Many thanks extended to Terri, for rescuing me from Matthew’s snark-crushing wrath — and for last week’s fab recap! We begin this week’s Real Housewives of New Jersey in the city, where the Giudices are making a family memory, creating fancy cupcakes. Joe is preparing his heart for a trip up the river, so he is basking in the glow of his four daughters. Teresa is worried about the girls being scarred by having criminals as parents, but is confident that her rock-like presence will get them through it. We jump to Jacqueline and Ashlee, checking out baby gear. Ashlee wants to birth her babe all-natural, but Jacqueline snarks that she’s nuts. Jacqueline shares her regret over her hyperactive love for drama, because she would have liked to share her Glamma joy with her friends. The duo shares a sweet moment, bonding over Ashlee’s new mommy status.
Over at Siggy’s, the family is enjoying a visit with Siggy’s parents. Siggy begins her every-episode rant about family disconnection, and shares that she believes it stems from leaving her parents in Israel as a young adult. Siggy politely puts in a request that her kids not run screaming into the night on their 18th birthdays — but Josh tells her to not get her hopes up. Siggy’s mom points out that her own ungrateful daughters have acted the same way, and the sisters apologize for neglecting their mother. Siggy the expert has a breakthrough, absorbing the jaw-dropping family pattern. The family ends the bittersweet scene laughing like overacting hyenas — a rare glimpse at the gene pool that gave Siggy her high volume pipes.
We are dramatically updated on the timeline — and learn that we sit 2 days before Joe’s surrender. We check in on the Gorgas, who are getting ready to go to Joe’s white flag party. Melissa notes that Jacqueline is a lunatic, but that her pregnant daughter is still good in her book. The family piles into their vehicle, as we shift over to the Wakiles and the Lauritas, who are on a bowling date night. Rosie and new girlfriend, Laura, appear and the group does their best to convince us that they are having tons of fun — away from the real action. Chris reveals that Joe actually invited him to his slammer sendoff, but that he chose not to go, because Dolores advised him to stick by his jilted wife. The Vermont disaster was enough to convince Chris to keep his distance — but he did text Joe to wish him a nice 3+ years. Bravo’s usual gossip-hopping continues, as we shift to Melissa, droning on about her undying commitment to family. The Gorga kids are instructed to shower their Uncle Joe with love, while Rosie brushes off being snubbed by the inmate of the hour. A few minutes of Richie’s lewd remarks, is a few minutes too long.
We join the party, where everyone appears overjoyed to gather for Joe’s big farewell. There is random bull riding, and lots of laughs, but Melissa assures us that everyone’s joy is masking hardcore sadness. Siggy serves up a guilt trip to us critics, as Joe collects lots of kisses and hugs. Lenny the lawyer shares the religious medals he plans to give Joe as a ‘get lost’ gift.
We join Siggy and Dolores, who are meeting to rehash their exhausted storylines. Dolores wants to have a gathering to celebrate her granite, and Siggy rambles on and on about her heartbreaking family disconnection. Siggy realizes that her family needs to spend more time together, so she decides that the perfect family outing would be a visit to a Holocaust Museum. We shift gears, and jump to Envy, where Derek and Melissa are bickering about social media strategies.
Siggy and her family waste no time, gathering in Brooklyn’s Holocaust Park. Siggy’s dad tells his personal childhood escape story, and the kids do their best to stay interested. Siggy hollers her demands that they all stick together as a family — a task that has never been portrayed as such an unsurmountable challenge.
Joe and Tre are enjoying time at home, the day before doomsday. The hours of freedom are ticking away, but Joe is facing his prison time like a champ, ready to submit to a prison morality makeover. Joe flubs the script, commenting that Teresa had “paid her debt,” and Teresa involuntarily twitches at the outlandish notion that her sentence was justified. Joe decides the criminal life ain’t all it’s cracked up to be — so he wants to give being an incarcerated “better person” a shot. Teresa encourages him to engage in every religious ritual possible, especially Ram-a-dan-dan, because believing in whatever will distract him from dreaming of diving into a vat of wine. Audriana rides up to the couple and bats her pretty eyes at her daddy — indeed a bittersweet moment. The sweetness is shattered, by some fruity spit-swapping between the soon to be separated felon lovers.
The big day has arrived, and the paparazzi are settling in for the big show. Bravo shares some dramatic still-shots of the family’s last moments together, as Melissa’s Envy-decorated presence, offers support. Teresa and Joe embrace before they enter the sinister vehicle used to yank the father from the bosom of his family. Joey labels the situation “terrible,” and Joe offers his last words as a free drunk, labeling his fate an unpredictable life glitch. He’s not mentally prepared, but oh well. Bravo dramatically bounces us forward four hours, to catch a phone call between the new prison-widow and Siggy. Teresa wants to nap away the horror, but over at the Gorgas, the kiddos are ready to bounce away their tears on a new trampoline. The family discusses their heartache, and the joy of receiving a love-text from the star of the show. Joe comforts his kids, but lovingly reminds them that he could be gone any minute, as well.
Jacqueline, Siggy and Dolores are performing a strange diaper poop ritual, as we join the trio at the Laurita’s. They discuss Teresa’s sadness, and Jacqueline empathizes with her ex-pal. She feels badly for the kids, and would run to Tre if she ever needed her. Dolores’ housewarming party is coming up, and they all hope for peaceful fun.
We next listen in on a phone convo between Teresa, Joey and Melissa, as Teresa describes Joe’s exit as a big bawl-fest. The episode ends with the Giudice girls in a fake goodnight snuggle sesh, in Teresa and Joe’s gaudy bed. The girls pray for their dad, Teresa puts in a political request, and Gabriella rolls her eyes at the contrived spectacle. Bravo does their best to tug at our heartstrings — but the effort flops in the eyes of many who believe in justice for crime victims.
Next week, Dolores’ kitchen party goes down, and Envy’s fashion show is on deck.