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The Real Housewives of Potomac are back, and they’re crueler to each other than ever. First, though, some warnings: this is a pretty lewd episode, and I have had dental procedures less stressful than this show.

Last time, very rich Ashley invited the crew to her Bethany Beach house. Before they head out, though, it’s time for another installment of The Talented Ms. Rost, in which Katie tries to raise a whopping $100,000 for her otherwise minuscule charity.

Katie’s planning lunch is initially abuzz with Ashley’s husband’s attempts to strip down and go swimming in the last episode. “Well, he’s Australian,” says Katie, who thinks Mad Max: Fury Road was a documentary.

Rost Foundation fans will remember that the nonprofit has, according to its most recent tax returns, never raised much of anything from anyone who wasn’t her mother. But now Katie wants GizelleRobyn, and Ashley to help her raise the haul—in three weeks or less!

“I just need you to understand and believe,” Katie says. Has Katie gotten in too deep with the Cali cartel? Gizelle’s reaction above says it all, but this episode is all reaction shots, so let’s get Ashley in there too.

 

That’s the face you make when you know you’re not the worst of the young Housewives.

I don’t know if all the time with our heroines is making me pettier, but Katie’s bedroom wall looks like it belongs in a bad Mediterranean restaurant:

Beach preparations have begun. In her Clarendon zeppelin, Ashley has her assistant packing her clothes. This is the same assistant who was hired last episode to ostensibly help with Ashley’s Australian restaurant. So much for that!

Ashley also has a new crony, this guy:

As a “stylist/friend” who likes to perch on wall fixtures and gab, Matthew fits into a well-worn trope in the Housewives franchise. But even he doesn’t think this trip is a good idea:

Ashley remains overconfident about winning over the D.C. area’s fussiest people.

“I just want everything to be right so no one has anything to flap their gums about,” she says.

Trouble starts soon, though, when Karen foreshadows her desire for her own room at the beach. One of the reasons, she tells husband Ray, is that Katie has hooked up with women in the past.

Ray’s attitudes are much more modern…or something.

“It might be something to cross off the bucket list,” he says.

Karen turns down his threesome and heads out on a dreadful ride with Ashley, where they try and fail to maintain their fictitious mentorship. At one point, Karen essentially tells Ashley to stay the hell away from her daughter.

Whatever, Ray thinks, it’s voodoo juice time!

You might think the fun car would be the one with all the other Housewives, but somehow, it’s not. In Katie’s car, the women totally misconstrue the rules of “Fuck, Marry, Kill” and agree they would all hit it with Bill Clinton.

All the talk of celebrity action brings up Katie’s failed romance with Russell Simmons, who once dumped Katie for another woman while she was still living in his apartment. Katie reveals that she wrote angry blog posts about the break-up, which Gizelle Googles and starts reading for the car’s benefit. (Remember when Googling someone was a capital offense on this show?)

Katie’s mad, but she should be thrilled Gizelle didn’t instead read this post, which is really something else.

The women arrive, and it’s immediately a disaster. They hate the cocktails Ashley’s caterers made, they hate that it took so long to get there, and they hate that some of them have to share rooms. Forget Brie Larson—Gizelle deserves the Oscar for room-related acting for attempting to get a last-minute hotel room in Bethany Beach’s busy season rather than sleep in a twin bed.

This was bound to happen. Deliberately or not, Ashley’s beach trip doubles as a reminder to all of the women that she’s both much richer than they are. (The exception here may be Karen and Ray). By taking the women to her enormous beach house, she guarantees that the women most threatened by her striving will pick her efforts apart in an attempt to feel better about not having colossal beach houses.

Ashley doesn’t do herself any favors by telling the women about her real estate tycoon husband’s sexual peccadilloes, which—please forgive me—involves a lot of hand stuff. The things people will do for kangaroo-themed restaurants.

The heroes of the trip are clear: Robyn, who’s always just happy to be there, and this lady: 

Brynee is Charrisse’s pal, and you won’t get complaints about beds from her. She’s cool as a cucumber, which is surprising because Brynee was recently disbarred and faces a nearly $3 million judgment over alleged fraud uncovered by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

It’s surprising that Brynee brings the least drama of anyone on the trip. But the rest have more than enough to share, so Charrisse institutes something called a “Sister Circle,” where the women alternately tell sad secrets and snipe at each other. Gizelle tells Katie that she’s “unassumingly smart.” Robyn reveals that she and her husband were marks in a fraud scheme. (Awkward for Brynee!)

Next week, we’re still on History’s Worst Trip to the Beach. Ashley’s husband Michael shows up, enrages Karen, and takes the whole thing very seriously: