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Real Housewives

Filtering by Tag: season 10

RHOC Season 10 Wrap-Up

Glenn Rowley

rhoc-reunion-10

Phew! Season 10 in the OC has finally come to an end. I for one had serious OC burnout by the end of the season, which is why it's taken me this long to write this wrap-up. But, I'm getting back in the habit of writing weekly features (I promise @john.grey150! Pinky.), so for this first one I'll be breaking down what made this season the highest-rated in the history of RHOC as well as what I think needs to change for next year. Plus, I reveal my pick for where the season ranks compared to the other recent seasons of Orange County. 

WHY IT WORKED

  • Controversial, real-life issues: Several cast members pointed to the success of the season being grounded in the real issues going on in the lives of the 'Wives. This season alone we watched the women grapple with birth (Tamra becoming a grandma), death (the unexpected passing of Vicki's mother) what it means to be a mother and everything in between. In stark contrast to last year's issues surrounding fighting over seating arrangements and off-camera games of Shag, Marry, Kill, it was a definite upgrade to see the women experiencing life-changing moments on camera. The controversy surrounding Brooks Ayers' cancer mystery also provided an entire season's worth of watercooler conversation and speculation as fans and 'Wives alike tried furiously to get to the bottom of the season's primary source of drama. 
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  • Shannon Beador settles the score: Last season, newbie Shannon was far from my favorite addition to the show. However, as she opened up this season about her marital struggles, I saw a completely different side to her. Seeing her work to overcome the pain of David's affair put everything from Season 9 in context for me and, before I knew it, I was growing to like the OC's most holistic housewife. By season's end, I found myself squarely on #TeamShannon as I watched her friendship with Vicki implode and her develop real, genuine relationships with Heather and Tamra. I gleefully rooted for her as I read reports of the drama that went down when she stood up to David's former mistress at the USC game this fall. I'm so happy to see the Beadors' marriage in a happy, healthy place and can't wait to see more of this new Shannon next season. Plus, I could literally watch Shannon commiserate about the colonic getting stuck up her rear end on repeat for days and laugh out loud every time.
  • The trip to Tahiti: This year's getaway to French Polynesia served as a bridge between the season's two distinct chapters before and after the death of Vicki's mother. Though it occurred earlier than usual, I found the vacation to be a great mix of cultural experience and not-too-heavy drama. Particularly in hindsight, it was entertaining to watch the women debate about the role of a stepmother, who broke girl code and swim in shark-infested waters before the season was hijacked by Brooks' fake cancer crazy train.

WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE

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  • Meghan King Edmonds, Crusader of Justice: I have mixed feelings about Season 10's new Housewife. Yes, she came to the show ready to play and fueled drama with both Shannon and Vicki throughout the season. However, the lengths that she went to disprove Brooks in the name of her beloved "justice" - contacting his ex-girlfriends, calling hospitals and digging online for dirt - seemed to cross all kinds of lines and veered into obsessive territory. So yes, she brought quite a bit to the show, but was it the right mix of ingredients for the long run? Jimmy's been open about wanting to leverage the platform for Meghan to become the next Bethenny. Let's be honest, this seems unlikely and I don't really want to see her start hawking products left and right next season in a bid for extending her fame. Plus, there's the simple reality that she's 15+ years younger than the rest of the cast. It was annoying for her age to be constantly brought up as a criticism by some of the other women, but to put it in context, she's younger than most of the cast of Vanderpump Rules. Honestly, Meghan just doesn't seem like the most natural fit with the current cast, and by the end of the season it seemed like Shannon/Heather/Tamra vs. Vicki with Meghan kind of stuck on her own on the outskirts of the cool clique. If one cast member has to go next season, my vote would have to be Meghan and her headband collection to get the boot by simple process of elimination. 
  • More than one storyline, please: The fake cancer storyline dominated the second half of the season and yes, it was controversial and buzzed-about, but by the time the season was over it was like beating the rotten corpse of a long-dead horse. I was sick of hearing about it, I was sick of writing about it, I honestly never wanted to hear the words "cancer" and "Brooks" in the same sentence ever again. However, the issue could've been been less frustrating if there had been anything else going on between the women to balance it out. But by the end of the season, it was everyone against Vicki, and it dominated every lunch, every event and every conversation. Yes, Heather was building her mansion, Shannon was fixing her marriage and Tamra was finding Jesus, but next year there needs to be more interpersonal conflict going on besides having everyone gang up on one person for literally 12 straight episodes and beyond into the press and several WWHL one-on-ones. 
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  • Potential cast shake-ups: Speaking of cast changes, it's one of the few inevitabilities of the Housewives universe. Rumors circulated following the reunion that Heather, Shannon, Tamra and Meghan had banded together and were refusing to film with Vicki. However, Heather claimed otherwise on the premiere episode of her podcast, while also admitting that she has no desire to film with Vicki until she gets what she feels is a real, sincere apology. However, I'll put it out there right now that I believe strongly that Vicki needs to stick around for the next season. The solution to this problem is not firing her from the show, and I think fans truly want to see reconciliation between the OG and her friends. The reality is that these friendships are real and have grown over years of time filming together. The women need to give Vicki a genuine chance at redemption - maybe not Meghan but the other three for sure. Plus, I'm a strong believer in the fact that every show in the Housewives franchise needs an OG in the cast at all times. Vicki's earned her spot in the last 10 years and shouldn't be going anywhere. If anything, I predict that the show will add one new Housewife (possibly even a returning OG) to the cast for Season 11 and keep everyone else.  Also, while we're on the topic, more Lizzie please! Relegating the Sun Kitten CEO to Friend of the Housewives status just isn't enough screen time for my liking.
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SEASON RANKINGS

