By Jodi Walker
August 06, 2020 at 01:42 AM EDT
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What might this Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Roman vacation in the lap of luxury be like if every meal didn’t feature an interrogation-by-contractually-obligated-friend-group and constant insistence that nobody cares if Denise slept with Brandi, but then asking Denise 100 times if she slept with Brandi.

Well…I guess it would be something like a collection of all the delightful things that happened on the trip in between the Denise/Brandi storyline. There was Kyle slowly getting more hammered as she sat with all the other OGs in one of the tiniest hotel rooms I’ve ever seen, huddled around a tiny hotel table, holding a tiny charcuterie board. There was Garcelle saying, “It better be worth it,” while the group waited 40 minutes for Dorit to come downstairs in whatever over-the top-ensemble she was putting together, and upon seeing said ensemble, Garcelle shrugging, “I don’t think it was worth it.” There was Dorit and Kyle speaking to each other like actual friends who know each other well enough to adjust their behavior according to what their friend needs to be comfortable…

But it simply can’t all be hotel room margaritas and talking about enneagram types over lunch, now can it? Sometimes, Brandi Glanville has to be mic’d up in a car, waiting to come inside while begrudgingly saying that Denise cheated on her husband with her with a little cherry on top that Denise also admitted to hating everyone in the cast, and then Teddi has to begrudgingly relay that information to Denise in front of the entire group, putting Denise in an impossible situation. Y’know —classic friend dynamics!

Listen, if pushed, it seems like something probably happened between Denise and Brandi. Some of her storylines are contradictory, but I certainly don’t know what happened. What I know for sure is that there’s nothing in the world that Denise could have said to make Rinna or Teddi believe her once they got that juicy little tidbit from Brandi. These women say over and over that they simply could not care less about Denise allegedly having sex with Brandi…but they sure are worked up about something! The episode opens beautifully with a “30 MINUTES LATER” title card following the bombshell dinner…

Only to reveal that the women have divided into rooms to discuss the chaotic happenings of 30 MINUTES EARLIER. And even though this episode goes on to throw 40 more minutes worth of drama at us, in the end, there’s really only one question that needs to be answered: Are you a Kyle/Erika/Teddi/Rinna/Sutton roomer…or a Denise/Garcelle/Dorit roomer?

At this point in the season, I was shocked to see Sutton in the majority-alliance room, but after what she reveals at the next night’s dinner, I like to think that she was intentionally playing a mole for the cool room the whole time. Oh, that’s right — I’m a Denise/Garcelle/Dorit roomer. Both because it looks a lot less sad than the tiny room the other women are sitting in, and because that’s where all the good friends are. When Denise says that the bomb Teddi dropped about Brandi was “f---ing slander,” Garcelle agrees…but then also subtly tacks on: “Why would she make that up? Is she gonna have…text messages?” That’s how you have a friend’s back no matter what, but also make sure she covers her bases for whatever it is you’re backing her up for.

Unbelievably, Denise stays on the trip, which she later admits was simply because she couldn’t get a flight out, but still. Rinna comes over to her room the next morning to discuss why she’s been attempting to expose Denise for filth all season instead of defending her supposed friend, or at the very least, warning her about an ambush. “Pull me aside and say, ‘Just a heads up!’” Denise tells Rinna. “I mean, if it were the other way around, wouldn’t you want me to do that for you, or send you a text or something?”

In her testimonial, Rinna says that she actually feels no responsibility because she thinks it was Teddi’s job to tell Denise since Teddi is the one who got the information: “I think we get into trouble when we play telephone.” Ah, yes, well you must be right Rinna because the situation you’re all in now isn’t troublesome at all! Denise asks why Rinna kept egging Teddi on at dinner, telling her, “You gotta say it, you gotta say it,” and Rinna says that the Brandi story was already “out there.” Rinna asks Denise for details because she clearly wants to check for discrepancies in Denise’s story, but Denise doesn’t give up much. She tells Rinna that she does not have an open marriage, and she has never cheated on her husband. “So why do you think this is happening?” Rinna asks. “Well — for shock value,” Denise replies, and they kind of leave it at Rinna clearly not believing her, and Denise clearly not trusting Rinna anymore.

In another friendship meeting across town, Kyle and Dorit have more success working through their issues, probably because they had pasta and wine alongside their emotional discussion. Following their tense moment from dinner the night before, Dorit tells Kyle that sometimes when she’s trying to make a point, Kyle thinks she’s trying to make the opposite point and cuts her off before she can finish, and it makes her look bad. At first, Kyle is defensive and says everyone in this group does that, but eventually, she relents and apologizes. They talk about how Dorit needs more time alone after a tense situation, and how Kyle tortures herself until she can talk to the person who she knows she’s upset. In her testimonial, Dorit astutely says that she knows her annoyance with Kyle and Teddi’s friendship is more than just a joke because it ties back to how she felt like Kyle never defended her last season, even when it became evident that Teddi was in on a plan to humiliate her, and that’s something they’ll have to continue to work through.

It really was a nice little reprieve to witness even the tiniest bit of self-awareness that wasn’t clouded entirely by outward perception…

But enough of that, it’s time to spend some money and drive some cars! Sutton takes Kyle and Dorit on her private shopping excursion to Dolce & Gabbana because she is truly that brand’s muse or something. Sutton? It’s wild.

