There is a lot of family time in this episode: Erika gets a visit from her mom, Crystal is concerned about her brother, and Garcelle isn’t letting her 15-year-old have sleepovers with his girlfriend because she knows what goes on in the stinky confines of an adolescent boy’s room. Erika tells us her mother is only 18 years older than her, and they have always had a very complicated relationship. Here, we get just a glimpse, including that her mother, Renée, came to see her in Chicago even though she and Erika weren’t speaking at the time. It shows that her mother supports her but also clearly doesn’t listen to her. We also see them fighting about petty things like the location of the dishwater and who points at it more accurately. It’s the kind of fight you would usually have with a sibling, but when they’re so close in age, I guess it can happen with a parent, too.
Speaking of siblings, Crystal is upset that her brother Jeff is in China, possibly trying to get his old fiancée back. It’s a little odd that her story line is all about her brother rather than about her, but it’s especially odd since she doesn’t end up looking that great in this narrative. Even from her and her husband’s telling, she and her mother shouldn’t have interfered and had Jeff come back from China during COVID, which ruined his relationship with his intended. She won’t quite admit to being overbearing, but it’s there. We’re seeing it, dare I say, Crystal clear. (Sorry, I can’t help myself.) I also didn’t understand why Jeff was crying when Crystal FaceTimed him. Is it because his meeting with the ex went poorly? Did it go well? Did it not happen at all? The whole scene ends with a question mark bigger than Dorit’s Chanel earring collection.
I do love the scene between Garcelle and her son Jaid, whom I would like to get a modeling agent right now so that when he turns 17.5 years old he can start hitting the Ralph Lauren perfume-ad circuit immediately. She’s expressing that Jax hurt her feelings in the conversation on the beach in the premiere, where he said she wasn’t around enough as a mother. Jaid doesn’t think that way, and he only wants her to let him have sex in her house, which she, quite correctly, shoots down. It makes even more sense when we get the hilarious story of Garcelle trying to go on a high-school date and her father chasing her in the car down the street. Being protective, maybe overly so, seems to run in the family.
The best part of the scene, however, is when Garcelle tells Jaid about the upcoming screening of her Lifetime Original and says that all the ladies will be there. “Which ones should I avoid, and which ones do we like?” he asks. That’s funny, but I want to hear Garcelle’s answer. Why does it cut off right there? Can’t we get a follow-up?
Erika and Dorit were surely on the avoid list, considering how they treated Jax at Garcelle’s birthday party last year. When Jax is chatting with Crystal at the screening, he sees Erika and decides to go over and tell her there are no hard feelings after she cussed him out last year. Erika apologizes to him and says that she was out of line, and they squash the beef. “What a class act this kid is to walk up and say no hard feelings. Garcelle, you did a beautiful job,” Erika says. It’s sweet that all this went down, but I’m with Garcelle; it might have meant a bit more if Erika had kicked this whole conversation off rather than a 15-year-old.
While there was lots of family drama in this episode, it was also bookended by Kyle and Sutton’s fight and Sutton’s madcap behavior. What was up with her and her photographer, Dimitry? Now, I don’t begrudge Sutton for wanting good photos for her social media, so I get why he was at the horse christening (or whatever we’re calling that) and photographing her in a supercute black-and-white outfit for Garcelle’s screening. What was crazy was that she made Dorit wait in the car while she was having her photo shoot. Making Dorit late is ironic justice for what she has done to a number of co-workers over the years, but what is worse, waiting forever for a friend while she gets glam or waiting forever for a friend while she has a photo shoot in her foyer?
But, yes, Kyle and Sutton’s fight. The episode starts where it ended last week, with Sutton “Name ’em”–ing Kyle to death. Finally, Kyle says, “What is going on with you?” The question she’s asking is clearly, “Are you drunk?” and I think that the sister of Kim Richards would know when someone she’s talking to is sozzled and is definitely well practiced at yelling at ditzy blonde drunks.
Sutton fires back, “What’s going on with you?” In her confessional, she says that Kyle has lost all of this weight, she’s exercising and not drinking, she’s not wearing a wedding band, and there are all of these rumors about her husband possibly cheating. Thank you to the editors for turning Sutton into the math-lady GIF and giving her own equation. She also says, in confessional, that Kyle never talks about herself and sees herself as up on a pedestal, and none of the other women are allowed to talk about her personal life. I think this is a fair criticism. We’ve all seen Kyle play the producer and tease out her castmates’ worst moments while staying mostly squeaky clean.
My problem here is with Sutton’s motivations. She’s trying to couch it like she wants Kyle to open up for the show but also like she’s concerned about her friend. She sees signs of dysfunction and wants to know what is going on. The way to go about that is to do what Dorit did in the second episode: In a quiet moment, she asks Kyle, “What’s going on with you? Is everything okay?” I think this is not only a fair way to talk to a friend but something we should all be doing with those closest to us.
When the two talk at Garcelle’s screening, with the specter of Denise Richards lurking in the background like a sorority sister half passed out on a settee, it’s Kyle’s turn to get a little unruly. When Sutton tries to have a calm conversation, Kyle immediately gets defensive and aggressive with Sutton. Yes, Sutton overreacts when Kyle says, “You were off,” and Sutton says that phrase cuts her to the core. Really? Being off? That could mean anything. She could be tired, jet-lagged, in a bad mood, upset that she ran out of grapefruit juice, dealing with a migraine, or wasted well on the wrong side of 5 p.m. How can that cut you to the core?
This time, Kyle says what she wanted to say at their last meeting — that if she has something to say to her about the rumors or her behavior, then she should say it. Sutton says, “Can’t I ask you as a friend?” Kyle tells her that she is full of shit, but Kyle is right. She doesn’t want to ask as a friend; she wants to ask as an adversary.
Sutton then hits on something very real: Kyle treats her with a lack of respect. Oh, yeah, that’s totally true and it’s happening (checks watch) right at this very second. Then Kyle rattles off that she doesn’t treat Sutton like a sister and to “not flatter herself.” Then she says with a paltry connotation that she isn’t mad that Sutton is friends with Kathy. As Sutton tries to get her to talk about what is going on with her, Kyle continues with a stone face and a duck lip.
The conversation ends with Sutton saying that “this friendship is a farce,” but what she’s talking about seems to be a show problem. She doesn’t know why Kyle expects everyone to be so open, but she is unwilling to confide in anyone — including her show bestie Dorit in the more appropriate conversation in episode two — what is really going on with her. This is when it becomes a workplace drama. Sutton is saying what all of the women and the viewers are thinking: Why can’t Kyle just talk about what is going on? Yes, we’ve seen some fights with her and Mo about tattoos and whatnot, but what about the country singer? What about the tattoos? What about the wedding ring? Though I may not like how she says it, Sutton has clearly struck a nerve.