  • Season 8: To me, the eighth season serves as the high water mark for the OC in terms of pure entertainment value. The cast was perfect and the season's storylines carried over from the previous year to give viewers a real sense of closure on the Gretchen/Alexis chapter. The addition of Lydia McLaughlin as a rare sixth Housewife was the perfect fit and the return of Lauri Peterson ushered in the new era of old Housewives returning to the franchise. Also, there's no denying that the visual of Vicki Gunvalson screaming "I HAVE NEVER BEEN WITH MULTIPLE PARTNERS IN MY LIFE!" at the top of her lungs while dressed as a snow bunny on the slopes of Whistler was pure Housewives gold worthy of being inducted into Bravo's Hall of Fame. The season also gave us what I consider to be the best, most dramatic reunion in RHOC's history - rainbow of dresses included. Plus, Malibu Country. That is all.
  • Season 7: This season ushered in the Golden Age of Orange County. Heather Dubrow joining the show added the class and real wealth as well as a brunette voice of reason the show so desperately needed. It's a season I love re-watching and it gave us plenty of classic Housewives moments including the "pretentious intervention" of Alexis Bellino in Costa Rica, the 80's bunco party explosion between Vicki and Gretchen, the introduction of Brooks as the OG's shady boyfriend and what has been arguably the best season finale in OC history (#BowGate and evil eyes anyone? "YOU WERE MY FRIEND, MY SOULMATE, MY SISTER!"). The current success of RHOC can be traced back to this groundbreaking and memorable season.
  • Season 9: Losing Gretchen, Alexis and Lydia was a bit of a rest for the franchise and moved the show in a new direction. However, Shannon Beador and Lizzie Rovsek were definitely the right replacements for the departing veterans and the Canadian newbie. After a slow start, the season really picked up at Shannon's Christmas party with drama between Heather and Tamra and Heather and Shannon, which eventually led to the epic "take the Beadors down" clash between Heather and Terry and Shannon and David. The scandal surrounding David's email (and affair) added real weight to the season and the trip to Bali was a gorgeous, exotic experience that left me aching to visit. 
  • Season 5: Three words will explain my love for this season: Loony Lynne Curtin. Plus, this year was the end of Jeana Keough's time as a Housewife, introduced Alexis to the series and featured the 'Wives running around in masks at Vicki's sleepover TP'ing Jeana's house. We watched Lynne and her family get evicted from their home, Tamra's marriage to Simon implode and the girls take a weekend getaway to San Francisco. Easily the best season of early, pre-Heather Orange County.
  • Season 10: To be honest, I'm still burnt out from this season and need more time to recover from the fake cancer disaster that took over the season like an actual cancer. This low ranking is subject to change after some more time away, so don't hold your breath. The reunion certainly didn't need to be three parts, but that third and final installment had me breathless on the edge of my seat for the entire hour. 
  • Season 6: The sixth season was a major weak spot for the franchise. Peggy Tanous was boring and it was nausea-inducing to watch her and Alexis fight over Jimmy the Chin Bellino and one-up each other season long. Equally gross was being subjected to Tamra's naked bathtub make-out session with Eddie. That and her lesbian fling with Fernanda Rocha are both things I don't ever want to relive. Tamra throwing a glass of wine at Jeana in the finale is often cited as an epic moment in Housewives history, but I found it to be forced and inauthentic. Just my opinion.
  • Seasons 1-4: At this point, the early seasons of the show all kind of run together as the series getting its feet under it. Memorable moments include Tamra and Vicki plotting to get Gretchen "naked wasted" in Season 4, Vicki's family van tirade, the Bass Lake controversy surrounding Gretchen's relationship with Jeff, the OC Angels smackdown and Lauri's fairytale wedding to George Peterson. Oh and obviously the classic moment where Vicki showed up at Michael's frat house to surprise/humiliate him in front of his college friends. Classic Vicki moment right there.

