At the very beginning of this episode, Brynn’s psychic Dante tells her that she is going to be in the middle of two people fighting over their own shit. As so often is the case with psychics on Housewives (see: the guy who caught Brooks Ayers lying about cancer and the long road of redemption for Allison DuBois), he was absolutely right, because most of the episode — and most of the party, really — was Jessel and Sai working out their differences, with Erin Mew Mew Lichy as a sort of proxy warrior. What he didn’t account for is that Brynn herself would be the cause of the biggest drama of the night.
The episode starts with some dynamic duos hanging out. Sai and Brynn go to Central Park to find a tree to dedicate to Brynn’s late grandmother. Jessel has a photo shoot for her fashion platform — how is this the first we’re hearing of this, and also how did we hear more about this than Brynn’s job? — in Jenna’s house, and she gets some bonus photo direction from Jenna. We learn that Jenna has allowed about 50 people to do photo shoots in her apartment. Oh, baby, no. If there are two things you should never do, they are let people film anything in your domicile and eat egg salad on the bus. Both are sure to leave a mess and absolutely stink.
Speaking of Jenna, there is an excellent scene where she is shopping her closet with her teen Beckett and he is giving her styling advice and she is listening. Brooks Marks could never. The best part is when she pulls out this amazing jumpsuit and he says that it is too wacky to wear to a party. “Wacky?” Jenna asks in disbelief. “It’s Celine!”
Ubah and Erin go to bumper cars on ice in Bryant Park, and all I can think of is when Jill Zarin had a skating exhibition there and fell on her ass. Erin tells Ubah that when Pavit was asked why Jessel is the one, he said, “Because she lets me do what I want.” First of all, that’s not what he said. He said, and I’m paraphrasing, “I just want to travel, eat, have fun, and it’s great to have someone to do that with me.” It’s not, “Jessel lets me go to Vietnam for sex tourism and sandwiches and that’s why I love her,” it’s, “She’s the best person to do all of my favorite things with me.” That’s my problem with Erin and Sai and their whole demeanor to the Taank-Randhawas; there is a complete lack of generosity to how they view the whole situation.
Ubah has to bring that generosity to the table, saying she thought what he was saying was that “she loves me for me,” and I think that’s a pretty good summation. If you think about it, Ubah has pretty much been right the entire season. It happens again later when Sai accuses Jessel of being a liar and brings up the stupid Vietnam thing again. Ubah says, “Why do you care about this?” Exactly! Why do they care? Why do they care about any of it? If Pavit wants to have a shitty answer (which he didn’t, but let’s go with Erin’s logic here) and Jessel doesn’t care, just let him have a shitty answer. There is no reason you need to go poking around in someone else’s marriage — unless that person is your boss and he’s an asshole. Then expose that fucker for who he is.
Erin and Sai meet up at the costume shop because they need to buy masks for Brynn’s birthday party. Mostly they bitch about how much they hate Jessel. There’s one moment when Sai says Jessel called her a mean girl, which she is, but whatever. “I’m not mean,” Sai says. “Yes, I’m abrasive and straightforward.” Being nice is all about finding a roundabout way of saying things and making them go down smoothly, so yes, being abrasive and straightforward is exactly being mean.
Erin brings up something Ubah told her from bumper cars, which is that Sai’s husband David asked Ubah, “How is it possible you don’t have a man?” and she was a little offended by that. I totally get both sides of this. I think David saw it as a compliment, like “You’re so amazing, how has no one scooped you up?” but Ubah heard it as a bit of an indictment, like, “What is wrong with you that you don’t have a man.” I’m with Ubah; that is a question you shouldn’t ask, but what matters is not the question, it’s the intention.
Sai must have said something to David, because at Brynn’s party he comes up to her, explains himself, acknowledges that it was a shitty question and he never should have asked it, and the pair hug it out and go on their merry ways. I love a swift conflict resolution, but what I love even more is a man who listens and can learn from his mistakes. Erin should take notes.
Anyway, this talk of Ubah in the costume shop leads Sai to say, “I think she’s fine.” You can see her tense up and get upset with herself when she leaks the info only she knows: that Ubah has a man she’s seeing. She immediately tells Erin that it is none of their business, that she’s not even supposed to have told anyone this, and gives Erin as little info as she can while explaining the situation and trying to defuse it. I think she made an honest mistake and handled it admirably.
We’ll get back to this, but now we have to talk about Brynn’s birthday party. I’m just going to say it: Masks suck. They’re horrible. They make your head hurt, your eyes strain, your forehead sweat, and you end up taking them off 20 minutes into Halloween. This is what every single person does: They show up in their mask, see no one at the party is wearing theirs because they suck, and then rip it off. The only one to leave hers on is Jenna Fucking Lyons, because she likes to get an A+ on every assignment, including wearing a gorgeous mask with black-and-white butterflies all over it. I love Jenna for so many reasons, but the biggest two are her dedication to a theme and that she will do everything within her power to avoid Housewives drama.
