Things finally started to heat up this week as the 'Wives jetted off on a trip to Tahiti. I hate to admit it, but prior to this episode, this season had been lagging for me a bit. Plenty has been going on in the 'Wives individual lives - the passing of Vicki's mom, Tamra becoming a grandma, Shannon and David attempting to repair their marriage and Heather building her family's dream home - but being roughly one third of the way through the season, it felt like the ladies were barely interacting with each other. With all the big life moments, there wasn't any narrative thread or dramatic tension pulling the separate storylines together. However, it appears that the problem is being fixed by a classic Housewives move: forcing the women onto an island together. But first, we had another classic tradition from Bravo's toolbox: game night.
Meghan wasted no time putting together the game night she invited the ladies to last week. After the passing of Vicki's mom, the newbie thinks that what the group really needs is an excuse to have some fun and laugh. Setting up for the party, she manages to put stepdaughter Hayley to work too. After last week's misadventures in step-parenting, Meghan's trying to set more ground rules for the 17-year-old, but Hayley's not having it and responds to Meghan's attempt at providing structure with a petulant "let's wait till dad gets home." Isn't that supposed to work the other way around? While setting up, Meghan calls Heather, who's managed to liquor Terry up for a midday shopping date. (Apparently in the Dubrow house, spending $400 on a shirt is a decent price point.) Meghan explains that when she first decided to host the couples night she thought Jimmy would be there, but he's out of town which leaves the hostess couple-less. Never fear, because Terry can't make the game night either (on account of an early-morning surgery), so Heather can team up as her partner.
Game night is upon us and most of the ladies arrive with their men in tow - minus Vicki who apparently had to work late. Naturally, I couldn't be happier to see Christian Rovsek on my TV screen. Upon arrival, Shannon is nice to Meghan's face, but passive-aggressively celebrates finally receiving an invitation to a Meghan Edmonds party in her confessional. Almost immediately, the whispered gossip starts as Shannon wonders to Lizzie about why Meghan decided to host a couples night sans Jimmy. Lizzie agrees that if she was hosting a party and Christian wasn't there, she would have a girls night instead, but Shannon decides not to pry into the situation and sticks to silent judgement. Eventually, Vicki and Brooks arrive - with a vow not to stay long - and the games begin.
You would think after last season's "Shag, Marry, Kill" debacle at Heather's Valentine's party, this group would have learned their lesson about game nights, but here we are again. First up is the newlywed game, which works out better for some couples than others. At first, the questions about sending the men to a body repair shop (David wants new knees, Brooks needs hair plugs, obviously Christian is perfect and apparently Eddie is too) and fill-in-the-blank answers are lighthearted and funny. However, the fun hits a snag when the moderators ask whether the husbands are more or less romantic than the week after they started dating their wives. When the Beadors reveal their answers, Shannon says more romantic, but David says less, which doesn't go over well with the Housewife who's trying to get over her husband's affair. The couple start bickering and Shannon tearfully accuses David of making her look foolish in front of their friends. There's still an entire table of desserts to be eaten, but Vicki announces that she's tired of the games and ready to leave. The OG was most definitely on one tonight and don't worry, game night was only the beginning. Heather wisely calls out Vicki's behavior in her interview, pointing out that Meghan went out of her way to put together a fun evening for the group and you don't just say "sorry, bored, skipping out" in the middle of the games. It's rude.
Once Vicki and Brooks leave, Meghan fills the other ladies in over dessert on her plans to get Botox for the first time. In her confessional, Shannon asks for a magnifying glass to find a single wrinkle on the 30-year-old's face, but lets her facial expression do all the talking in person. Meghan insists the Botox is preventative and calls Shannon out on having "judgy eyes." Shannon counters in her interview that "it's called having an expression, Meghan" but I absolutely agree with the newbie on this one. Even if she's not saying anything, Shannon wears her judgements on her sleeve and you always know exactly what she's thinking. There's no denying that Meghan has managed to get on Shannon's bad side over the course of the last eight episodes and the judgy eyes are a problem. Shannon takes the comment as her cue to exit, claiming that David has an early morning, and the party quickly comes to an end with Heather and Meghan the last revelers remaining.
