I prefer my Housewives like I prefer my Martinis: Dirty, salty, shaken, and served with a twist. This week’s episode of the Real Housewives of Potomac was not that. Well, the garden party had its moments, but this installment seemed a little too real for comfort.
It’s the day after Monique Samuels’ party for Chris. Everyone is hanging out just doing their own thing. Robyn Dixon is playing football with her two cute little boys, and Ashley Darby is watching her man Michael break the sound barrier on his stationary bike. Gizelle Bryant calls Karen Huger to apologize, but Karen lets it go to voice mail and then surprise! Karen’s voice mail is full. Refusing defeat, she texts Karen saying that she hopes they’re still friends.
Candiace Dillard is still mad at Little Chris, but he’s making breakfast for her so it’s hard to keep up the bad feelings when you’re smelling bacon. Besides, Candiace has a bigger problem: her mom. Mom is currently staying with the young couple, and this is something she does once a month. Candiace says she and her mom co-own the house, so what can you do when the owner stops by to check on the investment and interfere in the marriage plans? It’s hard to be a fierce independent woman with such a bossy mom. For all of Candiace’s complaining, they seem to have a pretty good relationship and Candiace obviously looks up to her. Finally, we stop by Monique’s house where everyone is gathered around the kitchen island and everyone but the kids are moving slow. This is how you can tell it was a good party! However, Monique is still riled up about her run in with Robyn over the stupid meme. If she’d known that Robyn was going to come at her, Monique would never have invited her.
Robyn drives over to Gizelle’s house from Hanover for a visit. Gizelle just got back from the Hamptons and it was a very successful business trip. Robyn tells Gizelle all about the fights with Monique and Ashley. Gizelle wonders what has happened to their little friend group. No one is having any fun anymore! She decides to make it her mission to get everyone back as friends and back to good times.
But first Gizelle has to visit her ghostwriter, Courtney. Gizelle and Courtney are writing a novel tightly based on her life. Gizelle was once the First Lady of her church until she divorced her pastor husband. Gizelle knows secrets you guys! And she’s not afraid to talk. They’ve already completed the first chapter and are searching for a publisher. She knows it’s risky to out the secret society of First Ladies and she has to be careful not to jeopardize the father of her 3 kids and the writer of her alimony checks. However, she is out from under his thumb and running toward the future.
Ashley brings us along to her appointment with her therapist, Esther. Michael is still really upset about her mom. Mom’s been a single parent since Ashley was a year old. We’re shown an old photo of Ashley’s mom and the four kids. Ashley’s mom was really quite pretty back then, but the years since have been tough ones for her. Mom got a new boyfriend when Ashley was in Kindergarten, and then left Ashley with her grandparents to go live with the guy. This lasted for a year, and then it was a string of bad boyfriends and poor choices until she met the last guy who Ashley says is a toxic loser. He doesn’t have a job and Mom makes too little at her nursing home job to pay for their expenses. Plus they have a daughter together, so it’s all very complicated. This is why Michael is sick of it all and insists that the boyfriend has to go. The whole scene is heartbreaking and I just want to give Ashley a hug.
I also desperately need some fun relief, so I would like to take this moment to thank Karen and Gizelle. The two meet up and everyone should be nervous for Gizelle. However, Gizelle has dressed in her big girl clothes, and she’s ready to apologize. Gizelle is happy to see Karen and says she no longer cares about the tax issue. She just wants her friend back, so she’s over the top nice. Karen, on the other hand, eerily says that she sees Gizelle clearly. At that moment, a cold chill enters Potomac, small woodland creatures scatter, and the rose petals on the next table wilt and die… Gizelle is on a mission, though and moves to the apology portion of the luncheon. She thought the hashtags would be funny since it was funny to her that Karen had called a press conference. She just couldn’t take any of it seriously, and now she sees she was wrong. Karen has two options: (1) She can accept the apology and in the spirit of 12 years of friendship let bygones be bygones or (2) Act like she’s royalty and Gizelle is an unworthy subject. Well, Karen hasn’t gifted herself the title of “Grand Dame” for nothing! She goes all out for option 2. Not only doesn’t she easily forgive, Karen doubles down and tells the waiter that Gizelle will be handling the check today. Is the salmon expensive? And the calamari? Put that on the bill as well. Finally, only the best Champagne stomped by French monks who have taken a vow of silence and haven’t uttered a word in 20 years will do. Just make sure it’s the most expensive. Bless you Karen for firing up the night! Gizelle then invites Karen to a garden party she is having for all the ladies to celebrate the first chapter of her book. Karen warns Gizelle that too much truth is dangerous, but Gizelle says she’s not trying to take down the black church. When she was First Lady, part of her job was to bring people together and that’s what she wants to do for this group. She asks for Karen’s help and you can see Karen is warming up to her. Gizelle just can’t help herself and rubs Karen’s shoulder for fun. Karen dodges her hand and tells her to back off, but that just emboldens Gizelle and she goes in for the hug.
