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The RHONYC Finale Marks The End Of A Failed Experiment

Relax! Jordan Veilleux's talking about Tinsley joining the cast, not Luann and Tom's marriage.

The Real Housewives franchise has never been particularly good at delivering satisfying season finales. Sometimes the stars align and we get something like the Richards sisters screaming at each other in the back of a limo, or the unveiling of the long-gestating Chateau Shereé and return of Kim. More often than not though, we don't. What we get is everyone together on their best behavior, talking about new beginnings, pretending as if they'll talk in the off season. Let's see which category this one falls into.

Champagne Problems In The Boiler Room

If Sonja's townhouse is to be perpetually cold, then it's only appropriate that Carole's place be a sauna. She is the Miss Havisham to Sonja's Little Edie, after all. This week starts with Carole the Cat Lady, donning an "I Miss Barack" sweater, chasing her Babies around and tossing throws over all the furniture like some sort of liberal nightmare. Enter Bethenny, who enters like she just broke the door to Carole's apartment down with an axe and is sweating through her turtleneck. They sit on the piles of cat hair Carole calls her couches and it's all of thirty seconds before Bethenny starts complaining about how long it's taking to start remodeling her new apartment. The mood shifts as they revisit Mexico and discuss Tinsley's upcoming "Thank You, Sonja" party.

Singles

There's no reason to watch this other than to gawk at the unraveling of Luann and Tom's relationship and bask in the awkwardness of their competition, which, sadly, Luann keeps trying -- and failing -- to explain in talking heads. It's nothing and everything at the same time. Enter at your own risk, though.

Lady Morgan's Remodel

Sonja has a lot of free time now that Tinsley's living in a hotel. Fear not, she's keeping busy. "Remodel" may be a strong word, but it is in fact the correct one when describing how Sonja views her decision to swap a big table out for a smaller one in the room off the kitchen. She brings us up to speed on her relationship with Edgar the French Con Man and we're shown a flashback where she flippantly says she loves him. Enter Ramona, who I desperately hoped would walk in and tell Sonja the place looks worse now that it's so open and that she's a fool not to date Rocco instead. Neither of those things happens. Instead she jokes about moving in so she can find someone too, and they talk about the party Tinsley's throwing Sonja as if it's a setup where they'll likely be killed.

Bethenny's New Digs

Bethenny has a new apartment and a new beau, Nate Thompson, a professional hockey player. He's smiling like an idiot (maybe he just looks like one because he's missing a front tooth) while she gives little digs about how she can't believe he doesn't enjoy a corned beef sandwich semi-regularly. If that's what she's looking for she should just date Dorinda's boyfriend, John. Speaking of, Dorinda arrives to tour the apartment, but not before she's forced to grab her friend's new boyfriend's ass. Beautiful as both the apartment and the man inside it are, there's no real hook here. He's already out the door and next year we're going to be trapped in that apartment listening to her complain about how slow the remodel's going or brag about countertops. Consider this a freebie and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Tins Plans A Party

For just $7,000 a month, you too can be as happy and autonomous as Tinsley. Living out loud in a hotel like her hero, Eloise, Tinsley's in the middle of putting the finishing touches on her "Thank You, Sonja" party when Carole drops by. Why these two are friends, I don't know. Why Carole feels the need to tell her the gift she brought was one given to her by Dorinda, I also don't know. Why one grown woman is happy for another grown woman for moving out of her friend's place and into a hotel, I will never know. This is when the episode enters its third hour.

Dorinda, John, And A Replica Of A Dress Beyoncé Once Wore

Unlike, say, everyone else this week, Dorinda can turn nothing into something simply by being herself. John arrives for dinner at her apartment bearing gifts, namely a replica of a dress Beyoncé once wore that she liked. She jokes about it looking like a wedding dress, he mugs and continues to try too hard; but it works, especially once she starts talking about the idea of starting over with someone else at this stage in her life. "I don't get lonely, I call it freedom."

A Lesser Woody Allen Film

As well spoken and insightful as Carole is, there's something that just doesn't gel in this scene, which sees her and Adam walking around the city talking about how much happier they are now that there's some distance between them. Given the context, her saying that she feels like her most authentic self when she's free is incredibly subversive. Still, I couldn't help but roll my eyes at the…lesser Woody Allen film of it all.

Thank You, Sonja!

Tinsley's nervous about the party and the toast she's going to give at it. She's making the servers throw on skin-tight "Thank You, Sonja!" tees and signing for the over-the-top cake she ordered while Sonja helps Frenchie pack and flirts with just not going to the party being thrown for her. She shows up eventually, flung out of space in her Carol Aird drag. Finally, things click into place and the episode starts to take off as Harry Dubin and Missy Whatshername ping around her and she's forced to drink a warm, way-too-sweet signature cocktail made with "bar liquor." Sonja's being unnecessarily difficult at this unnecessary party and it's wonderful.

Bethenny and Ramona chat at the bar; Luann tells everyone how in love she is while Tom talks to his former flame and removes his mic a few feet away; Noel arrives and every single woman over fifty-five's pupils dilate and they start to convulse; Bethenny tells Sonja she's a good person for putting up with this bullshit party and not telling everyone that Tinsley starts drinking at eight o'clock in the morning. Things are finally starting to pick up when…it's time for Tinsley's speech and to wrap this season up. Tinsley gives a nice speech that Sonja comes around to. Until she gives her the worst picture anyone's ever given anyone as a gift; Tinsley looks amazing, while Sonja looks like someone just learning how to use Photoshop added her in later.

At least things end on a high note. Namely, Sonja's reaction to the $5,000 gift card to Bergdorf Goodman that Tinsley gives her, which is next-level crazy and the best cab-burlesque performance she's ever given. So thanks, Tinsley. I hope we never cross paths again.

Verdict

While Sonja's party may take up a significant portion of the episode, it just isn't good enough in and of itself to recommend. For whatever reason, the first thirty minutes of this finale feel padded to ninety and like watching paint dry. Watch the last twenty minutes and respect Luann's privacy during this "sad time." That's right. As if Luann hasn't been through enough, her end-of-the-season title card features the shadiest use of punctuation I've seen in quite some time. I'm really at a loss for how disjointed and boring this finale was.

Onto the reunion!

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