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The Real Housewives of Potomac Recap: Crabs in a Barrel

Of all the weeks for the women to step up to the plate and deliver, it’s a shame that Potomac had to compete with the Academy Awards, because 16 weeks in, we are finally getting episodes with some meat on them. We had conflict resolution, conflict escalation, crabs, and lasered vaginas! Acknowledging that a successful episode this season requires clearing a very low bar, I had an all-around good time this Sunday. Let’s dive in.

Keiarna might have joined the cast partway into the season, but she is establishing herself quite quickly, filming with Wendy and Candiace at her medspa business. The simple fact that she is promoting a business that is already healthy and active puts her two steps beyond some of the more established cast members who seem to rotate through profit-making concepts each season. Was the blurred-out shot of Candiace getting her vagina lasered while Wendy and Keiarna watched a bit over the top? Absolutely. Did Keiarna also sell me on the idea of getting lasered as a relatively pain-free experience? Also yes.

Ultimately, this scene was to serve as a bit of damage control and reset the trio’s established narratives: Candiace and Wendy were able to reestablish that they are on good terms with their friend despite any early hiccups on the DR trip; Wendy was able to remind everyone that she is, indeed, still working on her talk show; Candiace was able to slip in that she’s planning on gunning for Robyn, yet again. This time around, she has latched on to the fact that Robyn used the word “defamation,” which she claims is loaded with the implication of building a legal case. I really don’t think Robyn has the wherewithal to take her grievance with Candiace that far, but it would be irrelevant if she ever did — Robyn or Juan didn’t experience any material or compensatory harm that at the hand of Candiace’s flip-flopping screeds. Perhaps Candiace is lashing out because she fears landing in a legal proceeding over this show for the third time, but the grounds for making a scene out of this are fairly slim.

Charrisse explains the reality of the situation between Robyn and Candiace quite well, stating that Candiace allowed social media to take precedence over a real friendship. However complicit Robyn was (or unintentionally seemed to be) in last season’s storylines, the punishment has far exceeded the crime: Her husband is now regularly humiliating her on camera, and Candiace is using every platform available to reinforce that Robyn is a bad person to a point of absurdity. Both Keiarna and Charrisse point out what we have seen with our own eyes: Despite all of this public fuming, Candiace harbors a lot of love for Robyn, but isn’t willing to drop her grudge and move towards reconciliation. This results in erratic arguments that pivot from despair at Robyn being unwilling to engage to overstated aggression at minor slights, the latter of which we see at Charrisse’s crab boil event.

As a friend of the show, Charrisse is best utilized in small doses; she is connected enough to have individual relationships with the bulk of the cast (save Karen), and can be trusted to clock in and try to move a story forward. That was clearly the intent of her crab boil — a misnomer as it was actually a Maryland crab feast with steamed/boiled crabs, which is neither here nor there — where both Jackie/Mia and Robyn/Candiace would have a chance to hopefully come to terms over a well-cooked crustacean. Trouble was already on the horizon when the crabs came to the table with no butter or seasoning salt (it is a crime to throw a crab event in the Baltimore area without heavy amounts of Old Bay at guests’ disposal), meaning that the women were barely eating as the drinks were flowing.

Jacqueline’s return to the show, while a bit hectic, has been much needed for viewers to see some gestures towards closure in her relationship with Mia. Despite her claims to the contrary, Jacqueline was understandably holding a significant amount of bitterness in the fallout of her 30-year-long friendship with Mia — how else would you possibly feel if an ex-bestie took a bawdy joke about “getting some more dick” to such extreme levels as allegations of intimate partner violence? The duo do eventually have their one-on-one, away from the bushel of crabs, and it is probably some of the most honest TV we’ve seen this season. Jacqueline admits that she feels she has given Mia a lot of passes due to the prior assault that she experienced and Jacqueline feels guilty for, and Mia confirms that she has been punishing Jacqueline for a situation none of them can go back and change. It is also revealed that Jacqueline didn’t know for two years, which is a long time for hurt and pain to fester between friends when something of this magnitude isn’t being confronted. It is no surprise that their dynamic unraveled when subjected to the outside pressure of cameras when they have never truly healed from that wound. Jacqueline doesn’t forgive Mia’s behavior, and insists that lady Thornton needs to work through her temper issues, but it is a substantial step forward from a few hours prior when she was calling Mia evil, and sometimes that is all you can ask for.

While Jacqueline and Mia find common ground, Candiace and Robyn are more disparate than ever, unwilling to accept Charrisse’s pleas that the duo move forward in their relationship. Not only do they resume their usual bickering, Candiace brings out evidence of a claim that Robyn was sending their conversations to bloggers. I know this is supposed to be incendiary — as the RealityVonTease scandal of RHOSLC showed us, admitting to building relationships with bloggers is very taboo in the reality community — but it isn’t really coming out in the wash for me. Any sensible person at this point knows that reality stars push their own narratives to Page Six, People, TMZ, bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters at will. Many of the biggest Bravo podcasters are former cast members themselves who leverage their inside relationships and knowledge to get followers. But this isn’t about Two Ts in a Pod with Teddi and Tamra, it’s about the fact that Candiace feels vindicated in proving that Robyn uses her social capital to prove her point, the same way that Candiace publicly does interviews with blogs and opines on social media. To that I say… okay? It feels like an empty win, and one that doesn’t really accomplish anything, although editing’s Deep Throat voiceover hijinks as Candiace played her corroborating voice notes were amusing.

As usual with these two, nothing is resolved, and Robyn is even more convinced that nothing is salvageable between them. Charrisse drunkenly screams at them — a mildly shocking but amusing insight as to how she acts when let loose — and Candiace eventually picks up her handkerchief, dabs at the corners of her eyes, and makes her exit. As the singing diva admits as she heads out the door, “don’t cry. This is what I do.” Hopefully she, and the group as a collective, can break free of the patterns that hold them hostage soon.

Next week, the GnA athleisure line makes its unseemly debut, and all hell breaks loose between Deborah and Keiarna. See you all then!

Cherry Blossoms

• It was touching for the show to devote a full segment to Gizelle sending Grace off to college. We have seen her grow up into a beautiful young woman, and the love between them is clear. Grace doing a solo confessional to give her mom praises as her last scene on the show was sweet.

• Karen inventing a crab allergy for Ray to get out of attending Charrisse’s all-cast event is so childish and petty in a way that only Karen can pull off. I may be frustrated with the way that the cast has refused to fully participate all season, but Karen has been more than pulling her weight and gets one freebie from me.

• Charrisse’s amusing side stands out much more in small doses. Insisting she has no issue with Karen while calling her “the grand scam,” asking about happy-endings massages, clocking Nneka’s Party City crown — these are quick, cheeky moments that hit better when she is not taking up too much screen time. More of this next season!

• Mia, in the middle of a serious discussion with Jacqueline, casually saying, “could you imagine a 65-year-old man married to a young tenderoni like me?” is so unserious that I could not help but burst into laughter.

• What was with the terrible editing in the fight between Candiace and Robyn? Were they trying to dub over a name that Candiace said and just used ADR to say “blogger/podcaster?” It was such an obvious patch job that it was briefly disorienting.

Shamira Ibrahim , 2024-03-11 15:50:15

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