Atlantic City, here we come! For the first small trip of the season, the ladies are heading to the city of Sodom by the Sea for a Ramotional birthday weekend. We pick up filming in what seems to be the middle of a situation between Lady Morgan and Heather. Apparently too busy getting ready for the trip, Sonja has left Heather, Kristen and Dorinda waiting outside in the rain and chaotic NYC construction. Rude Sonja. Just rude. I can't think of any feasible excuse to keep your friends waiting outside your house in the rain, particularly when you have an army of interns, all of whom should be capable of answering the door. Meanwhile, Bethenny is running 40 minutes late, apparently on military time, because she had to drop her daughter off at school. This fun trip is starting really well. I mean, is it really that difficult to get it together for a free trip you're getting paid to take?
This limo ride looks like the incubator from hell. Everyone piling in is already upset and/or flustered with the exception of Sonja, who doesn't seem to understand why her ungracious welcome could possibly be seen as anything but hospitable. Naturally this sets Heather off on a tirade, unleashing the inner gangsta we all know and love. But Sonja is doing nothing but staring wide-eyed in disbelief and lob a bevy of excuses at our angry Hollaback Girl. You know the situation is bad when Ramona is the one yelling at everyone to shut up and calm down. "I grow tired," says Bethenny. "I grow more tired," says Sonja. On top of all the bickering, it looks like a hurricane outside and the ladies are having to make unscheduled bathroom stops on the side of the road. Thank goodness they brought wet wipes! If I were Carole and Luann, I'd be counting my blessings that I chose to drive separately. On a side note, I find it really interesting that the Countess and the Princess drove together - alone - to get to AC. If Luann was really so upset with Radzi for dating Adam the hot chef, something she had only discovered a few days prior, would she really want to spend two hours alone with Carole in a car? And oddly, they either weren't filming the separate drive or nothing worth mentioning happened, because we never see any footage of the two on their way to New Jersey. If they had spent the entire drive with Luann being angry or condescending or even remotely referencing this gigantic betrayal by her dear friend Carole, you can bet it would've been included in the episode. So, is the Countess acting outraged for a storyline? It's a valid question to chew on as this storyline will inevitably heat up.
How do you solve a problem like Sonja? After watching her on this show for nearly five seasons, I still don't have an answer to that question. In the limo, Bethenny calls her out for the airs of grandeur and incessant name-dropping - smoky eye, updo and Gstaad, smoky eye, updo and Gstaad! It's the new lions and tigers and bears, oh my! We all know at this point that, as much as she tries to convince the viewers otherwise, Sonja is a Morgan in name only, and the fall from upper-crusted grace has been anything but pretty. The delusion of living in a past that isn't coming back is just sad at this point.
The 'Wives finally arrive in Atlantic City, or as Dorinda calls it: the land of big boobs, bad shoes and short dresses. I'm confident we'll see a combination of the three by the end of the trip. The Borgata looks fantastic, and we're getting an interesting slice of Housewives crossover here. The hotel is the same place where Teresa Giudice and company filmed their epic reunions for seasons 2 and 4 of RHONJ, and Luann also filmed her controversial music video for "Chic, C'est La Vie" with Jill Zarin and Kelly Bensimon here during RHONY's season 4. Anyway, the ladies all check into their rooms to change into more suitable cocktail dresses and lace tops, and I am LIVING for Kristen's two-colored Manolos even if Ramona doesn't seem to understand them. And is Kristen re-wearing her top from last year's reunion? Incredible. Carole's Playboy bunny ears are on point for the birthday celebration as well.
After such a torturous limo ride, you'd think the ladies would want to have a peaceful meal, but Sonja the Repeater makes it impossible. Even with the ever-pragmatic Bethenny trying to give her a reality check, Sonja manages to tailspin into a crying mess. She's spouting nonsense at this point. Does she even know what PR stands for? It's not just about "promotion," Lady Morgan. The tensions dissipate for a bit as the ladies hit the card tables and the dance floor. Here's where we finally get the epic shot of a drunken Sonja screaming "WE ALWAYS HAVE A GREAT NIGHT" in an elevator with Ramona. Unfortunately, several of the ladies take turns during the night trying to deal with a plastered Sonja, with Luann fending off her attempts at a make out and playing "snatchguard" all evening, Bethenny literally ready to bang her head against a wall after hearing Sonja's "PR is promotion and I'm an artist" argument a dozen more times and Dorinda trying to corral Lady Morgan into bed amid rambling talk of parties with John-John Kennedy and Madonna. As a viewer, it really is too much, and I can't imagine having to deal with it in real life.
Of course, the next morning Sonja has literally no recollection of her intoxicated behavior, and blames her drunkenness on a change in the "baromic" pressure. Luann, Heather and Kristen all express their worry over breakfast but Sonja seems oblivious to it, busily chattering away and bouncing around the room in her robe. Acting as a concerned friend, Bethenny pulls her aside to have a private conversation about Sonja's well-being. This is a conversation B has now tried to initiate at least four different times in the last two episodes, so if that doesn't show dedication, I'm not sure what does. As Bethenny opens up about her troubles and urges Sonja to take better care of herself, Sonja pretends to listen but claims in her interview that Bethenny is projecting personal issues onto her and insists that she's really fine. "You can't help someone until they're ready to help themselves," the old adage goes. Until that point of self-awareness, maybe there is no answer to solving the Sonja problem.