It was a night of joy and pain on the Real Housewives of New York, with the ladies visiting a prison boot camp, Luann de Lesseps returning from rehab, and Bethenny Frankel reuniting with long time enemy, Jill Zarin, after the tragic passing of her husband, Bobby. The laughs and tears were intense, and I’ll openly admit that I shared both as a viewer. In fact, I might have cried so hard my left contact popped out (theoretically…) because the tenderness in last night’s opening 12 minutes was truly a thing of beauty.
We begin on the day of Bobby’s funeral. Ramona Singer and Dorinda Medley are on the way there, with Ramona explaining that she visited Bobby as soon as she found out he was sick again. Dorinda feels like losing Bobby is a loss for the world; she loved him. When Bethenny heard from Sonja Morgan that Bobby had passed away, she chartered a private plane from Aspen to come be by Jill’s side. Nothing – not even a long-standing reality TV feud – could stand in the way of this moment.
The montage of flashbacks on Bobby and Jill’s relationship are tender, funny, and bring us right back to the old days of RHONY. After the service, Bethenny emerges from the building and surprisingly stops to share a moment with Jill on the street. Suddenly, it’s as if the past has been erased. Jill immediately tells Bethenny how proud she is of her, and that Bobby really loved her. Through tears, Bethenny answers, “I know, I know,” and “I’m sorry.”
Jill sobs to Bethenny, “I’m all alone. What am I going to do?” Bethenny answers, “I’m alone too,” then makes a joke about gift bags and shots before finally fleeing to her car and leaving Jill in the care of her friends and family. Unable to handle the emotional vulnerability of the moment, it’s almost as if Bethenny had to isolate herself (with Kevin, the driver) to process its enormity. But she does admit in an interview later that it’s as if Bobby fixed everything in the end – even if it was at his own funeral.
*SNIFF* I’m not crying…you’re crying! Wow, seriously – that hit me harder than I thought it would. RIP, Bobby Zarin. 🙁
In the car, Bethenny talks on the phone to Luann, who had seen Bobby during his last days in hospice. She laments not being able to attend the memorial service, but she is making progress in rehab. She spent New Year’s Eve in treatment, telling Bethenny through tears how utterly scared and alone she felt. But she feels like she’s where she needs to be, and knows her life needs to change. Bethenny has never heard Luann cry, let alone open up in such a vulnerable way to her, of all people. It’s obviously Bethenny’s day to feel ALL the feels.
In a complete scene and tone shift, we’re transported to the hotel spa, where Tinsley Mortimer and Carole Radziwill are sharing a day of pampering and gossip. They’re ladies who steam, except…without the actual steam? Because, cameras. Tinsley tells Carole she’s done fighting with Sonja, and Carole thinks she’s on better footing with Bethenny, even though it’s still a tense situation. Speaking of tense, Tinsley is all about Scott putting a ring on it. But she wants her mother, Dale, to back off of pressuring her (and her boyfriend) about her obvious wishes.
In the Hamptons, Ramona meets with Carl The Contractor to look at piles and piles of wood stacked throughout her now-stripped-bare mansion. She’s all about real estate, except when it’s on the highway. So she’s revamping the house that Pinot built by remodeling from the ground up. But Ramona is also having panic attacks about the remodel, which she seems to think can happen WITHOUT tearing everything else out. Or maybe she’s just pissed that she missed this golden opportunity to rip sconces out of drywall with her bare hands? Because we KNOW homegirl likes to get in on that action. #Berkshires #NeverForget
Carl tries to calm her Ladyship down, but Ramona probably just needs a drink. Or a date with Carl – whatever is available! The house will be fab, I’m sure. (Even though the “before” was pretty fab already, at least to a plebeian such as me’self.
Back at Tinsley’s hotel suite, Dale has arrived. (A moment of silence for the grande dame, please.) Tinsley tells her mom about Sonja staying with her, and how much fun they had
despite Sonja stealing all of the hotel soaps, robes, linens, floor trim. Downstairs at the bar, Dale chastises Tinsley about drinking too much last year and is happy to see Tins cut down a bit lately. As any good WASP mother does, Dale has also brought updates on Tinsley’s frozen eggs and – WEIRDLY – will view photo evidence of Tinsley’s “7 little babies” in deep freeze later.
