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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.

Southern Charm Season 3 Premiere - HashtagNewCraig

Glenn Rowley

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The Charmers are back for another season full of Southern gentility and bourbon-soaked drama in Charleston! After binging on Season 2, I fell a little bit in love with this charming little show. It's honestly unlike anything else on Bravo and I'm excited to get another look into this subculture of the American South filled with gin martinis, sprawling plantations and its own tradition-driven way of life. The premiere kicks off with a staple in the Southern Charm universe: a dinner party at the new home of disgraced former politician Thomas Ravenel. As the meal begins, Thomas launches into one of his classic, longwinded speeches, bestowing pearls of fatherly wisdom upon his younger cast mates. However, unlike at past dinners, Thomas' speech takes an unpredictably nasty turn and he goes for the jugular, personally insulting and attacking each of the other Charmers one by one. We see snippets of arguments and even threats being thrown around as the evening spirals out of control and then...the screen cuts to black.

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Flash back to three months prior, where resident voice of reason Cameran Eubanks and golden boy Shep Rose head out on a motorboat for an afternoon of fishing. Between casting their lines and Cameran's impromptu potty break off the side of the boat, conversation turns to pretty boy Craig Conover, whose return to Charleston is imminent. Cameran reveals she's been in touch with Craig during his months-long self-imposed exile in Delaware and he seems to be in a much better place than he was last season. Shep's friendship with Craig is still on the rocks however, and he's dubious that his former BFF has truly turned over a new leaf and has put his hard-partying, irresponsible ways behind him. The pair also debate the status of Thomas Ravenel and Kathryn C. Dennis' on-again-off-again relationship since the controversial couple announced that Kathryn was pregnant with their second child. Adding yet another child to such a contentious situation doesn't seem all that wise, and Cameran declares the entire affair "tawdry" and refuses to discuss it any further. 

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Besides proving to his friends that he's a changed man, it turns out Craig has another major factor motivating his return to Charleston: he's in love! Since the conclusion of last season, he's started a long-distance romance with French-born South Carolina girl Naomie Olindo, who picks him up at the airport to welcome him back. Ready to take their relationship to the next level, Craig and Naomie will be shacking up in a gorgeous property in West Ashley that's conveniently owned by her parents. Admiring the substantial backyard, which stretches out into bonafide marshland, Craig suggests throwing a welcome back party for himself to get the whole gang together. But having left on such tenuous terms, will his old friends welcome him back with open arms?

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Since the conclusion of last season, queen of the caftans Patricia Altschul has continued to reign over Charleston society from her eccentric estate. However, when her son Whitney Sudler-Smith drops by for a visit, there's one noticeable difference: Michael the butler is on vacation! This means Patricia is fetching her own shoes and has gone days without her iconic gin martinis since no one else knows how to make them properly. (Queen Patricia simply does not have any interest in an inferior martini.) Over goblets of wine, Patricia questions Whitney about the status of his restaurant venture, which has been under construction for the past two seasons. Whitney feigns that things are just great over at the building site, but a flashback shows that the restaurant is actually six months behind on construction and $1.5 million over budget. In his confessional, Whitney chalks this up to his "laissez-faire" approach to the business venture and the fact that he's been living primarily in Bel Air these days. Patricia mentions that Thomas bought a new property just a few blocks away, but Whitney admits he hasn't been in touch with his former pal since the news of his second child-to-be hit town. One thing Patricia has no time for is any discussion of Kathryn's pregnancy, dismissing the controversial couple as "both morons, quite frankly."

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Speaking of Kathryn, she's currently seven months pregnant and living at Monck's Corner, her parents' 800-acre plantation outside of Charleston. In her confessional, she explains that Baby #2 came as a result of a torrid four-day affair with Thomas, but that they have since split up for good. Kathryn gets a visit from recurring cast member and Charleston's resident dapper dandy, K. Cooper Ray, who comes with news that Patricia has heard rumors of the pregnancy. It's no secret that Patricia pretty much openly despises the young mom and Kathryn isn't quite sure why she's quite so hated. Patricia, on the other hand, claims Kathryn is the one with a "morbid obsession" with her and Whitney. Clearly there's no love lost here, but Hurricane Kathryn has certainly left her mark on Charleston society. 

