Is Tamra finally going to let Vicki back in the nook?
Credit: Bravo

It’s a weird thing that happens when you’ve been watching a reality show that’s been on the air for 10 years. You really start to feel like you know the people whose lives you’ve been following for so long. Vicki Gunvalson has been on the RHOC since episode 1 and in 10 years, we’ve not only watched her life unfold, but also the lives of her kids. I still feel for Vicki and her son Michael every time I think about when her surprising him at college and his resulting mortification. But Vicki’s daughter Briana has almost been like an extended housewife, so watching her get married and start a family — and seeing how big her sons have gotten — almost makes it feel like she’s a long-lost cousin with whom I still remember sitting at the kid’s table at family gatherings. It’s like, where has the time gone?

I’ve gone on this little rant because tonight’s episode opens with Vicki in Oklahoma, helping move Briana back home to Orange County — and the reason is pretty bittersweet. Briana is sick and has an infection in her leg after a recent surgery, and Vicki wants her close to both her and a team of doctors that can treat her. After a bumpy start, it’s nice to see how close Vicki has become to Briana’s husband Ryan. It was emotional as they all said goodbye, since Ryan’s staying in Oklahoma for now to wrap things up. I have to admit, Vicki is a brave woman to go on a 16-hour road trip with her two small grandsons. I just did a three-hour trip with my 18-month-old daughter, and kids really act like the car is a tiny little prison if they’re in one for more than 10 minutes. But this road trip sets the tone for a whole new chapter in Vicki’s life WITHOUT Brooks, and an emotional chapter at that. Briana’s illness and complications are really serious, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crying as I watched them pull away.

Meanwhile, Meghan is attempting to give herself her very first IVF shot without Jimmy, who’s off the hook due to his well ill-timed trip to spring training. Meghan’s biggest fear in life is needles, so she’s making Jimmy a lovely video diary of the entire 11 minutes it takes to stick herself. Who says romance is dead?

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Shannon is ready to move to a “smaller house,” even though she doesn’t have one yet and her current home’s in escrow. I know very little about buying and selling real estate, but I have to assume escrow means someone else is about to get dibs on your house, so it’s probably time to get out! Shannon reveals she wants to move because the house has too many bad memories, which I totally get. You don’t want to live somewhere that reminds you of your husband’s affair that almost ended your marriage. I believe Shannon and David are in a good place now, and I believe Shannon is ready to forgive as they creep up on the magical two-year mark since the affair happened. But the forgetting part is never going to come that easily, even if she says it might. So Shannon meets with her realtor to give her list of requests for the “healthy green home” she needs to find ASAP. Honestly, I’m a little disappointed there wasn’t a Million Dollar Listing crossover here, but such is life.

NEXT: Vicki and Briana’s road trip is nothing like Oprah and Gayle’s

Vicki and Briana’s road trip trudges on through cows and desert land. It’s so nice to see their relationship is intact post-Brooks, but this journey is not Oprah and Gayle: Part Deux. No, little Troy has to poop — and poor kid has to do it on the side of road while poor Briana is crying in pain the whole drive. I’m glad Vicki gets to be there for Briana, but she’s missing a lot going on back in the OC — namely a dinner with the girls hosted by Kelly, her one ally.

Brooks is gone and it’s time everyone figures out where they stand with Vicki. I get they’re all still reeling from cancer-gate and its surrounding lies, but it’s exhausting to keep hearing about it and to keep trying to remember why everyone is still mad at Vicki, especially since everyone has a different grievance to air.

Everyone except for Kelly, that is. I give Kelly a lot of credit for siding with the odd girl out and defending her to the likes of Shannon, Heather, Meghan, and Tamra — a group that, on some days, makes Regina George and the Plastics look like Patty Simcox and the non-Pink Ladies at Rydell High. I think Kelly is starting to realize she jumped into the shark-infested waters a little too soon. Kelly’s other ally is Meghan, who’s not coming to dinner because of her IVF treatments, so Kelly is worried about hosting dinner solo. Why? Because things were awkward with the ladies the last time she saw them. Let’s quickly recount: She defended Vicki, told all the women they were mean to Vicki, told Shannon she was standoffish, and made Tamra cry by bringing up her estrangement from her daughter. So yes, all of that is pretty much the definition of awkward.

But alas, the dinner isn’t all that eventful after all. Kelly is sick so she’s drinking Patron, the logic of which Shannon can’t quite wrap her head around. Vicki, who’s still on the road with Briana, is very much a topic of conversation because Heather missed the news that Kelly and Vicki lunched together. You’ve got to give Kelly credit for sticking to her guns — she likes Vicki, and she’s going to try to get the girls to see that Vicki just “loved hard and loved the wrong person.” But you also have to give the ladies credit for sticking to their guns, too. Which means the beach party Kelly is throwing for everyone and their husbands — and Vicki — will be all the more interesting.

