On last night’s Ladies Of London, there were actually laughs to be had! Real belly laughs! So what if these laughs involved dry humping balloons in cocktail attire? It takes what it takes, people. And I, for one, am ready for my Ladies to return to the sillier, lighter tones of seasons past, where petty dramas just blew away like the wispy smoke of a contraband cig on the front lawn of Mapperton.
But first, in Edinburgh, we return to the breakfast at which Sophie Stanbury tells everyone she loves them – except Juliet Angus, who’s about to unleash the bad juju with statements like “You don’t know negativity! I’m going to SHOW you the NEGATIVITY!” After Sophie quickly attempts a wimpy backtrack, Juliet storms out of breakfast. Upstairs, Caroline Fleming is making her bed to within an inch of its castle-dwelling life. Sophie seems to effectively calm Juliet down in the car later with a kiss and an apology. So, all is not lost!
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The group heads into the city, then divides into two groups to get their shopping on. Somehow, Caroline Stanbury gets dragged into a vintage shop against her will, where she marvels at the idea of buying old people’s shoes. Adela King, Marissa Hermer, and Caroline F sit down for a bite to eat, mid-shopping. Marissa and Caroline F started out on a rotten foot last season, but have warmed to each other since then.
In the other group, Caroline S, Sophie, Juliet, and Julie Montagu discuss the energy on this group trip. Most of the ladies (in both groups) think that Juliet’s energy is too aggressive, and she needs to tone that sh*t down. Caroline then turns her attention to Julie, who she admits she’s attacked relentlessly lately. She also admits feeling vulnerable when her friends of 20-something years appear to “turn” on her. Julie appreciates Caroline’s honesty, seeing a deeper version of the posh, snarky Queen Bee she’s dealt with these past two years. She might even go ahead and lay a big ole’ french kiss on Caroline in appreciation! (DO IT!!)
After the groups reunite, they show their wares and agree that it’s been a lovely day all around. The hubbies will be joining them in Scotland soon, which will be a nice change of pace as well. After turning themselves out for a whiskey tasting downstairs later (for which they are all mostly on time – hurrah!), Juliet shows the ladies her husband’s family’s tartan, a plaid unique to his Scottish family. Then she wears it draped over her shoulder. Because, of course she does.
Robin, the whiskey sommelier, is also sporting his wee kilt with or without knickers underneath – but his lips are sealed on the matter. As the ladies (minus sober Adela) sip their whiskey, they comment on the flavors: Is that a hint of gasoline? toxic waste? rotten wood? No matter, for they are in Scotland! So, it’s whiskey they will lick. Until dinner is served, which is pretty much right away in a beautifully outfitted grotto-like, candlelit room.
With bagpipes a’playin, the ladies are introduced to haggis, a traditional Scottish fare consisting of sheep’s stomach stuffed with minced “internal organs.” Yum? Caroline S whispers, “I need a drink to get through this,” as she and the rest of the group listen to the bagpipe player (now turned town crier) aggressively announce the entrance of said haggis in Gaelic (was that Gaelic? Wtf!?). Julie is a vegetarian, which comes in very handy at the moment when internal organs are minced and served up in stomachs. #ImWithHer
As the haggis is served, Caroline S chats with Marissa about their argument the day before. She regrets making Marissa cry, and wants to make amends. Marissa confesses that she’s just not strong enough right now for all of this drama. She needs peace. “I see that now,” says Caroline, who seems to be backtracking from alpha-adversarial stance against everyone – finally. Through tears, Marissa says she’s tired. And she seems it. Across the table, Julie and Juliet whisper that they think Marissa may be having some deeper issues, and her recent “energetic” displays (at parties, etc…) may be masking something closer to postpartum depression. Bingo.
In a tender moment later, when Julie, Juliet, and Marissa are left at the table alone, Juliet reaches out to Marissa to tell her she wants to be there for her during this rough time. “That’d be great,” cries Marissa, who I am actually feeling some strange sympathy for again. (Don’t do us dirty now, Marissa. These better not be crocodile tears.) “I can’t fight with you,” Marissa tells Juliet. “You can’t pick at me. I’m not strong enough right now. Just be my friend.” Juliet says she can do that. For both of their sakes, I hope that’s true.
Back in the parlor, Caroline F has a balloon game she wants to bust out. It’s all about popping balloons against each other’s bodies with only the friction of what appears to be forced dry humping. “It is HILARIOUS!” promises the Baroness, and truly, the game does not disappoint. Marissa’s sad tears are even turned into tears of riotous laughter when she’s literally tag-teamed by Sophie, then Julie, who force her against a pool table to pop that b*tch with some good old fashioned thrusting! It’s silly and awesome and makes my heart grow three times as big for this franchise all over again. (I was admittedly getting quite Grinchy the past few episodes!)