Monique and Chris meet with their pastor. A little over a month ago, she suffered a miscarriage. Monique’s way of dealing with it is to bury herself in the busyness of life and getting all moved into the new house. Chris is worried about her because he doesn’t think she has dealt with the loss yet. He is definitely a gem of a husband. Their pastor warns that there’s danger in spreading herself to thin.
Candiace is at home with her 21 year old sister, Crystal. They’re having their monthly business meeting. Well, not exactly monthly; more like sporadic. Not really business; more like plotting how to get their mom to butt out of their lives. The two currently sell their hair extensions online, but Candiace wants to open a brick and mortar store. Just thinking about it makes Candiace twirl the extension over her head like it’s a baton from her pageant days and just thinking about that makes this girl sparkle!
The day of Gizelle’s garden party has arrived. The dress code is your Sunday church best. Robyn and Charrisse arrive looking very nice. In walks Karen in a bright orange tight dress that’s a little short. Come on! When has Karen ever taken directions well? Charrisse comments that “Karen beats her own drum.” Okaaaaaay. Does it really matter to the hostess, Gizelle? Not one bit. Gizelle is all rainbows and sunshine because she’s determined to make these bitches behave, and if you wish hard enough your dreams will come true! Charrisse is syrupy sweet to Karen and just over the top sarcastic. Karen tells her, “I know you’re not still talking.” Strangely enough, Charrisse stops talking. Put that in your memory bank people – it could come in handy someday. Thankfully, Monique and Ashley arrive so we can stop with the petty behavior and focus on more important things: Namely, Monique’s dress. Now, I know she goes to church. Does she wear this to church? Black bra with see through lace overlay. Black cape. Did anyone else imagine she left her mask and whip in the car? By comparison, Ashley looks very sweet. She is wearing a lemon yellow fascinator, and I can’t stop staring. It’s simply wonderful, Darling.
Now that we have the fashion out of the way, Gizelle reads the intro to her book. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, but there is zero protection for the villain: the low-life pastor husband who has slept with many women both inside and outside the congregation. Will the heroine of this tale stay in her marriage or break free and divorce his cheating ass? Stay tuned! Karen once again cautions that it could hit too close to home and Monique wonders how Gizelle’s kids will feel about it. After all, even though it’s fiction, it really is close to her reality. Ashley (and I) can’t wait to read it. There’s another reason for the garden party. Ladies, we’re not having any fun together anymore! And not to point fingers, but the worst are Ashley and Robyn. Robyn is so uncomfortable she just starts tearing her chicken apart and is there anyone that doesn’t think she’s imagining that drumstick is Ashley? Robyn mumbles that she’s good, so Ashley decides to open up and tell the ladies about her situation with her mom. She sees some of her mom in Robyn and Ashley wants the best for her and knows she’s been going about it the wrong way. Robyn’s response is screaming at Ashley. Ashley says she is working on minding her own business with a therapist and she’s going to really try to be a better friend. But that’s not all folks! Robyn also has issues with Monique. Monique is still furious because Robyn assumes that the only reason anyone hangs with Monique is she pays them. Robyn waves her off and says as far as she’s concerned, they’re good, but you can’t stop the Monique Express once it starts rolling. Finally, she takes a breath and everyone jumps in and agrees to be more positive, less judgmental, and stop “joking” at the expense the others’ feelings. The First Lady has put them into a Mac-n-Cheese carb coma, and now they’re all good.
Ashley has her mom over for lunch and a heart to heart. Her mom’s toxic relationship is not just bad for Ashley; it’s also sucking the life out of her mom. Mom tells Ashley that he’s getting better and Ashley snaps. She has very vivid memories of him cussing her out. This guy was homeless and living in a tent when her mom met him. They’d be living in a tent now if not for Michael. It doesn’t matter what Ashley does or says. It doesn’t matter that her marriage is hanging on by a thread. Her mom will only leave him when she’s ready, and not a minute sooner. This is all too real for my liking. I want stupid fights. I want bad behavior, fun dancing, and maybe a drunken bar brawl or two. Ashley’s mom just seems to be too fragile to take on the gauntlet that is the Real Housewives.
Tell us: Do you think it’s a good idea for Gizelle to write a novel based on her life?
Photo Credit: Bravo TV