The Real Housewives of New York City Reunion Part III: The Big-ish One

Find out where LuAnn and Tom's relationship stands (as if you don’t already know) in the finale of RHONYC's Season 8 finale.

Sonja's Sour Grapes

It's almost impossible not to sound somewhat condescending while praising a recovering alcoholic's sobriety. Such is the case when the other women and Andy take turns congratulating Sonja on her new, semi-dry lifestyle ("I'm not partying anymore"). Though she accepts their compliments about her glowing skin and continued sense of humor, it's apparent that Sonja's inner Tipsy Girl is dying to take over and go in on everyone for trashing her. Sonja looks how I feel every time I fly home and someone asks whether I lost weight since they saw me last. No, Uncle Blake, I lost forty pounds six years ago and haven't changed since. You just like to remind me what a mess I was when I used to dip my buttered popcorn in ranch dressing.

Speaking of Tipsy Girl, we learn that Sonja's business partners first approached RAMONA about being their spokesperson, and that she was on board for a while. Ramona's able to clean up this sorta-mess by claiming she ultimately decided to turn them down because of the brand name, but I get the sense Bethenny only lets her off easy for the sake of narrative cleanliness.

It initially seems like there's little to go over during the Tipsy Girl discussion, as both Bethenny and Sonja realize that particular storyline looked cute on neither of them, but Dorinda rises to Sonja's non-existent defense to call out Bethenny for acting the pompous Head Bitch of Industry she fancies herself to be. Sonja isn't interested in taking her own side if it means she has to also align with Dorinda, who somehow became her true enemy between the regular-season finale and now. Sonja's still ridiculously butt-hurt about Dorinda uninviting her to the Berkshires in order to (allegedly) shield her from a flood of Bethenny's rage. (Sorry about that spillover, Lu.) When Dorinda fails to admit that she had ulterior motives for excluding her, Sonja attempts a #ReunionWalkOff, but only makes it as far the backside of the other couch. A tissue held up to her nose, Sonja refuses to sit back down until Dorinda admits she doesn't care about her feelings...and then she sits anyway, because being off-screen was the entire basis of her tantrum in the first place.

Leftover Florida Trash

Before we get to the saga of Tom's texts, Andy dispenses with a few topics from the Florida trip:

  • Sonja is mortified about ripping on LuAnn's ring and her friend's yacht's size, claiming she gave those interviews soon after being blown off by Tom on said minuscule yacht.
  • Bethenny thinks Carole doesn’t value other people's time because that one night she was 90 minutes late to dinner after her pants ripped while she was still in her hotel room. Everyone else agrees that Carole code-switches depending on whether Bethenny is around. In short, it was not a good season for Carole.
  • Dorinda, unsurprisingly, is still displeased with Bethenny for calling her "the village idiot" for her faith in LuAnn and Tom's relationship. They squabble over the meaning over "village idiot" for a while until Bethenny says, "It's from literature; you obviously didn't get the metaphor, " and I legit spill my coffee from giggling.
  • Ramona lied to Dorinda about going to Bagatelle because she didn’t want to get into a fight with Dorinda about going to Bagatelle. Fair enough.
  • In the most united expression of anti-Bethenny sentiment I've seen expressed on this show in eight seasons, the left couch jointly labels Ms. Frankel a "brow beater" who's more interested in being right than treating her friends with respect. FAIR ENOUGH.
  • Jules says two of her bridesmaids were Michael's ex-girlfriends, which explains...everything.

"It's Time For The Big One"

So declares Andy Cohen. The entire second half of the episode is devoted to Tom's cheating, natch, but is there really anything left to say? Over the course of twenty minutes, LuAnn repeats her mantra -- "I love and Tom and Tom loves me and we're getting married" -- no less than a billion times, so I think we know her feelings on the subject of her impending primetime wedding special marriage.

Or do we? LuAnn holds virtually every position possible at one point or another during this segment. She's glad Bethenny told her. But she wishes Bethenny would mind her business. But she's glad Bethenny went through the effort of checking her facts. But she's mad Bethenny told Ramona and Carole first. But she thinks Bethenny should have consulted with...Dorinda? Basically, LuAnn blames everyone for Tom's cheating from the mistress to society to herself -- when asked her biggest regret of the season, Lu answers, "I wish I hadn’t gotten into that fight with Tom that night" -- but puts hardly any of the blame on Tom himself. LuAnn is going to have her happy ending, godamnit, whether she's happy about it or not.

This section of the reunion is an obvious "watch" considering LuAnn's engagement was such a driving force of the season, but their discussion does drag on. There are certainly some semantic squabbles over Lu's open marriage with Alex and the extent of Tom's "devastation" at being caught that I could have lived without, and Bethenny's aborted attempt at a #ReunionWalkOff is even lamer than Sonja's.

You can tell the editors realize how little they have to work with by how much they tease Ramona's non-bombshell. The clip of Andy whispering to Bethenny "[Ramona] seems to know something" we've been seeing for three weeks ends up amounting to absolutely nada. If Ramona does know about an additional affair, she's keeping it close to the vest for now...which, for Ramona, means asking LuAnn repeatedly on national TV whether she really would want to know if Tom is unfaithful again.

This segment has its highs and lows, but it's all worth it two reasons: (a) LuAnn listing "we like all the same sports" as the second reason she loves Tom, and (b) Jules unironically declaring "Every controversy makes a relationship stronger." Whatever you say, you gorgeous moron.

Final Thoughts

Andy makes everyone say something nice about someone they've feuded with this season since, hey, it's not like he's greenlighting a ninth season of this show without both Bethenny and The Countess.

Verdict

Essential for Housewives die-hards -- a.k.a. anyone still watching this franchise a decade in.

Season Verdict

Hmmmmmm...YES. Save for a few episodes in the middle which we'll refer to as the Valley Of The Injured Vajeens, this has been the best season of RHONYC in a long time. It's astounding we're eight years in and the show's most interesting characters still feel nowhere near their final acts. I will not be surprised in the least if, fifteen years from now, I'm watching LuAnn marry another one of Sonja's ex-fuck-buds while, in the pews, Ramona injects pinot through an IV.

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