The Real Housewives of Atlanta recap: 'Tea Is of the Essence'
A new cast member brings some mighty strong tea to this tea party
As Semisonic famously sang in 1998, and then for the rest of eternity at 2 a.m. in bars across America, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” The beginning of one of the tastiest tea deployments we’ve seen on RHOA in a while started at the end of Sunday’s hour.
After a run-in with newest probationary peach person, Eva Marcille, Cynthia finds out that her already sketchy man might have been sketching around with a girlfriend when they first started dating. Maturely, she ultimately thanks Eva for letting her know, assumes Eva is doing is out of genuine concern for her, and jokingly tells the group of vultures standing around her waiting to grab the discarded carcass of drama, “You see anybody I’m dealing with, and they tell you that they have a girlfriend, holla at me, because I wanna know.” And that’s when Porsha cocks her head to the side like a pug hearing a whistle across the room…
“Wait, you do wanna know?” Porsha’s! Got! Dirt! And we don’t get to hear about it until next week, because we get hit hard with that “To Be Continued…” title card. So now this recap has also started at the end. And that’s because the rest of Sunday’s episode is mostly some petty mess and listening to Porsha’s mouth sounds while she eats vegan food. It could be worse — we could not be on the edge of our seats, waiting for Lyin’-Ass Will to take his official tumble next week. So we’ll thank our lord and savage Andy Cohen for that, at least, and move on to how we got there at all.
Normally, RHOA is particularly adept at a little TV trick I like to call “Recappin’ in Kitchens,” where everyone pretends like they have something to do in a kitchen so they can stand around it and recap the dramatic events that happened in the last episode to each other. But technically that’s my job, so I’m glad people were doing some actual Cookin’ in Kitchens this week. Porsha has apparently survived being a vegan for more than a week because she has a private vegan chef, who seems like a perfectly pleasant young woman who then has to listen to total nonsense for an hour. Since Kim is a vegetarian and since the producers need ways to keep both of these women on the show, Porsha invites her over for a vegan lunch, and the main dish is talking trash about Kenya. But considering Kenya’s freak-out last week, it is at least deserved trash, and Kim might be onto something when she says that Kenya is probably exhausted from pretending she’s in a great marriage all the time.
But, real quick, I’ve got a few questions about Kim’s marriage, and they are: Why does Kroy drive Kim everywhere? Why does he then wait outside in the car? Why does she seems to shuttle food out to him when he could maybe just wait in one of the 100 ransacked extra rooms in Porsha’s house? Exactly how much of Kroy’s life has been spent in a suburban?
Over at Cynthia’s house, her assistant — another question: When did everyone get a fleet of assistants?! — is helping her prepare-to-prepare to make sushi with Will. This is the first time Will is visiting Lake Bailey, and he brings over chocolate-covered strawberries because he somehow manages to be the The Most while also being completely nondescript. Cynthia and Will do that thing they do on The Bachelor where a couple goes on a date and just talks about the fact that they’re dating each other the whole time. Even though it is made clear throughout the episode that Cynthia and Will have been seeing each other for months, they still say things like, “I like hanging out with you,” and just seem to still not know each other particularly well. It’s weird.
Finally, it’s time to meet new girl Eva, who was allegedly supposed to be a new cast member but is entering midseason, and with not a title card in sight. She is, however, also entering with incredible, rainbow-infused braids. Eva knows NeNe from L.A., and at lunch she tells her about moving to Atlanta because — get this — her boyfriend is running for mayor of Atlanta. Using reality TV hype to start a line of wigs? Sure. Using it to open an old-lady-themed restaurant? Absolutely. But connecting your life with RHOA could not possibly be good for political ambitions. But if Eva is down to tank her boyfriend’s mayoral ambitions, then I’m down to watch her, because I LOVE America’s Next Top Model, and Eva is one of its best winners ever. It is an absolute crime that while running some samples from her modeling portfolio the editors didn’t include her ANTM Hall of Fame-worthy photo with the tarantula. (Recap continues on page 2)
Because I care deeply about all of our readers, instead of suggesting a drinking game to you for every time Kenya mentions that she has a husband, how about you…pause the TV and give yourself an affirmation for all the positive things you do every day that aren’t watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I wish for Kenya that she could think nice thoughts about herself instead of thinking about her husband and what he wants her to do at all times.
