The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recap: What did Erika know?
This really is the reunion that keeps on giving. Now, is it giving actual answers to the Girardi-related questions we've been wondering about for almost a year? No, of course, it doesn't — this is a warehouse decorated to look like the Dollar Tree version of Kathy Hilton's veranda, not a court of law. But a few years ago, when we were talking about Lucy Lucy Apple Juice — the puppy so controversial they named her thrice, and then one — for nearly a calendar year, could you have ever imagined we'd be sinking our teeth into topics this juicy in season 11? So, I guess we'll take what we can get.
And speaking of Erika, I do hope they're giving that woman some electrolyte gels and salt capsules between scenes because she is absolutely getting the runaround. And I mean that with no sympathy whatsoever, only the hope that she can stay upright through part 4 where I hope Andy may finally crack her composure long enough to get her to answer an actual question directly. But I guess I know they're not hydrating her during breaks because tonight we got a behind-the-scenes glimpse into what's actually happening during the breaks: even more blustering, if you can believe it!
ANDY: How's it going, Erika?
ERIKA: I would love if you didn't go hard on me…
ANDY: Oh, we're gonna put you on a skewer and I'm gonna fire up the barbeque.
ERIKA: And I'm so f---ing ready for you.
But therein lies the problem. Erika swears she's ready, swears she's here to answer everyone's questions. But anytime she gets a question she doesn't like — which would be just about any question outside of "How did you get your dress so shiny, Erika?" — she takes it upon herself to answer a different question that no one asked and then lashes out at the original question-asker for having the audacity to ask such a question. So, no, we're not getting answers in part 3 of this reunion per se, but we are getting ever so many new lines to read between. But first…
REALLY, WHO IS HUNKY DORY?
Before we get to the frustrating yet fascinating stuff, how about we take a load off with everyone's favorite prankster, Kathy Hilton (sorry, George Clooney, you're out). Part three of this reunion opens back up with the Richards sisters still crying together over the loss of their mother, and the loss of time with one another while they were arguing. But they're soon smiling again when the topic turns to Kathy Hilton: bringer of smiles, lover of box fans, and dropper of ear drops into her eyeballs.
This segment is mostly just an extensive and deserved celebration of Kathy's antics throughout her first season as a Friend Of, and Kyle seems genuinely happy that her sister has been so well received. Even Paris and Nicki have come around to the idea of their mom being a pseudo-Housewife. But as much as everyone enjoys Kathy, no one has yet acquiesced to letting her do their dental work.
CRYSTAL ON CAMERA
Crystal's introduction into the franchise was a little less smooth, for all parties involved. For Crystal and Sutton, it was especially bumpy, what with Sutton attempting to deny racial stereotyping exists on their first night together, and then walking in on Crystal naked in her bedroom immediately afterward. But unlike so many confrontations that happen during Housewives seasons, there seems to be nothing left to discuss during the reunion for Sutton and Crystal. These two have forgiven one another and achieved what I'd formerly thought to be the impossible on RHOBH: they've moved on.
Sutton does once again challenge the use of the word "violate," and Crystal once again says that she can't change that she felt violated in that moment, but they also seem fine with disagreeing on that. They've got bigger fish to fry, after all: first, they seem to be the only Housewives capable of asking Erika any actual questions about her confusing behavior this season, but also, Crystal opens up about how much racist hate she's received — and continues to receive — since this season aired.
It's awful to hear, and I'm so appreciative to Crystal for being vulnerable about it and choosing to still power through to create more representation within what is clearly a toxic community. Sutton apologizes for any part she played in the hate Crystal has received, and I was glad to hear her say it because I think the behavior Sutton exhibited at the start of the season — resistance to even acknowledging that non-white people experience the world differently than white people — is a huge part of the problem. Crystal is proof that the Housewives franchise is only made better and more interesting by bringing in different, more diverse points of view. I mean, can you imagine hating on the woman who gave us the gift of the "ugly leather pants" scene? Can you imagine???
WHAT DID ERIKA KNOW
I know some people will say that the right questions aren't being asked of Erika at this reunion (I even sort of said that last week). But, to me, part 3 proves that, between Andy, Sutton, Garcelle, Crystal, and Twitter users whose handle Andy has to read with a straight face, the questions are being asked — Erika's just not answering them. After Erika says that she was hurt when she watched Dorit and Kyle laugh with their husbands about her current situation, and they explain that they were just struggling to keep all the details of her absurd — but totally believable, they swear! — story about Tom's break-in straight, Erika says in earnest: "Well look, I'm here to clear up any questions you may have about any of those things."
A statement that will be proven to be nearly as absurd as the car-flipping story that got us here. Take a look at the exchange that kicks off Erika's clarity tour:
ANDY: The first question that always comes up is, 'Did Erika know?' Did you have any sense that this alleged theft was taking place?
ERIKA: I do not work at Girardi Keese. All the financials are kept there…
ANDY: So, the answer is… no?
ERIKA: There's your answer.
Girl! Say you can't answer if you're going to give an answer that suspicious! What is that?! Garcelle asks why Erika couldn't understand that, when the L.A. Times story first dropped (which Erika hilariously calls a "hit piece" as though it was a Page Six blog, and not a highly researched and fact-checked piece of long-form journalism) the other women would have been concerned about getting wrapped up in it. Erika whines — in between assuring us that she has never acted like she was the victim of this situation — that the only way they could be involved would be getting mentioned in an article. She was disappointed that they would be concerned because they know her, they know the truth, and if they just asked her directly, she would have no reason to "withhold" anything from them…
Which is, of course, not true on any level. First of all, they only know the truth according to her, and the truth according to her could very much be subpoenaed in the court of law! If Erika, say, told Kyle Richards a few years ago that Tom got into a car wreck that involved no head trauma whatsoever, lawyers might want to put that on the record. And on that note, according to Erika herself, she has consistently withheld information from these women about the happenings in her own life, from that very car wreck to the reality of her marriage. They would have no reason to believe that if they asked Erika for the truth, she would give it to them.
Which leads us to "the $20 million question" from Kathy in Sandy Springs, Ga.: "Who believes Erika didn't know anything about what Tom was doing?" Everyone jumps all over themselves to say they're sure Erika didn't know, but Garcelle clarifies that she doesn't think Tom was sharing his misdeeds with Erika, "however, I also think Erika was living such an amazing life that maybe there were things she didn't want to know." Which is the second realest thing anyone said all episode, followed immediately by the first…
Crystal says that something has been bothering her since they wrapped the season: if her husband did this to her, she would be livid. "Where is your anger toward Tom?" she asks Erika, as she has been invited by Erika herself to do. "Where do you think it is?" Erika hisses back at Crystal, insisting she's been showing her anger all day. And Erika absolutely has been lashing out all reunion long — at every single person besides Tom. Finally, Erika fumes that no one knows what she has done, or what she will do, so Andy asks his final question of the episode: "What will you do, Erika?"
And Erika gives her last non-answer: "You'll just have to wait and see, won't you?" See you back here next week for the final reunion installment, and one last stab at getting a single drop of new information out of Erika.
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