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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: faking cancer

RHOC Ssn 11/Ep 3 - Lies in the Air, Sand in My Hair

Glenn Rowley

vicki-gunvalson-rhoc

This week, The Real Housewives of Orange County gather for a beach party thrown by newbie Kelly, where Vicki and Tamra attempt to hash out last season's drama once and for all. Can the OG truly make amends with her one-time soulmate and sister? Plus, Meghan starts IVF and Heather finds the world's fanciest kind of ice. Read on for my full recap of the drama...

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We begin this week's episode in Oklahoma of all places, or as Vicki Gunvalson referred to it in Season 9, "the forgotten state." Her daughter Briana is finally moving back to the OC, so Vicki's flown out to help her road trip back with grandsons Troy and Owen. (Briana's husband Ryan is still employed by the Marine Corps, so he's staying behind temporarily to put the house on the market and move everything.) The reasons for Briana's return to Orange County are twofold: first for better medical care with her team of doctors in California and second because Vicki bought the young family a new house. Always the level-headed voice of wisdom on the show, Briana has struggled with her health for years - battling a cancer scare in Season 7, having lymph nodes and her thyroid removed and now healing from an infection in her leg as the result of a surgical complication. She's on strict doctor's orders not to fly, which means she and Vicki are in for a 23-hour road trip from Oklahoma to Orange County with two toddlers and a car full of luggage. Still recovering from surgery, the long drive is no walk in the park for poor Briana, who spends much of the excruciating trip in pain. Thank goodness the OG of the OC was there to help lighten the mood and play grandma to the boys.

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Back in the OC, Meghan King Edmonds is officially begin her IVF treatments. Since her husband Jimmy is off in Florida for MLB spring training, Meghan's creating a video diary to document her first round of shots for him. (Though I suspect it's really just a clever way to get the footage for viewers rather than for Jimmy.) Apparently, IVF involves a series of shots that have to be injected every day to help the ovaries grow, which doesn't exactly gel well with Meghan's deathly fear of needles. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror with a syringe in hand, it takes the mom-to-be roughly 11 minutes of psyching herself up before she's able to give herself the shot. It's a small, personal victory that brings Meghan to tears, but it's also the first of many to come, so she might as well get used to overcoming this particular phobia. 

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That night, Heather Dubrow, Shannon Beador and Tamra Judge meet newbie Kelly Dodd for dinner at Casa Ranchero. The meal is a chance for the veteran 'Wives to get to know Kelly a bit better, especially considering that the initial impressions she made at Heather's yacht party and Meghan's kitchen demolition have been a mixed bag at best. However, Tamra almost immediately puts the newbie on the spot by forcing her to tell Heather she had lunch with Vicki. Oh boy. This is not the best way to get on the rest of the 'Wives' good side Kelly. Once again, the other ladies air their grievances about the OG, trying to give the rookie some context about why they feel the way they do, but to no avail. Really though, Kelly would be better off staying out of last season's fray, no matter how much she sees herself in Vicki. In other news, Heather also informs the women about the upcoming party to celebrate the launch of her and Terry's book, but Kelly interrupts to invite them all to a beach party at her house. So the beach party comes first, I guess...

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While Vicki is playing supergrandma for Briana - who's been admitted to the hospital - Tamra's training for her fitness competition at CUT Fitness with Mia, her personal trainer/unofficial priest/spiritual mentor. Tamra explains that with so much chaos going on in her life, the fitness competition gives her something she can actually be relatively in control of. She's still concerned about the relationship drama between her son Ryan and his fiancé Sarah, but Mia reminds her to pray and give it all up to God because remember Tammy Sue's still a Christian now. (Side note - am I the only one who just can't help but wonder what Alexis Bellino thinks of it every time Tamra brings up Jesus on the show?)

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Meanwhile, Heather's still busy singlehandedly overseeing the construction of the Dubrow Chateau. The house still isn't finished, but she's finally getting to shop for the fun things, like $7,300 pizza ovens for the backyard and a 54-inch grill that her chef can use - Terry doesn't flip burgers. Most importantly, Heather's making the final decisions on which shapes of ice each refrigerator and ice machine will produce throughout the house and settles on fancy hexagonal ice for the subzero freezer. Who knew there were so many options for ice? I mean, hexagonal ice is apparently jewelry for your glass!

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It's beach party time! All the ladies descend on the beach that basically serves as Kelly's backyard for an evening of food, fun and a little bit of volleyball. As the hostess, Kelly has thought of every single detail and I must say, the party looks gorgeous and relaxing. Heather's sporting a "Brunettes vs. Blondes" t-shirt while Shannon arrives in full beast mode, ready to crush the competition in any game the gang is going to play. But of course, all eyes are on Vicki as she waltzes into the party, the last to arrive. Heather's the first to make conversation with the OG, asking her for an update on Briana's health now that she's been released from the hospital, but Shannon avoids Vicki like the plague - adamant that she has nothing to say to her former buddy.

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As the golden hour approaches, Vicki and Tamra find themselves alone and sit down for a much-needed heart-to-heart. Vicki opens up to her longtime BFF that she's still trying to heal and move on from the "sh--storm" that was last year, but admits that she misses having the other 'Wives in her life. Tamra bluntly counters that she still doesn't believe there was any possible way Vicki couldn't have known Brooks was faking cancer. Yet, Vicki continues to maintain that she was innocent in the cancer scandal and Brooks pulled the wool over her eyes just like he lied to the rest of the world. Tamra points out that she thinks Vicki lied because she wanted everyone to like Brooks and feel bad for him - specifically citing the OG's admission at the Season 10 reunion that she fabricated the story about Terry Dubrow and the IV. However, Vicki still claims she was simply blinded by love and this conversation is turning into a never-ending hamster wheel. Please, can we just get off yet?

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Tamra presses Vicki to just be honest, and questions why - out of all the other 'Wives - she would ever choose Brooks over her best friend. There's way too much blame shifting going on, but eventually an overwhelmed Vicki starts breaking down in tears and admits that Tamra is right. She meekly, tearfully asks whether Tamra can forgive her, and making the decision as a good Christian, Tamra says she can. The episode ends with Tamra encouraging Vicki to continue trying to make amends with her friends no matter how hard it may be. And with that, we're slapped with a "To Be Continued" and will have to wait until next week to find out what happens next...

