The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Recap: Dumpling Ground – Vulture

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This week on our favorite show Rich Women Doing Things, the rich women did things. They talked in code by saying things like, “You know what I mean,” “I was talking to you-know-who,” “They did this and that,” and other vague statements, because apparently talking to other rich women is like being in a very funny and very weird mob. They went to a Paris-themed luncheon where they cooed, “The food looks delicious, thanks so-and-so,” but it was really just a ball of bibb lettuce on a plate and then slices of opera cake with each woman’s name on the slice, but none of them finished it so the table was full of half-desiccated personal slices at the end of the meal. They sat around and talked about their new cars, even though all anyone really wanted to talk about was Erika’s divorce.

I mean, that’s what we all want to talk about. Erika’s reception at the party was a little odd. They cheered her, like she was coming back from a trip abroad or a very delicate vajazzling procedure, which doesn’t seem like the kind of reception that a woman who just filed for a surprise divorce would be looking for. But these women are not me, because if this was my friend, as soon as she sat down I would have been like, “Girl, let’s hear about this damn divorce.” But they all pussyfoot (which is also my stripper name) around Erika’s divorce until they can sit down for a formal lunch and get into it.

The story that Erika tells is that she knew that her marriage had come to an end and that their relationship disintegrated. “I left because he pushed me further and further out,” she says. “The conversations I used to have were reduced down to a sentence or two. I just kept walking around this house knowing this relationship was headed down a really shitty path. I couldn’t live like that anymore.” She describes how he had been cruel in the past, telling one man to “take her if you can afford her,” and that she was finally fed up with it. It seems like the pandemic, and the resulting depression she talked about in previous episodes, really did her in and she came up with a plan: She dropped Tom off at work, told him she loved him, and he coldly said, “Okay, hun,” and that is the last she talked to him. She went home and packed everything into a moving van, went to the house she had previously rented, and filed for divorce in the morning. “Once I made my decision I spent 30 days closing out that part of my life,” she says.

This doesn’t sound like someone who — as some have speculated — got a divorce just to avoid legal proceedings. It sounds more like someone who is in an abusive relationship. It sounds like Julia Roberts at the beginning of Sleeping with the Enemy, but she is taking all of her shoes, as well as a sofa and two chairs. As she discloses this, some of the scenes we saw earlier this season are put into a new context, like Erika clearing out clothes to make room, getting ready for a new life without Tom.

I don’t think that Tom was physically abusive, but it seems clear that Erika is scared of him, scared of what he might do to her now that she’s pursuing a divorce. She thinks his attitude is going to be, “Fuck her. She’s on her own then. You want to be big time? Fucking go.” She’s also scared about what the divorce is going to be like, going up against a man with a lot of legal prowess and, it seems, a mean streak as wide as the skull-printed poncho Sutton wears to her mammogram.

It is clear, especially in the walkthrough of her new house — which is totally cute, and nine bathrooms seems like seven too many to clean on your own anyway — that she is terrified of something. Maybe it’s starting a new life after 20 years. Maybe it’s Tom coming after her in court and a protracted and expensive divorce. Maybe it’s the inevitable lawsuit that was filed a month after she filed for divorce, claiming that Tom was embezzling client funds and that she was helping him. Maybe, and most likely, it’s all of those things. The one thing she admits to, other than stealing furniture, is filing on election day in hopes no one would notice. Even that move backfired.

It seems like Erika knows that another shoe is about to drop, and she knows a thing or two about footwear. She says she didn’t tell the women because she didn’t want them to have any information that they would have to hold. Is that because she didn’t want to make them keep secrets, or because she didn’t want to implicate them in any legal proceedings? Maybe it’s the dramatic irony of the situation, that we know how it’s going to end as it’s playing out, but Erika seems to be hinting that more is happening. “There is so much these women don’t know,” she says at the end of the episode.

She talks about it with Lisa Rinna at dinner, and she talks about it with Kyle at Crystal’s dumpling party, but there is so much we don’t know. When Garcelle says that Erika should see her dating coach, Erika says she’s taking 90 days off and then she is just going to have a bunch of anonymous sex. I mean, there is a reason she hangs out with queens only, because I think this is an excellent plan.