It’s difficult at this party since Jessel shows up ready to bring it to Sai and Erin. She goes over to say hi to them and then walks away, and even that gets Erin’s panties so wadded up that she has to spit them out into someone else’s Champagne flute. Anyway, Erin tries to talk to her about it and Jessel is just like, “Well, I heard you talked all this shit about my husband.” Erin says that she just says what she thinks. Yeah, that’s the problem. You said what you think and you think shitty things about Jessel’s husband. Then Erin accuses Jessel of lashing out. Lashing out? She spoke calmly, firmly, and accurately. Now Erin is accusing her of lashing out when she is the one who got caught talking shit about someone else’s husband.
After that discussion, Brynn gathers everyone around — by everyone, I mean the cast and spouses, because who cares about the muggles at the party — and says, “This is what I learned from my producer Brice over there.” Then she gets out the world’s biggest pot, a pot so big that it’s basically a cauldron, and she just stirs it. Not with a spoon or a ladle or even a broomstick. She stirs it with her arm and then flings the pot juices on everyone around her. Basically she asks everyone to air their grievances, and it soon devolves into fighting.
It’s another retread of the Sai/Jessel/Erin thing, and you all know how I feel about that, so getting back into it is sort of like putting on a wet bathing suit. However, there is one thing Sai says that I think we need to investigate. She says that Jessel lies, so many white lies that she flicks away. When Jessel asks, again, what she lied about, the only thing Sai can come up with is the Vietnam thing, which isn’t a lie at all. Jessel is a lot of things — lacking self-awareness, unable to tell a decent story — but she is not a liar, and I hate that Sai keeps using this. Then Sai starts yelling at Jessel again that Jessel can’t understand what she’s talking about. That’s because Sai has no point. She just hates Jessel, but she can’t say that.
Then there’s a whole bit where Erin comes out as Sai’s pet parrot, in a parrot mask and a boa, and Jessel just laughs and laughs and laughs. I didn’t think it was that funny, more like mean-spirited bullying from our resident mean girls, but if Jessel laughs, I’ll let her have this one. The three of them sit down and Sai tells them both that they can be fucking annoying, but Sai seems annoyed with everyone. I think the only things we didn’t see this season are Brynn’s apartment and Sai not being annoyed with someone.
After this, Brynn is cutting her cake or something and shouts across the room that she heard Ubah has a man in Connecticut. First of all, I am a proud Connecticutian along with the likes of Countess Luann de Lesseps, Dorit Kemsley, and Kim Zolciak-Biermann’s original lips. No one better be shading the Nutmeg State. Second of all, Brynn is totally out of line here.
It turns out what happened was, Sai had dinner with Erin and Brynn after the costume shop, and when the cameras were off, she downloaded everything she knew about Ubah’s man but told them not to say anything. This is normal behavior that any group of friends would engage in. The difference is this group of friends is making a reality show, and I love that they kept this whole fight in, including the difference between what was said on-camera and off.
I’m not a huge Sai fan, but I’m with her on this one. Brynn shouldn’t have said anything, period. You have to wait for Ubah to bring it up, especially when filming is happening. However, I also agree with Brynn a little bit. Ubah brought up that she’s dating someone on-camera to Sai, so I think that level of information is completely fine to bring up again. The only new detail is that he lives in Connecticut. It’s not like that is some dead giveaway of who that person is. Based on what little we know, Ubah could be dating my father.
But it’s not the information that is so bad, it’s the betrayal, it’s the breaking of trust between Brynn and Sai. The little title cards at the end of the episode make it sound like Brynn and Sai aren’t on speaking terms over this. That seems a little extreme. Yes, what Brynn did was a lapse, but it’s not a never-talk-to-her-again lapse. It’s a “Girl, you better learn to shut your mouth” lapse.
The party ends on this note, the women lumbering off into their respective Ubers as they shiver and their husbands don’t offer them their coats. But as this reboot season comes to a close, I want to draw attention to something Jenna said that I think is a good thesis for all of the drama this season. “I think being open has everything to do with the landing pad,” she says. “You can’t be open in an environment that doesn’t feel safe.” So much of this season was about the women opening up, forming bonds, finding new friendships, but I don’t think the landing pad was there for everyone. It certainly wasn’t for Jessel, and it wasn’t for Jenna at the beginning, either, but she says she’s starting to feel it. Brynn brings her landing pad with her, so she’s set, but I don’t think Sai has ever seen a landing pad. I don’t think Sai is ready to let anyone in, at least anyone on the other end of the camera.
It’s Erin, though, that we’re all worried about, all thinking about. As she leaves the party to get her Uber, Abe stays behind to gather their coats. She hustles out to a black SUV sputtering exhaust into the night, like a whole group of kids waiting for the Rockefeller tree to be lit. She’s rubbing her naked arms as she reaches out and opens the door. Inside the car she sees a redhead in a purple ice-skating costume, complete with stockings and nude skates propped right on the floor of the car. “Get in,” Jill Zarin says. “We have so much to talk about.”