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Spinoffs & Other Shows

Recaps, opinion pieces and analysis of Bravo TV shows including Don't Be Tardy, Manzo'd With Children, Ladies of London, Tour Group, Shahs of Sunset and Southern Charm.

Ladies of London Ssn 2/Ep 7 - The Cougar in the Room

Glenn Rowley

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Lady's got a gun! In accordance with centuries of aristocratic tradition, Julie (a.k.a. the future Countess of Sandwich) is hosting the Ladies for a proper shooting weekend in the English countryside. To prep for the weekend, Julie takes Juliet and Sophie shopping because, as Sophie points out, shooting etiquette requires that you be properly turned out. You have to look the part, darling. Julie explains for us American viewers that shooting all began with the aristocrats and since she married into an aristocratic family, she wants to share with with the other girls and give them a peek into her life. Lady Hinchingbrooke had a number of insecurities coming into her marriage as an American yoga teacher who was marrying a viscount. Since then, she's overcome her insecurities by staying out of the box that would define her as an English "lady," opting rather to carve out her own definition of what it means to be a modern aristocrat. 

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Juliet is just glad that she and Julie were able to put their squabble aside during bowling. After all, isn't that what girls do? They fight, make up and then go shopping. Now that all the drama is over, none of them have to worry about anyone taking anybody out during the shoot. Right? Didn't think so. Juliet points out that there's still an elephant-sized cougar in the room between Marissa and Caroline Fleming because of Marissa's heckling about the baroness dating a younger man, but no one wants to acknowledge it for fear of ruining the fun weekend ahead. 

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Speaking of the cougar, Caroline Fleming is tra-la-la-ing around her flat when a gorgeous bouquet of roses gets delivered to her doorstep from her mystery boyfriend. She explains that yes, he's 30 year old, but the two have "similar souls" and she seems very much in love. Caroline Stanbury arrives and the baroness has her read the poem Mr. 30-Year-Old wrote on the bouquet's card. Only while Caroline Stanbury is vomiting over the lovey-dovey note does it dawn on me that Caroline Fleming is consciously avoiding saying her boyfriend's name on camera... Conversation between the Carolines naturally turns to the brewing tension with Marissa and even though she tried apologizing after bowling, CF is still upset. It turns out that Marissa is actually best buddies with Caroline's sister and the cougar comments made it all the way through the grapevine to the baroness' family back in Denmark. Caroline Fleming points out that when you start new friendships, trust is a huge building block to lay in the groundwork and she's disappointed because Marissa was the one person in the group that she was most excited to get to know, but now doesn't know if she can be trusted. 

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At the same time, Marissa is discussing the situation in her kitchen with Matt. She openly acknowledges that she put her foot in her mouth with the cougar comments, and recognizes in hindsight that she may have taken the joke a bit too far with the whole "lock up your children" schtick. However, her real animosity is with the baroness' unnamed boyfriend, who apparently pushed her out of a cab and left her in the middle of the road following Sophie's birthday party. Huh? We definitely didn't see this in either of the last two episodes. After leaving her in the dust, Mr. 30-year-old isn't exactly on Marissa's good side, and when Caroline's sister asked her opinion on him, she told the truth. Matt advises her to apologize again, saying that at some point Caroline will have to get over it. Let's hope the only things that get shot at this weekend in the country are birds...

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The next evening, the Ladies arrive at Stoke Park with most of their men in tow for their weekend in the country. Everyone seems excited to be there with the exception of Caroline Stanbury, who's still reeling from the failure of Gift Library and is just hoping to get through the trip in one piece. Juliet, meanwhile, is looking forward to the experience of getting dressed up and the dogs running around but the actual shooting of guns? Yeah, not so much. I'm with you on that one, Angus. Julie explains via confessional that the best part of shooting weekends are the dinners, full of good food, good wine and good company. As the group gathers for the cocktail hour and food, the Ladies are separated into two tables and Caroline Fleming is already shooting rather nasty looks at Marissa from across the room. Annabelle asks whether things are sorted out between the two and Marissa reiterates that she apologized after bowling, saying that she misdirected her anger at Caroline's boyfriend towards the baroness herself. After the incident, Annabelle fielded phone calls from both Caroline Fleming and Marissa, and tells the latter that she was surprised to hear about her behavior. Juliet wants to know what's so wrong with being called a cougar in the first place - isn't it a compliment like MILF? This is where we find out that Julie has no idea what MILF stands for and has trouble putting two and two together even when it's literally spelled out for her. Oh Jules...where does the F come in? I think it's also safe to say at this point that I have a big fat crush on Luke and his glasses.

