'The Real Housewives of Atlanta' recap: 'From Zen to Sin'
After two years of misusing the word "whore," Phaedra and Kenya finally bring peace to Atlanta all the way from the Philippines.
Thank the lord, nobody got dragged today.” —Kandi
Pretty much no one and nothing escapes these Real Housewives shows without tarnishing their character to an irreparable degree, embarrassing themselves, and wearing some weave/statement necklace-chandelier/booty short that will one day haunt their dreams. But the Philippines has done the unthinkable: It came in, it made a splash, it solved everyone’s problems, and it exited with its head held high, nothing but Porsha’s ass imprint on the back of a tiny horse left as proof that Bravo was ever there at all.
In the last two episodes of RHOA, the Philippines served as the psychological healing that Dr. Jeff wishes he was. I’m sorry, Dr. Jeff, but in order for Atlanta’s fanciest professional fighters to “do the work,” they need a fleet of massage therapists, horses, and tour guides to lead them up to their own personal volcano photo shoot, and a butler from whom to demand even more massages. Basically, they need a bunch of people to do the work for them so that they’re greased up enough to squeeze out a few tears and apologize for all the times they reminded a few million people that their co-worker’s last name rhymed with whore.
I don’t believe for a Manila-minute that all this peace, love, and booty roll will last much longer than a bottle of moscato in Claudia’ refrigerator when these seven women get back to Atlanta, but I am thankful for whatever peaceful moments we get, especially if it means putting Kenya and Phaedra’s feud behind us and forgetting WhoreGate 2013-15 ever happened (that means you too, Cynthia). But that’s easier said than done, so after agreeing to have a conversation to try and move past their troubled past, Phaedra and Kenya spend the majority of tonight’s episode working up to following through on their word. The women continue to call this pending conversation a one-on-one and I continue to think, “Can you imagine being on an international trip with someone that you have to schedule an appointment with in order to be able to have a rational conversation?” I continue to answer myself, “No, I cannot, so why do I keep watching this? Who cares, let’s rewind to that twerking competition on a moving bus one more time!” RHOA is breaking me.
The episode begins with the seven women taking a charter bus that seats 50 from their peaceful spa to the city life of Manila. The sheer amount of gas wasted for Real Housewives’ trips has probably shaved 10 years off of humanity’s life span. But if they didn’t have all that space then Porsha couldn’t throw out her fishing line to try and see if anyone takes the bait on telling her she has the best ass in the cast (even though she’s not in the cast). Everyone is saying Demetria—coincidentally, also not in the cast—is surely the best twerker but Porsha didn’t leave most of her butt cheeks hanging out on a two-hour bus ride for nothing, and stands up to jiggle her hat into the ring. If this trip to the Philippines has done anything, it’s asserted that each lady has an impressive behind. Also, that they’re capable of having a really good time together, but surely that’s secondary to all the asses.
After checking into their presidential suite, Claudia has arranged a horseback ride to the top of a volcano, and man, does it look like a cool thing to do, and man, is envy not an emotion I’m accustomed to having while watching this show. Snapping me right back into reality though, is the constant parade of outfits that everyone is wearing; probably the best thing about this episode is looking at all seven women while they’re in a group and realizing that they got dressed in preparation for the exact same event, but ended up in such widely ranging ensembles. For their horseback ride, Cynthia is in overalls and a cowboy hat, Porsha is wearing kind of an even more S&M version of the Princess Leia bikini (the Princess of THOT-land, rather), Phaedra is rocking a Canadian-shorts-tuxedo, and in the end, it starts to rain so they’re all wearing yellow plastic emergency ponchos, which is just delightful. When they get back to the bottom of the volcano, Phaedra has a moment with her tour guide, who has told her on the way down that her husband had passed away a few years ago and she has five children she is supporting on her own. Phaedra gives her some money and tells her through a translator that she doesn’t want her to give up, and that her story has blessed her. It’s nice—I’m not used to nice Phaedra.
And the people of Manila probably aren’t used to seeing women in six-inch stilettos breeze through their local market to try durian. In short, here are the most baffling things that happen in regard to produce on this episode of RHOA:
3. Cynthia tries to explain what a lychee fruit is by saying, “you know, like a lychee martini,” all the while, I’m pretty sure what she’s actually looking at is a mangosteen… you know, like a mangosteen martini.
