Flipping Out Recap: Unagi You Didn’t!

After last week’s explosive ending on Flipping Out, Jeff Lewis will have to pick up the pieces of the rift he’s caused between longtime house manager Zoila Chavez and himself. But not before he places Zoila on a week long leave of absence and drags his own angry a$$ to therapy. All I have to say is: Lots of luck to ya, Dr. Donna! 

We pick up with Jeff still screaming ultimatums into the phone at Zoila, who has fled the premises. You come back or you’re fired! But Zoila is not coming home before Jeff and Gage Edward leave for their trip, which makes Jeff a very, very mad boy. Jeff sees this entire situation as Zoila’s fault, but he does admit being scared and feeling abandoned. She’s never pushed the boundaries this far before. This is a whole new Zoila. 


Gage sighs the sigh of a world weary boyfriend whose OCD-crazed man has finally lost his remaining marble. He agrees to pack anyway. But as he gets the bags ready, Zoila finally shows up.


Jeff is unwilling to speak to her, so he instructs Laura (Zoila’s assistant housekeeper) to tell “HER!” that when Jeff and Gage return, she’ll be on a leave of absence…for an undetermined amount of time. Silent Matt enjoys his last unagi roll at Jeff’s table, offering thanks to the gods that he’s outta there tomorrow. 

After the trip, Jenni Pulos, Gage, and Jeff sit in awkward silence in the office. Zoila is gone. Matt is gone. Vanina Alfaro is working through gritted teeth and on-again-off-again tears over Matt’s departure. The air is thick with resentment. Laura reports she’s texted with Zoila. She also reports what Zoila’s duties are during a given day, which aren’t up to snuff as far as Jeff’s concerned. He thinks everyone is pulling their weight around here except Zoila, which may not be too far off the mark.

But let’s get real here: Jeff does not keep Zoila around for her cleaning abilities, nor her work ethic. He’s as entwined in this pseudo mother-son dynamic as she is. I mean, the Prada bag her gave her last week hasn’t even lost its new money smell yet! 

Work stops for no one, though, as Jeff takes the crew out on client visits. First stop: kitchen remodel in Canoga for young clients who want “rustic meets modern.” Jeff is all about this design concept. Plus, he needs to get in with the millennials. As long as they have money, that is! 

In the car later, Jenni and Jeff discuss the Zoila situation. He’s embarrassed about his meltdown – one of his biggest and dirtiest, he admits. As Vanina sits silently in the back, Jenni tries to take up (slightly) for Zoila, but she does understand Jeff’s rage. It wasn’t about the unagi. It was about the slow burn of Zoila pushing Jeff’s buttons for months (maybe years) now. Whatever the issue, Jeff needs help. So he’s heading to therapy with Dr. Donna to figure out how to tamp down his inner rage-aholic, who he doesn’t want at the wheel of this new journey into fatherhood. 

Back at Valley Vista, it’s time for Ashlyn to take over Zoila’s duties. She’s resident lunch lady now, even though she didn’t study this particular career path in college. Jeff thinks kids these days are a “bunch of p*ssies” so they need to learn some real work skills! He and Jenni contemplate writing Ashlyn’s bio on her alma mater’s website with things like, “Went grocery shopping for Jeff Lewis!” Gage tries to shut this sh*t down before they lose another employee, courtesy of Jeff’s hazing rituals while Ashlyn just updates her LinkedIn page quietly behind her laptop screen.

Jeff gets a text from Zoila in the car later. She misses him and the dogs. No apology? Jeff isn’t satisfied with this olive branch, but Jenni soothes that this is Zoila’s effort at an apology. He’s not hearing it though.


At Canoga, Marie-Josee’ (the clients’ French mother in law) tries to understand Jeff’s instructions about cabinets. The Google Machine can’t even rescue them and their mangled slow-man’s attempt at translation though, so Jeff just goes full frontal inappropriate on her, telling Marie-Josee’ about Jenni’s loser ex-husband, how he has been in “many, many relationships,” and how Vanina is a crying mess over Matt these days. 


Marie-Josee’ does the universal finger circle around one’s head indicating “C-R-A-Z-Y” when Jeff finally walks out. Because insanity is the same in every language. 

At Dr. Donna’s later, Jeff confesses he’s losing it. His behavior is reverting to old patterns, which scares him since he’s got big life changes ahead (read: baby). Zoila and Jeff are at odds too, which is an ugly dynamic in the household. He doesn’t want to bring his baby into this mess. He admits he’s scared. What’s his work and home life going to look like after this baby comes? “I don’t know how to prepare, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what this new life is gonna look like,” he admits. Fear is his ruling force right now, and it’s causing all kindsa hell to break loose. 