RHOC Ssn 10/Ep 24 - Secrets Revealed

Glenn Rowley

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OK, I have to be honest. After the exhausting reunion, the Brooks Tells All special and all the drama in the press surrounding it, I needed a little bit of a break from Orange County. I was so tired of the same issues going around and around in circles and being beaten way past death. I can't be the only one who felt that way. Did any of you? So, I know it's late but I finally got around to watching the final episode of the season - Secrets Revealed. After a few weeks away, it felt like a treat full of funny, unseen moments and as little of Brooks and the c-word as possible. This recap's better late than never, right?

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We actually start out back at the reunion, but don't worry it's for a good reason. That reason being a package all about Shannon Beador working out at the gym. I'm not kidding you when I say I could watch Shannon in Tamra's booty class every single day for the next month and still laugh. Shannon Beador is all of us at the gym, people. Shannon explains that her preoccupation with losing weight came from all the stress eating she did once she found out about David's affair. However, after months of hitting the gym and questioning what was "mas gordo" at every restaurant in town, she's managed to lose most of the weight she wanted to. Woo hoo Shannon! 

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This leads somewhat naturally into a never-before-seen ladies lunch at Shannon's house, where she tricked all the 'Wives into eating a meal solely of plant-based foods disguised as meat. And hooray - we have a Lizzie Rovsek sighting! As the ladies munch on "beef" tacos, Heather informs the room that she recently had her vagina steamed because it's all the rage according to Gwyneth Paltrow. Apparently Terry went with her too and had his backside done, hemorrhoids and all. Wait what? Talk about polite conversation. Once Shannon spills the beans about what they're really eating for lunch, the topic of Brooks and his fake night sweats and fevers somehow gets dragged into the discussion and I'm officially over it. Next, please.

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We're tortured with more reunion footage regarding Brooks and Vicki's unhealthy relationship. Briana claims her mom has some type of Stockholm Syndrome and fell in love with her abuser, which might sadly be true if certain things we've heard in the media over the years are legitimate. She also explains that Brooks was obsessed with Vicki, to the point where he had studied everything about her down to her drink order. Creepy. Vicki cops to the fact that she never saw Brooks' prescriptions or all of his medical records despite the story about the giant binder with all the tabs that she made him. At this point I don't even know what to believe but am past the point of caring. However, can we all please take a minute to laugh at Brooks trying to exit up the fake staircase at the Season 8 reunion? 

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In an unaired scene from the Tahiti trip, we see the women take an adventurous ride all over Moorea in a trio of two-seater roadsters. The best part of this was watching a clearly hungover Vicki try not to upchuck into Shannon's hat while in the passenger seat. The 'Wives even drive the buggies on a major road and miraculously manage to survive - eventually pulling over to take a group selfie. The roadster activity culminates in the women reaching a stunning lookout point in the jungle, with the dense green mountains and blue ocean magnificently spread out below them. It's a gorgeous sight but Vicki's ready to go back to the hotel and informs the ladies that she's called for a car with air conditioning to come pick them up. She's over this whole roadster idea - bring on the A/C!

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In the next scene, Heather brings Tamra and Shannon along to shop for outrageously pricey doorknobs for all 70+ doors in her new house. Mind you this doesn't include all the sets of cabinets in her grandiose closet. I don't even want to do the math for that line item in the budget, but as Tamra says - that's a lot of facelifts. Meanwhile, Vicki goes to dinner with her boys - namely Brooks, her son Michael and her brother Billy. This scene was filmed right after the medium visit from episode 7 following the death of Vicki's mom, so that topic dominates the dinner conversation. In characteristic fashion, Michael calls B.S. on the whole idea of a medium, but Vicki wants to believe he somehow connected with her mom's spirit. Then, she naturally turns the whole discussion around to be about her impending death and what Michael's going to do with all of her stuff when she dies. Even though Vicki spent much of this season being villainized, the woman can make me laugh. Classic Vicki.

