Well, that was dark, huh? In perhaps the most unresolved Housewives finale in memory, the ladies of the canyons all but tore each other to pieces, dredging up old secrets and long-held resentments and throwing them around like black confetti.
At the beginning of the episode we were in New York, picking up where we left off last week, with Camille and Kelsey awkwardly making their way to the Tonys, Kelsey trying to do his best chuckle-and-smile, Camille lizardly trying to figure out the best way to play to the cameras. What she chose to do, what she figured best, was to mortifyingly address the sad elephant in the padded room in front of everyone. Kelsey said something along the lines of "I've already won," talking about doing his show and being nominated and whatnot, and Camille sort of looked around the limo and laughed and said "Oh I thought he was going to say he won because of me, you know, because of me," forcing Kelsey to do the chuck-and-grin once again and to say something like "Yess... yess, well, I meant that too..." and then just sort of trail off. I think Camille came off more sympathetic than ever before in this episode, but I don't understand why (or I mean, I do, but you know) she creates these unbelievably uncomfortable situations for herself. It's as if she feeds on nervous, laughing tension. Maybe that's what the people on her lizard planet eat? Sounds like a terrible place to be from. No wonder she left!
Back in Beverly Hills, Camille told her friend Didi about the whole ruined Tonys weekend and related a story about being asked for ID outside Kelsey's building because they didn't believe that she was actually Mrs. Grammer, the implication being that Kels was regularly entertaining another young lady while Camille wasted away in her Malibu dream mansion. And, of course, he was! Because he's a jerk, and we shouldn't forget that in all of our anti-Camille blood-lust. Kelsey Grammer was a primo jerk to knock some stewardess up when he has two kids with his wife. I guess monster people get the monster marriage they deserve, so here it is. Camille's friend Didi was a little too enthralled by this whole story, her eyes growing wider and wider, teary either from emotion or not blinking or both, and she eventually took a deep intake of breath, let it out in a choked, spluttery gush, and said "I. Feel. So. Baaaad." and for a moment, just for a brief tiny tick of God's clock, I thought that Didi might grab Camille by the face and kiss her right square on the mouth, finally do the thing she's been dreaming of for years, to finally know the place at the center of the universe. But Didi didn't, because Didi doesn't. Didi sits and listens and watches and subdues, the Dundee of crocodile tears, and in that room, in that place, two people sat and didn't get what they wanted, yet again, and so it goes.
Over at Vanderpump Manor, Lisa was stirring pots. Earlier she'd been at Villa Blanca, doing the dreadful task of putting together a cookbook, and had invited Taylor to come have a drink so they could discuss various things. Taylor walked in a bit wary, as she should have been, while Lisa took an old-looking bottle with a large wax drip on it and asked "Rose wine?" No, Taylor! Never trust a Sicilian or Lisa Vanderpump when she has an agenda! But Taylor did, and Lisa's trap was sprung. She immediately demanded to know just what it was that Taylor had said to Camille in the hotel room in New York all those months ago, because whatever mysterious things were said were, in Lisa's theory, what caused the whole Kyle vs. Camille blowdown. Taylor looked justifiably taken aback, but Lisa pressed her on. So we heard the same old stupid thing about "insecure" versus something else and Lisa coolly nodded her head and Taylor smiled, because what else could she do, what else is she better at, and that was kind of that. Lisa told Taylor that she needed to fix her little feud with Kim, because that would solve everything in Lisa's eyes, so Taylor nodded weakly and said "OK. OK." And that's really what she says always, isn't it? The girl from Oklahoma, OK, OK, sure, I will, OK, [smile], [blink], OK, [grow a whole huge weeping willow in my chest], OK.
Back at the Manor, Lisa's husband decided it really was time to lower the axe on this whole Cedric situation, so when the lad had gotten out of the pool, hubby bluntly said to him "It's time there were just two of us here now," and you watched Cedric's eyes do their curious little fox darting, some new understanding sweeping over him, some new sense that this was actually serious business this time. Of course he immediately turned to Lisa and tried to play to her sympathies, reminding her of his supposedly tragic past, but she held firm. No. Not OK. They wouldn't let their kids stay in the house this long, so they won't let this 37-year-old street urchin either. (I was surprised to hear that he's that old, weren't you?) A cold and unfamiliar flash of defeat crossed Cedric's face and he said to them, his once-generous benefactors, "You'll miss me when I'm gone. You'll beg me to come back." The words of a truly dying man.
