Real Housewives of Orange County finale recap: 'Candle Sticks and Lunatics'
Like birds that instinctually fly south for the winter, housewives seemingly know it’s time to make amends when it’s time for the season to end. Here’s what went down on this week’s season finale:
Meghan is…a candle entrepreneur. Oh, yes. Now that we’ve made it to the end of the season, I can say with confidence that of all the housewives this season, Meghan was probably the snooziest. Much of the season finale takes place at the launch of her candle line, the King Collection, but it’s almost too little, too late: If candles are the most exciting thing you have to bring a franchise known for completely unnecessary drama, you’re doing something wrong. I’m not even sure we’ll see Meghan again after this — at the end of the episode, we learn that she and Jim are going through IVF again and trying to have another baby, which is great for her, but maybe not great for compelling TV given how this season went?
Vicki is…thinking about the future. Like Mary J. Blige, Vicki is all about no more drama — and after swearing off the catfights that preoccupied her for much of the season, she’s thinking about her future. At her company, she invites her son, Michael, to join the board and continues her plans to expand and franchise the business. She’s also making long-term plans with Steve — though she mentions that she’s in no rush to get married, we learn from the finale postscripts that she and Steve have bought a vacation home together. If there’s a better testament to the power of vision boards, I haven’t seen one.
Tamra is…almost making progress with her daughter. Tamra spends part of the episode getting ready to attend her estranged daughter Sidney’s high school graduation and post-graduation dinner. We don’t see it on camera, but we learn at the end of the episode how it ends: After the dinner, she and Sidney had a falling out and are no longer on speaking terms. She’s also not on great terms with Vicki: After reconnecting on the Iceland trip, Tamra tells Meghan at her candle line launch party that Vicki has made no effort to reach out to her. Tamra also criticizes Vicki for refusing to apologize to Eddie for spreading rumors about him and suggests that Vicki has also been planting stories about her (in the press? On social media? Who knows!). Nineteen episodes later, and Tamra and Vicki are…still not friends. Womp womp.
Kelly is…over her marriage. If you follow the housewives off screen, you’ll know that Kelly revealed plans to divorce Michael in late September of this year. And, sure, Kelly has been open about the ups and downs of her marriage, but given the way this episode goes from zero to 60 on the pro-divorce meter, it’s almost like the Bravo editors didn’t know Kelly and Michael would separate and had to recut the episode to make it seem like they know this was building all along. They start the episode sparring, and by the end of the episode, Kelly is telling Vicki she can’t live like this anymore. Did the cameras capture her marriage at its breaking point? Or did they just cram in a last-minute story line? Either way, Kelly ends the season on an optimistic note, telling Vicki that even though going through life alone is going to be hard, she’s determined to find a way. Looking at the how Kelly turned her reputation around after a disastrous introductory season last year, I’d say she’s right.
Peggy is…burying the hatchet. I don’t know if the producers forced her to kiss and make-up with the other housewives for the sake of a satisfying finale, but this week she went through her list of outstanding feuds and settled them. Well, most of them. Her feud with Meghan? It turns out Peggy, Lydia, and Meghan went out to lunch, where Peggy apologized for poorly explaining the Iceland video situation and implying that she was criticizing Meghan’s parenting skills; Meghan forgave her. Her feud with Kelly? At the party, Kelly apologizes for making a drunk insensitive comment about dads that triggered Peggy, and Peggy forgives her. Her feud with Tamra? Tamra apologizes for calling Diko “a little bitch” to her face, and Peggy also forgives her. But there’s just one housewife whose feud doesn’t get settled so easily: Shannon.
Shannon is…screaming at yet another party. I can’t even pretend to comprehend what set off Shannon this time. I think that in the course of apologizing to Peggy, Tamra realizes that Peggy and Shannon have different versions of the story of their big blowout that unfolded during the dinner with the psychic. Tamra mentions this discrepancy to Peggy, who instructs her to call over Shannon and set the record straight. Shannon comes over and immediately gets defensive, snapping at Peggy for not keeping her story straight before calling her a “f—ing lunatic.” I love Shannon, but at this point I’ve seen her blow up at enough parties that I’d forgive Peggy for wanting to be done with her. But, to her credit, at Tamra’s prodding, she comes over later and apologizes to Shannon for hurting her. Perhaps she was expecting an apology back, because after Shannon accepts the apology it’s basically crickets.
Lydia is…still the friendship whisperer. During the awkward quiet that follows Peggy’s apology to Shannon, it’s Lydia who tries to break the silence by asking, “Everyone’s good?” I didn’t always agree with the way Lydia tried to squash the drama among the housewives, but she deserves some sort of trophy for trying the hardest of anyone to keep the peace. (The finale postscript also gives us an important update on her family life: Although Doug got his vasectomy, he and Lydia decided to try for a daughter and are hoping to defrost his in-case-of-emergencies backup sperm to do it.)