We're now seven episodes into the season and the storyline is finally starting to pick up again after taking a moment to regroup from the tears, tragedy and life changes of the past couple episodes. The residual aftershocks are still being felt, particularly for Vicki, but it was nice to see the women get together this week for some laughs and good times.
This week starts off with Shannon at the gym, ready to get in shape and shed some pounds. She explains in her confessional that she and the scale have become good friends as of late, since the "freaking thing keeps going up." Determined to lose weight, she heads to Pacifica Wellness for her first training session. According to the gym's scale, she clocks in at 134 pounds, which may not seem like much but is about 15 pounds over her usual weight. As is typical, Shannon is no holds barred when putting her life in front of the cameras, and it's pretty brave to disclose your weight on national TV. Equally brave was lifting her shirt to expose her stomach on camera - that's something I wouldn't do at this moment and I don't have to fit into a bikini. Shannon's toning her body up for the first time at age 50, and it's a painful process, or as she describes it "a freaking nightmare" and "pure hell." Way to go, sister. Now I need to hit the gym.
At CUT Fitness, the exercise professionals are also busy at work. To combat a dip in sales, Tamra and Eddie are branching out into the world of fitness videos. However, working together is starting to create friction for the couple: Eddie thinks sex sells and likes the producer's idea to film "quickie workouts" but Tamra's against it. Once they get in front of the cameras, the two start getting on each other's nerves and bicker over how to film their opening lines. Everything Eddie does, from hand gestures to introducing Tamra to saying his own name manages to come out wrong. Tamra asserts that Eddie treats her like an employee when she's at the gym and warns viewers in her confessional that working with a spouse isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Meanwhile, Vicki's decided to hire a medium to try to gain some closure over her mother's passing. Brooks and her brother Billy are at the house for the session and she's invited Tamra and Shannon over as well. While they're waiting for the medium to arrive, Shannon asks Brooks how his cancer treatments are going. Post-chemo, he's stuck to a juicing regimen and has lost over 40 pounds in five weeks. Shannon's recommended a doctor who combines a holistic approach with Western medicine to help treat Brooks' cancer, and is frustrated that Brooks hasn't taken her up on the offer yet.
The medium arrives and announces that they'll be having a big old-fashioned séance. Vicki explains that she doesn't typically rely on the paranormal, but if the experience gives her some peace, how could it hurt? Tim, the medium, reminds everyone to keep an open mind, but Tamra is skeptical. In her interview, she says she believes in mediums - and even goes to one - but also believes that there are plenty of sketchy fakes out there who take advantage of people's grief. Once the séance starts, the medium connects with Joanne's spirit and begins delivering messages about everything from her dental work and Billy's need to do a cleanse to her grandson's new tattoo. However, when Tamra's questions the medium on the type of tattoo, he glosses over it, somewhat passive-aggressively calling Tamra's interruption "cross-interference." Now, mediums have a storied history on the Housewives (Alison DuBois, anyone?), but this guy seems far from convincing.
At the Edmonds house, Meghan's learning how to effectively stepparent. With Jimmy splitting his time between Orange County and St. Louis, Meghan has the primary responsibility to take care of 17-year-old Hayley. Apparently, the teenager is doing independent study through the public school, but isn't turning in assignments or showing up at school. Meghan does her stepmotherly duty by giving Hayley her weekly $100 allowance and encourages her to save the cash and learn money management skills. In her confessional, Meghan admits that she puts a lot of pressure on herself to parent her stepdaughter well, but hasn't yet gotten a grasp on the job.
Later, Shannon and David are having pre-Valentine's date night at Mare. The Grey Goose is flowing as Shannon explains in her interview that V-Day hasn't traditionally been the best holiday in the Beador household. Last year, she gave David, who was in the midst of his affair, a gift and a card but got nothing in return. To make up for the failures of Valentines past, David presents Shannon with a shiny Neiman Marcus bag carrying a handwritten card and a gorgeous John Hardy dragon bracelet. (I did some research and the bracelet retails for $3900. No big deal.) David tearfully explains that though they've been through some huge struggles, the two have held their family together and he loves Shannon for that. She reciprocates that while she couldn't imagine sitting together and having this conversation a year ago, she knows fixing their relationship is possible. This storyline has been difficult to watch (it feels like intruding on really private ground), but it was really nice to see the Beadors in love and moving forward in their marriage.
