Carey: We begin this week with Teresa teaching a cooking class at a vast store in a strip mall called "Chef Central." Oh, right! Chef Central, you know? I buy all my central chef things at Chef Central! I guess Teresa brokered a deal with THE preeminent kitchenware emporium where she gets paid to cook some kale shit in front of a bunch of people they found milling around the parking lot while looking for their cars. As Teresa starts cookin', Cousin Kathy is seen walking up. She's wearing this large fur coat, and has this strange smile on her face, as if she doesn't remember how she got there. Kathy sits down to watch; Teresa sees her and is kind of like, "Oh hey" and keeps cooking. When Teresa is finished, she says, "I'm gonna let the (lone) man try first!" and Kath shouts out, "So old school, Tre" and everyone in the class laughs and laughs. Afterward, Kath and Tre-Tre recap the incident at the Milania Hair Care party, where Jan and Penny got into it with Melissa, and Teresa ran around screaming "I'm on a high!" after Penny (questionably) confirmed that the lady with the 2-inch forehead had NOTHIN' to do with the Melissa Gorga cheating rumors swirling around like toilet water. After Teresa rehashes, Kath asks, "Who the f*** is Penny?" We still don't know. But there's NO time to find out who Penny is! Da crew needs to get ready for ARIZONA! The desert! They're going to the desert for Melissa's birthday/group healing! "I've been to Arizona once," Caroline explains. You see, Caroline spent 100 years in the desert one time. She ate snakes and bathed in cactus water and screamed at the blood orange dusks and sauntered around bellowing "My family, my family." She's excited to go back! They all pack up their collective 800 pieces of luggage and head out to Georgia O'Keefe country.
Eli: What was your secret Arizona life, Caroline? Did you live in the desert for years off of occasional flowers and agave nectar? Did you shed layers of your own skin across the desert floor while becoming attuned to the natural vibrations of the universe? Or did you run a smuggling ring, moving quantities of drugs throughout the Southwest, eventually even moving on to human trafficking and a bit of light coyote work before realizing you were in too deep and staged your own death? TELL US CAROLINE. WE PROMISE NOT TO TELL. Contact PAPER for our e-mail addresses, all strictly off the record. We just want the straight dope, Car-bear. Regardless, to the desert! It seems like this season the Housewives of Jerz are doing a bit of globetrotting to various places of "healing." We've been to the lake, now the desert, so I'm guessing the next will have to be the deep forest. Perhaps they're secretly going to all these places to recover shards of an ancient artifact, which, when reassembled, will give them all complete control of the elements. Each couple gets a different element. Teresa and Juicy Joe, with the power to control ice, and freeze objects. Joe Gorga and Melissa, fire. Jacqueline and Chris have control over plants and growth, while Caroline and Al gain affinity for earth magic. Rich and Cathy have the power of wind, and Rosie has the power of HEART. The ancient artifact, as prophesied, also will give them all lucrative book deals and spin-offs. Whatever their motivation, they're all headed out to Miraval, which is basically a group of nice hotel rooms in the middle of a desert. I've never gotten why people vacation to hot places. Sure, there's a pool, but it's basically a puddle in a landscape of burning hot sand and concrete, which seems more like an exile than a vacation. They're also all constantly commenting on the "claustrophobia" and "lack of storage" in their rooms because in case we forgot, they all got BIG houzez back in JERZ, bro. The trip there is even a little rocky, with Chris, Jacqueline, Al and Caroline stuck at the airport after "their plane broke." Jacqueline squeals and rolls around like a little child (that's had extensive plastic surgery) while Al and Chris eventually just say they're gonna "grab a bite" and walk away. Unbeknownst to Caroline or Jacqueline, the two of them went back through security, and purchased two tickets to Rio de Janeiro, away from all this horseshit, and sat in silence for a moment. They held the tickets tight in their clammy fists, imagining what could be. They could fly away, start up a little food cart with Al's cooking experience and Chris's management. Spend the afternoon slinging American-style fare to hungry workers off on their lunch breaks, and spend the nights in their twin hammocks on the roof of their apartment, listening to echoes of the hectic street life below. They could never truly do it, though, and they knew that. But the delusion was nice. They tore up the tickets and threw them away. Al looked at Chris and shook his head softly. "We almost made it this time," he chuckled. "Yeah, almost," replied Chris. His phone buzzed as Jacqueline sent him emoji after emoji. They wheeled their luggage back to where Caroline and Jacqueline were waiting. "What'd you guys eat?" asked Caroline. "Nothing much," grunted Al. "Just a little Brazilian," Chris chuckled.
