Sigh, well TrashCrabs, here we are. At the end of a long road, paved with nothing but well manicured shrubs and the pungent aroma of dying Housewives, stumbling down the gravel path with bloodied bare feet and a grim jaw set with determination. Here we are, at the Season 2 finale of The Real Housewives of Potomac.
The Potomac ladies have been given a fair second chance this season, privileged with a bona fide vacation and a sassy new voice to round out the etiquette cheerleaders we met last year. Did they take advantage of these new upgrades? Well, I don’t think so, but I’m not about to leave my dusty little muskrats in the dirt just yet.
It was a good ride, weighed down by some boring, hopeless plot lines at times, but still peppered with charming one liners and tangy sass and the overwhelming ridiculousness of Karen Huger. And this week all those elements came to a head, tied up in a neat little racially insensitive bow.
Like all good finales on shows about women dismantling feminism, this episode started with a retrospective on all the terrible shit the women have put each other (and us, the audience) through. This season has been rife with a series of embarrassing dating misadventures, a new player who is humble and discreet enough to brag ad nauseum of her five homes, a human praying mantis who is trolling the hovels of the fields in search of a new lair, petty gossip from Watch What Happens Live, a giddy bobblehead setting grease fires in a failing restaurant, two kooky and opposite roommates who can’t tell if they should just fuck or split up, plenty of fights, and lots of “rebranding,” whatever that means (in Real Housewife World, “rebranding” means “I’m a 50-something woman with anxiety and depression, someone please save me from myself”). Whew, that’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get to it!
The first scene is totally disorienting, like waking up in the bed of someone you met at PJ Calamity’s last night and needing remember what feels like two years of activity to make sense of how you got here. We’re back in Charrisse’s living room, at her immensely nonsensical “Champagne Room Party.” Two weeks ago this is where we left, and for some reason I had thought we had trudged past this whole food fight o’ shit. But nope, like a 31-year-old idiot who still hasn’t grown out of her 20s (that’s me, you guys), the Real Housewives are still up to these antics, banging their bodies into a fleeting dream who will never text them back.
This just seems like poor scheduling on Bravo’s part, and a gentle reminder from Andy Cohen that the Potomac ladies are sort of a Division III team in his league of reality stars. It’s fine to straddle a big fight between two Housewives episodes, especially if it’s A GOOD’UN, but not when you’re going to separate those two episodes by a week of nothing and then land the second one on a holiday weekend where literally no one will be tuning in. Honestly, I can’t remember what this stupid little drag-out’s about, and honestly, I don’t care.
But since I am the recapper here, I’ll start doing my job and fill you in: Karen’s just informed the group, beneath her massive wig of roadkill and hay, that she’s moved – quite suddenly – to a new house in Great Falls (additionally, she’s reasoned that she’ll only stay there if she decides not to move back to Potomac to build a new house, and I’m no Alan Greenspan or anything but this entire plot seems massively ill-conceived from a financial perspective). Ashley bats her eyes and gathers her knees to her chest, stabbing Karen right in the heart with the one truth that Karen’s been running from: this relocation means she’s no longer the “Grand Dame of Potomac.”
Unsurprisingly, Karen responds by bursting into flames and growls out satanic incantations, reminding the group that she’ll take advice from “the people who bestowed [that bullshit title] on me and not some idiot sitting on a couch.” Ashley counters that Karen needs to “sort out” whatever problems are driving her to steal away in the night and not misplace the anger through name calling, but Karen retorts that Ashley knows nothing, and is surprised that her girlfriends aren’t “being supportive” and “celebrating this new move” with her. I think it’s hard to celebrate something that you refuse to talk about and instead treat like a distorted monster baby you keep chained up in the attic, but OK, Karen’s got a right to her feelings.
Ashley titters to herself in her interviews, laughing at the sweet karma of a woman falling so hard and so fast from a position of authority that she herself created. She explains to Karen that the group simply has questions about this objectively dubious relocation, and the fact that Karen’s dodging those questions alerts Ashley that Karen is either lying about or hiding something. Karen merely sits up straight as a rod, purses her lips, and insists that she doesn’t need to answer shit. Instead, she says, “I’m going to do me.”
Robyn tries a gentler approach – one that refocuses attention back on the greatness of Karen – and asks Karen when the group can see her new home. Karen explains that she’ll probably host her 20th Anniversary Party at the new Great Falls compound, but Ashley needles in further by wondering if it’ll be an anniversary party and housewarming “all in one.” Karen ignores the question and goes back to the whole support meeeeeeeee! wah whine-a-thon she’s been leaning on, warning the group that she probably won’t invite some of them. Even Monique, who just recently manufactured a fight to kick a grown woman out of her own backyard, finds this approach an aggressive one, and thinks Karen “is coming down too hard.”
Gizelle asks Karen if there’s a theme to this party that is obviously in the works right now as we speak and not being made up on the spot. “Um, EXOTIC,” Karen yells breathlessly, hoping she sounds cultured and put-together. “So… exotic like how?” Monique wonders, “Around-the-World?”
This is a convenient place for a cliff note: when the Housewives label something “exotic,” they’re usually being racist about something or someone, so let this serve as a Chekhov’s gun. To prove my point, Gizelle asks if they’re going to need to “dress up” (ostensibly in costumes, so yeah, the Cultural Appropriation Express is chugging on in). Karen, who again, has definitely been planning this party and has a ton of details nailed down, worries her lip a little before she’s like, “Ya know what? The details are forthcoming.”
Great! Ask me how excited I’m not.
Ashley offers a half-assed apology for harassing Karen with an inquisition, mostly because she wants to be invited to this stupid details-TK insensitivity bash. Karen says she’ll think about it; Gizelle reminds Karen to remember “The Sisterhood!” she’s always squawking about. Convenient how that sisterhood only exists when Karen’s not being a petulant asshole.