These Housewives love a good costume party, and the drama ensues.
Credit: BRAVO

When I was growing up, my family had a pet dog that was half Cocker Spaniel, half cheetah. He was the fastest dog in the world, and his favorite hobby was darting out of the back gate at every opportunity. Once the pup was out, there was no chance of one of us measly humans catching him — the only option was to get in the car and lure him into a slow-speed chase around the neighborhood until he slowed enough for one of us to catch up to him on foot. Seeing Porsha use the same method to tire out Marlo, while Marlo was dressed as Nisi from B*A*P*S, was truly a highlight of RHOA season 10.

Which, as it turns out, is over! Who knew? Not this recapper. It seemed like season 10 might go on and on until little Ace and Marley Rae started a second generation of Housewives and Househusbands wherein robots could finally take over for all the tragic Real Housewives interns/personal assistants out there. A recap at the beginning of Sunday’s episode reminded us of all the fun we’ve had: Sheree dating a man imprisoned for fraud; Porsha and Marlo fighting over a doormat; Kenya’s husband refusing to come on the show or move to the city where she lives or not get his nose pierced well into his 40s; the iconic line, “Worry about your life, and the daughter you pimp out for John Legend tickets.”

And would you look at John Legend now — literally, Jesus.

But that’s all in the past, and this RHOA finale is looking to the future, which is to say, the 18-part reunion we wait all season long for. I should have known this was the final episode as soon as last week’s previews showed it to contain a costume party. Because, unlike a normal TV series, a Housewives finale could not be less important. These seasons aren’t over until Andy Cohen sings (or listens to an inmate make stalking accusations on speaker phone, whichever comes first), so the finale serves solely as an opportunity for the RHOA editors and copywriters to get their revenge on these women via their “where are they now” screengrabs. I will have nightmares about Kandi’s zoom-in as a sexy Pennywise for weeks to come.

Let’s start at the beginning of the end, shall we? Driven by the unstoppable dual-forces of spite and wanting to have a welcoming space for her boyfriend’s TBD arrival back from prison, Sheree has turned her formerly unfinished basement into a sort of fancy student lounge meets Bar One meets bankruptcy parody. “I am super excited to finally just be able to show off my basement,” says Sheree, in a line that could truly only come to exist in The Real Housewives of Atlanta franchise.

Now, don’t get me wrong — this basement is amazing. I would love to have the space to create an entire other house inside my real house, like when you get one of those extravagant milkshakes that comes with a full ice cream sandwich as a garnish. But there are questions that must be asked here. Like, where is Sheree getting the money to do all of this? And in what scenario could she ever need 20 lounge tables? And why, if she can afford to have a full room devoted to multiple massage tables, can she not afford switch plates? Anyway, this isn’t just an opportunity for Sheree to make everyone very concerned about her finances and electrical shock; with 20 seconds left on the clock, it’s time for the Bone Collector to muster up some drama of her own, instead of just dispensing everyone else’s.

So they had to call in a third string bone collector: Messy ‘Mea herself. Apparently, after Porsha left Spain, she told Shamea — her, uh, best friend — that she shouldn’t trust any of the remaining women there, including Sheree. That really irks Sheree because she feels like she’s had Porsha’s back when no one else has. So, Sheree calls Porsha up and calmly asks her what reason she would have not to trust her.

Just kidding; she shows her annoyance by not attending Porsha’s performance in the traveling stage tour of Two Can Play That Game starring Vivica A. Fox, based on the 2001 film Two Can Play That Game starring Vivica A. Fox. Cynthia and Kenya do come to support Porsha, which is nice, if you leave out the fact that Kenya spends the entire time making snide remarks about Porsha and Vivica (who I am confident she thinks of as her peer, and I just need to hear her say it so badly). “I can’t tell you how much it warmed my heart,” says Porsha. “Knowing all we’ve been through in the past, them being here erases all that.” But as Porsha will soon be reminded, it seems that for her RHOA co-workers, there is no eraser large enough to take care of her past transgressions. (Recap continues on next page)

Bonded by having precious children to take to pumpkin patches, Eva and Kandi have decided to throw a Halloween party together that’s doubling as Eva’s official welcome to Atlanta. Kandi tells Eva that this crew loves a good costume, and I’ve never really thought about it, but she’s right. Since there seems to be no music or dancing at this Halloween party in a decommissioned church, much time is spent analyzing the costumes, so let’s do a little ranking ourselves.

