Photos: Bravo

There Can Be Only One

NeNe's heated about her HBIC spot being contested.

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Tea For Two

Porsha cuts open a bag of dinner while Phaedra spills details of her truncated meet-up with Cynthia. It's "chile" this and "honey" that as Phaedra explains how the encounter went "all the way to the left." Porsha deems the new Cynthia to be a messy, bored mean girl and listening to them cut her down is like reading a particularly juicy passage in a burn book. "My mom orders out of the plus-size catalogs she models for," Phaedra trills in her sweetest acidic voice. So bad it's good!

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Pros & Cons

Kandi brays for Todd to come hither because it's time to get a jump on their relationship-building exercises. He expresses his distaste for the activity with some overt wedding band-fiddling pantomime. "This therapy homework is for the birds," is how he sums up the task of charting the good and bad in his spouse. In fact, he can only be bothered to eke out the latter before up and leaving the room. But doggone it, Kandi's determined. "I'm gonna do whatever it takes, because I'm not getting married again!" Um, Kandi…I think that might not be the best possible reason.

Knock-Knock

An adult man who self-identifies as "Gary With Da Tea" hosts Cynthia at his apartment, where he serves her Red Dye No. 4 on ice, then crushes her dreams. See, Cynthia has stand-up comedy aspirations and she's looking for someone to foster them. This work colleague of hers is not the one. He simply spritzes some Windex on her glass ceiling and advises her to smile pretty and speak when spoken to. At this point, she'd be well within her rights to take back that lasagna she graciously brought over and spill her sugar water all over his rented furniture before making an abrupt exit. Of course Cynthia would be lousy at stand-up, but who's he to tell her so?!

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Try To See Past The Wig

It's hard, I know. Is this fright wig one of NeNe's freebies from her illustrious new Broadway career? Did her go-to finger-waved flapper wig fall in the toilet moments before the scene, leaving her to get creative? It's hard to imagine an explanation; best to just move beyond it. NeNe's paying a visit to Phaedra to check up on the traumatized single mom's emotional state (also, to whip up a fresh batch of that Kandi-coated drama). Having done her job efficiently, NeNe's able to remind Phaedra that she, not Kandi, is the one who's been on her side during her recent home life turmoil. Kandi's "ride or die" status is faltering as Phaedra ultimately confirms, "It matters most who's with you when you're down."

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A Better Career Advisor

This time Claudia chooses her gurus a bit more wisely, setting up a drink with ballsy/crude/crazy comedienne Luenell. Claudia calls her friend "edgy and inappropriate" and makes it known she wants to follow in her footsteps. When she shares her dream job with Luenell, she gets "Why not jump off a cliff?!" in response. This is what you get when you soup up your career counselor with vodka. Tanked though she is, Luenell does manage to give her some sage advice, warning Claudia that stand-up is way harder than it looks, then offering her a few techniques. (Catching some of Claudia's material during an interstitial makes that bridge idea sound like the way to go.)

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We Done Been Through A Lot

Kandi's and Phaedra's relationship is teetering, so they sit down to hash it out. Kandi's not down for Phaedra airing her grievances outside their friendship. (Valid.) Phaedra feels if Kandi was around to help her through her tough times, she wouldn't need those other shoulders to cry on. (Also valid.) Kandi turns on the waterworks and wants very badly for this all to magically disappear. Phaedra consents to squashing it, but it's clear she doesn't really mean it. When the tears finally dry, they decide to avoid their own issues and talk about everyone else instead. "If I never talk to Cynthia again, I can still get into heaven," Phaedra coldly states in the least Christian way possible. You guys, she wouldn't even cremate her! Now, that's cold. Kandi gets really real, too, but takes aim at NeNe. She issues out a warning to Phaedra that her new BFF NeNe will likely turn on her in due time. It sounds like sour grapes at first, but it is a clear pattern of NeNe's that anyone with half a brain can follow.

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Inevitable Failure

Oh, Dr. Jeff. It's going to take a lot more than some M&Ms, individually-wrapped mints, and a fruit plate to get these ladies back on track. The group therapy session falls apart before the first fried chicken finger is even consumed. NeNe put this whole farce together, and therefore feels like the entire session should revolve around her feelings. Imagine her surprise when the ladies aren't interested in the notion of being snapped at, but never listened to. NeNe breaks bad on the therapist within mere moments, shouts down Kenya, then Cynthia, and dismisses every word Claudia utters. When it's time for Kandi to speak about her narcissism, that's it. NeNe grabs her Louis Vuitton tote and breaks the hell out. Dr. Jeff goes chasing after her in vain and it's clear that the only winner here is Phaedra, who declined to even attend this massive waste of time. Hopefully, they all got their parking validated and were able to get to-go boxes for the chicken and pineapple slices.

Verdict

NeNe's working very hard to be the villain everyone wants her to be. A round of applause for that. Having a central repository for all our ire is essential with this show and somehow, it just didn't feel right when they pitched Cynthia for the role. This show just will not be complete until NeNe has uttered her famous catchphrase "We will never be friends" about every soul who draws breath on camera. Maybe it's all just method acting for her upcoming "evil stepmother" gig. That is her Broadway role, right? If not, it should be.

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