The following day the Beadors meet with Tina Konkin, their marriage counselor from the couples retreat, for a therapy session. Shannon concedes that David is sharing more with her, but when reminders of the affair come up, tensions escalate like they did at the game night. According to the counselor, the Beadors are not yet in a place in their relationship where they should be discussing the affair without a mediator, and she tells Shannon that the memories aren't safe to talk about with David at this point. For his part, David admits that he sees talking about it as a surefire way to spark an argument, and doesn't see the point of the counseling then. In her interview, Shannon says that she understands why David doesn't want to work through the issue, but that he doesn't understand what it's like to have a spouse who's cheated on you. He may be dealing with a lot of shame, but they need to both put in the necessary effort to heal their marriage. The marriage counselor advises that it often takes years to fully overcome the effects of an affair, and that while the Beadors are doing a lot of things right, they need to recommit to being honest with each other.
Next we get a packing montage of the 'Wives all prepping for Tahiti. Tamra's leaving Eddie in charge of the kids for the first time, Meghan's FaceTiming Jimmy and Hayley from their cabin at Lake Havasu, Shannon's packing her storehouse of holistic remedies and Heather is individually wrapping her shoes and folding her clothing in white tissue paper. Next time I pack for a trip, Fancy Pants needs to do it for me. In a bit of a non sequitur, Shannon also manages to bring up Meghan King Edmonds' litany of offenses against her. Uh oh, Shannon's referencing her full name. It looks like "Meghan King Edmonds" is this year's "Heather Dubrow." Watch out miss 30-year-old, you're officially on Shannon Beador's blacklist. Eventually everyone arrives at LAX: Shannon's already tan, Lizzie's rocking an all-white look and Heather's pulling a Madonna in a bra and "holey" shirt according to Vicki. As the women tote their bags through to the Air Tahiti Nui terminal, Meghan talks Lizzie's ear off about how she hasn't seen her husband in two weeks. (This is about the third time we've heard this story in the first half hour of this episode alone.) In her confessional, Lizzie says that type of long-distance love wouldn't fly with her, but different strokes for different folks...The women board the plane - thankfully Tahiti is 17 hours closer than Bali was last year - and they're officially en route. Of course Vicki is reading "Women, Wealth and Retirement" while the others nap and binge on Downton Abbey. Never change, Vicki Gunvalson, never change.
Woo-hoo, the Housewives are in Tahiti! Vicki explains that before she passed, her mom was constantly telling her to slow down and smell the roses and she's finally taking her advice - with Tahitian roses. (Side note, Vick, those "little banjos" being played are called ukeleles.) Shannon on the other hand is coughing up black and green, and decides to call it a night while the rest of the women hit the hotel bar. Tamra admits that last year's trip to Bali was a definite low point for her, but she's at a good place with all the ladies now and just wants to have fun on this trip. Lizzie orders water, tipping the group off that she thinks she may be pregnant!
Meghan also brings her marriage into the conversation yet again. Vicki thinks the Edmonds' relationship is confusing and admits in her interview that she would probably ship Meghan off to California too if she was married to her. The OG also seizes the moment to question the newbie on why her stepdaughter is living with her instead of her biological mom. Meghan explains that LeAnn can't take care of a teenager full-time as she's battling colon cancer and is very ill. (LeAnn sadly lost her battle with cancer this week and passed away.) Tamra says in her interview that Meghan needs to find her boundaries as a stepparent, but the whole thing is a very personal situation and I'm not sure why any of the women feel the need to pass judgement on Meghan stepping up to the plate and helping take care of her family. Somehow, the JDRF charity event also gets brought up, and Lizzie calls Meghan out on her cold treatment of Shannon, saying she doesn't understand the dynamic between the two women. Lizzie asks if Meghan ever apologized, to which Meghan defensively responds that she's not sorry and Lizzie doesn't have to get it. In her confessional, the new 'Wife explains that just because everyone else disagrees with her, it doesn't mean that she'll change her opinion. If we've learned one thing about Meghan so far this season, it's that she refuses to back down.