Kim: How many times do you think Kim and Kroy have trotted out this Playboy bunny and Hugh Hefner couple’s costume? It is so basic, and Kim looks like she wants to eat her own bunny tail when she sees what NeNe has in store for her.

Sheree: Sheree wore a perfectly fine Cleopatra costume, and perhaps I would have thought nothing comparing hers to Eva’s very different Cleopatra costume, had Kim not decided to throw shade for no reason, saying, “[Eva’s] not even a pretty Cleopatra, this is a pretty Cleopatra.” Which is…quite a bold statement to make about Eva, a “Top Model” who hurts my eyes with her prettiness.

Porsha: Porsha came as a zombie bride, complete with different colored contacts, prosthetic facial scars, and a bloody corset, which would have simply been an impressive commitment, if she had been forced to have, like, six serious confrontations looking like a crazy-eyed lunatic.

Eva: A very pretty Cleopatra, if not a little boring by comparison.

Kandi: I really don’t even know what to do with a sexy Pennywise. Sometimes I thought Kandi looked cute in this, sometimes I thought she was going to eat my hand off, and sometimes I thought, “How did we get here?”

Cynthia: Cynthia has really been doing some self-discovery this season — and I’d love for her to lean more into the “dressing in drag and always wanting her friends to dare her to make out with other women” of it all, rather than the lame “Will” of it all — but it’s so hard to root for her when the secondhand embarrassment is so strong with this one. But despite cringing every time she said, “How you doing babygirl?” we must give Cynthia props for dedication. (Also, how relieved must the real 50 Cent have been when Cynthia finally turned 51?)

NeNe: The pettiness…the pettiness is simply unparalleled, and we have to give it the respect it deserves. NeNe waltzed into that party dressed as a roach exterminator like a queen in coveralls, with Gregg shuffling behind her in a head-to-toe roach suit. My only problem with this costume is that Gregg is a certified elder and from the moment I spotted him trapped in all that thick synthetic fabric, I did not stop worrying about him for a single second.

But Gregg needn’t be the one I was worried about. First, Porsha casually hops over to Kim and Sheree’s table expecting to find her gal pals, but instead is met with the news that Shamea told Sheree that Porsha didn’t trust her. For some reason, that quickly turns into Porsha’s sister Lauren waving her hands around, and Kim saying, “You gotta look at somebody’s character in trying situations!” Don’t worry — Porsha guffaws loud enough for all of us at that one. But she doesn’t do a very good job of explaining herself to Sheree, and in her testimonial, Sheree says, “After hearing what Porsha said, I don’t think she really knows how to be a friend,” an accusation that has been lobbed at Porsha more than a few times.

Luckily, Porsha is still on good terms with NeNe. Unluckily, NeNe has some contractually-mandated idea in her head that the best move would be for Porsha to call a town hall meeting right here at this haunted church while everyone is high on Kit Kat bars, and take full accountability for all of her misdeeds. But before NeNe can get it out, who should walk up but Marlo, in full Nisi regalia. Marlo’s costume is perfect, but it’s hard to focus past her slurring, “Porsha, we were both in Barcelona drinking — you were on that Henny and I was on that vodka. And I’m going to talk to your beautiful hair.”

Porsha is ignoring Marlo’s attempts at reconciliation completely, so Marlo slurs to NeNe, “I don’t believe y’all when you say that she don’t take accountability,” and that’s when Porsha decides to evacuate. And that’s when Marlo decides to chase after Porsha even though six people are trying to hold her back. I’ll never have much sympathy for Porsha, but she certainly earned some points from me when she said, “I’m gonna keep sashaying around this damn party until she gets tired. I been to the gym — can you keep up?”

Marlo cannot. So NeNe corners Porsha once more and reminds her of how many people that hate her guts. “What if all the girls came and stood right here and you apologized and took full accountability for whatever it is that you have done,” asks NeNe. “No,” Porsha responds. “Because they’re fake.”

Cynthia has thankfully turned 51, but is somehow “still getting to know Will.” NeNe is back on the road with her comedy show. Porsha is still actively not offering anymore apologies. Kandi is on Broadway in Chicago. Kenya and Marc have gone public, but “no word yet on whether home is New York or Atlanta.” And finally, with a basement full of tiny tables and velvet couches, Sheree has finally completed her Chateau. “But the man cave may be empty for a while,” the words on the screen tell us: “Tyrone isn’t scheduled to be released until 2022.” Long live the shade — see you at the reunion.