By Marcus Jones
November 25, 2020 at 10:00 PM EST
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Credit: Randy Shropshire/Bravo
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To get right into it, as this week’s episode of Real Housewives of Orange County does, Kelly is right to say that Shannon saying she is “reeled” by Kelly makes no sense. Shannon not knowing what “woke” means just spiritually makes a ton of sense though.

Both women are still at the reception for Braunwyn’s vow renewals, along with the rest of the cast, and are trying to resolve their misunderstanding over Shannon’s upcoming tincture (not water!).

As Shannon and her family take a break from the party, her daughter Sophie hits her with the devastating blow that Braunwyn’s vow renewal seemed much more upbeat than her vow renewal with their dad a few years ago. More to come, but Shannon’s reaction to the comment definitely foreshadows the rest of her night.

Speaking of cringey comments, Kelly is once again running around the party trying to get the oldest members of her castmates’ family’s to talk about their sex life. Braunwyn’s grandmother does seem game to have Kelly find her a new husband though.

Elsewhere at the party, it’s nice to see Gina keep to her word and have a sober night in solidarity with Braunwyn. It only makes Shannon look worse, returning to the party with tequila (Braunwyn’s trigger) in hand. Here she is blowing up her relationship with Braunwyn over an allegation that she called Gina’s house “sad,” when Gina is fully buddy-buddy with Braunwyn now, and Braunwyn has said far worse about her. Hopefully, Shannon takes the hint from Gina that it’s time to squash this beef.

Going over to Emily and Elizabeth, it remains a little weird how much the other women harp on their new castmate not having sex with her boyfriend until she finalizes her divorce. Yes, half these women have gone through a divorce and may have tips to share, but it’s not like Elizabeth seems depressed about the state of her relationship with Jimmy. If anything, it seems like she loves to make jokes about their arrangement.

Back to Shannon, in a dark, dark moment, she corners two of Braunwyn’s older children to compare her own vow renewal to their mom’s, even going as far as to lament the fact that she got divorced shortly after hers, but no, it doesn’t seem like that will happen with their mom. It’s a full nightmare the kids hilariously decompress from on their hot mics, as Shannon then drunkenly goes over to Kelly for an apology toast that goes “to no water, to Shannon’s line.”

Once again, it is painful to admit this, but Kelly is right. Even though it was kind of uncalled for to walk into the lobby and show off a bottle of tequila to Braunwyn, it is worse for Shannon to be drunk off the tequila she snuck into Braunwyn’s reception, all in front of her newly sober friend in a much more triggering environment. Their conflict does end with a callback to Kelly flicking Shannon’s nose, and Shannon defending herself this time, so it was kind of a fun moment overall.

Getting deeper into the party, where the other women are catching up to Shannon as far as blood alcohol content levels go, it’s hard not to side-eye Elizabeth shouting out her boyfriend’s “Mexican penis” that she admittedly never sees. Adding to the exposition we get from Elizabeth each week, we learn that she and Jimmy did actually have sex once, but stopped being physical with each other once he learned she’s married. 

The women try to poke further holes into her story, but at this point, it’s clear that Elizabeth just wants her divorce money, and doesn’t want her relationship with Jimmy to affect the court proceedings. They should leave it be and just let Elizabeth lie her way into a divorce windfall. Her ex had a baby outside their marriage, and she’s telling them how she regrets not having children. She deserves a little apology coin.

While Braunwyn seems to be in good spirits overall, it is still dark hearing her say that when she tried to fix things with her mom, one of Dr. Deb’s prescriptions for them was to take MDMA together. Not exactly the best idea for a newly sober individual. She has a much easier time fixing things with Shannon, but again, with the state Shannon is in towards the end of the party, will she even remember making up with Braunwyn?

As the party ends, it does seem like the Windham-Burke’s may be the ones to break the vow renewal curse, and stick together for possibly another decade. We also begin to be treated with a tour de force of Shannon scenes that start with her being disturbed to near immobility over Braunwyn’s grandmother, who lives in a COVID-19 hotspot, kissing her on the cheek. The real memorable moment though is when she returns to her room with her boyfriend John, and while he suggests she eat the meal they saved, she’s too busy looking at the sweaty deli tray that’s been sitting out for four hours, asking the maids in Spanish if they think the cubes of feta cheese are still safe to consume.

The next morning, Emily, Braunwyn, and Gina are up bright and early to go to another AA meeting. It once again does feel like Orange County this season is the first Real Housewives franchise to take a housewife going sober seriously, with Emily acting as the audience, actively listening to how the experience has changed Braunwyn without judgment. 

The scene comes in stark contrast to a hungover Shannon, whose only concern is getting room service to deliver her well-done egg whites. When they still get it wrong the second time, it kind of feels like that’s just what she deserved.

In another room, Elizabeth is on the phone with her mother, once again complaining about her divorce proceedings, which sets the stage for the episode’s final act. The women all head to hang out by the pool and discover that two of Braunwyn’s kids have lice. Hearing how Kelly downplays the coronavirus in this episode, her being the only one possibly exposed to the lice serves her right. It’s extremely tough to hear Elizabeth suggest the pandemic is a Big Pharma conspiracy in a confessional. Hopefully, her position has changed, or else that stance may ruin the chances she had of being a fan favorite.

With all the women now poolside, the topic of conversation shifts back to Elizabeth’s relationship drama. Turns out she texted her ex-husband telling him she regrets filing for divorce. Makes a little more sense that she’s so cool with not having sex with her boyfriend when she’s clearly not over her ex.

It’s hard to say Gina is wrong to advise Elizabeth to just take whatever deal she can to remove her ex-husband from her life, but as an audience, we kind of want to see Elizabeth stay the course and win in court, too.

As if having to hear her ill-informed take on coronavirus wasn't enough, Kelly annoyingly ends the episode by first suggesting Elizabeth try being a serial monogamist like her, and then throwing her in the pool. The worst of the pandemic is yet to come on the show, but it is already proving difficult to watch these women mollify a national tragedy that, as this is airing, still has not ended.

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The Real Housewives of Orange County

Bravo turns its cameras on California’s ladies who lunch (and shop, and tan, and get plastic surgery, and bicker…)
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