This week's episode opens with a montage of the Ladies celebrating Christmas: the Stanburys at home, Annabelle and her adorable grandmother putting ornaments on the tree, Marissa helping her kids write a note to Santa Claus and Juliet spending the holiday in a bikini soaking up the Mexican sunshine. Feliz Navidad! We pick up three days later as Annabelle meets Julie for coffee at the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel. After ordering an Americano with hot milk and sugar, she greets Lady Hinchingbrooke with a giant kiss on the lips. Over coffee, the pair discuss their respective business ventures. Annabelle has brought a rough draft of the first book in her new children's series, The Me Me Me's. Annabelle explains in her confessional that while she grew up in a wealthy, aristocratic family, school was difficult for her. The book series she's writing is based on her experiences as a child with the goal of helping kids understand their emotions better. Julie, meanwhile, is trying to find investors for JUB, her new line of superfood balls. When she's not teaching yoga, Lady Hinchingbrooke is in her kitchen making balls and delivering them to stores around London via bicycle. Maintaining an old estate like Mapperton is an incredibly expensive undertaking and while teaching yoga won't save the state, maybe Julie's Incredible Balls will.
Annabelle and Julie aren't the only Ladies with business on the brain. In another part of the city, Marissa and her husband Matt are checking out the space for her new restaurant. The Hermers run multiple restaurants and clubs in London together including Boujis, Bumpkin and Eclipse, but Marissa is ready to put her name on a restaurant that's all her own. So, she's opening a restaurant called Top Dog, featuring organic hot dogs, milk shakes and fries. I'm not quite sure what makes a hot dog organic, but Marissa is the London authority on American street food, not me. The space for the restaurant however is far from ready. The entire venue needs to be gutted, particularly the basement that smells so badly it sends Marissa running for the hills. The space for Top Dog can only go up from here...
After her coffee date with Annabelle, Julie meets Juliet for a private yoga lesson. As they're in downward-facing dog, conversation turns to plans for New Year's Eve, which is just a few days away. Thinking it's a good time to get all the Ladies together, Juliet's throwing a party at the exclusive at the Hotel Café Royal on Piccadilly Circus. Juliet decides to invite everyone to the festivities, including frenemy Marissa. After all, it's the nice thing to do.
Caroline Stansbury is still dealing with problems at Gift Library. The Christmas season didn't go as well as hoped for the business and Caroline's now in desperate need of funding. Her assistant Rania points out that Caroline comes across as though she doesn't care about the company's dire straits due to her icy demeanor. The queen bee assures her that she cares very much, but you don't build a company this size by coming across as weak. In her confessional, Caroline says she's constantly defying the expectations of people in London society who want to see her fail. Their perception is that she was merely handed Gift Library, which couldn't be further from the truth. Caroline Stansbury is a "hard a** bi***" who built her company up from zero.
Being such a strong, independent businesswoman, Julie has asked Caroline to take a look at her business plan for JUB before she pitches it to potential investors. Before the meeting, Julie explains via confessional that she's mostly looking for Caroline to give her a shot of self-confidence. Cut to Caroline laughing hysterically with her makeup artist Luke over the name of Julie's "big fat balls." This may not go exactly the way Lady Hinchingbrooke is hoping. In her own interview, Caroline insists that with everything going on in her own business, she doesn't have time to play the role of full-time mentor but is happy to meet with Julie "quickly" and give her some advice.
Over soup and red velvet cake, Julie explains that she's soon meeting with two potential investors who will give her a final yes or no about whether they'll fund JUB. Caroline thinks Julie looks like a gibbering wreck and questions how she'll be using the $150,000 investment she's asking for. Julie explains that a big chunk of that money will go towards finding a managing director since she's the brand. Caroline jokingly points out that Julie certainly can't be the brains as well as the brand, but the joke lands flat. After looking at the business plan, Caroline says she would be impressed by it as an investor but counsels Julie to remember that once she gives her company away, there's no getting it back.