What did you think of this week's RHOC? Should Tamra forgive Vicki? Is Kelly wrong for getting involved in last season's drama or is she just trying to integrate herself into the group? Do I need hexagonal ice in my fridge now? Let me know in the comments!

RHOC Season 11 Premiere - When the Ship Hits the Fan

Glenn Rowley

real-housewives-of-orange-county-season-11

The first ladies of Bravo are back! That's right, The Real Housewives of Orange County has cleared the 10-year mark and is starting Season 11. Veteran 'Wives Vicki Gunvalson, Tamra Judge, Heather Dubrow and Shannon Beador are back, along with Meghan King Edmonds and new girl Kelly Dodd. 

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As the familiar notes of the theme music, start I'm already jumping for joy because we have a new intro! Hooray! After using a recycled version of the Season 9 opening last year, I'm super happy to see that the ladies in new looks for the revamped intro. Immediately my vote for best tagline goes to Shannon for "Karma's a bitch, so I don't have to be one!" Not only does it cheekily reference the holistic Housewife's love of all things Eastern and mystical, but it made me laugh out loud too. Quick thoughts on the others: Tamra's is amusing and seamlessly blends her path to Christianity last season with her upcoming storyline as an aspiring bodybuilder. Heather revealed on her podcast that Bravo came up with her line, but I thought it cleverly poked fun at her Fancy Pants persona...and also happens to be kind of true. Meghan's sticking with another baseball analogy for her second season and the reference to "choosing her team wisely" must have to do with either her alliances with the other 'Wives or the in vitro journey we'll be seeing this year. Newbie Kelly promises to be a barrel of fun, so expectations are sufficiently high. And OG Vicki takes solid aim at her frenemies with "Before you judge me, you better be perfect." As a whole, I have to say that the new bunch of taglines are among the series' strongest and it's a promising way to start of the season. 

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Now onto the episode! We start by catching up with Tamra, who is apparently training for an amateur fitness competition. Following her baptism last season, she's still on the straight and narrow path back to Jesus, but she's determined to get to the pearly gates looking her very best - menopause be damned! As Tamra climbs a rope and I see that her arms are now bigger than mine, it hits me that Tamra as a bodybuilder kind of scares me a little. And also that I need to recommit to the gym regularly. In other news, Meghan and her husband Jimmy have moved into a new home, started a candle business (random?) and Meghan's prepping to start IVF treatments in order to get pregnant. Heather's still overseeing the construction of the palatial Dubrow Chateau while Terry's working more than ever thanks to filming Botched, plus its new spinoff Botched By Nature, on top of his surgical practice. And Shannon and David seem to be doing better than ever, having put his infidelity from Season 9 in the rearview mirror to focus on selling their house and downsizing. 

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And then there's Vicki, who was left friendless following last season's fake cancer debacle involving her shady boyfriend Brooks Ayers. Thankfully, the most controversial couple in the OC has (FINALLY) broken up and Brooks moved out, seemingly for good this time. Which hopefully means that this season won't be dominated by his drama the way that last year got hijacked. (Seriously, if I never hear the words "fake cancer" again, I'll be perfectly happy.) However, despite breaking things off with Brooks and living on her own, Vicki still remains estranged from the rest of the group. One by one, the other 'Wives explain in their confessionals that all they're looking for is some form of accountability from Vicki that she was in on the cancer scam and a sincere apology to start moving on, (minus Shannon who doesn't want anything to do with her), but the OG continues to maintain that she had nothing to do with Brooks's lies. And if she had to do it all over again, she claims that she would still stand by her man.

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Due to Jimmy's new job as a coach for the Arizona Cardinals, Meghan's left to go to her doctor's appointments for IVF without him. Thankfully her mom is able to come to the OC to go to the appointments in her husband's place. With this IVF storyline, Meghan's hoping to break the stigma that remains surrounding both IVF and infertility in general for the millions of women watching, and today she's undergoing a hysteroscopy. However, because of her uniquely c-shaped uterus, the procedure turns out to be incredibly painful for Meghan and she spends the majority of it screaming in tears of pain. This on top of her deathly phobia of needles and it appears this IVF appointment isn't exactly a walk in the park for the 31-year-old mother-to-be.

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In an effort to get all the 'Wives together, Heather's throwing the first party of the season and meets Tamra at a local nursery to run the idea past her while shopping for citrus trees. Having just gone through a secret wake-up call regarding Terry's health, Fancy Pants is putting together a little dinner cruise on a yacht in the spirit of love and friendship. However, when it comes to the guest list, Heather's conflicted about whether or not to invite Vicki. None of the other women have seen the OG for months, but Heather's feeling these days like everyone deserves a second chance - Vicki included. Tamra points out that Shannon will be upset if their former friend shows up at the party, but at the end of the day it's Fancy Pants's party and she can invite who she wants. 

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Next we finally meet newbie Kelly, who goes out to dinner with Meghan at OC eatery The Quiet Woman. Apparently, Meghan has known the newest 'Wife for about a year and can bond with her over IVF since Kelly used in vitro to conceive her daughter, Jolie. (For the record, I asked Kelly on Twitter, and she named her daughter after the french word for "beautiful," not Angelina.) From the get-go, Kelly's personality seems to scream "in your face FUN" with a capital F, as she boasts about being voted homecoming queen in high school and making varsity cheer as a junior. So when Meghan invites her to come along to Heather's yacht party the following weekend to meet the girls, Kelly's all in for a good time.

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While Heather calls Vicki to extend the olive branch invitation, Shannon and Tamra are at the doctor's office getting a new cosmetic treatment called Ultherapy. Rocking a gorgeous gold top in her confessional, Shannon admits that it would've been unthinkable two years ago for her to say that Tamra is one of her better friends but hey, when someone fakes cancer real miracles can happen. Shannon also reiterates that she has no interest in renewing a friendship with her once-close former friend Vicki. She's capable of forgiving for last year's medical records nightmare, but that doesn't mean they'll ever go back to being Aries buddies like they were during Shannon's first season on the show. And forgiving certainly doesn't mean Shannon will be excited to see Vicki at Heather's yacht party either.

