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Real Housewives

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 5 - Game Changer

Glenn Rowley

vicki-phone-call

This episode was so difficult to watch. I felt so much for Vicki this week. In one of those all-too-crazy moments of lives coinciding, I'm writing this recap roughly 1o hours away from where I live, as I'm with family for my grandpa's funeral, who passed away last night. Watching Vicki's heartbreak was a poignant reminder that in the midst of the fighting, feuds and entertaining moments that we call reality TV, real life is still happening. Just like it is for all the fans and viewers. That fact has perhaps never been more apparent than in the passing of Vicki's mom. However, before we get to that life-changing phone call, let's start at the top.

Meghan and Jimmy are moving AGAIN. We're only five episodes into the season and this is officially a nightmare. They've been packing for pretty much every single episode. They're also kind of bickering, with Jimmy taking a couple of shots at the female gender for creating so much clutter in their house. Meghan tries to do a little damage control in her confessional by claiming that no one's giving out compliments during a move, it puts everyone on edge. That may be true but there's no getting around it: Jimmy Edmonds is getting a bad edit. Every time he's been on screen this season, he's appeared dismissive, condescending or downright rude to his new wife. This time, even his sweet mom is there to help and it's not doing his attitude any favors. Kind of reminds me of the Jim (Bellino) who came before him on this show. (Speaking of, maybe Jim Bellino is the reason everyone seems so insistent on calling the newest Househusband 'Jimmy'? Just a thought.) The bad marriage edit continues as Meghan explains in her interview that the stress of constantly moving is adding tension to their marriage.

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Apparently, the Edmonds also happen to be moving into a rental in the Beadors' neighborhood, which is the perfect cue for Shannon to give Meghan a call. What could this possibly be about? Judging by their previous interactions regarding phone calls, I'm bracing myself for another disaster. However, after starting with a slightly passive-aggressive "I heard you had a good party the other night..." Shannon's actually calling to invite her new frenemy to a bunco party at her house. Definitely not what I was expecting, and from the look on her face, it came out of left field for Meghan too. Rather than just accepting the invitation, Meghan can't help but point out her surprise at Shannon calling her, considering their recent history over the charity phone call from hell. Shannon explains point blank that this is her attempt at extending an olive branch and moving forward, but Meghan can't seem to let it go. She's officially beating a dead horse - the charity event is over and there's no way this feud has enough potential in it to last the entire season. Shannon starts getting defensive because Shannon Beador is a person of her word. After assuring Meghan that the newbie would be safe in her home - literally - Meghan pops back that she looks forward to Shannon proving it to her. The look of indignation on Shannon's face here is priceless. Proving herself to a 30 year old? Preposterous! After reiterating the invitation, she hangs up and stomps off, muttering under her breath about the unbelievable balls on this new girl. I think Defensive Shannon might be my new favorite Shannon. 

Across town, Vicki and Tamra are having a day of relaxation at Spa Gregorie's. Wearing fluffy robes and sipping complimentary alcohol, the two discuss Tamra's impending grandma-hood. While Tamra's assuaging the viewers' fears that she could ever possibly wear granny panties, Vicki predicts in her interview that becoming a grandmother will inevitably change Tamra's perspective on life. According to the OG, Tammy Sue is due for a little softening of the heart. Talk of grandmotherly changes done with, the two get naked for Hydraquench body treatments and sauna masks. Tamra points out that, although the two have had their share of ups and downs in the past few years, they can always have fun together, and it's nice to see them putting effort into rekindling the BFF-ship. We're also treated to a shot of Vicki's bare butt. This is really a bizarre situation.

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Meanwhile, Heather's taking her four kids to the Bellagio Spa and Salon to get their haircuts. She explains in her confessional that she used to take them to a bonafide kids haircut place, but eventually you need a real haircut. Does this mean she'll be sharing her in-house salon with the kids? This entire sequence serves to explain that the Dubrow kids are feeling the strain of their dad not being around as much because of his work schedule. On top of his regular surgery practice, Terry is in the midst of filming the second season of Botched with fellow Househusband Paul Nassif for E! As a result, he's gone from home even more than usual, and Heather's feeling frustrated at having to be everything to everyone while Terry's busy filming. 

