Tamra Judge is checking out the venue of her impending baptism and finds it to be the perfect backdrop for “the first step in a journey of over a year to wash away all my sins.” Uh, right. While many plotlines on this show feel overproduced and shoehorned, this one in particular strikes me as quite disingenuous, mostly because it was but a few short weeks ago when Tamra couldn’t pronounce the word “pastor” correctly, and was acting pretty un-Christian when cursing out Bricki and others at Shannon’s Aires party. Maybe we’re not privy to enough of Tamra’s newfound respect for the Lord, but, given the edit we’ve seen this season, it seems like Tamra’s the same old tiger with the same old stripes and that this baptism is more of an excuse to get all gussied up and have a party.
Accordingly, everyone’s here. Tamra’s penniless louse of a son, Ryan, Lizzie From Last Season, Lynne from Many Seasons Ago, Vicki’s son Michael, some woman named Tammy Knickerbocker that I don’t remember from season 3, Pastor Mike and his choker necklace and, of course, all the ladies and their significant others (except Jim Edmonds). Vicki Gunvalson’s on high alert since she “doesn’t want to be around conflict tonight,” so she’s mostly sticking to her brother’s side. Shannon Beador, free of that pesky lingering piece of her home colonic kit, is bouncing around like normal, though she’s concerned Vicki will call her nasty and disgusting again. That will not stand with Ole Lemon Bowl.
Tamra walks out, is “overwhelmed and feels like her life is going to change and people are going to know a side of me I’ve never known!” A church choir comes out and sings about the path of Jesus at these people who are decidedly not “white as snow,” as the choir exalts, if this season’s footage is any indication. Shannon ballyhoos about Tamra “committing her life to the Lord,” while Heather Dubrow can’t find a Jewish equivalent of the baptism: “In fact, our whole slogan is ‘Never forget.’”
We get underway and Tamra speaks about all the good and hard times and “knows God has a plan for me and can’t freaking wait to see what it is.” Then she disses ex-husband Simon and publicly forgives him for the hellish custody battle he put her through. She closes by admitting she will continue “to mess up from time to time, but what was once my mess is now my message.” Uh huh. Into the pool Tamra and Pastor Mike go for the big dunk. Tamra says she sees her whole life as she hits the water, and since she’s spent a considerable part of it in front of a camera crew, Bravo treats us to a clip show of her best and worst moments. The choir sings “Amazing Grace,” and there’s a laughable cut to Vicki, who is holding her hand to the sky and singing along.
Everyone spills into the reception and I’m hoping that with the addition of alcohol we can move away from this saccharine opening and into some confrontations. Instead we have to watch Vicki stare at boats docked in the marina behind the venue and rue how she never bought a yacht. Then she tells us how she’d ordinarily be talking to all the Housewives, but this is a conscious choice to be on her own. Despite a desire not to interact, Meghan approaches, noticing Vicki is cold, and offers to help her find a shawl. Vicki walks away, telling us she just wants to give Tamra her present and get out of here.
Next Vicki stands behind Shannon, though they never speak. “The one that hurts the most is Shannon,” Vicki tells us. “I’ve been nothing but nice to her.” Untrue. You’ve gossiped heavily behind Shannon’s back, Fun Bus. I wonder what it’s like inside Vicki’s brain. Is there just some little version of Vicki in there, tasked with taking in everything Vicki sees and hears and figuring out a way to make the output all about Vicki and how she’s been wronged?
NEXT: Yet another lie[pagebreak]
Heather, Meghan, and Shannon huddle together to share a newfound lie from Vicki. Apparently there’s a tall tale floating around about how Brooks felt ill from chemo, so he called Terry Dubrow who dispatched a colleague to administer an IV drip in the middle of the night. Shannon heard this directly from Vicki, while Heather heard it from a few other sources. Terry comes up and debunks it on the spot. “It’s so weird to lie about something so traceable,” Heather tells us.
Tamra arrives at the reception and they all crowd in for a selfie, sans Vicki. “I’m trying to be a pillar of strength,” Vicki yammers to us. “Satan is the author of confusion. He wants them to be confused. I know the truth. And I’m praying for all them.” Lady, the more you protest, the crazier and more guilty you look. Vicki’s brother Billy pulls Tamra aside and here’s where it starts to heat up, kids.
“I hope you believe that Brooks is sick,” Billy admonishes. Newly baptized Tamra is really damn diplomatic: “If he’s sick, I hope he gets better. If he’s not sick, I hope he gets better.” Billy mounts a defense for Brooks, citing the one wonky medical record that has been disclosed. Heather pops up, declaring “the situation is weird” and notes to us that she thinks Billy is strategically being used as a pawn. Shannon comes up, too, and wants “to make sense of it.” Billy’s in the middle of defending his/Bricki’s lackluster position, saying “I do know what I know,” when Vicki springs up and interrupts the convo to give Tamra what my girlfriend calls the ugliest picture frame. Then Vicki announces she’s leaving, which shocks Tamra, since she’s only been there for an hour. Billy says they’re headed to a party to meet Brooks, which Tamra rightfully calls “rude.” Shannon and Billy are now going back and forth, with anger mounting more so on Shannon’s side of things, when Billy’s girlfriend, Ronda, decides to jump in and question Shannon about her pulling away from Vicki.
Meanwhile, Heather’s pulled Vicki aside, letting her know the right thing to do is stay here for Tamra. “Where are you always going? Why are you always running away?” Heather for the win. Then Heather asks about the IV drip story and Vicki plays dumb. “I could’ve been traveling. I didn’t hear about it. I don’t know. Why is 99 percent of this stuff happening?” comes Vicki’s discombobulated reply, though the look on her face belies her words.