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After seeing a glimpse into Kelly's unconventional home life (which involves living in a four-story beach house with her husband, daughter, mother and brother), it's time to hit the marina for Heather's party. Boarding a yacht called the Icon, the Dubrows' guests - including the other 'Wives and their significant others - are treated to a gorgeous spread of food and, of course, champs. When Meghan introduces Kelly to Tamra and Shannon, the rookie makes quite an impression with her "MC Hammered" sense of humor. Tamra's amused when Kelly tries to stuff her boob in the veteran 'Wife's mouth upon meeting. Shannon, not so much. 

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Tension creeps in when Vicki makes her grand entrance with former OG Housewife Jeana Keough in tow, but there's no time to dwell on the negativity because the yacht sets sail and it's time for dinner! Once everyone is seated, Heather stands to make a heartfelt toast, revealing that Terry recently underwent a health scare involving a stress EKG that could've resulted in his needing a heart bypass surgery. Thankfully, the test turned out to be a false positive, but it made the Dubrows really sit back and reevaluate what - and who - was really important in their lives. Everyone is surprised by this news and visibly moved, and I have to confess that seeing Heather tear up in her confessional as she talked about how much Terry means to her made me get a little emotional as well. With the toast having made its intended impact, Vicki gets up from the table and asks Heather to come to the lower deck of the yacht for a private chat. 

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Once the two 'Wives are alone, Vicki starts off by thanking Heather for even inviting her to the party in the first place. Then, she jumps headfirst into the real issue, admitting that she handled everything that went on last year the wrong way and was simply trying to maintain a toxic relationship that was slipping through her fingers. Still insisting she wasn't in on any cancer scam, the OG asks for Heather's forgiveness and hopes to move forward with a fresh start and clean slate. Now, this is exactly what Heather had been talking about earlier in the episode - that everyone deserves a second chance - but before she can reply, the screen cuts to black and the premiere is over! We'll have to wait until next week to see what Heather has to say about Vicki's mea culpa moment. 

What did you think of the RHOC premiere? Can you believe we're watching Season 11? Was your first impression of Kelly good or bad? Is there any way Vicki can get back into the other 'Wives good graces? Leave your thoughts and reactions below in the comments!

RHOBH Season 6 Wrap-Up

Glenn Rowley

rhobh-season-6-reunion

After two dozen episodes rife with machinations, manipulations and spinning of webs, it's time to wrap up Season 6 of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. For this week's feature, I'm breaking down my favorite parts of the season as well as what could and should change come Season 7...

WHY IT WORKED

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  • The perfection that is Erika Jayne: I'll say it right now. Erika Girardi was the single best new 'Wife the Beverly Hills franchise since the original six Housewives first blasted onto our screens in 2010. Everything from her perfectly manicured nails and glam squad to her jaw-dropping fashion sense and the glitz, glam, boobs and heels of her alter ego Erika Jayne made for fascinating addition to the cast and the Housewives universe. Erika was not only gorgeous and hilariously full of one-liners, she didn't up with any B.S. and refused to back down in any situation. Whether she was standing up for Yolanda Foster or going head-to-head with fellow newbie Kathryn Edwards over her perception that Lisa Vanderpump was spinning a web, I could not get enough of Erika. Even more, based on my first impression I wasn't actually sure I would like the newbie, but thankfully I saw the light and was converted into an Erika Jayne superfan.
  • Fresh-squeezed O.J. (Simpson): In perhaps the most serendipitous pop culture moment of all time, the Beverly Hills 'Wives were arguing over their many connections to the O.J. Simpson trial just as The People vs. O.J. Simpson, FX's gripping retelling of the story of the century, was captivating viewers across the country. For a few glorious weeks this winter, I could watch Kathryn Edwards battle it out with the morally corrupt Faye Resnick over being dragged into the scandal by her juicy tell-all (which was published just as the jury was being selected), and then immediately switch over to Connie Britton as Faye herself. I literally could have watched the Housewives battle it out over O.J. Simpson all season long and been completely happy.
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  • Beverly Hills takes the Hamptons: Personally, I loved every minute of the ladies' trip early in the season to the Hamptons to celebrate the opening of Kyle Richards's pop-up shop and the white party for Lisa Vanderpump's Bella Magazine cover. Not only will I own a house there one day, but from the start of Eileen Davidson and Lisa Vanderpump's feud to the dinner party clash between Erika and RHONY's Bethenny Frankel, it was pretty much everything I could dream of for a Housewives getaway. Plus, after so many years of knowing about their BFF status, it was amazing to see Kyle's decades-long friendship with Bethenny on screen. Two of my all-time favorite Housewives in one of my favorite places in the world? What more could I ask for?
  • The unwilling spiral of Lisa Rinna: Oh, Lisa Rinna. When both Brani Glanville and Kim Richards exited the show after the conclusion of Season 5, many wondered who would become the essential bad 'Wife of the cast, but in a way it makes sense that Lisa Rinna took up the mantle. When her opening tagline bragged about how much talking her well-known lips would do, I had an inkling we were in for trouble this season. However, the second she read the definition of the word "Munchausen" off her phone at Villa Rosa, I knew she was done for. All season long, Rinna preached about "owning" her stuff while incessantly gossiping about both Yolanda and Lisa Vanderpump, painting them as the show's master manipulators. All in all, her play worked, earning her the coveted hot seat next to Andy Cohen come reunion time. By season's end, Lisa Rinna had burned bridges with just about everyone in the cast except for Eileen, and the scariest part of the entire madness may be that the longtime actress still thinks she's in the right...She can cry "scapegoat" all she wants, but there's no denying that her own mouth was what got Rinna in a giant heap of trouble this year.

