We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

This week on Real Housewives of Potomac, the gang takes on a real bad bitch: the District of Columbia itself.

But first! Newcomer Ashley must be judged by Karen, the most ruthless enforcer of Potomac’s code of social bushido. Succeed, and she’ll get brunch invites. Fail, and she’ll be devoured whole. 

The idea that Ashley—a former Ms. District of Columbia with a restaurant and a loaded husband—would actually want to hang out with the likes of Karen may be the least believable of Potomac‘s many conceits. There’s a whole metro area of other wealthy young women to befriend, and she looks instead for a supporting role in some suburban melodramas?

Ashley again demonstrates her general disinterest in Potomac here, when Karen tells her that getting lectured by her at crab boils or whatever is “a hard circle to get into.”

Surprisingly, Karen is taken with Ashley. This all sets up the inevitable falling-out, but until then, Karen has Ashley and Katie—the second youngest cast member—try on swimsuits. While this is a ruse for the producers to get in some skin, Karen claims to want Katie and Ashley to model the swimsuits so she can decide which one to buy her daughter.

“Now I have two models to try on swimsuits for my princess,” Karen says.

That’s weird, but Karen loves it.

“It’s so nice hanging out with these Potomac women who aren’t judging my character, just my figure,” Ashley says.

Meanwhile, Katie needs to score two things: a wedding ring, and cash. Katie’s attempts to settle down with boyfriend and aspiring playboy Andrew is already a hot topic of conversation, and it’s highlighted again when an editor from Washington Life magazine points out she “has it all”—save a husband.

But Katie has bigger ambitions in this episode, which she spends hunting up donations for her “Rost Foundation.” She explains her swimsuit fashion show for Karen, for example, as a scheme to open the grand dame’s checkbook. And the foundation definitely needs the money!

2015 tax forms for the organization, named after Katie’s late father, aren’t available yet, but previous years haven’t been so great for the nonprofit. The foundation ended 2012 nearly $4,000 in debt, while its $11,104 in 2014 contributions came solely from Katie’s mother. The contributions to other charities that Katie touts in her Washington Life interview, meanwhile, amounted in 2014 to just $950.

Katie’s plan to resuscitate her foundation depends on picking up potential donors at Washingtonian‘s Best of Washington gala at the National Building Museum. On the way, she coaches boyfriend Andrew on his pitch.

“Tell me what you’re going to say to people about the Rost Foundation,” Katie says, sounding less nonprofit director and more Will Smith in confidence man movie Focus.

At the party, Katie corners Washingtonian publisher Catherine Merrill Williams and asks for “press coverage.”

As much as I would enjoy Washingtonian assigning a writer to the Rost Foundation beat, a search of Washingtonian‘s site suggests that all of the magazine’s Rost coverage came years before Katie approached Merrill Williams. Alas for Katie, the rest of the party is spent the usual way: mooning over another woman’s wedding ring.

Still, Katie deserves credit for going to the event at all, since Potomac housewives are generally reluctant to enter the District. In an interview with Washingtonian, Karen says a Tiffany’s in Chevy Chase, Md. is “as D.C. as I get with my shopping.”

If our heroines don’t like going to the District, they really don’t like going to Capitol Hill bar Barrel, where they’re forced to—indignities of indignities—drink in a basement for Ashley’s whiskey tasting.

Here’s Gizelle’s audition for the next Saw movie:

“I’m Gucci down to my socks, and y’all tell me to go to the basement,” she moans.

The Hill’s yuppy folkways wear on our heroines. Karen describes the bar as “a different sandbox.”

“I am dressed to the nines, and I didn’t know the attire was flip-flops,” Karen says, eying a pair of suspected congressional interns at the bar.

Eventually, whiskey wins them over. The ladies get boozy and quash both thot-gate and hairdresser-gate.

Meanwhile, Katie has a wine-fueled argument with Andrew about age, pregnancy, and marriage that looks like it was cut from a John Cassavetes film.

Next week, we meet Gizelle’s ex-husband, philandering pastor Jamal.

Talk about a man of the cloth.