We have to call this out right from the start: Not only do actual interesting things happen during this episode, but I think tonight’s installment of RHONJ might even be the best of season 7 so far. Let’s get into it.
“The door is open” seems to be the operative phase this season. Remember last week, when Teresa gave that non-answer to her cousins’ request for reconnection? Well, we begin this week with a replay of events that make it clear Teresa was on the fence about showing any genuine love toward her extended family.
While Teresa and Joe speed away in tears after the lunch, Kathy and Rosie jump on a three-way call with Jacqueline, who has Siggy and Dolores by her side to hear how the meeting went down. “I said my door is open,” revealed Rosie of her back-and-forth with Teresa. “She said, ‘My door is open, too.’” The three ladies at the Laurita house seem shocked by this news, almost to the point of confusion. So Teresa wants a relationship? As a viewer, what’s more frustrating is the fact that there’s a perfectly good bag of open popcorn on the table from which nobody eats. Isn’t that one of life’s simple pleasures? Hearing juicy gossip while stuffing your face?
Joe makes it home to Melissa, where packing for the upcoming trip to Vermont has everyone in a tizzy. Little Joey is running around kicking everything in sight, while Melissa attempts to pull all the luggage together. Joe does manage to explain how his view of Teresa at lunch was that she’s pulling away completely from her cousins. Uh oh, we already have dueling stories. On top of it, Melissa says she believes Jacqueline has a hidden agenda to keep Teresa away from her. So all in all, this Vermont trip seems like the best idea — if the goal is to have everyone get in a huge fight, that is.
Before anyone can look forward to a trip full of syrup (Vermont has a lot, right?), the ladies need some new looks to show off. Jacqueline heads over to Posche, apparently the only boutique and clothing store in Franklin Lakes. If that name doesn’t send shivers down your spine, this must be your first season with us. Anyway, the flibbertigibbet owner, Kim D., greets Jacqueline at the door, making sure to look busy but surprised as the cameras follow her inside. She casually mentions that another Posche fashion show is coming up, to which Jacqueline responds with, “Those scare me.” Thank you, Jacqueline. We couldn’t agree more.
While Kim D. is known for stirring the pot, she does come with a wealth of inside information. In one of the most tantalizing and random twists this season, a new plot mystery — “Who sold the tape of Teresa selling her books for cash?” — is introduced. (I know, I had no idea how much I needed to know about this either.) According to Kim, the young man who runs Melissa’s boutique, Derek, was bragging at the last Posche fashion show about how he sold said tape. This got Teresa in trouble, as it looked bad for her to be seeking cash-only transactions during her initial legal troubles. There’s no clear answer as to what to do with little Derek, but Jacqueline seems intrigued to get to the bottom of it all.
With that juicy news now on the table, it’s time to head to Vermont! Everyone gathers at Teresa’s house to take a party bus to the neighboring state. Along for the ride with the main cast members are a couple of random chicks, which is never fun. Chris and Joe Gorga have also managed to snag a spot on this girlfriends’ trip, creating a strange combination of people we either don’t know, don’t care about, or just want to see get along. Of course, at just an hour into the car ride, Siggy brings up her sadness over Teresa not getting along with Rosie and Kathy. Jacqueline jumps in, explaining she feels sorry for the cousins since they believe there’s a chance for reconciliation. Think back to when Teresa said, “The door is open,” and now put it out of your mind — because now, she literally says “The door is closed.” Where this door is, we’ll never know, but it’s been getting a lot of attention.
NEXT: One of Teresa’s “soldiers” throws a wrench into the mix
Out of the blue, one of the random friends chimes in — apparently, her name is Robin — to say everyone needs to get off Teresa’s back about not wanting to be close to her cousins. (First of all, who the hell are you? Secondly, settle down, amiright?) We get more backstory on the newcomer when it’s revealed she had a falling out with Rosie at one point, prompting her to have nothing but negative things to say about her in a conversation. Jacqueline shares her uneasy feelings about this girl and equates her to one of “Teresa’s soldiers,” someone ready to automatically defend any decision Teresa makes.
Jacqueline further pushes the issue, trying to point out that Kathy and Rosie believe their relationships with Teresa are on the mend. This sends Teresa and Melissa into a tailspin, as they believe Jacqueline is trying to say Teresa’s feelings are invalid. The wires get even more crossed when Teresa starts screaming and can’t hear what anyone is saying — with the exception of Robin, who’s conveniently talking about how Teresa needs to be supported. Chris even jumps in to explain what exactly Jacqueline is trying to say about the confusion on Kathy and Rosie’s end. It all seems to make sense at that point, but the feathers have already been ruffled.
The group finally makes it to the Vermont lodge, where apparently they only wear robes everywhere as everyone sits down to dinner looking like they’re fresh from the shower. The group exchanges some giggles and witty banter, but trouble truly hits the fan when the ladies head outside to talk about Kim D.’s accusation against Derek. Melissa doesn’t seem too shocked by the news, citing her disdain for Kim D. and the random gossip she likes to throw around. “Now she’s targeting my 21-year-old employee?” says Melissa. The Envy boutique owner squashes the allegations before the group can really get into it, but Siggy just urges Melissa to look further into Derek before completely trusting him.
If this night wasn’t long enough, Jacqueline, Siggy, Robin, and unnamed friend no. 2 stay out by the fire to roast marshmallows and start a whole new brawl. Robin attempts to confront Jacqueline over some preconceived judgments, but Jacqueline doesn’t seem willing to play ball. The “soldier” comment is brought up, sending Robin into a spiral — or, according to Siggy, a “category 5 hurricane.” “I am gonna rage on your ass!” screams Robin, to which Jacqueline responds with, “Rage on my ass!”
In case her answer wasn’t clear enough, Jacqueline sits down on Robin’s lap, which seems insane but also pretty fantastic. The fight abruptly stops when Melissa and Teresa show up and put an end to it. Jacqueline calls Robin garbage and then everyone decides to just go to bed. Um, okay!
Everyone wakes up the next morning to pick up the pieces. Jacqueline and Chris decide not to venture outside at all, as the safety of their room is better than doing anything with this crazy group of ladies. Instead of staying in the room and making love (yes, this was confirmed by Jacqueline via text), the ladies go dogsledding. While there, Dolores meets a dog that reminds her of her late pooch, Boo, adding a sweet moment to an episode otherwise full of yelling. Teresa and Melissa decide to hit the slopes to talk about the broken relationship that’s building with Jacqueline. Melissa says Jacqueline doesn’t like how close the sisters-in-law are, which makes Teresa think Jacqueline is concocting a nefarious plot. Meanwhile, Joe’s in the background attempting to get some balance on his skis, but instead he continually falls over and runs into the woods.
Back at the resort, Jacqueline tells Dolores and Siggy she’s going home early with Chris so she can avoid being around Robin and her “raging ass” threats. One of the most telling revelations from this episode is the unbiased and powerful presence both Dolores and Siggy bring to the group. Instead of taking a side, the two pals try to see the best means possible to make everyone get along. It’s at this moment I see the value of these two new additions who bring some love back to the show.
As for this new hanger-on friend, Robin? Not so much. It seems the fighting will continue next week and Teresa’s real loyalties will be tested. Until then, friends.