Before moving into extreme egg-viewing on iPhones, Dale admits she recently told Scott that Tinsley doesn’t have much time left to have babies (!!!). At this news, Tinsley has a minor meltdown while Dale laughs directly in her face. HA! Tinsley whines that Dale needs to stop meddling! But she really does want the meddling, because she and Dale agree to go try on wedding dresses behind Scott’s back. Just for kicks and giggles. Like psychotic Shirley Temple stalkers and their amazing diva mothers do! (Okay – What to we have to do to make Dale a Housewife? Anybody?)
At the dress shop, Tinsley and Dale giggle about their secret little plan of trying on wedding dresses ON NATIONAL TV. Tinsley wants this wedding to be different since her last one was all about her mom and her. And this one – which Scott knows NOTHING ABOUT YET – is totally about him. Mmkay, Crazy. We gotchu.
Holy sh*t this is dark: In a modern-day gothic tableau, Tinsley sits in a wedding gown with her mother – groomless and unengaged – while they take a look at the photo her frozen egg doc (medical term!) sent. Upon viewing grainy footage of her seven eggs on ice, she and Dale burst into hysterical sobs. “THAT’S LIKE MY BABIEEEEEEEEES!!!” weeps Tinsley. It’s, um, definitely a moment.
Speaking of gothic tales, we venture over to Sonja’s estate, where she’s running around talking to herself about whether she took her vitamins today. And by “vitamins” let’s assume she means “valium.” Bethenny stops by to humor Sonja about her growing businesses – which now includes a shoe collection. Unless it’s a shoe Sonja can ultimately live in, I’m not sure about the future of this particular endeavor.
Bethenny fills Sonja in about sitting shiva at Jill’s home, where she brought Brynn along to meet her old friend for the very first time. None of the cameras were around, which allowed them to have a heart to heart about the past. Jill admitted she was wrong and regrets her behavior toward Bethenny, who used to be her best buddy. Bethenny feels happy that they shared this moment, and she’s hopeful that this closure will lead toward some healing – but she’s not ready to plow straight ahead into a close friendship with her again. Baby steps.
Sonja takes Bethenny on a tour of her remodeled home, which is significantly less crumbly and brown-icy than before, and will hopefully get rented quickly. “I’m jealous of who gets to live here!” laments Sonja, while she stares at her fax machine, letting her mind wander down the dusty halls of dried dog feces and bird poop-encrusted patio chairs of yesteryear. Ahh, memories.
Whether it’s the paint fumes in Sonja’s townhouse, hearing Luann cry from rehab, or making amends with Jill, Bethenny feels like something’s shifting. She’s not as angry anymore – even seeing Ramona at the funeral didn’t make her as murdery as usual. “God, I’m so sentimental,” says Bethenny. “What happened to me!?”
We end on a light note, with the ladies going to “CONBODY” to work out like prisoners. It’s lost on no one that Luann is missing from this event, which is the irony of all ironies considering her recent…incident. Everyone takes a faux mugshot, then is pushed through a series of exercises from ex-convicts-turned-personal-trainers. Tinsley shows up late to celebrate her second mugshot – in Heidi braids – and to declare herself the OG of prison b*tches.
But the ex-cons-personal-trainers are more impressed by hearing about the Countess’s recent arrest – which came complete with busting out of handcuffs and assaulting officers. They wonder if this Luann chick is married? She sounds like the perfect woman!
After the ladies huff and puff and squat and jump, they circle up to have a RHONY state of the union. Where’s everyone’s head at these days? They agree that taking Luann to a spa after she comes home is a good plan. Dorinda says Lu will be okay around them drinking, but she’s taking her sobriety one day at a time for now.
And speaking of a day at a time, cameras are there to capture Luann on Day 1 of her release from rehab. As she is ferried away, she calls Dorinda to talk about next steps. These past few years have been a nightmare, and Luann admits she’s been self-medicating to stuff down the emotional turmoil of it all. Dorinda understands, and she’s supportive of her friend’s journey ahead.
“I’ve been traveling, I’ve been to prison,” says Luann, and now she totally intends on changing her life. That change will begin at the Mayflower Spa where everyone will spend a weekend relax-fighting, which the RHONY ladies are famous for. Sigh. You know, whatever Luann’s delusions and faults are, I’m rooting for her. Bring on the #CountessComeback
TELL US: WHAT DID YOU THINK OF BETHENNY AND JILL’S MOMENT? WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE JILL BACK ON RHONY? IS TINSLEY’S WEDDING DRESS/EGG STORYLINE SWEET OR PSYCHO? WILL THE LADIES SUPPORT LUANN IN HER SOBRIETY?
Photo Credit: Bravo