The Real Housewives of Orange County recap: Elizabeth confronts Braunwyn and her secret past

Marcus Jones
·4 min read


The new episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County begins right where the last episode ended, with Elizabeth Lyn Vargas setting off her Ferrari’s car alarm, waking up Kelly Dodd and Gina Kirschenheiter from a late night of partying in their Lake Arrowhead lodge. As they gather to gab about Braunwyn Windham-Burke digging into Elizabeth’s past.

At a nearby hotel, avoiding all the alcohol her trip companions stocked up, is the newly sober Braunwyn having a somewhat intimate FaceTime conversation with her best friend Shari. Emily Simpson is also having a FaceTime conversation from her house, but through much direr circumstances: her husband implied the night before that he wasn’t going to survive COVID.

As the Lake Arrowhead women prepare to go to the Sky Park, Elizabeth reveals that she grew up in the Pentecostal faith (coincidentally the same denomination as Mary M. Cosby from Real Housewives of Salt Lake City). As she makes light of speaking in tongues, Kelly once again jokes about the pandemic with a mask she can unzip and stick her tongue out of — and the one she wore the day before was completely porous. It’s such a bad look, especially juxtaposed with Shannon Beador crying about being exposed to COVID, fearing that it will fatally impact her due to her lung damage. Elizabeth and Kelly seem like they couldn’t care less about that though when Shannon calls to check in on the women.

As the minutes go by, and the women on the trip are nowhere near leaving for the Sky Park like they said they would, Gina goes into a room by herself to chat with her lawyer. It turns out Matt was charged with two felonies and is facing around four years in prison, but Gina’s statement could really impact his sentencing. Gina calls her boyfriend Travis right after and he truly seems like a great match for her. While sharing her impact statement is an incredibly hard step to take, Gina does seem like she has the immediate support system she needs.

Now at the lodge, Braunwyn and Elizabeth confront each other, with Braunwyn copping to digging too far into Elizabeth’s history, and Elizabeth copping to telling half-truths and having difficulty with female friendships.

Kelly hears what Gina’s call was about and treacherously tries to warn her not to ruin Matt’s life, as if that’s something Gina needs to hear after already being rattled about making a statement about her ex-husband, who was charged with committing domestic violence against her. While Kelly doesn’t process the terribleness of what she's saying, Braunwyn fully admits it was bad for her to investigate Elizabeth — she was just so bored in quarantine.

In the same breath, Braunwyn tells all the women they will be on her amends list, and then throws Shannon under the bus again, saying it was the friend she just reconciled with who got her to do a background check on Elizabeth. They all discuss how Shannon tries to gossip without getting her hands dirty, and the show reminds us of a time when Kelly was much more bearable and fun, calling Shannon “Mrs. Roper” while Shannon tried to call her a homewrecker.

Back to the present, Shannon gets the results of her fourth COVID test early, and it’s finally come back positive. It is really hard, yet understandable, to see Shannon filled with resentment, worrying about the danger her children (who snuck out unmasked and went to parties during lockdown) presumably put her in. Additionally, she worries about her relationship with John considering that she's likely putting him in the same danger by living with him at the moment.

Elsewhere in Lake Arrowhead, the women finally head to the Sky Park and split up: Gina and Kelly go mountain biking; Braunwyn and Elizabeth try their hands at archery and ax-throwing. Kelly is just annoyingly suggestive, and Gina is hilariously clumsy on the bikes, but the real substance is the conversation between Elizabeth and Braunwyn, etching away at each other’s emotional walls as they chuck hatchets.

A quick look back at Shannon shows that John’s house looks even smaller than Gina’s “sad” house and her daughters seem more evasive than emotional about seemingly giving their mom the coronavirus. Meanwhile, Emily is worrying that she could give COVID to her daughter and sons. If it was an actual concern though, common sense would say Emily would be wearing a mask while spending time with them, but alas.

Gina and Kelly finish with one set of bikes and hop onto another that kind of resemble golf carts. The only memorable moment is Kelly mistakenly comparing Gina to the “Abominable Snowman” as she barrels down the hill.

The episode ends though with Elizabeth and Braunwyn having an even deeper conversation about Elizabeth’s divorce. She admits that she compartmentalizes all her issues rather than confronting them and that both she and her mom likely have post-traumatic stress disorder from escaping her religious, abusive grandmother. As nice as it is to hear Elizabeth finally be transparent, the conversation spirals into her having a panic attack as the show concludes.

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