It's a new year on The Real Housewives of New York City and there are big changes afoot for the Big Apple broads. The Countess is in love and ready to shout it to the world, but none of her fellow 'Wives react exactly the way she was hoping. Plus, Bethenny plans a tequila tour of Mexico, but when a couple of the ladies get excluded from the guest list, the group dynamic becomes even more divided. Read on for my full recap of all the drama in the city that never sleeps...
The episode picks up three weeks after Ramona Singer's ill-fated holiday party, which means our timeline is officially in 2016. Luann de Lesseps is still crashing at Sonja Morgan's townhouse on the Upper East Side. But the Countess has some major news: she's in love and she's moving out to get married! Sonja is baffled by this announcement, but she's even more floored when she discovers that the paramour Luann has been hiding all this time is Tom D'Agostino. In fact, her response is "my Tom?" Apparently Ramona isn't the only Housewife who has a past with Luann's new man - according to Sonja, she's been hooking up with Tom for quite a while. However, Lu refuses to let this revelation rain on her parade because the Countess is in love and doesn't care who knows it. Oh and also, Sonja's decided to quit drinking in the wake of the Tipsy Girl debacle, so there's that.
Meanwhile, Bethenny Frankel has gathered all the other 'Wives at Añejo in Hell's Kitchen for a night of guacamole and vacation planning. Surprise! B wants to take the ladies on a tequila-tasting trip to Mexico to help her gain inspiration for the latest Skinnygirl flavor. Poor Jules Wainstein is still distressed over her father being in the hospital, but she still shows up for to hear Bethenny's plan. However, the big question is whether Luann and Sonja will be invited on the trip and B proposes that the ladies discuss and vote on it. Ramona doesn't want to leave anyone out and argues that the Countess is always fun on an all-girls trip (pirate Johnny Depp, anyone?) but Carole Radziwill draws a line that if her nemesis is invited, she's not coming. All of the women agree that Sonja and a tequila-tasting trip are not a good combo and it's safer for Lady Morgan to stay behind in NYC. As the hostess, Bethenny just wants the trip to be fun for everyone, so for now it looks like the 'Wives playing Grey Gardens on the Upper East Side are still on the outs. Still, viva la Mexico!
The next day, Carole visits Bethenny at home in matching white turtlenecks to reminisce over the couples trip they took to the Bahamas over the holiday break. (B's keeping the identity of the guy she's dating a secret for the moment, though.) Carole's also had a major come to Jesus moment internally. During the holidays, she rather unexpectedly had to give up the kitten she had been fostering to its adoptive family. Losing the cat without getting to say goodbye forced Radzi to realize that she's set up her life story to constantly be a temporary one. Even when she married her husband Anthony, he had already been diagnosed with cancer... Now that she's been seeing Adam for well over a year, is Writer Girl ready for a more permanent happily ever after?
Over at Exhale, Dorinda's reached out to Sonja to get manicures together. Sonja is still upset by Ramona's hot-and-cold treatment of her as of late, but Dorinda lays down the cold hard truth that it seems the Singer Stinger has taken sides in all the recent drama...and this time it's not Sonja's. Dorinda also informs Lady Morgan about Bethenny's upcoming Mexico trip, including the fact that she's once again not included on the guest list. But don't worry, the silver lining is that this time, neither is Luann! The Skinnygirl vs. Tipsy Girl issue has become a major conflict of interest for Bethenny and Sonja's officially found herself left out in the cold. And in the Housewives universe, there's nothing worse than being excluded from filming with the other women...
While Carole works with Adam and his gorgeous long hair on their cookbook proposal for The Reluctant Vegan, Ramona invites her daughter Avery as well as Luann to test out a line of hair extensions from Lux Beauty Club, a company she's getting into business with. Since the Countess has been rocking her signature shag for eight seasons straight, Ramona's anxious to get her into some shoulder-length extensions for once. As soon as Luann sits down, she's bursting to tell Ramona and Avery about the new turn her relationship has taken with Tom. When Lu reveals she's planning to marry the guy Ramona recently dated, the fake smile the Singer Stinger plasters on is nothing short of classic. Ramona then proceeds to inform Luann that her supposed soulmate calls his ex every single day, tells her he loves her and even bought the woman a gold bracelet for Christmas. Which was like yesterday. Yet Luann refuses to believe this piece of information and won't let Ramona burst her happy bubble. All the Ramonacoaster can do is warn the Countess to guard her feelings and warns her that only time will tell whether any of the gossip is true.
Later that night, Dorinda and her boyfriend John Mahdessian meet Jules and her husband Michael for a double date. Dorinda is slaying in a royal shade of purple, but the Wainsteins arrive over an hour late and the tension between them is palpable. Apparently the couple was bickering over Michael looking for a hot nanny earlier in the day and in the wake of Jules's announcement that they're divorcing over his infidelity, the moment is pure foreshadowing for what lies ahead. Dorinda tries to help the situation by counseling her friend with a number of mixed metaphors, but she's already had one too many martinis for the evening and the marital advice comes out in rather amusing soundbytes. I love every version of Dorinda Medley, but Dirty Martini Dorinda might just be my favorite.
In the episode's final sit-down, Bethenny meets Luann for drinks at Bar Bordeaux. B shows up to the meeting late and a little disoriented, revealing to Luann that she's been bleeding rather profusely and has to visit an OB-GYN the following day to figure out what's going on. Because she's not at her best, poor Bethenny essentially gets railroaded by Luann during the entire conversation. First the Countess giddily repeats her revelation about Tom being her soulmate for the third time this episode and eventually brings up her non-invite to the upcoming Mexico trip. Bethenny has every reason under the sun not to extend an invitation, but within just a few minutes, Luann has singlehandedly managed to invite herself on the trip to Mexico and follow it up by accepting her own invitation! The Skinnygirl is left baffled as to what even just happened as the Countess sashays away in her winter white to meet her boyfriend at the Carlyle for a Tommy Tune performance and the episodes comes to an abrupt end. Umm...check please?
What did you think of this week's RHONY? Do you see the writing on the wall for Jules and Michael? Is there any way Bethenny could've stopped Luann from inviting herself on the trip to Mexico? Can you really find your soulmate in just six weeks? Leave your thoughts and opinions below in the comments!