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On RHOBH, Home Is Where Your Start Is

Erika heads back to Georgia; everyone else gets their ducks in a row before Hong Kong.

A Bunch Of Lunch

This week's cold open features Ken and Lisa sunning themselves in their backyard like turtles. He's confined to a chaise lounge and flanked by dogs. She's on a blanket brushing one dog's matted fur.

Across town, Kyle and Erika pull up to separate restaurants in style and score enviable parking. Erika gets the better spot -- Eileen, who probably rollerbladed or took an Uber, is awed and says she looks like a "rock star," and considering Erika essentially parks in the middle of the street and power-walks a few steps over to the table, she's right -- but Kyle makes parallel parking something the price of a lesser studio apartment in the Greater NYC Area look easy. It's a draw.

Things pick up once Erika mentions she's headed back to Georgia to visit her mother. This would be a hard pass were it anyone other than the cipher with split personalities we've come to love.

Promotional Marketing Tools

Kyle's thrilled to host Josh "Fat Jew" Ostrovsky at her store for an event to promote his book and rosé. His social media following helps -- "literally everyone I know follows him," a titillated Cool Ranch exclaims at one point -- since he'll be promoting Kyle by Alene Too by proxy. I understand that all press is good press. But seriously, this guy? It's not surprising these two are a few years behind everyone else, but it's disappointing all the same.

RinnUGH Regrets

Erika tells Eileen she respects the non-apology RinnUGH gave Kim. They'll never be friends, but maybe now they can occupy the same space without murdering each other. How depressing is it that the only things Eileen ever gets to talk about are her dead family members, roundabout tiff with LVP, and problematic best friend? Rollerblade as she might, she can't seem to escape the all-consuming darkness.

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This brings us to RinnUGH herself, who's home trying to get her dog to sit and making smoothies. Here, she talks about positive energy. She's got her yoga pants on and, I'm assuming, assorted crystals in the pockets to help maintain such energy. She's ready to put good vibes out there and have them boomerang right back. I give it two weeks.

On higher ground, LVP looks out across the land and wonders why Kyle, once her greatest asset, decided to spare RinnUGH instead of going for the kill. There's peace in the kingdom, sure. But there's no telling how long it'll last. Plus she just fucking hates her, so there's that. Cut to Kyle, who lamely says she doesn't think RinnUGH's a bad person and that she's fine with her as long as Kim is. Whelp.

Kyle By Fat Jew, Too

Referring back to my show notes, I have: "Ugh, this is depressing and embarrassing. We are all Sophia."

The Fat Jew (yes, I do die a little each time I type that) arrives, and Kyle puts him to work calling RinnUGH -- in her phone as RINNA LISA RINNA -- to put her on notice because she's too sick to show up, but somehow managed to swing by Saks and Instagram a pair of shoes she bought. Kyle's stung; thank god Eden appears to give her a signature eight-minute hug. Somewhere, Yolanda's smiling.

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Cool Ranch falls out of the car upon arrival. Just as well, considering everyone inside's drinking straight from the bottle and the energy's askew. Is Kyle drunk or simply emboldened by her friendship with Fat Jew when she cleans rosé out of her eye with a pair of underwear from her store? "I guess I should take these home," she jokes. (Remember when Bethenny broke down in a store and she didn't want Carole to give her a napkin because she didn't want either of them to pay for it? Yeah.)

Next, she gets a lap dance from Fat Jew and his business partners (read: bros). Mauricio tries to make a joke but flubs the delivery. Typically a natural on camera, he seems like someone who won a walk-on cameo at auction when he says he's the only Jew that can give her a lap dance. Nobody's listening, nobody cares; is he drunk too? Is there a gas leak? What's happening?

We are all Sophia.