Somewhere in some dingy corner of LA, Kyle was going to get a psychic reading done. Yes, a psychic! You see, Camille's crazy Medium lady psychic that Kyle had fought with earlier was a hack. A total hack. But this woman here who works out of a storefront that's sandwiched between a Korean laundromat that runs numbers and a semi-abandoned pawn shop, she's the real deal. Absolutely the real deal. So in completely non-creepy fashion, Kyle went to her trusted psychic with not only a box full of her mother's ashes in a velveteen sack, but also a lock of her mother's hair in a Ziploc bag. Oh, good idea! "Mom, Hair-Mom, we're going to run some errands." And I gotta say, this psychic was pretty brilliant. She said to Kyle, after fondling the hair through the plastic bag, "I'm sensing that you're having conflict with a female." WHAT????? How did you know that, magic shaman lady?? How could you ever have known that a woman on a Real Housewives show was having female trouble? That is plum-fucking amazing. Give this woman the Golden Globe for Best Everything, she deserves it. Wow. Amazing. Sherlock Holmes look out. Or something. I mean, a Real Housewife having a problem with a woman. I'm glad they didn't show much more because my mind would certainly have collapsed in on itself had the psychic, looking at a grown woman carrying a velvet bag of ashes around, said, in a comforting voice, "It's been a tough decade or so, huh?" I mean, how could anyone have known that just from looking at Kyle! It dazzles the senses, this woman's psychic genius.
While Kyle was feeling fortified, her sister Kim was, of course, feeling wrecked. Wrecked and ruined, sad and strange, wandering down Wilshire or Doheny, her head as always full of that curious buzzing. She saw a salon and decided to go in there, staring at the mirrors and running her hand along the chairs and counters until someone finally walked up to her tentatively and asked "Can... can I help you?" Kim looked up at him, snapped out of her haze. "Oh yes, I was just looking for some Christmas presents... Oh, no. No that's not right. I was just... I suppose I was... Oh this is silly of me. Do you ever have moments where you feel like... I don't know, like you've accidentally found some crack or something in time, and you've just sort of fallen into it? Like you're not really in the past or the present or anywhere, you're just sort of..." She trailed off. Smiled. "I would like you to teach me make up. That's what I would like." So the kind salon employee sat her in a chair and gave her a little lesson about how to color her eye lids and rouge her cheeks and Kim explained to us that she never had time to learn any of this when she was younger, because she was always working. Buying the family's house, buying them cars, doing her little child labor jig as fast as she could so the rest of her family could continue on as normal. It was hard now, to learn these things as a grownup, but at least she was trying. The make up man did one half of her face to show her how and then had her practice on the other half. And of course Kim put on too much, or did it wrong, and she was half neat and together and half sad, garish clown, gold-smeared and trembling and anxious, hoping this salon man, this stranger, would tell her that she looked lovely, that she'd done good, that she'd done something right for the first time in a long long while. Instead he got the makeup remover and said "The first time's always hard."
So the two sisters (Olga died) were in two different places when the episode's main event began. Said event was a party for Taylor's birthday that Russell had apparently organized. Well, Taylor had joked to Lisa, more like his assistant organized. I had a brief flash of a fun story about Russell having a male assistant — a nice young guy trying to learn the business, who's from the Plains, same as Taylor, who runs on the beach on Sunday mornings and still can't believe, eighteen months in now, that he's looking at the Pacific ocean — who is secretly in love with Taylor, his boss's blonde and sad-looking wife, so he planned the party perfectly and with great attention to little personal details and he couldn't wait to see Taylor's face light up, and he hoped that during some secret stolen moment, Taylor might come up to him and look him deep in the eyes and say "Thank you... Thank you so much." And he'd say "Oh, it was no trouble, I enjoyed doing it, really." And Taylor would cry-smile and say "It's been so long since anyone's enjoyed doing something for me," and that would have been the beginning of something wonderful. But! That wasn't the case, I don't think. And if it was, that moment never would have come, because everything else that's stupid and pointy and shrill and sad got in the way.
