The Housewives packed so many good intentions into their insane amounts of luggage. (Does Bravo cover checked baggage fees?) But remember that Marlo is not yet a Real Housewife and so took it upon herself to bring the noise. Drama cloaked an a wing, luxurious fabrics, and unrequested etiquette lessons. A lady pulls off a nibble of bread, rather than slathering the whole slab with butter. A lady crosses her legs at the ankles. A lady slings cruel slurs and insane accusations (F----ots! Onyx! Drug dealers!) when she feels slighted.
But first the women endured the long flight to South Africa and Cynthia's inane flip cam narration. Phaedra planned for an easy cushion upon landing, a two night stay in luxe accommodations in chic Cape Town. She figured that would "give the less cosmopolitan of the group"—close-up on NeNe—chance to acclimate before heading into the bush. On the bus Marlo started jabbering and she never really stopped the whole episode. She needs her privacy. She hates to share a bathroom. She fancies herself the next Queen of Etiquette. "I doubt very seriously that Emily Post has a chapter in her book on aggravated assault," said Sheree, who will forever remain one of my top 3 favorite Housewives.
At the penthouse, Sheree wondered with a straight face how the women would divvy themselves up. "I'm thinking me, Phaedra, and NeNe stay in here," she said to the group. NeNe had a hilariously silent intake of breath and Sheree let her suggestion hang in the air for a few glorious beats. "I'm just kiddin'," she said. Everybody got a laugh, and I loved seeing a hardened NeNe so genuinely amused, and it was the perfect icebreaker. The poor concierge couldn't wait to get out of there as Marlo started demanding the housekeepers' schedules and cell phones and medical histories. "Everybody knows black girls can sometimes be problematic," said Phaedra. For shame, woman.
At breakfast the next morning, the lines were firmly drawn. The talls were dressed to impress, in African fabrics and silky tunics and oversized sunglasses. The smalls came to the table dressed in cotton tees and elastic pants. Cynthia had her first good line of the season when she called out poor Phaedra in her hot pink Marshalls robe. Round 1: Talls. Also, Cynthia's hair looked amazing in braids.
Phaedra revealed herself to be a most gracious hostess—take lessons, Countess!—by offering to introduce her cast mates to royalty and presenting them each with a silver-plated inscribed mirror. All except Marlo, who pouted at the end of the table. Phaedra was pretty smooth by promising the stowaway that she'd get her mirror upon return. Perhaps this was no way for Sheree to announce that only Kandi and Phaedra were invited to her friend's dinner party that evening but give her points for being neither glib nor sneering. She figured the others wouldn't want to go to her friend's house so no harm, no foul? To her credit, NeNe looked unperturbed. After breakfast Cynthia stoked the fire, which she'd continue to do all episode. "I wasn't really anticipating a shade so early in the morning," she huffed.
NEXT: Sheree ain't no punk.