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Meanwhile, Thomas is busy overseeing renovations on his new home, which he's termed his "downtown compound," when he gets a visit from Landon Clements. Seeing as Thomas has moved in just a few houses down from where she's living (goodbye houseboat in the marina!), Landon's been spending more time with him and become the literal girl next door in this situation. As Thomas gives the brunette beauty a tour of the house, Landon can't help but be distracted by the massive black eye he's sporting. Apparently, after trying to get a heckler ejected from a nightclub, Thomas got head-butted by the man and ended up with a giant shiner. Landon asks how things are with Kathryn and Thomas explains that he's reached a point where he's hoping a court order can settle tensions between the pair. According to South Carolina law, the mother has complete parental rights over any children born out of wedlock and Kathryn is using this rule to keep Kensington and the unborn boy away from Thomas. Landon laments that there's no reasoning with Kathryn since she's "not of sound mind" and Thomas suggests the only thing that would get through to his baby mama is 1950s-style shock treatment. Eek.

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Later, Landon dons a periwinkle shift dress to meet Whitney and Shep before heading over to Craig's welcome back party. Shep, God love him, is dressed like a Florida retiree. Shep still hasn't seen Craig since his return, and laments that the pair have a sibling rivalry type of relationship that needs to be sorted out. Shep wonders aloud whether Kathryn will show up to the party and Landon reveals that she's now number one on the redhead's list of hated enemies, though she's not sure what she did to earn the honor. According to Kathryn, however, Landon broke girl code and propositioned Thomas during a trip to London shortly after the couple broke up. Umm what?! Landon thinks Kathryn's just threatened by her new friendship with Thomas and is unable to comprehend that a platonic relationship can exist between a man and a woman. Now, I could literally never see Landon "propositioning" anyone - let alone Thomas - but I sense a major feud brewing nonetheless. 

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The Charmers and their friends descend upon the homecoming party and are welcomed by an eager Craig, who has dressed in head-to-toe pink (but it's European!). Cameran jokingly marvels at meeting the grown-up version of Craig for the first time, and it's clear that everyone is happy to see the pretty boy come back to town. Just as the party starts hitting its stride, Kathryn makes her grand entrance and is essentially greeted with a collection of awkward stares and hushed whispers. Explaining in her confessional that no one has reached out to her since her pregnancy, Kathryn feels like a giant scarlet letter has been painted on her for everyone in Charleston to judge. On top of that, Thomas is also at the party (lecherously flirting with a college senior, naturally) and it's the first time the ex-lovers have seen each other in months. This won't be awkward at all!

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Once the sun sets, Shep pulls Craig aside for their first real conversation since he left for Delaware. Craig explains that he wants the two of them to get back to being best friends, but Shep counters that he's still upset by how much Craig changed last year and began thinking of himself as the king of Charleston. The pretty boy insists he's changed and grown up, and simply wants his friend to give him another chance. Shep does him one better, promising that he'll give his former BFF the benefit of the doubt "for the rest of [his] life," and it looks like the bromance is back on! I'm not mad about this development one bit. Shep and Craig were always better together than when they were at each other's throats. 

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After avoiding each other for most of the evening, Thomas finally approaches Kathryn for a tense chat. Kathryn's defenses are up and the couple almost immediately begin bickering. Of course, while on the surface the argument is over what color to paint the baby's nursery (pink or periwinkle?), Thomas can't seem to read between the lines that Kathryn's aggression is aimed at the rumors about Landon and her periwinkle dress. Oh and also the fact that she is seven months pregnant but Thomas doesn't even bother asking how she's doing for month on end...The episode ends with Thomas awkwardly asking if he can feel Kathryn's bump and the tension is so palpable that even the baby refuses to move. 

What did you think of the season premiere? Are you excited for what's to come for our Charmers? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and click the Share button to share this recap on social media!