Vicki and Briana are finally back in the OC, and Briana’s not doing well. In fact, it’s hard to watch how much pain she’s in. They’re barely home when Briana has no choice but to go to the hospital, and suddenly, Vicki is a single grandma. Whatever you think about Vicki, she’s had a really tough few years with the Brooks drama and the sudden death of her mother —and no mother should have to watch her own daughter suffer so much.

NEXT: Tamra and Vicki finally talk on the beach

But it’s almost time for Kelly’s party, and Vicki will be attending — despite Briana being home from the hospital with an IV in her arm to give her antibiotics. Kelly actually came over with flowers for Briana and cookies for the boys (who she doesn’t even know yet), so I do think she’s a good person who means well. She’s just a little kooky, which I mean in the best possible way. Kelly knows she’s out there and she owns it. There’s a big difference when you think you’re straightlaced but have, like, a bar on every floor of your home. As much as I want Vicki to get to the party and just get these dreaded Brooks conversations/apologies out of the way, I’m torn because Briana is clearly in no position to be home alone with her kids. Much to Briana’s chagrin, Vicki leaves to go to work (and then the party) anyway.

Here’s the deal with Kelly’s beach party: It looked amazing and beautiful, and she’s so lucky her backyard is literally the beach. But we’ve all known from the preview for this episode (for which we had to wait an extra week!) that Vicki and Tamra are finally going to have the “talk” about Brooks and cancer-gate — and figure out, once and for all, where that leaves their friendship. So while it was very entertaining to watch Shannon play beach volleyball (Top Gun this was not) and I have all kinds of questions about Kelly’s brother, who apparently hits on everyone, let’s get down to brass tacks. Vicki arrived and exchanged pleasantries with Heather, and doesn’t even bother to give a fake hello to Shannon and David. But Vicki and Tamra do separate from the group to have their long-awaited heart-to-heart.

And I’m still confused.

Here’s what I gathered: Vicki is still healing from last year and misses her friends. However, she feels Tamra wasn’t there for her and actually turned on her after her relationship with Brooks fell apart. Tamra feels Vicki’s stories changed all the time, and she really finds it hard to believe Vicki lived in the same house as someone who supposedly had Stage 3 cancer — but didn’t know for sure if he really was sick (excellent point, I must admit). Tamra reiterates that everyone still feels Vicki was lying for Brooks, to which Vicki maintains she didn’t lie for him, he lied to her. And to that end, Vicki wants to know why Tamra thinks she would lie? Because you wanted everyone to like Brooks, Tamra says. Vicki admits that’s true, but says that doesn’t mean she was lying about his illness.

If you’re still with me, here’s where things get even more confusing (it’s like an apology edition of “who’s on first” here). Tamra reminds Vicki how she admitted during the reunion that she fabricated the story so people would “bring her casseroles.” But Tamra apparently misunderstood — no, no, no — Vicki assumed casseroles were on the way after revealing Brooks had cancer (presuming, for a second, he was actually sick). Okay, glad we got that cleared up?

Then Vicki gets real. Yes, her love was blind because she believed her man. For a fleeting moment, there’s the possibility of a breakthrough, but Vicki has to go one step too far: She believed her man just like Tamra believes Eddie and Shannon believed David, which is, of course, a dig at their affair. And nope, at first Tamra does not like Vicki bringing other people into this discussion. But then the good Christian Tamra has become takes over — putting a devil and an angel on opposite shoulders — and asks if it’s Christian of her to walk away. Vicki swears she told the truth and believed Brooks had cancer, saying everyone else was in on bringing him down because they didn’t like him. Tamra concurs — they didn’t like him and they were all worried for her.

Vicki is a master at turning things around, because she then tells Tamra she was the one who didn’t handle herself well. Tamra calls out Vicki for being a narcissist who did something wrong but expects everyone else to apologize! But wait, there’s more confusion/conflict. Vicki admits what she did wrong was not believing the ladies were seeing something she didn’t see, but she maintains she didn’t lie about Brooks’ cancer. Which prompts Tamra to call her out again and ask the million-dollar question: Do you (Vicki) ever think you’re stubborn and a rebel who does things so you can prove people wrong?

And suddenly the heavens open up, angels are singing, and all the praying Tamra has done the past year comes to a head, because Vicki admits Tamra was RIGHT and then says these magical words: “I’M SORRY. WILL YOU FORGIVE ME?” Because Tamra is a good Christian who knows Vicki will never, ever admit she knew Brooks was faking cancer, she accepts. But if Vicki really wants things with Tamra to go back to normal, she’s got to talk to Shannon and Meghan, too — which leaves us with yet another cliffhanger for next week.

I’m still confused, though. Did Vicki believe Brooks had (has?) cancer, or not? I know Tamra thinks we’ll never know, which is main reason she’s chosen to move on, but COME ON — you have to give us more than that, Vicki!

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