Real Housewives of Orange County recap: Season 11, Episode 13
I feel like tonight was a time to really sit back and take stock of where some of the ladies are in their lives, how their relationships play into that, and what it means for them emotionally. For starters, it’s lovely to see Tamra and Eddie together. He forces Tamra to drink sake — even though she’s five weeks out from her fitness competition and avoiding carbs — because he knows she needs it. He can tell her to “calm her ass down” and she actually abides. They’re just healthy and loving, and I’m truly happy they’re still going strong; Simon was (and is) the worst of all ex-husbands in the entire Real Housewives franchise.
Shannon’s feng shui is way off now that they’ve packed up their house and moved into a rental with no basketball court, no hospital-grade air, and no hardwired internet. There was no Wi-Fi in Shannon’s old house because of the bad juju it sent into the airwaves, so this new house is just a lightning rod for bad omens. Case in point? Shannon’s new neighbor is none other than Kelly Dodd. Shannon may have halfheartedly let her into the fold, but it doesn’t mean Shannon’s heading over to borrow a cup of sugar or otherwise acting neighborly just yet.
Though, Kelly could probably use some lemons and whatever else Shannon likely has on hand to get her out the terrible rut she’s in. It’s painfully obvious the reason behind Kelly’s emotionally charged outbursts this season is her emotionally torturous marriage. Kelly feels trapped with Michael and guilty for wanting out, but it’s clear the time they’ve spent together since their separation have been excruciating for them both. It sounds like they’ve been forced and filled with resentment, filling Kelly with the misplaced rage we’ve become accustomed to (such as throwing out a “see you next Tuesday” on national television).
So when we witness a horrible conversation where they talk about their divorce lawyers (the way normal couples discuss mutual friends) and Kelly points out her lawyer got her the money she wanted — except Michael wouldn’t pay — I felt like I should have left the room. It’s hard to watch them interact because the dislike they have for each other is palpable. There’s no love there and very little, if any, respect. Kelly is mad when Michael gets defensive and angry when she tries to talk to him about it — and well, isn’t that how Kelly reacts to the ladies? The enigma that is Kelly is starting to become clear. She’s not crazy; she’s being driven crazy by her marriage. A marriage that, I think, she views more as a punishment than a partnership.
NEXT: Jimmy does have a heart!
Later on, Kelly has a heart-to-heart with her mom, where we learn her mother wasn’t happily married to Kelly’s father either — but stayed with him for the sake of the kids. They ultimately divorced when Kelly was 26, and her mom was miserable every minute until it ended. But the real reason Kelly doesn’t think she can go through with leaving Michael is because during their separation, he threatened to get full custody of their daughter, Jolie, and she’s worried he’ll do it again. It’s amazing how my entire perception of Kelly changed tonight. I went from wanting to lock her out of the house for good to wanting to take her in, wrap her in blanket, feed her soup, and keep her safe from the big bad wolf she can’t escape.
Alas, we also learn that the more things change, the more they stay the same — at least where Vicki is concerned. She’s still telling mixed tales about Brooks and his cancer. Yes, we are still talking about him (you know he’s happily taking a shot every time his name gets mentioned this season). A charity called “Kill all Cancer” wants Vicki to star in their commercial, and Vicki, of course, sees this as an opportunity for redemption. She wants to prove to the world — especially other cancer sufferers — that she wasn’t in on “Cancer-gate.” But when she explains the debacle to the commercial’s director, she’s still making it sound like Brooks could have had cancer and could have been getting chemo when she went to the hospital with him (though she only saw the waiting room). She swears he had a hole drilled in his side for a cancer-related procedure. Really, Vicki? We’re back to this? Thankfully, Vicki’s son Michael was there to call BS and remind Vicki she’s the only person in the world who thinks Brooks had cancer. Can we please never use the C-word on this show ever again? Please?
