Abby and Phoebe make some important self discoveries, and a new Girlfriend enters the (tumultuous) mix.
Girlfriends Guide To Divorce
Credit: Paul Drinkwater/Bravo

After all the partying that took place at the expense of a bunch of 14-year-olds (and one pool skimmer) last week, it’s all business and no play for the divorcées at the center of this week’s Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. In fact, last week’s craziest party girl, Lilly, is nowhere to be found now, presumably off doing some parentally enforced community service. No, Girlfriends’ Guide has never been too concerned with explaining where the kids of its main characters are, who’s taking care of them, or how they seem to pop up exactly when the plot needs them; but, with this show, you take this painfully realistic with the unrealistic, I’ve found. Where are all of these people’s children? Who cares, their lives are falling apart in very real and relatable ways!

To be fair, this episode does finally address the pretty necessary aspect of childcare in any divorced parent’s life, or rather, the lack thereof for Abby and Jake in a particularly busy week. Jake finally caved and followed up on the director’s gig on Becca’s CW show, Blood Sisters; unfortunately, this comes on the same week that Abby’s agency is having her come in to pitch her new book idea, which is to say, her final book idea if they don’t like the sounds of it. These are huge moments in Jake and Abby’s careers, and with Charlie now attached at the hip to his mischievous and foul-mouthed imaginary friend, Chad, they’re in a desperate search for childcare.

This mighty busy time is also the same week that Jo, a.k.a., Lyla’s replacement, is coming to town. I wasn’t exactly feeling open-minded toward the new smart ass in town after feeling a little like we were robbed of an interesting storyline when all of Lyla’s growth and rebuilding taking place offscreen before her official departure; but I also found myself fairly intrigued by Jo—the wisecracking, centered-chi hating, northerner (New Yorker) in a foreign land (L.A.)—and the juxtaposition she offers to Abby.

Abby’s social life is a bit of a conundrum. Many shows run into this issue: How do we fill out a cast with wild characters who could still feasibly be people our sensible leading straight man would be willing to spend time with. But while Abby might be a reasonable person, she has a lot of sides to her, as evidenced by the book proposal we hear from her at the end of the episode, which basically serves as a summary of all the messes she’s gotten herself into since we started following her life. Our girl is kind of a wild card, herself. And that’s how she’s ended up with a friend like Jo from her past, here to shake up her present a little.

Another friend who represents a side of Abby—that side that tries to put on a happy face to mask the creeping feeling that she’s really not offering much to the world—is Phoebe. Phoebe has been a difficult character to get to know because she’s the kind of real-life person who would be difficult to get to know. (Also, anyone who doesn’t have to worry about money at all is pretty unnerving.) Once you get past the free spirit, wild card front, where’s the substance? What is there to get to know? It’s finally time for Phoebe to step up to the plate of her own life. Even after she nearly killed a child, Phoebe is moving forward with the launch of her infant fine jewelry line, Infant Fabuleux; she planned a long time ago to have the launch at Ralph’s hotel, which means tricking his new girlfriend, Carla, into helping her decorate the space: “I’m tragic with interiors.” It also means that when she sneakily (in her mind) asks Carla about her dating life, Carla tells her that she’s dating a man who seems to have only ever been with women with little substance. That hurts. Now, back to the infant jewels!

In other dangerous territory, Delia is still sleeping with her client, Gordon Beach, and things are getting serious. He’s ready to be done with his divorce settlement because he sees a real future with Delia and wants to be able to openly date her. Odd then, that Delia keeps dragging out one aspect of the settlement when he’s said over and over that it doesn’t matter to him. Could it be that Delia is scared of that level of commitment? Yes, yes, that is definitely it, and Gordon knows it. He tells her to finish the settlement in the next round of mediation or he’ll truly know his feelings aren’t returned; but Gordon’s wife takes the option of that dramatic declaration away when she tells Delia she knows they’re sleeping together, and she better sign on the settlement or she’ll have her disbarred. Delia is kind of one big question mark, but I enjoy the dynamic between her fearless nature in court versus her complete fear of personal vulnerability.

NEXT: Blood Sisters webisodes, please…

Since Abby is unsuccessful in finding a babysitter while she needs to prepare for her presentation, and Jo let Charlie watch Game of Thrones when she was watching him, Abby decides to march down to Jake’s set and tell him that he can’t just back out on her during this important time. Catching Becca’s Blood Sisters dialogue—“It’s not my fault Lucifer made me part of his dark army anymore than it’s your fault Gabriel chose you to be a sacred one”—is worth the entire trip to set for me, but for Abby, things don’t quite as “get your ass in gear, Jake” as planned.