In this episode, she goes to pick out some weight-lifting equipment for Marc, but it seems like she accidentally went to a football equipment store instead, because this scene has a full inventory of red flags. Kenya talks about how Marc is an alpha male who makes all the decisions; Kenya talks about having less interest in her friendships because she just wants to work on her marriage; Kenya talks about how hard marriage is after being married for just a little under the duration of your average Harry Potter marathon on Freeform; apropos of nothing, she randomly inserts the line “But I love my husband” into multiple sentences. It’s unclear how they plan to solve the fact that they both live in different states from which they seem unwilling to move, and it’s even more unclear why that wasn’t settled upon at an earlier juncture, like — call me crazy — in advance of their legally binding union.
But after all that darkness, how about a little celebration? Kandi’s cover of Essence is coming out, so she’s throwing a party to celebrate it, and good on her — that’s a really cool thing happening in her life. Plus, it’s a setting for just so many random things to happen. Peter shows up to grumble around a little bit with his pal Todd, without telling his ex-wife Cynthia that he’s going to be there on the night she decides to debut her new (old) boo, Will. Kandi insists on inviting Porsha, who insists on being confused when Kandi still won’t be warm toward her even though she’s apologized for accusing her of attempted sexual assault that one (20-episode) time. Then, Li’l Todd gets on the mic to congratulate his successful wife and decides to use the moment to call out Porsha and Kim by name, whose presences he says prove that his wife is always going to move on and better herself.
It’s delightfully petty, which I don’t hate in general, but the by-name callout only serves to divert attention away from Kandi’s positive achievement. Everyone seems genuinely happy for Kandi, though, and moves on from all of that pretty easily. And what do they move on to, you might wonder? Well, Eva is also friends with Kandi, so she comes to the party alongside NeNe. On the car ride over, it comes up that Eva met Will recently and he introduced her to someone that he described as his girlfriend — a girlfriend who was just wonderful with his daughter. NeNe then dispenses this intel to the rest of the cast, and they all agree that someone should tell Cynthia on her own, away from the group.
So Kenya goes off to tell Cynthia what she’s heard, and everyone immediately follows her like a bunch baby ducks searching for their drama mama. Eva explains to Cynthia that she only met Will two months ago, but he was with a woman he called his girlfriend, and a flashback tells us that was around the time Will and Cynthia were going on their second date. Cynthia replies, “I completely receive this and assume it’s coming out of love and concern for me,” which is very mature…
Things then immediately devolve into a middle school post-lunch gossip session. Will comes out and sees Cynthia looking upset, so for some reason Kenya pulls him aside to tell him what Cynthia heard from Eva. Will says that he met Eva seven months ago and that he didn’t have a girlfriend, and even though he is very clearly lying, he decides to pull Eva back over to have a direct conversation. A direct conversation in which he is defensive from the jump, and nonstop dodging the one question Eva is asking him to be accountable for: Did he introduce that woman to her as his girlfriend during the time period he was beginning to date Cynthia?
Eva holds her own just fine, but she seems truly stressed to have found herself in such a mix-up. Will seems like he is lying through his teeth, and when he finally calms himself down he says to Eva, while sporting a creepy forced grin: “Everything was perfect with [Cynthia and me] until this came along and I think that hurt me because of the perfect gentleman I was to her. Thank you, because you showed me that I have to be more better at other things.” Hey Law & Order, if you’re workshopping any bumbling sociopath dialogue, look no further than The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
With that, Will bows out, the ladies circle up, and we find out Porsha has something she needs to tell Cynthia now that she knows Cynthia’s “complaints box” is open for business. Good luck, Cynthia girl — you are gorgeous and can do much better than someone who won’t campaign for a mayor but will say he did on Instagram.