WHAT COULD CHANGE

  • A snoozy finale: After SO MUCH went down over the course of the season, it was beyond frustrating to see the finale amount to, well, pretty much a whole lot of nothing. Kyle's gorgeous house in Palm Desert set the stage for what could've been an electrifying event, but all we got was Lisa Rinna apologizing to Yolanda and throwing darts at Kim with the rest of the 'Wives basically refusing to engage. This may sound terrible, but I was almost grateful that Bravo decided to film more when Yolanda and David's divorce became public because otherwise the finale would've been entirely forgettable. 
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  • Please, no more Munchausen: Dear Bravo, for the love of all that is holy, please never force us to hear the word "Munchausen" ever again. I feel confident that I'm speaking for every single fan out there when I say this. I really just can't take it anymore. I have sympathy for what Yolanda is going through, but enough is enough. When the Wives were talking about anything other than Munchausen, I loved the season. When they were obsessing over it, I didn't. While we're on the topic, can this please be the official end of "fake diseases by Bravo?" I'm talking to you, Evolution Media. We've endured a full season of Brooks Ayers faking cancer on RHOC and now another 24 episodes dominated by whether or not Yolanda's Lyme disease was real. The Housewives are over it, the audience is over it, even Andy is probably over it. Please let this be the end. 
  • Cast shake-ups: The one constant in the Bravo universe is the rotating door of Housewives. Season after season, some women are let go and new 'Wives take their place. It's a pattern as reliable as the sun rising or someone calling Lisa Vanderpump manipulative. Last season I questioned whether Kim Richards was in a healthy-enough state to continue filming, but had no idea that my wish for Brandi Glanville to finally be fired from the show would actually come true. This year, I think the most obvious choice for getting the ax would be newbie Kathryn Edwards. Not that I want this to happen - I love her - but out of all of the women, she's the most easily replaceable. However, I also wonder if either Yolanda or Eileen may take their final bows and exit stage left before Season 7. Yolanda went into this season with a single-minded goal to raise awareness for her Lyme disease, but the idea went sideways on her when it grew into rumors about her personal integrity and started involving her children in the gossip. Her Lyme storyline being dominated by the big, bad M-word was certainly not what she had in mind. As for Eileen, I adore her on the show and hope she comes back, but we all know she's far too sane and cool for all this craziness. As much as she turned into the bad guy this season, we all know Lisa Rinna is never going to walk away from the show until Andy personally pries the contract from her cold, dead hands. Therefore, my ideal cast for next season would be Kyle, Lisa Vanderpump, Lisa Rinna, Eileen, Erika, Kathryn, one newbie and maybe one official Friend of the Housewives.
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SEASON RANKINGS

  • Season 2: The sophomore season in Beverly Hills represents quintessential Housewives at both its best and darkest. Taylor Armstrong's tense, crumbling marriage and the allegations of domestic abuse going on behind closed doors dominated the season, and took the darkest turn possible when her husband Russell committed suicide prior to the season premiere. Kim Richards on-camera spiral into addiction and ill-fated relationship with the shady, enabling Ken Blumenfeld also cast a wide shadow on the season and her already strained relationship with sister Kyle. However, this year also gave us the gift of Queen Camille Grammer's awe-inspiring comeback from Season 1 villain to the patron saint of Season 2 as well as the introduction of Brandi Glanville and Dana "$25,000 sunglasses" Wilkey. Iconic moments from the season included the game night showdown between Brandi and the Richards sisters, the Malibu Beach Party from Hell and the clash between Taylor, Camille and Lisa Vanderpump at the latter's ill-fated tea party. The three-part reunion was also particularly epic. Kyle busted out her unforgettable line comparing friendship with LVP to playing chess with Bobby Fischer, the repercussions of which have reverberated all the way to the current day. Kim also missed the reunion taping altogether due to a trip to rehab, and only admitted during the final installment that she was an alcoholic. 
  • Season 6: Even given my criticism, I really loved this season. It went deep and wide, but without the toxic negativity of Brandi's drama. The Hamptons, Dubai, O.J. Simpson, Erika Jayne, the return of Faye Resnick...shall I go on? Now if only we could do something about Lisa Rinna's penchant for reading things off her phone and using the word "enraged."
  • Season 1: While it may seem tame by today's standards, Season 1 was - as Andy Cohen so eloquently stated in the Uncensored special - truly "lightning in a bottle." With Camille Grammer declared as the "Most Hated Housewife in America" by Life & Style at the time, the debut season gave us the iconic Dinner Party from Hell, Kyle Richards' epic "you're such a f***ing liar Camille" line and Alison DuBois' e-cigarette and set the high water mark for what a first season could be in the Housewives universe. 
  • Season 3: I had some issues with it at the time, but Season 3 has very much grown on me in the intervening years since it aired. While it was frustrating to watch the primary storyline revolve around damning information revealed by Brandi Glanville about Adrienne Maloof that was edited out for legal reasons, (it was eventually revealed that Adrienne used a surrogate for the birth of her twin boys), the season also swirled with intrigue and constantly-shifting alliances. Plus, we'll always have the Housewives' incredible trip to Paris.
  • Season 5: This time last year, I felt that Season 5 was possibly the best season of the show yet. But as a counterpoint to Season 3, my enthusiasm has waned significantly and it now finds itself on the bottom half of the list. I loved the addition of Lisa Rinna (at the time) and Eileen Davidson (always), but I realized how hit-or-miss the season really was when a friend asked me for a recommendation on which episodes were absolutely must-see. As I thought about her question, it dawned on me that after Kyle's White Party, the season was sluggish to really get rolling and the drama didn't start until around Episode 8. I eventually told my friend there were quite a few episodes she could skip altogether, and advised her to particularly focused on the back half of the season when things finally got good. That being said, the disastrous poker party at Eileen's house and the drama at Kyle's gay mixer are not to be missed and I loved the cast trip to Yo's homeland of Holland. Plus, the reunion had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, while this season's ultimately came up short.
  • Season 4: It's my ardent belief that this is the season Andy Cohen and all the other major players at Bravo would like to pretend never happened. The addition of Carlton Gebbia and Joyce Giraud de Ohoven proved to be a disaster, with the majority of fans abhorring the former while finding the latter gratingly annoying. Plenty of die-hard LVP supporters are still bitter about Brandi Glanville's season-long smear campaign against her former BFF and the trip to Puerto Rico was kind of awful. By the start of Season 5, the show seemed to have hit the proverbial reset button and it's almost like the boring season only exists in our nightmares.

With that, my coverage of Season 6 is officially, truly over. What did you think of the season overall? Do you agree or disagree with my ranking of the seasons? Let me know in the comments!

