Hi, hello there, excuse me. Am I in the right place? Vulture summoned me from my off-season home inside the walk-in at Valter’s to partake in this supposedly special occasion. But where is the catchy intro song? This is just the Deadwood score made from TikTok sounds? No one informed me this was a bring-your-own serotonin event.
Before I got screeners, I planned to ignore Vicki’s presence for the following 1,000 words as a silly little gag. But it turns out huffing nothing but fumes from the Shahrrest party bus for the last two years has done a number on my memory because damn near all of these women are really something. Fired, paused, on hold, let go, mutual decision, whatever — usually, when people are no longer on TV, there is a solid reason. Too much unpausing happening here. Someone get them back in the cryogenic freezers before the real decaying starts!
Alas, it’s still night one. Brandi is blasted, alternating between screaming at people to shut the fuck up and attempting to convince people (1) that Taylor’s husband’s suicide was the worst thing to ever happen to her and (2) that they should all get naked. She’s sent to bed, which is a bummer because it means Vicki is at least 42% more comfortable. Dorinda, freshly marinated with lobster juice, reports that she doesn’t know how to manage dick-slapping, pussy-facing, coffee-drinking, church-going, and mother-calling all in the same day. The great struggles of modernity!
Vicki tries to sneak to her room for the night to start guzzling the 30 pills she was prescribed by a Facebook thread because she had COVID, which she describes as “the best thing ever.” Eva straight-up asks her, “Oh, you’re anti-vaxxer!?!” and it’s the best two-episode character arc I’ve ever seen. Love to bear witness to someone ripping off the rose-colored OG worship glasses and swiftly becoming a hater when presented with new information they somehow missed the last 16 years. A rousing vaccine discourse occurs, ending with Dorinda in her Gray Gardens x Hill House mumu, frothing wildly about unicorns and then apologizing to Vicki. Everyone goes to sleep, to do confessionals in Mary Cosby’s closet, to talk about anal, or to engage in whatever other rituals scrub their brains clean for another day of making reality television.
Speaking of which, it’s day two, and those Cameos aren’t gonna record themselves. The gals are up bright and early to strap in for six different group activities. Phaedra examines the dusty bacon. Eva’s already been to work and back. Vicki whines to Tamra for something to protect her stomach lining from that vat of horse medication. Brandi apologizes to Taylor, and Taylor refuses to emote anything resembling her actual feelings. Dorinda does an interview with PAPER, which better be feature-length, and if it’s not, consider this my pitch to go to Bluestone Manor and do it myself. Jill Zarin — oh, wait — Jill Zarin is here. The editors pull out the “I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR ANY HATERS, YEAH” royalty-free muzak, spin up some drone footage, and her surprise entrance is still the dramatic equivalent of dislodging a tonsil stone.
Quorum reached, the gals can begin their pizza party, which is spent roasting Jill for bringing a rolling rack and sounding like a QVC presenter like either of those things are bad in the year of our lord, Deborah Vance, 2022. Everyone has enough time for precisely three bites of burrata before they have to run to a sound bath before hitting the ice cream party. There’s a fascinating relaxation dichotomy on display here. On one extreme, we’ve got Phaedra, who is like, “Whew, normally I don’t pack my vacations so full, but I love a lady who’s organized.” On the other extreme, we’ve got Vicki, who is like, “Sitting is a waste of time. If I don’t open Outlook every nine minutes and say ‘fiscal, family, faith’ three times fast, I will wither into an unlovable husk.” Just something to think about for anyone with even the tiniest nubbin of PTO.
Anyway, Eva and Taylor have a genuine conversation about domestic abuse and different types of female strength. It’s a reminder that no matter how much glitz and glam and greige-spackled-Restylane lip puffery is going on, these women still have to be people in the world, and a lot of being a person in the world is total shit. It’s also not as jarring as it should be, probably because their moment of vulnerability is fleeting. They quickly hug and make a pact to get drunk.
The pact is indeed fulfilled! To cap off the longest day on planet Earth, the ex-wives head to Ventford Hall, which is notoriously haunted by The Morgans. The ghosts are still angry about that time in season 11 when Dorinda put her bare claws all over their letters, so they get revenge by forcing her to dress like a Christmas tree trapped in the Baz Luhrmann cinematic universe.
Before dinner, there’s a quick coffee reading. Everyone gets mad at Brandi for talking, Jill gets mad at coffee for not being Diet Coke, and Vicki gets mad at the coffee reader for wearing a mask. Some real all-star stuff across the board. RING-A-DING-A-LING! It’s the bell to commence the introduction of the salads. I will use it to introduce the two main factions that continue to unfold between the ladies in this episode.
In one corner, we’ve got Taylor, Vicki, Tamra, and two-thirds of Dorinda. The team mascot is a pearl-clutching its pearls. They all think Brandi is “dumb as a doorknob” and refuses to learn from being told not to call people bitches. There is a lot of self-righteousness, policing, and that purple shampoo people use to ensure their ‘spensive hair doesn’t get whatever the hell brassy is.
In the other corner, we’ve got Brandi, one-third of Dorinda, plus Eva and Phaedra. Their team mascot is a five-milligram Sativa Sour Strawberry gummy cut into thirds with a pair of cuticle scissors. Everyone here who isn’t Brandi is caught up on Selling Sunset and knows the only thing worse than a senseless villain is a senseless villain vindicated by non-stop piling on. But Brandi? I won’t even pretend like I understand what motivates her behavior. Chaos? Horniness? Desperation for love coupled with an inability to read the room?
Case in point: Somewhere in the midst of screaming at people to shut the fuck up, Brandi thought it apt to ask the Ventford Hall chef if his wife is a lesbian. Phaedra asks her how she came to this conclusion, and Brandi responds, “her eyebrows.” The gals engage in a stirring debate over whether you can tell someone’s degree of sapphic attraction by eyebrows alone. It’s nothing if not continued proof that we as a country need to encourage open and comprehensive discussion on sexual orientation and gender identity for kids (and for middle-aged ladies who are yet to find any semblance of the queer community).
Anyway, I should probably be off before I go long on which character from The L Word Brandi most identifies with (my money’s on Bette sun, Alice moon, Jenny rising, but Tina’s gotta be in there somewhere). See ya whenever RHOSLC is back!