Sweetly, Garcelle convinces Denise to go out on the Ferrari excursion with the other women instead of holing herself up in her room. “Listen, if Denise can deal with Charlie Sheen, she can deal with Teddi and Rinna,” Garcelle (correctly) says in her testimonial. They drive in one Ferarri and Erika and Rinna drive in another Ferarri up to a winery, where the smaller group and alcohol lubricant serves as a healthy environment to have an actual productive dialogue between Denise and Erika.

While they’re having a wine tasting, Denise says that some of the women in the group seem to want more chaos around them rather than wanting to talk about things and then let them go. “That’s why you have to tell your truth, and how you feel,” Erika tells her. “My point of view is, we’re all grown-ups, and we can all defend ourselves.”

Shockingly, Denise takes this moment to bring up an issue herself: “So you’re upset with Aaron?” she asks Erika.

Erika confirms that she didn’t like the way Aaron spoke to them at Sutton's, and that they’ve dealt with husband’s exerting themselves where they didn’t belong before in this group, and that there’s “a time and a place and a tone for everything.” Denise tells Erika that she didn’t hear how Aaron spoke to them, but she apologizes on his behalf to the extent that she can, and Aaron will have to apologize more directly, but she hopes they can move past it. Erika agrees and points out that she’s good friends with PK and Dorit now, and she’s willing to move on from this, and either way, she doesn’t blame Denise for Aaron’s behavior.

“I have a confession to make,” Garcelle cuts in after a few long seconds. “I am tipsy!” Truly, may we all have friends like Garcelle in these trying times.

Finally, it’s time for the dinner that everyone is dreading, because the cast of RHOBH truly are like infants and/or elders: once the sun goes down, they become all sorts of disoriented and start thinking that you have to sling accusations at your friends or the waiter won’t bring the bread basket…

Denise even wears a dress for the occasion! Of course, in Beverly Hills, we do not simply “wear” “dresses.” Erika arrives showing more skin than we’ve seen from her in quite some time, with her hair teased up to full-Marilyn. And then Dorit arrives, 40 minutes later, with her hair teased twice as wide, covered head to toe in Dior. I laughed at Garcelle saying it wasn’t worth the wait, but I dunno…sometimes it’s nice to have something to feast your eyes upon as everything starts going to absolute hell.

The women manage to chat about their families, and their body issues for a while, but by the time the entrees arrive, so has the specter of Brandi Glanville. Kyle says that she was so upset after the night before that she cried, and tells Denise that she shouldn’t feel nervous. Denise replies that she’s not nervous, but “there are times I have felt unwelcome by this group…how could anyone not when you’re the one in the hot seat?” Sutton pipes up that if they’re going to talk about being honest, they need to talk about what was discussed in Kyle’s room the night before.

The scene flashes back to them hotboxing that tiny room with gossip, and Sutton telling the other women that she heard this story about Brandi and Denise from her friend two years ago…

TWO YEARS AGO?! I find this to be the most fascinating development in regard to what the real story is, given than Brandi told Teddi and Kyle that she had sex with Denise six months ago… Denise says she had sex with Brandi never… and Sutton heard tale of them having sex two years ago. I’mma needs some more details on that, but either way, Sutton says you better believe she ran and told Denise what she’d heard as soon as this became an issue, and Denise tells the table that she laughed about it.

If Denise was even just a little bit better at defending herself and/or lying, she would use this skewed timeline as a jumping-off point for what has become her new self-defense: Brand Glanville says she sleeps with everybody she meets…it’s just something she does.

Denise tries to lay out for the group her relationship with Brandi, telling them that she and Brandi were introduced through an agent because Brandi really wanted to meet her, and then Brandi continued to pursue her and a few months ago, asked if Denise would be on her podcast. She flew to Denise’s film set to record the podcast six months ago, and they didn’t talk much after that, but when they spoke recently, Brandi “knew every single thing that was going on in the group.” Teddi and Rinna perk up like Cocker Spaniels at that random detail. Because the night before Denise said that she hadn’t spoken to Brandi before Kyle’s party, but now she’s clearly indicating that she did speak to Brandi sometime recently…

And even the smallest lie is evidence that someone is a full-on fake and a bad person, never to be trusted again. (But only in Denise’s case, not in Brandi’s case.)

Denise’s sudden insistence that Brandi was being fed information about their group is suspect, but I simply don’t care if she’s making it up, because it leads to this delicious moment of hypocrisy: reiterating her point that Brandi likes to say she’s slept with everyone, Denise says that Brandi told her she’d slept with someone else sitting at the table. Kyle and Dorit jut their little heads out in unison to look at Lisa Rinna, saying it could only be Kyle or Rinna that Brandi might be referring to. Denise says she’s not trying to repeat what Brandi said, but Kyle and Rinna are suspicious of Denise suddenly saying this now while she’s under fire. “Lisa, I’m not lying,” Denise insists.

And then Lisa Rinna, who has been happily supporting the spread of the story that Brandi and Denise slept together because Teddi heard it from Brandi…is suddenly furious that Denise is insinuating that she heard the exact same thing from Brandi about her. Rinna hisses from across the table at Denise: “I don’t think Brandi Glanville has ever said she had sex with me, so don’t even say that, DON’T EVEN PUT THAT OUT THERE!”  It is a moment of hypocrisy so rich, I don’t even think Kyle and Sutton could team up to buy it in a store. See you back here next week to get to the bottom of who we are — and are not — allowed to safely spread rumors about.

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Bravo’s guilty-pleasure franchise meets California luxe
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