“The Importance of Being Family” is an episode focused on the emotional journey for the Giudice family. Although there isn’t the typical housewives drama, it does feel longer than most episodes with emotion driving each scene. It was nice to have a few fun moments, just to add some levity to a sad week. With that said, let’s head into Joe’s final days with his family before heading to prison for 41 months.
Teresa, Joe, and their girls head to Magnolia Bakery in Manhattan to decorate some tiny cakes and soak up the last few days of Joe’s freedom. That’s such a dark concept in such a bright and delicious environment, no? An unnamed woman helps them basically do every step of the process, leaving the girls to just plop the icing on top. Thankfully, it’s a calm and loving moment for the family, with Milania even settling down a bit. She heads over to Joe to give him an early birthday gift. Then, feeling the pressure from their sister’s act of kindness, the rest of the daughters give Joe their cupcakes, too.
Meanwhile, Jacqueline and Ashlee head to a baby store, where they talk graphically about baby births and Vermont. Jacqueline believes that she is still correct in cutting Teresa and Melissa loose, but she wishes that she had stood her ground more, not only to save face but to show her strength also. Overall, she just feels badly for the hard times Teresa is going through and almost feels guilty that her own family is succeeding now. Ashlee agrees, but makes a surprisingly profound and wonderful point that Teresa and Joe got themselves into this position and are now paying the price. Thank you, sage Ashlee, for finally echoing the viewers’ point of view!
Melissa did reach out to Ashlee upon hearing the baby news because she has never had a problem with Jacqueline’s daughter and will continue to be happy for her despite her mother’s “craziness,” she says. Melissa, Joe, and their kids head out to have a final hurrah with Joe Giudice — while Jacqueline, Chris, Kathy and Rich go bowling instead. It’s not that they’re purposely avoiding the Giudice shindig, it’s that they just weren’t invited. Chris actually was offered a coveted seat at the table, but he declined because his wife was forbidden from stepping foot into the party. As sad as that all is, they do seem to have a great time bowling, and we get a glimpse at Rosie’s new girlfriend, Laura. (They both look extremely happy.) Rich, being his off-kilter self, manages to take this moment and make it icky by constantly asking Rosie for a four-way.
Over at the “real” party at BluHouse, a huge crowd is ready to celebrate Joe Giudice. I’m still not sure what type of restaurant this is as it looks like a swanky bar and grill… but it has a giant mechanical bull by the bathrooms. Gia hops on and is surprisingly great at staying focused in spite of dozens of Italians screaming at her from the sidelines. Joe and Teresa decide to double up on the bull and make it for about 20 seconds before falling off. After almost crushing his wife, Joe goes to each of his daughters, nieces, and nephews to give each of them a kiss and a hug. As Siggy points out, in spite of whether or not Joe deserves his sentence, it is hard to see a man leave his four young daughters behind.
Siggy is having her own family issues yet again. Shocker! These issues involve her children. The relationship expert calls for a family meeting with her kids, sister, and parents, so they can all discuss ways to become a stronger family. Siggy feels extremely disconnected from her son and daughter, as they spend most of their time on their phones. During this intervention of sorts, Siggy’s mom comes in with a surprise defense for the kids when she reveals that Siggy and her sister don’t offer enough time to grandma and grandpa when they’re around. Holy twist, Batman! However, while Joshua looks smug that his mom is in trouble for the very thing he’s accused of, Siggy immediately apologizes to her mom, acknowledges her feelings, and makes a change; your move, Joshua.
If this episode wasn’t heavy enough, Siggy and the entire family head to a Holocaust memorial site to form a deeper connection. Grandpa gives his harrowing tale of leaving France during the war and living through the most difficult years of his life. Despite sitting on a memorial rock, Joshua does show his gratitude and promises to make more of an effort to learn something from his family, instead of just Googling everything.
NEXT: Joe uses his final day for an emotional goodbye.
Before we get to the majority of the final moments of this week’s episode, we have to stop by Melissa’s boutique to get a glimpse into her social media campaign. Jackie informed Melissa last week that online sales were currently at zero dollars, which has sent Melissa into a tizzy, understandably. With that in mind, Melissa has attempted to take a new strategy in selling her clothes: taking selfies. Upon seeing one of these selfies on the boutique’s website, manager Derek has a meltdown on the employee who posted it, but thankfully Melissa steps in to inform him that she authorized it. Derek, believing that he is now owner, challenges Melissa and makes us all completely uncomfortable. Why does he believe he has such power? This is the same man on hot water for taking amateur videos of Teresa at events and posting them online like he’s the next Perez Hilton. (“Spoiler”: I did some sleuthing online and learned that Derek is no longer the manager and apparently left on “good terms.”)
On to the heartbreaking portion of the episode, the final day before Joe is to start his sentence, he decides to have a nice day at home with his family. While Milania drives the other girls on a dirt bike (wait, does anyone want to monitor that?), Teresa and Joe sit by the fire, expressing their sadness and love for one another. Joe admits that he wishes the time would move faster, but he promises that he will use the time behind bars to make himself a better man. Perhaps he can write a tell-all companion piece to Teresa’s book? In a moment straight out of a student film, Audriana pulls up on her bicycle to give a knowing look at her dad, only to leave him in tears thinking about how long it will be before he can see his daughter again. With that, the day ends, and we’re brought into the next day when he leaves.
Paparazzi, family friends, and even Joe and Melissa show up to see the head of the Guidice family off to prison. The entire scene is almost silent, save the Bravo establishing music in the background. Everyone is in tears as Joe’s car pulls away, with his final farewell being “I’ll be out soon.”
Later, Melissa and Joe are putting together a trampoline in their backyard while talking about the events from the morning. Melissa shares that once Teresa was in the car leaving with Joe, she sent a text to Melissa saying, “Love you.” This obviously makes Melissa sad but also extremely grateful that she’s in such a strong place with her sister-in-law now. Joe stresses the importance of siblings to Antonia, reminding her that if she needs help in life, there is no one better to call than a brother. Gino offers his support that if Antonia’s future husband ever hurt her, he would take an ax and kill the man. It’s a little extreme, but sweet nonetheless, Gino.
Finally, Teresa and her girls are — naturally — all in tears, wishing that things were different. They each take a moment to say a prayer for their dad. All jokes aside, this was a very emotional moment and an appropriate way to handle the entire situation. Regardless of Teresa and Joe’s guilt, those young girls did nothing wrong, and to see them in pain is difficult. At least the rest of their family is strong and giving them the support they’ll need going forward.
Next week will be the first without Joe, but there will definitely be old wounds opened again as Teresa and Jacqueline meet face-to-face. Be safe until then, friends.