The Real Housewives of Potomac

S6 E5

Pack your fake-Away rose gold luggage, disinfect your stripper pole, and prepare to recalibrate your initial judgments of The Real Housewives of Potomac's newest Housewife and settle back into the pot-stirring ways of one of its oldest. Because Candiace has inexplicably chosen historic Williamsburg as the location of season 6's first group trip, so these women are going to be left entirely to their own devices to drum up any entertainment that doesn't come in the form of a tri-corner hat.

And drum-up they do! I went into this hour expecting it to be a transition episode as the women headed into a trip where Gizelle and Karen would have a signature end-of-episode throwdown with their signature mouths-stuffed-entirely-full-of-tapas. But ultimately, there was plenty to dig into before the women even hit the party bus pole, thanks mostly in part to New Girl Mia. I still don't know whether to trust Mia or not (I mean… I can't really think of any Housewife I trust not to hurt my feelings except maybe Kathy Hilton, and she's a Friend-of), but there is no denying that she is a dynamic addition to this cast and to the Housewives franchise as a whole. When she was just casually like, It's easy to get caught up in thinking your children need you to provide a rich life for them, when what they really need is just YOU, I felt that. I'm not even a parent, but I felt that.

Mia's contribution to the show is exactly what we've come to expect from our Potomac Housewives: love them or hate them, they're going to push the needle. And they're going to push it in every direction, in every season, pretty much every single episode…

Enter Gizelle, arriving at Ashley's house a few days after the birth of her adorable new baby Dylan, who appropriately blows up his whole diaper the moment Gizelle sits down. (It really is lovely to see how much Ashley enjoys being a mom, and if anyone knows how to digitally remaster Michael out of those scenes featuring her adorable sons, please don't hesitate to reach out.) Gizelle fills Ashley in on everything she missed at Candiace's pajama party, listing off her three pressing agenda items along the way: to cartoonishly glare at Karen anytime it's possible, to figure out the underlying reason behind why Wendy from being Dr. Wendy last season to "Miss Wendy If You're Nasty" this season, and finally, to get to the bottom of how Mia "went from Annapolis to dancing in a strip club in North Carolina" so that she can learn how to keep her daughters from the same fate.

And ain't that just Gizelle. You can be laughing with her one minute, only for her to fall right back into some judgmental First Lady of Nothing nonsense. Because anyone looking at Mia can surely tell she's landed on her feet. That she has a nice life — the kind of life where your nice, supportive husband carries 20 throw pillows to the park for your nice, adorable children to relax on at your nice, picture-perfect picnic. The only reason Gizelle is casting her stink eye upon Mia is that she was open and forthcoming — just imagine if Gizelle had gleefully gotten to dig this intel up on her own — about working at a strip club. And that's nothing to be judgmental about because sex work is real work. But Gizelle is about to eat her words all the way up anyway.

Even though Gizelle never did get in touch with Mia's Assistant, Mia agrees to finally grab those drinks with Gizelle and Robyn. And if you can believe it, this woman thanks the Green-Eyed Bandits for bringing it to her attention that her text messages were rude, because she "doesn't want to be like that." Mia says in her confessional, "I can be a little harsh sometimes, but I'm working on it," and I really believe that. A Housewife acknowledging that she may occasionally be wrong, and attempting to grow? Maybe this is what the future looks like! (But also: don't change, Mia, those texts were iconic!) They talk about Mia's husband and children, and then Mia shares "the biggest part" of her backstory, and what she really wants Gizelle and Robyn to understand. She tells them that she grew up in foster care because her mom was addicted to drugs, and her dad was abusive; she tells them about arriving at school with cuts and bruises all over her body, and how that was the last day she ever went home because one of her friends reported it; she tells them that her dad died of AIDS due to heroin use.

Gizelle is finally stunned into silence, and I hope she thinks again the next time she wants to pass judgment on someone's former station in life. She tells Mia that given how much she's been through, "it's a testament that you're sitting here with a fur coat and a beautiful dress." Mia is, for the record, eating wings in a formal metallic gown during this scene, and honestly, I would have her no other way.

Finally, after Karen chats with her cute cousin David about being named the Ambassador of Surry County, and Wendy chats with Eddie about the fact that you actually have to have money and a registered business name to, y'know, start a business, it's time for everyone to board a party bus to — checks notes — Colonial Williamsburg! Candiace, who is still trying to make "husbandger" happen, is somehow the only Housewife getting along with everyone right now (though she does blame her headwrap being too tight for forgetting to invite Ashely) and is therefore hosting this trip. I mean, Bravo is paying, obviously, but everyone meets at Candiace's house to board the party bus, so by Housewives-law, that means she's hosting.

Aboard the party bus, there is a stripper pole, and upon that stripper pole, everyone attempts to take a spin while the shadiest editors in the biz run a "tip tally" at the bottom of the screen. I believe Wendy scores the lowest amount with $15, given that she falls off almost the moment her hands hit the pole. Robyn certainly flirts with the most danger when she slams "coochie-first" into the pole. And Mia schools them all by actually managing to lift her feet above the bench seats and fly around that pole like J-Lo in Hustlers. All the other women tell Mia there's no way she's never done that before, and Mia clarifies that she's never done it for money.

The estate where they're staying is gorgeous, and they should probably just stay there the whole time instead of trying to, like, visit any battlegrounds or whatever Candiace has planned for them. Of course, that's if we even make it past the first afternoon. When everyone sits down to lunch at the house, Gizelle looks around the table and says, "So would anyone like to apologize to anybody before the trip gets started?" Everyone blinks at her. Mid-chew, Karen deadpans, "Are you talking to me?" It is a perfect gif of a moment, and the rest of the argument, wherein they both state that they're waiting on the other to apologize, is pure comedy.

Because here's the thing: neither of them really deserves an apology! I mean, Karen did expose Jamal for filth at the last reunion, but Jamal is filthy…

However, Karen deserves an apology even less. She is grasping at straws with this idea that Gizelle needs to take accountability for talking about her family when her only example is the time Gizelle said something sassy about Ray four years ago because Ray told her she needed to get a man before she got ugly. And Karen knows she's reaching because when Gizelle and Robyn start yelling that Gizelle never "wished death upon Ray," Karen snips that she doesn't want to talk about it. And maybe she's just trying to keep her head clear for whatever goes into becoming the ambassador to a rural county in Virginia… but I think it's more likely that Karen just doesn't have a whole lot to say to back her story up.

But she's about to! Because suddenly Gizelle is crying out, "I want Ray to live! I want Ray to pay his bills!"

These two! It's always too much — it's never enough. See you back here next week to see Gizelle tackle her final, and least advisable agenda item: Dr. Wendy If You're Nasty. To be continued…

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The Real Housewives of Potomac
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