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Congratulations to the #JusticeForHeatherDubrow gang (including me, as head organizer.) In part 2 of The Real Housewives of Orange County Season 17 reunion, the cast finally shows some contrition for their poorly executed takedown of Fancy Pants. And by contrition, I mean they all give the classic Housewives apology where they blame everything on their drinking or trauma, followed by a “I really do love you!” Shannon, of course, would rather cry all of her foundation off than apologize to Heather for projecting all of her romantic problems onto her.
But before we dig into the John Janssen of it all, we pick up the middle of Gina and Shannon’s shouting match in part 1. Shannon finally offers Gina a curt apology for claiming Child Protective Services were going to scoop up her kids when she got her DUI. She says she just meant that CPS would take her children if she was taken into custody and they were left alone—not because of the DUI itself. I don’t know why this distinction matters, but this is apparently all Shannon could come up with since that episode aired.
Gina, still crying, insists that Shannon didn’t hurt her; she hurt her children. Unfortunately, this is where my already tepid support of Gina in this argument immediately ends.
First of all, it took me watching this episode to remember that Shannon had even made that comment because that’s how unmemorable it is in the larger scheme of things—let alone on Bravo. Also, I’m sick of these women weaponizing their kids’ hypothetical feelings in fights, as if putting them on reality TV hasn’t opened them up to a world of constant rumors and ridicule. At the end of the day, Gina did get a DUI all on her own. And while I would hope that her children don’t nail her to the cross for it, presumably, that will be a much larger talking point in her household than an offhand—admittedly, wrong—remark from a drunken lady during a taco dinner.
Luckily, before Gina can do any more squawking, we move on to the topic of Shannon and John’s now-former relationship and the gossip mill that surrounded it this season. Shannon still feels that Heather is some Machiavellian Perez Hilton figure, painting her already crappy relationship in the worst possible light. Even Andy Cohen, our supposedly impartial moderator, is confused about Shannon’s misguided anger towards Heather, given that Shannon vented about John to most of the cast. Plus, Tamra and Emily were the two who brought their issues onto the show.
Shannon doesn’t have a logical explanation for this. (I honestly wish she would just say that she still hates Heather for kicking her out of her house that one time.) Instead, she just starts sobbing about how heartbroken she is and how hard it was for her to watch her loveless scenes with John this season.
Despite how annoying Shannon’s been this season, you can’t help but feel bad for her at this moment, especially when some evil stylist has dressed her like Lindsay Hubbard at the MTV Movie & TV Awards. Society’s always telling us that you get more confident as you age. So it’s jarring to see a nearly 60-year-old woman (with tons of adoring fans!) suffer from such crippling insecurities that have ostensibly fueled her dependence on alcohol and terrible men. It’s even more depressing that she’s clearly aware of these issues and the way they’re affecting her life but doesn't have tools to get better. She even casually admits that she and John still have a “friends with benefits” relationship, to which Andy hilariously responds, “...OK” before moving on to Emily’s clip package.
I have to say, Emily’s failed attempts to be a main character this season (and her visible frustration about it from the end of the couch) have really tickled me. So far, she’s spent this entire reunion jumping into arguments that have nothing to do with her because Andy won’t ask her any questions. And now her long-awaited clip package, which is mostly about her one-sided beef with Heather, is all about another cast member. (Cue Mo’Nique’s “When you do clownery…” video.”) I also love that Gina has apparently seen social media’s reaction to this season and has completely abandoned Emily in her anti-Heather agenda.
Emily gives the same weak defense for her behavior that she’s given all season. (Maybe Tamra was right about her not being a practicing lawyer.) She doesn’t mean to be rude. She isn’t aware when she’s being aggressive. Blah, blah, blah. Then we get into the whole Bravocon debacle. And Emily can’t even apologize for telling the group that Heather said Shannon was trash-talking them when who actually said it was Tamra. Instead, Emily says that Heather purposely didn’t correct her to make her look dumb all season. Meanwhile, her supposed bestie Gina knew that Emily had confused the names and didn’t say anything, but ok!
The last 15 minutes of this reunion is just a bunch of she said-she said about Heather allegedly calling Gina and Emily “a bunch of losers” at BravoCon. At this point, if Heather did call anyone on this cast a loser, she’d be correct, and I have no issue with it! Also, none of the ladies actually care about this alleged remark. They just need to use anything they can against Heather as a cudgel in their imaginary war with her.
In the end, everyone agrees that they went way too hard on Heather—except for Shannon, of course. Once again, Tamra comes out of this situation completely unscathed. She even tells Andy “fuck off” at one point when he presses her about her pot-stirring, and he just laughs it off. (Justice for Carole Radziwill!) Still, this reunion provided a mostly satisfactory conclusion to an increasingly frustrating season. And I’m excited that these women have carved out a path forward next season. Hopefully, it’s towards a Tamra takedown.