1) Eli: First off we find ourselves back at McAmityville with Carlton and friends. They're auditioning strippers for some sort of vague party that Carlton plans to have, and I can just imagine the invitations now: black with gold leaf and red ink that proclaim, "SOLSTICE PARTY," and then under it, "with live dancing entertainment ;)" "Do you think anyone will come?" Carlton asks her husband. She adds, "If they don't, I understand, because we are quite edgy. Some people just don't have the appreciation for the female body that I do. The female body is a work of art. My children are named Destiny, Mysteri, and Cross." Also, we meet Carlton's friend Tara again, and she continues to talk in what I have to assume is an affected infantilism. She coos and squeaks and talks about how everyone's gonna be "nakey." Keep at it girl, because if there's somebody that you want as a significant other, it should be the one that gets a boner from you talking like a kindergarten student.
2) Carey: Meanwhile, Brandi and Yo-Yo head up to Brandi's hometown of Sacramento for a pretend book reading that Brandi is doing in a ballroom of a hotel. There is extra pressure on Brandi because her whole family will be in attendance, including her estranged father (who, like, isn't that estranged as we find out and was just weirded out that his daughter was agreeing to get wine wasted on national TV every week). Brandi decided to bring along Holland's most docile former milkmaid in hopes of mediating the tension with her dad. When Brandi and Yo arrive in their room, Brandi asks the middle-aged bellhop tending to them if their room is the "Presidential Suite", then asks him who else has stayed in the same room. "Guess," he says, and they ask "Obama?" and then the bellhop says, "No...Arnold Schwarzenegger" and the ladies scream and jump out of the bed. The bellhop looked exactly like Marshall Applewhite, the leader of the doomed Heaven's Gate cult, and the sort of deadpan, very-aware-of-the-camera sass he's carrying out when playing the "guessing game" with the women made me both his number one fan while also immensely depressed about everything. Later that night, after three glasses of boxed wine in his one bedroom apartment, he went up to his full-length bedroom mirror, put his hand on his hip and faintly said (á la the Real Housewives opening intro), "I'm not afraid to tell it like it is, but I always make sure to tell it with truth."
3) Carey: Brandi actually tells a pretty amazing story during her "reading" (reading? Brandi does readings. Brandi is a best selling author of books that are reads by human eyes. Ok.) about how her parents took in their friends' gay son after his own parents kicked him out of the house for coming out. This was clearly her attempt of drawing a parallel between her own situation of being "shunned", and even though the stories are not thaaaaaaat similar, it was still a nice example to show how cool her mom and dad are. In the end, Brandi and her Daddy-yo make drunken amends on the roof of their hotel, with their family and Yo-Yo in the background and fireworks exploding into thousands of flaming bits in front of them. Brandi keeps saying, "I love you, Dad," and he keeps saying, "I know."
4) Eli: When Brandi finally does convince her dad to return an "I love you too," I got the fuzzies.
5) Eli: Let's also talk about the fact that throughout the entire trip, Yolanda's been working as a middleman between Brandi and her dad. And girl is persuasive. I started to fantasize about a spin-off, Yolanda Foster: Hostage Negotiation. Yolanda in a light teal bulletproof vest with a loudspeaker, telling bank robbers memories of Holland: "In Holland we were very poor. But we would never rob a bank, we would simply go and pick tulips, and flatten them, and draw numbers on them, and pretend they were money. And we would exchange the tulips for hugs. Then we would return to the house for a traditional Holland dinner of tulip casserole. Now put down that pesky AK-47 and let those hostages go!" 100% success rate.
6) Carey: I imagine Yolanda uses those same negotiation tactics with her husband, David. I can see him sitting at their kitchen island, reading the paper, when Yolanda embraces him from behind. "David, my love," she whispers, "Do you see the lemon trees? I want there to be more of them, my love." "More of them," he repeats, his eyes in a wide daze. "Yes, my love," Yo coos back. "I want its roots to spread through this house, and all of the houses in all of the lands. I want its branches to grow taller than this roof and all of the roofs; I want its branches to block the sun." David nods, gripping the handle of his coffee mug that says "David Foster" on the side.
7) Eli: Joyce heads to a gun range and after relating a fairly chilling story about an attempted home invasion, proceeds to do some target practice with her hubby while he yells in his thick accent, "NOW WE ARE TALKING!" But despite how genuinely terrifying the home invasion story was, don't let that fool you into thinking that this was a serious activity. Joyce proceeds to violate so many gun range safety procedures that we end up less with the gun range scene from Silence of the Lambs and closer to the one from Super Troopers. At any point I expected Yakety Sax to start playing and for Joyce to accidentally wound everyone at the range before shrugging. The scene ends with a shot of their instructor's face and we watch as his faith in the Second Amendment disappears.
8) Carey: Thank God we got to see Joyce shoot a gun! Felt like the entire season, and the past hundred years or so, had been building up to THIS moment.
9) Eli: Empowered by her recent bout with a paper cutout, Joyce decides it would be good for all the girlz to take a self-defense class. I secretly hope, however, this is just a plan by the producers to spice up the next inevitable physical altercation in the series. This way, whenever the Brandi/Joyce scuffle does go down -- most likely at a charity event for bipolar hedgehogs -- we'll get to at least see a sleeper hold or two.
10) Carey: I feel like when this show doesn't really know what to do to bring all the women together, they force them to go to some weird gym in Hollywood and take an exercise class of some kind together. I can picture the producers sitting in a meeting, and saying: "Oh, I don't know what we should this episode... maybe go-kart racing?" "No..." "I guess...just have them go take a self-defense class." "Yes! A self defense class. That's good and, like, empowering, you know?" "Yeah, go Google it."