By the bar, Ronda’s trying to go for the kill with Shannon, but she’s doing it so poorly. She asks Shannon about medical records, and why Shannon hasn’t called or spoken to Vicki (because Vicki has treated Shannon like utter crap, Ronda). ShanShan holds her own: “How dare you? Who are you, Ronda? You don’t know if I’ve been a good friend or not.” This devolves into a petty high school argument about who should’ve called whom and said what but Ronda doesn’t really do herself any favors by stirring this pot, given that she’s defending a woman who behaves like a child.
Then Ronda drops the bomb: “Vicki didn’t ask to see the records when you thought your husband was cheating on you.” OHH SHIT. Ronda. went. there. “You have a hell of a lotta nerve, girl,” Shannon snaps, walking over to David and practically shouting, “That Ronda bitch!” She comes back, demands that Ronda and Billy leave, and mutters about the guts on Ronda. To us, Shannon says, “Ronda was told to do that. She’s following instructions from Vicki.” Shannon’s so mad, she can’t even get her purse open and hands the whole thing to LFLS, who offers a very helpful, “calm down.” Shannon doesn’t have time for LFLS’ advice; she needs to go confront Vicki and marches off to do so. “She’s gonna beat someone’s ass,” one of the Housewives says, watching Shannon stalk off.
NEXT: Vicki goes off the rails. [pagebreak]
Shannon grabs Vicki’s arm and thanks her repeatedly for being such a great friend in the most sarcastic tone she can muster. I kind of wish Shannon was a bit more direct, but props for saying something. Meggers, hovering in the back, feeding on all of this, relays why Shannon’s so pissed. Vicki’s response? “It wasn’t like it was such a secret. I was just telling what happened.” Uh, nope. Shannon told you that in confidence, Fun Bus. “This evening is not going to end well unless we leave,” Vicki says. “Brooks has cancer. David had an affair. That’s it.” Vicki, Ronda, and Billy run away like the cowards that they are. Ronda apologizes to Vicki about her comments to Shannon, but Vicki says, “That’s okay. Shannon got what she deserved.” Pastor Mike and his choker necklace offer to talk to Vicki with Tamra, the latter of which thinks this is a marvelous idea. “You can’t argue with a pastor. It’s like illegal. You go to hell.” Close enough, Tamra.
Pastor Mike and Tamra approach Vicki, standing near the porte cochere of this hotel. “No, no, no. I have no respect for Shannon. That’s done. Shame on her for not returning my phone calls or emails and shaking my arm. My mother passed away,” Vicki says, voice cracking. “I want to go to heaven and be with my mom. I’m really, really sad and all this stuff is just disgusting. I know Jesus, and I know the truth, and I’m good with it. These women don’t deserve me. These women keep pushing me instead of hugging me. I’m being nailed to the cross like Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ did nothing wrong and he was nailed to the cross.” Somewhere during this — perhaps the craziest diatribe ever issued by a Real Housewife — Pastor Mike has slunk away. Wise move, Pastor Mike.
Inside, Heather and Shannon confer about the IV drip story and realize that Vicki is flat out lying to one of them. They fly outside, along with Meghan, and Shannon lays into Vicki again about breaking Shannon’s confidence concerning the affair. “Are you kidding? It’s not private,” Vicki retorts. “Don’t shake your hand at me. When nobody else liked you, I was there for you.” Probably not the best comeback, Vicki. I’ll spare you the full back and forth, as it gets inane rather quickly. It ends with Shannon shouting down Vicki, and Heather pleading with Vicki not to run away… as Vicki runs into her limo. Tamra follows her inside and outs all of Vicki’s lies to Vicki, who “just doesn’t care and doesn’t know.” When Tamra brings up Briana, Vicki straight up sells her own kid out, calling her a liar. Wow. Welcome to the depths of new lows, Gunvalson. Vicki’s going to walk away (well, be driven away in her silly limo) feeling like “I have been baptized tonight knowing what my new path is.” What is that? Lying to everyone’s faces and then running away when they start to call you out?
“When you’re aiming at someone else, you’re not looking at yourself in the mirror,” Vicki jabbers. “It’s always deflection, deflection, deflection.” But wait, Fun Bus. Haven’t we seen you take aim at others over and over again during the past decade? You’ve proudly built your reputation as the OG of the OC on this very principle. So now that people have had enough and are dishing it right back, you’re doing precisely what you’re claiming to hate: deflecting.
Up pops the chyron to tell us that “Brooks broke up with Vicki” and moved to Florida. Meghan’s chyron tells us that she and Jim Edmonds are spending more time together, though the next graphic reads that he spends only 50 percent of his time in the OC. Shannon and David “continue to go through marriage counseling,” probably with that quack we’ve met. A later graphic seemingly praises Shannon for getting over her affair in one year when it usually takes two (and notes she lost 15 pounds). The Dubrow’s mansion is over budget and behind schedule and will not be finished any time soon. And Terry’s filming two TV shows, meaning Heather probably sees him even less than she’d like. Lastly, Tamra’s found the Lord — obviously — and has strength as a result. And while Eddie doesn’t go to church, “he does pray… that Ryan repays the loan.” And with that, dear RHOC viewers, season 10 draws to a close.
Do you think Vicki was lying the whole time? Do you think Shannon and David’s marriage will last? Do you think the Dubrow’s mansion will ever be finished? Do you think Tamra’s a new person after having found Jesus? Do you think Meghan will become a full time private investigator? What did you think of this season as a whole?