She doesn’t want to go see Garcelle’s dating coach anyway. When Damona stops by Garcelle’s, catching her in one of the denim jumpsuits from the Eileen Davidson for Lee Jeans Collection, they talk about how Garcelle can learn to date better and find a man. Damona asks for all of the things Garcelle wants in a partner, and she lists the obvious — kind, loving, loyal, sexy — and then she drops a bomb: “not too big.” She doesn’t mean in frame, she means in the penis, telling us that “there is such a thing as too big of a diamond.” Um, she is going to say this during Pride month? When she said that, Erika Jayne and every male homosexual watching threw their remotes at the set, went into their bedrooms, and lubed up their dildo the width of a traffic cone. Such a thing as too big? What are you? A quitter?

Anyway, back at the party, Kyle tells Erika that she is a “new, lighter Erika.” Um, she’s not new or lighter, she’s just fucking stoned off her tits. Actually, no, she’s stoned off her labia, because that is where she spread the THC sex oil that Kyle gave her. Apparently Kyle and Mauricio have been dabbling in the doobie with this stoner sex liquid and, Kyle, you have to drop us a link, honey. Hook us up with an endorsement, because based on the time Erika was having at this party, that is the good shit. While we’re on the topic, I wish Kyle would come out as a stoner. We know she turned down the space cake on the ladies’ infamous trip to Amsterdam, but now that it’s legal in California, can we please get the camera on her and Mo two edibles deep? Please and thank you.

While most of us were focused on Erika and she was focused on the wall that kept changing colors and looking like it was breathing, other things did happen on the show. Kyle and Dorit make up after their fight last episode, and everyone says that Dorit is “long-winded,” which is a polite way to say that she talks too damn much, and really, that’s all I have to say. Sutton goes for a mammogram and yells and screams the whole time like a wiffle ball bat with too many holes in it. She talks about how she’s terrified of doctors and of tests, but when she goes to get her results she’s also terrified that something will be wrong. Know how you make sure that nothing is wrong? Go get a fucking mammogram once a year. Jesus, Sutton. She’s more fragile than a porcelain jock strap.

Sutton is the center of attention again at Crystal’s dumpling party, which seems super cute and fun, even if she totally relegates her cousins to kitchen duty and sends her husband, a famous animation director, out to the supermarket because she forgot the one integral ingredient to make dumplings. Sutton and Crystal sit down and talk about how they’re both over when Sutton barged in on Crystal in Lake Taco, and Sutton is like, “But you didn’t keep your promise [not talk about it].” Crystal says the other women keep bringing it up. Yes, they do, because they are pros. As long as they can play an invisible hand in your drama, they don’t need to make any drama of their own.

They decide the best course of action is to tell the assembled group of women that they had an “awkward moment” but they’re over it and want to move on as friends. But Sutton takes this moment to, once again, relitigate the point. “But if it’s really over, you need to stop talking about it,” Sutton says to the group, even though Crystal already explained what happened. “And it’s a little defamatory to say I violated you.” Okay, this is a snake move. She’s not going to bring this up in their tete-a-tete, she’s going to take this to the group? It’s like she lulled Crystal into a false sense of trust and betrayed her. God, I hate Sutton. Who also brings up that she’s not “manic” or “crazy” like Crystal said, when all Crystal had seen of her was the insanity? I think they eventually squash it, question mark. I don’t know. Like the decision to get bangs, I have a feeling we’re going to be stuck with this awkwardness for an entire season.

As they were going at it, their petty squabbles and the silly fight that Sutton is keeping alive like it’s Weekend at Bernie’s, all I could think about was Erika. Her face in her new kitchen, pained and distant, looking at the vacant space for a table. Where will she get a table? What does she want? Can she afford it? Will having a kitchen table shelter her from the storm? Will it make it all better? What will happen? How? When? Will Tom? Will the press? Will fans? Will the show? Could the show? Andy? Twitter? The widows and orphans? The money? Her checks. Her table. A table. My table.

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