Welcome back to Charleston and Southern Charm. During the summer, everyone went their separate ways, but now they’re all back together and it’s as dramatic and awkward as ever!
The show opens with Thomas Ravenel stopping by Landon Clements’ house with a rose. I’m having Bachelor flashbacks as he hands it to her. She says that next time he’d better bring orchids. They take a stroll by the river. Thomas says he wants to find that one special partner…so he asks Landon to give it a shot. Wait! When did this happen? I feel like I missed something.Then the producers rewind time by three months. Those sneaky bastards. And now we can catch up with our southern fried cast.
Shep Rose and Landon have been travelling all summer — separately of course. Shep, because he’s independently wealthy and doesn’t have anything else to do. Landon, because she’s tired of all the gossip surrounding her and Thomas hooking up.
Craig Conover has taken up gardening and carpentry. Though he’s finished his obligations for law school and plans on taking the bar exam in February, he has a lot of time on his hands.
T-Rav now has full custody of the kids and his baby mama, Kathryn Dennis, isn’t allowed to see the children until she takes a drug test — which she’s refusing to do. And this, after a stint in rehab.
As we see Thomas walking through his pristine mansion, he heads outside to the guest house. That’s where the kids live with their nanny. After all, kids are messy, and no one wants baby poop on a $30,000 rug. At least he takes time out of his busy day to have dinner with little Kensie, and then read a story to her and baby Saint.
Shep does what he does best and heads out to a bar to meet up with new cast member, Austen Kroll. If Shep and Craig could mix their DNA and create a love child, it would look exactly like Austen. The boys talk about Landon professing her love for Shep. He chooses to ignore her declaration, but he still wonders if she hooked up with Thomas.
Austen and Shep flirt with a pair of girls, and when Shep fails to get one’s phone number, Austen already has it. Shep’s off his game, and Austen is on the rise. Looks like he’s going to be Shep’s competition this year.
Over at Patricia Altschul’s house, her son Whitney Sudler-Smith drops in for a cocktail. Whitney looks like he got a face full of Botox just in time for shooting. His skin is stretched tighter than Thomas’s white jeans. He also just got back from a vacay in Talum, Mexico. He didn’t drink during his time away, but he did smoke his weight in ganji. That’s a nice segue into Kathryn’s time in rehab. Patricia hopes Kathryn can get her shit together for the kids’ sake. Then she tells Whitney a about his Uncle Phil who had a high ranking government job before he succumbed to reefer madness. He wound up working at a Blockbuster video store. A cautionary tale — even though Whitney’s almost fifty.
At Austen’s apartment the next morning, his hookup from the evening before, Jordan, slinks into the kitchen. Like the southern gentleman he is, Austen offers her a coconut water. He notes that since she lives close by, her walk of shame will be a short one. Nice, Austen! You’re going to fit right in with this crew.
Austen is twenty-nine and has recently broken up with a long-time girlfriend. She wanted to get married. He didn’t. Then he rips off his shorts and flashes his bare, pale ass to the camera before hopping into the shower.
While Austen doesn’t have much in the way of food in his apartment, he does have an extraordinary amount of alcohol. That’s because he’s a beer rep. It barely pays the bills, but hey, he gets to day drink. His parents don’t think much of his job, and since his father used to work for the FBI and his mother is the sales manager for a software company, they’d like him to aspire to a better career. Sorry, folks, Austen is having too much fun.
Back to Landon — who is learning to paddleboard — she’s still maintaining that she never rode T-Rav’s disco stick. And if she had, so what?! He wasn’t with Kathryn at the time. But still, the whispers and nasty comments have fractured their friendship. On the upside, there’s a new man in her life. Landon met Drew on her travels, and he’s twenty-five-years old — a decade younger than baby-voiced Landon. She refuses to put a label on their relationship — dating, hooking up, friends with bennies — either way, he’s just what she needs right now.
Over at the Ravenel plantation, Thomas and Eliza Limehouse — of the South Carolina Limehouses — are playing polo. Her family is an old Charlestonian blue blood and her father, Chip, was a state legislator. He and Thomas have been friends for years, and Eliza calls Thomas “Grandpa.” She’s friends with Kathryn and Kathryn’s cousin, Shelby, who says Kathryn is still drinking. Eliza recently received a late night drunken text from Kathryn. She and Thomas shake their heads in sadness, and Eliza wonders if she should invite Kathryn to her pool party.