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LVP thinks it's rude to call him Fat Jew. She's really covering for Ken, who's cornered P.K. and keeps referring to him as the Fat Jew as the punchline to a string of dated jokes. Erika changes the subject and compliments Cool Ranch's new hair. This winds up being even trickier to navigate because Cool Ranch claims it's the first compliment Erika's ever given her. A montage of Erika doling out compliments later, LVP invites the two of them to Hong Kong because she's making a Yulin documentary and wants everyone with a high Klout score there to tweet about it #VanderpumpDogs #StopYulin.

Eileen wanders over and Erika invites her to Hong Kong, blindsiding LVP. Then comes Eden, who basically invites herself and starts planning while LVP limps away to tell Ken about the shooting pains in her arm.

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Villa Rosé

LVP has a lunch to pick Erika, Cool Ranch, and Kyle's brains about the rosé Pandora and Jason are releasing. At least, that's her story; the rosé's never mentioned again. There's nothing wrong with this scene, but there's nothing that makes it pop, either.

Here's what you missed: Kyle's a great-aunt to Hucksley (RIP Kingsley); Erika slaps Cool Ranch's wrists when she tries to get everyone to say something mean about Eileen and RinnUGH, which leads to a conversation about how Erika reads cold.

Georgia Goes Glam

We all love Erika. However, this scene isn't one of her best moments. Presented as if it's going to be illuminating, it's a reminder that she likes fast cars and fishing because she's a good ole southern girl at heart. Great, got it. Moreover, it's somewhat shocking to hear the most relatable person of the bunch (I know, right?) tell two lesser-known members of the Glam Squad that there won't be any "glitz or glamour" on this trip. Um, why are they there then?

That said, it is interesting to see a third party enter the Girardi/Jayne fray.

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New Condo, Old Bassinet

Kyle stops by Kim's new condo to drop off Portia's old bassinet. Both are delighted and the resulting conversation's the lightest anything's been onscreen between them in years.

Slight, but essential.

The Piano Teacher In Conyers, GA

Erika lands in Georgia and heads to her mother's house, which she inherited from the parents she moved in to care for and who have since passed away. Her mother isn't there yet -- she's in a local play -- so we get an unrestricted tour. Erika's mentioned her grandmother before, and it's clear that her death took, and continues to take, a toll on her. Yes, I cried at her story about experiencing her grandmother's Alzheimer's from a distance via their regular phone conversations. You should too.

Eventually her mother, Renée, comes home and Erika casts her gays into the Georgia night so she and her mother can have a cup of tea and catch up. It's an early night, but Erika gives us a lot through THs. She loves her mother -- a former piano teacher; Erika fondly recalls her playing the piano growing up -- but there's underlying tension. Nothing overt, but enough that I'd argue she respects and loves her more than she actually likes her. Which is fine! Believe it or not, not everyone who grew up with a young single parent ends up like Rory and Lorelai Gilmore.

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This is why we're here.

Rescue Me

Ken and Lisa are helping John, Vanderpump Dogs' COO, get their new rescue in order. I'd like to enjoy the adorable dog merchandise and banter -- Lisa slides down a pole -- but everyone's sweating through form-fitting oxford button-downs. And oh look, here's RinnUGH, come to beg forgiveness so she can to Hong Kong. Pass.

Tombstone

Erika visits her grandparents' graves with her mother and gets emotional, then more emotional because she's promised herself she wouldn't cry. As they sit there Erika's resentment bubbles to the surface and she discreetly lays into her mother for her semi-cold upbringing. For better or for worse, her mother's sharp, matter-of-factness helped shape the woman she is today ("Made you a tough old bird," her mother says, proudly). Which is what makes sitting opposite the resting place of the people who filled her void all the more compelling.

The result is the sort of short, bracing exchange you'll see 10x in Manchester By The Sea, but see once every few seasons in the Bravosphere. It's heartbreaking, sweet, and everything in between. It isn't cut and dried -- the final exchange is chilling -- but that's what makes it Real.

Verdict

Technically, it's a tie. This being an overall glimpse into Erika, though -- and buildup to the thing that keeps her up at night -- I'm going to make a non-terrible executive decision and suggest watching.

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