We're at episode nine and the gang is finally all here! That's right, we finally have a full cast and updated intro, and it only took a little over two months. I was so excited to finally see Kathryn in the opening credits, but there's one thing I'm confused about. Prior to the season, Bravo revealed that her tagline would be "My advice: always speak your mind and carry a good handbag." (Which, as of this writing, is still her reported tagline on Bravotv.com...) However, when her moment finally came, sandwiched between Yolanda and Lisa Vanderpump, we heard something completely new: "Don't hate the game, just marry a player." It's amusing and is clearly supposed to reference her marriage with former NFL linebacker Donnie Edwards, but I don't understand the reason for the switch. I'm just happy she's finally here and that gaping spot behind Yolanda in the main title is finally filled.
The episode starts with Lisa V. and Ken taking a casual trip down to the local sex shop. Before you jump to any conclusions, no this isn't for anything to do with the couple's twice yearly roll in the hay. Apparently, Ken has taken out the lease on the space with hopes of turning it into an English tavern and restaurant. Lisa isn't pleased that Ken made the decision without consulting her, but she's so distracted by the various whips, toys and vibrating rubber duckies that she doesn't know where to direct her frustration. Ken tries to use the excuse that in five to ten years, they can gift the restaurant to Max, but Lisa's still not budging. It'll take much more than a shot at her motherly soft spot to get her to change her mind.
After last week's teaser, we finally get a proper introduction to Kathryn. Can I just start by pointing out how stunning with a capital S Kathryn is? Like I mentioned, the newest Housewife is married to Donnie Edwards, a retired NFL star who played 13 seasons with the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. He also happens to be nearly nine years her junior. That's a touchdown for sure. Right after high school, Kathryn moved to Paris, became a professional model, and eventually moved back to LA in 1984. Due to their successful careers and some smart investment decisions, the Edwards' are rolling in dough and apparently don't have to work for the rest of their lives, splitting their time instead between Brentwood and San Diego. Rather than have children, the couple live a rather nomadic life of traveling the world and shopping for 3.8 million dollar diamond necklaces. Small change, right? My first impression of Kathryn so far has been great - I'm digging this girl.
Following a quick montage of Kyle inviting all the ladies to a BBQ at her house (as she hopes in her interview that Faye and Kathryn can start fresh upon meeting for the first time) and Eileen and her family packing up for a trip to Italy, old acquaintances Lisa Rinna and Kathryn meet for breakfast at LA eatery Sweet Butter. These two go way back to the early 90s, though I can't quite get a read on how close they really were back then. However, Kathryn points out that she knew Lisa Rinna before her famous lips, so you know that was quite a long time ago. Incidentally, we learn that Kathryn's lips (and boobs) are real - beyond Botox and fillers, she's never ventured into plastic surgery territory. This is virtually unheard of in the Hills of Beverly, which Lisa Rinna's lips are all to quick to point out.
Next, Kyle meets Faye Resnick at home decorating store Modshop to go over some ideas for her brand new dressing room. Having decorated Kyle's home, her store and Paris and Nicky Hilton's abodes, this is Faye's area of expertise. While they shop, Kyle brings up how she met Kathryn and gives Faye a heads up that she'll be at the BBQ that weekend. Despite both women being connected to Nicole Brown Simpson and the murder trial of the century, Faye expresses that she's not ready to have a conversation with Kathryn - or anyone for that matter - about such a painful time in her life that's now 20+ years in the past. As a refresher for those of you who don't know, Faye was Nicole Brown Simpon's best friend at the time of her death, and had actually been living at Nicole's house with her prior to the murder. (Just a few days before, Nicole actually held an intervention for Faye - who was dealing with drug addiction - coincidentally putting her in a rehab center the night of the crime.)
In the most touching moment of the episode, we see Eileen arrive in Sant'Angnello, Italy to spread some of her sister Connie's ashes. The country was one of Connie's favorite places, so it feels appropriate that it should be the final resting place for a piece of her. Via confessional, Eileen tearfully explains that her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, but chose not to tell her family that it was in fact terminal. In doing so, Eileen and the rest of her family were blindsided by Connie's death, left behind with pain, guilt and questions about what they could have done had they known the gravity of her illness. Looking out over the Mediterranean from the balcony of her villa, Eileen says a few emotional words before spreading Connie's ashes over the water. It's an incredibly vulnerable moment to share with cameras filming, but Eileen must have felt it was an important part of her journey to share on the show.
Back in Beverly Hills, Saturday rolls around quickly and while Kyle is putting her last minute touches on the dinner party, Kathryn stops by Villa Rosa on her way to the BBQ to make friends with Lisa V. and her swans. The two women sit down for a cup of tea before heading to Kyle's, and Lisa is immediately on the offensive - asking pointed questions about the newbie's life while offering virtually nothing about herself. It's the exact same thing she's done this season to both Eileen and Erika, and before Kathryn can even finish a sentence, Lisa is already on to the next question. "You're married to someone younger, right?" "How much younger?" "What's that like?" "Do you feel the age difference in your relationship?" The questions come rapid-fire one after another, leaving Kathryn feeling vaguely as if she's been interrogated. Welcome to LVP's world, Kath...