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 23 - Brooks Tells All

Glenn Rowley

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Following the three-part Season 10 reunion, Bravo's decided to Andy's one-on-one sit-down with Brooks Ayers in its entirety. Now, honestly, in the wake of everything that has come to light since the season started airing regarding Brooks' funny relationship with the truth, it's hard to take anything he said in this interview seriously. However, here's a breakdown of the things we learned in the half-hour special. According to Brooks: 

Briana contributed to his breakup with Vicki. Brooks blames Vicki's daughter, saying that she never gave him a fair chance when he started dating her mom. (Part of that may be because the relationship started before Vicki had ended things with Donn but OK...) As for the shocking revelation from the Season 8 reunion that Brooks was caught on a voice recording drunkenly telling Briana's husband he should start hitting her to "get her to fall in line"? Brooks claims he asked for forgiveness from anyone who would listen, but Briana and Ryan weren't on that list.

He still has cancer. When asked by Andy for an update on the status of his health, Brooks is insistent that he does still have cancer. Claiming he's been in treatment for close to 11 months, he says his numbers are now "normalizing" and the lesions in his lymphatic system are gone. Brooks attributes this to a combination of chemotherapy and a number of holistic treatments including vitamin C IV therapy, ozone therapy and yes, resveratrol three times a week.

The resveratrol idea came from Jim Bellino's private physician. That's right, just when you thought the web couldn't get any more convoluted, Brooks throws out the name of Jimmy The Chin Bellino, husband of former OC Housewife Alexis Bellino as a fellow patient of the doc who's got him on resveratrol to "boost his immune system." I bet the Bellinos must've loved getting dragged into this controversy. 

Vicki is to blame for the confusion surrounding his treatments. Throughout the season, quite a bit about this story didn't seem to line up. Brooks blames Vicki for all the inconsistencies, saying that she "misspoke" often regarding his doctor visits, chemotherapy, etc. He also claims Vicki tells people what they want to hear in an effort to elicit sympathy for both Brooks and the two of them as a couple.

He doesn't do damage control. In September 2014, a video surfaced on Radar Online of Brooks admitting to cheating on Vicki with some prostitutes. Then magically a month later, he was diagnosed with cancer and gave an exclusive statement to...wait for it...Radar Online. First Brooks claims that he wanted to deal with his diagnosis as privately as possible and blames Vicki for wanting to release it to the press before he gave the Radar Online statement. When Andy points out that the timing seems awfully convenient as a way to shut the gossip site up about his cheating admission, Brooks insists that the two instances weren't connected whatsoever.

The other 'Wives are to blame for his breakup with Vicki. Brooks says the drama surrounding his cancer was something that upset Vicki "continuously" without any semblance of resolution, but doesn't blame the show for their breakup. Instead, he pins that on the other women and Briana for creating "constant conflict" and accuses Briana of projecting her own issues of using her mom financially and otherwise onto him. That story is an awfully tough sell for anyone who's watched the last four seasons. 

He's relieved, not heartbroken. Brooks announces that he's relocating to Florida and that this time, his breakup with Vicki will stick. He claims that he wants Vicki to be happy but accuses her in the same breath of needing Briana's approval over who she dates. 

He has a lot to say to the other 'Wives. When Andy gives him the opportunity to address the cast, Brooks goes for the jugular: he doesn't trust Tamra because she speaks out of both sides of her mouth, Shannon needs to stop making this issue all about her and he specifically tells Meghan to "f*** off." As Andy says, that's nothing if not concise. The only cast member Brooks has kind words for is Heather, thanking her and Terry for their support over the last four years. 

He has no regrets. Saying that regrets just aren't in his genes, he doesn't have any about his relationship with Vicki. He claims Vicki allowed all this "outside noise" from other people to control her mindset, but he doesn't listen to it because he doesn't answer to anyone but God and his closest family. Ultimately, he admits he could've done things differently with Briana and spoken his mind more to Tamra, but at the end of the day things didn't work out and he wishes Vicki the best.

Since this interview was taped, Brooks has admitted to fabricating his medical records from City of Hope, saying that he never intended to use his real medical records for a storyline on a reality show. This admission came on the heels of the  hospital issuing a statement saying they never treated anyone by the name of David Brooks Ayers for cancer. Brooks, however, still insists he has the disease.

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 22 - Reunion Part 3

Glenn Rowley

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Here we are. We've managed to avoid the giant "c-word" in the room for the first two-thirds of the reunion, but in this final installment, it's all the ladies are going to talk about. We knew this was coming. We have to get through it. Let's see if we can get any kind of definitive answer once and for all about Brooks Ayers and his possibly fake cancer.

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A History of Deceit

The cancer issue kicks off with an examination of Brooks' long pattern of lies and untruths. Heather points out that at its heart this cancer situation is a credibility issue since Brooks has a history of not telling the truth. Case in point - he was caught in a lie during Season 8 about dating a porn star while on a break with Vicki, who quickly jumps in to say the girl was a poker party waitress, not a porn star. Uh huh. Ok. In fact, not only does Brooks have a reputation for not telling the truth, he's left a trail of playing the cancer card in the past. Tamra reveals that on the Season 9 trip to Hawaii, Vicki told her off-camera that Brooks had been diagnosed with cancer and was getting tests done at City of Hope. As soon as she and Tamra landed at LAX, Vicki was frantically calling to find out the test results, but Brooks wouldn't answer her calls. When he did, he told her to call back when she was in the car. The verdict? He was fine. Tamra follows that bombshell up by revealing that way back in Season 3 (her first year on the show), she and Vicki immediately bonded. At the time, the OG opened up to the new Housewife and told her that someone she had a connection with had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She regretted carrying on the attachment and now felt like she needed to leave Donn to go be with him. That person was Brooks. And again, the cancer turned out to be pancreatitis. Red flags, anyone?

Cancer Victim or Con Artist?

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Next, we get more of Andy's interview with Brooks from the WWHL Clubhouse. Brooks claims he's been in treatment for the past 11 months - meaning a combination of chemotherapy and holistic remedies. His "numbers" are normalizing and the lesions in his lymphatic system are gone. As Andy fires off questions from the 'Wives, smooth-talking Brooks has an answer for everything: Shannon's not the only one with world-renowned doctors, he actually went to Hoag Memorial for his PET scan but it was transcribed through Newport Imaging, his ex-girlfriends were out to get him, etc. Andy says it appears to be a pattern of using cancer to manipulate people and gain sympathy, but Brooks shoots back that people can believe what they want - the truth is the truth. I find it really interesting that all these things not adding up are the fault of everyone else but Brooks. In this one segment alone, he blames Vicki, Briana, the other Housewives and two of his ex-girlfriends, but never takes responsibility for a single thing. 

