.
Karen, who was last seen leaving her own wig launch party so she could make her dinner reservation, is heading to HSN to sell her fragrance line. Before that, though, Karen has some business to clear up. Like a beautiful episode of “Dateline,” Karen puts on her Keith Morrison hat and retraces her steps the night of the party to show that she made sure Monique and Candiace wouldn’t be there at the same time, despite what anybody else might think. It’s beautiful. If the perfume and wig stuff falls apart, Karen would make an excellent private investigator.
With a potential reprosal (a term now) on the horizon, Robyn and Juan head to couples’ therapy. Man, the cast of this show being around must be a boon for the therapy market in the greater Potomac area. The session is immediately tense. It’s pretty wild going back in time and looking at the story of their relationship. They’ve really been through it. Juan is initially very defensive, but does eventually crumble his wall a little bit. It’s easy to give Robyn flak for being silly with her money and too quick to side with Gizelle on whatever bullshit, but she’s clearly a good person and she obviously loves Juan. I AM ROOTING FOR THESE TWO. Just, like, stop buying houses when you don’t have any cash.
It’s party time! As Candiace, who will unfortunately be performing at this strange shindig, drives to the party with her husband Chris, who is dressed like a gay nutcracker, she says she’s planning on confronting Karen about their differing timelines on the night of the wig party. Candiace is no Keith Morrison. Her evidence is a house of cards.
Robyn and Juan arrive first and the party space looks like most things in Potomac: gaudy, cheap and purple, for some reason. Gizelle, who has somehow managed to dress like a fairy godmother who presides over the pits of hell, immediately has to dodge questions on the lack of Jamal’s presence. If god damn Michael Darby is giving you relationship advice, it might be time to reconsider some things!!!
Karen, who is allegedly having flight issues getting back from HSN, is the topic of conversation even when she’s not around. The ladies theorize that she’s scared to show up to the party because she’s going to get caught in all of her lies. But we know better.
Meanwhile, as Michael gets hammered and flirts with every man at the party, Gizelle and Ashley pull him over to get the gossip on Juan. Michael talks about his “special relationship” with Juan and how he doesn’t think Juan is going to propose. I’m telling you, if Juan Dixon is ever found dead, just arrest Michael. Don’t even question him. Arrest him.
Before we get to the bottom of this reprosal, Candiace has to perform for a crowd of roughly 25 people. This woman will never say no to a microphone. The performance gets off to a chaotic, malfunctioned start, but she and the sound guy eventually pull it together. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Candiace can sing.
Candiace, however, is purely the opening act for Juan Dixon. He does indeed get on one knee and puts that ring on Robyn’s finger for a second time. Wendy reacts as if it’s happening to her, Gizelle maniacally pushes people out of the way and Michael slinks around in the background, realizing that his worst nightmare has come true.
With literal TEARS IN HIS EYES, Michael congratulates Juan with a tequila shot and suggests the two of them have a private bachelor party in Vegas without cameras. What is going ON, here? The part that doesn’t really jive with me is that Juan does seem to genuinely enjoy Michael’s company. There’s something to unpack here, but I’m not sure I want to.
To distract from the predatory stuff happening with the men, the Grand Dame herself shocks the group with a late arrival. Karen explains that she jumped through hoops to be at the party, which negates Theory #1 (that she was ducking confrontation with the group). Theory #2 (that Karen tried to have Monique and Candiace cross paths) is a little more murky, but the bottom line is that it didn’t happen. Once again, Karen gets gangbanged (her term!) by the group as she attempts to express herself. Karen is many things, but a wilting flower she is not. The group tries so desperately to get her flustered, to make her apologize for something she doesn’t want to apologize for. But it doesn’t work. Again.
Back at the bar, Michael starts telling strangers that he’s not gay. When a man tells him that he didn’t want to assume anything, Michael says “you better not fucking assume that, just saying.” This man is absolute trash and I need him thrown in a dumpster.
Just when things seemingly reach a boiling point, the whole fucking lid flies off. Candiace is in a tirade against Karen, which causes a slurring, Corona-drunk Michael to tell Chris “you need to control your wife.” Chris, correctly, tells Michael to get out of his face, which leads to Michael telling him to “shut the fuck up.” Chris pushes Michael away, which seems to excite him sexually. The only two white men on this show really out here fighting.
Ashley, never one to betray her weird husband, comes to his defense and starts yelling across the bar at Candiace. Ashley insinuates that Candiace is content with dragging Monique to prison for losing her cool, but has no issue with her husband getting violent. Let’s be clear. Chris did nothing wrong, but the entire thing is exhilarating. God, this is glorious. Happy holidays!!!!!!!
Michael, still holding his beer, starts shouting about his lawyer and says Chris is going to jail. He’s completely off the rails, which causes Juan to intervene and guide Michael away from the altercation. Is that what this entire thing was about? Did Michael push things as far as he could because he knew Juan would come to his aid? What kind of sexual fantasies is this man harboring?!
As things cool down, Chris and Candiace make their exit. Right behind them, it’s Karen and Ray. And what does Karen do? She hugs Candiace and makes sure that she’s alright. Because that’s what friends do. All of this “playing the fence” nonsense is just posturing and gaslighting. Karen will be there when you need her, and she’ll be honest with you when you need to hear it. We all need a Karen.
Oh, but it ain’t over yet. Michael is running around like a kangaroo with his head cut off, and breaks into the production room. It’s unclear what he’s really looking for, but between the crew and the security staff at the party, everybody wants him gone. He continues putting his hands on people as Ashley screams at him to stop. It’s quite unnerving. Eventually, he’s left out in the rain by himself. There’s a discussion to be had about why Ashley continues to put up with this deplorable, dangerous behavior. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me thirty-seven times, it’s time to move in with Uncle Lump.
The season ends, of course, with Monique and Candiace. It’s been a long drawn-out feud that, in many ways, derailed the show a bit. But it provided us with so much. Monique tells us that the charges against her have been dropped, which must have been the worst day in Candiace’s god damn life. I imagine tears were dabbed away for hours.
Thank you, ladies of Potomac. For your bravery, your honesty, your terrible decor decisions. It’s truly been an honor and a blessing. Now, let’s get the popcorn ready for that reunion.