The Housewives celebrate St. Patrick's Day — and it goes a lot better than last season's Ireland trip
Credit: Bravo

You’d be forgiven for feeling a shudder in your spine at the thought of the Housewives celebrating St. Patrick’s Day — last season’s trip to Dublin was reason enough to ruin the color green for all of them, to say nothing of viewers who were traumatized by the van-ride screaming matches and Shannon’s terrible Irish accent. But this week’s episode proved that the gang can actually celebrate all things Irish without binge-drinking or getting kicked out of a department store.

The episode opens with several cast members preparing for the Spartan Race, a five-mile military obstacle course that sounds about as hellish as a trip to the Quiet Woman. The event seems to bring some couples together — like Lydia and her husband, who are both doing the Race — and push others apart. Throughout the episode, Shannon expresses concern that her husband is spending more time exercising and training than he is with the family. Over dinner, Tamra and Eddie suggest that she get in on the action given her recent fitness kick — she’s lost four pounds! Her body fat percentage is down by three points! — but Shannon demurs and sticks to, in Tamra’s words, “emasculating” her husband by chewing him out for his alleged neglect.

But maybe Shannon’s got bigger problems to worry about — like inserting herself in the mini-conflict between Peggy and Tamra, who got into it a little at the launch party for Lydia’s Nobleman magazine. Peggy told Tamra to just get over the Vicki situation, which Tamra didn’t appreciate considering how little Peggy seems to know about the tumultuous history between all of them. When Shannon tries to explain that to Peggy over lunch, however, Peggy goes on the defensive and starts talking up Vicki.

So the two of them cut their losses and do what most people do when they want to avoid a touchy subject: They switch to talking about breast cancer instead — no, really! Peggy opens up about her preventative double mastectomy, which prompts Shannon to ask a lot of questions about exactly what kind of diagnosis she got and even bring up the whole Brooks situation, which, as you can imagine, doesn’t go over well. Peggy tells Shannon that Shannon thinks with her emotions and is clouded by feelings, while Peggy thinks with her head and has a more clear-headed take on the situation. You know, everything you want to hear from your new BFF.

This is the first of three awkward meals Peggy has this episode. Besides her catch-up with Shannon, she also grabs a bite with Diko to explain how surprised she was to learn that Tamra was upset with her. That’s not the awkward part, though — the awkward part is when Peggy makes Diko pretend to be a butterfly by clapping his hands in front of his face as the waitress comes to their table. God bless this waitress for trying to pretend that this is totally something normal patrons do. But maybe when the people you’re waiting on show up with cameras, you know to expect something out of the ordinary.

The third awkward meal takes place when Peggy meets up with Tamra to finally clear the air. Neither of them really wants to be there, which you can tell by the way they both slowly and hesitantly take off their sunglasses, like it’s some kind of bougie battle ritual. Peggy blames Tamra for escalating the situation and making a big to-do out of what Peggy thought was friendly advice. To her credit, Tamra backs down to try to de-escalate the situation by chalking it up to Resting Bitch Face. Peggy, who has struggled with various idioms all season, doesn’t totally understand the concept, but the way she tries to use it makes the whole thing worth it. As she tells the camera during her one-on-one: “Don’t act like a bitch, and I won’t give you the face.” That’s not really how that works, but I’m here for it! I’d say it makes a great tagline for next season…if Peggy gets another season, that is. (P.S. I still miss Heather.)

Meanwhile, Meghan decides to get back into the workforce by reviving her modeling career. She has some prior modeling experience, she explains, but she never got to give it her full attention because she had a full-time job in sales at the same time, and then she got married and started a family and no longer had the time. But now she needs a break from changing diapers and wondering if her baby can communicate with ghosts. “I got my body back,” she says, “I wanna show that off!”

Elsewhere, Vicki literally is boring Briana with more complaints and hurt feelings about Shannon and Tamra. For someone who talks a lot about how she’s above it and totally over it and in a good place, she sure is acting like she isn’t when the subject of those two comes up. But as it turns out, it’s not all talk — Vicki really is in a good place! Later in the episode, Vicki, dressed like someone going as a Beyoncé Formation Tour backup dancer for Halloween, and Kelly go visit a friend’s jewelry store that also happens to have a totally casual machine for evaluating auras. While Vicki initially dismisses the device, her attitude shifts once she humors Kelly by trying it herself and learning that she is apparently full of good energy. (You still wouldn’t guess that from the way she expresses disapproval over Kelly hanging out with Shannon and Meghan for St. Patrick’s Day, though: “It’s bulls—.”)

At last, it’s almost time for the Spartan Race. In what amounts to the cutest scene I think I’ve ever seen in a Housewives series, Lydia tries to impress her sons before she leaves by showing them pictures of the course’s obstacles — fire! water! — only for them to start crying and begging her to stay home. But as we learn from watching the race — and “race” is a generous term given how much the competitors seem to be waiting in line to try out other obstacles — the flames they actually have to jump over are…well, not quite as dramatic as the photos made them out to be. That doesn’t mean that the Spartan Race is a walk in the park, however: At one point, the camera cuts to Tamra, hunched over, on the brink of barfing. Sounds like my idea of fun!

Back in Orange County, Shannon, Kelly, and Meghan all meet up for some St. Paddy’s Day shenanigans that unexpectedly end in tears — the good kind of tears. At first, it seems like we’ll never get our kumbaya moment as the Housewives start bringing up various grievances: Shannon talking about Vicki’s allegations, Kelly talking about the drama-fueled ’70s party. But then something shocking happens: Shannon calmly explains her feelings, Kelly calmly explains hers, they come to a mutual understanding, and the next thing you know, everyone’s crying into their beers. It is a legitimately beautiful moment, but it’s definitely not going to last. Judging by next week’s previews, Kelly goes to real some ugly places as she picks a fight with Meghan.