New Year's Eve arrives and the Ladies gather at the Hotel Café Royal to get ready for Juliet's party. Caroline is hoping the evening will be a welcome distraction from the turmoil with Gift Library and plans to behave appallingly. That's what a party is for, right? Dressed to the nines, the women arrive for dinner with their various husbands and dates in tow. I'm particularly in love with the gold lamé top of Marissa's dress. The table is stunning and sparkling as Juliet makes a toast to a wonderful dinner. Juliet knows everyone is expecting more fireworks between her and Marissa, especially after a few glasses of champagne, but insists she's not interested in having any type of emotional episode with her BFF-turned-F. Besides, Juliet has much more important things to do during dinner. Namely, sucking up to Caroline Fleming. It looks like Juliet's found another, higher social ladder to start climbing. Across the table, Caroline S. watches the conversation with a look of mild amusement. In her interview, she points out that Juliet is still trying to make it in the London social scene, and where Caroline knows the owner, the American knows the busboy. She finds it funny to watch Juliet cling to the other Caroline, who's completely uninterested in the London social scene. Juliet is barking up the wrong tree.
As dinner commences, Julie invites the women to join her for early-morning yoga the following morning, prompting Caroline Fleming to dare her to do a headstand. Lady Hinchingbrooke takes dares very seriously, and next thing we know shoes are off and the two are doing headstands at the end of the table. Caroline S. can't believe her eyes - this is not appropriate behavior at a formal dinner. She throws out a joke that the yoga teacher is taking longer to get into a headstand than the Baroness. Julie defensively tries to explain that it's best practice in yoga to go into a headstand as slowly as possible, but Caroline's already moved on to another topic.
Her feelings hurt, Julie disappears from the table and Annabelle finds her bawling in the next room over what she saw as Caroline's "massive dig" at her. It seems like Lady Hinchingbrooke can simply do nothing write in the eyes of the queen bee. Annabelle fetches Caroline from the dinner table, prodding her to apologize for her insensitive joke. Caroline thinks Julie is crying as if the Titanic has taken her children and doesn't understand what the big deal is - to her the joke was a throwaway comment. She somewhat insincerely apologizes, wanting to move past the drama as quickly as possible. Annabelle understands Julie's feelings. At heart, she's a Chicago girl who's come to England, married into a very old, prestigious title and she feels insecure about it. However, Caroline Fleming takes the other Caroline's side, saying she made the comment to be funny and insisting there was nothing malicious about it. For their part, Juliet and Marissa are just happy they're not the ones arguing for once. As the Ladies watch the countdown and ensuing fireworks show from the hotel balcony, Caroline says Julie should just take her own advice and namaste through it. (I have to say, Caroline's one-liners were on fire tonight. The woman makes me laugh out loud.)
The party continues inside with the cocktails flowing into the night. At 1 a.m., Caroline S. comes into the room in a unicorn onesie and surprises the women with onesies of their own. Julie's a tiger, Marissa's a penguin, Juliet's a koala (I swear it's a kangaroo), Caroline Fleming is a cow and Sophie is something pink. (Side note - did Annabelle duck out of the festivities before the onesie parade? I didn't see her in a costume...) Caroline Fleming thinks the onesies are perfect for the occasion, they'll keep the rock-and-roll teenage behavior going that's allowed on New Year's Eve. This is where things quickly take a weird turn. As Marissa and Juliet are in the bathroom admiring their costumes, Caroline S. is out on the couch straddling Juliet's husband Gregor. Caroline's loving the naughty attention, Julie's snapping pictures and Gregor appears to be having a somewhat-embarrassed good time with the blonde socialite over his lap. Juliet, however, doesn't see the fun in the situation when she finds out. Astonished at her friend's behavior, she tries telling Caroline she crossed a major line by straddling her husband. The Brit insists he loved it, setting Juliet off as she angrily throws her koala hat at Caroline. Just as the drama starts escalating...cut to black. We have our first "To be continued..." card of the season.