Finally! Dear readers, our patience has paid off and last night we were rewarded with the start of the new season of Southern Charm. It was as if Christmas, my Pearl Harbor birthday, and my day job holiday bonus all came at the same time, except it’s not December, it’s April–and spring has sprung in a major way! It’s all there: Cameran Eubank’s hilarious one-liners, Shepard “Shep” Rose’s charming frat-tastic world views, Thomas Ravenel’s black-eye, Kathryn Dennis’ eyerolls (complete with false lashes and snark), Cooper Ray’s attempts at peace-keeping, Landon Clements’ transition from background sidekick to major player, Craig Conover’s return to the Holy City, Patricia Altshul’s gorgeous caftans (son Whitney Sudler-Smith was there, too). It was all perfect. Did I mention I got to watch it all at a wonderful premiere party at JD’s Sermets hosted by Cordially Cooper? Pinch me.
So that dinner party, right? Bravo has perfected the art of the hook with a minute-long tease of the finale. Move over, Camille Grammer, your Dinner Party from Hell has been replaced…tenfold. As we view the entire cast imploding over a meal at T-Rav’s downtown compound (did Thomas just remove Cameran from the premises? Are Shep and T-Rav going to come to blows?), we’re hit with the news that the start of the third season of Southern Charm is going to rewind three months to regale us with the build-up to the epic moment. Damn you, Bravo.
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True to the formula, the episode begins with the cast gearing up for their day. Cameran is tending to her marital home and T-Rav is sporting a pretty severe shiner. Spoiler alert! He got headbutted at Club Republic. You may remember that said club used to have a dozen commercials throughout the show. Tonight? Not so much! Cameran is grateful to Shep for taking a chance on a new realtor and allowing her to help him find his bachelor pad. As a thank you, she’s taking him on a fishing expedition so they can discuss Kathryn’s latest pregnancy and Craig’s return to the Lowcountry. As the duo drink, cast lines, and throw shade, Cameran realizes that she was never afforded the luxury of having a penis…and that poses a problem on a fishing boat sans bathroom. She submerges herself off the back, reminding the captain not to start the engine.
On their booze cruise, Cameran jokingly chastises Shep for being too hard on Craig last season. Shep agrees, but he feels his guidance and snark was well-deserved given Craig’s ridiculous behavior. While neither has seen the one-time wannabe lawyer in a while, both are hoping for a new and improved Craig when he finally makes an appearance. Discussing Kathryn’s second pregnancy, Cameran muses that twenty-two is the prime age for conception. Shouldn’t Kathryn and T-Rav know better? Shep agrees. It’s super easy to prevent pregnancy–just follow the POOT (Pull Out On Time) method. Okay, so Shep may not have called it the POOT, but my dear friend (and man-about-campus) from high school should have trademarked his birth control method from back in the day.
Speaking of Craig, he’s been getting his life back together up in Delaware. It’s been amazing to be around family and friends, but he’s ready to return to Charleston to prove that he’s in it to win it. Detractors be damned! #NewCraig could be one to watch this season. As he bids farewell to his parents, Craig lands in Charleston and introduces viewers to his girlfriend of eight months Naomie. She is Craig’s first true love. Naomie is gorgeous and fun and filthy rich. Of course she is. Her parents also own an immaculate home in West Ashley on deep water, and Craig and Naomie are going to move into it while it’s on the market. They must plan a party on the grounds to commemorate this momentous occasion. Craig must be touched by an angel with his good fortune. A lesser Craig would be living in tent city right about now. Craig admits that he’s wary about inviting Shep to the shindig, but he hopes to reforge a close bond with his one-time bestie. While it didn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce just how douchey Shep was to Craig last season, Craig believes he deserved the tough love. However, if Shep continues to be a dick to him, any hope of a reconciliation is finished.
We learn that Kathryn is expecting her second child with Thomas, and we don’t need the talk-to-text moment on her iPhone to her baby daddy to realize the one-and-off pair is off again…way off. She’s stuck raising precious daughter Kensie off the grid in Moncks Corner as Patricia lives it up at her mansion on the peninsula. Immediately, it’s evident that something is missing from Ms. Pat’s daily routine of kaftans and side-eye. Where is her dressing drink? I have mine–I thought this was a thing?? Whitney arrives at his mother’s house, and she quizzes him on what is different from the last time he was in Charleston. Her butler is on vacation, and she wouldn’t dare let a novice mix her martini. I guess this is how the rich and famous detox…they allow the help to take their personal days. Huh. Whitney hasn’t missed the Holy City…he now spends the majority of time at his Bel-Air home. However, now that he’s back (by contractual obligation), Whitney delights in joking with his mother about Kathryn’s pregnancy. Will the baby be a girl or a boy? Do they know the father? Do they know the ethnicity? Thank you, Bravo, for reinforcing the stereotype that all Southerners are racist (I know they were joking, but it was a bad joke…why would that even matter?). Meanwhile, Kathryn is not helping with that whole stereotype situation by admitting that she took thirty pregnancy tests before realizing that she was, in fact, pregnant again. I’m no doctor, but I do know there is no such thing as a false positive. I took a health class in high school.
