Southern Charm Recap: Made In The Shade

Yes, yes, yes! It’s been a long time coming, but last night was the first installment of the fourth season of Southern Charm. Was it as good for y’all as it was for me? Can we please talk about the opening scene? Thomas Ravenel drops by Landon Clements’ house with a flower for his flower, but she giggles that for the record, orchids are her favorite. As they sit by Colonial Lake, he implores her to give their relationship a shot. In true Southern Charm fashion, the premiere then flashes back to three months prior. Cameran Eubanks is on her way to see Craig Conover who has been dodging her phone calls after revealing he never finished law school. Shep Rose rings her while on a frantic search for his credit card. He’s trying to hit up all the bars he went to over the weekend, although he can’t quite remember where he was drinking. Upon arriving to Craig and Naomie’s house, Cameran learns that Craig has become the preppy Bob Villa in order to fill his time while Naomie pursues her MBA in finance.

T-Rav is adjusting to life as a full time father now that he has his children full time. Kensie and Saint are living in the guest house (with the nanny, I assume) because, as Thomas opines, kids are messy. He’d rather have them puke on a $200 guest house rug than a $30,000 main house rug. He reveals that Kathryn Dennis hasn’t seen the kids in a couple of months and won’t until she’s able to pass a drug test. Despite the fact his kids don’t live in the same structure as him, Thomas is hands on dad and it’s truly precious to see him playing with Kensie and Saint.

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Shep heads to Warehouse to meet his old friend and wing man Austen Kroll. It’s quite a subtle crossover, as you’ll recall Warehouse’s Emily Hahn was just on Top Chef Charleston. Austen and Shep gab about Landon and Thomas’ rumored fling as well as Landon’s profession of love for Shep. While they are gossiping, the young objects of their earlier affections head out into the night. Shep asks one girl for her number, but she refuses when he can’t recall her name. She reminds him that she was named after Carly Simon, but he’s stumped and trying to recall the lyrics to “You’re So Vain” in hopes of finding a clue. As Carly trots out the door, Austen brags that he already procured her digits. Will this be the season’s first love triangle, folks? And hat’s off to you, Carly, for such a serendipitous trip to a gourmet grilled cheese joint that doubles as a late night dance club. Who knew you had the potential to become a Bravo staple?

Austen is a more boyish, frat-tastic version of Shep. He’s a beer rep, which fits his personality to a tee, and he just ended a long term relationship because he wasn’t ready to get engaged. At twenty-nine, he’s enjoying drinking brews and mindless hook-ups. I think we’re going to like Austen.

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Speaking of someone who loves to drink (martinis, not beer), Patricia Altschul is visited by her son Whitney Sudler-Smith. Miss Pat has traded her traditional bell for some sort of doorbell situation. Michael is not amused. She’s needle-pointing a portrait of her dog as Whitney regales her of his weed-smoking vacation to Mexico. Patricia warns of the perils of drug use while subtly throwing shade at Kathryn. Has Thomas said anything about Kathryn’s well-being to Whitney? No? Well, she is in rehab, right? That’s common knowledge, isn’t it? Patricia coos that while leopards seldom change their spots, she hopes the best for Kathryn as her babies need her. Someone give me some sunscreen and get me out of this shade! She then shares the cautionary tale of Whitney’s one-time successful uncle who started smoking the weed and ended up working at Blockbuster video.

Meanwhile, Landon is paddle boarding in Shem Creek and complaining about how her reputation is crap thanks to last season’s rumor mill churning chat she was shagging T-Rav. She spent most of her summer traveling to avoid the Charleston scene, but she’s ready to face the music. Craig calls her to invite her to Eliza Limehouse’s pool party. Landon is wary to face the old crew. Things are still awkward with Shep, and she’s still stinging from all the Thomas gossip. However, she’s channeled her inner cougar, and she’s ready to attend a state politician’s daughter’s pool party on the arm of her new beau who is ten years her junior. Just let her have this one thing, people. Girl, you do you. And do the twenty-five-old. I’m not judging, just jealous! Speaking of the Limehouse family, Thomas is playing polo and discussing Kathryn with Eliza who is the daughter of his best friend Chip Limehouse. I can’t tell if it’s creepy or endearing. She shares that she’s been getting incoherent texts from Kathryn and cites that Kathryn’s friends are concerned. Thomas worries that his ex has a long road of sobriety ahead of her.

