Photos: Bravo

Kandi-Koated Fights

Kandi steadily stirs the pot and minds everyone's business but her own.

Kandi's Hustle Is On Hiatus

 

Todd's the little birdie on Kandi's shoulder telling her to get her production team back on their grind. Her three assistants are conveniently sitting in the other room taking selfies and shootin' the (unconvincingly staged) breeze, so she squares her shoulders and walks over to tell them what's what. It's a dry way to start the episode, and it's clearly a truncated lead-in to more boring biz talk to come.

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Working Girls

 

Claudia rushes in to work at her radio station gig, very narrowly making it in time to weigh in on the all-important "Paternity Test Tuesday" segment. Meanwhile, we see Porsha getting made up for her gossip TV gig in the neighboring studio. The newbie pops by and tries to talk shop. In a hilarious display of rudeness, Porsha simultaneously snubs her, applies designer lip gloss, and manages to get in some shameless product promotion, all in one quick flick of the wrist. "The shade is evident," a rebuffed yet resilient Claudia assesses.

More From Kandi's Camp

Kandi's letting her man pull her strings. Together, they're blaming long-suffering office manager Don Juan and the rest for not shoring up more Kandi-branded chitlin' circuit plays, or country music songs, or soft-porn projects, or whatever it is they're supposed to be doing over there. In response, they're getting nothing but a trio of blank stares. Either that, or the beginnings of the world's most profound slow-mo eyerolls (or is that just on my end?).

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Window Shopping For New Allies

Kenya sets up a meet-and-greet between Cynthia and Claudia at one of Atlanta's many purveyors of gaudy stilettos. The two hit it off swimmingly, bonding over their "struggle toes" and their issues with Porsha. Cynthia's still picking the same old bone because Porsha's now BFFs with her ex-BFF. (Side query: is Cynthia mid-Freaky Friday swap with her teenage daughter?) And Claudia figures her close friendship with Kenya is at the root of her own Porsha woes. A new allegiance is forged, and some overpriced, uncomfortable shoes are purchased.

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Robes & Robots

Kandi, Phaedra, NeNe, and Porsha all show up in full hair and makeup...for a "spa day." For this thinly-veiled excuse to get together and shit talk, they don white robes and hit below the belt. Porsha fills them all in on her disastrous meeting with Cynthia. During this recap, she whips out another one of her Porsha-isms: "Robot Read." It goes over like gangbusters, and the ladies all cackle at the thought of Cynthia trying to break bad using criticisms pre-programmed by her husband Peter. And, lest we'd forgotten, NeNe pitches in a reminder that she and Cynthia will never be friends again, ever. Then it's on to the good stuff. Thanks to some careful conversational orchestration from Kandi, NeNe's able to hatch her latest conspiracy theory: Apollo's lying about his Kenya lie in order to upset Phaedra. It's all dizzying, but Phaedra doesn't miss a beat, latching onto this new idea and ditching her previous inclination to give Kenya the benefit of the doubt.

Bro Time

Apollo's going to jail. Did you know? Peter gets him tipsy and they proceed to talk some more about how hard it's going to be for him. When does the actual sentence begin? And can it be expedited?

Olive Branch Waving

Claudia once again tries to extend some good will toward Porsha, milking that whole "Look, I'm new in town" line at their restaurant sit-down. Since they're practically work colleagues, Claudia reasons they should be friends, too, despite her friendship with Kenya. Porsha acknowledges that, yes, they are both getting paid for their "intellectual...you know...mind frame," but she's not in any rush to befriend someone from Kenya's camp. She goes to highly entertaining lengths to throw Claudia off, including speaking in tongues, interrupting to order extra lemon wedges, and -- my personal favorite -- melodramatic lotion application. I may add that to my own arsenal of passive aggression. Somebody rubbing you the wrong way? Whip out some designer lotion (still more egregious product placement!) and proceed to rub away your worries. And make sure they get a good, long whiff of what you're trying to get across.

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Don Juan Goes On the Defensive

Kandi's right-hand man is all pouty now. Thinking back on the meeting where he was essentially labeled a freeloading layabout, he's extra pissy. He thinks Todd is flexing too much muscle around Kandi's office, and expects her to have his back more, seeing as how he missed his own mother's wedding and birthday for Kandi. Wait, what? That's not "ride or die"; that sounds more master and servant. Or, at the very least, poor time management on Don Juan's part.

An Ayden Interlude

Are they angling for this little boy to get his own spinoff show or what? Eh. I'd probably watch it. Dressed in matching mother-son Burberry, he and Phaedra go cruising for puppies at the local pound. "I know all about dogs!" It's thirty seconds of life-affirming boy and dog cuteness; the eye in the storm of overall wretchedness.

The Boys Buck Horns

The ladies aren't the only ones living on the shady side of the street. Don Juan sniffs at Todd's less-than-lengthy résumé and is galled at having his own productivity called into question. The two volley curse words across the desk, and Don Juan's head looks like it's about to explode. Todd, on the other hand, stays the course and insists that the company settle for nothing less than national domination. "We got a black president!" he shouts, wondering why his wife's not up in D.C. rubbing elbows with him. Why, indeed. As if by magic, they lower the volume and suddenly get on the same page. It's not clear what exactly deflated the situation, but Don Juan no longer looks homicidal, and both men agree to have Kandi's back as she continues building her empire.

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The Kickboxing Catastrophe

"I'm not really the one who likes to play follow the leader," says Kandi, after having proven time and again that she'll do whatever her mother and husband say. This time, though, she's bucking the trend the other ladies have set and decides to apologize to Kenya for slut-shaming her. Rather than just leaving it at a respectable "I'm sorry," Kandi also has to add a little 'Wait 'til you get a load of what NeNe just said about you.' Upon hearing about NeNe's conspiracy theory involving Apollo, Kenya flies off the handle, runs into the bathroom, removes her mic pack, and shuns the cameras. She's had it up to here with the ladies trying to tear her down, even in the face of new evidence that she's innocent. As she sobs, Kandi peers over her shoulder, inspecting her handiwork. When did this side of her emerge? She's edging out of neutrality and into nastiness. It's not becoming.

Verdict

Porsha has emerged from her divorce a new, highly-watchable woman. It's like she's living out a Mary J. Blige album in her own mind. She went from suggestible, hilarious, and dumb to, well...still pretty dumb, but no-nonsense and fierce, as well. Petty and childish she may be, but she owns every scene she's in. Meanwhile, it's a little uncomfortable to watch Kandi emerge in her new role as The Instigatress. But it's at least good to see her try on new hats [golf claps]. Her old personae -- doormat daughter and embattled peacekeeper between her mom and husband -- were beyond tedious.

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