Cynthia argues with Peter and Mal, Kandi argues with Todd, Nene argues with Porsha, and Kenya argues with anyone who will listen.

By Jodi Walker
Updated January 13, 2014 at 05:19 PM EST
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This was an interesting episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. While ratchet as ever, it also featured many of our beloved and bedazzled housewives being semi-understanding, somewhat concerned, and/or happy for one another. And, dare I say it, listening a little. Of course, it also featured a rapidly dissolving marriage and a bankruptcy claim waiting to happen, so don’t worry, you’re in the right place.

Tonight’s episode was still all about drama — namely, the family variety. Phaedra briefly stops by Kandi’s sprawling estate to watch her feed salt and vinegar Pringles to the cutest bulldog in the world, and also inform her that Chuck is a straight up pig. Kandi mostly laughs off the idea that he tried to reduce them to Falcon groupies because it’s 2014, and they’re the Big Homies now.

Mal, the gypsie sister, has her beading kits (caboodles sold separately) spread all over Cynthia’s dining room table. She tosses a few bracelets her sister’s way and Cynthia is just a little too grateful for someone who’s letting their sister live in her house for two months. Peter struts in, probably to wreak havoc, but Mal beats him to the punch. When Mal first entered the RHOA stratosphere, I thought I had found a kindred spirit in my disgust for Peter. But Mal is beginning to reveal herself as a little crazy and, worse, supremely bad at arguing. She immediately tells Peter that she’s there to try and mend fences (and if a couple bead dollars fall in her purse along the way, so be it), but she feels like he started in on her right away.

Peter is not only pretty good at arguing, on account of being a sociopath, but he’s also a little right in this situation (UGH). Last week, Mal came unannounced and invited herself over for a two-month sleepover and by Cynthia not consulting with Peter privately, she didn’t give him the courtesy of possibly being courteous about Mal’s arrival. That’s not my take on things; that’s an actual synopsis of what Peter said, sans grunts. My whole body went into shock it was so confused by its combination of natural hatred and momentary agreement.

I almost lost it all together when Cynthia admits fault, saying she understands everyone’s frustration and that she needs to communicate better in her marriage. Mal follows up with, “Is this a sex thing?” Get out of here, Mal!

NEXT: You can take the man out of Texas, but you can’t understand a thing the man says…

Less dramatic, more absurd, is Kenya’s father, Ronald, coming to visit from Texas for the first time since she’s lived in Atlanta. He struts out of the airport with a soft-shell briefcase as his only luggage, a University of Texas polo, cowboy hat, and a half-chewed stogie hanging out of his mouth. As someone who lived in Texas for half of her life, I can tell you that, yes, this man is fresh from the ranch. When he starts in on Kenya’s ashy feet, I think maybe he’ll be a fun, fresh dose of reality. When he doesn’t stop insulting her taste, her style, or her way of life for the next 20 minutes, I’m a little wearier. And when he says, “I can’t STAND wood floors,” I know this man is not to be trusted. Everyone likes wood floors.

Kenya tells her father that as she starts moving toward wanting to start a family, she needs some closure on her issues with her mother. Ronald sneering, “Well, you can forget that,” seems to imply that he will not be helping in that storyline journey.

In the storyline that just won’t quit, Porsha follows up a failed attempt at a divorce settlement with a meeting with her bespectacled lawyer. He tells her he’s fearful of presenting her case to a judge because she looks so successful to the outside world: “You’ve got a great smile and… you’re out there.” Is that all it takes? Porsha wants a judge to take into consideration “her value as a wife.” She knows she appears fabulous, but she turned that fabulousness off when she was married to Kordell and now she needs a foundation to start her new, fabulous life upon. “Fabulous” seems to be used as an official term here, but I think it’s actually just a way of saying that she wants to continue to make money without having to “work.”

Never one to shy away from a little work, Kandi is busy talking and talking about the play she and Todd are trying to put together. But — hold that thought — Todd is considering taking a job with an international traveling show that could potentially take him away from Atlanta for six months out of the year. Kandi, who usually laughs at all of her problems, immediately starts crying and makes a plea that I don’t really understand. She wants him to stay in Atlanta… but also doesn’t want him to blame taking the job (or not taking this job) on her wanting him to help with the play. But she also wants him to help with the play. But she also wants him to do what’s best for him. To both of their credit, it’s a very mature conversation where no one raises their voice or brings up sex at an inappropriate time.

Cynthia and Nene visit Kenya at her new house and discover that she has a Bentley and a sexist Texas man residing there, as well. When they ask her about the car — “Bitch, please, we know you’re broke” — she brings that damn “African king” back up again and says not only is he good to her, but he spoils her with Bentleys. Who is this man? Where does he live? How did she meet him? I’ve heard of a few “African kings” with a lot of money via my old AOL account, and believe me, my suspicions are up.

NEXT: Friends don’t let friends move into the neighborhood without telling other friends…

Kandi and Phaedra, Atlanta’s Bert and Ernie, visit Porsha in her new 8,000 square-foot house and *CUTE ALERT* Phaedra brings Mr. President. He is the third most mature person in the room. When the other women question why Porsha would want to live so far out and in such a big house — AKA, spending money she doesn’t have — she responds, “This is motivation, is what this is.” NO. No, Porsha! Buying (rent-to-buy, whatever) a house that you can’t afford to inspire yourself to be fabulous sounds like a Peter Thomas business plan if I’ve ever heard one, and Cynthia informed us exactly how those work out last week: non-fabulously. I’d also recommend listening to Kandi and Phaedra, who are two pretty successful women.

Finally, Cynthia gets everyone together at The Bailey Agency School of Fashion and Impending Bankruptcy to help Mal sell some beads. I am all in on it, if only to show just how rough the area of town is that Peter made Cynthia move her school to. Everyone manages to show up on time and has to bang on the barred window just to get inside. Where IS this place? Kenya storms in wearing a very confusing outfit, with a freakishly positive attitude about meeting Mal. Perhaps she can sense a fellow crazy. That excitement quickly goes south when it comes up that Mal arrived for two months, unannounced. Kenya gets sassy and opinionated, eliciting a “stay out of it” from Mal, but Phaedra, of course, puts it best: “Family and house guests are just like fish. After three days, they all need to be thrown out.”

Porsha goes girl to girl, asking everyone to keep it a secret that she’s moved into Nene’s neighborhood. I don’t know why she wouldn’t have told Nene yet, but it’s obvious that Porsha both knows she’s probably done something bad and is scared of the response she’ll get. You know, like a child. The moment Nene arrives, Kenya stomps over and drops in a conversational “Oh, were you guys talking about Porsha moving into Nene’s neighborhood?” And just twirls away. Was she high? She was being an insufferable instigator at that party.

Unless something else is going on behind the scenes, Nene overreacts a little bit, calling out Porsha as a bad friend again in public. Sure, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that she didn’t tell Nene she was her neighbor once she moved in, but she probably has her reasons. Actually, she probably doesn’t have any reasons, because I think it’s just a bunch of loose crayons up there, but the same way Nene is always saying the “kind of friend” she is, she has to know by now the kind of friend Porsha is. Nene does at least come around (after a heavy dose of breakdown from Porsha) to say that she’s not that mad, she just knows that Porsha can be better. Yeah, we’ll see.

Episode Recaps

The Real Housewives of Atlanta

NeNe, Kandi, Cynthia, Phaedra, Kenya, and Claudia keep the ATL just peachy.
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