Back on the couches, Heather asks Vicki if Brooks ever saw a real cancer specialist, because all they showed during the season were meetings with "non-cologists." Vicki claims that the oncologist Brooks met with at City of Hope didn't want to film, but Heather knows that a lie because the doctor lives down the street from her. Brooks never met with him. Plus, City of Hope allows filming - Heather even shot scenes there! A flustered Vicki throws her hands up and declares that she doesn't have any proof he was faking cancer. But Shannon does.

Examining the Evidence

It turns out that Shannon did some Meghan-style investigating and like so many of us, took a screenshot of Brooks' shady PET/CT scan results. As evidence he was lying, Shannon presents a copy of what an actual CT report looks like from Newport Imaging. The verdict? It looks nothing like the one Brooks showed Tamra. Plus, Shannon insists that there's no way a radiologist would have ever signed off on a document with a "1" handwritten into the date and the words all jumbled together. Briana backs that claim up, explaining that she worked at Hoag for four years and their radiology department is several times bigger than the one at Newport Imaging - there's no way they would've needed the report to be dictated through another medical center. 

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Consistent Inconsistencies

In his interview, Andy next asks Brooks why there were so many inconsistencies throughout the season between things he and Vicki said. Again, Brooks blames Vicki for all the mix-ups, claiming that she had the tendency to tell people what they wanted to hear, or to try to gain sympathy for them as a couple. According to Brooks, Vicki "misspoke quite a bit" during the season and naturally, nothing is ever his fault. As for the rumor that went around in the finale about Terry sending someone to the house with an IV for Brooks? He claims Briana repeated the story and it never happened. Andy asks why Brooks wouldn't show Terry the medical records to prove his cancer was real, and Brooks claims that in hindsight he wishes he would have. Andy points out that there was still time to prior to the reunion being filmed and Brooks says he'll reach out. However, Heather categorically denies she or Terry ever hearing from Brooks at all. 

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Heather wants the truth about the IV story though, and Vicki offers to clarify. She explains that she wanted to call Terry but Brooks shut it down and she never did. However, that's clearly not what she told Shannon or Tamra at the time. Finally, the OG admits she fabricated the story in an attempt to get sympathy for Brooks because everyone was being so hard on him and she just wanted some compassion. As the other 'Wives start angrily piling on, Andy actually steps in to defend Vicki. All Tamra wants to know is why she made up the story and Vicki explains that as the season wore on, Brooks was getting quieter and quieter about his cancer situation. So even though she had seen him sick, she chose to let him deal with it and focus on other things, effectively turning a blind eye to the potential deception. 

Meghan in particular seemed to have it out for Brooks and Vicki all season. The newbie thinks Brooks wasn't expecting Miss 30-Year-Old to come onto the scene with a cancer situation in her own life, ask real questions and care about the issue. She tearfully explains that she came onto the show thinking she had an ally in cancer but instead got attacked time and again by an angry Vicki. 

"We Don't Believe You"

Vicki insists that she only knows what she saw and experienced. Apparently that doesn't include Brooks' chemotherapy sessions. The one time she went, she sat in the waiting room and didn't see the needle go into Brooks' arm. With all the conflicting and confusing details, Heather points out that none of them believe the OG and need more answers. Heather thinks that Brooks must have something on Vicki. Whether it's a business deal or something other big secret, she's simply too smart to be fooled. Tamra jumps on that comment, saying Vicki's done nothing but lie for Brooks and throw everyone else under the bus. As Shannon angrily demands she "fess up," Vicki explodes, yelling at the other women to stop. She's not going to say anything that's not true! The OG never knew anything different and still believed Brooks has cancer. 

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Tamra starts getting emotional as she tearfully explains that all she ever wanted was to protect Vicki from this man. Vicki claims she understands that now in hindsight, but Shannon says she doesn't see any remorse in her former friend. Andy asks if Vicki is scared of Brooks, to which she responds with a small nod. So yes, Vicki is scared of this man she just spent four years of her life with. Andy follows that up by asking if Brooks had ever gotten physical with Vicki, and both Briana and Tamra jump in to say that they'd both seen him abuse Vicki at different times. The OG claims that he was more verbally abusive than physically. However, Briana claims that no one else knows the things she's seen Brooks do to her mom, even up to the previous night when he was texting her rude things in the hotel room. Andy tries to get to the root of this issue with Vicki. Is she just lonely? Is it low self-esteem? But the OG says she hasn't quite put her finger on what kept her in a relationship with Brooks for so long. Fixing her relationship and putting up with all the bad things was easier for Vicki than the idea of being alone. 

Casseroles & Compassion

Vicki reveals that as the season wore on, she started growing more suspicious of Brooks' claims, but that every time she brought it up to him it turned into an argument. Andy asks if the women think it's possible that Vicki didn't want to know the truth. Shannon says no way but Meghan thinks that Vicki looks like an idiot with all the evidence lined up against her. For her part, Fancy Pants says she kept giving Vicki opportunities to tell the truth, but the OG never took them. Another possibility is that Brooks was sick, just never as sick as he claimed and embellished his illness in an attempt to fix his damaged reputation. That option has Tamra's vote. Vicki explains that she was expecting compassion and casseroles from her cast mates, but didn't get any. This comment sets Shannon off, who angrily reminds Vicki that she gave her everything she could in support. Keep digging your grave, Vick. 

Vicki's Rock-Bottom Relationships

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This leads into a package and yelling match about how the fake cancer issue affected Vicki's relationships with her friends. After a quick debate over whether the OG of the OC is going to heaven or hell (seriously), the topic turns to Shannon's anger at finding out Vicki had told her brother and his girlfriend about David's affair. As I said in the finale recap, this is the ultimate betrayal of trust, but this time Vicki takes accountability and apologizes rather than getting defensive. Vicki is visibly deflating by this point, sick of the fighting and being put in the hot seat. Shannon's not finished though, as she points out that both Tamra and Heather said more about their doubts and yet she's the bad guy?! Dig that grave a little deeper, Vicki. At this point, Briana intervenes to point out that Shannon was essentially the only person in her mom's corner, but that Vicki would flip out at any sign of doubt. Tamra asks Vicki what her gut tells her and finally, Vicki caves and admits that her gut is telling her Brooks doesn't have cancer. STOP THE PRESSES. VICKI GUNVALSON JUST SAID WHAT WE'VE ALL BEEN DYING TO HEAR FOR 23 WEEKS! 