The next day, Heather and Tamra meet to do some exercising on a giant 250-step staircase and catch up on each other's lives. On the beach following the staircase climb, Tamra opens up to Heather about the tensions with Eddie and the gym. She explains that Eddie doesn't like to be bugged or talked to when he's working, and that she feels second on his list of priorities. Heather offers valuable advice on the importance on having face time with your spouse and making your time together meaningful. She also shares the news that she and Terry are in the final stages of developing their line of skincare products, Consult Beaute (no, not the same as Gretchen Christine Beauté...)
Finally, the ladies all meet up for a night of bowling to reconnect and get Vicki's mind off of the recent sadness about her mom. Meghan's ready to win, but Heather and Tamra are sticking to bowling in heels. Vicki may want bowling shoes by Gucci or Louis Vuitton, but either way the ladies could really benefit from using bumpers. Vicki ends up beating Meghan by a single pin, and is the only 'Wife to break 100 by the end of the night. During the game, Tamra asks Vicki about Brianna, who's still struggling with her mom's relationship with Brooks, and asks Vicki's permission to talk to her about it. Vicki suggests that the duo take Brianna to Vegas to dance on some bar tops, but when Tamra points out that they'd need to hire a babysitter, Vicki reflexively says that her mom can watch the kids. The statement stops the OG in her tracks and she realizes that she forgot for just a moment that her mom had died. The new normal is going to take Vicki a long time to get used to. Shannon also pulls Vicki aside to discuss her concerns about Brooks' health, but Vicki brushes it off by telling her to leave the treatment to the professionals. The OG also happens to remark that she hasn't been to a single one of Brooks' doctor's appointments yet, which seems like a questionable red flag...
After bowling, the 'Wives meet Lizzie (who missed the game due to a broken rib) for dinner at Costa Mesa hotspot SOCIAL. Heather's ordering food for everyone, Lizzie's wearing an adorable pastel yellow blazer and Shannon's shrieking about the amount of food in front of her, when Meghan announces she's hosting a couples game night at her house for all the ladies during the upcoming week. However, Vicki manages to top that announcement by making a toast to thank the women for their recent support in the wake of her mom's death, and invites them all on a girls trip to Tahiti! More specifically they're going to the island of Mo'orea, but not even Fancy Pants knows where that is or how to spell it. Tamra doesn't know where it is either, but definitely knows it's not in Mexico. Throwing shade at Jesus Jugs! It seems a bit early for the season's big cast trip, but recent events have apparently managed to upend the traditional filming schedule, and the 'Wives could use an escape from all the sadness.
On the limo ride home with Vicki, Tamra announces that she wants to be stuffed like a mannequin when she dies, which seems potentially traumatic for her loved ones, and the limo manages to break down on the side of the freeway. Vicki immediately starts panicking and choking on imaginary fumes, and I can not get enough of this classic Vicki/Tamra situation.
Meghan arrives home to an empty house to discover Hayley's unfinished stock market assignment left out on the table. Apparently, being a #coolstepmom isn't going to cut it to motivate the teenager. At first Meghan is angry, but then starts to blame herself and wonder if she didn't work with Hayley enough on schoolwork. In her interview, Meghan tearfully explains that she feels very alone in parenting with Jimmy gone all the time, and has expressed to her husband multiple times that she feels like a failure of a stepmom. When they got married, she really thought she could do this whole parenting a teenager thing, but is now worried she may not be up to the task.
The episode ends with Tamra and Eddie running through Tamra's new booty workout class at CUT Fitness. After seeing the workout, Eddie incredulously asks if that's all Tamra has come up with, and Tamra finally tells her husband that she might need a little break from the gym. She expresses to Eddie that it feels like he doesn't need her there, and he admits that it's easier when she's not at the gym because it means they don't fight. Tamra explains that she's starting to miss the great relationship they've always had and thinks it's important that they each have their own focus, which is why she's going back to real estate. The couple come to an agreement that Tamra moving her attention away from the gym full-time will be best for their relationship, though she's quick to remind Eddie that it's still a project they share. After all, she owns 51% of the business, which is something Eddie would be wise to remember...
Next week: Tahiti!