Was it just me or did this episode feel like a very transitional hour to anyone else? This week was all about highlighting causes close to the 'Wives hearts and while we were jumping from cancer to dogs to Lyme disease, the marching and shopping and speech preparing didn't do too much to move the season's storylines along all that much. Not that I minded that, after how furiously paced and complexly layered the past few episodes have been.
Yolanda Foster (err, officially Hadid now, I guess) is receiving an award at the Global Lyme Alliance gala in New York City and she's invited all the women to come to the Big Apple to support her and educate themselves about the reality of Lyme disease. During the gala, Yo will also be giving a speech to accept her award and calls on her love David Foster to help her write it. After battling Lyme for the past few years, Yolanda's brain doesn't allow her to express things as quickly or as freely as she used to, and she wants to the speech to be as perfect as possible before delivering it in front of hundreds of people at the gala.
Meanwhile, Kathryn Edwards and her husband Donnie go to the follow-up appointment with her audiologist. After learning about new options last week to combat the deafness in her right ear, Kathryn has decided to get a revolutionary new hearing aid that will transmit sound from her deaf side over to her good ear. Pretty cool, right? When the hearing aid starts working, Kathryn realizes just how much sound she's been missing for the last 18 years, to the point that it brings her to tears. She also realizes for the first time that she's spent the last almost two decades basically yelling at people because she couldn't hear. No wonder Erika Girardi accused Kathryn of being loud and aggressive at her dinner party last week - she absolutely was and she didn't even know it!
In the first major event of the episode, all the ladies come together for a charity event hosted by former Housewife and patron saint of Beverly Hills Camille Grammer to raise money for the Race to End Women's Cancer. Having survived a battle with endometrial cancer in 2013, the cause is one close to Camille's heart and she's come up with arguably the most effective way to get her friends to donate: by shopping for jewels. However, the luxurious fundraiser also brings Yolanda and her new short hair face-to-face with Lisa Rinna, who's still upset that Yo decided to go to lunch with former 'Wives Brandi Glanville and Kim Richards in last week's episode rather than show up for Erika's ill-fated dinner party. Now, there's no denying that Rinna has been the primary source of pot-stirring this season, particularly when it comes to Yolanda's illness and the whole Munchausen debate, but the moment she theatrically informs Yo that she's "sad" and confronts her over missing the dinner, I realized she has crossed a threshold with me to being gratingly annoying. Like seriously? Are you going to cry about it?
Yolanda is equally baffled by Rinna's weirdly emotional reaction to her lunch date and pointedly reminds Lisa that A.) her friendships are quite frankly none of Lisa's business, B.) it was for Kim's birthday, whom she's been friends with for much longer than she's known Rinna and C.) the choice wasn't to go to lunch with Brandi and Kim OR go to Erika's dinner party. She had committed to celebrating Kim's birthday, then didn't feel well enough afterwards to go to dinner in Pasadena. And besides, if Erika was completely understanding of the situation, why does Lisa R. care so much? Yo does manage to throw in a veiled dig at all the other 'Wives by claiming that Brandi and Kim have supported her more than the rest of the ladies combined, but for the most part I actually see her point in this instance. Then, Lisa Rinna tries to switch gears by being claiming to be offended that the picture of Yolanda and last season's villains was captioned "#RealFriends." However, Yo points out once again that she wasn't the one who posted the picture on social media, Brandi did. Fed up by yet another event where her integrity has been called into questioned, Yolanda leaves while Lisa Rinna forebodingly insists in her confessional that she can't shake the feeling there's something deeper going on with her frenemy.
Following a quick scene of Lisa Vanderpump and Kathryn prepping for the Stop Yulin Forever march at Villa Rosa, all the 'Wives minus Erika and Yolanda meet for dinner at the Malibu Cafe with Ken and Mauricio in tow. The meal starts out nicely with Mauricio toasting the women for the work they did with Giveback Homes last week and Kyle Richards proposing a girls trip to Dubai (which the ladies naturally jump at) before taking a couple of rough turns. First, the tension between LVP and Eileen Davidson has only gotten worse since Lisa Rinna told the queen bee that Eileen thinks she's manipulative on the way to the Giveback Homes event. Sensing the awkwardness, Eileen decides to lay it out on the table, acknowledging what she said but insisting that she's not exactly "reinventing the wheel here." An incredulous Lisa V. demands to know what she does that is so manipulative, but rather than bring up last week's allegation that she encouraged Lisa R. to bring up the Munchausen issue, the other Lisa decides to give an example o being manipulated into going shopping with Kim last year in Amsterdam. Wait, what? How is this relevant to the conversation at hand??
