Last night’s Southern Charm invited us to sit down with our favorite man children and the girls who love to hate them…and sometimes hate to love them. All poor Shep Rose wants is to celebrate his thirty-eighth birthday, but Naomie Olindo and Danni Baird have other plans. Kathryn Dennis manages to keep her cool despite Thomas Ravenel flaunting new arm candy in her heavily made up face. It’s the south’s version of the dinner party from hell, minus the e-cigarette and psychic.
At Shep’s house, Craig Conover is lording over raw meat as T-Rav and his new lady bitch about Kathryn and joke about Ashley becoming T-Rav’s new bride and his children’s new mom. Classy. The charmers arrive at the party with Cameran Eubanks waddling up with in her finest maternity wear that showcases her adorable bump. Ashley tries to butter up the mini-matriarch by asking if she’s only five months along in her pregnancy…as if she doesn’t stalk her on social media. Cameran questions Craig about how he feels seeing Naomie, and he’s nervous. In the Uber with the girls, Naomie admits she feels the same way. Likewise, Austen Kroll and Chelsea Meissner are awaiting their own uneasy encounters. T-Rav jokes that J.D. calls this gal crew the “break-up bunch.” The ladies are all about supporting each other while tearing down their narcissistic Peter Pan counterparts.
The women appear as Whitney Sudler-Smith spares the charmers a bout of salmonella, transitioning Craig’s bleeding barbecue into the oven. Everyone seems to be sweating bullets over the potentially tense dinner party with only Cameran and Shep as acting as Switzerland. Ashley is overwhelmed. Austen is sad to realize he may have missed his chance with Chelsea. Kathryn graciously, but icily, endures Thomas‘ introduction to Ashley. Naomie is overcome by the overall awkwardness while Chelsea dives into an equally uncomfortable conversation with Austen. Amidst all of the cringe-worthy interactions, Cameran is ready to eat for two. Is the meat done? Nope. Shep delves into the lady’s area and assures Naomie that Craig only has the kindest things to say about her. Craig balances manning the grill and forced small talk with Naomie. Thomas tries to incorporate Ashley into the crew by warming up to Naomie, and he makes sure to molest his lady friend in front of Kathryn just so she’s aware that he’s found someone new.
I didn’t think this get together could become any tenser, but then J.D. Madison bursts in like Boss Hogg into the Boar’s Nest. In case you didn’t know, every female at this party is Team Elizabeth. Their loyalty will not waiver. Kathryn recounts meeting Ashley to Danni and Naomie while Ashley hovers on the deck with Cameran and Whitney. Ashley complains about the weird situation she’s found herself in just because she happened to fall for Thomas.
This party is like Arby’s. It has THE MEATS! Sadly, the only person who can tear herself away from the drama to eat is Cameran. Slowly but surely, the party filters down to the dinner table. According to Kathryn, Naomie is serving face even though she’s almost cried twice just being in Craig’s presence. Craig applauds the crowd for being able to come together to celebrate Shep, despite all the break-ups. Thomas and Kathryn get a rare moment alone where she compliments his golf shirt and he returns the favor regarding her striped hair. Co-parenting at its finest. Amid bad blonde jokes and painful small talk, Kathryn learns that Thomas has hired a new nanny without her input. She expresses her disappointment, and he casually dismisses her. However, he does promise that the new nanny will be more respectful of Kathryn. Kathryn calmly urges T-Rav to include her in these decisions, and Thomas wonders where this compelling and mature person was when they were actually together. The pair shares a Christian side hug, and we get a glimpse of them maybe working together for the common good of their precious children before they are interrupted by Ashley. Her opening line (loosely), “I’ve heard all about you, but I know you know nothing about me.” At least it’s not confrontational, right?
Kathryn rolls her eyes so far back in her head I’m worried they’ll stick (but I don’t really care if they do) as Ashley launches into a speech about co-existing and her level of respect for their children that Ashley loves so dearly. Kathryn admits being caught off guard because she just learned Thomas had a girlfriend, and she’s further confused as to how she’s met the children. Instead of pulling OG Kathryn and ripping out Ashley’s hair, the peaceful ginger opts for a fake hug. Ashley seems disoriented. She was clearly vying for brawl…or at the very least to unleash the beast only to step back and feign surprise at Hurricane Kathryn. All in due time, newbie. All in due time.
Shep takes his place at the head of the table to give a toast that basically outlines his unrequited love for Cameran while thanking his pals for all coming together despite their penchant for botched relationships with each other. He gains quite a laugh as the crew breaks down bad first date meals. Naomie feels peaceful about her conscious uncoupling from Craig, but she still plans to murder his next girlfriend…and her family. J.D. cackles that he hasn’t been on a date since Elizabeth kicked him to the curb. If Danni’s glare doesn’t kill him, the all the Vanderpump pasta he’s eating will. He urges Shep to open presents. J.D. gifts Shep with a blanket he himself may want to use if he’s ever stuck crashing on his friend’s sofa. Naomie joins Danni in some severe side eye.