The next morning, Vicki stops by Shannon's room to fill her in on what she missed the previous night before the group heads out to do some shopping before catching their ferry to Mo'orea. First stop: the Musée de la Perle. When Heather tries on a pearl and cognac diamond statement necklace, Tamra asks her whether she'd have to ask Terry for permission to make such an extravagant purchase. (Keep in mind that the Dubrows recently went $130,000 over their cabinetry budget so this one necklace is small change in comparison.) Fancy Pants admits that there's a "threshold" of about $10,000 that she can spend without discussing it as a couple. Shannon then throws the question back at Tamra, who also admits she would obviously discuss large purchases with Eddie.
Somehow, this conversation opens up a huge can of worms about the 'Wives spending their husbands' hard-earned money, with Vicki leading the charge for the working women. The OG claims that if you don't have a paying job, it's not your money to spend. This blanket statement is passive-aggressively directed at the likes of Shannon and Meghan, whom are both stay-at-home wives. Meghan counters that the money is shared because they're married, and Shannon points out that she's worked for 15 years to run the Beador household but Vicki's having none of it. Having always been a strong, independent woman, she believes wives should be allowed to spend the money only if they're actively contributing to the family coffers. As the women move into the pearl museum, Vicki stands her ground to Heather, and tells the woman who just wrote a $250,000 check a few weeks back that spending your husband's money without asking is how wives get themselves into trouble.
Meghan quietly asks Tamra why Vicki is so heated about the topic, and Tamra clarifies that her BFF is probably referring to the types of disrespectful gold diggers who spend tons of money without asking. However, she also points out in her confessional that Vicki's always been used to supporting a man, not the other way around, and if Brooks had money you'd bet she'd be sitting at home surrounded by designer bags and bonbons. So is Vicki implying that Meghan's a gold digger? The newbie says that if that's the case, maybe the OG is simply jealous of her living situation and she doesn't really care.
I need to pause for a second because having grown up with a stay-at-home mom, this is an issue I have plenty of opinions about. I love Vicki but this is a situation where her argument is completely out of line. Stay-at-home moms (or stepmoms) are just as valid and have just as much value as women who work for a living. Passing judgement on the 'Wives who choose a different home situation than she does, which in reality is every single member of the cast past and present, simply makes her look bad. I can't even begin to explain impact it made in my life growing up to have my mom at home. Vicki's judgement is rude and unacceptable, particularly to all the fans of the show who are stay-at-home mothers.
While waiting for the ferry to Mo'orea, the women grab some more cocktails. Cheers to the fun bus! Heather tries unsuccessfully to steer the conversation towards embarrassing moments, but Vicki's not finished. She starts questioning Meghan about why she quit her job selling medical software when she started dating Jimmy. After all, you can fall in love and continue to work, can't you? Vicki keeps the rapid-fire questions coming, asking why the newlywed constantly stays behind in Orange County when Jimmy goes back to St. Louis. What's Meghan going to do when Jimmy moves on to wife number four? Meghan tries to explain yet again that she sacrifices so that Hayley can stay in school in the OC, but points out in her interview that Vicki's trying to indict her on the witness stand rather than get to know her. In a separate confessional, Heather - in a fabulous new black look - says that historically everyone says that Vicki has trouble with the new girls. While that wasn't her specific experience with the OG, she can see the validity of the point in the way she's picking on Meghan. In her final interview of the night, Vicki snidely says that it's very obvious Jim Edmonds has money, so what does Meghan do to contribute if she doesn't work? The answer is she goes to her husband for cash. In Vicki Gunvalson's world, that's apparently the worst sin a wife can commit.