Photos: Bravo

Revolving Doors

Two new arrivals, one return, and one grand exit keep us on our toes.

Nursing Wounds In The Nursery

Kenya and her aunt/guru are shopping for plants to help her relieve stress (caused by Apollo's recent mea culpa and by the reunion drama of yore). But it's common knowledge that stress is Kenya's life's blood. If she's not busy manufacturing it, feeding off it, and making sure everybody and their mama's talking about it, she'll simply cease to exist. I see no need to drag some innocent cacti into her charade.

Kandi Plays Town Crier

Porsha's pissed at Cynthia and feels that Kandi needed to know all about it. Not getting a party invite last week stung, but also, Porsha's pissed at Cynthia for morphing from a "Little Nene" into a "Baby Kenya." The notion of Kandi (a married mother with multiple jobs) indulging her in this high school conversation is laughable. Let's hope she's storing this all away to write some Top 40 R&B song lyrics. Phaedra rolls up, and Kandi tells her all about Apollo's recanting spree. Seemingly subdued, Phaedra owns up to needing to apologize to Kenya for her whore-shame-athon. She begs forgiveness from Jesus before invoking censor beeps galore, all as she tries to wrap her mind around the news that her husband lied about her enemy's sexual propositions. "That's terrible. Poor Kenya," she mutters aloofly, seemingly already bored by the very bombshell that had just set her to cussin'.

The Fool Doth Think (S)He is Wise

Kenya opens her mouth to make sounds, triumphantly boasts that she's just quoted Shakespeare, then gives us "you've been told" face. Wait. Why did I say to "Skip" that? You should totally watch this little segue. It's hilarious.

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Meet "The New Cynthia"

Cynthia's wearing a June Cleaver dress and is hard at work in the kitchen. But bow-tie pasta's not the only thing boiling up. She's mad as hell and she's not gonna take it anymore, she tells Pepto Peter (seriously: that shirt). He observes that she's "amped on another level" as she calls out Porsha for having "diarrhea of the mouth" about her during press interviews. She can't fathom why the little ditz is coming for her all of a sudden: "I don't know if it's the new titties or what!" Cynthia, for her part, is too through with the situation, and wants Porsha to stop spreading negativity. She's more fired up than I've ever seen her now that she's "moved out of the penthouse of Nene's ass."

All That She Wants

Kandi wants a baby. Todd is lukewarm on the idea, because his work calls him away so often. They have this very intimate conversation in front of the cameras (ostensibly, between rounds of having sex). This is really just an ad for Kandi's sex toys, which are well-lit, well-merchandised, and prominently featured all around them. Hey, businesses don't run themselves, and Kandi's baby's gotta eat (her mom does, too).

A New "House" "Wife" Arrives

There's plenty of delusion to go 'round, as is evidenced by the new kid on the block, Kenya's friend Claudia. She's a multi-hyphenate (pageant contestant-comedian-radio host-game show model) on the rise. You know how I know? We get treated to an exhaustive run-down of her CV, one highlight of which is her The Price Is Right brag: "That show made me huge in the old folks' homes and in the prisons." She's an alpha female who self-identifies as a "lovable asshole," and she's moving to Atlanta from New York. Her BFF Kenya couldn't be more thrilled. She's so elated, in fact, that the news has her brain a bit addled. "It's the vanilla and the chocolate. You mix it together and it's actually dynamite!" Sure. This segment -- with it's staged furniture shopping and mid-showroom simulated sex scene -- is watchable only because you get to know the show's next troublemaker. And knowing is half the battle.

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"And Then She Said That She Said"

Nene's back in town from her stint in Vegas. She drops in on Porsha, who fills her in on all the drama she's been missing. The hostess is itching to drop some new terminology, which she's hoping will be her new reality TV catchphrase: "THOTs," which stands for "Them Hos Over There." This new-to-you slang is useful to the world only in as much as it gives Kandi some good source material for that song she needs to start writing pronto. Hearing of Apollo's lies, Nene scoffs at the idea of Phaedra apologizing to Kenya, whom she figures has been around the block and more than likely deserves to be condemned as a whore on general principle. Wow. Is this the kind of logic Nene imparts to her sons? Elsewhere on the ladies' hit list, Cynthia is labeled a flip-flopper, and Nene proclaims that she's closed the book on their friendship. Contract nullified! The two wipe their hands of these matters, then saunter off to the kitchen for some chicken, which Porsha keeps stocked because she's "hood rich."

Apollo Circles His Wagons

The felon's in his attorney's office trying to elicit viewer sympathy. He admits, "I despise everything about [Phaedra], but I still love her." He especially loves her money, and is seeking assurances that he'll have access to some of it when he's done serving time. He's sure they're headed for a divorce, and flipping burgers is not on his agenda. Every crew member should've been searching the skies for lightning strikes while filming these scenes. The saving grace here is the weekly peek at Aiden and Dylan that's threaded into Apollo's distasteful confessionals. The little cherubs are having a pool day and being predictably adorable in their floaties and swim diapers. Dylan waving his hands in the air like he just don't care as his mom and brother egg him on? That's enough of a palate cleanser for me.

Hair-Raising Hygiene

After toasting her big move and new radio gig with her boss and friend, Claudia inexplicably yanks out a hair track and halfway shoves it into her purse...which is sitting on someone's kitchen counter. Gag reflex engaged.

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This Blended Family Doesn't Mix Well

Aww! Little Riley's all grown up! And she's becoming quite the hater. She has zero time and energy to spare for her newly arrived stepsister Kaela, who's moving in from New York. Riley's forthcoming with neither high-fives nor eye contact. She throws her new rival under the bus when the family conversation turns to curfew time, and not-so-subtly calls Kaela out for graduating high school and not proceeding directly on to college. On top of all that, she's lobbying for a $100/week allowance. It seems Mama Joyce's genes skipped a generation.

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The Lunch That Wasn't

This right here was just a waste of a perfectly good Ethiopian meal! Cynthia has deigned to meet Porsha for lunch so that they can air their grievances. The latter shows up one hour late and wearing a "cheap blue jumpsuit," as Cynthia correctly points out. (What? No hate to spare for the golden diadem, Cynthia?) All the back-biting press quotes come up, they talk all over each other, and Cynthia refuses to back down. For her part, Porsha has the haughty tone and smug smile of someone who swears she's taking the high road. It's not clear where exactly she got that notion. Nothing's resolved between the two and Cynthia storms out, as their fellow diners stare on in a mixture of disbelief, disgust, and amusement. Porsha's not sure how it's possible for such a combo to exist, but she deems Cynthia's behavior to be like that of a five-year-old on menopause. Good ol' Porsha! Can she start spouting iambic pentameter, too? 'Cuz that would really get me where I need to go.

Verdict

NeNe's finally back in Atlanta and, at last, this Voltron of vipers is fully assembled. Let the back-biting and shameless jabs commence anew. It remains to be seen what role the new girl will play in all this. She doesn't come across as particularly divisive at first glance, but then again, the show's not in the business of casting Girl Scouts (not since DeShawn Snow, that is), so we'll see exactly when and in whose direction her venom will strike. Meanwhile, we now have Kandi's growing family to focus on. With any luck, these young ladies won't become the subject of their own weekly sub-drama. Here's hoping they're allowed at least a sporting chance at escaping this show with a semblance of respectability.

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