This week on The Real Housewives of New York City there's a new It Girl in town as socialite Tinsley Mortimer joins the cast. But Sonja's tea party to welcome her to the group proves to be the setting for showdowns between Carole and Ramona (over politics) and the hostess and Luann (over, what else?, Tom). Read on for a full recap of this week's snipes, squabbles and political assassinations...
Apparently it's Halloween in Manhattan because Bethenny Frankel is dressed up in a leopard onesie complete with ears, tail and a long black wig. In the midst of trying on her costume, the Skinnygirl has invited a couple of the 'Wives over for a good, old-fashioned round of gossip. First, Carole Radziwill shows up ready to talk politics as usual, but the topic of the election gets sidelined (for now) by Ramona Singer's rather strange arrival. First, the OG refuses to take off her shoes, then she makes a point not to acknowledge Bethenny's two new puppies - declaring that she's being passive-aggressive because B didn't tell her about Biggie and Smalls the second she adopted them. Huh? Carole and Bethenny both point out that something's clearly a little off with Ramona, but can't tell exactly what. Carole announces she's having a party the night of the election, and invites the other ladies with a very particular caveat: she only wants to hear opinions that are informed. Naturally, this sets off Ramona, who launches into a tangent about Hillary's emails and how she's just as knowledgeable as the veteran journalist, thankyouverymuch. Even Bethenny accuses Carole of acting like a know-it-all and suddenly I'm being forced to relive every political discussion I had with my roommates during the 2016 election.
Sonja Morgan has a new roommate! And it's not just any old houseguest, it's Tinsley Mortimer, iconic It Girl of the mid-2000s NYC social scene and the newest addition to the show. After a rough couple of years in Palm Beach (more on that later), the famed socialite is moving back to the Big Apple ready to climb back to the top of Manhattan society and Sonja's happy to have the company with her daughter off at boarding school. Honestly though, casting Tinsley is quite a big get for the franchise. At the height of her fame, the socialite was on the front row of every major fashion show, in the pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair and making cameos on Gossip Girl (as herself!). The girl even had a Christian Dior lip gloss named after her, Tinsley Pink. Now divorced from her husband Topper Mortimer, heir to the Standard Oil fortune, Tinsley's primed to star in her very own Manhattan comeback story.
Meanwhile, Dorinda Medley is the latest Housewife to indulge in cryotherapy, also known as freezing yourself to death in the name of health. Ramona's not about to be peer pressured into joining her, but the OG's content to sit on the couch and gossip while her friend freezes in the tank. Naturally, Dorinda's beef with Sonja is the topic at hand, and the mafia don of the Upper East Side balks at Ramona's claim that Lady Morgan has never once talked about her in front of the OG. According to Dorinda, Sonja's been talking quite a bit of smack about her to anyone who will listen, so she doesn't see why her nemesis would magically choose to be discreet around their mutual friend. Ramona also downloads Dorinda on her confrontation last week with Luann D'Agostino. Yes, Ramona knows something about the Countess's playboy fiancé Tom, but she chose not to share it since Luann clearly doesn't want to know. Dorinda's as glad to hear this news as I am. Maybe now we can stop speculating about Tom for at least a few episodes?
To welcome Tinsley back to the Big Apple, Sonja's throwing a Mad Hatter-themed tea party at her Upper East Side townhouse. She's even borrowed her ex-husband's snarky butler Patrick Henry for the occasion. A very hangry Ramona is the first to arrive and the Singer Stinger is in full effect. Clad in all black, she doesn't react well to being cornered into a chat with Sonja's camera-hungry neighbor. Ramona has no recollection of ever meeting this person before, which makes the interaction all the more hilarious. (Ramotional can't remember every single person she's ever met, OKAY?) Clearly in a mood, Ramona barely manages to give Tinsley a terse hello before heading outside to the garden.
Carole's the next to arrive - the third 'Wife to eschew the dress code in favor of New York's favorite all-black aesthetic - and joins Ramona for what starts as small talk but quickly spirals into a rematch over their respective political prowess. Carole maintains that she's more well-informed than the average voter given her 15-year journalism career, but Ramona doesn't want to discuss politics with the Emmy and Peabody winner. Carole insists she simply didn't want Ramona to think her opinion was valid, but also counters the Singer Stinger's attempts to police what she can and can't talk about. Other 'Wives may find Carole's political opinions frustrating or annoying, but I for one am awfully glad she's bringing real issues to the forefront of her storyline this season.
Unfortunately, this political discussion is cut short by party kicking off as the other 'Wives make their entrances. For obvious reasons, Dorinda is persona non grata but we finally get a proper introduction to Tinsley as she makes the rounds to greet the other women. The poor guest of honor gets little more than a quick handshake from Bethenny but we learn more about her through her conversation with Carole and Ramona. Following her divorce from Topper, Tinsley moved down to Palm Beach and became embroiled in a volatile (and allegedly violent) relationship with her now-ex-boyfriend Nico Fanjul. Following their breakup in April 2016, Tinsley was arrested for trespassing on Fanjul's property while trying to retrieve a handbag she had left behind. And this is where the socialite's notorious mugshot comes from, fake lashes and all. Since then, Tinsley has been rebuilding her life and there's no better place for her to do it than on RHONY.
Meanwhile, Luann pulls Sonja inside to question her friend about statement she's been making in the press regarding the Countess's relationship with Tom. Sonja insists her comments (specifically that she'd be there for Lu whether she and Tom made it down the aisle or not) were made with good intentions, but the Countess refuses to believe it. Luann accuses Sonja of not being supportive, even throwing in a jab that Lady Morgan may be jealous of her friendship with Dorinda, and demands that Sonja drop the subject all together. It's clear by this point that Luann and her Ralph Lauren prairie dress are taking no prisoners this season won't tolerate any negativity when it comes to her life or her fiancé. And with that, the party ends, but not without the bitchy, borrowed butler making one final, catty dig at the Countess and her prairie dress. Welcome Tinsley?
What did you think of this week's RHONY? What was your first impression of Tinsley? Is Carole more politically informed than Ramona? Was Luann right to call out Sonja for talking to the press? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!