Southern Charm Recap: A Tribe Called Key Best Western

The opening montage for this episode includes Cameran digging for a compliment, and Craig pandering for viewer acceptance by talking to Gizmo about making baby clothes for Cameran’s birthday. A cat! Baby stuff! I can hear the collective “awwwww!” from the pasture.

Then it’s over to Chelt-sea’s house, where Shep arrives to apologize for Commodore-gate. He tells her that he really doesn’t think she is “that type of girl,” but he was “blind drunk,” and his bleary-eyed fish just couldn’t resist her shiny lure. Um, apology accepted? Thank you for comparing me to an object that attracts a creature with a brain 1/15th the size of similar vertebrates, and for assuring me you don’t think of me as a skank who enjoys being drunkenly mauled against my will. How sweet! I would give Shep credit for apologizing to Chelt-sea face-to-face, except that I think his apology is all part of his game to slowly lure her (get it?) away from Austen.

Next we go to Cameran’s, where her two-faced, shit-stirring ways are on full display. Kathryn climbs up the porch steps in one of her signature bag lady get-ups, and sits down with Cameran for a motherhood pep talk and some juicy Thomas-Landon gossip. Kathryn removes her coat/cape/tarp to reveal the doily she is sporting underneath, and extols the virtues of motherhood to Cameran, saying the moments her children were born were the happiest of her life. Cameran, soaking up wisdom from this paragon of motherhood, can feel Kathryn’s “palpable joy” as she talks about giving birth. What Cameran fails to understand is that Kathryn’s post-natal joy was not the result of holding her newborn babies, but rather the ka-ching of the cash register ringing in her ears.

Motherhood talk aside, now it’s time for the real purpose of this scene. Cameran begins by telling Kathryn that Landon thinks Kathryn owes her an apology (she does). Kathryn responds by saying that actually Landon owes her an apology, and Cameran’s eyes begin to gleam as she sees an opportunity to dig for dirt on her friend Landon. She disingenuously asks Kathryn to explain the reason for her animosity against Landon, and Kathryn tells her it stems from an incident that took place BEFORE 1-year-old Saint WAS EVEN CONCEIVED. As Kathryn said at last year’s reunion, Thomas took Landon on a trip to Savannah on Valentine’s Day weekend that Kathryn and Thomas had planned to take together. Except they broke up a few days before they were supposed to leave, probably because of one of Kathryn’s psychotic breaks. Kathryn assures Cameran that Thomas and Landon definitely slept together that weekend, and Cameran enthusiastically fuels the paranoia, emphatically stating the situation could not possibly be misconstrued because there is no way two adult friends could spend a weekend together and sleep in separate rooms. Nope, no possible way.  Cameran now sees Landon in a whole different light.

Naomie arrives home from a long day of business school to find Craig puttering around on the sewing machine. Craig asks her if she’s going to Key West for Cameran’s birthday, and interrupts her when she tries to answer his question. Craig wants her to go because when they’re on vacation they don’t fight, but she says she may not be able to go because she is too busy. Craig of course takes this personally and snivels that Naomie is “not nice.” He also can’t believe that Naomie had the nerve to tell him that if he is disrespectful to her in Key West, she’ll leave the trip and she and Craig will be over. How dare she make a reasonable statement about her expectations for the relationship?! This is what happens when your son Facetimes you three years after he lied to you about graduating from law school to tell you that he finally competed his requirements, and you coo over him and congratulate him for doing a good job.

At Patricia’s house, Michael brings Whitney and Patricia two glasses of champagne and a box cutter on a silver tray, because, of course. Patricia uses the box cutter to open a package containing a $32,500 elephant sculpture she bought at auction while she and Whitney discuss the upcoming trip to Key West, which Whitney refers to as a “shithole.” Of COURSE Whitney thinks Key West is a shithole. It is far too accessible to the unwashed masses, flying coach from Kansas City or Boise or Des Moines, trudging to the beach with their coolers filled with Michelob Ultra before they head to Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville to sip sticky-sweet tourist grade margaritas and relive their long-ago courtships that took place in countless sports bars scattered across the fly-over states. Except that the strains of “Cheeseburger in Paradise” don’t have the same magic as they did back in 1987, before the kids and the middle-management jobs painted the lives of all these vacationing husbands and wives a dull and inoffensive beige, just like the HOA-approved color of their suburban houses. The lucky ones live on a cul-de-sac, but even the lucky ones are tired of the charade, and the husbands wish they were at home in their La-Z-Boy watching the game while the wives wonder why they gave their youth to these men, and they all just want to go back to their hotel rooms and get a good night’s sleep.

Anyway, Whitney and Patricia both predict that the Key West trip will be a shit show, and they are right.

Landon stops by Thomas’ house and they also discuss Key West. Landon is hesitant to go because Kathryn will be there and she doesn’t want to sink to Kathryn’s level. Thomas urges her to go on the trip, and just do what he does in response to Kathryn’s antics–“regardless of what happens, do nothing.” This is sage advice, and in the end Landon decides her beach wardrobe is too cute to waste, so she’ll go.

Austen and Chelt-sea are driving to Kiawah to have dinner at Austen’s parents’ house. They discuss the Shep situation and Austen is upset that Chelt-sea is now downplaying Commodore-gate. However will they get through dinner at his parents’ in light of this disturbing development? They do, and the entire scene is just as boring and basic as one would expect. I don’t tune in to Southern Charm to watch banal conversations about some beer salesman’s teenage shenanigans.  I watch Southern Charm to see Michael serving Patricia’s dinner guests in a turban in keeping with her Indian theme, or to see Thomas stash his kids in the guest house so they don’t sully the $30,000 rugs in the main structure. I watch it to hear Whitney sneer at the gaucheness of Versailles and to catch a glimpse of one of Shep’s family’s fabulous vacation homes. If I wanted to watch people have dinner in a cookie-cutter new construction dining room, I’d be streaming reruns of the Real Housewives of Orange County. Don’t get me wrong–Austen’s parents’ house is lovely, and the dinner was very nice. It was just boring, and it doesn’t belong on this show.