The subject changes to the full moon, and Austen, realizing he hasn’t utilized much air time, notes that this particular lunar cycle means that women are more fertile. Ashley takes center stage, poo-pooing his hypothesis while purposefully wondering aloud what this could mean for her evening with Thomas. Did she remember to take the pill? Should she be concerned about adding to his brood? So far this season I’m indifferent to Kathryn (which is a step-up from the past), but I want to give her a Khloe high-five for not jumping across the table for blood like a basketball wife. Maybe I’m expecting season two Goose Creek to show up and get this barbecue started. Alas, Kathryn politely turns a cheek and passes her finished plate to her host. An uncomfortable Cameran heads into the house with Shep not far behind. Shep raves about his new bond with single Craig, who miraculously appears out of nowhere. Craig is happy to see Naomie but it’s odd as their rift lacked closure.
The trio’s discussion is interrupted when T-Rav escorts Ashley to the bathroom. He jokes to the crew that he’ll “close on site” and he follows through when he herds Ashley into the powder room for some risky business. Downstairs, J.D. tries to garner sympathy with a speech about living in the guest house while trying to make it work with Elizabeth. It’s really, really hard on him, y’all. Naomie interjects and I love her for it. If J.D. wants so badly to make it work with Elizabeth, why didn’t he include her in Shep’s party? He counters that Elizabeth isn’t in attendance because he’s there. What does Naomie want him to do? Before dropping her mic, Naomie looks straight at J.D., replying, “Be a better husband.” Boom. Danni almost spits out her drink. J.D. calls B.S. How would Naomie know what kind of husband he is? Naomie reminds J.D. that she talks to Elizabeth every day and she’s not doing well. She cries, she lives in bed (okay, maybe this shouldn’t be shared), all the while, J.D. is going out with his two best friends—booger sugar and co-eds. The table does a collective gasp as J.D. plays dumb. Chelsea jumps in to call him a con artist. J.D. pretends to be aghast at these accusations. He keeps whispering “wow” under his breath as the women start bashing men in general.
Austen tries to speak up in the general sense (not in the defense of J.D. I hope) before quickly learning he’s outnumbered. Danni is appalled. Kathryn is using words like “deflect” and “narrative” as in being “misconstrued” and “distorted.” Beware the banshee who has been doubling down on her words-of-the-day. Joking aside, she’s correct. Love Kathryn or hate her, you can’t watch this show and not think the world of Elizabeth. J.D’s attempt to make himself sound like the only person interested in saving his marriage are only valid if he wasn’t the sole member responsible for its demise. Whitney cringes, Austen cowers, and Danni and Chelsea spew hatred at J.D. while he deflects. “I said I was the bad guy…” while not admitting to any wrongdoing. He refuses to lose his cool before excusing himself and apologizing for being such source of contention. Upstairs, T-Rav and Ashley emerge from the bathroom to join Cameran, Craig, and Shep. Whitney quickly follow their lead, quietly leaving the table as Danni and Naomie try to educate Austen on all the rumors surrounding J.D.’s alleged infidelities. When Austen won’t budge on his alliance for J.D., Naomie storms off from the table.
Having heard from Whitney about Naomie’s tirade, Craig heads into the backyard to get the full story. He praises her for speaking the truth and having her friend’s back. She tells Craig that she’s heard Craig has been sticking up for J.D. He insists he sides with her and wishes she wouldn’t jump to conclusions about his convictions. She tears up as Craig cites their differences with a massive lump of dip in his lip. He apologizes for upsetting her as she reminds him it’s the first time she’s seen him since the break-up. Craig has never seen Naomie cry, so he’s heartbroken. On the flip side, Naomie is sad that Craig doesn’t seem upset. He admits to crying a lot in private. And sewing.
The following day, Shep gets the ultimate birthday gift, which is his friends leaving everything from the party for him to clean. Naomie recaps her annihilation of J.D. and meaningful chat with Craig to Kathryn. Kathryn can relate to Elizabeth. She feels vindicated after years of people taking Thomas‘ side simply because they knew him better. As Kathryn tears up she worries about her bronzer…as do I. Across town on East Bay, Thomas treats his new gal to cocktails at an oyster bar, and she’s wearing her finest final four Bachelor contestant romper. She wants to turn on T-Rav, and she’s willing to do anything short of dying her hair red. The pair commiserates over how badly Kathryn wants to win and how she hates to see Thomas happy. Despite Kathryn’s civil demeanor at Shep’s party, Thomas promises she’s ready to rip his relationship with Ashley to shreds. Of course, he also admits that if Kathryn hadn’t been so combustible he’d still be with her. The fact Ashley’s still in her seat after that comment alone speaks volumes.
TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF LAST NIGHT’S EPISODE? WERE YOU IMPRESSED THAT KATHRYN DIDN’T ATTEMPT TO BREAK ASHLEY’S FACE?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]