Abby’s phone goes off in the middle of the scene, taking Becca out of character(s), and embarrassing Jake. When she starts going on and on about her life and how this is a really important week for her, Jake gives her a pretty harsh dose of reality: “For 10 years I had your back when you needed to work and the first time I ask you, you fall apart. Figure it out, Abby.”

Figure it out, Abby: That could be the thesis of Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, and it turns out to be the thesis of Abby’s new book proposal, an honest look at life during divorce, rather than a guide on how to get an A+ in it. She doesn’t get there on her own, though. She and Jo finally take some time to have dinner together, which immediately reminds them why they drifted apart in the first place. Jo hated Jake, Jake hated Jo, Abby and Jake hated Jo’s husband, and Abby finally started ignoring Jo once she started striving for this Girlfriends’ Guide lifestyle…ironic, as she was kind of a terrible girlfriend.

But a fight that ends in, “And, by the way, you are bleeding!” can’t really last too long. Jo goes to find Abby to apologize for being a dick, only to find her crying with an unused pregnancy test because she doesn’t really need it anymore. She knows it’s not rational, “but the idea of a baby…if [she] had a last chance, this was it.” But it wasn’t Abby’s last chance anymore than keeping Ralph close by was Phoebe’s, who shows up at Abby’s door sobbing because she’s realized she’s not a solid woman like Abby or Carla: “Sometimes I feel like if I’m not attached to someone—I’m just going to float away.” It takes a lot to admit that to yourself, and it takes even more to move forward in the right direction… which is exactly what Jo and Phoebe help Abby do when they hear the truly terrible practice pitch she’s prepared for How to Untie the Knot Without Unraveling Your Life. It includes the phrase, “Let’s declare today as the day we stop the pity part” while Abby is literally hosting a pity part, table for three.

Seriously, Abby is going to try to tell other women how to handle a divorce well? Abby, who thought she was pregnant with her soon to be ex-husband’s baby because they slept together when he was on peyote and cheating on his 24-year-old girlfriend? So, those are the things Abby ends up mentioning in her book pitch. She puts on a big act of being strung out and overwhelmed because that’s the opposite of the Girlfriends’ Guide persona that totally blew up in her face…and her agency loves it, if for the tales of cupping younger men’s balls, alone. Don’t pretend things are working when they’re not; just figure them the hell out, no many how many escort foot massages it takes.

The storyline that’s not really working tonight—not because their problems aren’t plenty real world applicable, but because we barely know these people—is Max and Ford’s. Though, last we saw him, Ford declared his undying devotion to Max, he hasn’t been game to get intimate in months. When Max finally blows up at him, he suggests they go on a date, but that date turns out to be a loud club where Ford wants Max to go flirt with another man to make him jealous. That’s the final straw for Max, who tells Ford he knows that he must just be bored with him and their lives.

Ford isn’t feeling bored, though; he’s feeling suffocated, and wants to go back to the more open relationship rules they used to have; but Max says that with kids, it’s too dangerous that he might get attached to someone else. Ford can do what he wants, but Max isn’t going to be pushed back into doing something he doesn’t want to just because Ford feels guilty.

Boredom can lead to a lot of things: for Ford, boredom with his current lifestyle is distancing him from his husband; but for Abby and Phoebe, it’s finally facing a side of themselves that they’ve been ignoring—the side they don’t know as much about. Abby’s bored with herself—her own shtick is self-described bullshit. Phoebe is so far removed from herself at this point, she’s also dealing with a self-inflicted case of bullshit at her Infant Fabuleux launch event. The accessories editor for W, whose attendance Phoebe has been so excited about, pulls her aside for an interview with what seems to be genuine baby jewelry interest, but one glimpse of Carla (and all of her substance) sends Phoebe into a tailspin. She bolts, tracks down Abby, and tells her she has to tell her if this is all stupid. It is: “It’s stupid, and it’s not me,” Phoebe admits.

The episode ends with Phoebe, Abby, Delia, and Jo pitching infant mannequins into the river—a little freaky to watch, sure, but it’s also easy to imagine that each one of those creepy alien mannequins is an alien version of these women: a representation of a person they were trying to make themselves be, when all they really were was bored. Mannequin tossing? Not boring. “I’m just warming up, Abby McCarthy!” Phoebe screams as she throws her final mannequin into the water.

They’re all really just warming up.

What do you think about the new directions each of our main characters are headed toward? Is Abby really being truer to herself now, or is she just adapting to the new situation she finds herself in? Are you excited by Jo’s presence on the show? And finally, can I count on all of your votes on my petition to get a Blood Sisters spin-off?

Episode Recaps

Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce
Bravo’s first scripted drama follows the life of a self-help guru (Lisa Edelstein) post-divorce.
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