As the women arrive at Kyle's, they are surprised by three things: Kyle's gorgeous purple dress, the lack on any actual barbecued food and the fact that Yolanda showed up for the party. Just 10 days out from her surgery, Yo is nevertheless there, bandaged up, in flip-flops, sans-makeup. However, no one is more shocked to see the Dutch beauty than Lisa Rinna, who looks like a deer in headlights as the comments she's made about Yolanda possibly having Munchausen syndrome flash through her mind. A backyard BBQ certainly isn't the time to bring up that drama, so Yolanda educates the girls about why she's stopped using nail polish, hair dye, makeup and basically anything artificial. (Apparently the toxins in these products aren't worth the potential risk to Yo's health.)
Kathryn and Lisa V. are the last to arrive, and are both visibly taken aback by the sight of Faye at the party. I understand why Kathryn might be wary, but I have a really difficult time seeing why Lisa would be the least bit surprised that Faye would be at an event thrown by Kyle. Ever the hostess, Kyle tries to facilitate a friendly introduction between Faye and Kathryn, but it quickly awkward as Kathryn turns her attention abruptly to Erika's neon pink stilettos. Pulling Lisa Rinna aside, LVP explains that she's still holding onto Faye's perceived attack at her 30th anniversary party in the Season 3 finale, and she hasn't seen the recurring cast member since then. With near-perfect timing, Faye walks right by the gossiping pair, and Lisa Rinna stops her, putting it all out on the table by asking what the deal is between her and Lisa V. Faye rather graciously explains that both she and Lisa were merely being protective friends of Kyle and Brandi, respectively, at the time, and expresses that she doesn't harbor any hard feelings about the issue anymore. Granted, it has been three years now - you'd think it would be time for Lisa to just let it go.
Once Camille(!!!) arrives and the ladies take their seats - with Kathryn conveniently seated directly across from Faye - conversation turns to Yolanda and her recovery. The women remind Lisa R. that she needs to come clean to Yolanda eventually about what she said, and the M-word gets thrown out again. Overhearing the conversation, Erika finds the accusation alarming and points out in her confessional that Yolanda has a really wonderful life. Why would she choose to be in bed all day with a bathrobe on? Kyle asks aloud what's going on with Bella and Anwar's Lyme disease and Lisa V. chimes in that Yolanda maintains the two kids have it, but her ex-husband Mohamed says they are just fine. Obviously confused, Kyle questions what that means, with Yolanda saying one thing and Mohamed saying the complete opposite, but Lisa quickly tries to shut the conversation down. This Lyme disease subject simply refuses to die, no matter how hard any of the women attempt to quiet the gossip.
Changing the subject, Erika asks Lisa Rinna about the Playboy cover she shot while pregnant, which leads to an informal survey of how many women at the table have appeared in the famous magazine. The answer is three: Lisa Rinna (twice!), Camille and Faye. Almost immediately, Faye excuses herself from the table, followed by Kyle, giving Lisa R. the perfect opportunity to ask Kathryn what the deal is between them. Kathryn fills the two Lisas and Erika in on the book Faye wrote about Nicole, in which she alleged that Kathryn's husband at the time, Marcus Allen (who was O.J. Simpson's best friend), was having an affair with Nicole, and that Kathryn turned a blind eye to the indiscretion. However, Kathryn maintains that she never actually read what Faye wrote about her, only ever hearing from other sources and the tabloids that she was being dragged into the O.J story. Nevertheless, she's planned out a confrontation with Faye for the past 20 years, saying that Kyle's friend is someone she's always "held a dagger for." Ever the pragmatist, Erika finds it a tiny bit ridiculous that Kathryn is so worked up over something she never actually read. If you're hellbent on confronting someone over something they wrote about you in a book, shouldn't you read it first?
When Faye and Kyle return to the table, Kathryn is fired up and decides now is the time to bring up the giant elephant she's been waiting 20 years to confront. Kathryn point blank tells Faye that she doesn't appreciate being brought into the story of O.J. and Nicole, which only happened because of what Faye alleged in her book. Faye had never met Kathryn and didn't know her and the newbie insists that if Faye had anything to say to her, she should've said it to her face. However, Faye counters that she doesn't have anything to say to anyone about that time in their lives - sometimes the past is best left in the past. This clearly isn't the conversation Kathryn was hoping to have, but Faye effectively shuts it down by simply smiling and refusing to engage in an argument. To Faye, there isn't much left to discuss at this point, which all but takes the wind out of Kathryn's sails. The new 'Wife presses the issue for a second round by specifically bringing up the book, but Faye calmly insists that there was nothing pejorative or slanderous in what she wrote about her. Kathryn agrees that there wouldn't be anything disparaging to write about in the first place, and Faye asks if she feels better having gotten it off her chest. The only thing Kathryn can really do at this point is say yes.
Addressing the table, Faye explains that she isn't looking to have a merry-go-round of conversations about O.J. or Nicole, and issues a blanket apology for anything she's done to offend anyone in the group. In her interview, Kathryn admits that she feels slightly cheated out of her big moment because she was ready to destroy Faye with a verbal smackdown. But clearly, Faye had the upper hand in the situation. Feeling the need to defend her BFF, Kyle voices that besides any issue Kathryn has with her, Faye has always been a loyal and dedicated friend during their 20+ years of friendship. She's the person Kyle knows she can count on at 3 in the morning - if she needs her, Faye will be there. Now, Faye has been villanized quite a bit over the course of the show's history, but I have to say that being this type of friend to not only Kyle, but her entire family, definitely counts for something and has to speak volumes to her true character. There's more to Faye Resnick than what we see in her sporadic and memorable appearances on the show. In her final confessional sound byte, Kathryn says it's fine if Faye wants to move on from the past, but vows she'll never be her friend. Based on the previews for next week, it appears that this elephant named O.J. is far from being put to bed.