Cooper ventures out to the plantation where Kathryn is secluded. It’s so far from town, but there is a slave cemetery. History, y’all.* Kathryn can’t understand why Patricia hates her so. It’s not like Patricia just doesn’t want to socialize with her…Patricia wants to annihilate her within their social circle. Cooper reveals that Pat has heard the rumors of Kathryn’s pregnancy (and Patricia’s judgment is rigid…what is Kathryn’s morbid obsession with her?), and she’s unrelenting in her perceptions. Kathryn illustrates her quandary with a spot-on impersonation of Patricia–if Patricia were British. Cooper reminds Kathryn that she needs to play nice and remember the rules that have been set by Charleston society. Mind your manners and refrain from yelling obscenities on an aircraft carrier/WWII museum. He makes sense, and the wisdom can pretty much be applied to all aspects of everyone’s life.
Across town, a shiner-sporting T-Rav is renovating his “downtown compound” for his new life, complete with a periwinkle nursery for daughter Kensie. Lo and behold, T-Rav’s neighbor and newest bestie, Landon pops in to see the progress with his new place. The pair aren’t quite flirtatious, but they aren’t quite not flirtatious. Landon giggles that they are fun friends. As Thomas shares the story of his Republic headbutt (in the VIP section, such a party fowl) and baby mama drama, Landon jokes about the necessity of shock treatment from days gone by. T-Rav agrees. He’d like to gift Kathryn with some jumper cables…for her brain.
Later, Landon joins Shep to discuss Craig’s upcoming party. Also dishing on the party? Kathryn and her pal Jennifer Snowden. Kathryn debates showing up for the party because she knows Thomas and Landon will be in attendance. Kathryn tells Jennifer that she heard through the gossip mill that after her recent break-up with Thomas, Landon propositioned him. She thought the “five second rule” only applied to food dropped on the ground. Jennifer is appalled that Landon would break the girl code in such a manner.
Meanwhile, Whitney, Shep, and Landon convene to bash Craig’s homecoming, er, bash. Who does he think he is that he needs a party to commemorate his return from Delaware? Whitney jokes that Landon is on Kathryn’s shiz-list for her friendship with T-Rav. Landon is confused as to why a man and woman can’t have a platonic relationship, but she refuses the support of her cohorts. After all, they both bedded Kathryn, so they aren’t very schooled in the art of male-female platonic friendships. Shep does valiantly argue that he and Kathryn are still kind-of friends. Shep for the win!
In West Ashley, Craig and Naomie welcome their guests to the party. Cameran praises the fact that his breath doesn’t reek of alcohol–who cares if his hair is flammable and he’s dressed like Scarface 2.0? She dubs him a one time Slum Dog Millionaire who is now the Fresh Prince of Charleston. Shep and Whitney arrive, and there’s an awkward bro hug between Shep and Craig. Will they ever get back to being the kind of friends they once were
when Shep unrelenting teased made fun of him? Thomas gets caught in the age-old trap of flirting with a girl who is a junior in college. Happens to the best of us? Kind of? Maybe not? Kathryn and Jennifer enter the “lion’s den” and Cameran decides that if she can’t say anything nice, she shouldn’t speak at all.
Craig dishes out his Lowcountry boil as Thomas broaches a peace treaty with the mother of his children. Speaking to JD and Elizabeth, Jennifer wonders if they have abandoned Kathryn due to their friendship with T-Rav. Elizabeth nips this line of thinking in the bud…she’s reached out to Kathryn multiple times and gotten no response. It seems the only relationship closure we’re going to get on last night’s premiere is Craig and Shep’s. Over a broversation, Craig accuses Shep of being a bully, and Shep counters that Craig is douche. They agree to agree. Is this friendship? I think so! Not agreeing to agree, Thomas saddles up to Kathryn who is less than thrilled to learn he’s changed the color scheme for Kensie’s room in his compound. Periwinkle over pink?? Who suggested that? Landon?? Kathryn notes Landon’s periwinkle dress and doesn’t think it’s a coincidence–it must be an inside joke between Thomas and Landon. Before she can expand on her thought process, Thomas starts rubbing her pregnant belly. And scene.
*While I realize there is so much (SO MUCH) history and cultural issues that could be–should be–addressed in a show rooted in Charleston, I don’t have the brain cells to do so in a blog where we’re being entertained by this eccentric cast of characters, some of whom having no clue why this footnote is necessary. Let’s all just laugh about the context, shall we?
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[Photo Credit: Bravo]