Welcome back to my new-favorite political drama, Real Housewives of Orange County Season 17. While Tamra has enjoyed a pretty comfortable reign this season—winning back her partner-in-drunkenness Shannon and generally being terrible without isolating the cast—it seems like some of the women are finally ready to overthrow the self-appointed queen after her one-sided beef with Jenn goes a little too far this week. (But first, they have to pull Heather out of Tamra’s ass.)

It will be interesting, though, to see if the B cast—by that, I mean Gina and Emily—can actually follow through with their coup when Vicki returns next week, reuniting “the Tres Amigas.” (Maybe Heather’s inevitable exclusion from the trio will finally radicalize her.) Regardless, the way Tamra’s comeback has everyone scrambling for allies is amusing enough on its own.

This week is a typical post-cast trip episode, where the women hash out whatever beefs they’re still holding on to from Montana. And if you’re already suspicious about the Barbie marketing campaign, we end on another coincidentally pink-themed boat ride.

First, we open with Gina recapping what happened in Montana for Emily at a restaurant with a very dramatic, almost horror movie-like montage of the trip’s messiest moments. (The editors make it seem like Gina just returned from combat.) After missing three episodes due to COVID, Emily is eager to tap back in and hop on Gina’s anti-Heather agenda, which—I’m sorry—is deeply stupid!

Gina was starting to earn some points with me this episode after she apologized to Jenn for judging her for her extramarital affair. During a visit to Jenn’s yoga studio, she admits that her initial reaction to Jenn was rooted in her own baggage from her past marriage. But now, Gina’s irrationally angry at Heather for warning her not to cry about her ex-husband to her current boyfriend Travis, which is perfectly reasonable advice! She also has other petty grievances with Heather that are clearly rooted in her own insecurities, including the fact that she’s getting a real estate license at the same time as Heather’s teenage son.

Tamra’s also continuing her passive-aggressive attacks against Heather. When they meet for pedicures, she tells Emily about the comment Heather made in Montana about how shoveling cow shit for a day made her appreciate people who work on farms. This was a totally innocuous remark, even from Heather, who has a naturally condescending tone. However, when Tamra paraphrases it for Emily—who she knows has Midwestern, working-class roots—she makes it sound like an elitist remark.

When Heather shows up at the nail salon and complains about her previous tiff with Taylor over the acting gig, Emily immediately takes Taylor’s side and tells Heather she’s not always aware of how patronizing she can be. Heather’s initially defensive before accepting Emily’s words. You can see it slowly dawn on Heather that she’s the pariah this season.

Before the boat ride, we see Shannon’s boyfriend John for the first time thus far, when she visits his waterfront home (which screams bachelor pad). Throughout the season, the cast (mostly Tamra) has been hinting that there’s something strange going on in Shannon and Josh’s relationship. It is arguably weird that they’ve dated for three years and integrated their families but don’t live together, which we all know Shannon wants. The only sparks in this deeply awkward scene are the ones coming from John’s grill as he cooks some steak.

A photo of Taylor Armstrong and Jennifer Pedranti on a boat during The Real Housewives of Orange County.

It’s also troubling, later on at the boat party, when Shannon starts crying after Heather mentions the news that Shannon’s ex-husband David Beador filed for divorce from his wife. Shannon also becomes suddenly giddy when Heather notes that he filed on the same day as their anniversary, as if David’s trying to send Shannon a message. Ultimately, I think boShannon and Gina are dealing with the same issues in their relationships: They both got out of unhealthy relationships and quickly settled down with really nice men. But now they’re bored and want their toxic exes back.

Let’s get into the rest of the boat party that Heather’s hosting for the women. Surprisingly, they’re joined by Taylor’s acting coach Lauren, who I wasn’t expecting to see again. But she seems ready to integrate herself in the women’s mess, which I love.

After a peaceful ride, the women arrive at Nobu, where everything immediately goes to shit. While I initially wanted to defend Heather’s poop-shoveling comment, she shoots herself in the foot here by giving the women Tom Ford candles with a note that says “too fabulous to shovel shit,” which pretty much undermines her whole thing about appreciating blue-collar workers. That said, I’m sick of Tamra and Emily acting like they would personally enjoy cleaning animal excrement.

So the women start rehashing Montana, which, of course, means bringing up all the tea Tamra spilled about Jenn’s boyfriend Ryan. Jenn finally pops off, albeit in a very zen, Jenn-like way, on Tamra for exposing Ryan’s alleged comment about wanting to sleep with her to the group. Tamra can’t take someone even slightly confronting her, so she starts screaming at the top of her lungs about Ryan being the biggest man-whore in Orange County.

She also brings up an incident of some guys supposedly telling Eddie that Ryan has a thing for married women at a party—as if this would be a surprise to the married women he went after. Jenn fires back that Tamra also had some things to say about Ryan, which were apparently sexual, during that party when they were on the phone. But before Jenn can put Tamra on blast, Tamra throws a napkin in her face and walks off screaming.

While Tamra’s scaring off Nobu customers, the rest of the women assure Jenn that none of them have issues with her, despite Tamra’s valiant attempts to make her look bad. The fact that Tamra can’t manage to turn the group, even the women who have dealt with infidelity, against Jenn is a bad sign. While Tamra’s earning points from fans for being messy, she’s flying too close to the sun with this Ryan smear campaign that’s only really hurting her “friend.”

Heather tells Jenn that if she has something on Tamra, she needs to spit it out now, or else she’ll continue to come for Jenn’s relationship. Jenn doesn’t share anything with the group. (Boo!) But in a confessional, she says that Tamra called her to inform her that Ryan, who she supposedly called “hot gym guy,” was at the party and made a joke about “taking one for the team.” According to Jenn, it seems like Tamra and Jenn both had a crush on Ryan—hence why she’s become weirdly emotional about their relationship.

While Tamra’s taking shots downstairs, Emily and Gina take the opportunity to call Heather out for her lack of friendship since Tamra rejoined the group. Emily accuses Heather of sidelining her this season and calls her bond with Tamra “fake.” And Gina’s still mad that she remained friends with Tamra after she trashed her IMDB page. Watching Heather figure out whether to continue a one-sided friendship with the queen or roll with the peasants this season is hilarious.

Aside from the Tamra stuff, Gina has an entire CVS receipt’s worth of petty complaints against Heather. The silliest of them all is that Heather apparently dissed Gina’s realtor aspirations by informing her that her 18-year-old son, Nick, was also attaining his license—as if it’s this child’s fault that Heather decided to finally pursue a career in her late-thirties! Heather, aware that she’s been outnumbered, just nods and apologizes repeatedly until Gina shuts up.

The episode ends with Tamra returning to the table and telling Jenn that she’s “livid.” Jenn just gives her snake eyes and turns toward the other side of the table. Unfortunately, this classy approach she’s taking with Tamra will only work for so long. According to next week’s preview, Tamra finally brings Heather Amin around the group presumably to share even more embarrassing facts about Ryan. It’s up Jenn to do what any Housewife does when they’re preparing for battle and rehearse some reads.

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