Backstabbing Friends Forever
As the RHOA reunion rolls on, Andy makes a flowchart of all the failed friendships.
Andy starts us off by throwing in a non-sequitur dredged up from the previous season. In the midst of a fight between NeNe and Kenya, the former randomly proposed they get their "grown woman" on and cut some $20,000 checks to needy kids in Detroit. Fast-forward to the present; Andy (as though he doesn't already know the answer) inquires whether or not the two made good on that promise. Kenya did, and NeNe -- despite the fact that it was originally her idea -- did not. Instead of displaying any sort of remorse, NeNe takes a petty tack: calling Kenya out for bragging about her altruism on social media. NeNe's loud stone-throwing only serves to provoke more melodramatic preaching from Kenya. Don't the kids in Detroit have it rough enough without being lassoed into this tomfoolery?
Andy queues up the "New Cynthia" reel, filled with her giving herself snaps and back-pats this season. Some love the more outspoken version of Cynthia (mainly, just Kenya), while others can't wait to call her out on it. First up is NeNe, who cooly claims that Cynthia was negative and two-faced all along, even back when the two were friends. She claims the world simply didn't see Cynthia's shadiness because all the attention was always focused on her. Then comes Phaedra, whose particular bone to pick revolves around Cynthia putting her and Apollo's business out in the street. Cynthia seems to have forgotten just how guilty she was of that rumor-mongering. She backpedals a bit and then, much like NeNe, opts for attack mode. "Win a case" becomes her battle cry. It's pretty cutting when she first serves it. But then she uses the phrase as a crutch, lobbing it at Phaedra whenever nothing else credible, logical, or even halfway reasonable comes to mind.
Phaedra keeps her cool, for the most part, but never backs down. She teases that Peter has a few "cases" of his own that Cynthia should be more worried about, and then dishes out a bit of weight-shaming, calling Cynthia a plus-sized model. Through the entire verbal altercation, Andy's eyes cut back and forth, with his cue cards mischievously poised in front of what could only be a devilish grin (and, possibly, a flickering forked tongue).
Kandi + Phaedra, R.I.P.
Since Apollo's sentencing, Phaedra doesn't feel like Kandi's been the supportive friend she once was. This is well-worn territory at this point. Yet we're back on it again. A viewer asks Kandi how she'd feel if Todd was locked up and Phaedra suddenly became distant. This triggers Kandi trotting out 50 million reasons why she went from bestie to sometime-y. As comparatively weak as they all sound, Phaedra remains stone-faced, listening and occasionally calmly reminding Kandi of incidents when she didn't receive invitations or timely phone calls. "It doesn't take but two seconds," Phaedra sadly states, pointing out that NeNe had, indeed, put in the effort.
A viewer mentions Kandi's lack of compassion and understanding with the ladies, compared to and contrasted with her everlasting fountain of forgiveness where her mom is concerned. All eyebrows raise, but Kandi is quick to kill that conversation. "They are not my mom." Andy's instructed to skip any further questions that even pertain to Joyce. Case closed.
The fact that Kandi and Phaedra are not venomously shouting back and forth, talking over one another and trading insults really gives the indication that they were actual friends, not just for play. There may be some legit hurt there. Kandi slowly breaks down into that kind of cry-talking that sounds like you're talking into a box fan. Meanwhile, Andy adjusts his tie in boredom. There's no place for earnestness on his show, ladies. Act like you know.
"We're good," Phaedra unconvincingly mumbles. "I mean, I love her."
The Season Of The Swap
People who were once friends aren't friends anymore this season and vice versa. Do they think we're not grasping this concept? I mean, they've run it into the ground, rehashing the particulars of the "musical chairs" of friendships. A few viewer questions once again hold a magnifying glass up to NeNe and Phaedra's newfound friendship. For clarification, Phaedra states the two have "bonded based on where we are seated in life." Another fan wants to know why Porsha is trying to drive a wedge between Phaedra and Kandi, a point too few have bothered to bring up. After all, Porsha and Kandi never had beef, and the latter even gave the former a job. "All I was doing was standing by Phaedra!" Porsha squirms and gum-flaps.
Odd woman out Kandi is asked: If she were to choose a clique, which would it be? "Team Kandi," she's quick to respond. And NeNe is asked if she'd prefer Kim and Sheree over the current roster of Housewives. NeNe vaguely replies that she had an appreciation for the "limitations" that her former castmates had, compared to the newbies. No one presses her on exactly what that means, though Phaedra clearly gets it and blurts out an "Amen." "Limitations"?! Kim and Sheree?! Way to drop the ball, Andy, because that answer required a light-shedding segment all its own.
Here Come The Husbands
After the break, the reunion gets a shot of testosterone (or does it?). Todd, Peter, and Gregg are seated behind their wives and questioning immediately turns to Peter, who's been called out for inserting himself in women's business. He puffs up with a whole lot of IDGAF posturing, but it's baseless. Husbands the world over know how to expertly tune out every word their wives say. Peter, on the other hand, soaks up the ladies' drama like it's bubble bath, and the review footage proves it. Gregg, for his part, claims he's unfazed by Peter's NeNe-bashing. "I'm a man's man. I work on swag, I don't work on women's business… If [NeNe] needs me, she knows where I am." Well all right then, Mr. Leakes!
Speaking of men, there are quite a few fictitious ones who need to be addressed. Specifically, talk turns to Phaedra's rumored African boyfriend "Chocolate." She dismisses the rumor as a lie and then we sideways-tumble into talk of fraudulence. Who is and isn't a fraud? Apollo, the known document-tampering felon who offered up printed texts about Phaedra that nobody bothered to authenticate? Phaedra and her allegedly fake boobs? Kenya and her allegedly fake butt? (And why are these last two topics on the table suddenly?) It's all a mess that Jesus apparently couldn't be bothered to fix.
And things just devolve further from there. The root of all Phaedra's and Kenya's turmoil finally gets called out for what it is. "From day one, you've been flirting with my husband," Phaedra shouts. "Everybody flirts!" Kenya rolls her eyes. "NeNe flirted with Peter." And then the set gets really, really loud. NeNe's previously pursed lips part and thunder claps burst forth. "This ain't Phaedra! Don't disrespect my marriage!" Those were the last words I heard before the tinnitus kicked in. Nobody's throwing blows this time around, though, so I guess that's progress (even if Kenya and NeNe do inch forward a bit toward the end).
The whole "friends/not friends" blathering has been done to death at this point. But there's still a reasonable amount of action to go around tonight. From someone asking NeNe if she finally remembered where she knew Phaedra from to the point made about Cynthia not fact-checking before spreading rumors about Phaedra, the viewers' questions were pretty on point and really kept the ball rolling. Alas, they were seldom answered or addressed sufficiently. The backpedaling and innocence-feigning seemed more egregious and the excuse-making more plentiful on this, the second reunion installment. It's like the ladies forgot we've been watching their actions all season...or even in the recaps that ran seconds before they opened their mouths to bloviate.