People are trickling in to Shep’s house for his birthday as the main players are on their way to the party. Whitney arrives first, then Cameran, who immediately starts stirring the pot by asking Craig if he invited a date. To Craig’s credit, he tells her he thinks it would have been distasteful to bring someone to the party when he knows Naomie is going to be there. Cameran wonders why he thinks bringing a date would be in bad taste. Um, duh. What a good friend Cameran is–constantly talking out of both sides of her mouth and encouraging her supposed friend’s ex-boyfriend to bring a date to rub in her face the first time they’re going to see each other since their breakup. I never thought I’d live to say this, but I am impressed by Craig’s maturity and sensitivity in this moment. Cameran appears to be disappointed that there will be no Craig/Naomie/date drama.
Cameran also takes the opportunity to get in a sideways jab at her good friend Shep while she’s complimenting him on his new house, saying that if he took the time to renovate himself the way he renovates his rental properties, he’d be a perfect ten. Some things may have changed in Charleston, but Cameran remains judgmental and snide. I am over her “sanctimonious” commentary (tm Thomas) and her endless two-faced shit-stirring.
Ashley and Thomas are discussing the new nanny, and Ashley wonders why Kathryn has to approve of who is watching her children. Kathryn is the worst, but isn’t it a little too soon for Ashley to be inserting herself into Thomas and Kathryn’s custody arrangement? Regardless, it’s definitely too soon for her to suggest to Thomas that they get married so she can be the children’s caregiver. Slow down, girl.
In another car, Naomie, Danni, Kathryn and Chelt-sea are getting themselves all riled up for a confrontation by discussing how awful JD has been to Liz. Turning the conversation around to herself–as always–Kathryn complains that Thomas did the same thing to her that JD is trying to do to Liz; that is, made her look unstable and crazy. Um, Kathryn? Thomas did not make you appear unstable and crazy–you did that all by yourself.
All of this is just a prelude to what we really want to see–all these ex-couples, new girlfriends and wayward husbands thrown together for the first time and the juicy drama that will surely ensue. At first, everyone just awkwardly greets each other and engages in innocuous chitchat. Kathryn and Ashley briefly meet; Ashley extends her hand and tells Kathryn it’s nice to meet her. Kathryn of course snubs the gesture, mumbling that she needs to hide Shep’s present in the house. Upstairs, Ashley and Thomas engage in a little too much PDA while Kathryn and her posse look at them with varying visages of disgust.
Shep gives Naomie some really good advice about why she and Craig should honor the time they spent together by remaining friends, but in her talking head Naomie brushes it off, saying that she’ll take advice from Shep about how to drink heavily and avoid hangovers, but not about relationships. That was pretty bitchy of her. I’ve been 100% Team Naomie thus far, but I’m not liking this angry version of her so much.
JD arrives, and this upsets angry Naomie so much that she has to leave the house to get away from him. Why is she so invested in what’s going on with JD and Liz? Outside, Kathryn snarks to Naomie and Danni that Ashley should have shown more “respect” during the two seconds they met each other (huh?), and wonders why Ashley would tell her it was nice to meet her when clearly it wasn’t. It’s called manners, Kathryn. Kathryn thinks Ashley seems dumb, which she does, and Naomie thinks she seems nice, which she also does. Kathryn isn’t having that–she’s used to these girls doing nothing but enabling her shitty attitude and abominable behavior. Somehow she keeps it together, her disdain for Naomie’s comment revealing itself only through a twisted grimace. For now.
The food is finally ready. Cameran and JD talk about her pregnancy at the table–it’s not as bad as she thought it would be, but she doesn’t love it. She likes having boobs, but is not looking forward to six months down the road, when she’s expecting them to resemble teabags. When Cameran is being candid and not dispensing advice about her friends’ lifestyles from her lofty perch of being better than everyone else, she is quite refreshing.
Craig and Shep’s friendship seems to be back on track as Shep is impressed by how Craig and Naomie are handling being around each other. Craig remarks that everyone is working through their respective awkward situations to be there for Shep, and I am filled with confusion. Who is this Craig? Where is the sniveling pussy I have ardently loathed for the last 3 seasons? If the showrunners can make me like Craig this season, they are magicians of the highest order.
Kathryn approaches Thomas while he is standing by himself, sipping his cocktail. Thomas, ever clueless, compliments her new hair color by telling her a lame blonde joke.
They have a conversation about the new nanny, and even though Kathryn is upset that Thomas has already hired someone without her final approval, she manages to articulate her position without turning into a screaming harpy. What is going on here??!!! Thomas tells us in his talking head that if Kathryn had acted like this when they were together, things would have turned out differently. No shit. Kathryn has obviously processed how badly she has come off during the course of this series (to sane people, at least–there’s is no fathoming how her legions of rabid stans have excused her behavior all this time) and is determined to rehabilitate her image. So far she’s doing very well–almost Camille Grammer well–but I doubt it can last. The real Kathryn will rear her ugly head eventually. Tick, tick tick…
Ashley approaches Thomas and Kathryn and says all the right things. She’s heard a lot about Kathryn, respects her as a mother and thinks her children are beautiful. Kathryn seizes onto this statement to throw a dig at Thomas–“oh, you’ve met them then,” she says, as it she didn’t already know this. She comments that she’s taken aback by all this because Thomas didn’t tell her he had a girlfriend. This is Kathryn at her disingenuous worst. No one–but no one–buys that she is surprised by the situation. As if she doesn’t troll Thomas’ social media 24/7 and is not hyper aware of every move he makes. Please, girl.
