April 20, 2024

‘Real Housewives of Orange County’ Recap: What’s Shannon’s Big Secret?

Read more of our Real Housewives of Orange County coverage HERE.

This week’s episode of Real Housewives of Orange County is a little frustrating in that it builds up to several “explosive” moments that don’t really pop off the way they should—well, at least not yet. For the first time this season, we’re left on a legitimate cliffhanger after Tamra prepares to unleash some dirt on Shannon’s boyfriend, John. It’s also the first time these editors have used a “To Be Continued…” appropriately.

In this episode alone, we have the long-awaited arrival of Heather Amin, a woman connected to the group who’s been bad-mouthing Jenn’s philandering boyfriend Ryan to Tamra all season. Although, it turns out she’s not as nefarious as the photos of her looking like Tamra’s evil, overly spray-tanned twin might suggest. Then, Vicki Gulvanson stops by for “Tres Amigas” reunion where they all take a concerning amount of tequila shots. Then, of course, there’s the bad news about John, which Heather Dubrow has spread to the other women. While it seems to be a pretty huge bombshell, I’m personally more curious what the sharing of this gossip will mean for Heather more than Shannon, given that Mrs. Dubrow is already hanging on to this group by a thread. Let’s dig in!

This week, it’s Emily’s turn to host an event. So they all head over to her mother-in-law’s mansion for a pretty generic summer gathering that could’ve been held in Emily’s slightly smaller home. The only real frill at this event is a Slip ‘N’ Slide, which Emily is way too excited about. Aside from that, the women spend the rest of the time orchestrating a huge blowup between Jenn and Heather Amin, after Jenn sent her a threatening text message.

As much as this Ryan drama has been compelling to observe, this confrontation really revealed Jenn’s weak spots as a Housewife. Jenn’s main issue is that she can never follow through with her rage. Earlier in the episode, she has lunch with Taylor and Shannon to discuss the Nobu incident, and she’s still doing this whole “I’m so confused about our friendship!” act. What is there to be confused about?? This woman threw a napkin in your face in front of a group of women you’re just getting to know! She’s done nothing but humiliate you this entire season!

It’s rare so that a Housewife is ever justifiably being pissed at someone—take Gina’s storyline, thus far, this season. So when you’re presented with an opportunity to be rightfully bitchy, you have to seize it and give the audience some iconic line readings to turn into GIFs. Or else, what are we even doing here??

That said, nothing even slightly meme-worthy comes out of Jenn’s conversation with Heather Amin and Tamra at Emily’s party. Jenn clearly despises Amin for whatever weird Sister Wives shit went down between the two of them and Ryan—which I would love to know more about, by the way! However, Jenn doesn’t bring any of this to the table during their sit down. Instead, Jenn acts confused when Amin said she threatened to expose things about her if she continued to talk about Ryan. We see the texts, which honestly seem like they were written by Ryan based on an earlier clip of him telling Jenn to be more aggressive with the women.

Amin calmly explains to Jenn that she had to withdraw from their friendship because she couldn’t watch her destroy her life for a serial cheater. To be fair, it doesn’t seem like Amin was trying to be hurtful by sharing whatever information she had on Ryan with Tamra or using it as a tactic to get on the show. It’s not like she spread secondhand information. She’s had real interactions with this man, including a dick pic. Jenn simply hears her out because there’s no way to argue that Ryan isn’t a notorious scumbag. Earlier in the episode, she also admits that Ryan actually cheated on her, and he didn’t just sleep with someone while they were on a break. So she’s already down a few points.

Tamra, on other hand, does deserve a verbal beating from Jenn. However, she immediately falls for Tamra’s crocodile tears and cursory apology and moves on from the entire discussion. Assignment failed!

Before we get into the Vicki of it all, there’s a notable scene between Gina, her boyfriend Travis, her ex-husband Matt, and his girlfriend Britt, who looks exactly like Kelly Dodd—plus all 20 of their children—when they hang out at a park.

I genuinely hate having to see Matt on my TV screen after Gina shared what he did to her. We’re already being forced to look at Tamra’s transphobic son every other episode. Do I really need a visual reminder that Gina’s terrible ex exists? She talks about him enough! It’s also a bit frustrating hearing Gina discuss her current relationship with Matt because she’ll occasionally slip into an apologetic tone regarding the domestic violence incident. Why should we care that Matt lost his financial certifications? In this episode, Gina also emphasizes that the incident was “isolated,” which sort of feels diminishing.

(l-r) Emily Simpson and Gina Kirschenheiter.

Casey Durkin/Bravo

On the other hand, I’m truly interested in how Gina’s trying and failing to move on from her past marriage and whether her relationship with Travis will last. In a confessional, she claims that she’s more traumatized from cheating than the assault, which will certainly need to be unpacked in a therapy scene. As long as she’s not misdirecting her frustrations at anyone else, I’m interested to go on this journey.

Anyway, we finally get to Vicki’s big comeback scene, which is just her doing a million tequila shots with Tamra and Shannon at some outdoor restaurant. We’re spared a long re-introduction, given that Vicki was just on Real Housewives Ultimate Girls Trip. However, we learn that she has a new man (of course) who looks like a Republican senator. She also has maybe the best facelift or round of Botox in her many years of transforming herself on television.

Eventually, they get on the topic of Heather, and Tamra hints that she’s been talking about Shannon’s relationship with the rest of the group. I love that this is essentially a repeat of Heather telling people about David Beador’s breakup email to Shannon. In that scenario, it turned out that Tamra was the one who told Heather about the email in the first place. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the source of this intel was Tamra.

Regardless, the mere suggestion that Heather knows something about John sends Shannon into a tizzy, and she gets up from the table. We all know that Shannon and John’s relationship seems off. In particular, John seems very passionate about not living with his partner. But the fact that Shannon is more worried about Tamra publicizing this news on-camera as opposed to whatever shitty thing John has supposedly done says a lot. She clearly already knows whatever the gossip is. Hence, all the scenes of her saying she empathizes with Jenn being humiliated by Ryan’s behavior.

So Shannon runs to the producers, who simply want to eat their fajitas, and begs them to stop filming since there’s no way she can muzzle Tamra. (Tamra’s facial expressions as she weighs dropping this bomb are hysterical.) Thankfully, this is Bravo and Tamra is Tamra, so we’ll find out John’s dirty deeds one way or another. Hopefully, in the next episode.

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