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The OG explains that about three months ago she started really questioning Brooks because his story was making less and less sense. Every time she pressed him, he told her she had no right to his medical records because she would try to take them to the other women. That's not suspicious at all...Heather thinks that if Vicki had red flags herself about the situation, she should've opened up to at least one of the 'Wives rather than getting defensive, deflecting and turning it around on them. Andy points out that Vicki seems rather disconnected as she's talking, and it's true - she hasn't been herself for the entire reunion. Briana jumps in to say that she thinks her mom is just now starting to see the damage her relationship with Brooks has caused to her life, her family and her friendships and it's freaking her out. Vicki gets teary as she explains that no one ever wants to feel duped or taken advantage of. Why would he spend all this time and money if he didn't have cancer? She's sad as she realizes what's happened to her life, but relieved that this man is no longer a part of her life. She was manipulated into always going to bat for him, and now that it's over Vicki has a lot of pieces to pick up and put back together. 

We Are Never, Ever, Ever Getting Back Together

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Briana says that the last two weeks have been the best in her relationship with Vicki since her divorce with Donn. Vicki's devastated that she was taken advantage of and insists to everyone that she and Brooks will never get back together. Briana, however, thinks that Brooks will never be completely out of their lives and predicts that he'll try to weasel his way back in once the dust settles. Unfortunately, she doesn't think Vicki is strong enough not to be manipulated by him. However, Vicki is mostly hurt that she hurt her friends - she wants the other 'Wives to love and respect her, and promises that she'll work hard at getting that respect back. 

During a break, Shannon walks off set while Tamra and Vicki have a candid heart-to-heart. Tammy Sue begs her BFF to stop defending Brooks, telling her that it's time to take a stand and just say that he lied to her. In all the wreckage, Tamra says her heart is broken for her friend because she knew what kind of person Brooks was from the day Vicki started dating him. However, Vicki explains that she just wanted Tamra to like him so badly that she couldn't see things for what they were, and reiterates that she's never going back to Brooks. He doesn't deserve her. It's going to take a while to get the old Vicki back, but next time Tamra can conduct the interviews for any of Vicki's potential boyfriends.

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Final Thoughts

Wrapping things up, Andy asks the women for some final thoughts on the season. Meghan thinks the whole thing was overall a positive experience and hopes she can do it again next year. Andy points out that Vicki went further in admitting culpability than many in the room thought she would, but it's still not enough for Heather. Fancy Pants straight up tells Vicki that's she's not satisfied, but is happy with the friendship she's developed with Shannon and continues to have with Tamra. Looking back on the past year, Shannon explains that it's nothing she could've predicted. She's grateful for where she's at with her marriage and family as well as her unexpected friendships with Heather, Tamra and Meghan, but is still sorely disappointed in the implosion of her relationship with Vicki. Tamra had a big year as well, and says she can only hope her relationship with Vicki will get better, even if she doesn't believe the story her friend has been selling. Vicki admits that she's not in the best place, and wishes she would've been more aware to the reality of her situation this year rather than trying to blindly defend her boyfriend. However, this is an opportunity for a clean slate and a fresh start, so bring on the fireball shots!

RHOC Season 10 Finale - Baptism by Fire

Glenn Rowley

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Amazing grace! How sweet the sound? The long and winding road known as Season 10 in Orange County finally came to its conclusion with the baptism of Tammy Sue. Never before has there been such a religious finale in the history of the Housewives franchise. It was a regular Jesus party with no wine throwing or breaking a piece off the cake in sight. However, just because it was a Jesus party doesn't mean it wasn't full of walk offs, storm outs, betrayals and broken friendships.

This baptism is the first step in Tamra's journey to wash away her sins and start anew. In typical OC fashion, celebration isn't complete without a poolside gospel choir and Housewives past and present (Tammy Knickerbocker! Looney Lynne Curtin!) dressed head to toe in white. Going into the baptism, the other 'Wives take stock of their lives. Shannon declares her marriage better than it's ever been while Meghan's feeling the lonely strain of having Jimmy splitting time between Orange County and St. Louis. Vicki is determined to steer clear of all her friends for the evening. She's there to support Tamra but flanked by her brother Billy and his girlfriend Ronda, is on high alert for any drama brewing in the air. 

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After making her grand entrance, Tamra gives a heartfelt speech about why she's committing her life to Jesus, saying that she knows God has a plan for her and she can't freaking wait to see what it is. She credits her difficult time last year (a.k.a. Season 9) going through a nasty custody battle with Simon as the catalyst that led to her finding the Lord. While she knows she'll never be perfect, she's happy to say that what was once her mess is now her message. With tears all around, Tamra enters the swimming pool with Pastor Mike, confesses her faith and goes under the water. As her sins get washed away, we're treated to a quick montage of many of the low points that have been documented over Tamra's eight seasons on the show, but now all those bad times are behind her. She comes out of the water triumphant, the choir launches into a poolside "Amazing Grace" and it's a special moment...though I can't help but laugh at Vicki singing along with her hand in the air. Praise Jesus, hallelujah and woo-hoo!

With the baptism complete, it's time to party and Tamra has pushed the theme just far enough to be fitting for a season finale - complete with angel and devil cakes and an edible golden halo. Like Shannon says, if Tamra Judge is having a baptism, the word devil has to be in there somewhere, right? While Tamra's in her hotel suite getting her "Jesus sparkle eyes" done, Vicki and the other ladies nervously circle each other at the party, with the OG continuing to consciously avoid any hint of confrontation. Out of all the 'Wives, Vicki says she's most hurt by Shannon. After all, she's been there for her and kept her secret about the affair and been nothing but an amazing friend to her. How dare Shannon do this to her! That's not exactly how I see the situation, but OK Vicki, you do you.

