Real Housewives of Orange County recap: Season 11, Episode 17
Kelly goes on an apology tour after dropping one of the biggest bombshells ever
Here we are, folks — just one episode away from the finale and we’ve basically come full circle. Heather is still looking down on Kelly and not having any of her BS; Tamra is still stuck in the middle of all the drama (even though she’s stirring the pot); Shannon is still mad at Vicki; Meghan is pregnant, so she’s gotten a free pass from most of this season’s turmoil; and then, there’s Vicki…still trying to punish everyone for Cancer-gate.
Last week ended with the ladies in Ireland on a van ride from hell. Kelly told Shannon to shave her chin hair; Tamra and Heather agreed Kelly is insane; Heather called Kelly trash; and Vicki just sat there, declaring she wouldn’t get involved while praying some outside force would zap her away. Kelly, despite her drunken outbursts, isn’t wrong about Vicki being a terrible friend who definitely abandoned her in Ireland. But tonight, Kelly snaps and betrays not only Vicki, but basically every woman (except Meghan) sitting in the van — and things go from insane to catastrophic in a heartbeat.
Kelly decides that if she’s destined to be friendless, she’s taking Vicki down with her. Vicki tries to explain she just doesn’t like Kelly’s behavior when she’s drunk, but it’s too late. Kelly has reached the point of no return, and in a moment destined to become Real Housewives legend, she does the unthinkable. (In fact, she actually makes calling Shannon a “see you next Tuesday” seem endearing.) Without taking a beat, Kelly reveals that Vicki told her Shannon’s husband “beat the sh-t” out of her.
As Shannon starts hysterically crying, Kelly tries to do damage control by playing dumb. “What? I didn’t do anything!” she screams, as Heather demands Kelly sit down like she’s a defiant school girl. But, here’s the thing — technically, Kelly didn’t do anything. No, Vicki did this, and she does a terrible job of trying to fix it. Her explanation? She was scared when David was going to hit her when he got in her face (at the ‘70s party, I presume), the same way Shannon claimed he hit her.
I cannot tell you how badly I feel for Shannon in this moment. Kelly’s announcement came out of nowhere and definitely wasn’t warranted. Yes, Shannon and Vicki can’t decide what they are to each other and whether their friendship is worth fighting for, but this was just dirty. Why would Vicki share this information with Kelly? Did she really trust her that much? Shannon, of course, is hysterically crying as she reminds Vicki that once upon a time, her kids called her “Aunt Vicki.” It’s truly heartbreaking to watch.
NEXT: Everyone deals with the aftermath
I was surprised at how blasé Vicki was in the confessional. She was so matter-of-fact about the whole thing, essentially boiling it down to “Well, Shannon didn’t want to talk about this?” Well, Vicki never wanted to talk about Cancer-gate. The comparison is so off and so callous, I’m truly disappointed in her — as is Heather, who starts scolding Vicki like a child for her behavior.
And then, as if it couldn’t get any worse, Tamra asks Kelly if there’s anything else Vicki told her. Kelly responds, but her words are inaudible (seriously, what was going on with the camera crew this trip? First they missed the fight building up to this van ride, and now this). It appears, however, Vicki may have told Kelly that Tamra and Eddie have problems and that Eddie may be gay. This prompts Tamra to get right up in Vicki’s face and scream, “F*** YOU!” Vicki doesn’t flinch, though, she just calmly says she didn’t say anything.
With all this chaos and all these reveals out in the open (thanks to Vicki, but courtesy of Kelly), you would think Kelly would be more furious than ever about Vicki just sitting there, acting like she’s done nothing wrong. Instead, Kelly’s more offended by Heather’s condescending tone, so she decides Heather is conniving and played a bigger role in the events. I’m not so sure about that — Heather’s delivery may be uppity and hard to swallow, but Kelly had Heather all hot and bothered from the first utterance of “see you next Tuesday.”
