It. Is. Here. I feel like it’s been an eternity since Southern Charm graced us with its presence. Having moved away from Charleston in January, I’m sure it will make me a tad homesick to watch, but that’s okay because the salacious drama and ridiculous debauchery will make it all better. Hell, I didn’t even get sad when I saw that Jax Taylor, Kristen Doute, and Brittany Cartwright were partying LAST NIGHT with Shepard “Shep” Rose and Chelsea Meissner at a bar two blocks from my old stomping ground. It’s a magical place for sure…and this show can’t taint it even with all of its absurdity. Plus, did we mention no Landon??
So it begins like every other season…with a bang up fight that we won’t see fully until the end. This time our sneak peek into the future surrounds a Christmas party at the Hibernian that went south (literally) really quickly as Kathryn Dennis cusses out Thomas Ravenel’s flavor of the month who in turn calls Kathryn an egg donor. Ouch. But three months earlier, everything is a bit sunnier in my favorite place. Cameran Eubanks is close to giving birth with her first child, a little girl. It’s been an uncomplicated pregnancy up until the last several weeks, but Shep knows how to entice his friend out of bed with some Chick-fil-A. Works every time. What doesn’t work? Shep’s relationship that culminated on his spin-off Relationshep. His twenty-three-year-old paramour went to bed at eleven. That’s way too early for Shep. His whirlwind romance lasted all of five days in New York City. Alas, Shep is ready to move on and celebrate his thirty-eighth birthday. Priorities.
On Daniel Island, Danni Baird comes to visit Kathryn’s new apartment. Despite her striped hair, Kathryn looks the best she ever has on this show. Sure, she’s bruised from regular blood testing thanks to Thomas‘ ability to randomly have her checked for drugs, but it’s worth it to get to spend more time with her children. Danni has called off her engagement, and Kathryn is ready to cut ties with T-Rav’s nanny. The woman doesn’t trust her with her own kids. Back a T-Rav’s house we’re reminded that this dysfunctional pair makes adorable babies, and the nanny schools Thomas on the custody calendar. T-Rav is sad to see his beloved nanny leave, but he’s happy to welcome new girlfriend Ashley into the fold. She’s a nurse who likes cardio on the walking trails and in the bedroom. Kathryn reveals to Danni that she’s slightly peeved Thomas hasn’t shared his new status with her. She had to find out from her toddler. Kathryn is wary of T-Rav’s lady’s intentions…she probably just wants fifteen minutes of fame. Kathryn may know a little something about that, even though she’s successfully parlayed it into a career, so more power to her. She jokes that Ashley’s job as a hospice nurse is sure to come in handy for Thomas at some point soon.
Naomie Olindo is catching up with Chelsea over a cut a color. She’s moved out of her home with former beau Craig Conover. While it’s been a long time coming, can we just congratulate Craig for finally passing the bar? The new bachelor has moved into a house he recently purchased with an old friend. Naomie is sad about the break-up, but she feels it was for the best. While Chelsea feels for her friend, she’s happy to have another single friend with whom to hit the town. Speaking of defunct relationships, Chelsea is over Austen Kroll, at least romantically. He quit his job, mooched off Chelsea for dinners, and tried to facilitate early morning hook-ups after ditching her for his friends. Chelsea doesn’t have time for that.
Despite being unemployed (thanks for that paycheck, Bravo), Austen feels incredibly productive given what he’s able to accomplish in a day. No job leaves him open for practicing corn hole, day-drinking, and meeting up with Shep at the Windjammer. The Peter Pans catch up about life and love, and Austen reveals that he was bummed by the way things panned out with Chelsea. He apparently moved on with one of Chelsea’s good pals Victoria. Unbeknownst to Chelsea, Austen has cut ties with Victoria in hopes of rekindling his spark with the girl who is way too good for him.
Making the rounds, Shep is lunching with Whitney Sudler-Smith at Pancito and Lefty’s. Fun fact–they put crickets in the margs. Perhaps that is why Whitney is forgoing the fare! A very hungover Shep is shocked to learn that Whitney’s mom, matriarch and caftan creator extraordinaire Patricia Altschul, is betrothed to be betrothed to a mysterious Mr. C. (DOES MICHAEL APPROVE?? WE NEED TO KNOW!!) Whitney is slightly impressed with the gigantic diamond promise ring gifted to his mother by Mr. C, but he’s more excited to get this news on the front end. He admits he learned about one of his mother’s marriages via telegram after the fact. Shep laughs as Whitney proposes an adult-like bash for Shep’s big day. They joke about Craig party planning, and Whitney bets Shep forty dollars that Craig won’t answer a call from his estranged pal. Challenge accepted! Whitney is down a bill when Craig picks up on the second ring.
