Southern Charm, I can’t thank you enough for being the beacon of light in my dreaded Mondays, and last night’s episode was no different…although Shepard “Shep” Rose could’ve have laid off Craig Conover just a tad. The cast is packing for their Jekyll Island adventure, and Landon Clements’ fingers are crossed for a refined weekend of manicured lawns and low-key dinners. Craig calls Whitney Sudler-Smith to bum a ride, but alas, Whitney is an hour into the trek or else he’d turn around to retrieve him. Of course, Whitney spins this lie as he packs his Louis Vuitton weekender just a quarter mile from Craig’s apartment, but whatevs. Cameran Eubanks and Shep are tasked with carpooling the wayward law student, and they have agreed they need continue the tough love when it comes to his downward spiral. Shep is all in, and Captain Craig (seriously dude, that hat?) gets defensive about bar study and rent payments. Meanwhile, in the car with Jennifer Snowden, Kathryn Dennis hopes this trip will solidify her spot in the clique on her own merits, and not just as Thomas Ravenel’s plus one.
Landon and her sister Powell are the first to check in, followed by Whitney. Over drinks, Landon apologizes in advance to the bartender for her friends who have yet to materialize. Shep and Craig can’t handle the geriatric vibe they’re getting from the island. What is this place? Heaven’s waiting room? The two are forced to mainline Scotch to tolerate this retirement community. Cameran is beyond embarrassed by their childish antics. This is why she’s child free at the moment. Jennifer and Kathryn arrive as the others take off on a bike ride. Their swift departure and refusal to wait for the girls is an omen for Kathryn. She’s all Stephanie Tanner about the situation. Rude. They should be thankful they avoided the testosterone fueled beach cruiser nightmare that is Craig and Shep arguing over how to best reach the ocean. Shep takes every opportunity to insult Craig about his current life situation, calling him so broke he can’t even pay attention. I am definitely stealing that line. The boys spar over their mapquest skills when they’re informed they are about as far from the beach as is humanly possible.
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We missed you, T-Rav! As much as he’d like to be partying with his friends on Jekyll Island, he is busting ass campaigning at a gay pride parade in Columbia (on his own dime no less), supporting marriage equality, shaking hands and kissing babies. He’s a true politician for sure, but it’s when he seems the most genuine and likable in my opinion. After the debacle on the bike path, Landon has planned a formal dinner for her guests on the hotel lawn. J.D. and his wife Elizabeth arrive, and Landon hopes that his enthusiasm for croquet and bocci will rub off on the frat boys who are missing their beer pong. As she coordinates the seating chart, Cooper Ray reminds her that the most honored guest should be seated to the right of the host (duly noted for my next pizza party), so she may want to reconsider Craig’s name on the place setting in exchange for someone, ahem, more dashing. Done. As the crew dresses for the meal, Shep channels his inner Craig, regaling Cooper and Jennifer of the tale of their beach and bike debacle earlier in the afternoon courtesy of the wannabe lawyer’s flailing sense of direction. Shep’s Craig impression is solid. Once seated, Craig stands to thank their hostess and apologize for his childish behavior upon arrival, but Shep interrupts to goad him about his untucked shirt. As he’s shamed back into his seat, you can see J.D. calculating how long it would take him to high tail it back to Sermets for a cocktail hour that doesn’t involve grown men acting like middle school mean girls.
The group rails Shep for his snarky comments, but he continues to mutter sarcastically under his breath until Landon breaks into her trademarked nervous giggle, remarking he’s ruining a special moment for her. Cooper elegantly chastises Shep’s interruptions (you’ll note he’s seated to Landon’s right), as Landon and her sister urge Craig to give his toast. A sullen Craig is deflated though and requires the Rocky theme song and a Fireball shot to get back his gumption (or at least, that’s what I’d like to see happen). Craig raises his glass to Landon, applauding her for bringing their dysfunctional friend family together in a classy place devoid of wet t-shirt contests to which the group has grown accustomed. A swaying Shep then stands, and I’m worried he’s about to rip Craig’s toast to shreds. Hasn’t the poor kid been through enough hazing today? Instead he toasts to the guys’ recent trip to Delaware, sincerely complimenting how wonderful it was to meet Craig’s fabulous parents. Referring to Whitney, Craig jokes that it’s the first time he brought a forty-seven-year-old man home to mom. Shep retorts that he hopes it won’t be Craig’s last time before thanking Craig for his hospitality and crabs on their bro trip. He deserves some positive recognition after spending the day as the butt of Shep’s passive aggressive comedy routine. It’s Shep’s way of being a protective big brother. After all, it worked for Shep’s actual younger brother who, unlike Craig (yet…) is a licensed attorney.
