This week, we had a relatively drama-free episode with lots of real life happening for the OC Housewives. It's almost as if someone hit the pause button on the narrative that was starting to build with the trip to Napa and CharityGate between Shannon and Meghan in episodes 3 and 4. As has been reiterated time and again by many 'Wives in many interviews, sometimes your real life intersects with "reality" and that's the case here. Who would've guessed that the milestone tenth season of the franchise's original show would feature death, birth, healing a broken marriage and the circle of this crazy thing we call life? This is part of why I love reality TV, you can't predict where life will lead you over the course of filming. Nothing's mapped out and everything's a surprise.
The episode opens with Tamra and her mom Sandy packing to go to Roseville, where Tamra's going to become a grandma! Ryan's fiancé Sarah is nine months along and due any day, so the mother-daughter duo are going up for the big occasion. Tamra's already planning on spoiling the kid rotten, she's even got boots with the fur ready to go from circa 2008. She proclaims in her interview that she's going to be the hottest grandma in the OC. Maybe that's the real reason she got her boobs redone?
Meghan, meanwhile, is bonding with her stepdaughter Hayley during a session of paddleboard yoga. That's definitely a combination I wasn't expecting. I can barely balance on land let alone the ocean's surface. Meghan explains that she makes it a priority to go out and do cool things with her stepdaughter because she wants to strengthen their bond and also help out Hayley's mom LeAnn, who's battling aggressive colon cancer. The new 'Wife thinks of herself as a cool stepmom because she's young and hip and can talk about Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter #stepmomhood. Because she's so much closer in age to 17-year-old Hayley, Meghan feels she can maybe communicate and identify with her better than the other adults in her life. At this point the yogi instructor gets the two up into a pro pose, at which point Meghan promptly face plants onto her paddleboard and falls into the icy Pacific.
At what looks like the same time, Heather and Lizzie (yay Lizzie!!) are meeting up for sushi. Since our favorite Sun Kitten couldn't make it to Shannon's bunco party, Heather fills her in on the events of Vicki's mom passing away. Meghan's also recapping the sad news to Hayley, and tearfully explains that she saw the situation as if looking through a lens at Hayley. She points out that the disparity between Vicki's mom's sudden passing and Hayley's mom's cancer battle is that Vicki was 50 when she lost her mom, Hayley's having to face that prospect at 17. Back at the sushi restaurant, Lizzie points out to an emotional Heather that when all else fails, you have your family and that's what life is all about. This statement turned out to be an appropriate theme for the episode as a whole. Tamra also explains in her interview that the situation seems unfair: on the same day she's welcoming a new granddaughter into the world, Vicki's saying goodbye to her mom. The circle of life is sometimes a wholly incomprehensible thing.
At her house in Coto, a devastated Vicki is packing for her trip to Chicago for her mother's funeral. With the pain still fresh, her mind is running in circles as she processes her loss. One minute she's talking about wanting to look pretty for her arrival and the next, she's falling apart in Brooks' waiting arms. In her confessional, Vicki describes feeling lonely and lost, and is sad that her boyfriend can't come with her for support. The doorbell rings and Tamra and Eddie have dropped by to lend support. At seeing her friend, Vicki breaks down again and it's genuinely touching to see Tamra console her. These two have been through so many ups and downs, but when push comes to shove, they're like sisters. Vicki tearfully explains that her mom was supposed to come out to California in one month to take Briana, Ryan and the kids to Disneyland. She bursts out that "people can't die when you have plans!" Vicki's completely serious, but even in her darkest moments this woman is making me chuckle. Tamra offers Brooks support while Vicki's in Chicago, and explains in her interview that Vicki's family doesn't approve of Brooks, so he can't go to the funeral with her. Whether viewers love Brooks or not, it's terribly sad for Vicki to have to go through such a painful experience without her boyfriend or best friend by her side, as Tamra also points out. After a quick prayer between the two couples, Vicki proclaims that Tamra can't ever get mad at her again, because her mom liked Tamra so much. The tragedy definitely seems to be putting any unimportant pettiness into perspective for the OG.
At the Dubrow rental house, Heather's helping Nicky with a school project, and the preteen is having a very similar reaction to building a (model) house as Terry has to building one. Plenty of moaning all around, despite the seven-minute reprieve Fancy Pants gives her son as the glue gun warms up. Collette, the youngest Dubrow child, comes downstairs requesting goldfish and chips but definitely not a kiss from daddy. Heather says in her confessional that Coco is a smart girl, and knows it bugs Terry when she withholds affection. It turns out Coco's personality is much more like Heather's and the four-year-old is bothered that Terry's not around as much with such a demanding schedule. Coco has officially become the Milania of RHOC.
Shannon and David are returning home from some sort of father conference in their white Range Rover and (coordinating?) black leather jackets. There seems to be quite a bit of leather in the Beador wardrobe. Upon walking in the door, the couple promptly explain to their waiting kids that they've been learning about how fathers need to listen to their children, and David starts oversharing about why Mom was so mad at Dad all morning...and afternoon...and last night. He explains to the kids that he didn't respect her enough to call her when he said he would. Shannon rightfully shuts down the conversation and confronts David in the kitchen about the somewhat obvious fact that there are some things you don't need to share with the kids. According to her interview, the girls have already been through enough with the cheating scandal, and they don't need any more negativity in their lives. Especially if it's about something that will make Shannon look "silly." Apparently, there were far deeper issues that caused the fight, as Shannon discovered more betrayals, and demanded her husband compile a list of all the restaurants where he took his mistress so she wouldn't have to suffer through added humiliation. Shannon tearfully explains in her confessional that every time she finds out another piece of information, it's like getting a new knife to the heart. Shannon and David have both repeatedly said in interviews that they chose to make their marital issues part of their storyline in order to help other couples, but it's starting to feel as ill-considered as both seasons of True Tori.