The first shift arrives in Key West and checks into the hotel. Whitney is unimpressed with the accommodations. Cameran, Landon, Chelt-sea and Jennifer Snowden head to the beach, where they discuss Kathryn over cocktails. Jennifer, having FINALLY seen Kathryn’s true colors, is the only voice of reason during this ridiculous conversation. It is ridiculous because Cameran, who has witnessed Kathryn’s atrocious behavior for over three years, and heretofore wanted nothing to do with her because of it, is now defending her, comparing her to a “wounded bird.” On the heels of this ludicrous assertion, Jennifer snickers and talking-heads that it is only a matter of time before the “new Kathryn” can no longer keep up the charade and the crazed harpy we all know will return to the stage. She is absolutely correct.

Landon tries to tell her side of the Valentine’s Day weekend story, but Cameran keeps interjecting with Kathryn’s point of view. Landon is understandably irritated, since Cameran’s position is a 180-degree turnaround from the way she has claimed to feel about Kathryn for the last year. It’s bad enough that Cameran is trying to drum up some empathy for Kathryn’s (imagined) plight, but then Chelt-sea-come-lately butts in with her two cents about how hard it must be to have a child with someone who then ditches you to take another woman on vacation. Landon has had enough and tells Chelt-sea that there is no girl code and asks if they can change the subject before the vibe turns more sour. Landon is right–there is no girl code when it comes to Kathryn. She is a monster.

However, Landon does herself no favors. She is a maudlin drunk and throws herself at Austen when he and Shep arrive at the beach, whining that her co-dependence is at an “all-time high.” She embarrassingly tells Austen that she’s “getting wrinkles” (no, honey, you’re not getting them–you have them) in an attempt to what? Get him to say she doesn’t have wrinkles? Tell her she looks great? It’s a transparent tactic, and Austen sees right through it, asking her what she wants him to say. Austen may actually be less uninteresting than he’s appeared to be so far.

While the girls get ready for dinner (Kathryn is wearing some sort of clown suit, as usual), Shep apologizes to Austen over a gift of cheesy matching shirts, and all is well with the bromance.

The gang meets at the beach where Craig and Naomie snipe at each other before everyone clambers aboard a party bus to head to dinner. Danni’s fiance Todd is there! Landon is drunk. Kathryn babbles that Landon wants an apology from her “because she wants to hear the words because she feels words define things,” or some such nonsense. I have to laugh at Kathryn. The poor thing really thinks she’s delivering these deep insights when she is saying absolutely nothing. Why doesn’t anyone call her on it? I think they’ve all adopted Thomas’ approach–just do nothing.

At the restaurant, everyone orders drinks–even saintly sober Kathryn because, as Landon previously pointed out, she is not that invested in getting her kids back, except to use them as pawns and/or ATM machines. Craig, high-maintenance pain in the ass that he is, orders a double sauvignon blanc, specifying that it should be served in a beer glass. Things are uncomfortable. There is tension between Craig and Naomie, because Craig is an infantile douche who can’t let anything go, and of course Kathryn and Landon’s issues are the elephant on the table. Whitney, who has recently taken up transcendental mediation, believes they must be addressed. He leads Landon over to where Kathryn is sitting and initiates a conversation between them. Things are actually going quite well–Danni points out that all they really want is to have a truce where they can be cordial to each other, and Kathryn and Landon both agree. It looks like there may be a drama-free resolution to the whole thing until Craig–meddling, clueless Craig–decides he should mediate a discussion that clearly doesn’t need it. Danni, Kathryn and Landon all tell Craig to stay out of it. Naturally he doesn’t listen, which angers mild-mannered Danni, prompting her to tell him he’s about to lose a lot of friends. Good for you, Danni! Craig throws a hissy fit and proclaims the whole group to be children, while a mortified Naomie wishes she could crawl under the table. She tells Craig his behavior is making her uncomfortable, and he replies by saying that if she keeps “correcting” him they should separate immediately. Amen! Keep correcting him Naomie!

Across the table, Landon is now prostrating herself before Kathryn and throwing Thomas under the bus, saying that she thinks he uses her as a weapon against Kathryn. She may have a point, but Thomas feels betrayed.

After dinner, the plan is to “go get shitfaced at a bar.” Craig manages to get a couple more digs into Naomie as they leave the restaurant, and Landon attempts to justify herself to Thomas, saying that she and Kathryn really don’t have a problem with each other. (Um, what?) Thomas is unconvinced by this obvious bullshit, and finds her explanation to be self-serving.

Everyone gathers for breakfast after a night of debauchery at the local drag club. Hangovers abound. When Thomas innocently mentions that Kensie is going to see the Nutcracker that evening, Kathryn asks if the 19-year-old Nanny is taking her. Here we go. Thomas says yes, then Kathryn, who is precluded by court order from seeing her children without supervision, declares that the kids are not allowed around that nanny. She jumps up and threatens that Thomas had better “watch himself” before she leaves the table in a huff. Welcome back, Kathryn! Landon chastises Thomas for egging her on and tells him he’s being a dick. Et tu, Landon? Thomas decides that Landon is someone he no longer needs to waste any time on.

Next week, the season finale, featuring Kathryn in yet another ridiculous get-up.


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