On Southern Charm, Austen And Chelsea's Love (Or Something) Upends The S.S. Tart

All aboard the 'no one cares' cruise!

This week, in wayward Charlestonian antics: Craig and Kathryn have a sober lunch; Thomas ignores his children and boycotts shoelaces; and Naomie just wants Craig to find his thing, which might be calling Child Protective Services on Thomas; Austen and Chelsea drink and flirt; Shep gets a haircut and turns thirty-seven (on a boat!); Landon still sucks; Cameran has a magnificent ponytail and way too much invested in Shep's future; and Whitney suggests that Landon and Thomas just get to the boning already. I pause in my note-taking on this episode to screenshoot these magnificent dog butts.

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Here are the Charmers, ranked from most charm to least.

  1. Shep

    Shep turns thirty-seven, and celebrates by throwing himself a booze cruise, otherwise known as the most insufferable event ever to take place on open water. Whilst wearing some festive pants, Shep declares to Cameran that he doesn't care about Chelsea, who refuses to believe him, because she has money on this or something. It seems very clear to me that Shep is angrier about Austen going out with Chelsea and acting like Shep wouldn't care about it than about the fact that Chelsea is into Austen, but we're supposed to think that Shep is harboring feelings for Chelsea (get it? Harboring? Boats?), so whatever. While getting a haircut from Chelsea, he tries to convince her that he's not actually a lothario. I'm getting a caftan made that reads "I don't care about this plotline."

    Wearing a jaunty scarf/ascot thing, Shep pulls Landon aside to tell her he's sorry about how things went at the Roam party, except he's not: "I'm sorry I hurt your feelings, but I would have been more sorry if I hadn't said anything, because I want you to be successful." Landon smiles, and then brats that Shep wasn't really apologizing, which, yes, but also, shut up, Landon. You're just mad because even being lost at sea is better than what you did to Shep on his birthday last year.

  2. Chelsea

    The overwhelming fixation on Chelsea this season brings to mind a scene from the one of the greatest films ever made, 10 Things I Hate About You, in which Patrick asks Cameron if Bianca has beer flavored nipples. Chelsea is fine, but this whole thing with her and Shep feels truly forced, and the fact that she's apparently into Austen is both bizarre and gross. Also bizarre: calling Shep the day after her date with Austen to complain about being hungover, when it's pretty clear that he was going to ask her who she hung out with while achieving such a state, even though she's allegedly all concerned about the bro code or something. I also take umbrage with Chelsea's assertion that she rode her bike to the bar so that she could drink as much as she wants. Once upon a time in my long-ago youth, a friend and I got super-drunk at a Passover seder and friend tried to ride an invisible bike home, and even THAT did not go well, so what I'm saying, Chelsea, is that you should not drink and bike, which I suspect you already know.

    Chelsea gives Shep a haircut, which is flirty, with all the touching and things, but it gets weird when Shep tells her he'd like to know if she's doing other dudes, and she asks him to tell her the same. WHY? YOU DON'T LIKE EACH OTHER. Unless this is supposed to be some kind of friendly sex check-in (?), I don't get what it's for, other than to create drama. Later, on the boat, Chelsea tells Cameran she likes Austen, and Shep has no intention of getting serious ever. FINE. CAN WE MOVE ON NOW? (Non-spoiler: We cannot.)

  3. Craig

    Look, just know that this entire ranking is causing me deep pain, and if I have to, I will make up stuff Craig did in order to rank him lower next week. At Thomas's polo thing, les bébés Ravenel pass by Thomas in le stroller, and Kenzie -- who has been stealing bows from Suri Cruise -- calls out to him, while he ignores her. Craig, catastrophically emotionally injured by witnessing this, urges Thomas to go give her a kiss, but he's all, I'm busy TRav-ing. I can't imagine that it's going to be this particular incident alone that drives Kenzie into therapy, especially since we saw Thomas holding Kenzie earlier in the episode, but Craig seems very certain that she's already a shell of her former self. He points out that if it were Kathryn who behaved this way, everyone would be chasing her with pitchforks, but Thomas gets let off the hook. (From my notes: "GODDAMMIT CRAIG STOP BEING RIGHT EVEN SOMETIMES.") How does he seem to understand the sexist double standard at work here, but not have the slightest compunction about essentially calling his girlfriend a hysterical shrew?

