An accident with a dune buggy is the wake-up call no one saw coming

By Lauren Brown West-Rosenthal
September 06, 2016 at 04:26 PM EDT
Bravo
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This was an episode unlike any other in Real Housewives franchise history. But let’s get some housekeeping out of the way before we dive into Tamra’s weekend of camping and dune-buggy driving in Glamis for Eddie’s birthday. It’s a trip Shannon and Meghan refused to go on, feigning aversions to wild driving, camping, and sand (that would be bad for Shannon’s lungs, in case you were wondering), but what they were really averse to was the presence of Kelly and Vicki. And as a result, this trip unexpectedly changes everything — but more on that in a second.

Shannon and Meghan could have easily gotten out of the Glamis trip by telling the truth. Meghan finds out she’s officially pregnant, and Jimmy even seems slightly amused by the idea of becoming a dad for the fifth time; Shannon’s house has finally gotten out of escrow, but she has 13 days to find and move into a new place. Perfectly valid reasons to not go camping, right? But Shannon and Meghan were a little too obvious in their disdain for Kelly and Vicki being in attendance, setting the stage for major, friendship-ending drama ahead. Also, Shannon and David are actually spending the weekend at Meghan and Jimmy’s house in La Quinta, so they aren’t even trying to hide the fact that they want nothing to do with Kelly or Vicki.

They might have had a case if Heather also refused to go, since we all know Heather is deathly afraid of Kelly using bad language around her son. But Heather sucked it up and ordered the most lavish RV on the market to take everyone to Glamis. You know how celebrities like Will Smith have movie trailers that are bigger and feature more amenities than most people’s apartments? Well, Heather’s fancy-pants RV (which, by the way, is her idea of “roughing it”) would probably make Will very happy on the set of his next flick. Her chef even prepared ready-to-grill packets of food for every meal on each day of the trip. Beyond spending a weekend in the middle of nowhere with Vicki and Kelly, Heather has truly proven she’s going to be “running wild” with Bear Grylls next!

Kelly, Vicki, and Tamra hop on Heather’s first-class RV for the three-hour drive to Glamis. It actually takes almost five hours — Heather’s driver gets lost — but the delay gives the girls a chance to bond. Apparently, Kelly is prone to car sickness and feels comfortable enough around everyone to puke her brains out in front of them. Suddenly, the luxury RV doesn’t seem quite so big anymore — definitely not big enough to cover the smell of vomit! Finally, they all arrive and are greeted by Eddie, Tamra’s mom, Tamra’s son (Ryan), Tamra’s daughter-in-law (Sarah), and Kelly’s husband and daughter.

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This campsite is crazy — it’s on a giant sand dune with dune buggies and ATVs racing by at all hours of the day and night. It looks like a movie scene, and it’s really an experience most of these women would never have otherwise. Shannon and Meghan probably would have complained every step of the way, but they’re definitely missing out. I have FOMO for them! Everyone gets comfy in the trailers while Heather’s crazy RV becomes a “Transformer,” spreading out and getting even bigger with the press of a button. This RV could have been created by the Four Seasons — I would believe it.

NEXT: The most terrifying Housewives moment in franchise history

Even though Kelly keeps referring to Heather as “Principal Dubrow,” it does seem like everyone is on their very best behavior. Even if it’s an act, they’re all getting along. The next morning, Tamra gets behind the driver’s seat of a dune buggy with Heather, Vicki, and Kelly as her passengers when all hell breaks loose. In one of the most horrifying things I’ve ever seen on Real Housewives (and I’ve been watching every city since the very beginning), the dune buggy flips over and crashes right-side up. Heather’s son is in another car (thankfully), but has to watch the whole terrifying scene go down. Despite all the confusion, the camera catches the whole thing — you even see Kelly’s helmet come flying off mid-flip — but it’s unclear at first who is hurt and who isn’t.

Kelly’s uninjured, but Vicki and Tamra are in bad shape. Tamra is lying on the ground, conscious but not moving, and Vicki is freaking out, feeling numb and vomiting all over Kelly. An ambulance ATV races to the scene to help Tamra and Vicki is airlifted to the nearest hospital in Palm Springs. It’s one of the most nerve-wracking and upsetting scenes to ever get caught on camera, but Heather and Kelly sprang into action and kept everyone calm. Dare I say there was even a moment of bonding between the two frenemies? If it takes an emergency to bring these two together, so be it; this was proof that life is too short to worry about potty mouths and drunk tantrums. In fact, Kelly’s lucky to be alive, let alone unhurt: Her helmet came tumbling off because she unstrapped it and didn’t put it back on correctly!

Now, here’s where this fateful incident is going to become a major line in the sand (pun kind of intended) for the group moving forward. Vicki is in the hospital about three hours away from Glamis, but right by Meghan’s home in La Quinta. When Heather and Kelly call to tell her what happened, they’re assuming Meghan is going to drop what she’s doing and rush to the hospital. Meghan is shocked by the news, but even after they explicitly tell her Vicki is all alone, she doesn’t offer to go visit…and it’s pretty awkward.

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There are a few things going on with Meghan here. First, no one knows she’s indeed pregnant (she likely was going to share the news with Heather and Kelly before she discovered the real reason they were calling). I hate to say it, but this is probably going to turn into Vicki stealing Meghan’s thunder. Secondly, isn’t it interesting Meghan had no issue showing up at Vicki’s birthday party last week — because, hello, who wouldn’t want to see what that was all about? But their so-called “truce” doesn’t extend to life-threatening situations? Wouldn’t Vicki’s brush with death (at this point, no one really knows how severe things are; we just know she’s still alive because, well, social media) be more of a reason to make amends and move forward with the friendship than, you know, a dead Hollywood legend’s McMansion?

So Tamra, Vicki, Heather, and Kelly now have a life-and-death experience that bonds them together. It automatically erases some of the drama surrounding Kelly and Vicki and really gives everyone a place from which to move forward without looking back. It’s a true fresh start, which will undoubtedly feel polarizing to Meghan and Shannon. In a sense, even though they were lucky to be spared, they were left out — and they’re going to fight it by rehashing why they’re so anti-Kelly and Vicki. We saw the beginnings of that tonight from Meghan’s subtle yet very rude protest against visiting Vicki in the hospital. Buckle up… That dune buggy is going to look tame compared to the ride we’re going to have next week!

Episode Recaps

Bravo turns its cameras on California’s ladies who lunch (and shop, and tan, and get plastic surgery, and bicker…)
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