Real Housewives of Atlanta Recap: “From Zen to Sin” [Episode 20]

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I am a grown woman with a job and I am telling you, now, if Bravo paid me to carry the housewives bags on these fabulous getaways, I’m there. I don’t know if the “Thrilla in Manila” reference from last week was supposed to be Bravo’s way of signaling that “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” would be ripping each other’s hair out and throwing down New Jersey style (see Puanta Canta) OR if Bravo simply got the best deal from a travel agent who could put the women up in the nicest accommodations possible for the least about of money and they landed in Manila.  Whatever the case, the effect was magic. The adult women of RHOA made me proud, for once. Our happy wives are out the McDonald’s lobby and have arrived at their beautiful hotel.  The lobby is so gorgeous you can’t help but wonder what the rooms are like.  They are greeted by hotel staff who cover them with beautiful white leis… yes, and the requisite jokes about not having been “laid” in a while are made.  The scene is gorgeous and colorful, so I forgive the obvious pun.


They each have their own rooms, but are shown to a common space, the Presidential suite where they learn they will have a private staff member who will attend to their every need.  Cynthia jokingly (#notajoke) introduces poor Dante to Kenya.  She will be his biggest challenge, Cynthia warns.  She is high maintenance and requires a lot of attention. Kenya laughs acknowledging that she does have needs. I love the interplay between the friends and even appreciate how all of the women are able to laugh and joke, with little problem. While the women are enjoying being in the lap of luxury, the missing housewife, Nene, is back in NYC being fitted for her costume. I will say this, the color is lush and the costume is as beautiful as you would expect it to be.  Speaking of high need, Nene also needs a pep talk and lots of support.  I’m glad she’s getting it in NYC, because we’re headed back to Manila, where the real fun is.


The women are loading onto a bus to go sight-seeing. Either they are all on time or they are so patient with one another that no one cares is anyone is later. Some of you think the upcoming Kenya-Phaedra scenes are the “Easter miracle.” Nuh uh, this is it for me.  Every time these women have traveled together, the fight breaks out on the bus, first.  I feel for the poor bus driver since Porsha and Demetria decide to hold a twerk-off. Kenya is betting that no one can out-twerk Demetria. Porsha takes that challenge.  She begins her twerk by doing something that is a cross between her “stanky leg” and what looks like hopscotch – leading the other women to laugh hysterically (in fun, not at her).  Kandi decides that it’s a tie because Demetria is the better dancer, but Porsha has more junk in the trunk – ok, I think I’ve seen that judging category used on “So You Think You Can Dance”.  HA!  In a talking head interview (TH), Phaedra says that she doesn’t know a woman with as much junk in the trunk as she has that can’t twerk, but she would rather do something smart. Next the poncho-clad women ride donkeys up to a volcano top and the scenery is breath-taking. They are captivated by the view and how lucky they are there.


Porsha, dubbed the “Princess of Thotlandia” by Phaedra, strikes her best pose in an outfit that some of you have deemed the “Destiny’s Child Survivor video reject look”.   The women are all invited to follow the tradition and hit golf balls into the crater’s lake.  I don’t know if Kenya plays golf, regularly, but she has a mean swing.


Kandi is afraid of making a fool of herself but instead does a great job.  They must not realize that they are actually cheering each other on.  Luckily, no one points it out and the good times keep rolling.  I’m going to just come out and say it. If THIS Porsha had avoided Nene and Phaedra last season and at the reunion, I think she would still have her peach. Notice, the petty shade was when Kandi, Phaedra, and Porsha said that Kenya looked lopsided when she got on her “horse,” and then referred to her lopsided backside. Each “side” had temporary moments of shade and then dropped them and became adult women, again.


In each HW franchise, my LEAST favorite moments are when the wives go shopping in the local markets, which is what they do next.  We see them ooh and ahh at the “exotic” market items.  They play around with the foods they’re not use to seeing, and then snap pictures holding the items before leaving, no difference in Manilla. Kenya does find a local resident who twirls with her in the streets. Back at the Presidential suite, the big moment is getting ready to happen. They order enough food for poor Dante to have to hire donkeys to help him bring it all back.  (Truthfully?  Thank you, ladies, I’m sick of seeing women on these shows treat food like it is the enemy. The RHOA eat well and enjoy life.)


All but Kenya and Phaedra are in the suite and the Claudia tells everyone that tonight is the night that the two women are coming together for their big talk. Kandi assures everyone that there will be no apology, something that bothers Cynthia and Claudia, even without them saying so. The women decide to act out the meeting as they think it is likely to happen and Porsha, as Kenya, and Kandi, as Phaedra, take on their roles with gusto! They actually do a good job mimicking the two women. The name-calling and responses come up and Kandi-as-Phaedra storms off before the conversation is over. The entire room erupts in laughter.


Luckily, what actually happens is not even close to what took place during the Bravo Masterpiece Theater. Kenya starts by thanking Phaedra for meeting with her and by telling her that she will hold her peace and hear Phaedra out. Phaedra admits to Kenya that she knows that Kenya tried to resolve things with her long ago and kept asking for an individual meeting. Phaedra just wasn’t in a place to hear Kenya out. Kenya explains to Phaedra that while she was being refused a meeting, hearing those awful lies and knowing that they were repeated over and over again made her feel as if Phaedra was intentionally out to destroy her. She cries and tells Phaedra she would never hurt her like that. (There of clips of Phaedra’s lowest blows.)


Phaedra wants Kenya to understand that Apollo was her husband and that she felt like she had no choice but to roll with him.  She trusted and believed in him. She has also cried, telling Kenya she can’t help how she has been feeling. Here is where the breakdown in wanting to believe Phaedra happens for me. Kenya outlines what is the obvious lie Apollo told. She tells Phaedra she has NEVER seen Apollo in L.A.. She tells her that she has NEVER attempted to meet with him any other time. She has NEVER tried anything with him. She tells Phaedra if she still can’t say she believes her, she is still calling her “that word” without using it. Phaedra wants us to believe that she has been the victim of a cruel hurtful man who conned her and lied to her, but won’t admit that he lied about Kenya.


Kenya is willing to take the apology Phaedra has given her, for the first time ever – the apology Kandi said would never happen. The two women pray together, and Phaedra invites Kenya to church with her. Kenya accepts. They hug it out while still crying and it feels cathartic. The two women have been “mortal enemies” for too long – over one man’s lie and it feels good to not only see them walk into the suite together, but to sit next to each other, leading the other women to cheer them on!


We find out, as the episode concludes and Demetria and Claudia, who is wearing sunglasses indoors, stop by Porsha’s room. They are all on the way to breakfast and then the airport. We see clips of them dancing and having a roaring good time the night before. At breakfast Claudia asks if anyone has spoken to NenePorsha tells them she has and says that she thinks that Nene would have gone with the program and made up with everyone if she was there. Kandi laughs, then Kenya and the rest of the group. Porsha is awarded the “Best Actress” Oscar by the wives. They end the trip taking several lovely last pictures together in Manila.



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Earlier Cynthia noted that they were all getting along and mending old wounds… and WHO wasn’t there?  Point taken, Ms. Bailey, point taken!  Dr. Jeff deserves a lot of credit because these women took his advice seriously, and even commented on how proud of them he would have been (er, minus Claudia’s hangover, that is.)

Well done, ladies!


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