Goaded by Lisa's poison whisperings, Taylor decided that the party was a good time to talk to Kim about the she said/she said Camille fight thing. Of course, it was not a good time. It's never a good time, probably, but a crowded party is maybe the worst time. She pulled Kim out of a conversation with her best friend and immediately launched into some strange, strangled thing about the New York trip and how she was upset about this and still confused about that, and Kim's eyes grew further and further away and she was going to The Missing Place again, she'd be lost in there for a while this time. "I'd worn a nice new dress," she told the cameras. "I thought it was going to be a nice, fun party." Ohh how sad. Really. The cruel dashing of hopeful expectations.
It wasn't terribly clear just what Taylor was looking for, but soon it didn't matter, because Lisa and Kyle made their way over and then it was just an excuse to all stand glaring at Kim and spitting out frustrated words and Kim grew smaller and smaller, or at least coiled tighter in on herself, and it just looked like torture. I think poor sad Taylor let herself be talked into this melee so she's only partly to blame. The real villains appeared to be Lisa — who suddenly unmasked herself (to me at least) as this deft, blase puppeteer, someone who pits people against one another with a casual word here and there, then takes a walk around the block, finds the two people bickering a few minutes later, and acts shocked that they're fighting. We're onto you now, Lisa — and Kyle, who clearly knows that her sister is woefully damaged goods and should have been the adult and not engaged. I don't think it was exactly a sides-taking issue, or a ganging-up issue (though it was, to some extent, both of those), it was just a matter of Kyle letting her fragile sister wander into this ladystorm and not pulling her out.
So yes, Kyle should have done something, but she didn't. So Kim stormed out and got in her limo, and was soon joined by the pile of creaking bones and windswept memories of ages long gone that is Martin, who tried to comfort her. "Did I ever tell you about my dear friends, the Boleyn sisters? This was well before you were born, but they used to fight like cats and dogs. And it all worked out in the end. Oh, wait. Oh bother. No, no it most certainly did not, did it? Well... this will be different, I'm sure." But it was all in vain. Kim was inconsolable. Not even the Maloof, who was so sane and rational and grownup in her brief stint on this episode that it was made abundantly clear why she doesn't get any airtime, could say words that brought Kim out of the The Missing Place, whose normally steel-gray sky had turned a dull red. And then, finally, the shit hit the Vornado when Kyle got in the car and the two sisters just raged and raged and raged at each other. It was actually really thrilling, in an old epic family drama kind of way. "You stole my goddamn house!!!!" Kim bellowed in the most startlingly (and pleasingly) smoky and weather-worn voice. And just what the dickens could that mean!!! Kyle stole Kim's house??? Oh that is too good. That is too goddamn good. They must, they must talk about that on the reunion. The Great Casa Caper. Do it, Cohen. Do it.
Anyway, then Kyle called Kim what we've all long suspected she is, an alcoholic. But the way she said it was so cruel and delightfully dramatic: "There, I've said it. Now everyone knows. It's out." Ahhhhhh!!!! Kyleeeee!!! That was low. Real down dirty low. (Well done.) Then Kim said "You drink all goddamn day!!!" and honestly I could listen to Kim say "goddamn" angrily on a loop for hours. It just has such a nice, gravelly, beaten-up and bone-bleached quality to it. Someone give her a really great little angry mother role in a movie please. She'd be fantastic.
Yeah. Kim's a drinker. That's sad. Alcoholism ain't no joke, folks. I hope she gets that stuff together. We'll have to wait until the reunion to see! Because the usual updates were so stark and spare and stingy:
"Kyle and Kim didn't speak for weeks."
"When Cedric was moving out, he and Lisa got into an explosive argument and haven't spoken since."
What? Oh no!
"Taylor drove into the Grand Canyon in an old convertible, her scarf billowing in the wind."
Well, that's not surprising.
"The Maloof maloofs along in her maloofy way. Sometimes on cool spring nights you can see a purple glimmer in the sky, and that is her maloofing somewhere, maloofily."
Yes. OK. Maloof.
"Camille has tens of millions of dollars and is still trying to figure out how this human emotion 'sadness' is supposed to work."
Oh Camille! This is how it works! Here, here! On this show! Every day. Every goddamn day.
Oh Beverly. Oh you hindering Hills. Have you ever seen something so sunny that was just so damn dark? A solar eclipse, I guess. But, as I'm sure you know, you're not supposed to look at those.