Real Housewives are known for its ability to build up suspense…to nothing. Preview after preview will underscore the shocking moment to come, getting viewers excited about the big reveal. But, for the most part, these moments, these “big reveals,” amount to something idiotic and hardly mind blowing, leaving the viewer unsatisfied. As a longtime viewer of this show, I’m used to these shenanigans it plays, trying to rope in more viewers, especially during a boring season. It’s why I believe the creation of the “Secrets Revealed” episodes at the end of the season are inherently dumb – secrets never get revealed and its just an episode about nothing.
Sometimes, a “crazy” episode will turn out to be just as insane as promised. And it will be crazy enough to justify the multi-episode bonanza that Bravo likes to throw in to make basic drama seem even more dramatic – Kelly Bensimon and “Scary Island” comes to mind. But as memorable as that was, it made us so uncomfortable with the craziness, that it took the fun out of watching the show, and it directly led to Kelly being fired. Luckily, crazy episodes can actually be fun, and be so insane as to be almost unreal, such as in Beverly Hill’s first season with the Dinner Party from Hell.
This episode delivered. Even though the information revealed was hardly surprising (and essentially hinted at throughout the episode, even before the big reveal), the delivery was on-point.
But before we get into the big reveal, we need to go back to where we ended (since this is a multi-episode, “to be continued” drama): Luann’s engagement party on a yacht.
Funny moments included Ramona dancing with some random woman when it’s a well-known fact that these parties rarely include music because it’s difficult to hear the women talk; it’s usually added in post-production. A wasted Dorinda slurring her words as she attempted to make a toast. Jules telling a flirtatious man that her “kitchen was closed.”
Luann was walking on a cloud. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her this giddy. But her giddiness had a manic edge. She was clearly nervous about having Tom’s two exes – Ramona and Sonja – in the same room with Tom. The whole night, whenever she caught Ramona or Sonja talking to Tom, she found a way to insert herself, to play interference. She also kept flashing her ring, especially in Sonja’s face, as if she felt she had to reassure herself that all the BL’s (Before Lu) were no competition to her love.
As for Tom, the awkwardness he felt was uncomfortably apparent. As he spoke to Sonja and Ramona, he licked his lips, hemmed and hawed, and his thin face got increasingly strained as the night wore on, as if he felt the hull of the yacht closing in on him, turning it into a tiny dinghy of his past regrets. It was interesting, though, that with Sonja – a longtime friend and sexual partner – he was cold and distant. But with Ramona – a woman he went out with at least 5 times (as much as he would like to deny it) – he was friendly, even flirtatious. Perhaps it was because Ramona was a nonthreatening figure, a woman he never slept with. But he had slept with Sonja, and on more than one occasion. In fact, he slept with Sonja right before he dated Luann. And he’s uncomfortably aware of the fact that she and Luann are very close friends. So he kept his distance, thinking that he could perhaps avoid showing Luann the extent of their long and intimate relationship.
But that didn’t stop Luann’s jealousy from seeping to the surface. When she told the camera, in her talking head, that she didn’t care that Sonja was talking to Tom because she felt secure in her relationship, that raised major red flags for me. And it became clear that her nervous energy, her extreme happiness, was a deflection from her insecurity in her relationship. She knows what a flirt Tom is, knows what a catch he is. And the last time she married a desirable man, she had an “arrangement,” an open marriage in order to keep him around. And even that stipulation didn’t save her royal marriage, ending in a divorce early in RHONYC’s run.
Perhaps the biggest revelation (besides for Bethenny’s bombshell) was that we, the viewers, have seen Tom on our screens before. It was back in 2007, when Ramona was still with Mario, and she was out with friends in a bar and he hit on them. This again raises red flags about Tom – he has been with 3 of these women and he has been on this show before. Is he in it for the fame? Is he another Simon, wanting so badly to be on TV that he’s willing to manipulate these love-starved women for his own ends?
The next morning, Dorinda’s shit-stirring, pot-stirring, all-around awfulness came to the fore. Again. She literally cannot help herself. After Dorinda and Ramona gathered in Carole’s bedroom to discuss Ramona’s relationship with Tom, she literally ran up to the deck where Luann peacefully ate her breakfast, and ratted on Ramona. Literally, the first words out of her mouth wasn’t “good morning,” but, “Ramona was talking about her relationship with Tom.” And an insecure, livid Luann ran below deck to confront Ramona.
I’m so sick of Dorinda needing to insert herself in all of this. She has literally become the all-time worst. Her need to get the “stories straight,” her need to tell on Ramona literally seconds after hearing gossip – she acts like her shit doesn’t stick. She loves getting involved because it allows her to focus everyone’s attention on other people’s drama, and ignore her own shitty relationship with Slimy Johnny. And she gloats in her ability to create drama. When Carole finally made her way onto the deck, Dorinda announced, in a disturbingly cheery tone, “I stirred up shit again.” And Dorinda somehow got away with it. After Ramona had it out with Luann, getting to the real issue about why she’s mad, because Luann spoke about her in the press, Ramona wasn’t upset at Dorinda for saying anything. She was upset at Luann, and Luann only. It’s infuriating. Dorinda has become a worse snake than Luann ever has been. I blame Slimy Johnny.
As for Jules; poor Jules. She again demonstrated to us why she is currently in the process of getting a divorce: Michael doesn’t give a shit about his kids. While he was probably off with his mistress, he left the kids by his parents. And instead of accepting Jules’s rebuke, he yells at her for daring to criticize his behavior. Thank god she will soon be rid of his douchebag ass.
The ladies then finally disembark the yacht and arrived to Miami, to an agitated Bethenny who has damaging information. Wanting to discuss it with Carole before deciding whether or not to tell Luann, who else but Luann walked in for some small talk. Because Bethenny had incriminating information at the forefront of her mind, she began to question Luann, leading to one of the most uncomfortable conversations this season. She asked if Luann and Tom were monogamous. A clearly uncomfortable Luann squirmed, darting her eyes to the camera as she forced herself to laugh, responding, “of course not! We’re getting married!” But, even though Luann has never actually admitted it, it’s a well-known fact that she and her count had an open-marriage. So when Bethenny said, “well, because I know you and Alec had some European arrangement,” Luann looked like she wanted to murder Bethenny for saying that on-camera but forced herself to keep her composure.
So what’s this incriminating information that Bethenny has? It’s a photo of Tom and some former playboy bunny, making out at one of his favorite haunts. Once Luann finally left, Carole and Ramona walked in to Bethenny’s room and she told them what her friend witnessed and photographed, earning a crazed screech from the Ramonacoaster herself. And it wasn’t just a kiss – it was, according to Bethenny’s source who witnessed it – an hour-long ordeal. And, since Bethenny hasn’t told Luann about it yet, we again end this episode with another, “to be continued.” As much as I’m enjoying this drama, I really hope they don’t drag this out longer than they have to. Because that would be the worst. Especially since the next episode won’t even be airing next week! (Stupid Rio Olympics).