    At Sober Lunch with Kathryn and her choker, Craig relays the entire "debacle" to her, and refers to Thomas in an interview as Kathryn's "ex-lover." As the chunks rise up in my throat, Craig goes on to regale Kathryn with tales of how Landon put together the polo party, and Kathryn reminds us that she was right the whole time about Landon being a social climber who sounds like a dolphin.

  4. Austen

    Don't worry, I looked up what's in a Game Changer (also known as a Painkiller), in case you were wondering. It's a frozen drink that involves rum, a different kind of rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, coconut cream, nutmeg, and whatever else blurs one's ability to see that the person sitting across from one has the sexual appeal of algae.

    To be clear: I don't care about the bro code, but I do care about dudes lying to women they're supposed to like, especially when -- let's say it together now -- this shit is being recorded and will presumably be seen by the women to whom they are lying. Chelsea (who is in Austen's phone as "Dream Girl") is like, how many one-night stands have you had, and Austen is like, um, three or four, and she thinks that's a good answer for a guy. (If everyone is willing and they understand that it's a one-off, who cares?) Austen makes it clear in an interview that he has had three or four dozen one-night stands, because He Is A Man, but also, he thinks he's better than Shep because he's had a serious relationship. (Unrelated: shut up, Austen's hair.)

    In Austen's apartment, he tells his roommate, Aggressively Normal-Seeming Dan, that he thinks Shep won't care if he woos Chelsea. At this point, I have lost track of whether or not Shep cares, but it does seem like it might have been a good idea to notify Shep, instead of swooping in like a creep while dude is out of town. How are people even supposed to behave in these situations? The answer seems to be "the opposite of how they are currently behaving."

  5. Thomas

    It is obvious to blind people in space that Thomas is grooming Landon to be his concubine/vessel for Ravenel III/wife who pretends she doesn't know he's getting it in with twenty-three-year-olds. Apparently he's not that worried about how his parenting skills look to Landon, because he full-on hears Kenzie being excited to see him and ignores her. While I don't buy that he's traumatized her with this inaction, I do feel certain that it's one of many times Kenzie's been like, 'Oh, hey, Father, I am here,' and he's been like, 'Whatever,' while still thinking he's better than Kathryn.

    On the S.S. Tart (™ Whitney), Thomas -- whom Cameran has correctly dubbed "a fifty-five-year-old man who doesn't have shoelaces" -- abandons all chill and tells Whitney he likes Landon's body. Whitney thinks Landon and Thomas should just shut up and do it, and I can't decide if this is a bad idea or not. I mean, of course it's a bad idea, but...is it? Landon admits that she's attracted to Thomas, because they like the same things: architecture, horses, real estate, elitism, white supremacy. Thomas says that Landon is "OC" (our class), and she hollers that she will drink to that while Whitney, who probably wishes he was home eating grilled cheese with a newly svelte Chauncy, contemplates a murder/murder/suicide scenario.

    Bravo

  6. Landon

    I tried to do some self-care shit around this Landon situation, which strikes me as necessary since she's probably going to be at the bottom or penultimate spot for the rest of the season. I continue to wonder what it is that bothers me so much about her. Is she worse than other people on this show? If so, why? Discuss. And then I realized I am bad at self-care and that I am in fact at my best when I'm ruminating in senseless rage, so it's back on.

    Landon refers to what I thought was the launch party for Roam as the "feedback party," when Shep tried to murder her with words. OMG I get it now! "Feedback" was only supposed to mean praise! Compliments on her cleverness and flawlessness! Not constructive criticism! Only ass-kissing!

    After Shep fauxpologizes to Landon, she fires back in an interview with the teeth-gnashing, eye-gouging, hair-pulling, banshee-wailing assertion that she has "always crushed it" with regard to work. Did anyone else besides me watch last season? I feel a little sorry for her when she says things like this, but mostly not, because she's such an infuriating asshat.

    What is she feeding her delusion? Swedish fish Oreos? That seems so right.

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