We Don't Have An Issue
Everyone has problems, and Kandi has problems with that.
Let's Table This For Now
Dr. Jeff is incapable of pulling a retreating NeNe out of her SUV and back into the group therapy session. He returns to the exasperated group and vows to press on. "Why do you think she left?" he asks the remaining ladies, trying to make lemonades out of the embarrassing-ass lemons life just handed him. Porsha says NeNe felt attacked, Kenya says NeNe doesn't have the tools to communicate effectively and Kandi says the whole get-together is bullshit. They spend a lot less time NeNe-bashing than you'd think, actually. Instead, they make way for the Hollywood montage of misery and dysfunction. One by one, the ladies tearfully chime in with all the reasons why they're hurt people who hurt people. Bullying, maternal rejection, not fitting in, being confused for one type of pageant queen when you're actually a totally different type of pageant queen. It's sob city. Unless you're Kandi, who's clearly just there for the free food.
Though not much seems to have been accomplished -- save for a few apologies half-heartedly punted from one side of the room to the other -- Dr. Jeff deems the session to be a groundbreaking one. He challenges the women to do better and they start by filming a video for NeNe telling her how they're all going to play nice now and they hope she, too, can someday get in on all that good definitely-not-phony reconciliation of theirs. "Y'all are so lame!" Kandi yells half-jokingly, point-blank telling them that placating NeNe is "an ass-kisser move." Kandi, you are neither wrong, nor are you an asshole.
Wicked Is As Wicked Does
NeNe kicks up her heels and practices her Cinderella script. Was it my wine, or did she actually bemoan having the most lines of a,nyone else in a play that is, the last time I checked, not called "The Wicked Stepmother"? Let's sidestep her delusion and focus instead on how Gregg is clearly on a good round of meds right now. He's making some valid points to his wife (though they fall on deaf ears). NeNe complains about how the women ganged up on her and then bitches about the video which, as Kandi predicted, she doesn't buy for a second. Gregg tries to convince her that maybe the ladies did actually come around to her way of thinking, but that they just did it in their own sweet time. She's all "yeah, but…" then continues spewing pettiness. Each time, he counters her immaturity with maturity. Who is this clear-headed, relatively audible Greg and where has he been all series?
Eight Balls and Side-Eyes
Kandi and Cynthia bring their men along for some pool-hall gossip. Todd and Peter can't believe what NeNe did at the therapy session, except of course they can. Kandi bluntly states, "I didn't feel like we resolved anything," thereby validating all of us out there who were left assuming that maybe all the growth and resolution scenes had been edited out. Though she has a lot of real talk to spew, Kandi's keeping her lips tight on the subject of Phaedra. Everyone's telling her that Phaedra's pissy with her, which is further grating her nerves. Why won't Phaedra tell her about their problems? What's Phaedra's issue, Kandi wants to know (but not enough to just call the woman).
This scene should've come with a secondhand-embarrassment trigger warning. Watching all of these purported actors gather in a room for Kenya's lifeless, laugh-less "Life Twirls On" table read was a stomach-turner. For her to take her TV show-producing daydream seriously is one thing. But for other folks -- Cynthia's ex Leon included -- to buy into the notion, too? Sure, a paycheck's a paycheck, but not if it doesn't clear.
Words That Heal
Phaedra shows her vulnerable side when her friend Sarah (the daughter of Bishop T.D. Jakes) stops for a visit. Sarah's been through her own highly-publicized ups and downs and Phaedra feels she handled them with dignity. In the scene's brief sound snatches, Sarah does seem like a far better sounding board and advisor than Dr. Jeff was to the other ladies. She comes off as calming, rational, supportive, and genuine…all very foreign for this show. Good call, Phaedra. By the end of the segment, Phaedra says she's found peace with her situation, but her (authentic?) tears say otherwise.
A Trip? Really???
Every season has to end with a contrived international trip, upon which the girls embarrass the nation with a fight that inevitably leaves the door wide open for drama at the forthcoming reunion show. Want to know where this season's contrivance gets hatched? Look no further than Claudia's laptop. She's Skyping with Dr. Jeff in a therapy session of sorts. He tells her that the ladies should all go on a trip together in order to get them outside of their comfort zone and into new surroundings. It'll give them more of an opportunity to connect, he assures her. Even though she and anyone who's ever seen the franchise knows the exact opposite is true, she agrees to pitch the idea.
The New Clique
Kandi dubs the warring women "The Uhs," after the vowel sound at the end of all their names. "And that's what y'all say whenever you see each other," she laughs, "Ugh!" Clever. Less clever is the fact that she doesn't know Manila is in the Philippines, which happens to be where their doomed trip will take place. Kenya and Cynthia have stopped by Kandi's boutique to tell her to pack her bags and get ready. There's also a weird flashback to some parallel universe scene wherein a newly friendly Claudia and Porsha are seen kiki-ing and planning the whole trip. Whaaa??? Meanwhile, Kandi and Phaedra's relationship remains kiki-free. In fact, Kandi still hasn't contacted Phaedra to discuss their growing rift. Kenya and Cynthia seem surprised by this, as though they've never seen what a skilled confrontation-avoider Kandi can be.
The Death Of A Relationship
Phaedra layers her fur capelet over her power grays and files into her divorce lawyer's office. She's ready to take care of business. Unfortunately for her, while she's in "burn it down" mode, her lawyer takes a more moderate approach. Go slow and focus on the parenting, is what Phaedra's being told. The lawyer -- who takes a brief detour into "Why'd you marry him in the first place?" territory -- recommends letting the boys visit their dad. Kandi tried that line once, too, and it didn't sit well with Phaedra then, either. "I'm not gong to put them in a room full of killers because one person wants to feel better about himself," she coolly comments. This is going to get dragged out 'til the end of days.
Maybe Phaedra could introduce Sarah to Kandi, too. That way, they could all sit by the pool, sipping lemonade and being level-headed together. They can help Kandi cope with her avoidance issues (which might ultimately make her a better wife and friend). Then they could help Phaedra by renting a mini-van with her and taking the boys to visit their dad in prison. Hey, it wouldn't be any more farfetched of a trip than all this Philippines nonsense. We all know we're in for some inappropriate swim wear, culturally oblivious comments, and makeup-smearing crocodile tears. Let's just hurry up and get it over with.
For Dick Week we ask:
Could that teabagging bit have been LESS credible?
First off, it's hard to believe that Cynthia's gotten to her ripe middle age, having traveled the world as a model, and has never heard of teabagging. Secondly, it's very easy to believe that she didn't necessarily want Claudia to be the one to explain it to her…in graphic, physical detail…on camera. And yet, the interstitial shows Claudia coaxing Cynthia onto the ground, then full-on air-humping the space directly above Cynthia's forehead. Of course, there are myriad ways this incident could've been more awkward to watch. For example, Claudia could've been armed with (crotched with?) a strap-on, for an even more thorough tutorial. (Actually, this was a missed opportunity for Kandi to once again slip some of her products into a scene.) Now that she's been schooled, a mortified Cynthia shouts that she never has and never will teabag. But now that her dignity has been breached thusly, she really may as well.