The next morning, everyone tends to their bruised pelvises and jacked-up backs, thanks to the balloon game. But no one cares about these injuries, for today there will be more healing, courtesy of falcons and (more) apologies. Everyone comes to breakfast except Marissa, who Juliet visits in her room. Marissa is still depressed, which Julie thinks she needs to address with her doctor. Marissa sort of agrees, but is scared of the truth.
Gregor, Matt, and Cem arrive (where’s Luke?) to lighten the mood though, so the day is bound to improve! Marissa tells Matt that she’s relieved he’s here, and that her emotions are running amok. Between breast pumping and not eating or sleeping right, her reserves are tapped. Matt encourages her to recenter herself at home. She doesn’t need to run at full speed right now. She just needs to stand still and recuperate.
Outside the castle, the group assembles to observe a falcon at play, courtesy of Steve, the falcon whisperer. After Fletch (yes, the falcon is named Fletch) is released, swooping straight for the scared sh*tless group, Caroline S slyly admits that this is going exactly as planned. No castle rules? Check. Gouging an eye out accidentally-on-purpose? Check.
As each guest takes turns freaking out over balancing Fletch on their arm while watching their life flash before their eyes, Caroline F dryly muses that she could stare into Fletch’s eyes for HOURS without breaking a sweat. And she practically does just that, balancing the falcon on her arm while doing some sort of aristocratic Jedi mind trick on it. Steve shakes in his wellies, imagining his job as falcon whisperer all but vanishing in the presence of this level of zen.
Caroline S is notably impressed at the powers of the Baroness, as her meeting with Fletch went a little something like this:
After falconry is over, the group splits up to either head off on ATVs or practice some archery. It’s a credit to all that no arrows are sunk into skulls, nor are any trees struck by moving vehicles. Caroline S, of course, credits her “no rules” theme for the fun everyone is having, snarking “You’re welcome, Julie” about the day’s success. Sophie agrees. The men are also praised for stabilizing this group, and given the lighter tone in general, it seems they did bring some sort of magic dude dust with them.
Juliet, Caroline F, and Caroline S step aside for a chat about Marissa, who they’re worried about. They agree that they need to step more softly with her in the future. Meanwhile, Julie, Sophie, and Matt discuss the same concern on the lawn. Julie thinks Caroline S has been too hard on Marissa, and Matt agrees. But when Sophie tries to defend Caroline, Julie takes immediate offense. Um, didn’t Julie just make up with Caroline? Why is she insistent on throwing her (along with herself, ultimately) under this particular bus again?
It’s time for the last supper. In Edinburgh, that is. The ladies and gents are decked out to the nines and – as always – serve up the best style on Bravo (minus Juliet, at times, who drags the group score down considerably). Marissa even comes down to dinner, confiding in Juliet beforehand about how tough the hysterectomy has been on her body and her hormones. “Just look on the bright side!” jokes Juliet about Marissa not getting periods anymore, but sadly, the cruel PMS will still strike monthly. Ack!
At dinner, the group is seated ad-hoc by Caroline S, then treated to a lovely toast from Cem, who thanks them for coming together to help bid them farewell. He and Caroline will be leaving the UK for Dubai soon, and they want to celebrate what they have here before starting their next chapter abroad. Caroline even apologizes to Matt for being too hard on Marissa, who she seems to truly feel for now. He appears to accept the apology, but Marissa interviews that he really doesn’t think too much of Caroline these days. So, she got her dig in.
But the convivial tone takes a sharp nosedive when Sophie stands up to announce her sadness about her husband not being with her on this trip. She does rally by then professing her love for everyone at the table (wow – including Juliet!). Struck by the moment, Julie and her giant haze of awkwardness attempts a toast next. It goes something like this: Hi Caroline! You and I are total opposites! But thanks for helping me be strong and have opinions and stuff! Now I can stand up for myself and fight you! By the way I sent a bike to Dubai! The whole cringe-worthy scene is, in a word, embarrassing.
Quickly steering the group out of that unfortunate moment, Caroline S cues the end of dinner by asking her guests to come outside to watch a surprise fireworks show. It is beautiful, and a perfect ending to another magical Ladies Of London castle trip. (More, please!) This crew, despite their messiness, seem to be reunited at long last. And Caroline even confesses that, in the end, she will truly miss them all.
TELL US: CAN THE LADIES REBUILD THEIR FRIENDSHIPS FROM HERE? IS JULIE INCAPABLE OF NOT TALKING ABOUT CAROLINE? IS MARISSA SUFFERING FROM POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
Photo Credit: Bravo