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In more reunion footage, we finally get an answer to a question I've been wondering about all season: didn't Shannon know about the affair at the time of the Season 9 reunion? The answer is yes, David had confessed the affair three weeks after they had finished filming the season, so the Beadors were right in the middle of it when the reunion filmed. And yet, at that reunion, Shannon had claimed that they were "better than ever," having just come back from a Hawaiian getaway. She explained at the present reunion that, even though she knew about the affair, by the time last year's reunion taped, she and David were committed to staying together and fixing their relationship. And in case you were wondering, their sex life is incredibly "connected" nowadays. TMI, Shannon. TMI.

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Next we're treated to a hilarious pair of scenes featuring Tamra/Shannon and Heather/Meghan shopping for toys at adult sex shops. Tamra and Shannon are picking out gift bag goodies for the sex party (pop rocks included), but based on what they're wearing Heather and Meghan are shopping either before or after the disastrous luncheon at Heather's construction site. I'm not sure how the sex toys fit into the narrative there, but it sure is funny to see Heather whip the Spanky's manager. As she explains in her confessional, people like to call her Fancy Pants, but Heather's seen a lot and even done a little. So there. However, I for one don't need to know what Tamra and Eddie are doing with that sex swing she bought...

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The episode ends with a rather amusing clip of Meghan getting preventative botox at Terry's office. At 30, you wouldn't think the newbie needed any, but she's THAT worried about getting wrinkles. However, there's the small problem of Meghan being terrified of needles, so she's enlisted Heather for some moral support. With her hand in a death grip on Heather's poor fingers, Terry administers the botox to Meghan and it's kind of hilarious to watch her freak out. It's definitely a funny, silly way to end the Secrets Revealed special, as well as the roller coaster that has been Season 10 in Orange County.

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 Ssn 10/Ep 21 - Reunion Part 2

Glenn Rowley

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The first ladies of Bravo are back for a second hour of discussing Season 10. The second part of the OC reunion starts with a montage of some of the most OMG-worthy moments of the season - circle jerks, leeches and colonic mishaps included. Does Vicki really know what a circle jerk is? (The answer is still no.) Andy has more than a few questions about how Shannon managed to get a colonic stuck up her behind, but I'd rather not dwell on that visual. Moving on...

Who Wears the Fancy Pants?

Next, we're treated to a package chronicling Heather's season trying to be all things for her family. When you take a step back and look at everything Fancy Pants managed to accomplish this year, it's pretty amazing. Over the course of 19 episodes, she launched both Collette, her sparkling wine and her skincare line with Terry, Consult Beaute, hosted a trip to Napa Valley and managed to stay largely out of the fray when it came to the other women's drama - all while building a house so large it can probably be seen from space. The question of whether all the money the Dubrows are making is worth Terry being an "absentee" dad gets asked, and Heather succinctly defends her family dynamic. Fancy Pants recognizes that Botched won't be on the air for 30 years, so while it's going, Terry is happy and fulfilled and she's willing to work a little harder to make sure they have time together as a family. She also tells Andy that she doesn't know what the current budget of the Dubrow Chateau is (or she just doesn't want to say), but she's willing to sell him the two frozen embryos she and Terry have. That child would be a match made in Bravo heaven. 

Foul Ball, Jim Edmonds

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Seating on the couches is rearranged as Meghan's husband Jimmy joins the ladies. In all of Andy's years as a diehard Cardinals fan, he never thought he would see the day when the all-star was at a reunion. Jimmy is promptly put in the hot seat over his marriage and how he treated Meghan throughout the season. As scenes play back of the athlete being condescending, short and downright rude to his wife, Meghan insists that she doesn't actually let Jimmy get away with treating her unkindly. Whether or not you believe that, Jimmy tries to defend his behavior by pointing out that during filming he was flying constantly between St. Louis and the OC. His excuse for bad behavior is that every time he was in California, cameras were in his face, he didn't want to be involved in any drama and he wasn't ready for a reality TV show to capture everything about his life. He got advice from some of the 'Wives following the rough season that needs to be remembered by everyone who embarks on the journey reality TV: they can't edit what you don't say. At the end of the day, he can't take back the rude things he said, though I find it strange that apparently people in St. Louis think his "banter" with Meghan is funny and charming. Ultimately the rookie Househusband recognizes that he should've been nicer to his wife throughout the season. Any bets on seeing a new and improved, camera-ready Jim Edmonds next season?

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Jimmy denies ever telling Brooks that two out of the four months he'd been married to Meghan were challenging, and before she can get attacked, the OG pipes up to claim she misspoke when she repeated that tidbit of gossip at the sex party. Apparently, what Brooks actually said was that the Edmonds had had "a couple" of instances that were difficult and Vicki latched onto the number "two" from what Brooks told her. So two arguments became two hard months. Tell-a-Vicki, telephone? The OG explains that she was speaking out of anger when she lobbied the accusation at Meghan and Jimmy and that she no longer believes they'll be divorced within five years.

