Welcome back to Episode 2 of The Real Housewives of Orange County. When we left off at the end of last week’s premiere, Heather Dubrow‘s fancy comeback party hadn’t yet descended into total chaos. We were only treated to snippets of the madness that was to c0me. But the premiere was only the beginning.
But first, we finally get the season’s taglines! And they’re…kind of a mixed bag. As usual. Though I must say the all-white intro looks are a white-hot serve, honey. Not to mention a vast improvement over the blueish-gray of the past two seasons. Shannon Beador has graduated from opening new Beadors to inserting her middle name of Storms into her tagline. Gina Kirschenheiter‘s still immensely proud of that tiny casita. And Emily Simpson may be closing down the bars, but her delivery falls flatter than the stale ale at last call.
Meanwhile, one of the newbies’ taglines is miles above the other’s. Dr. Jen Armstrong‘s is a clever introduction to the brand she’s bringing to the show. Sure, she can handle the jabs this new group of friends is bound to throw her way, but she’s prepared to deliver them right back — both verbally and cosmetically. Then there’s Noella Bergener. Oh, Noella, Noella, Noella. Did no one think to stop and tell her that her freshman tagline was A.) not only boring, but B.) a blatant rip-off of Lizzie Rovsek‘s from Season 9? (While we’r at it, justice for Lizzie!) And Heather cements her place on the throne by reminding everyone that she’s once again reigning over them.
The second episode of the reset that is Season 16 picks up in the calm before the storm at Chateau Dubrow. Conversation is flowing. Introductions are being made. Heather‘s making the rounds, playing the role of perfect hostess with her glass of champs in hand. Everything’s just lovely…until Gina can’t hold in the secret she’s been carrying around all night and pulls Heather aside for a private chat. Within moments, she’s spilling all the tea about the rumor that Nicole James once sued Terry Dubrow. (Side note, Gina and Emily‘s subtle investigation into Nicole’s four-year boob job journey was more amusing than I honestly expected it to be.)
This is news to Heather. She seems genuinely shocked by the bombshell. In the next room, Shannon‘s equally blindsided to learn from Emily that Gina‘s breaking her confidence. And promptly rushes in to interrupt Gina and Heather’s conversation. Shannon is profusely apologetic, insisting over and over again that she never meant to hurt Heather. But the returning veteran is furious and storms away to confront production. In fact, when Shannon follows after her after engaging in some angry finger-pointing with Gina, Heather pulls a “Bravo, Bravo, Bravo” and tries to shut down filming. We’re talking hand in front of the camera, threatening to quit the show, the whole thing.
Meanwhile, the other ‘Wives are determined not be left out of the drama. Congregated in the foyer, Emily fills Nicole in on what’s been happening behind her back. And Heather‘s friend comes clean: yes, she filed a lawsuit against Terry 16 years ago. Wow. However, she rushes to explain, saying that she a young working model who was pressured into the legal action by opportunistic attorneys and she’s regretted it ever since. And no, in case you’re wondering, she’s never told Heather any of this.
Somehow this conversation leads to a blow-up between Emily and Nicole. The two have known each other for all of 20 minutes and they’re already at each other’s throats, with the newbie telling the lawyer to butt out of both her personal business and her friendship with Heather. Emily explodes, storming out of Heather’s house with Gina on her tail. And you know what? I missed Emily’s temper. We don’t see it nearly enough, but it’s always entertaining. Cozying up to Shannon, Noella calls the whole sordid game of telephone an “ambush,” but is anyone really being “ambushed” other than Heather and Nicole? Sorry, new girl, Shannon’s not the victim here.
The party’s all but ruined, but somehow, Dr. Jen manages to play peacemaker and convinces Emily and Gina to come back inside. And when Shannon and Gina start going at it for another round, Emily steps in to remind them that — from her perspective — the real bad guy in this mess is her new nemesis Nicole. Who’s currently in the process of being confronted by the Dubrows for her deception.