The conversation teeters on the brink of major awkwardness after Kathryn’s feigned ignorance about Thomas and Ashley’s relationship. While Thomas shrugs in the background and wishes he were anywhere but standing between these two women, Ashley manages to defuse Kathryn and the three of them part with no scorched earth in their wake. Again, I’ll give it to Kathryn. She’s doing a really good job of pretending she can behave like a mature adult. For now.
Shep gives a gracious toast after everyone sits down at the table, and it looks like dinner may turn out to be a convivial gathering–except we know it won’t be, because we’ve seen the previews and know that Naomie is about to blow a gasket. Whitney asks JD if he’s dating someone, and JD makes the mistake of joking about the end of his marriage. Naomie, Kathryn and Danni all squirm with outrage over his cavalier remarks and I’m sure Naomie is going to lose it, but then the tension is cut by Shep opening a present–it’s a blanket from JD, in case JD needs to crash on Shep’s couch (because his wife has thrown him out and he is just a good ol’ boy bachelor about town these days, get it?). JD’s jokes are in really bad taste, especially around these people who are all friends with his estranged wife.
Cameran gets up from the table, and WHERE IS THE DRAMA? She, Shep and Craig are in Shep’s living room talking about the demise of Craig and Naomie’s relationship when Thomas and Ashley go into the bathroom together. And apparently have sex there.
Eww. What is this girl thinking? I don’t expect any better from Thomas, an unabashed lech who told an entire party that he was going to “seal the deal on site” as he followed his girlfriend into the house. But this is the first time Ashley has met many of these people, she knows Kathryn is a ticking time bomb, and she chooses to have sex in a virtual stranger’s bathroom during a party? It doesn’t get any tackier, and all the points Ashley has racked up so far are gone. Gross.
Back at the dinner table, here we go. Naomie attacks JD, telling him he should be a better husband, that she picks his wife up out of bed every day, and that he’s a piece of shit who is going around town sleeping with 20-year-olds.
Danni gives her two cents, Chelt-sea calls him a con man, but surprisingly it is Kathryn who definitively puts JD in his place with a coherent dissertation peppered with big words she actually uses correctly. This is the first evidence of the superior intellect Kathryn is always telling us she possesses, and I am stunned. We are no longer at Shep’s beach house; we have all fallen down the rabbit hole and stumbled into the Mad Hatter’s tea party. It is a parallel universe indeed where Kathryn actually deserves some respect.
JD weakly defends himself during this 4-pronged attack, then, realizing he is not going to win here, does the right thing and leaves the party–gracefully, given the circumstances. Maybe there is something to the southern gentleman thing. The entire exchange was ugly and unnecessary, prompted by JD’s inappropriate jokes about his marriage and Naomie’s disproportionate outrage over it. All the women need to shut up with their #metoo/#timesup narrative–that’s right, I said the women need to shut up. Everyone was wrong here except for Whitney, who knows when to GTFO of a situation and escapes upstairs where he tells Craig, Cameran, Shep, Thomas and Ashley what just happened.
Craig is alarmed when he hears how Naomie tore into JD and immediately goes to find her. We are still down the rabbit hole, because when he finds Naomie, Craig is AWESOME to her. He says she did the right thing by sticking up for her friend and he has her back. He calmly and articulately explains why she shouldn’t jump to conclusions about things she’s heard he said without knowing the context. They discuss how hurt they both are over their breakup and how disconcerting it was for both of them to think the other wasn’t having a difficult time with it. It is sweet and sad to see them like this, and again–what show am I watching and who are these people?
The next morning, everyone is going about their daily business. Shep surveys last night’s detritus, Chelt-sea warns her trainer she’s a little hungover (but she still made it to the gym–impressive!), Cameran is fiddling with baby stuff, and Naomie and Kathryn are rehashing the party. That is, they rehash the party for about 2.6 seconds before Kathryn yet again turns the conversation around to how Thomas victimized her, making everyone who didn’t know her think she was crazy. While the world rolls its eyes, Naomie has the decency to let this comment go by without a response. Poor Kathryn is happy to have Naomie to confide in because she doesn’t know how to have girlfriends since Thomas dominated their relationship to the point where she pushed all her friends away.
We have exited the rabbit hole. Here is Kathryn rewriting history again. Kathryn doesn’t have girlfriends because she’s a paranoid narcissist who sees other women as either enemies in competition for Thomas’ affection or strategic allies in her attempt to Camille-ize her image–so she can win back Thomas’ affection. Naomie doesn’t have a clue what she’s dealing with here and thinks she and Kathryn have begun a true friendship. She, like Jennifer Snowden, will eventually learn.
Thomas and Ashley are at dinner, where she resists his repeated urging to do mescal shots. She wants to stick with wine, but he thinks shots will spice things up. Why does Thomas think Ashley needs shots? Clearly she’s a sure thing. They talk about Kathryn. Thomas believes she doesn’t want him, but that she doesn’t want anyone else to have him or for him to be happy–she just wants to win. In his talking head he says that whenever estrogen is involved, it’s all about women not wanting to look like the loser. Please shut up, Thomas. You’re an idiot.
In case making inane statements about the role estrogen plays in women’s behavior didn’t drive the point home hard enough, Thomas proves how utterly clueless he is by telling Ashley that if Kathryn had been the “nice Kathryn” when they were together, he’d still be with her. Dear God, not this again.