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Meanwhile, the other women have gathered at the opposite end of the party to discuss the latest story going around about Brooks. Apparently, the story goes that Brooks called Terry in the middle of the night, so sick from his chemo treatments that Terry sent a colleague over to Vicki's house to administer an IV drip. Terry denies that any such thing ever happened, with Heather saying it's a bold-faced lie. However, the story is coming from multiple sources - Shannon heard it back in October after Brooks supposedly had his first chemo treatment and Briana heard it too. So where is the story coming from? Heather wonders why Vicki would be covering for him but Meghan points out that if you have the inability to work because of illness, you don't have to pay child support. Hmm...interesting. What better way for Brooks to get sympathy and turn his negative reputation around in the eyes of Housewives and fans alike. The whole thing feels weird and uncomfortable, but the ladies don't know how to get answers from Vicki. As Heather points out, historically an ambush hasn't worked out well for them. 

Before the girls can confront Vicki, Tamra enters the party looking sin-free. She wants to take a picture with all the 'Wives, but the OG bolts for the bathroom. Don't worry, Vick, they'll wait. In the interim, Vicki's brother Billy comes up to the women and starts defending his sister, saying that she talks about the 'Wives "all the time" but is wondering whether any of the ladies are really her friends because of how much they question her about Brooks. Heather insists that they all truly love Vicki, they just think the situation is weird. Billy also pushes the cancer issue, saying he's seen the medical records and standing up for Brooks. Now it feels like Billy is being used as a pawn to push Vicki and Brooks' agenda. At this point, Vicki attempts a full retreat from the party - giving Tamra her present and saying she's leaving. Tamra insists she can't leave yet, it's Tamra's party and she just got there! It's just plain rude. In her interview, Heather wants to know where Vicki's always going. Why is she always running away?

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Heather runs to catch Vicki and convince her not to leave, but Vicki says she can't be around all the negative and toxic energy...at a baptism celebration. Heather calls Vicki on her BS and also takes the time to ask her about the Brooks/Terry/IV drip story that's been floating around. Vicki claims she she's never heard the story and has no idea where it came from, but Shannon already told Heather she heard it directly from Vicki last October. Vicki has to be lying. Plus, how else would Shannon and Briana - who have never met before - both have heard the exact same story, particularly when Briana lives across the country in Oklahoma?

Meanwhile, across the party Billy's girlfriend Ronda inexplicably decides to confront Shannon, attacking her for not being supportive of Vicki and Brooks. What? This is a woman Shannon has met once in her entire life. Backed by Tamra, Meghan and Lizzie, Shannon defends herself, explaining that she was Vicki's biggest supporter and closest friend before their ill-fated lunch when Vicki turned on her and accused her of not being a good friend. Shannon has been there since the day Brooks got diagnosed, so who are you Ronda? However, Ronda's not done, and rudely throws out that Vicki didn't ask to see any records when Shannon said David was having an affair. Keep in mind that at this point, Vicki thought she was the only person who knew about the affair - she didn't know Shannon had told Tamra and Heather a couple days prior and no one else knew beyond that. Vicki telling Ronda about David's affair was the ultimate betrayal of trust. 

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Shannon is rightfully enraged by this revelation and marches over to thank Vicki for being such a true friend. Vicki doesn't even know what hit her as Shannon storms away, and tries to minimize her betrayal by saying it wasn't some big secret. According to the OG, Brooks has cancer, David had an affair - why are they fighting about it? Now I've loved Vicki for 10 seasons and there's not much she can do to lose my devotion but I am absolutely on Team Shannon on this one. This is royally screwed up of Vicki and she knows it. 

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Vicki finally bolts for the limo, but Tamra's now the one chasing after her with Pastor Mike in tow. The OG tries to deflect her betrayal by saying Shannon got was she deserved for pushing at Ronda (WHAT?) and pulling a "shame on her" for Shannon not returning her phone calls or emails for the last two weeks. This is unbelievable. Vicki then tries playing the victim, blaming everyone else for not asking how she's doing since she lost her mom and her boyfriend started battling cancer. All this other stuff is just sad, disgusting minutiae to Vicki. Why do these women keep pushing and pushing her instead of hugging her? The OG then pulls out her trump card - just like Jesus, she's being nailed to a cross for doing NOTHING WRONG. Yes, Vicki just compared herself to Jesus. In front of a pastor. Classic Vicki.

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The other women catch up to Tamra and a ranting Vicki. Meghan tries to point out that Vicki just ran away from a very hurt Shannon but Vicki turns it around to say she's extremely hurt too. "Really, Vicki??" Shannon exclaims, pointing out that she told Vicki private information about her marriage, which she just discovered Vicki had told to other people. How dare Vicki throw her friendship and trust away in the trash can, when Shannon's been nothing but a friend to her. Feeling cornered again, Vicki goes for the jugular, screaming that she was the only one who stood by Shannon during charity party debacle and been her friend when everyone else has had problems with her. As Heather points out, how is Shannon supposed to respond to that? Thank you for ditching a charity party for me and then revealing my biggest secret that I asked you not to tell anyone? Seriously.

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Vicki gets into the limo and Tamra jumps in after her while the other 'Wives stand awkwardly on the curb. Finally alone, Tamra brings up the conflicting story about Brooks' PET/CT scan and how Newport Imaging said they don't even do that type of scan at their facility. Vicki says the other women can do all the detective work they want, but she's standing by her man (which apparently means calling her own daughter a "sh**-stirrer" who's out to destroy Brooks reputation. Seriously, Vick?) The OG announces that she feels as though she's the one who's been baptized tonight and that the other women will never be satisfied. As Tamra finally gives up and gets out, Vicki the Godfather drives away with a shrug and an "I don't care anymore." That's where Vicki's at. 

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The finale ends with each of the 'Wives getting her "where are they now?" snapshot. After four years together, Vicki and Brooks broke up and he moved to Florida. Meghan the Crusader of Truth and Jimmy bought a home in the OC, but he's still only spending 50% of his time there. Shannon and David continue getting counseling for their marriage, but it only took her a year to get over the affair. In the process, she lost 15 pounds. Construction on Chateau Dubrow is behind schedule and over budget - the family will be moving in sometime early next year. Tamra remains a practicing Christian and has asked Jesus to forgive Simon, who's recently restarted their custody war. However, Heather gets the last word on the season, eloquently saying that she doesn't know if we'll ever get real answers about Brooks' cancer. But either way, the women all still love Vicki and hope to mend their broken and strained relationships with her. We'll find out how true that is at the reunion next week!