Dr. Donna says Jeff will need to restructure his life. Of course it won’t stay the same! He needs to take a breath first, then take each issue on one at a time and deal with them. He describes the lunch order blowup with Zoila. Dr. Donna asks Jeff if he wants to be part of the problem or part of the solution? He reluctantly says…solution? But he thinks Zoila and her bare minimum work ethic is the real issue, not him.

So why does he keep her then? asks Dr. Donna. Because he “adores her,” he says. Dr. Donna reminds Jeff that she and he have been discussing this Zoila frustration for YEARS in therapy, and it always comes down to Jeff’s love for her. If he wants Zoila around, maybe he should just admit that her role in his life is not to clean his house (which she either can’t or won’t do anymore), but to be his surrogate mother. Either Zoila is an employee or a family member – but she simply can’t be both. The boundaries are too blurred. EXACTLY. 

Jeff has thought about having Zoila move out, but he still wants her in his life. The baby will take up all the energy he and Gage have, so the Zoila arrangement needs to shift. But can he actually tell Zoila this to her face? He’d rather pay Dr. Donna to do it for him!

Later, Jeff and Jenni call Vanina, who is at the Canoga remodel getting stared at by their client Brady, who took the day off of work just to witness cabinet installation. Jeff doesn’t like this client watchdog mentality and feels like Brady might not trust them. Oh lord. Is he about to drive over there and go HAM on Brady now? Run, Brady! Ruuuuuun!

Back home, construction pounds on as a storm a’cometh – roof or no roof! Jenni takes drink orders since Zoila isn’t around to deliver the alcohol. These are the moments Jeff misses her most. But he can manage a martini shaker, sort of, in the mean time so that his staff can anesthetize themselves accordingly. 

Silent Matt has practically become He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named later on that week when, during lunch, Ashlyn and Vanina both report how “amazing” Matt is doing at his new job! And how “all the girls” there hate him because he’s soooo “aMAYzing!!” Wheeeee! Jeff gets a murdery look in his eye, wondering where Matt’s new employment has taken him?

He grills Ashlyn, who refuses to spill the beans. So Jenni and he start the 20 questions game: Is it someone in entertainment? Is it a music producer? Can Ashlyn crack under waterboarding? Jeff will hire a PI if he has to. He’s gonna crack this Kris Jenner mystery if it kills him! (Which he already knows about, FYI. He just gets his rocks off torturing the hapless Ashlyn over it.)

Many client calls later, Jeff, Jenni, and Vanina discuss Brady. She wants to be present to supervise everything, which messes with their tight schedule. They can’t move their install schedule around based on when she can get off work to stare at them. Jeff is ready to back out of the working relationship over it, but takes Dr. Donna’s advice to “take a breath” first and deal with the issue. Lookie there! Jeff is being part of the solution. Good boy. 

Dum dum da dum…cue the Imperial Death March! Zoila is entering the building. She’s back, but it’s not going to be all hugs and making up just yet (or ever?) because Jeff is ready to make some changes around here. And that includes drawing new boundaries in his 16-year relationship with Zoila. 

Jeff returns from walking the dog and fills Zoila in on the new plan: They’re going to see Dr. Donna together today, like it or not. She complies, but doesn’t look too happy about it. 


At Dr. Donna’s later, they get down to business. Zoila is not doing well. She can’t believe Jeff blew up at her with such red hot anger about screwing up a lunch order. She had no choice but to run away! Jeff apologizes for his outburst, admitting he is embarrassed and feels terrible about his behavior. He wants to fix what’s broken between them, but that means their relationship must change. 

Jeff also tells Zoila he feels like she just doesn’t care, and that she’s taking advantage of him. It scares the sh*t out of him that he can’t depend on her anymore. Zoila cries that it’s just too stressful – everyone makes mistakes! Ten years ago, Jeff didn’t need 2 housekeepers. Yes, but ten years ago, Zoila was TEN years younger. He can’t admit she’s aging out of her position. It seems like that scares him too. 

Loyalty is what binds Jeff to Zoila and, he confesses – OUT LOUD – that he loves her. (Cue tears!) So, here are the solutions: 1) Zoila retires. Jeff will supplement her income every month until the day she dies. 2) Cut Zoila’s hours and days back (work 3, off 4) and move her in with Carolina off site. They need the room for their baby’s nursery anyway, so that may be best.

Zoila doesn’t want to retire, but does seem amenable to Jeff’s limited work schedule/move solution. She loves him too, despite his rudeness. Deep down, she knows he’ll be there for her forever. And she’ll be there for him. 


“I want a happy home,” says Jeff. Zoila does as well, and she couldn’t be happier about the new baby on the way, which she’s waited “years and years and years” for. Despite their dysfunction, these two are undoubtedly bound together for life. Aww! Yay for healthy solutions! Now – let’s bring on that baby!  


Photo Credit: Bravo