Here’s where things get a little convoluted. Apparently this lawsuit happened in, like, 2005. Back then, Nicole James was actually Nicole Weise. And by Shannon‘s own admission, Nicole looked a lot different back then. Think more Rock of Love contestant and less OC Housewife. Meanwhile, Heather‘s only known Nicole for eight years. So when they met and became friends, Heather didn’t know about the lawsuit. Terry didn’t put two and two together because Nicole’s name had changed. And Nicole made it point to never disclose this rather important tidbit of information. Not a great move on her part.
But coming face to face, Terry has the exact opposite reaction everyone’s been expecting. He shrugs the lawsuit off, reminding a tearful Nicole that she dropped the lawsuit and it never went anywhere. So no harm, no foul! Heather also cares more about her friend’s feelings than this secret that’s been kept from her for years. Instead, the people she’s not happy with are Shannon and Gina. After comforting Nicole, she demands an audience with the pair — not to listen to more excuses, but to tell them exactly what she’s thinking. See, Heather doesn’t exactly believe in the old adage, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” In Heather Dubrow’s World™, you “shoot the f–king messenger” for spoiling the party.
And don’t even get Heather started on Shannon. No matter how many times, the fellow veteran tries to apologize, she doesn’t want to hear it. They’ve been down this road before (see: all of Season 9), and Heather isn’t interested in playing these games again. Yes, she’s disappointed in her old frenemy, but all she has the energy to do is bid her goodnight and show her the door. I mean, at least Heather didn’t up and quit the show on the spot, because frankly, RHOC probably wouldn’t have been salvageable.
The next day, all the ‘Wives are still reeling from the party going so far left. And all that perfectly good sushi gone to waste! While Emily discusses her daughter’s looming baptism into the Mormon Church on a date night with Shane Simpson, Dr. Jen goes to lunch with her own husband, Ryne Armstrong. Who, as it turns out, actually does own at least one shirt. It’s a pink polo. The newbie wastes no time laying out the guilt she feels for being a working mom. And she’s also remarkably open in her confessional about the resentment that’s apparently brewing between herself and her oft-shirtless hubby over the power dynamic in their marriage. Could Dr. Jen be a new iteration of the classic Housewives trope of using the show to get out of your marriage?
Meanwhile, Gina and Emily eventually invite with Heather to meet up for lunch. They both want to apologize (and maybe grovel a little) in order to get back in the OC queen’s good graces. It may have been completely inappropriate timing, but Gina opens up about why she felt the need to tell Heather what was being said behind her back right then and there at the party. Apparently, Gina’s winner of an ex-husband once took her to a barbecue at his mistress’ house. Where everyone but Gina was in on the fact that the two were having an affair behind her back. And there she was looking like a naive idiot, none the wiser as she played games and ate a hot dog.
This story clearly endears Gina to the returning veteran — you can practically see her guard drop as the younger ‘Wife relives the tale of humiliation and betrayal. So for all intents and purposes, Heather forgives her two cast mates right there over skinny spicy margaritas, and is ready to move on. Which means it’s now time to talk about Shannon. For the life of her, Heather can’t seem to come up with any good reason Shannon would have for wanting to hurt her and Terry. Even talking about it with her husband in the wake of the explosion, she can’t think of anything that she and her old co-star hadn’t supposedly gotten past already.
Furthermore, Heather‘s confused at why Shannon bothered dragging Gina and Emily into her ill-advised plot. (I guess Heather really has been gone for a while and forgot how Shannon operates…) Because Heather has a bomb to drop of her own: she actually met Shannon one-on-one some time before the party. And over coffee, Shannon actually warned her about Gina and Emily, telling her they were manipulative and not to be trusted. Hmm…the plot thickens. And it looks like Shannon’s been caught with her hands squarely on the spoon that stirs the pot. But we won’t get more answers, much less to the bottom of all this, until next week…
TELL US – DO YOU THINK SHANNON WAS TRYING TO HURT THE DUBROWS? DID GINA DO THE RIGHT THING BY TELLING HEATHER AT THE PARTY? IS THERE HOPE FOR SHANNON AND HEATHER’S FRIENDSHIP FROM HERE? IS NICOLE THE REAL VILLAIN? AND IS DR. JEN SETTING UP A STORYLINE TO GET OUT OF HER MARRIAGE? ALSO, WHICH TAGLINE IS YOUR FAVORITE?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]