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Bright and early the next morning, the Ladies (sans Caroline Stanbury) gather for their day of shooting pheasants and partridges, and it's something straight out of Downton Abbey. Julie points out that the sport is a direct conflict of interest with her vegetarian lifestyle, but she wasn't about to come in as the healthy American and tell her husband's family to shut down the tradition. Out of all the women, Annabelle is the best shot and poor Juliet is clearly out of her element draped in her glamorous Burberry coat with her boots covered in the mud. Eventually, Caroline Stanbury makes an appearance as well, outfitted in top-to-bottom Chanel - boots included. Who even knew Chanel made hunting boots? Once the actual shooting is finished, the group hits the local pub for the traditional post-shooting meal of tomato soup and vodka shots.

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Back at the estate, Julie and Marissa unwind and warm up by...taking a bath together? Yes, you read that correctly. While in the tub, Julie lives up to her reputation as "Loose Lips" by informing Marissa that Caroline Fleming is still upset about the cougar debacle. In fact, she's made it known to all the other women that if Marissa brings the issue up tonight, she's going for the jugular. Marissa is baffled by this revelation - she thought things were completely fine after she apologized. Clearly Caroline Fleming has trouble taking a joke. However, she explains in her interview that if someone picks a fight with her the way Caroline Fleming seems to be, there's no backing down. Meanwhile downstairs, Caroline Stanbury and her fabulous lady-tux are urging Caroline Fleming to confront Marissa at dinner over meddling in her family. Apparently the baroness has had a complicated relationship with her family in recent years, and Marissa blasting her opinion about her boyfriend to Caroline's sister didn't help matters at all. 

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Marissa and Julie arrive late to dinner and are greeted by a grumpy, hungry Caroline Stanbury asking where they've been all evening. The air is rife with tension as dinner starts, with Caroline Fleming curtly cutting Marissa off at every turn in the conversation. Seriously, there's no need to argue over what it means to "cream" someone. The baroness excuses herself to find the restroom and, sensing trouble, Marissa follows after her wondering how many times she has to say sorry to put this to rest. The only way to make this cycle stop is to find the cougar and sit her down.

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In no way does Caroline Fleming want to have this conversation with Marissa, to the point where she tried climbing out of the bathroom window to avoid it, but with her back against the wall she agrees to sit down and talk. Marissa's determined to quash the bad blood that's brewing, but the baroness defensively reminds her that the issue got all the way back to her parents in Denmark because of what she said to Caroline's sister. Caroline explains that her relationship with her family has been fragile since she got divorced - something that's deeply frowned upon in Danish aristocracy - and the only reason they were getting any information about her new boyfriend is because Marissa spread her opinion to them. For her part, Marissa refuses to apologize for calling her friends about how she accidentally hurt this new friendship, but tells Caroline that she never meant to cause any drama between her and her family. Caroline accepts Marissa's apology (for the second or third time now), and the pair agree to finally, really move on and call a truce. They head back to the dinner arm in arm and everything seems just peachy as the two Carolines head to bed while the rest of the women and Luke head to the parlor for games. Once upstairs, Caroline Fleming rehashes the conversation to Caroline Stanbury, saying that she's still not sure she can trust Marissa but will deal with it when they all get back to London. Hmm, sounds like this cougar may have the memory of an elephant when it comes to holding a grudge...