Meanwhile, Tamra and family are up at 4:12 a.m. in Roseville to take Ryan's fiancé to the hospital for her C-section. It turns out Ryan's already a stepdad to Sarah three other daughters: Brookelynn's 11, Emily's 10 and Ella is 5. On the drive to the hospital, Tamra reminisces about having Ryan as an 18-year-old and having no idea what to expect when it came to having a baby. Aside - I must say, Ryan and his incredible beard are really doing it for me right now. Tamra exclaims in her confessional that with three little girls and a baby on the way, Ryan has no idea what he's in for. It's crazy to think how much his life has changed since the days he was trying to hook up with a 'naked wasted' Gretchen in a closet.
Back in Orange County, Meghan and Hayley's mom LeAnn are arriving at the Surf & Sand Resort to set up the pre-party for the teenager's Winter Formal. As they check into the California suite, Meghan reflects in her confessional on how much fun the fanfare always was surround high school dances: parents taking pictures, figuring out where the afterparty was and who was buying the alcohol? Meghan is determined to make the night a bonding experience so that Hayley can have a special experience with her mom. Just as Jimmy and LeAnn's husband Donny show up, Hayley's friend calls to inform the parents that Hayley somehow managed to forget her dress. In her interview, Meghan points out that with such a non-traditional family unit, it's extremely rare to have exes and new spouses get along as well as the Edmonds clan. (Also, I'm dying over her interview look with the green top.) A sullen Hayley arrives with friends in tow, stressed and blaming her mom for forgetting the dress. Teenagers, amirite?
By five in the afternoon, Ryan and Sarah's baby has been born, and it looks like Tamra may have delivered on her promise of getting a GoPro into the hospital room for Ava's birth. Ryan cuts the umbilical cord and the baby looks kind of gross covered in bodily fluids, but apparently she's perfect? Having never been in a delivery room, I'll take the doctor's word for it. Soon after, Ryan brings baby Ava out to meet Tamra, Sandy and the girls. As Tamra reflects on her firstborn having his firstborn, she says the moment feels overwhelming, precious and reminds her that she's getting old. She holds the baby for the first time and proclaims her entire world changed and cries classic fake Tamra tears over meeting her granddaughter.
Back in the California suite, Jimmy is moving a bunch of little rich girls' designer purses while Meghan is munching on a chicken skewer and giving a pep talk to a moody Hayley. The teenager is coming off like a petulant, spoiled brat and Meghan tries to explain that she has no idea how lucky she is. Meghan and LeAnn have put so much work into this pre-party and aren't getting so much as a thank you. Even a surprise professional photographer taking their pictures on the beach barely registers a reaction out of Hayley and her friends. As Meghan points out in her interview, this is all for you and this is how you're acting? Teenagers are lame. Finally, the girls' dates show up and Meghan wisely explains that it's important to capture these moments because, with Leann being sick, there's no way of knowing how many the family has left.
Vicki's back from her mom's funeral in Chicago, which gratefully wasn't filmed. Bravo took quite a bit of heat last week for airing the moment Vicki heard the painful news, and it's best that something like a funeral was kept private. While unpacking, Shannon calls and Vicki recaps the funeral services to her friend. She describes the service as the most surreal experience she's ever had, and apparently picked her mom's body up out of the casket to sob. Shannon promises 24/7 support and urges Vicki to sit down and take a breather. After all, no one body can handle this much stress.
At the Dubrows', Heather is showing her kids pictures of Ava and haranguing them for dinner. Coco's throwing a tantrum over ice cream and Fancy Pants points out in her interview that, with the kids getting older, there are a lot more emotions and activities going on in the house, which takes more work. Retreating to another room, she calls Tamra with champs in hand to wish her congratulations and starts planning a get-together for all the girls. With so much craziness going on in their lives, Heather wants to get all the 'Wives together do something silly and help take Vicki's mind off of her mom.
Meanwhile, Shannon visits Vicki with a holistic gift bag of Umcka, a homeopathic remedy for grief and a rescue remedy for calming in hand. Vicki just wants to know if it will bring her mom back. The pair sit down and Vicki tells Shannon about Tamra's new grandbaby. Shannon looks hilariously less than enthused at the news, saying she already got a picture via text from her frenemy. With the conversation on Tamra, Vicki explains that while she and Eddie came to visit, Vicki's guard is still up. At the same time, she also recognizes that Tamra has a soft heart and is human and prone to mistakes. Drawing the talk back to Vicki's grief, Shannon asks what she can do to make the situation better. However, Vicki's already figuring out how to cope, and is determined to meet with a medium, though she keeps pronouncing it 'median'. As the wife of a heavy highway contractor, Shannon knows that the concrete slabs in the middle of the highway probably don't talk to dead people, but she doesn't take the time to correct her friend.
Back in Roseville, Tamra is preparing to leave her cowgirl-themed child's room to go home to Orange County. Her tears start up again and Ryan promptly tells his mom to stop crying, which is possibly one of my favorite things he does on this show. Tamra explains in her interview that she always felt like a failure as a mother because of Ryan's past choices and mistakes, but watching him with his newborn daughter and family, she knows she's raised a good son. Ryan brings up that he wants to move back to Orange County; Roseville just doesn't feel like home. Tamra is naturally ecstatic over the suggestion and promises to help make the move easier however she can. Promising financial help without consulting Eddie spells trouble, but she'll pretty much do anything to be in close proximity to her new granddaughter. As Eddie calls to check in on the new dad, Tamra exclaims that she's just glad the baby wasn't born with a beard, thank you Jesus! Wait. Is Melissa Gorga hiding somewhere in the OC?