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Real Housewives

RHONJ Ssn 7/Ep 7 - Spa-Cation

Glenn Rowley

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This week on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, the women escape the drama for a weekend filled with spa treatments and bonding. But will lingering tensions between Teresa and Jacqueline spoil the fun and relaxation? You may be surprised at the answer! Read on for a full recap of the trip...

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It's time for the first getaway of the season, and the ladies are heading to a spa weekend planned by Melissa Gorga at Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, NJ (which is about an hour away from where they live in the Franklin Lakes/Montville Township area). While the trip may just be a quick staycation to celebrate Teresa Giudice's first official weekend of freedom after getting her ankle monitor removed, the OG is less than enthused about the idea of being stuck under the same room as frenemy Jacqueline Laurita. In fact, in a strategic move to keep the peace, newbies Dolores Catania and Siggy Flicker even drive separate cars to keep the feuding veterans apart for as long as possible. 

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However, once the two cars arrive at the resort the tension is immediately palpable between Tre and Jac, prompting relationship expert Siggy to attempt to mediate an awkward reintroduction for the former BFFs. While Teresa jokingly asks whether she should throw Jacqueline down the stairs, the latter is determined to follow a strict regimen of "speak[ing] when spoken to." If Teresa is friendly, Jac will be friendly in return, but won't be going out of her way to make any type of small talk. The women decide to break the tension by getting ready to go out to dinner, and Teresa confides in Dolores that she isn't holding her breath for a reconciliation either. After all, Tre warns, she knows how to play nice and how to play not-so-nice...

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The 'Wives are escorted to the resort's private dining room in the wine cellar for their first meal, where Melissa has the unenviable job of sitting between her fellow OGs, with newbies Siggy and Dolores on the opposite side of the table. Over bites of yellowfin tuna, the rookies attempt to make small talk by bringing up their costars previous trips to Italy (in Season 2) and Napa Valley (in Season 4). Surprisingly, the conversation effectively thaws the ice between Teresa and Jacqueline, and they start to reminisce about the good old days in their "Lucy and Ethel" friendship. Shifting the conversation, Jacqueline brings up the stresses of raising a child with autism, (which, according to statistics, costs roughly $60,000 per year). Sensing an opening, Siggy puts on her relationship expert hat and gets the ladies talking about the hardships they've each faced in life. As they go around the table and trade stories of financial troubles, marriage, divorce and being a "ride or die bitch," the women's walls really come down and some genuine bonding starts to happen. With tears flowing, Siggy raises a glass and toasts to the fact that each and every one of the ladies is a survivor in some way or another. Cheers to vulnerability!

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After hitting up the fire pit for s'mores and more stories, the good vibes continue as Teresa decides on the spot to personally invite all the 'Wives (Jacqueline included) to her upcoming book launch for her new memoir, Turning the Tables: From Housewife to Inmate and Back Again. After heading back to the room, the women decide to have an old-fashioned pajama party, including prank FaceTimes with their husbands and getting wasted during a game of wine pong. As Siggy points out in her confessional, as long as neither is bringing up or rehashing the past, the relationship between Teresa and Jacqueline actually seems to be capable of moving forward. Who would've thought this was actually possible just two weeks ago?

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Early the next morning, Melissa shows the other women a video of her son Gino competing at his wrestling meet, which naturally leads to a discussion of their children's various accomplishments. However, the mood turns when Jacqueline abruptly leaves the table and is in tears by the time Siggy finds her in a bathroom. Hearing the other 'Wives bring up all the milestones and moments their kids are having has gotten Jac emotional over her six-year-old son Nicholas, who is on the autism spectrum. The OG's "proud mommy moments" with Nick are markedly different from the other ladies' and through tears, she explains that she's worried he won't ever have the same kind of normal childhood his peers do. The victories are smaller and the work Nick puts in is so much greater, but Jac fears he'll one day be able to recognize how he's different from other kids. Eventually, Dolores, Melissa and Teresa come looking for their friends, and Jacqueline's tears provide Tre with a touching moment to comfort her. In her confessional, Teresa admits she can't even imagine how much Jacqueline is going through with Nick's autism and vows that if her former BFF needs a shoulder to cry on, she'll be there. 

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Having had enough tears for the day, the ladies change into their swimsuits and head to the resort's pool to lay out. However, when Dolores decides to dip her feet in, Melissa follows for a chance to talk to the newbie away from the other girls. Out of everyone in the cast, Dolores has been friends with Teresa the longest - we're talking 20+ years - so Melissa wants to get some advice from the show's resident voice of reason on how to move forward with her sister-in-law. Of course, Jacqueline notices her fellow 'Wives' chatting by the pool and manages to pick out both her and Teresa's names and the words "bringing up the past" in a crude attempt at lip-reading. Any bets on what this is going to do to Jacqueline's paranoia level? Even though both Dolores and Melissa insist the conversation wasn't about her (which it wasn't), Jac's suspicions have officially been raised.

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Later during spa treatments, Melissa joins the newbies for mani/pedis while Teresa and Jacqueline get massages - leaving the former BFFs truly alone for the first time the whole trip. While Siggy laments that she just wishes Jac could see that Teresa has truly changed since coming home from prison in the nail salon, the two OGs bond even more. Tre specifically promises Jacqueline that, despite their falling outs in the past, she'll be there the second her bestie needs her. At the time Nicholas was diagnosed with autism, the Giudices were going through the darkest part of their legal issues. So even though Tre wasn't available to support her friend back then, she is now. In turn, Jac apologizes for hitting below the belt when she's upset and...are we having a real breakthrough? This is actually happening, RHONJ fans!

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While Joe Giudice has a surprise reunion in Little Italy with former Jersey Househusband Rino Aprea, the ladies stay in for the final dinner of their spa vacation. During the meal, Melissa declares that she would have no idea Teresa and Jacqueline had yet another epic confrontation just a few days prior if they hadn't told her themselves, but after the lip reading at the pool, the latter's paranoia is on high alert. Ever the observant matchmaker, Siggy pinpoints the essential differences between the two OGs (Jacqueline wants to go deep in every single moment while Teresa's intentions are usually simpler), but when Jac catches Dolores and Melissa whispering again, she starts to lose it. Screaming that she's had enough of the side conversations, Jacqueline starts pointing fingers, but the other 'Wives promise yet again that they weren't discussing her at all. Calm down Jac, your paranoia is getting the better of you...

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The next morning, the women wrap up the trip with an early yoga session led by Teresa, who discovered how therapeutic the practice was while in prison. I'm a fan of Namaste Teresa 2.0, even when she has to explain the definition of "queef" to poor, naive Siggy. All in all, the vacation seems to end on a positive note for all the ladies, with new friendships strengthened and old bonds renewed. Could this be a new chapter of peace in New Jersey? Namaste bitches!

Tell me in the comments if you enjoyed this episode of RHONJ as much as I did! Was Jacqueline being overly paranoid? Has Teresa really changed? Is Siggy just the perfect mediator for these women or what?