Then Tamra, Vicki, Heather, and Kelly get together for a spa day to make up for the accident in Glamis. Everyone seems to be on the mend and getting along, so this is supposed to be a relaxing, drama-free outing. But first, of course, the ladies can’t help but get some gossip out of the way. Kelly and Tamra have to fill in Vicki and Heather on what they missed at the LOCK (that would be “ladies of rock”) concert last week, when Shannon’s monster-in-law not so subtly announced Shannon “pushed” David to an affair, causing Shannon to have an epic meltdown. Vicki wasn’t surprised, because apparently, it’s common knowledge Shannon’s monster-in-law WANTED DAVID TO STAY WITH HIS MISTRESS. Why? Because his mother knew the mistress quite well. Why? Because David used to take the mistress out to dinner WITH HIS MOTHER AND SISTER. This is info that’s hard for me to swallow, since I always was under the impression David’s affair was more of a secret and not at all that serious. I had no idea he was essentially living a double life and actually had a girlfriend — and, as Heather so perfectly pointed out, made his family a part of the affair.
NEXT: Poor Kelly (and Shannon)
Since the theme of this spa day has now been decided — unhappy marriages — Kelly starts crying to Vicki in their massage room about the state of her relationship with Michael. It was just their 10th wedding anniversary, and he didn’t even buy her a card. She bought herself a purse and he thought another man got it for her. I feel so bad for Kelly — it’s like she’s being held hostage and has Stockholm syndrome. She won’t leave because she’s too scared of the repercussions, but is that better than being so miserable every day in her own home?
When Kelly and Vicki rejoin Tamra and Heather — who heard the crying from their massage room and can’t help but ask what happened — Kelly reveals more about how unhappy she is and how Michael threatens her with everything. A lightbulb goes off for Tamra as she finally understands why Kelly’s behavior has been so unpredictable. Tamra and Kelly have way more in common than they ever realized: Michael is just like Simon. Though Simon did take away their daughter, at least he let Tamra divorce him. Maybe now that Kelly is getting more support and sympathy from the other ladies, she’ll feel empowered to start moving forward with some of these tough decisions.
Finally, Shannon and David are somehow having a solo dinner date like 10 seconds after they moved. The topic of conversation quickly turns to the drama his mom caused at the LOCK concert. David’s dad apparently cheated on David’s mom back in the day, so David’s theory is his mom is still upset about that affair. No clue how that even remotely relates to Shannon and her monster-in-law, or why it would be the reason she’s had an issue with Shannon since day one. Shouldn’t it make her more sympathetic to her daughter-in-law, since they have this in common? It does explain David a little bit more — he saw his dad cheat, so perhaps the apple doesn’t always fall far from the tree. But with that being said, shouldn’t his mom be more upset he followed in his father’s footsteps?
Regardless of the reason, David’s mom’s outburst brought up a lot of unresolved feelings for Shannon, as she’s clearly not over David having an affair — nor should she be. Just because their relationship counselor said it takes two years to get past an affair — they’re coming up on the two-year mark and just renewed their vows — doesn’t mean Shannon can’t still be upset about what happened, especially now that we know David’s mistress was more of a girlfriend who even spent time with his mother and sister.
I think it’s great David told his mom she won’t be able to see the family if she behaves like she did at the LOCK concert again; that has to make Shannon feel at least a little more secure. And I really hate saying this — I really do root for David and Shannon — but I feel like David is trying to cover his tracks with his mother just a little bit. If he was bringing his mistress around his family, doesn’t that send a mixed signal that perhaps said woman was going to be in the picture more permanently instead of Shannon? That’s clearly not how things worked out, so David’s mom needs to respect his decision to stay with Shannon (and extend a little respect Shannon’s way, too). I do understand why emotions have been high on both ends, and I pray to the reality TV gods that tonight isn’t how Shannon learns David’s mistress was so involved with his family.
Bravo turns its cameras on California's ladies who lunch (and shop, and tan, and get plastic surgery, and bicker…)