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Real Housewives

RHONY Ssn 7/Ep 17 - London Calling

Glenn Rowley


Wow, what was a moving episode. We open with shots of double-decker buses and Big Ben which means Carole and Dorinda have officially arrived in UK! As the pair are ushered into the hotel, Carole's room is twice the size of her entire apartment in NYC and in admiring the view, Dorinda hilariously manages to smash her face into the double-paned British glass. I just adore how lovably real the new Housewife has been all season long, especially in small moments like accidentally bumping her face on a window. Dorinda was understandably apprehensive about returning to London, seeing as she hadn't been back to the city where she lived in her 20s and early 30s since her husband Richard had passed away three years prior. However, in her confessional, Dorinda expresses that once she was back on British soil, she experienced a watershed of emotion, feeling joyful, sad and excited all at once. 


After Dorinda retreats to her room, Carole slips into a pair of heels and her most demure blouse to go to the church where Anthony's ashes are being kept. She's nervous to meet the priest, considering that she hasn't been to church in decades and doesn't want to somehow say the wrong thing. However, she admits in her interview that she's spent the majority of her life winging it, so this experience will be one more notch in the belt of spontaneity. Arriving at the small church, she knocks on the door and is greeted by a heavily-accented priest, who introduces himself as Father Darius. Carole is visibly uncomfortable in the quiet, unfamiliar environment but masks it with humor, and double checks that she's supposed to call the priest "father." They sit in the small chapel as Carole explains her surprise at receiving the email about the urn and asks what happened to the church where it had been previously. Apparently, a bishop deconsecrated the other church and the clergy felt obliged to try returning the urn to Anthony's next of kin. An emotional Carole turns into a bit of a nervous talker, explaining to the priest that her late husband was the king of practical jokers and this unexpected trip to London is the biggest practical joke he could have possibly played on her from the other side. The priest agrees, but sees the situation as something Anthony has arranged from above, which is a nice sentiment.


In her interview, Carole explains that while Anthony was sick for the entirety of their marriage, he was stoic about it and they never actually discussed the possibility of his death. She also expresses her regret at being unable to properly support Anthony in the final days of his illness the way she would've liked to. She tells the priest that her greatest wish is that they could have just one more day together and at this point, I can't hold back the tears as I'm watching. Father Darius gently counters that this twist of events is a good opportunity for Carole to be with Anthony spiritually and she seems touched by the thought. Via confessional, she admits that they never thought much about the cancer, being young and in love they both just thought everything would work out. The priest takes her to the back room where the urn is being stored, large and copper on the mantle. While Carole remembered it being taller, thinner and not so heavy, she's taken aback by seeing it again and expresses that she's very happy to be able to hold it again after 15 years. Joking that the urn won't fit in her bag, Carole explains that she's not much of a crier and unexpectedly hugs Father Darius goodbye. On the car ride back to the hotel, she puts on headphones and retreats into her mind, admitting in her interview to being flooded with memories and thoughts she hasn't confronted in a long time. Once safely back in her room, Carole lays on the bed with the urn on the end table, taking a quiet, emotional moment to contemplate what life could've been like if Anthony were alive. She admits in her interview that the experience is having a much deeper impact on her than she expected. In her three years on the show, we've never once seen Carole Radziwill cry, but she can't stop the tears in such a poignant, emotional moment.


Meanwhile, back in NYC Ramona and Sonja are getting ready for a night out on the town, with Sonja attempting to lecture her BFF on the etiquette of one night stands. Lady Morgan feels the need to advise Ramona on her new adventures as a single woman, since she's been out of the game for nearly 25 years. Sonja starts talking about the real girlfriend code, but Ramona staunchly denies hooking up with the naked houseguest in the Turks and Caicos, insisting that Luann was the one making out and she was just playing wingwoman. As Frick and Frack are drinking white wine out of champagne glasses (thanks to Raquelle the hapless stylist intern), there's a loud, intimidating knock at the door. Sonja answers to find a pair of attractive guys in suits with a special delivery for the ladies. The men come bearing personal invitations to Bethenny's Boy Meets Skinnygirl party with flowers and candy in hand. Talk about a perfect invitation - Bethenny, I'll send you my address for the next one.


Across the pond, Dorinda comes to check on Carole with a proper English tea service. Carole fills her in on the experience at the church and the two begin opening up to each other about their experiences as widows. In her interview, Dorinda exclaims that the pair are discovering they're quite comfortable with each other. When the rest of the women are taken out of the equation, the two are really similar in a number of ways. Dorinda admits that without Carole bringing her along, she's not sure she would've ever pushed herself to come back to London. Having lived there with Richard during their marriage, it's hard to see the ghosts of her old life everywhere she turns. Each woman shares her respective story of caring for her husband in his final days: Dorinda explains that the first night she ever slept was the night Richard died, because when someone is dying there's no time to sleep. So you don't because you're constantly fearful that if you fall asleep, they could leave without you knowing. But even with all the physical and emotional exhaustion and anger, Dorinda tearfully exclaims that the experience was never a burden, but an honor. Both agree that the act of dying is a bit anti-climactic with no angels or big statements to be found. When Richard died, Dorinda left the hospital and stood in a line of other people going about their days, unable to fight for a cab. Carole describes Anthony's passing as "quite peaceful" but that after he died, she told the doctor not to touch her and couldn't look up at her husband during the prayer that was offered. In her confessional, Radzi admits that it's an amazing thing to be opening up to Dorinda about such deeply personal feelings she's never articulated to her closest friends or family. Here they are bonding over their late husbands and recognizing so many similarities and it's all happening completely organically and naturally. These two together have something special. 


