The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recap: Reunion part 2, Erika's got some explaining to do
About 20 minutes into part 2 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills reunion, just as I was ready to scream, "YOU'RE ASKING ALL THE WRONG QUESTIONS," someone named "Riley from Pittsburgh" saved me from myself. It was starting to seem as though the only Erika-centric topic we'd be able to cover tonight is whether Tom Girardi has been experiencing memory and cognition decline, which is really not the issue at hand. The issue at hand is Riley's question: "Erika, you said Tom changed after the accident and displayed signs of Alzheimer's… if you didn't know what he was doing, why would you divorce him when he was clearly sick?"
Good question, Riley! It's the one I wonder every time Erika pushes so hard for us to believe that Tom is not doing well and that people aren't taking care of him like they should be. It also shouldn't be a particularly difficult question to answer. All Erika has to do is give a clear reason why she divorced Tom that isn't related to his decline in health (because that would make her a — in the words of Jagger — "bad guy"), or related to his alleged fraudulent activity toward his clients (knowledge of which would also make her a "bad guy")…
But Erika doesn't give a straightforward reason for why she left Tom while he was both in cognitive decline and legal trouble. Because for this entire season, and now in the reunion, each and every time Erika is asked to answer a question, she just replies with a story. Why didn't she tell anyone about her marital problems before she filed for divorce? Well, because Tom was unconscious for 12 hours after he drove his car off a cliff, "but nobody knows that." What is she going to do about Sutton's inquiries into the $20 million transferred from Tom's law firm into her LLC? Well…
"Tom's house was broken into, and he confronted the burglar, and then he had to go have surgery, and then my son had to go over and help, and then my son, he rolled his car five times on the way home." Naturally. And when Riley asks why — if not the dementia that she's so determined to make everyone believe changed Tom to a degree that she had to leave, nor the crimes that she's determined to make everyone believe she didn't know about — did she leave Tom, Erika starts, once again, talking about this car crash that she originally lied about, but is actually a sign of her unending protection of Tom…
Who she left for absolutely no reason! But don't you ever call her a liar!!!
It is wild. But to Andy's credit, he never lets up — he's not looking for stories, he's looking for answers. And in the absence of answers, he's looking for some kind of response, whether it be a suddenly teary eye or a quick rush of anger, both of which arise frequently in this Erika interrogation (intErika-tion?). And here I was, so sure we'd have to wait until part 4 to get back to the Erika stuff in earnest — but would you believe me if I told you that part 2 was almost all Erika?
Almost All Erika
Tonight is the first time we're addressing just how unexpected Erika's divorce was. The editors play a helpful montage of Erika speaking glowingly about Tom on the women's Tahoe trip, which a gentleman named Bob wants her to explain, given that she filed for divorce 72 hours later. Erika simply replies that every marriage is complicated, and you never know what's going on behind doors. To which Andy is like — well, what was going on? Why didn't she leave Tom sooner when she was entitled to 50 percent of whatever he had.
Erika quickly tries out her "Where was I gonna GO" response, but Andy is ready this time — he seems to have been prepped for this reunion by whoever preps presidential candidates for debates. He tells Erika that he knows what she makes on this show; it's enough to make a living or leave a bad marriage if she wanted to. And that's when Erika drops her new bomb (she seems to have been prepped for this reunion by some combination of a soap opera writer and an auction caller): she handed every paycheck she ever made over to Tom. As for how she was eventually able to leave if she had no access to her own money, Erika says she isn't at liberty to say, but it was legal. How intriguing!
Erika also isn't at liberty to say when she first sought legal counsel when Andy points out that Erika's name had been popping up in lawsuits against Tom as early as 2019. Someone writes in asking why Erika originally told Garcelle that there was no infidelity in their marriage, then told everyone just a few days later that Tom had multiple affairs…
Which quickly turns into Erika disclosing another one of Tom's affairs that she found out about on the day she left him because she saw a sext on his phone. How absolutely dramatic! So Erika replied to the text, "Nice tits you stupid bitch," but without any spaces because Tom has a flip phone and she couldn't figure out how to make them with the keyboard…
Just a fun little detail that lets you know she must be telling the truth! At this point, the incessant storytelling that yields absolutely no answers is, to quote NeNe Leakes, "getting weird." Luckily Rosaria from Galveston is here to hit Erika with a true hardball: "Erika, you married a man who funded a very expensive performing career — a career you always wanted. Knowing what you know now, would you have still married Tom?" Consider me on the edge of my seat for this existential question from Rosaria, future Housewives Reunion host. Of course, Rosaria isn't there to offer any follow-ups, and there really is only one way Erika can answer. She says, at this point, she's not sure she ever knew who she was married to at all. She loved Tom, and Tom loved her, but he changed while they were married…
And this is when Andy takes his in! If it's true that Tom changed, does Erika think Tom really ripped off all those people, and how does that change her former feelings for him? Erika skirts around saying that there's still a chance Tom didn't do the things he's been accused of — she certainly hopes he didn't. Which leaves me counting down the hours until Crystal asks Erika why she doesn't seem angrier at Tom — because after all these dramatic stories, all these claims from Erika that she cannot let this destroy her, all I want to know is why she seems to be angry at everyone except the man who got her into this not-so-pretty mess.
The Hamlin House
Two words: keep it.
"Am I Boring You?"
Watching a montage of Dorit boring everyone by talking too much is, as you can imagine, not too exciting. But watching Andy actually attempt to swallow a yawn while listening to Dorit talk about how she really doesn't talk too much, but she loves the joke and is totally fine with it…
Priceless. But even better than watching Dorit witness her own mundanity in real-time is Wesley from Vermont making Dorit answer for that time that she said she exposes her children to diversity by hiring Black and brown people on her house staff, and when Garcelle inquired if the only way Dorit's family experienced Black and brown people was as employees, Dorit snapped back at her: Of course not, we employ white people too!
Which was clearly not what Garcelle was asking, and now the people want to know not only if Dorit realizes the idiocy of what she said, but also if it's an example of her not listening to Garcelle. For her part, Dorit says that was an example of her using her words poorly, and she meant to express that she was raised with a lot of diversity in her life, and she wants the same for her children. Garcelle is far more gracious than I would be when she says that she thinks Dorit answered that way because it was simply a challenging conversation, and they were all feeling a little uncomfortable. But Kathy makes sure to jump in and say how much she appreciated Garcelle sharing with them that night, even if it was a little uncomfortable because it taught her something about why it's important to "see color" (a lesson that the Housewives franchise will be learning on a loop for eternity, I fear).
And speaking of Kathy…
The Richards Sisters
I can't believe I'd ever say this, but this episode was almost too much Erika. Listening to her talk in circles and evade question after question while demanding sympathy that she refuses to offer to others is exhausting. So it was nice to exercise some of that frustration out with a good old-fashioned weep session at the hands of the Richards sisters.
After watching a montage of Kim and Kathy having fun over the season while also confessing in their testimonials how much they regretted their lost years, Kathy is nearly inconsolable. She says it's hard for her to even talk about their late mother, so the idea that anything negative about their family might be construed from this show was a difficult pill to swallow early on. But… now that she's swallowed it, she's having a great time! Because when it comes to family, time is just not a thing worth wasting. So, I'll see you back here next week for the beginning of the end of family time with your favorite wayward cousin, RHOBH.
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