The ladies try to get their houses in order, literally and figuratively.
Claudia's just moved into her luxury-ish high-rise apartment. She invites Kenya over to celebrate, but has zero furniture upon which to sit, and only red plastic cups with which to toast. Lame double entendres are bandied about regarding Claudia's sole companion -- her cat -- and then the ladies pretend to put together a piece of flat-pack furniture. The new girl is really getting the short end of the production stick here. Most people try their hardest to avoid their own friends' move-in mundanity, yet here we are, forced to sit through this chick's. So many yawns so early in the episode.
As she's finalizing the purchase of her mom's new house, Kandi and Todd go to the old house (formerly, Kandi's own) to survey the property. It is...how you say? Tore up. There are entire walls, floors, and bathtubs missing in action. It seems as though Kandi's boyfriend has been getting hammer-happy, starting tons of renovations, yet finishing none. "When do you get fed up?" Todd wearily asks, pointing out that there are never any consequences to her mother's poor behavior. Of course, Kandi's not trying to hear a word against her beloved mother. This is a watchable moment because -- if you squint and look at just the right angle -- you can see in Kandi's eyes that the camel's back is slowly, finally starting to buckle a bit.
The Bailey Brain Trust
Cynthia's comin' in hot, y'all. She's got her entire squad -- mom, sister, Peter -- piled up in her townhouse, and she's sermonizing about the evils of NeNe. She's mad as hell about back-stabbing tweets and gossip rag interviews, and she's not going to take it anymore. (Wait, is this just a copy-and-paste job from a few weeks ago, when she was saying almost the exact same things concerning Porsha?) At any rate, she admits that she let NeNe get away with too much for too long. She wants everyone to see that Season 7 Cynthia has a fortified backbone. Oh, the bloviation!
Dip & Dishing
Phaedra invites Kandi over for homemade guacamole. (They're not even trying anymore with these scenes!) They engage in obligatory Apollo talk, wherein Phaedra complains that he's partying and carrying on as though he's not about to turn himself in to serve his sentence. Kandi chimes in with "Y'all will work through it. I'm sure it'll be fine." How sensitive and insightful, right? She then changes the subject to talk about Kenya and how she cried openly and melodramatically about "Cahootsgate." Phaedra mutters a "Jesus, fix it" and proceeds to dole out dip. Kandi proposes an all-inclusive sit-down between the ladies where they can hash everything out, citing her standing as a "good Christian" as the impetus. Phaedra's sarcastic "Let's get together and fight some more!" is one of two stand-out quotes of the night.
Remedial Driver's Ed
NeNe and Gregg team up to teach their fifteen-year-old son to drive in an empty parking lot. The goofball husband dresses up in head-to-toe protective gear, then jumps into the passenger seat. It's a throw-away segment that serves only to set up NeNe discussing Kandi's get-together proposal. Of course, she hates the idea and argues that she has nothing to apologize to anyone for. She's wrong. She should most certainly apologize to her son for subjecting him to all this.
Claudia's Mommy Issues
Some random booty-centric work-out (not Kenya's) is the backdrop for Claudia discussing her cultural background with Kenya in the most forced and staged of ways. Italian immigrant single mom + biracial daughter = identity issues. (Ostensibly, if they're the friends they say they are, Kenya would already know this stuff.) We get a few sepia-toned adolescent snapshots, an accompanying sob story about her mom never saying "I love you," and somewhere in the middle there, Claudia blurts out "I think I pulled a coochie muscle!" Touching.
Soul Food Sit-Down
Kandi summons her aunts together for fried this-and-that's and some familial talk about married life and baby-making. The conversation quickly turns to her mother's property-damaging ways. The two elderly women sop their biscuits and shake their heads in that slow, deliberate way that only women over seventy can. On the surface, their tsk-ing says, "Oh, my!" and "Can you believe that?" But it really means, "Wait 'til we get back around our cauldron and tell our sister every word her ungrateful wretch of a daughter just said about her."
Saltier Than Crackers
In the words of NeNe: "Here. We. Go." Everybody's hackles area all the way up as the beefing ladies (which excludes Claudia) are gathered together at a restaurant -- an establishment, mind you, that serves individually wrapped saltines while you wait to order. I'd say they just about nailed the classiness factor there. Phaedra's preliminary prayers for peace go unanswered. (Not surprisingly, considering she uses words like "whore," "jezebel" and other harsh sentiments that I'm pretty sure have no place in a prayer to Jesus.) Kandi gets the ball rolling by saying she just wants everyone to put the past behind them, stressing that she's apologized to Kenya. Porsha's two cents are these: "If you want to apologize to somebody here, do. If not, keep it moving." And this is the night's second stand-out sensible sentiment.
So, here's where everybody else stands on the apology front: Kenya issues a seemingly sincere one to Phaedra for pushing her buttons, and receives an aloof, ungracious non-apology in return. NeNe reiterates that she owes no apology to Kenya, then turns around and demands one from Cynthia. Then their whole thing pops off. "Bad friend" allegations are thrown back and forth like they're so many teens in a locker room. NeNe is set to pop and Cynthia can't get a word in edgewise. All the bravado she was spouting earlier is nowhere to be seen as she sits, steeple-fingered and silent in the face of NeNe's increasingly loud shouting. Nothing's smoothed over and the episode ends with everyone just as riled up as ever.
This episode promised a showdown, but its big confrontation moment is ultimately watered-down. Instead of table-flipping, we get a bunch of cracker-critiquing, eyeball-rollin,g and chest-puffing. The truth behind and resolution of NeNe's and Cynthia's civil war is being dragged out into next week's episode. But, after sitting through this slog, it's hard to imagine we'll learn more even then.