During their short time Southern charm, Taylor was a mostly sympathetic character. The girl can be called stupid because she accepts the famous playboy Shep as a serious partner and later quits her job for him. But the portrayal of their relationship – including when Shep called her an “idiot” in front of everyone and she downplayed it – revealed a serious lack of self-esteem. Not to mention their deeply held religious beliefs, which included letting a man walk around on you. At the reunion, we also learned that her twisted family still loves Shep even though he publicly abused her.
However, in tonight’s episode, Taylor is revealed to be the alleged villain (and the person fans will probably be most angry about) in this scandal between her and Austen. On the one hand, it sucks to see a woman nailed to the cross on this patriarchal nightmare show – like when Madison was attacked for cheating on Austen after he had an entire threesome during their relationship. But as Raquel showed us throughout Scandoval, low self-esteem is no excuse for betraying your friends. And this episode is probably not a great look for this Jesus-loving woman.
This episode begins with everyone waking up from the hangover from the last episode’s bar crawl. Taylor goes to Austen’s to get a liquid IV after her wild night with Olivia. She talks about meeting a man at a warehouse party, seemingly to emphasize her and Austen’s platonic attitude. But Austen quickly informs her that JT has outed her sleepover at Shep and Craig’s house the previous night. At least Taylor is much better at pretending nothing happened between them than marble-mouthed Austen was in the last episode. It is also likely that Austen prepared her for this scene.
Meanwhile, to viewers’ horror, Craig and Shep get pedicures and we’re treated to a million close-ups of their rough, doughy feet. Craig tries to rile him up again about the Taylor-Austen situation, and Shep seems calm. It seems like he already knows what happened that drunken night, considering Austen has dated Shep’s exes in the past. But if he has enough alcohol in his system, the heir of steel will probably get going later.
On the other hand, heterosexual male friendships are strange. Guys will forgive each other for literally anything. Craig, Shep, and Austen in particular have this strange dynamic where they are fiercely loyal in certain situations, but also destroy each other behind each other’s backs. They’re also starring in a show that relies on them as the central trio, so who knows what the fallout from that will actually be.
We get a much more grounded portrayal of friendship when Venita invites the girls into her backyard to provide Taylor with a much-needed intervention. They gently lecture her about her behavior at Madison’s wedding event and warn her that none of the men in this cast will favor her over Shep. However, this conversation feels a bit delayed because neither of them tried to rein her in when she moved against Craig. (I get it, they needed something for the premiere.) Ironically, Leva mentions that Austen should have stepped in. And Taylor immediately defends him by saying that while he’s a crappy romantic partner, he’s a great friend.
Taylor’s kind words to Austen right in front of Olivia, whose heart he destroyed last year, already have me saying: oof. To make things even more embarrassing, Madison blurts out that she thinks Austen is in love with Taylor. And Olivia’s natural Grumpy Cat frown becomes even more obvious. Taylor insists she would never cross that line with him. But producers later send Shep to Olivia’s house (with a bag of pheasants he just hunted) to break the news about the sleepover.
Before that, however, we learn that Craig’s pillow company, Sewing Down South, now has enough stock that it needs a warehouse. But with the new commitments in Craig’s work life, the gap between him and Paige becomes even greater. Craig “asks” Jerry if he can spend the summer with his girlfriend from Manhattan. (We actually don’t see Craig or his business partner Jerry’s faces as they talk, so it seems to be an editing trick.) And Jerry “responds” that that’s not feasible at the moment. Apparently, Craig does He ends up spending the summer with Paige in New York, as he does cheerful specified that he had to watch the relationship between Carl and Lindsay fall apart summer house.
We also see a scene between Austen and Rod in a bar where Rod’s pursuit of Olivia is discussed. And I have to say that despite the inherent drama of this situation, I’m not sure this very polite, normal-seeming guy is a good choice. In fact, Austen tells us that Rod is known in her circle as the level-headed peacemaker, which is also what he said about Rodrigo – who is already twice as many up-and-coming men on this show. Whatever the case, both agree that their dynamic will be difficult in the future.
Finally, Olivia meets with Taylor at a cafe, dressed in a black Olivia Pope coat and a very dramatic sidebang, to discuss the information she received from Shep. Taylor immediately denied any rumors of an affair between her and Austen. But Olivia brings up that, according to Shep, Austen looked nervous when questioned by JT. Then Taylor embarks on an alleged lie that only seems to make things worse.
She tells Olivia that after their respective relationship problems, she and Austen bonded “in the midst of this vulnerability and absolute brokenness” – as if Austen wasn’t the one playing mind games with Olivia! Taylor says after the reunion that she asked Austen if they should pursue a romance, but that she got advice from her brother, who told her no. She begins to cry because she used Austen as a crutch instead of God. (It’s still irritating when this woman casually mentions God in this self-indulgent show, but this is the South.)
At this point, Olivia can’t stop fidgeting and looks like she wants to burst into tears. She tells Taylor that she should have told her about this conversation as soon as it happened. But she doesn’t even seem sure if it was just a conversation. I honestly think this story that Taylor seemingly made up is more painful than if she had just said that she and Austen were drunkenly making out or something. But she’s a conservative, supposedly God-fearing woman, so I think any kind of sexual behavior automatically seems worse to her. But who wants to hear that your boyfriend was about to get into a serious relationship with your quasi-ex even though the only reason you called it off was because he couldn’t commit?
Olivia is visibly upset and thanks Taylor for telling her before walking to her car and sobbing into her steering wheel.
Overall, it was difficult to get upset about the individual players in this scandal. Yes, Austen technically broke the “bro code” by sleeping with Taylor. But who actually cares about Shep’s feelings at this point? If anything, Austen is a bigger jerk to Olivia, whom he’s already embarrassed by offering to be her boyfriend before withdrawing the offer after a week. And we all know he enjoys getting between women Winter house, summer house, and this show have proven everything.
Taylor and Olivia’s friendship is also fairly new, which is no excuse
Taylor’s behavior. But that wouldn’t be the case absolutely It would be devastating for the spectators if they were canceled. Anyway, I hope that by the end of the season all the knives and pitchforks are pointed at Austen.