Relax, Relate, Release
The group flies halfway across the globe to get to know each other better.
The ladies assemble at the Atlanta airport to head off to the Philippines. As with every trip, someone has too much luggage; this time, it's Porsha, who even has a separate bag so she can change before she boards: "Save the sweats for the airplane, ladies." Unlike every other trip, no one's egregiously late for the flight. In fact, the only notable arrival is Phaedra's because, to eschew any pre-boarding confrontation, she's chosen to remain seated in her parked town car until the moment she absolutely has to get out. And where exactly are all those overzealous, whistle-blowing airport security types while this is going down? The only person absent is NeNe who, Phaedra reports, backed out because of blood-clotting issues that prevented her from flying. At this, everyone rolls their eyes and embarks on their umpteen-hour trip. Oh, and somebody invited Demetria, too.
NeNe Takes Manhattan
NeNe's debut in Cinderella is fast approaching, so NeNe heads to Broadway to meet with the production's creative director. Is it me, or does he have chronic "they're not paying me enough for this" face whenever he's talking to her? He explains to her that she's "coming into a machine that's already in process," then seems nonplussed when she begins to read her lines aloud to him. Her idea to use two different accents -- one, the grandiose stepmother and the other, straight-up NeNe -- falls flat. He's having none of it. Not "honey," not "chile" and certainly not "'bye, wig!" It's starting to look like NeNe should've stuck with her Vegas orgies. But she did fairly well on her sitcom gigs, so maybe this is just a bit of manipulative faux-struggle to help spice up the plotline?
Just Clip Their Wings
Americans who travel abroad and stop at McDonald's the minute the plane lands should probably just stay home. But then, this franchise sells fried chicken and spaghetti, so I guess they're savoring foreign flavor after all! And since they're already kicking class to the curb, it's perfectly fitting for Claudia to wander up to a fellow McDiner and point out Kenya's ass, before encouraging him to help Kenya realize her dream of having a half-Filipino baby. Yeah. Those are the kinds of international cultural relations we've come to know and love from these ladies.
A Hotel Nobody Complains About
This all-organic, vegan, healing resort Claudia reserved looks downright luscious and lovely. And, for once, none of the ladies has a single catty thing to say about their accommodations. I actually wish they'd done more of those obnoxious zoom-in brand recognition shots of the place so I could bookmark it for future travel. As a good faith gesture, Claudia assigns the biggest room to Phaedra (who's "going through the most"). They settle in, and each one makes very forced comments about how they think this trip is going to be different than the other fight-filled trips...especially since NeNe, "the cancerous elephant," isn't around. If they can delude themselves into thinking this'll be their grand kumbaya, hey, so can I. Even Phaedra -- who's still, at this point, giving Kenya and Cynthia the cold shoulder -- has an air of optimism. At the very least, she tells Porsha, she's down to try a caffeine enema. "I don't drink coffee, but I'm sure my butt wouldn't mind a sip." Hilarious or hurl-worthy? You be the judge.
Not Quite There Yet
Once they've rested up, the unlikely pair of Phaedra and Claudia convene for lunch together. Claudia reaches out with details of her own messy divorce and wants Phaedra to know she can feel free to do the same. Phaedra issues a dead stop on that one. It's a clear "thanks but no thanks" as she basically just says she doesn't know Claudia well enough to let her guard down and open up like that. Overall, though, the conversation does eventually seem to go to a relatively buddy-esque place. But they're still in the high-five zone, not the bear hug zone. For whatever reason, while all this barely-there bonding is going on, we're forced to watch blips of Kenya jogging on a treadmill and talking to her tipsy assistant on the phone. Kenya exercises. She just wants you to know. There. Moving on.
Kandi seems to really have a thing for setting up heart-to-heart talks with her friends while strangers rub random parts of her body. This time, it's feet and Phaedra. Kandi wants to know why everyone thinks their relationship's in danger, and she wants to hear it from Phaedra's mouth, not the wagging tongues off all the others. (Didn't they already have this conversation?) Instead of pretending that all's well, this time Phaedra admits that there's distance between them, that she feels she's never invited to do anything with Kandi, and that she feels abandoned. As usual, Kandi sort of laughs it off and does everything adjacent to making it right, without actually owning up to her friendship shortcomings. She is quick, however, to jump over to a conversation about Phaedra's friendship with NeNe -- of which she's not so secretly jealous. She also wants Phaedra to forgive Kenya and Cynthia. Don't worry about all that, Kandi; start with the (wo)man in the mirror. If Phaedra and Kandi are truly "okay," then they are the shakiest version of okay that can exist in a still-functioning relationship.
Dancing In The Streets
Gregg "surprises" NeNe by having the driver stop by to show her the theater marquee that now features her name. Surprise! That thing you knew was going to happen happened! He's so excited for her that he busts out his "you done made it" dance (which kinda looks like the pee-pee dance). I'm now embarrassed for him, for her and, most of all, for Keke Palmer.
Kandi "the token sex freak" is not flexible enough to be any good at yoga. As such, she falls asleep and starts snoring in the middle of the group class. Did I miss anything there? I think that pretty much sums it up. (Who among us hasn't fallen asleep during a yoga class? I see no shame in it.)
Lightweight Proud Of You Heifers
Claudia's trying to get her Stuart Smiley on. She gathers all the ladies around the table for dinner and tries to out-Dr. Jeff their group therapist. There's assigned seating, there are conversation prompts...and there is booze. So, of course, things get heated. This is largely due to Porsha's needing some attention. But, the drama doesn't really go as far as expected. Cynthia apologizes to Phaedra and doesn't get any recognition in response. That's one roadblock. Then, too, Kenya steps up and wants to amend things with Phaedra, but doesn't get swatted down quite as coldly. In fact, they ultimately resolve to have a private chat where they address their issues without the others chiming in. Does anyone else find that odd? If you accuse Phaedra of cheating, based on what seemed like quasi-credible evidence, you're dead to her. If you, yourself, are accused of having an affair with Phaedra's husband and also butt heads with her over a business deal gone sour, well, you guys could maybe kick it.
Otherwise, Claudia's meddling does bear some fruit. Out of nowhere, Cynthia and Porsha start getting along (well enough to even share drinks, as Kandi notes), glares turn to laughter and everyone turns their attention to what really matters most: butt sizes!
The ladies spend most of this episode in transit, or sleeping off jet lag, so it doesn't seem like much really happens. Still, seeing folks start to actually "move past it" -- instead of just paying lip service to it -- is refreshing. Let's see how long it lasts. Meanwhile, we're clearly getting set up here; they want us to want to see NeNe fail. Everyone getting along in her absence juxtaposed with her not getting along well at all on her own in New York seems like pretty heavy-handed proof of that. I, on the other hand, wish her nothing but the biggest Broadway success. That way, she can sign off of the franchise and move on to bigger, better wigs.