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Real Housewives

RHONJ: Teresa Checks In Finale - The Visit

Glenn Rowley

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Here we are - we've reached the end of the Giudice/Gorga family three-part special. For some reason, Bravo seems to have dropped the ball on these episodes on its website - the finale isn't even listed under "Episodes" on the RHONJ page. With Teresa away, the Giudice house tends to get a little more chaotic than usual - Audriana's screaming over clogged sinks and Milania's trying to feed the fish in the pond a diet of rocks and dog food. Joe points out that after a full day of hanging out with his kids, anyone would be ready to chug a bottle of wine at the end of the night. Case in point, when he comes out to the pond to discipline Milania for feeding rocks to the fish, she bolts for the four-wheeler and he manages to drop his phone in the muck-filled pond. Cue the hilarious stream of expletives from Joe's mouth as he changes into waders and jumps into the pond to find his iPhone. 

Joe and the Gorgas have decided to take all the kids up to his dad's house in the Catskills. Joe hasn't been upstate since his dad's passing, and the trip will fill weird with both him and Teresa not there. With his 42-month sentence looming over his head, it's important for Joe to make good memories with the girls and this trip should do just that. As Joe Gorga and Melissa pack, she brings up the fact that Joe will be visiting his sister in jail at the end of the week. Remember, they both applied to go see Teresa, but only Joe got approved. Melissa explains in her confessional that whatever the situation with the visiting list may be, she understands if Teresa only wants to see her immediate family in such a vulnerable situation and hopes that it will be comforting for Joe to see that she's really OK. Joe thinks Melissa will get approved to visit on the last day of Teresa's sentence. Teresa has to have a say in who gets approved and who doesn't...right?

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The families arrive at the Catskills and right away Milania gets her hands on a chainsaw. That girl. Honestly. While Joe Giudice barbecues, the Gorgas discuss how weird it is to be in the Catskills without Teresa. Melissa reminds Joe that it'll be important for him to be there for Teresa once Juicy starts his sentence. Joe insists that he's going to help take care of Teresa and the girls even if she doesn't want his help. Joe Giudice comes inside right as Teresa calls from prison. Immediately, her brother asks if he can come with Joe and the girls to visit her on Saturday and she seems excited at the prospect of seeing him. Once she makes sure the girls aren't in the room, Teresa regales her husband, Joe and Melissa with stories of handmade dildos and the legend that while you're in prison, you become revirginized. Immediately, Joe Gorga jokes that maybe he'll send Melissa to prison then. I'm almost not surprised by the TMI moments between these two families anymore. Almost. After Teresa's call, Melissa remarks that things are genuinely starting to feel like old times, and she hopes Teresa's prioritizing what's important to her during her time on the inside. What matters most is that they agree to be a family again. Cut to Joe Giudice admitting in his interview that Teresa doesn't really care about seeing Melissa while she's at Danbury. Ouch. 

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Rosie arrives to join the families and takes the kids on a buggy ride. While they're gone, Melissa and Joe Gorga have a serious chat about the families' futures. Joe can't wait to go see his sister, he hasn't slept in three days and still has three more to go. Melissa's just happy they're all with the kids and everyone is getting along. Joe says he hopes that when Teresa gets out, she comes back to "reality" and realizes what's most important in life. He sadly admits that there isn't much he misses about his sister from the past few years - he wants the old, pre-fame Tre back. 

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The next morning, Joe Giudice takes the girls to the small church his family built. Anyone having flashbacks to the Season 3 Catskills trip yet? Joe and the girls offer a prayer at the church and right as they say "amen," Teresa calls. It's a sign! When Joe tells her what they're doing, Teresa informs him that when she gets out, they'll be going to church every single Sunday; in fact, Joe should start taking the girls now. He reminds her that Sunday is visiting day at Danbury and she quickly comes up with a solution: 5:30 mass. Perfect! Teresa's learning a lot about God in prison - she always knew her Hail Marys and the Lord's Prayer, but she's learned that she can just talk to God about how she's feeling and that he'll listen. Teresa offers a prayer for her family over the phone, asking God to help keep the family together in this hard time and make the girls stronger. Most of all, she asks God to bring her back to her family as soon as possible. 

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Back in New Jersey, Joe bikes to a meeting with James Leonard, the attorney, at Lu Nello. Last time Joe was in the restaurant was Teresa's infamous table-flip during Season 1. Seven years ago, Lu Nello is where it all began, people! James explains that the Giudices are chipping away at the money they owe the government - every time the family makes money, a portion of it goes straight to paying their restitution, and the Giudices are in good standing when it comes to paying off their debts. James asks Joe what he's learned looking back on this ordeal and he says that it's to do things the right way. He's slowly climbing out of the hole he's dug and not looking back. 

Saturday arrives and Joe Guidice, Joe Gorga, the girls and Teresa's mom drive to Connecticut to visit Teresa. Preparing to see his sister for the first time in six months, Joe Gorga feels numb - he never thought he'd be doing something like this. Melissa asks him to send Teresa her love and let her know that she's praying for her every night. Whatever the list situation may be, Melissa is sad she can't see Teresa. Even after everything that's gone on, she wants her sister-in-law to open up to her more. On the drive, the girls recite all the rules the prison has about visiting: no phones and no shorts allowed. Gia explains that even though they visit every weekend, saying goodbye is the hardest part. Milania announces that they've made it and the screen goes black. 

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Obviously no cameras were allowed inside the prison. As the family reconvenes in the car after the visit, Joe Gorga explains that he and Teresa were raised not to cry, but seeing her in prison broke him. He felt helpless not being able to do anything for his sister, and sat there crying for the first hour of the visit. However, seeing Teresa gave him hope - no matter what's gone on for the past seven or eight years, they are there for each other as a family. In his final interview, Joe Giudice wishes that he could wake up and Teresa would just be home, but they continue to take things a day at a time. He's not even thinking about his sentence yet. When the time comes he'll go and get it done, and can't wait for this entire ordeal to be behind them for good. Teresa is expected to be released on December 23, 2015. Joe will begin his sentence in March of 2016.