Downtown, T-Rav visits flailing bourbon baron J.D. Madison who poo-poos the recent stories about his floundering liquor empire. J.D. pours T-Rav a drink from his vast supply of defunct moonshine before opening up about his separation from Elizabeth. What? I don’t follow social media as I should, so this is news to me. J.D moved out at Elizabeth’s request, with him stating he was hurt to learn she fell out of love with him. When she ditched her wedding ring, he did the same. Something in me tells me he may have preemptively (and shadily) lost that band long before Elizabeth kicked him to the curb.
Despite Whitney being a negative Nelly, Craig is thrilled to help Shep celebrate his birthday. As they contemplate meats for the fete, Craig pretends to be cool when he learns Naomie is invited to the event. If he’s truly surprised, he should be equally shocked to learn that a Bravo camera crew is following his every move. Thomas and Kathryn will be in attendance as well. If Craig is worried about awkwardness with Naomie, Shep reminds him that the get-together will be the first time Kathryn meet T-Rav’s new lady friend. That afternoon, Craig heads out to Sullivans Island to aid Shep in the party preparation. It doesn’t take long before the duo is arguing about grilling skills and going head to head with bad hair products. Over the bridge, Thomas is taking an active role in picking out Ashley’s outfit for the evening. He cites Ashley’s manners as being far superior to Kathryn’s before okay-ing an outfit that highlights her ass cheeks. Meanwhile, back at the beach Craig still hasn’t mastered the grill. It’s a good thing this group always forgoes food for copious amounts of alcohol.
Thankfully, Austen arrives to diffuse the situation and he’s brought Shep the perfect gift–a hodge podge of beers and a coffee table book on Vietnam. Shep is over the moon. He is quite the renaissance man, isn’t he? Austen, not so much, and he freaks when he learns his ridiculous friends didn’t consider Tostitos and salsa when creating their grocery list. Prepping for the evening, Danni and Kathryn head to Chelsea’s to drink La Cwah (we hicks call it La Croix) with Naomie. The girls joke about giving condoms to Shep for a birthday present, and Kathryn can’t remember if he used the little buggers back when they hooked up a while ago. She can’t pinpoint a condom in their night of passion, but she does have a memory of turning his bed orange with her spray tan. South Carolina, y’all! Naomie bonds with the girls over all being single at the same time. She was with Craig for so long, it’s almost hard for her to navigate the dating scene on her own. Naomie has grown close with Elizabeth, and she informs Kathryn and Chelsea that J.D. will be attending the bash while Elizabeth is left home to watch their children. J.D. disgusts Naomie, and Kathryn is happy to finally have someone who agrees with her on that front.
As T-Rav puts the finishing touches on his lady friend’s attire, he teases that he hopes to get a rise out of Kathryn with her outfit. The fact that Ashley doesn’t run for the hills based on that statement alone speaks volume. I hope all of these folks hit up a drive-through before the party because a pissy and nervous Craig is incredibly anxious about serving raw meat to the guests. Perhaps he should have considered his meat cute before claiming to be a grill master. He should just stick to what he knows–sewing. As Shep puts paper plates in the oven, Shep worries about how frazzled Craig is manning the barbecue.
Chelsea wonders how it will be seeing Austen after such a long time, and Kathryn straight up pretends to not know of Ashley’s existence. Danni can’t believe Ashley moved across the country for some old man she barely knows, and Chelsea jokes “thirsty” under her breath. Kathryn counters with “dehydrated.” I don’t even need to snark in this blog because these wonderful people do it for me. I find it telling that Kathryn seems incredibly clean yet T-Rav is carrying a solo cup around in every scene like it’s his pacifier. Craig’s nerves are shot, and I’m assuming it’s equal parts having to see Naomie and knowing he ruined the night’s cuisine. Give a man a grill and he will fail, but give him a needle and thread, and he will be the master of an amazing Etsy account. The ladies are all about girl power, but if I had to guess, Bravo’s countdown to this cookout is foreshadowing a major showdown.
TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF LAST NIGHT’S PREMIERE? WILL ASHLEY AND T-RAV GO THE DISTANCE?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]