If you looked up The Real Housewives of Potomac in the Bravo dictionary, there would be a link to this episode. It is quintessential RHOP: Karen is throwing a party for a new house that absolutely necessitates a singing telegram, Robyn is pulling tiny bottles of liquor out of her purse at a random park, the cameras bless us with every single shade of red and purple inside Gizelle’s house while she wears a wig that appears to have been put through the dishwasher, and we even get to visit with Kal, who was there the very first time Karen scolded Gizelle for being loud in her kitchen, but in season 5, seems to have grown into the wisest man on earth who I would very much like to make my personal life coach.

There is one unexpected thing in this episode, however. Candiace manages to take the traditional “Housewives apology” into a new stratosphere when she tells Ashely, “I can say that the way I opined was hurtful to you, so I do apologize to you for not being as sensitive as you needed me to be.” Opined! As sensitive as you needed me to be! The woman is a masterclass in avoiding accountability for her actions, or even her opinions. Don’t worry though; Candiace will later hit Gizelle with the more standard “I’m sorry if I offended you” apology, but for a moment, I wondered if maybe — just maybe — Candiace was cursed by a witch at birth so that if she ever pricked her finger on a spindle wheel and/or earnestly apologized to someone she had called a concubine, she would fall into an eternal slumber…

Hey, maybe that’s the big drama this season is leading up to?

We’ll just have to keep waiting to find out though, because right now, everyone is all smiles with each other following last week’s multiple blow-ups. Wendy and Robyn meet up for a little play date with their kids where Wendy’s tiny sons beat up on Robyn’s large sons, perhaps because they’ve spent all day staring at Wendy and Eddie’s multiple degrees because that is apparently what constitutes a timeout in the Osefo household.

Now, it could be the individually bottled margaritas they’re sipping on in a public park, but these two are kind of fun together! But Wendy either doesn’t know how this game is played just yet, or she knows exactly how it’s played and is stirring the pot on purpose — because when Robyn asks her what Candiace said about the group before she met them, Wendy basically rattles off Candiace’s descriptions of each woman verbatim. Including that Candiace said Gizelle is shady and referred to her as “the Gizelle monster.”

Gizelle Bryant in 'The Real Housewives of Potomac'
Credit: Bravo

So add that to the list of things Candiace will have to account for at a party in the near future. She’s going to receive a W-2 in the mail come January for all the time she’s spent explaining (but definitely not apologizing for) the trash she’s talked (and tweeted).

The closest she gets to an actual apology is when she sits down with Ashley at a coffee shop. Baby Dean also comes along, who Candiace says will be “blessed” if he grows into the hint of Ahsley’s features that she spies in his face. It really is wild how much that little baby looks like Michael — but I think it’s more because Michael looks like a baby than anything else because Dean still manages to be adorable. Especially when he starts squealing as soon as Candiace and Ashley begin veering into rehashing Twitter histories in a nonproductive way. Perhaps we have a future Andy Cohen on our hands?

Once the squealing is over, Candiace just sucks it up and tells Ashley that if her opinions were hurtful, and if she wasn’t as sensitive as Ashley “needed her to be,” then she apologizes. Ashley accepts it, and then they talk a little bit about Monique, who Candiace insists never told her anything about being upset with Charisse leading up to the anniversary party she invited Charisse to. And speaking of Monique…

The RHOP friendships might be going okay right now, but the ladies’ at-home lives are a little turbulent. Monique informs her husband Chris (after they wrap their kids’ hair up and put them to bed) that he’s not trying hard enough in their marriage. They never go on dates anymore, and anything that does get planned has to be planned by her. Chris informs Monique a number of times that he’s the one paying, so she should be the one planning. It is not a charming look. Eventually, he says that he’ll work on planning more dates, but he’ll expect something in return, even if she’s tired. Hey, how’s about we go wake up those cute kids and bring them back out because that was a lot more fun than whatever this is!

Over at Gizelle’s house — where if a surface isn’t tufted or bejeweled, then it is absolutely covered in wigs — things aren’t going great either. Gizelle’s daughters remain suspicious of their parents' recoupling, and Gizelle keeps acting surprised by that response, even though she clearly understands the logic of it. When her best friend Kal comes over, she tells him that her daughters are protective of her, and they understand from a child’s perspective that “daddy hurt mommy, and I think they’re a little terrified that if he would ever do something bad again, what that would do to the family.”