On Folly Beach, Shep and Cameran are shopping for pool party paraphernalia and dishing on Craig’s latest hobby. Shep chastises his friend for lying about the bar application and analyzes Shep’s psyche. He believes that Craig grew up in a family of jocks but didn’t quite fit in, so he came to Charleston to pop his collar and pretend to be rich. Shep would respect him a lot more if he would just be himself instead of a big fat lying liar who lies about lying and loves to lie. According to Shep, Craig would lie about anything but must be faithful to Naomie. After all, according to Shep, Craig couldn’t get, “p*ssy in a monkey whore house with a bunch of monkeys swung over his shoulder.”

Naomie and Craig are riding around downtown Charleston when they receive a surprise phone call from Kathryn. She’s back in Charleston and living with her family in Moncks Corner. She sounds like she’s doing better, and that makes the couple happy…although Craig admits his life is a lot less stressful without Kathryn in it. After a stint in rehab, Kathryn would love to catch up with the pair, but she’s being very selective about with whom she’s sharing her whereabouts. Craig and Naomie both promise to keep her secret, and after hanging up, Craig laments he feels guilty heading to Landon’s house after hearing from her nemesis. Naomie, always the voice of reason, reminds him that they can be friends with Landon and Kathryn, and they should respect Kathryn’s request for privacy. Craig is able to keep his mouth shut for all of thirty seconds upon being offered a mimosa at Landon’s, and Naomie balks. Landon, who up until this point seemed to be doing a decent job redeeming her character from last season, cackles. While it’s great that Kathryn attempted rehab, Landon finds it shady that she went to the most famous facility on the other side of the country which caused her to have zero contact with her kids. Landon is convinced that Kathryn only went to Malibu to find her next rich victim in rehab. And there it is!

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At Eliza’s pool party. Step introduces Austen to Cameran as his protege. Austen takes offense to this. He’s the younger, better looking version of Shep…plus, he has a job. T-Rav arrives flanked by twenty-somethings followed by Landon, Craig, and Naomie. Thomas feels the awkward tension with Landon’s arrival which is only intensified when her young boyfriend Drew pulls up by boat. As they attempt a conversation, Landon can hear the whispers in the crowd. She finds it so frustrating given that even she had hooked up with Thomas, what’s the big deal? And now their friendship has to suffer? She’s not okay with this situation, so she challenges to some polo. It’s like the rich folks version of Netflix and chill, I guess. When she sees Shep for the first time, Landon does a good job at repressing her hurt feelings and takes a bit of pleasure in introducing Shep to her boyfriend.

Cameran’s best friend Chelsea shows up at the party much to Shep’s excitement. She’s a milder version of Cameran which is clearly why Shep is attracted to her. After she flirts mildly and wanders off, Shep corners Naomie to plant seeds of doubt in her mind about Craig’s legal aspirations, and she refuses to indulge his intentions. She should teach a class on reasonableness to the rest of this crew.

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As T-Rav declares it Topless Day to the twenty-somethings giving him googly-eyes, in saunters Kathryn’s cousin Shelby in five inch heels and bikini that’s been eaten by her tush. Her thirst for screen time is strong as she feigns concern for the person who brought her into this crowd, telling T-Rav that she had to ask Kathryn to move out of her apartment due to erratic behavior. Thomas defends(ish) his children’s mother, stating that she finished her rehab stint. Shelby counters, but does that mean she’s sober? We’re treated to a montage of Kathryn driving towards downtown, presumably to crash the party. As the pool goers buzz about Kathryn and her refusal to take a drug test, Kathryn pulls up at the medical center to present a hair sample. That’s how you make a comeback, folks!

TELL US – ARE YOU EXCITED FOR THE RETURN OF SOUTHERN CHARM? WHAT NEWBIES ARE YOU EXCITED TO SEE THIS SEASON? 

[Photo Credit: Bravo]