Well, well, well, the plot certainly thickened this week on The Real Housewives of Orange County. Feuds are building momentum. We’re prepping for the first cast trip of the season. And we saw more of Shannon Beador in her ShipStation commercial than we did in the actual episode. I’ll say it again and again until something changes my mind: the great reboot of RHOC is going great. It’s fun. It’s drama. I’m loving it. And anyone who says otherwise is just hating for the sake of hating.
The episode kicks off with Heather Dubrow taking Max Dubrow to get their auras read. Because it’s a cute mother-daughter bonding activity and Heather wants to see if it’ll make for good entertainment at the upcoming party for the self-help book Max has written, I’ll Give It To You Straightish: What Your Teen Wants You To Know. I don’t know about you, but I actually totally believe in this whole aura business. Because one time a few years ago, I got mine read with friends at a little shop in Chinatown, and literally every single thing the reader interpreted from my aura was true. Including a few things that came to fruition months down the road. Heather is a bit less pleased the misshapen blobs of her aura than I was, but it’ll still make for a fun party trick.
Meanwhile, Noella Bergener has invited Gina Kirschenheiter over to the mansion she’s currently squatting in because she’s solved the biggest mystery of the season. She’s found James Bergener! And where in the world could he possibly be? No, Gina. Not South Africa, sweetie. While Sweet James filed for divorce — in Spanish, remember — from Puerto Rico, it turns out that he’s allegedly jetted off to Mykonos! At least, so says the trail of credit card charges Noella’s been able to track. As for what he’s doing there, God only knows. But the revelation sets something loose in Noella. She now feels able to start moving forward with her life rather than waiting for him to come home. Now if only poor Gina could figure out where Mykonos is located on a map.
Cut to Heather getting Dr. Jen Armstrong and Emily Simpson together for a little girls’ afternoon. First up is a trip to the sauna, into which Emily has shamelessly toted an entire turkey sandwich. She’s hungry, people! While they sweat out the toxins and tryptophan, Dr. Jen gives us some fascinating insight into her past. Apparently before she married her husband, she dated a billionaire. And their break-up made headlines in the OC after she was accused of cheating on him.
Then, a few days after they got married, said billionaire ex-boyfriend sued the good doctor to the tune of $850,000, claiming every gift he ever gave her was a loan. What a wedding present! Naturally, this built quite a bit of tension into Dr. Jen‘s marriage, and it’s rippled through the years. Frankly, the story’s giving me Elizabeth Vargas vibes, and I need to know everything. Including whether or not she’s actually board certified. Also, what’s medical battery?
Once Emily finishes her Jimmy John’s, the trio move on to the nail salon for a mani/pedi. Naturally. In the chairs, Heather floats out the idea of a little girls’ getaway. Who wants to go to Cabo San Lucas? The other topic of conversation at hand is all things Noella. Including whether or not she deserves her own invitation to Mexico. Given everything she’s heard about what Noella’s saying behind her back, Heather doesn’t quite know how to read the newbie. First, Noella called her a “fake b—h” (which Emily heard from Nicole James, too). And then she warned Gina that Heather was “not to be trusted.” The thing is, Heather has no idea where any of this is coming from. From what we’ve seen, she’s been nothing but kind, welcoming and gracious to Noella. Why all the negativity?
Shannon, meanwhile, spends the entirety of this episode on a trip to Nashville to visit her mother. All three Beador girls are along for the family vacation as well. But rather than see Shannon take Music City by storm(s), the only scene we get is lunch at a nondescript restaurant that could be anywhere from Newport to Cleveland. Sophie Beador gushes over her new college boyfriend, whom she’s planning to marry after just two months of dating. Ah, young love (*insert eyeroll*). And everything Sophie has to say about her healthy, wonderful, perfect first relationship triggers all the guilt Shannon keeps bottled up over the toxic marriage her girls witnessed for years between her and David. It honestly feels like Shannon’s on an entirely different show.
Back in Orange County, Heather invites Noella over to Chateau Dubrow to get to the bottom of everything that’s being said behind her back. But the peace summit starts off on the wrong foot when the newbie accuses Fancy Pants of inviting her over to see her in action as she films an informercial with Terry Dubrow. Well, not to her face anyway. In her confessional. But, gee, I don’t know. Maybe Heather has more to do all day than sit around the house and shop? So maybe she asked Noella to swing by in between filming and one of her many other projects? Like, I don’t know, recording her hit podcast, planning Max‘s party or being a mom to four kids? What a concept!
Pulling Noella into her home office — which the newbie also can’t help but hate on via interview — for a private chat, Heather lays out all the gossip she’s been hearing. And to her credit, Noella doesn’t deny saying all the things she’s said. But she also doesn’t really take accountability for any of it, either. She brushes off the comment to Nicole as nothing more than lashing out during a hard time. Understandable. And when Heather asks why she apparently shouldn’t be trusted, Noella blames Nicole not wanting to talk about her lawsuit against Terry. Huh?
Then, Noella brings a rather incendiary accusation straight out of left field that Heather was “slamming people against walls” the night of her sushi party. Umm…what? The newbie seems to infer that she was told about the alleged violence by production. But if production had that footage, don’t you think they would’ve used it? It’s bizarre and almost laughable. It’s safe to say Noella and Heather might not be meant to be friends. But everything from the lighting to the line delivery in this confrontation was high camp. Housewives art. So far, I quite like Noella, and have a ton of empathy for her personal situation, but the way she’s treating Heather so far doesn’t sit well. And I have a sneaking suspicion that the motive behind her hostility could have something to do with wanting to fight Shannon‘s battle for her. But that’s just a subjective personal theory…
The evening of Max‘s book launch arrives, and all the ‘Wives are invited. Yes, even Noella. Who, after a quick air kiss hello, spends the rest of the party far away from the hostess. Shannon‘s not in attendance because she feels sick after coming home from Nashville. And we learn that in the interim, Noella both made up with Dr. Jen from their argument last week and sparked a whole new feud with Nicole over the latter’s complete lack of empathy and support over her divorce. But for some reason, we’re robbed of seeing both scenes, except in quick flashbacks. C’mon editing! Do better.
All the ladies are excited about Heather‘s upcoming trip to Cabo. Except Noella, who has yet to receive an invite. But, I mean, should she even expect one at this point? Heather gives a lovely speech praising Max, and as one of the many, many queer kids who never really got that same level of acceptance at home, I have to say it was very touching. As I tweeted during the episode, this is how you support your LGBTQ+ child. And the episode ends with Emily getting plastered and hilariously mocking Nicole‘s $15,000 handbag, pestering Dr. Jen about how she paid for medical school (“But you said your family was wealthy?”) and trying to get the doc to admit she was with her (apparently unattractive) billionaire ex for the money. Drunk Emily is the most fun Emily. Next week, the ‘Wives take Cabo!
TELL US – WHAT DO YOU THINK JAMES IS DOING IN MYKONOS? WERE YOU INTRIGUED BY DR. JEN’S PAST? DOES IT FEEL LIKE SHANNON IS ON A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SHOW? ARE YOU TEAM HEATHER OR TEAM NOELLA?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]