shannon-bunco-invite

Riled up from the end of their previous phone call, Shannon decides to call Meghan back. Maybe they should just stick to email at this point? Pony Express? Shannon explains that she's having a hard time swallowing Meghan's "prove it" comment, and reiterates that she's extending an olive branch and she doesn't need to prove anything. Shannon makes a point in her confessional to clarify that she's "clearly the bigger person here," and that in the interest of moving forward, the bunco party invitation will remain open. Again, she stomps off in a huff because this girl is just such a "f***ing thorn in [her] side." By this point, I'm pretty much dying of laughter. I've never been the biggest Shannon Beador fan in the world, but I could watch her get riled up over little things every day and be completely set for entertainment. For the past two weeks, I've been firmly Team Meghan, but I have to say, I'm starting to see Shannon's side in the situation. Seeing Shannon Beador's perspective is something I never expected to do, but it's happening. 

In Coto de Caza, Vicki and Brooks are at home meeting with their health coach Lenka. I must say, it still feels weird not to clarify it as her home since he's now moved in and taken his place as man of the house. Apparently Lenka believes that you can rid your body of any chemicals and toxins in it, like cancer, through plant-based food. Vicki wisely explains in her confessional that she's not an oncologist or doctor so she doesn't know how to cure cancer. If she did, there'd already be a cure. For some reason, I believe this. Anyway, Lenka's philosophy is to starve the cancer cells in Brooks' body. She also recommends "forest showers" and organic coffee enemas. This is the second time coffee enemas have been brought up and I'm praying that Brooks Ayers and a coffee enema does not get shown on my screen. Please no. Vicki also points out that she learned so much about holistic medicine last year from Shannon, and if it works for her, why wouldn't it work for Brooks? I'm all for using holistic medicine to supplement oncology, but if Brooks has Stage 3 non-Hodgkins lymphoma, why aren't they trying more aggressive treatments? 

shannon-panicked

The next day, Shannon's finally prepping for her bunco party. Since there will be fewer than 20 people in attendance - 12 to be exact - Shannon's cooking for her guests. After all, anyone can pick up a phone and call a caterer, but not everyone can slave in a kitchen for hours before a party. At this point, David walks in with a smile on his face and launches into a story about how he just ran into a girl Shannon saw at the beach the other day. How funny is that? Immediately, Shannon looks panic-stricken and utterly terrified. Is he trying to tell her something in code? Did he see his former mistress? As it turns out, he really did just run into an old friend of Shannon's, but her reaction is both warranted and painful to watch. She explains in her interview that David's promised that if and when he ever runs into his former mistress again, he'll just keep walking and never speak to her. As part of repairing their relationship, Shannon's choosing to trust him. Talking to her friend Kristina, Shannon claims she brings up the affair enough, so she wants to be careful not to bombard him with constant pleas for reassurance. It's a razor-thin line to walk when there are clearly so many valid trust issues that need to be worked through. The one thing Shannon does promise is that if David ever makes contact with the woman he cheated with again, Shannon will be out the door and never coming back. In order for the Beadors' relationship to succeed, there has to be absolutely no secrets between them. Well, it's certainly more difficult to keep secrets when you're putting your marital issues out there on national TV for the world to see. This storyline is uncomfortable to watch, but I hope it's helping some couple out there who are watching the show and working through their own infidelity issues. I also hope that couple has a qualified marriage counselor.

heather-terry-botched

Before the bunco party, Meghan and Jimmy are unpacking in their new four-month rental. At this point, I'm confident that watching other people move is as much fun as actually moving yourself. Meghan claims that neither wears the pants in their relationship and that, while he controls a bit more of the finances, she even put her name on their last house. Feminism! The Edmonds now have four months to find a house under $10 million with a three car garage and a view of the ocean. Tick tock. Also pre-bunco, Heather's going to Terry's practice to film a segment for Botched. Thanks to the E! hit, the good doctor has become a veritable star on his own, like the reverse of a pre-divorce Kelsey and Camille Grammer. Each week on the show, there's a small human interest story, and in this particular episode, the human interest story will be about removing some sort of growth from Heather's hand. The Dubrows' date nights have officially devolved into Heather receiving minor surgery. However, out of all the OC husbands, Terry is clearly the best, even if his new filming schedule is interfering with family time seven months of the year.

