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Real Housewives

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 11 - A Psychic Surprise

Glenn Rowley

vicki-brooks-bday-blowup

Uh oh, here comes the cancer storyline. Now that the ladies are back from the cast trip to Tahiti, we're moving into the second half of the season and the confusion and rumors surrounding Brooks' cancer will dominate the drama in coming episodes. The unfolding of this storyline will be particularly interesting in light of the news that Vicki and Brooks have officially called it quits via a joint statement earlier on August 16. 

shannon-queen-of-fun

The episode starts at the Beadors with Shannon and David sitting down with twins Stella and Adeline. Shannon Beador, Queen of Fun is none too happy about the twins' TP'ing shenanigans during their first sleepover and is ready to lay down the law. Stella, who's still in on crutches thanks to the adventure, argues that everyone's TP'd at least once in their lives - even Dad has done it! In a classic dad moment, David manages to derail the disciplinary conversation by copping to throwing pumpkins at mailboxes as a youth. Stella's on a roll, talking back to her parents and throwing out that they don't understand what it's like to be 10. According to the pre-teen, the only fun Shannon knows how to have involves drinking. Shade! As punishment for the night of vandalism, Shannon and Dave are making the twins right a letter of apology to the owners of the house they TP'd. This turns out to be the end of the world for the 10-year-olds because the entire point of the TP'ing was for a boy they liked. Sufficiently humiliated on national television, Stella crutches away, refusing to write the letter of apology to her crush's parents. Parents, they just don't understand.

meghan-jim-babettes

Downtown, Meghan and her giant shoulder cutouts are having some alone time with Jimmy for the first time in three and a half weeks over lunch at Babette's. Thank goodness for technology or the couple would never even communicate with each other. Meghan fills Jimmy in on the comments Vicki made in Tahiti about Hayley. Jimmy wishes Meghan would've told Vicki the way they parent the teen is none of her business. However, the newbie admits that she said she agreed with what Vicki was saying, but didn't know how to assert herself more as a step-parent. Her husband says Hayley doesn't have the drive and Meghan needs to stop pushing so hard and just keep an eye on her. So, is Meghan supposed to be a parent or a babysitter? 

Meanwhile, Tamra and Eddie are at home with Tamra's mom, Sandy. Tamra lets Eddie know that on Friday she's bringing the ladies to the gym to prototype her booty class, but hasn't practiced teaching yet. Also, Ryan and his fiancé are visiting the same weekend to look at houses - (remember when Tamra promised Ryan she'd do anything to help them move back to the OC?). Tammy Sue also explains that she's meeting with Scott Cruz, a psychic whom she refers to as her "spiritual advisor" the following day, and that Heather and Meghan are tagging along for the reading. Apparently, the psychic has been right about everything he's predicted - from Tamra's custody battle, kids, husband and business to the gender of her granddaughter.

vicki-garden

The next day, Vicki is busy putting together a memorial garden for her mother in her backyard, complete with angel statues, wind chimes and a water feature. Brooks joins her in the yard to get a recap of the trip to Tahiti. Even having gone on vacation, Vicki is still feeling in a funk after her mom's passing. She claims in her interview that Brooks has been her rock throughout this time in her life and it's important for her to be able to lean on him. While Vicki was in French Polynesia with the other ladies, Brooks was busy going to appointments with doctors and figuring out the next step in his cancer treatment. Vicki explains in her confessional that this is the third time Brooks has had cancer since 2009, as he tells her that he's found a doctor with a new alternative treatment he's anxious to try instead of chemotherapy. 

rhoc-psychic

Tamra, Heather and Meghan get together for the aforementioned visit with the psychic at a restaurant called Sapphire. Before he arrives, Tamra admits to the other women that this is the first time she's actually met her spiritual advisor in person. Apparently he lives in LA so their multiple sessions per week consist of plenty of FaceTime and phone calls. Once Scott arrives, the women are anxious to get him liquored up and talking, though Heather wonders in her interview how good of a psychic he really is if he didn't arrive with his shirt off to show how built he is. After giving a reading about Heather's grandmother, Meghan's future child and how Shannon sees Meghan as a threat, Tamra brings up Vicki's recent hardships including her mother's death and Brooks' cancer. Buckle your seat belts because this is where things start to get dicey. The psychic says he may be picking up the energy other people's thoughts on it, but he has a "wishy-washy perspective" on the cancer. He just doesn't see it. Tamra presses the issue, asking if Brooks doesn't have cancer, and the psychic responds that it's very possible. The allegation makes all three women uncomfortable, with Heather quick to say she can't imagine someone doing such a thing as faking cancer. Meghan, however, points out that she knows a former co-worker who collected disability for a long time by faking cancer, preying on the sympathy of others for attention. The psychic also quickly backtracks by emphasizing that he's not any kind of guru (or doctor for that matter) and that just because he doesn't see the cancer doesn't mean it's not there. He recognizes that it's a very sensitive issue and doesn't want to offend someone if the cancer really is there. In her confessional, Tamra says it's not a good idea to bring up what the psychic said to anyone, especially Vicki - who will likely blame her for the accusation if she were to find out.

tamra-psychic-2.png

I'm going to pause for a moment and break this down because it's a big allegation and, as I said, it will drive much of the conflict for the rest of the season. Several questions could be asked about this psychic's reading. If Tamra's been consulting with him for a year, how much has she told him about her friends? Has he seen past seasons of the show or followed reports in the news about Brooks having cancer? I'm not saying Tamra intentionally prepped him to drop a bombshell on camera, but did he really come into the situation without any prior knowledge? Another valid point is that just a few episodes ago, Tamra was calling out another psychic during the big old-fashioned séance at Vicki's house, so what makes one psychic more credible than another? What makes Scott Cruz right about things he can't see but the medium from Vicki's séance wrong in his predictions? I will say, I found the medium at Vicki's to be less than convincing because of how he glossed over Tamra's questions and her psychic seems much more straightforward and sure of himself. Also, at the root of all these questions is the basic query of whether or not to believe in psychic abilities in the first place. Keep all of this in mind as this narrative continues to unravel.