Count Dracula Whitney, off sides smoking a cigarette, seems to be in a jovial mood, missing his usual Dr. Evil cocked eyebrow. Bravo then dubs Kathryn saying, “Nice speech, Craig,” so she and Craig can segue into a discussion about how it’s nice for them to finally be getting along at a dinner party. We’re on to you, Bravo! Stop making up lines and then editing in an eye roll from Shep. We’re not buying what you’re selling! The table talk turns to T-Rav’s campaign, and J.D. believes it’s made his friend a stressed out and anxious version of his usually carefree self. Whitney interjects to say he’s still civil with Thomas and they speak once a week. Ugh. Kathryn is so over Whitney trying to play puppet master with her boyfriend. Craig gives an impassioned speech about how they’ve all supported Thomas throughout the process, but no one has done as much as (drum roll dub, dub, dub, dub) Kathryn. If Bravo is going to splice in parts of sentences, at least get someone with experience to do it. I could have done better with the voice recorder on my iPhone! Whitney then doesn’t say “Jesus, what is wrong with you tonight?” (or at least not in that moment) and Shep’s patented eye roll occurs. If that was truly said, why would it have been considered anything negative?
Cameran and the more mature guests retire after dinner, but the remaining group gathers for more wine and cigars on the veranda. Shep comments that Kathryn seems relaxed and happy for a change, and Jennifer shares that Kathryn is excited to hang out with the crew sans Thomas. She’s eager to fit in with them in her own right, and not as Thomas’ arm candy. Craig inquires as to what they can do to make Kathryn feel more comfortable, and Whitney calls him out for being disingenuous. Doesn’t Craig remember that he was the main person trying to convince T-Rav that Kathryn was using him? What is different now? Craig counters that Kensington changed everything. It is no longer relevant who is taking advantage of whom, it only matters that the two have a family together, and their friends should be respectful of that fact. Whitney can’t believe his ears, and Kathryn, who has been eavesdropping from the hallway appears just in time to hear Craig say that Whitney and Shep don’t know the real Kathryn as they only talked to her when they were sleeping with her. Yikes.
Craig informs Kathryn that Whitney is challenging the sincerity of their new found friendship, and y’all, she goes straight up hillbilly femme fatale on Whitney’s pale ass. J.D. is thrilled he rode out that awkward dinner for a front row seat to this show! Kathryn begins by antagonizing Whitney about not learning manners from his mother (don’t cross Mrs. Pat, girl), which receives a silent “yessss” from Shep, before telling him he needs to go fall on a knife…all while circling and lunging like a crazed cheerleader instigating a dance-off in one of the later Bring It On movies (a straight-to-video version, of course). It. Is. Phenomenal. Jennifer cowers in the corner, but Shep can’t contain his glee. Craig physically restrains Kathryn from pouncing on Whitney, and I can’t help but notice that J.D. and Elizabeth are nowhere to be found. Smart move, adults! Jennifer meekly reminds the guys that Kathryn was really excited about this getaway because just wants to fit in with everyone. False! All she wants is for Whitney to eff the eff off. Whitney calmly instigates, saying he knows nothing about Kathryn save the not so glowing portrayal he receives from Thomas on the daily. Shep peaces out from the Jekyll and Hyde scenario, chuckling adorably at his clever play on words.