Lisa Rinna then changes gears, saying that LVP's machinations are more "directional" than flat-out manipulative. I say it's just semantics this point. Kyle then jumps into the conversation to support LVP, pointing out that it seemed awfully random to just hug it out and sweep everything with Yolanda back under the carpet at Erika's pool party. (Yes, this conversation is jumping around.) Eileen tries to get the conversation back on track by explaining that the whole reason she's bringing this up is because Lisa Rinna is telling her that LVP has been calling and texting her to basically plant ideas in her head (i.e. "aren't you more upset about Yolanda insinuating you're bipolar?") Vanderpump categorically denies this accusation before Kyle jumps back in to lay down the essential difference between the two Lisas that is really at the heart of this argument: Lisa Vanderpump is a leader and Lisa Rinna tends to be a follower. BOOM. Lisa Rinna tries to deny this, saying instead that she's just a people-pleaser, but that's just more semantics. Kyle is right on the money.
The Stop Yulin Forever protest that Lisa Vanderpump has put together is bright and early the next day. LVP explains in her confessional that Yulin is a city in China that hosts a yearly festival in which dogs are tortured and eaten. Obviously, dog charities are close to Lisa's heart and she has decide to organize this march to the Chinese embassy in LA in hopes that they can stop the yearly tradition. From the looks of it, hundreds of supporters show up to rally for the cause, even Lisa Rinna, and LVP gives an impassioned speech via megaphone in front of the embassy before inviting the marchers to join her at PUMP for a drink. (Quick aside, I swear I saw on social media that former OC Housewife Gretchen Rossi and Season 4 BH 'Wife Joyce Giraud de Ohoven were both at this march, but they are nowhere to be seen...)
The next day, Yolanda, Erika, Kyle and Kathryn hop on the Girardis' private jet to fly to New York City for the Global Lyme Alliance gala while Eileen and Lisa Rinna shop for luggage in LA for the upcoming trip to Dubai. (Yolanda won't be joining the women on the trip because she doesn't want to be ill halfway around the world.) Naturally, the conversation of both groups is all about the tension between Eileen and Lisa Vanderpump from the dinner at Malibu Cafe, and Kathryn chalks their deteriorating friendship up to the fact that neither woman can see where the other is coming from in the argument. Eileen, meanwhile, can't understand how the small tiff in the Hamptons has managed to snowball into such a giant issue. Further, how did the situation get so turned around that Eileen is the bad guy and Lisa V. ends up being victimized? I have a feeling this feud isn't going to see any kind of proper resolution until the reunion...
The other women arrive in the Big Apple and check into the Lotte New York Palace, the five-star hotel they'll be staying in for the weekend. First up on the trip itinerary is a cocktail party in the Lotte's iconic Jewel Suite, which features a permanent display of rare gems by jewelry designer Martin Katz. After ogling the stunning, sparkling jewels, the women take the party to the rooftop, where David Foster gives a heartwarming toast about Yolanda's improved condition and how nice it is to see her out of her bathrobe. The subtext between David and Yolanda is eerie and difficult to read, knowing that in just a few episodes they'll be filing for divorce. Yo explains in her confessional that David often gets impatient because she simply isn't the woman he married anymore and he's lost his partner-in-crime. However, the most damning evidence comes at the episode's end when Bravo catches an off-camera conversation between David and a friend in which he laments that life will probably never go back to the way it was before Yolanda's Lyme disease. Naturally, this is conveniently subtitled for us as we see b-roll of the 'Wives snapping a selfie with the Empire State Building in the distance. It's clear at this point that the relationship is out of Yolanda's control and the writing is starting to appear on the wall that things between the Fosters' facade of marital bliss are not what they appear to be...