An Off-Camera Betrayal

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With the spotlight now on Vicki, Heather brings up another comment she made at the sex party in light of Tamra's revelation regarding her custody battle. We didn't see the moment in the episode, but at one point during the party Tammy Sue jokingly put a strap-on over her lace outfit. Watching from the bar, Vicki commented to Heather something to the effect of "no wonder she's losing custody of her kids." Ouch. Heather was rightfully horrified by the comment, and couldn't believe Vicki would say something so rude about her best friend after all these years. In an uncharacteristically heated moment, Heather gets rather fired up in her defense of Tamra, saying Vicki's comment made her sick and that she couldn't believe what she was hearing. All Vicki can do at this point is apologize, but good for Heather for once again demonstrating the meaning of real girl code.

Saving the Beadors' Marriage

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Next, the affair that rocked Shannon and David's marriage gets brought up again. (On a side note, that transitional cutaway was weirdly jarring. I don't remember anything similar being done at another reunion before.) Much about this topic was beaten to death during the season and covered during the couple's WWHL one-on-one with Andy, so there isn't a ton of new information here. Heather reveals an interesting tidbit, though, about what was really going on behind-the-scenes last year after her infamous lunch with Tamra. At the lunch, the Beadors' marriage obviously got brought up and rumors had been swirling around Orange County. Because of mutual friends, Heather suspected she knew who the mistress was. After filming with Tamra, she met a group of girls at the restaurant where the cheating rumors were brought up. Unbeknownst to Heather, one of the girls texted the mistress under the table, not knowing she was the woman destroying Shannon's marriage. Once the other woman found out, she called David, who texted Shannon who was in the middle of filming with Tamra. At that moment, Heather knew she was right about the identity of the mistress. What a twisted web the OC is.

Some viewers questioned whether Shannon was brave or selfish for broadcasting her marital troubles on national TV but she stands by her decision, saying that it would've come out either way since all of the OC knew about it. Plus. she says, sending the message to her kids that fighting for family is important made the entire thing worth it no matter how humiliating or difficult it may have been. There are no more secrets in the Beador family and they're happier than they've ever been. Andy asks if she's seen the mistress since, and Shannon says that she has seen her in public, but hasn't reacted or confronted her. (This was before the epic smackdown between the two at last week's USC football game.) Andy jokingly announces to bring the mistress out, and the room erupts into nervous laughter while Shannon turns red. Sometimes, he just can't help himself.

Briana and Girth Brooks

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After another weird transition (seriously, they're bothering me. Why not just go to commercial?), Briana joins the reunion to discuss everyone's favorite person: Brooks Ayers. Brooks has officially moved out of Vicki's house following the break-up, which the OG blames on the couple having "too many issues" to last as life partners. According to Vicki, her priorities are back squarely on Briana - where they arguably should've been for the last four years anyway. Briana says that Brooks had a nasty habit of doing terrible things while Vicki was across the room, leaving her torn over whether to even tell her mom and cause a problem. Case in point - Brooks apparently hit on a very-pregnant Briana at Vicki's birthday party. Eww. When she told Vicki what happened, the OG called her a liar and said Brooks would never want her. Can you believe this?? He told Briana he wanted to show her his penis, which he's nicknamed Girth Brooks. This is absolutely vile and disgusting. 

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Brooks isn't at the reunion for the first time since Season 7, but Andy had a chance to interview him in a one-on-one in the WWHL Clubhouse. Long story short, he doesn't blame the show for his breakup with Vicki - just the other 'Wives and Briana. When asked whether he considers Briana the show's voice of reason (which at this point is basically an undeniable fact), Brooks claims Briana is lying about him. When Andy asks what her motivation could possibly be to lie, Brooks lobbies accusations at Briana of hearsay, manipulation and taking advantage of Vicki. According to Brooks, Briana is guilty of the very things she's accusing him of - using Vicki and relying on her financially. A shocked Briana boldly points out that she hasn't taken a dime from her mom in years. After all, she's an ER nurse making six figures a year. Briana also points to the last conversation she ever had with her grandma before her sudden passing. The day before she died, Briana spent two and a half hours on the phone with Vicki's mom and much of the conversation revolved around how much she didn't trust Brooks. Contrary to what Vicki claimed in Tahiti, her mom wasn't a fan of her boyfriend. In fact, she was worried he was going to take Vicki's money and she couldn't stand looking at him. What would Briana have to gain by lying about that? Nothing, says Vicki, as Part 2 ends with Briana's final word on the man who consumed her mom for the last four years: scumbag. 

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!