shannon-booty-class

A day or two later, Tamra's getting everything ready at CUT Fitness for her very first booty class. She may not have practiced much, but she has a mic like Madonna on tour and lighter weights on her barbell so she can provide instruction throughout the class. The ladies arrive one by one and when Vicki shows up, Tamra tells her she has a cake to celebrate Brooks' birthday after the class. The class starts with some laps around the gym and the entire workout is the Shannon Show. First, she can't run because she'll pee her pants and once the booty workout starts, she has no coordination whatsoever. By the end of the class, she's officially sweaty, tired and over the entire thing. All I have to say is that Shannon Beador is all of us at the gym. 

brooks-cancer-gym

Brooks arrives at the end of the workout to a surprise birthday celebration complete with cake and sparkling sake. In her confessional, Vicki says she's happy to see Tamra finally being nice to Brooks. Despite whether the women like him or not, all she's ever wanted at the end of the day is for her friends to respect him. Meghan invites all the ladies to a NASCAR event in Fontana in a few days, which we'll see next week, and then the conversation turns to Brooks' medical treatment. He tells the women that he's choosing to pause chemotherapy for 90 days in favor of blasting his body with the antioxidant resveratrol. Apparently this new doctor Brooks met with claims the alternative treatment put his own non-Hodgkins lymphoma in remission seven years ago. During his explanation, Brooks suspiciously refers to it in the past tense as the "same cancer he had." Oops, he meant has. Was that a mere slip of the tongue or did the women just catch Brooks in a lie? Meghan asks if his oncologist is concerned with him choosing to stop chemotherapy for 90 days, but Brooks says he's done various forms of chemo off and on for the past five years so it can't hurt to try a new approach.

At this point, Ryan makes a surprise appearance with Sarah and baby Ava, giving Vicki an opening to go back to work and take Brooks with her. Once the other ladies have taken turns holding the baby, Shannon tells Tamra, Heather and Meghan that she and David are going to dinner with Brooks and Vicki to celebrate his birthday that evening. Tamra questions the disgusted look Shannon had on her face while Brooks was talking about his doctor, and the holistic housewife explains that she's been trying to help him - even referring him to her own doctor at City of Hope, but her efforts to help have been rebuffed as he's chosen to go a different homeopathic route. There's also been some miscommunication as to whether Brooks has requested his medical records or he has them in the neatly color-coded binder Vicki put together. It's all a little confusing.

meghan-heather-cancer-gym

With confusion in the air, Meghan informs Shannon of the psychic's allegation that Brooks doesn't have cancer. Shannon is visibly stunned, and calls the comment potentially life-damaging in her confessional. Tamra is quick to add that he's not always right about everything (contrary to her earlier claims in the episode), and reiterates in her interview that it wasn't appropriate information to share because now the accusation has officially become a topic of conversation. Heather corrects everyone by repeating the psychic's exact words, but the ball is already rolling and there's no stopping it. Tamra asks if the other 'Wives noticed Brooks slip of the tongue - obviously no one missed it - and reminds them that Brooks' past is littered with sketchy behavior. However, they all agree that no one in his or her right mind would lie about having cancer, and Tamra ends the gossip session by telling the other girls that they shouldn't talk about it with Vicki. Heather agrees that the whole thing is really none of their business.

shannon-david-birthday-dinner

Cut to Vicki and Brooks arriving to his birthday dinner with the Beadors. Being his birthday, Brooks immediately orders alcohol, which Shannon finds concerning considering the amount of sugar in the drink that will simply fuel the cancer. Little red flags are being raised all over this episode when it comes to the veracity of Brooks' cancer. As he orders a second cocktail, Shannon admits in her interview that she's having a hard time putting on a happy face when she's armed with this potentially damaging information from Meghan that Vicki and Brooks don't know. She asks Vicki to go to the bathroom with her, which the OG finds strange to do in the middle of dinner but goes along at Shannon's insistence. Once away from the table, Shannon starts tearfully explaining that she loves Vicki and Brooks and she doesn't want to screw up his birthday, but that something happened after they left CUT Fitness. She gets as far as explaining that Meghan said something that wasn't good about Brooks when Vicki cuts her off and goes back to the table, not wanting to have any drama go down on his birthday. Too late for that. Vicki brings the conversation back to Brooks and David, reiterating that whatever the gossip is, she doesn't want to know about it. By this point, Shannon's in tears trying to explain that this is exactly what she didn't want to happen and she was just trying to be a good friend. Her efforts to sweep the accusation back under the rug are unsuccessful though, and Vicki is getting angrier and angrier, demanding to know why Shannon's crying when she's not. Shannon admits she screwed up and should've kept her mouth shut, and Brooks tries to remind his girlfriend not to shoot the messenger, but it's officially too late. Vicki stands up in a barrage of expletives and starts lashing out at Shannon, saying Brooks doesn't need any more negativity to come as a result of dating her. From Vicki's perspective, Brooks has been put through the ringer and she won't sit by as yet another attack on him is brought into the show's narrative. Shannon tearfully insists that she gets what her friend is saying, but Vicki storms out with Brooks, ending the dinner in shambles. Watching the couple storm away, David puts it best: that wasn't good at all.