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Well, the time of the bunco party has finally arrived, and Shannon's putting the finishing touches on everything with the help of her non-Housewife friends. I always find it rather interesting when a 'Wife involves so many of her other pals in filming an event. Let's face it, there's no way this bunco party would make the final cut for the season if it was just Shannon and her friends. Naturally, Meghan is the first to arrive, sporting an ultra-trendy black and white (faux?) fur vest. The tension between the two is thick in the air with no one there to serve as a buffer, but Meghan says in her interview that she recognizes Shannon trying to reach out. Maybe they can move on after all? Shannon sets aside the wine she was supposed to donate at Meghan's charity event for the newbie to take when she leaves, which Meghan sees as a passive-aggressive reminder that Shannon's still being the bigger person. One-upping the wine donation, Meghan tells Shannon she brought her a gift and has Shannon read the accompanying note on camera, which is kind of a weird thing to do. Annoyed, Shannon claims in her interview that this thirty year old is simply trying to make herself look good, rather than genuinely bringing the gift as a peace offering. Thankfully, Heather and Tamra both arrive before it can get any more awkward, with Heather sporting a blinged out cast on her hand. Former Housewife Jeana Keough is there too, and Vicki's finally the last to arrive. Vicki hasn't played bunco since Tamra's disastrous 80's party in Season 7 and thinks it's a silly game. Instead of rolling a bunch of dice, why can't they just sit and talk? Before the competition starts, we learn that Tamra is back in the real estate game and Meghan spends almost 50% of her time alone while Jimmy's in St. Louis. Red flag? Vicki thinks so.

meghan-bunco

Being a good hostess to "bunco virgin" Meghan, Shannon explains the rules of the game. In her confessional, Meghan exclaims that she has no idea how to play bunco, but it's what old people play for fun in Mississippi. The OC ladies really love their bunco, and after 10 seasons I still don't understand anything about it other than that you roll a bunch of dice. Feel free to educate me in the comments. Over the course of the competition, Meghan, Shannon and Vicki all talk about how competitive they are and how much they hate losing. Ladies, it's kind of hard to justify being competitive in a game that is 100% luck and requires no skill. But, as Vicki states, she doesn't lose in life, she wins. his is where it gets hard.

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Vicki retreats from the game to use Shannon's landline phone, having been alerted that something was wrong. She calls Briana to find out that her mom had unexpectedly passed away. In an instant, Vicki's entire world has crumbled around her. Immediately, she collapses to the floor and starts sobbing in confusion. Apparently, her brother Billy found their mom at home on her bed. The death seems surreal, as Vicki had just spoken with her mom that morning and she'd been in perfect health. Shannon comes to check on the situation and finds her friend crying hysterically. Soon, the rest of the group is alerted to the noise and rally around Vicki in tears. Heather calls Brooks to come pick Vicki up and then tearfully calls her husband to inform him of what's happened. As Heather puts it so perfectly in her interview, this group of women isn't perfect. They have differing opinions and fight sometimes, but when push comes to shove, they're all friends and need to be there to support each other in times like this.

vicki-mom

Eventually, Brooks arrives to bring an inconsolable Vicki home. Still reeling from the sudden loss, Vicki tearfully explains that she wasn't ready to stop learning from her mom and she doesn't know how she's going to function without her. I don't know how anyone could've gotten through watching this without breaking down in tears. I certainly didn't. In her interview, Vicki tearfully reflects on what she'll miss most about her mom - her spunk and love for life. Flashbacks play to some of her mom's funniest moments on the show, from calling Vicki's blonde hair yellow to justifying her road rage. The love between mother and daughter is evident in the clips and it's painfully clear how much Vicki adored her mom. As she says in her confessional, her mom was a whoop-it-up lady at the age of 83, and that's where Vicki gets it from. The episode ends with a touching title card "In memory of Joanne Steinmetz."

As I said, this episode was painfully emotional to watch. I can't imagine having to experience such a sudden, life-altering trauma on top of having that moment captured on camera. However, the flip side of that is that fans and viewers have the opportunity to reach out and support the OG we've loved watching so much for the past 10 years in the wake of her loss. So, in that spirit, share your thoughts and send Vicki some love in the comments below...