The next day, the duo takes some time for shopping, where Doris brings Carole to her friend Amanda Wakeley's boutique on the famous Bond Street. In the midst of retail therapy, the two chat about the other women. Carole says she hasn't seen Luann since the Smile Train event and still doesn't understand what got into her at the decorating party. Dorinda swears that, contrary to accusations, she wasn't the one who riled Luann up. Carole explains that she loves Lu, but struggles with the pretentious Countess side to her friend. She further expounds in her interview that the Countess tends to be a hypocrite who passes judgement on the same behavior she engages in and looks down her nose at people. I'd say that's a fair assessment to the bad side of Luann. Either way, Carole points out, the Countess has kidnapped the real Luann and no one is happy about it. She posits that maybe Luann is still bothered that she's dating Adam the hot chef, but Dorinda counters that she thinks Luann simply got caught in the crossfire of a bad Ramotional decision. In a separate confessional, Dorinda explains that she understands Luann, that she carries an elegance to her and got accustomed to a particular lifestyle that shows. See, Luann isn't your typical American and makes for a very good Countess, according to Dorinda. Most importantly, though, Dorinda coaxes Carole into a hot pink sweater that her gay boyfriend would wear. 


Meanwhile, in NYC, the time has come for Bethenny's Boy Meets Skinnygirl party, which is specifically to launch the Skinnygirl Pinor Noir and Spicy Lime Margarita mix. The Queen B arrives rocking that fabulous white trench she wore last week and the red jumpsuit from her cast photo, ready to get high off her own supply of alcohol. Being a Valentine's Day party, everything is red - from the decor to the dress code. Bethenny made it a point to have good looking guys at the party to meet Luann, Ramona and Sonja's high expectations as single ladies, and jokes that they should set up a mud wrestling pit for the three to duke it out over the eye candy. I particularly have my eye on that scruffy, bearded bartender. Way to go in the boy department, B. 


Missing Bethenny's party, Carole and Dorinda decide to host their own cocktail party to reconnect with all their old London friends. Carole's seriously working a white fur shrug and Doris has a dirty martini in hand as she explains that these people coming to the party are beyond friends to her, they were her family when she was living in London as a young mom. (Among the guests is Dorinda's friend Trinny Woodall, host of the UK's What Not to Wear.) Carole explains to her leather jacket-clad group of guy friends - classic Carole - that she's now about eight months behind on her next book and has requested an extension. She's told her editor that she's about halfway done, but in reality hasn't really started. Looks like Radzi is taking her tagline to heart this year. The entire party seems like a giant reunion for both women, full of reminiscing and loving memories. In her interview, Dorinda explains that this trip has helped her see that she had a wonderful life with Richard and that there's the possibility of a beautiful life after him as well. Once all the guests have left, Carole admits that she didn't quite know what to expect by going on this trip with Dorinda but is so happy the two went together. Most of all, she glad to have the urn back in her life, which is where it belongs.


Kristen and Josh are among the first to arrive at the Skinnygirl party, and Bethenny greets them warmly, asking about how the Smile Train event went. Considering that they're two of my favorites, I like seeing these two finally getting along. By the time Bethenny's introduced at the party, Ramona is the only other 'Wife to show up and no one seems to know where any of the other ladies are. The flashing cameras are insane in this scene, though if press is what Bethenny wants, press is what she gets. Even Ramona gets behind the bar to shake up some cocktails. Eventually Heather and Jonathan show up and the party is so loud that subtitles are required for pretty much every line of dialogue. With the event in full swing, the Ramonacoaster starts loudly complaining to Bethenny that there aren't enough hot guys for her to meet. Just saying, girl. In her interview, the Skinnygirl hilariously exclaims that Ramona has a bounty on her vagina and doesn't want to go anywhere where the possibility of getting laid is basically a lock. Yet she's still a nun living in a monastery who didn't hook up with Turks and Caicos guy...Bethenny's job has officially turned into being a madam for the Ramonacoaster, never mind all those Skinnygirl products that need promoting. 


Former American Idol dreamboat Constantine Maroulis makes a surprise cameo to flirt with Ramona, but the Singer Stinger is looking for a 50-something-year-old with model good looks, a flourishing career and kids in college. It's not like a checklist of demands or anything. By the way, wasn't this the party that Jax Taylor from Vanderpump Rules was randomly at? You missed a perfect crossover opportunity, producers! Bethenny tries offering Ramona a cute bartender, but apparently even that isn't good enough because the Ramonacoaster doesn't date lowly bartenders. Bethenny shouts out that you don't say something like that to someone's face, Ramona. I thought that was pretty obvious etiquette, but some people seem to have missed the memo. Bethenny should've put a muzzle on her right then and there. Kristen wonders aloud how Carole and Dorinda are doing in London, but Ramona seems to have forgotten the reason for the trip, saying that it's probably been harder on Dorinda than Carole. However, before she can be properly reprimanded for yet another insensitive comment, Bethenny brings a receiving line of men over to the dating diva. Yet again, none of the men are up to par with Ramona's impossible standards and she exits the party just as Sonja and Luann arrive. Bethenny just can't win at this point. 


Lady Morgan and the Countess, on the other hand, are single and ready to mingle. Sonja points out that the party is loaded with men and offers the funniest line of the night, saying that she's not even skinny but there's no way she's leaving the Skinnygirl party. After dancing with a number of guys, Lady Morgan manages to chip her tooth ripping a man's cufflinks off! This story is so hilarious that Bethenny manages to pee herself and let her boob pop out of her jumpsuit in one fell swoop. Taking pictures in the photobooth, Bethenny ends the episode saying she's happy Sonja in the City came out to play. After all, it's not a real party until someone pees and someone else has a tooth fall out.