“That makes sense,” Kal says, and Gizelle about jumps down his throat, saying that it’s hurtful because she wishes they would like him like they’ve liked her other boyfriends. Kal very kindly informs her, “That’s not how life works.” He asks her to make sure she’s being truthful with herself about the hurt that Jamal caused their family in the past and says that she has to live in reality: “The girls have been conditioned to believe that, ‘maybe my dad isn’t trustworthy,’ and I think at their age, they have a right to feel that way.” Kal tells Gizelle she can’t just expect 12 years to be undone in a few months, and the only thing she can do is lead with love, and show her children that forgiveness is great, but love is the most valuable thing.

It legitimately almost made me cry. Listening to someone who actually cares about their friend enough to tell them something hard, but to do it in a gentle enough way that they might actually receive it — on the HOUSEWIVES?! There really is only one to way to recover from this…

Karen Huger is throwing a party for her third house in four years, and she’s bringing out every rando in her Rolodex to do it. My favorite, of course, is Matt, the most confounding Housewives lackey in the franchise. And the editors think so too because they continue to title him: “Matt, Karen’s ‘Assistant.’” But even Matt’s unsettling presence in Karen’s life cannot top “Chris, Singing Telegram.” It seems that Chris comes with a costume and at least one college theater credit under his belt, and his role is to…stand next to Karen sitting in a comedically large throne-like chair and decree her return to Potomac: “Come one, come all, hear ye, hear ye, the Grand Dame has moved back to Potomac! Come celebrate and have a kiki moment — the Hugers are back in town and everyone should know it!”

The face each woman makes as this video of “Chris, Singing Telegram” and “Karen, Grand Dame” rolls into their inbox is absolutely priceless. But no one’s reaction is better than Wendy’s husband, Eddie: “Why she let that man into her house?”

Despite how ridiculous the invitation was though, the party Karen throws is actually quite lovely — even if there are a few acrobats dangerously perched on rings in what is otherwise a very normal backyard.

Everyone keeps taking digs at Karen throwing a party for herself that clearly has nothing to do with Ray…but to be fair, Ray seems to want nothing to do with the party either. Ray wants to move to Florida and smoke cigars and take naps, and anything that isn’t that is not of interest to him…including Karen, sadly. I’m quite worried about these two. As is Karen, which is why she’s doing anything possible to distract herself, including throwing a party where halfway through, she changes into Beyoncé drag and makes everyone watch her dance around.

Karen Huger
Credit: Bravo

Robyn arrives at yet another of Karen’s new houses with pizzas (which Karen finds funny this time), Gizelle arrives in a wig that Kal must have performed an actual miracle on, and Candiace arrives ready to make amends. As soon as Candiace spots Gizelle, she asks for a moment alone because she wants to apologize for tweeting mean things about Gizelle’s new house. Well, to be clear, what she says is: “I did not intend to be messy, so if that upset you, I apologize for that.” But Gizelle isn’t interested in an apology about something in the past; she wants to know why Robyn told her that Wendy told Robyn that Candiace told Wendy that Gizelle is a mean monster…

Candiace has plenty of things to account for, but is this really one of them? Gizelle is mean when she wants to be! You do need to watch out for her. I think she’d say that about herself. But she doesn’t like Candiace saying it, so she demands to know if it’s true. “I may have said that,” Candiace responds, but she insists she wasn’t saying anything to Wendy that she wouldn’t say to Gizelle’s face, and surely Gizelle can believe that she didn’t mean it maliciously. “I believe that you meant to be mean and nasty, and you thought it was funny, and it’s not,” Gizelle says.

Candiace apologizes by saying “I apologize,” and they smile scary smiles at one another and agree to keep their relationship “on the surface, where it’s always been.” Good! Because I can’t keep crying all the time at real, genuine friendships, okay? Now please excuse me, it’s time to escort myself to bed at 9 p.m. with a glass of whiskey while everyone asks where I am just like Ray Huger of the Potomac Hugers.

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