Kelly, however, is sticking to her story that she was provoked and Heather is the puppet master. Kelly thinks she’s a fake pretentious snob and claims she sees right through her. Fine. For whatever reason, Kelly has a much easier time placing the blame on Heather, so I guess we’ll let her have that (even though it’s not true). But her husband shines some perspective on the situation: Namely, that Kelly never should have said what she did about David, and he believes she can mend each relationship — albeit separately. Wait, did this insane trip and Kelly’s insane behavior bring her and her husband CLOSER? Are we in the Twilight Zone of Orange County or what?
Meanwhile, Tamra is getting ready for her fitness competition and her trainer/Jesus guide, Mia, wants her to forgive Vicki. I have no idea what else was said — looking at Tamra’s body with literally zero fat and rock-hard abs made me run to my fridge and throw everything away except for water and a lemon.
NEXT: The forgiveness tour rages on
The rest of the episode is all about forgiveness — who is everyone going to forgive, how much are they going to forgive, and how long any truce will really last. Meghan and Kelly meet for lunch, and you can really see what a true-blue friend Meghan is, unlike Vicki. Meghan doesn’t agree with most of Kelly’s behavior, but that doesn’t mean she’s going to abandon her. She’s just going to be brutally honest with her instead. Hmm, maybe Vicki should take note: Had she treated Kelly in Ireland the same way, maybe we never would have been in this mess!
So when Kelly and Vicki meet up, Vicki admits to feeling stuck in the middle and abandoning Kelly because the other girls (more or less) told her to. Vicki concedes she was wrong and — gasp! — apologizes, which Kelly accepts. While Kelly absolutely has to take accountability and responsibility for her own actions, I can’t help but think… Wow, Vicki really has been a crappy friend.
In fact, when Vicki finally calls Tamra to see where they stand, Vicki blames everything — even things she told Kelly months ago — on alcohol. It’s an easy way out and not totally true, but Tamra has been commanded to forgive so I guess she’s accepting Vicki’s explanation for now. But when Tamra tells Vicki to apologize to Shannon because she’s hurt, Vicki gets defensive again and says, “Welcome to all our worlds, we’re all hurt.” After that, I don’t even think Vicki realizes that Tamra has begrudgingly invited her to the fitness competition.
As the apology tour trudges on, Tamra and Kelly meet so Tamra can see where “Kelly’s heart is at.” Now, Kelly’s little outburst in Ireland — when she told Tamra “no wonder your daughter doesn’t talk to you — was all Kelly. There was no Vicki whispering in her ear, and there was really nothing that provoked her to escalate things to that level. But Tamra has had a soft spot for Kelly, ever since she figured out Kelly’s crumbling marriage was probably to blame for most of her tantrums. And so, Tamra accepts Kelly’s apology and even delivers one of her own. The planets realign and there’s harmony in the world…until Tamra strongly recommends that Kelly apologize to Shannon, too. Why would she do that? Kelly didn’t say it, she just repeated it! And the planets are once again thrown into turmoil, and things are right where they should be in Housewives land.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that Shannon Beador is also an excellent friend. Not only is she throwing a Tamra an all-you-can-eat carb buffet after her fitness competition, but also she’s allowing Vicki and Kelly to attend — it’s Tamra’s celebration, and Tamra wants them there. But she does have a hidden agenda: By inviting them, Shannon can confront Vicki and Kelly about what happened in Ireland. Next week is the finale, and it’s basically law that the ladies end the season at a drama-fueled par-tay!
But as Tamra gets every crack and crevice of her body spray-tanned before going on to WIN the fitness competition (so well-deserved, she looked incredible!), we find ourselves back right where we started — with Vicki and Kelly the odd women out. They both came to cheer on Tamra, as did Heather and Shannon. But while the latter pair might accept that Tamra wants Vicki and Kelly around, they definitely don’t like it! In fact, Heather even ices them out of a photo. Maybe Heather is playing things a little dirtier than normal, but I stand by my assertion that she isn’t to blame for any of this. We’ll know for sure next week.
The Real Housewives of Orange County