It's a battle for Oz this week on The Real Housewives of Potomac as Ashley and her husband face off over the future of their restaurant...and their marriage. Read on for a full recap of all the high-stakes relationship drama ahead...
"You've been yelling at me all f*cking day, you f*cking insane a**hole!" With that loving declaration we open smack dab in the middle of an all-out war between Ashley Darby and her husband Michael. She's threatening divorce, he's stomping around outside of their restaurant Oz while swatting at Bravo's cameras and it looks like complete curbside chaos for the couple. But how in the world did we get here?
Rewind to eight days earlier. With profits continuing to flatline and Michael refusing to budge, Ashley's decided to revamp Oz herself. With the help of her chef Brad and his glorious mane, she's bringing the struggling restaurant out of the 1980s and into the 21st century with an updated menu, a new marketing plan and a fresh approach. In an effort to capitalize on the changes, she's hosting a critics' choice dinner for prominent food bloggers, press and the other Housewives, where she'll be unveiling the new menu and other fruits of her labors. Something tells me Michael won't be too happy with his wife going rogue with all these unauthorized changes...
While Robyn Dixon and her ex-husband Juan work together at the first day of their youth basketball camp, Karen Huger has organized a day at Top Golf, sparsely attended by only Ashley and Monique Samuels. While the newest 'Wife is envisioning the golf ball as Gizelle Bryant's head, Little Miss Ashley is still reeling from her back-to-back confrontations with both Charrisse Jackson Jordan and the double team of Robyn and Gizelle. As the self-appointed grande dame of the group, Karen is determined to play peacemaker and wastes no time offering her unsolicited two cents on how each of the younger 'Wives should settle their conflicts with the other women. Specifically, she advises Ashley to check herself, which frankly is something the youngest OG has needed to hear all season long.
Next, Gizelle and her quasi-boyfriend Kevin go on a double date with the grande dame and the black Bill Gates. After racing go karts (Ray came in last place), Karen pulls Kevin aside for a private interrogation, leaving Gizelle to suffer through advice from Ray Huger on how to attract men "while she still can." Kevin admits to Karen that he has long-term commitment on his mind when it comes to Gizelle - his intentions are to end up married just like the Hugers. Hmm...how do we think Gizelle will feel about this information?
Meanwhile, Ashley's filling her husband in on the restaurant's new menu and her plans for the critics' choice dinner. Michael is taken aback at his wife's initiative in making changes to Oz without his approval, and is more than a little skeptical that she'll be able to successfully pull of such a major event involving bloggers, press and the other Housewives in just a few days. However, Ashley now has something to prove, not only to the rest of the ladies but to her husband as well, and is determined to succeed at saving the land of Oz with or without the Wizard's permission.
The only thing worth mentioning about Karen's boudoir photoshoot for Ray is the perfection that was Gizelle's leopard-print catsuit. Next!
The day of the critics' choice dinner at Oz has arrived and with just one hour before the press arrives, tensions between Ashley and Michael are boiling over. Following an angry phone call Michael peels into the restaurant in an Australian rage, swatting Bravo's cameras away and Ashley is ready for a fight. The war of words between the couple starts in the parking lot: Michael wants to shut down the critics' choice dinner because he disagrees with the new menu but Ashley isn't backing down. She will not be "minimized" or "diminished" and threatens point blank that if Michael shuts down her event, he can kiss their marriage goodbye. And when he pulls the "well, it's my restaurant" card, Ashley storms off fuming.
Round two begins just a few minutes later as Michael follows his wife into the restaurant and demands that the argument is not over just yet. What comes next is a frank, no-holds-barred conversation in front of the cameras about how Michael leverages his power over Ashley to treat her like a child rather than a partner. For some reason, Michael thinks he's the one who is owed an apology from his wife while following that up with yet another threat to shut down the event because he's the one in charge. As Ashley fights back tears in a supply closet, it's clearer than ever before that her husband holds all the power - not only at the restaurant but in their relationship as well.
However, the show must go on and, as guests and critics arrive for the event, Ashley has no choice but to put on a brave face. The rest of the Housewives show up as well, and Robyn's the first to admit that ambushing her meddling frenemy last week got ugly and she's come to show her support. The event begins and as comment cards get passed around with the new menu items, the drama shifts gears to the bad blood between 'Wives. Ashley attempts to apologize to Charrisse for their dust-up while shopping for dresses, (you know, the one where Sha Sha threatened that she was "'bout five seconds from f*cking [Ashley] up?"), but Charrisse holds her ground that the younger Housewife had no business sticking her nose into everyone else's relationships.
Ashley calls out what she sees as the rest of the ladies' hypocrisy - specifically that Gizelle can blurt out the fireman rumor about Charrisse on WWHL but she can't spill the tea she heard about Juan dating other people. Fairly, Robyn points out that this isn't the first time Ashley's dug up dirt on her personal life (last season's "$25 in their bank account" Google gossip drama, anyone?) and questions how genuine Ashley's entire 'being a concerned friend' act is. However, when Karen steps in and asks what is going on in Ashley's personal life to make her behavior so messy, the pot stirrer finally caves and admits to all the issues going on with her marriage, the restaurant and her blow-up with Michael. Finally, Little Miss Ashley has a moment of self-awareness, recognizing that she's taking her personal turmoil out on the other women and everyone finally understands what's been going on. Ultimately, the episode still ends on a questionable note, with Ashley admitting in her confessional that if Michael continues to disrespect and diminish her, the relationship will still be over...
What did you think of this week's RHOP? Will Ashley and Michael's relationship survive owning a restaurant? Do Ashley's personal issues justify or excuse her meddling in the lives of her friends? Would you eat Australian food?? Let me know in the comments below!