As Kathryn becomes more antagonistic, Whitney accuses her of using Thomas for his money, stating that he’s heard the most horrific and blood-curdling stories of her actions from Thomas. She is nose-to-nose with Whitney, and if he had in a weave, I’m pretty sure she would have ripped it out. Craig tries to diffuse the situation, cooing they should revisit this difference of opinion in the morning pre-mimosas. Whitney snipes at Kathryn that T-Rav confides in him about all her partying and nights away from her family. Whitney drops his mic and exits the stage as Kathryn runs into the dark. Jennifer chases after her, and Craig has the forethought to grab another glass of wine for the damsel in distress. Kathryn is a bit relieved she got things off her black-hearted dollar sign chest as far as Whitney is concerned. He thinks she’s a gold digger? She’s wearing Target pants for goodness’ sake! Jennifer heads to bed, and Craig promises to lift Kathryn’s spirits with a late night golf cart joy ride.
The next morning, Kathryn and Craig are shown (separately) sleeping off the night’s drama. Danni arrives to hear the Cliffs Notes version of Kathryn’s free-for-all on Whitney from J.D. Landon can’t add much to the story, as she was merely listening from her window for most of the saga. To say she’s disappointed in her guests’ conduct would be an understatement. Next, Danni checks in with Cameran who reveals that Craig didn’t get back to the hotel until 9 AM, claiming he and Kathryn were forced to spend the night on the beach due to his bad sense of direction (he’ll admit it now, I guess) and a dead golf cart. Cameran should reconsider her motherhood timeline, because she doles out wisdom like my own mother used to do…nothing good happens after 1 AM, so it’s only logical that 3 AM plus a drunk young mother plus a partying frat boy who was once infatuated with said young mother multiplied by a golf cart equals bad news. She reports this information to Shep and Whitney, asserting that Craig insist it was an innocent mistake where they had to bury themselves in the sand and use each other’s body heat to ward off the chill from Jekyll’s notoriously severe spring climate. If he doesn’t make it as a lawyer, perhaps he has a future as a weatherman. Shep isn’t buying it. If you’re a dude sleeping on the beach with a chick, nefarious deeds occur every time. Every. Time.
Because no episode is complete without grand dame Patricia Altschul, we’re treated to a mini scene of her arriving with Mr. Belvedere at Shep and Whitney’s beach house (of course it’s unlocked, she laments) to do a few upgrades. The house reminds her of a Red Lobster (don’t hate on those cheese biscuits, Mrs. Pat!), but it’s not nearly as bad as she’d envisioned. As the butler installs some blackout shades to protect her son’s delicate retinas from the sunrise, Patricia wonders about the availability of gin in the bachelor pad. Mr. Belvedere counts a ton of vodka and tequila among the kitchen’s offerings, but she’s not going to start lowering her standards now.
Back on Jekyll Island, Cameran confronts Craig about his outlandish decisions the previous night, but he’s heard one too many of her lectures. Her irritation is too real to be part of a manufactured story line (no dubbing here, folks!), but I believe it comes from a really good place. Landon is finally fulfilling her Heathers fantasies with a croquet tournament, but Craig is plagued by his friends whispers about an alleged hook-up with Kathryn. He wouldn’t do that to Thomas. It was just a case of the worst luck on the planet, coupled with the one time he wasn’t being followed relentlessly by a Bravo camera crew. Thankfully, he gets a reprieve when Cameran learns via social media that T-Rav has been accused of assault (Does shutting a door on the arm of Kathryn’s bff stylist videoing him after he fell into a pool with his baby ring a bell? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?). No one wants to pull the short straw and fill in Kathryn on this turn of events, so J.D. suggests that someone take her phone before she can read about the news online. Too late. When Kathryn awakens close to 1 PM (God love a digital alarm clock in the background), she is on the verge of a meltdown after reading the police report on her phone.
Next week looks goooooooood, y’all.
TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE? WAS SHEP TOO HARD ON CRAIG? DID SOMETHING NEFARIOUS HAPPEN BETWEEN CRAIG AND KATHRYN ON THE BEACH?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]