Shep and Cameran meet at a swimsuit shop and talk about Craig. Shep is over Craig being a big, fat liar. Last season, he helped Craig fill out his bar exam application. And it was all for nothing because Craig wasn’t even qualified to take the bar! Shep thinks Craig is having an identity crisis and doesn’t know who he really is. But he’d better hang onto girlfriend, Naomie. According to Shep, Craig “couldn’t get pussy in a monkey whorehouse with a sack of bananas over his shoulder.” Truth.
As Craig and Naomie head toward Landon’s house on the day of the pool party, Kathryn calls. She’s back in South Carolina and staying at her parents’ house in Monk’s Corner. She tells them she’s keeping her return on the down low for now, and she hasn’t contacted anyone but Craig.
People are starting to show up at Eliza Limehouse’s place. Shep has decided his Speedo days are over. He introduces Austen as his protégé. Austen resents the label. Cameran is happy to meet anyone who has a job — not like you, Craig!
Over at Landon’s house, Craig immediately says he’s been in touch with Kathryn. You know, since she wanted to keep her return quiet and all. Landon says she doesn’t care. But in her voice over, she thinks Kathryn went all the way to Malibu for treatment in hopes of meeting another rich man. Because that’s so Kathryn.
Thomas arrives at the pool party, followed by Landon, Craig, and Naomie. Thomas talks about missing Landon’s company and states that they’re only platonic. The rumors about their affair have strained their friendship, and he misses Landon’s squeaky voice. Drew shows up with his bro dudes. Landon introduces her new man to Thomas, who is not impressed. He proclaims Drew is “strong of arm and odor” and doesn’t think he’s right for Landon.
When Whitney arrives, Cameran jumps on him and dry humps his leg, as one does. Later, Thomas holds court with several young women in the pool, including Austen’s one night stand, Jordan. Cameran has brought her friend, Chelsea, along. Cameran thinks Chelsea might be the one to tame Shep’s wayward penis. Chelsea tells Shep she’s not much of a partier. Shep tells her he’s trying to be pickier about women. Riiiiight. When Shep and Landon see each other, the vibe is weird. Last season when Landon told Shep she loved him, he responded by nearly spewing his wine all over the table. She thinks Shep should apologize. For what, not loving her back? Anyway, she feels resentful that she is expected to smile and brush everything under the rug. She’s not cool with that. Not cool at all!
Later, Shep takes Naomie aside and tries to ask about Craig’s life goals. He thinks Craig would make a great chef. Or a carpenter. Naomie turns her nose up at the latter. Shep is tired of all Craig’s bullshit. Naomie wisely refuses to get involved and tells Shep he needs to hash this out with Craig. Shep complains that Craig is all surface, that they never have deep, meaningful conversations. Then he tells Naomie that she’s the only thing in Craig’s life that’s worth anything. Gee, I wonder why Craig doesn’t open up to Shep. Could it be because Shep is an entitled asshat? Maybe.
When Kathryn’s cousin, Shelby, shows up, Craig mutters how much he hates her. Shelby’s ass cheeks hang out of her suit, and all the girls talk shit about her. Shelby tells T-Rav that she hasn’t spoken to Kathryn since Shelby kicked her cousin to the curb. But she doubts she’s sober. When Naomie says Kathryn sounded sober when they spoke earlier, Thomas points out that she refuses to take a drug test because she’ll fail.
Meanwhile, ominous music plays as Kathryn leaves her parents’ house in the country and heads toward Charleston. As she gets closer to the city, the tension is palpable. What will happen when she shows up at the party? Will anyone speak to her? Will she talk to Thomas about the kids?
Joke’s on us. Kathryn didn’t go to the party. Instead, she parks at a medical center. She’s made an appointment to take a drug test. Because she couldn’t take a drug test in Monk’s Corner, apparently.
So, what did you think of the first episode? Do you like Austen? Will Kathryn pass her drug test? Will Shep ever settle down?