2. Porsha acts affronted that the only shopping they’ll be doing is in a local market—“Where’s Tom Ford, Where’s Gucci, Where’s my Louboutin?” Girl, they’re back in Atlanta, now have some respect!
1. But really, the less I know about what Porsha shops for and does back in Atlanta, the better. At some point, she looks at a somewhat phallic fruit that one of the other women describes as being soft and says, “I say put it in the microwave and have a good night.” I say, NO.
NEXT: They say the neon lights are bright on…
“Been there, done that, booboo. Bye bye—I’m on BRAWD-way.” —Nene, looking at the flyer for a gentleman’s club in New York.
I recognize some of the places that the women frequent in Atlanta occasionally, but for some reason there is an extra thrill that comes with seeing Gregg shuffle around the neighborhood that I actually live in currently in his jeans and tennis shoes. Nene is still in New York in preparation for her BRAWD-way debut in Cinderella and now that she’s feeling fully confident in her lines (and two accents), it’s time to get fitted for her costumes and settle into her blocking. For some reason, the actual acting is never a concern. But Nene knows that haters are going to be waiting for her to fail at this, and she says she’s not going to let that happen. She gets emotional thinking about how far she’s come from stripping in her 20s to acting on Broadway now, and I only get slightly disappointed that her previewed tears were of the happy variety rather than the full-breakdown variety.
Because any of the other women will tell you that they’ve only been able to have such a good time together because Nene hasn’t been there to stir things up and keep everyone in two separate cliques. Even Porsha, when Claudia later asks if anyone has spoken to Nene, can barely keep a straight face while she tells them that Nene was glad to hear the trip was working out well for them, and how she’s sure if Nene had been able to come, she would have fallen into line like the rest of them.
“And the Oscar goes to—Porsha!” —Kenya
But really, it should be a dual-Oscar for Kenya and Phaedra, as they gave a truly emotional display when they finally got around to their one-on-one, and dammit, I believe them. While the other women gathered for a pajama party, Kenya and Phaedra got down to making up. This conversation has been much marketed, so while I knew it would involve tears and a hug, I still wasn’t expecting it to be quite the calm and productive affair that it was. Kenya tells Phaedra that she know she has a tendency to interrupt, so she wants to give her the floor to say what she’s feeling. Phaedra takes a dramatic gulp of water and basically says that she wants them to be able to move forward. That’s all well and good, but Kenya says Phaedra has said that before, but it doesn’t seem like she’s really been able to move past it—if she still believes Apollo’s story about L.A., then even without saying it, she’s still thinking that Kenya is a whore. Which brings me to one more countdown: The Top Three most grammatically incorrect ways Kenya references Phaedra calling her a whore in the past:
3. “The biggest blow of all is when you started calling me whores.”
2. “You started calling me every whore in the world.”
1. “I want to believe you, but that’s all been said to me, that you’re moving forward; but then I get called 10 more whores.”
Kenya is most well-spoken when she has an ulterior motive, and clearly here, she’s really looking to just move on, but also wants Phaedra to do more than just say she’s moving on. And Phaedra does: She verbally apologizes for making Kenya feel like she was out to get her, and though she can never quite say that she believes Kenya’s story about L.A. over Apollo’s original story, she emotionally tries to explain to Kenya that she can’t rewrite how she felt in the past, but she’s promising to not look back and to wipe the slate clean… and Kenya says that’s good enough for her.
So, after an invitation from Phaedra for Kenya to go to church with her, a prayer, and a hug, the former enemies go join all their other former enemies for the pajama party, where once again, Porsha is wearing a negligee, Kandi and Claudia are wearing full Lululemon, Cynthia is wearing a maxi dress with a plunging neckline, and Demetria—bless her and her silence—is wearing no makeup, a ponytail and a cotton-knit nightgown. Everyone applauds Phaedra and Kenya doing the work, they all play a little Never Have I Ever, I smile at the progress of the last two episodes, and then physically cringe and the preview for next week—back to Atlanta where divorce rumors linger and Nene reigns supreme.
What did you think of all the Zen in the past two episodes? Is it real? Can it last? And how does Nene fit into all of this? Because if there’s one thing I can tell you with certainty about RHOA, it’s that Nene’s time on this show isn’t up until Nene decides it is.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta