This has to be the finale, right? Amiright?
I feel obligated to admit my anti-religion bias up front because on the one hand, I’ve been calling for Tamra to redefine herself. On the other, welcoming Jesus into your life doesn’t sound good to me. It sounds crowded and weird. But this baptism serves as a rebirth not only of Tamra the person but Tamra the character. Her makeup is different, her hair softer. No longer the hottest housewife, she has grown into a grandma, a pious woman trying to sin less than she used to (but not without lapses).
Everyone, from every season, from all four corners of the county has been summoned—wear white please!-- to some country club on the bay to witness this transformation. It has the feeling of a musical, when the entire cast comes together for the big number, all of them arriving at the end of their own storylines while simultaneously gathering for the climax. Say what you will about this show, the editing here is excellent. The diverse gospel choir (like, half black half blonde) completes the musical effect.
In little limousine sketches we get a status update on all the ladies. Meghan still spends only half time with her douchey (or is he?) husband, Jimmy. It’s a lonely life in her revolving mansions. The question I still haven’t answered: why does Meghan live in Orange County if her husband lives in Saint Louis? Shannon insists that she is so so so in love with her husband and the happiness she feels—well, it’s just more than she ever could have hoped for. Vicki has “nothing to hide.” Ahem. Shannon won’t let Vicki’s comment that their lunch was “nasty and disgusting” die.
When the chorus starts up, Tamra is doing her full-on Oscar performance; a sinner come home. Her eyes are on the sky, wistful, contemplating the lord, eternity, whether her waterproof mascara will prove itself. I think she’s laced little shells into her hair. Pastor Mike is in board shorts.
Tamra gives her little speech about God having a plan for her. I guess there’s nothing harmful about feeling this way, but I can’t say I find Jesus adequate compensation for a bloody custody battle. “What was once my mess is now my message,” Tamra announces, like she’s launching a brand, and, not to nitpick, but her taglines need tweaking. “Boldness comes at a cost and I’m willing to pay.” What does that even mean. Whatever, Lizzie digs it shouting a halfhearted, Amen!
The editors work their magic again on the baptism thing, applying what I’ll call the Jesus Edit. Tamra’s “whole life” (as in the most salacious, negative scenes she was ever a part of on this show) flashes before her eyes and ours. And in that pool, the horrible feelings go away.
Tamra on accepting Jesus into her life: “Everything is so beautiful.”
At this point, the party is so boring my brain is numb. Much is made of the angel and devils food cakes. Come to think of it, cakes have been a leitmotif this season.
But let’s get to the main event already, shall we? Heather insists that we’ve all “been dragged into this,” where this is the public inquiry into Brooks’s cancer diagnosis. In fact, I think Meghan stalking commenters on blogs and placing bogus phone calls to radiology centers is the opposite of “being dragged in” but, OK, Heather has a different tale to tell. Vicki purportedly told both Briana and Shannon the same detailed account of a dark evening, when Brooks was so sick from chemo he reached out to Terry for help. Terry sent a colleague to administer an IV drip to Brooks in his own home. The only problem? THIS NEVER HAPPENED.
Heather on the story Vicki supposedly told about Terry: It’s a bald-faced lie.
The only thing this conspiracy theory needs now is a motive and Meghan is at the ready. Apparently, if you are unemployable (as in because of chemotherapy) then you cannot be forced to pay child support. Brooks has four children, so… Meghan is just asking the educated questions, y’all.
Things are up to a nice simmer when Tamra finally makes her entrance. Then it get confusing. Vicki's brother Billy starts in on Heather, Shannon and Meghan, clearly delivering his sister's party line: Don't question the cancer! Vicki tries to palm off Tamra’s baptism present and get the Hell out of there, but Tamra’s not having it. Heather nabs Vicki to talk to her one-on-one about the IV story, which Vicki straight up denies ever saying.
Meanwhile, Ronda, Billy’s girlfriend, is getting her feathers all ruffled on Vicki’s behalf. If I had to guess, I’d say that Ronda really likes Billy, and she knows the key to Billy’s heart comes with Vicki’s approval. She’s going to get Shannon’s hide and bring it to Vicki, snapping that Vicki didn’t ask Shannon for proof that David was cheating on her; which is both a nasty and incredibly stupid thing to say.
Shannon is so surprised to be slapped in the face with David’s affair—a topic she has talked about nonstop on camera all season—that she storms around trying to form her argument. Vicki waits for the world’s slowest limousine driver to pull her ride around, which gives the entire party enough time to join her on the pavement. And perhaps this is the audience Vicki needs to go full diva, at one point literally holding her arms out and insisting she is like Jesus on the cross (even chill dude Pastor Mike looks askance at that one).
Vicki to Shannon: When nobody else liked you, I was there for you.
Vicki gets in her limo. Tamra tries to mediate but gets nowhere, and the rest of the ladies stand on the chilly sidewalk waiting. Shannon points out that it’s like the godfather is in the limo and she’s right. Vicki is the OG. Without her, the show fizzles. I want to tell them all to have some dignity, for God’s sake, but that’s not what they get paid for. Still, could they not have done better than this inconclusive, bland “finale?” I’m like almost depressed it’s ending like this. Almost.