We’re currently in that limbo that permeates all franchises between the end of the big trip and the event that marks the finale. So we’re treated to several low-stakes scenes to continue the storylines introduced earlier in the season.
For example, we see Rachel and John Fuda consult an attorney about the possibilities and dangers of Rachel trying to legally adopt John’s son. I’m sure she is a mess. But man I sure would like to see John’s ex, just to hate on her.
On that note, we get more (too much) of Danielle, now re-formulating her story to justify being a yenta with Jen A.’s hideous arsenal “secret” – you know, the real trustworthy not-at-all fake-sounding ru-mour supposedly about Melissa that came from Laura from Marge from someone else in a trail that seems very reminiscent of the 31 Flavors scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (we miss you, Kristy Swanson 1.0!). Now Danielle, who begged Jen A. to let her in on the secret then felt weighed down by it feels obligated as a woman and a friend of Melissa to let her know about “Marge’s” dirty little secret. She put herself in Melissa’s shoes and would want to know the truth. She couldn’t hold it in and spilled the beans to her mom and husband, who agreed that Danielle should ironically be a rat. Danielle also self-proclaimed that she was a “new woman” after the Ireland trip Danielle 2.0 apparently will pick her battles and choose her friends wisely. However, she couldn’t resist almost immediately poking at Rachel Fuda once they were forced to be in the same room.
A while into the episode, we finally see Dolores and Frank, and I said “Oh right! They’re on the show!” It’s not hard to forget about them; as much as I love her and her brand of tuff tawk, he hovers on the periphery of the show, and Frank really has no business sticking around and collecting a paycheck. At Paul’s encouraging, she and her long-ago ex met up at an empty Italian restaurant to discuss an upcoming dinner to celebrate Frankie’s big new job. Dolores reflected that throughout the entire time they have known each other, she and Frank have never had a serious emotional conversation. “I don’t think we ever even told our kids we were divorced,” she owns up.
Frank doesn’t want his girlfriend, Brittany, or Paul at the dinner – but that’s not the family dynamic, which he breached twenty-five years ago with his relentless cheating on his pregnant wife. Frank then pulls a Tom Schwartz and pivots, saying that it makes him sad that he can’t just call Dolores and have her answer the phone at his beck and call. never answered his calls anymore. He cried when thinking about how he always gets the urge to call his late mother but can’t. “Not only did I lose my mother but I lost basically my best friend,” Frank said. Dolores plays it right and tells him that she is still his family but can no longer cross those lines anymore. Good for you, Dolores, and eff off, Frank.
There are also a couple of nice moments including the Gorga family. First, they discuss (again, for the cameras) the Ireland trip. She tells him about drawing a picture of the Gorgas as a family where she bawled thinking about them together coming over from Italy. She says that now she knows enough is enough – she just wants to keep her head down, to keep everything quiet so that she and her family can wish Teresa well at her wedding, and then she’s giving up. She will stop trying to please Teresa because she knows she never will. Which leads me to wonder if something else will occur that provokes them to change their minds about the wedding, since we know that they didn’t go. It won’t be what we see later on in the episode, but damn if the producers didn’t include one of the most telling and anti-Teresa scenes yet!
But back to the other nice moment: the oft-previewed scene when Joe and Melissa surprise Antonia with a white Porsche SUV for her 17th birthday. A grateful Antonia us in tears. As she tearfully accepts the gift, Melissa says, “I drove a Toyota,” to which her mother, Donna Marco, immediately shouts, “I drove an old Chevy.” That’s reality TV, baby. And it’s the highlight of the episode.
But back to the main event: Teresa is headed to her “surprise” wedding shower, which she is attending in full makeup, coiffed hair, jewels, and a white dress to brunch with her daughters (minus my favorite, Gabriella) as they plan a fancy dinner before the wedding, with Melania even asking if she can bring a date.
Then Luis calls Teresa. Teresa has Luis on speaker, and he talks about this pre-nuptial dinner (and maybe it was going to be filmed? Based on the guest list he rattles off — especially Jackie and Marge, who Teresa would never talk to without a camera around — it is meant to be a cast event.) In a hot mic moment, he says that as they discussed, he’s not inviting Melissa and Joe. Teresa then picks up the phone, says the camera is on and they’re filming, so he says, “Oh, shit.”
This is the TV equivalent of a smoking gun – clearly they are not the innocent peacemakers they profess to be on camera. They have it in for her brother and sister-in-law. It sounds like they were conspiring to keep Melissa and Joe out of a filmed event, perhaps to get them off the show and yell at them for not showing up for something. I don’t know, but it looked shady. And it’s the way they both reacted that gives it away; they’re up to something. They’ve been caught.
At the event, Tre gives a speech at the event thanking everyone. She hearkens back to the “chosen family” spiel from her love bubble party earlier this season. She called out specific attendees like her sister-in-law from California and her friends who aren’t reality TV stars, mosrly people we don’t know, but Rosanna of “Rosanna and Rosanna” fame is there. (Also, with no explanation, Ashley Darby from The Real Housewives of Potomac was in attendance.) Like last time, Melissa does not get name-checked.
“It feels very intentional and if I was Melissa, I would feel like I was not really wanted,” Margaret said. Even Teresa’s trainer says she should have said something to Melissa. But Melissa disagrees. She knows the score. She knows it’s not intentional. It’s not that Teresa hates her but that she just doesn’t think of her. This is what happened with Kathy Wakile during the Napa trip, too. I’ve said it before, but it’s just more proof that Tre and Luis want to ice Melissa and Joe out of their lives – and out of their own livelihood on the show. Even if they had gone to the wedding, the two would have conspired to find another bone to pick and hover over that instead. There’s no winning. Melissa has tired of playing the game.
But like I said before…we only have two episodes left. When does crap really hit the fan with Joe and Melissa finally deciding enough is enough? When does Marge, largely shunted to the side, actually confront Laura? Do we never see her? Does the Melissa rumor ever surface? If not, then why bother even having it in the season? So far, it has been Unlucky 13.
See you next week! (We’re close to the end!)