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Real Housewives

RHOBH Ssn 6/Ep 23 - Reunion Part 3

Glenn Rowley

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It's Part 3 of the reunion this week on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and everything from the Munchausen rumor and spinning webs to the drama in Dubai is on the table. Plus, the ladies get a sweet message from one wine-guzzling former Housewife and Andy Cohen tries to get to the bottom of whether Lisa Vanderpump is the master manipulator once and for all. Read on for my full recap of all the drama from the couches...

Vulnerable Vanderpump

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The final installment of the reunion picks up right where we left off, with Lisa Vanderpump's shocking admission that she had been in an abusive relationship at the age of 19. As the Brit tearfully opens up the teensiest bit about the experience, Andy questions why she didn't empathize more when Eileen shared her similar experience in the Hamptons. Lisa explains that her story didn't even come to mind at the time, and several of the women wonder if she has a problem with opening up and being truly vulnerable. Even Kyle Richards is quick to point out that her fellow OG likes to live in a fantasy land where life is all diamonds and rosé. As the topic reignites Eileen Davidson's beef with Lisa, newbie Kathryn Edwards opines that the issue between the two women is simply lost in translation. It's also amusing to point out that when LVP tells Eileen she's hurt her feelings, the soap actress sincerely apologizes within seconds...which is really all she wanted from her fellow 'Wife from the second she mentioned the "affair" in the Hamptons. See, Lisa? It's that easy!

War of the Rookies

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Moving on, Andy brings up the lengthy feud between Kathryn and her fellow newbie Erika Girardi that started with a singular conversation about whether or not Lisa Vanderpump is a sniper from the side who spends her time spinning a web. At the time, I was fairly outspoken that - while I honestly love them both - I was on Team Erika on this one. Regardless of what she said about LVP, it wasn't OK for Kathryn to tell her she wanted to be her first genuine, female friend and then run straight to Lisa V. to spill the tea. Obviously, Erika still feels this way about the situation as well, and even Kathryn admits to the fact that she was wrong in how she handled the situation. However, Erika remains burned by the experience, and calls Kathryn out for listening "with intent," going straight to LVP to tattle on her and then admitting at Erika's contentious dinner party that she did it to get a reaction out of both Erika and Lisa Vanderpump. Further, Kathryn clearly didn't give any kind of good first impression at the dinner party, arguing with Erika's husband Tom and borderline shouting at nearly every other guest to get her various points across. Erika then asks if she should spill about some of the things her fellow newbie has told her and dramatically reveals that Kathryn referred to Lisa Vanderpump as a "harmless old lady." Ouch.

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Kathryn denies ever saying this - and for the record, Lisa V. is neither old nor harmless - but Erika insists that she used the terminology over the phone during an off-camera conversation. When Erika calls her desperate (hunny), Kathryn deflects by bringing up all the trash-talking Erika did about the other ladies in Dubai. Erika pointedly remarks that there's a difference between talking smack and having an opinion, but the question once again boils down to this: who do you believe? Over the course of the season, it's been clear that Erika is always observing and remains intensely aware of what's going on around her, so my gut instinct is to believe what she says. That's not to say I think Kathryn is dishonest, but it would make sense that she would want to deny saying something even slightly derogatory about the powerful OG with whom she's worked to align herself all season long. If there's one thing every Housewife and fan knows, it's that you don't want to be on the wrong side of Lisa Vanderpump.

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Also up for debate is Erika's liberal use of her certain favorite c-word. While "see you next Tuesday" isn't my favorite word either, I think there's a definite difference in the way she uses it and the way some now-former Housewives of the past have thrown it around (ahem...looking at you, Brandi Glanville and Carlton Gebbia...) Even still, Kathryn took offense to Erika calling her the c-word in her confessional after they had made up, but Erika justifies her comment by saying that what her costar did was a "c*** move." As for Eileen getting the two to talk things out at the Habitat for Humanity project, Erika actually thanks Eileen for doing it because the two newbies came to a resolution that has since lasted, reunion notwithstanding. After that day painting a house, the two never argued again and even bonded while sharing a room in Dubai. Both Erika and Kathryn can agree that they are on their way to building a real, genuine friendship with each other, and I for one hope it sticks. 

Putting the "B" Back in Beverly Hills

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Next, Andy has a special surprise for the ladies: a video message from former Housewife Brandi Glanville! The show's most iconic villain has been watching the season very closely and has something to say to pretty much every one of the 'Wives. To Kyle, she says she has an "odd soft spot" for her former nemesis, but accuses her of being one person when she's around Lisa Vanderpump and a different person when she's not. I'll give you three guesses about which version of Kyle Brandi likes more. She applauds Kathryn for locking down a hot younger man in Donnie, and shockingly offers a backhanded apology to Eileen for how she treated her last season. Now that Eileen had the guts to stand up to LVP, Brandi respects her more. Oh and her hair looks great this season! (That's one thing I can agree with Brandi on, you're stunning Eileen!) B's also come to the conclusion that Lisa Rinna isn't actually bipolar - she's just "nuttier than squirrel sh**." Additionally, she lays down a new rule for Rinna that I think every single Housewives fan can agree on: no more saying "own it" or "deflect." Please. Brandi knew she liked Erika the moment she referred to LVP as a sniper from the side. Too bad it took B five years to figure out what Erika say in just a couple minutes. And to her former BFF, Brandi has only good backhandedly good things to say. She claims LVP is "genius" when it comes to changing the narrative to make herself look good. Brandi also throws fuel on the manipulation fire by claiming Lisa V. was her "puppeteer" when they were friends - one who manipulated the self-proclaimed "truth cannon" into doing her dirty work for her.