Carey: Finally, the Laurita/Manzo contingent joins the others at the Arizona retreat. They're greeted by Carol, the head of the "spa." She stands with an assistant holding lavender-colored smoothies on a tray while frowning. As the stragglers walk up to the entrance, Carol says in this wonderfully horrible way, "We thought we'd see you a little earlier." Everything about Carol is terrifying. I am fairly certain she opened Miraval after fleeing her former life; I imagine it was discovered that she was putting Windex in the water cooler at the mid-sized office she was a receptionist at. Never a lethal amount though, just one or two squirts from the bottle. She'd do it in the morning, before anyone got there. One day, a janitor pulling an all-nighter walked in on her early morning ritual. They sort of just stared at each other. "What are you looking at?" Carol blurted out. "I can report you for harassment, you know." The janitor sort of shrugged and backed away. The whole day, Carol typed with sweaty, nervous fingers. She ate lunch in the restroom, and dug her pen into the wood below her desk. In the last hour of her shift, her boss, Joanne, came to her desk in the last hour of her shift. "Hey Carol, do you mind coming by to see me before you leave today?" she asked in a quiet, but firm way. Carol never stopped by Joanne's office. She slipped out shortly after, getting in her blue Taurus and driving away till she reached the end of the state, then another, and another. She reached the desert, the site where Miraval would someday be. It was almost dawn. 'All you can do is forget sometimes,' she thought, grinning while kicking a small rock on the ground.
But YEAH! They join the other cast members inside, and everyone gets drunk and complains about the rooms, and genuinely appear to be having a good time. There's a moment where a bat flaps around the hallway, and Albert tries to swat it down and everyone screams. Then everyone gets drunk again and eats dinner and gets drunker and Melissa is like, "Bee Tee Dubs, an energist is coming tonight!" Energists have become a common thing in the Real Housewives franchise. Everyone has an energist. I'm going to just say I'm an energist from now on. I'm an energist! You're an energist!
Eli: This energist is named Tina. Which, of course, is short for Christina, which is Olde English for "receptionist." Also, I already have one Tina held firmly in my heart, and that's Tina Belcher, from Bob's Burgers. (That's a good show. I like it. You should watch it instead of this show.) Anyway, the energist sits them all down in sort of a semicircle/pile in the back, and everybody's cheeks are lookin' FLUSHED, y'all. Wine be drank. She then starts off as the Energist's Handbook encourages, with a series of vague, leading questions. She stumbles a bit when she infers that she is communicating with Joe Giudice's mother from beyond the grave, until he tells her that his mother, in fact, is not dead. Hard right from Mama Giudice to the energist's reputation. Melissa aptly sums up the biggest concern most people have with any sort of medium, saying, "I mean, are they speaking to your grandma? Or are they not?" Melissa has, through her own mental exploration, reinvented the feeling "doubt." Impressive. Also worth noting, and worth its weight in gold, is an epic side-eye from Rosie to the energist.
It's the shade equivalent of a nuclear strike. We all knew Rosie deserved a spin-off, but only know do I finally realize what it should be: "Rosie and the Energist." A lovely odd-couple sort of show between the outspoken, enchantingly lumbering Rosie and the undiagnosed schizophrenia of Tina the energist. I'd buy a DVR just to make sure I didn't miss a second. But eventually, Tina's scatter-shot queries hit, and she manages to convince the crew she's connected to the Otherworld, and then she makes everyone cry and cry and Rich cries a lot and then Kathy cries a lot and Tina breathes a giant sigh of relief that her reputation as an energist hasn't been eviscerated by a group of drunk Jersey couples.
Carey: Yeah, lots of crying. Good job, Tina. My favorite part was when she goes, "DO YOU WANT ME TO STOP, KATHY? DO YOU WANT ME TO STOP?" while Kathy is sobbing about her dead father. Please stop. The high emotions carry into the next morning, as the crew, minus a sick Melissa, is gathered up by a strawberry-blonde haired hiking guide named Conor Eldridge. Of course his name is CONOR! Blonde haired Conor! HEY CONNNNNNN. Conor leads them on a 30 foot trail. Melissa is back at the hotel with a sore throat, or as she says, "the worst pain in her life." Joe Gorga is like, "What about when you had three children?" To her credit, sore throats are bad. But it feels like Melissa is starring as Gwyneth Paltrow's understudy in Contagion. Bye, Melissa! Anyway, Conor brings them all to this clearing where some Shaman brunette whose name I can't remember makes them all write down something they need to let go and burn it in a small fire. UGHHHH I can't even bring myself to write more about this awful scene. Albert is like, "I don't believe in witchcraft" and sits it out. I love Albert. Then Teresa goes up and calls up all the people she's hurt in the past, AKA everyone, and they all hold hands as Teresa wishes reunion and joy for everyone. "I wish Melissa could be here" Joe says. Melissa is at home sunbathing and coughing. She doesn't give a shit. Anyway, they allllll cry cry cry. And Teresa and Jacqueline have a heart-to-heart about their friendship and worrying that it'll never get back to the same place hey were in. I've been watching this horror show since the beginning and I don't even remember them being as close as they say they were. Alas, we'll play along. Then Teresa talks about how she needs to set her karma right, because if she doesn't, it'll get passed down to her kids. Jacqueline, for whatever reason, takes Teresa's karma comment as a dig at her, implying that Jacqueline's wrongdoing in the past is the reason why her son has autism. Okay. I'm not even going to elaborate on that. No one wins. Everything is terrible. I'm going to go turn on a hot shower and sit in the tub with all of my clothes on till I pass out.
Eli: Burn your TV and breathe the smoke until the plastic fumes take you straight to Valhalla.