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The video doesn't get quite the reaction Andy and Bravo were likely hoping for. Immediately, Lisa Vanderpump questions why they are giving Brandi a platform to bash the rest of the cast when she was fired from the show last year. The OG also points out that it's awfully easy to sit there with a glass of wine and rattle off insults to the camera without having to say it to anyone's face. Kyle rightfully points out that all Brandi seems to do is watch the show, tweet about the 'Wives and continually bash them on her podcast. With the exception of Yolanda Foster - who feels it's appropriate for Brandi to be allowed to say her piece if Kim Richards was allowed to as well - the collective reaction on the couches is mostly "meh." Move it along, Andy, no one cares what derogatory and mean-spirited things Brandi has to say.

Taking Off the Rosé-Colored Glasses

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Just we thought we'd heard the last of the Munchausen drama, Andy forces us back to the subject. This time, the argument centers around whether or not Lisa Vanderpump tried to drag Kyle into Lisa Rinna's Munchausen allegation, with the OGs on one side and Rinna on the other. Lisa Rinna insists that LVP followed her out of Villa Rosa to ask why she didn't bring Kyle's name into the Munchausen conversation which, incidentally is the exact same thing Kyle said Lisa told her after she came back inside. The three go back and forth and around and around on the subject until Kyle finally puts her foot down and says she doesn't think it's really that big of a deal. Thank you, Kyle, because I honestly cannot stand to listen to this argument one more time.

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One thing that is kind of a big deal is how much Lisa Vanderpump's husband Ken bashed the other women all season long. In a classic Rinna move, Lisa R. reads off his catty comments about her in the finale. All in all, Ken called her a "stupid bitch," "silly cow," "wanker," "crazy" and insinuated that she didn't have the "full ticket." While acknowledging that she would be upset if say, Harry Hamlin said those things about her, Lisa Vanderpump refuses to apologize for either that or any of Ken's other comments throughout the season (about Kyle's fashion sense and how Yolanda looked at Rinna's birthday party). From her perspective, the Househusband is allowed to share his opinions and vent about the women when he's upset by their behavior towards his wife. Several of the other women disagree, with Yolanda in particular citing this pattern of Ken lashing out all the way back to Season 4, and I'm suddenly realizing Ken Todd may be the Peter Thomas of RHOBH.

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The conversation morphs into a discussion about the seemingly eternal question of whether Lisa Vanderpump is the show's master manipulator. To this day, Lisa Rinna maintains that LVP manipulated her into bringing up the M-word (I can't type it one more time) and tried to get her fired up about Yolanda's comment that she could be bipolar and unstable. She also argues that the other women can't seem to decide whether she's a people-pleaser or just bipolar-level crazy, but I think it's clear after two seasons that Lisa Rinna has a major people-pleasing side to her multi-faceted personality. However, it needs to be clarified that whether or not any conversations happened off-camera between her and LVP, Lisa Rinna was the one - the ONLY one - to bring the word Munchausen into the dialogue surrounding Yolanda's Lyme disease. There, I typed it again. 

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Andy points out that six seasons in, there's been a definite pattern of Lisa Vanderpump's fellow Housewives accusing her of being manipulative. When you break it down, Andy's telling the truth. Over the course of six seasons, Kyle, Yolanda, Brandi, Lisa Rinna, Eileen, Erika, Kim, Taylor Armstrong and Adrienne Maloof have all leveled similar accusations about the queen bee. Bobby Fischer, anyone? At some point, when so many people are saying the same thing, you have to wonder how much truth there is to it. And yet, when Andy asks her point blank, Lisa Vanderpump insists she doesn't feel the need to apologize to a single one of her costars. Guess we'll have to wait for Season 7 to see who LVP manipulates next...

Final Thoughts

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To close out the Season 6 reunion, Andy asks each of the ladies for their final thoughts. Kyle's biggest takeaways are how much she learned about Yolanda's Lyme disease and to simply not sweat the small stuff. Yolanda just wants to keep recovering and getting well, while Lisa Rinna claims she doesn't have any regrets from all the talking her lips did this season. After two seasons, Eileen points out that Housewives absolutely trumps daytime soap operas in the drama department, and both Kathryn and Erika claim their first season was everything they each hoped it would be. As for the final word, LVP is sad people think she's manipulative, but chalks it up to the old "live and learn" mantra. In the final moments, Andy has each of the 'Wives turn to the person on their right and say her best quality. As the women point out each other's sweetness, honesty, integrity and sense of humor, the season ends on a positive note and we're reminded of so many of the good qualities these women have when they're not arguing at each other's throats.

Next week, Secrets Revealed! Leave your thoughts about this week's final reunion installment in the comments below!