I’m still not entirely sure what I just saw. The second and final part of the Real Housewives of New York The Season 14 reunion was part therapy session, part narcissistic display, and part verbal boxing match — one that had everyone in the ring thinking they’d signed up for a light, friendly lunch at Panera Bread. That’s not exactly unusual for someone housewives Reunion, but both halves of this season-ending special brought a remarkably strange energy, one that the new group of RHONY Housewives has largely managed to avoid this in its reboot so far.
Last week’s episode filled a significant portion of its running time with compilations and clip packages that reminded us who these new housewives are without paying much attention to the actual content happened this season. Honestly, it was a boring way to structure the reunion. Tonight’s finale corrected that, but only slightly; We only spent a few minutes in the middle of this season’s action before the cast and Andy Cohen came into a clearing. While some might say this was a necessary way to set up a reunion for a rebooted franchise, it left a lot to be desired in terms of compelling character development and ended a fluid season in a shocking halt.
No one came out of this reunion with a brighter star, but if there’s one thing I’m completely sure of now, it’s that I want 100 more seasons of The Jenna Lyons Show. Sad considering Jenna doesn’t seem to feel the same way. Whether or not she returns next season is still up in the air, but I think that regardless of her status as a housewife, she has established herself as a well-rounded, fascinating woman with so much insight and wisdom to offer.
I was particularly touched by Jenna’s quasi-psychic transference with Brynn in last week’s episode when she discussed her difficult relationship with her mother during her childhood. Jenna’s mother’s Asperger’s syndrome made it impossible for mother and daughter to communicate, let alone show affection. “She knew she couldn’t find it,” Jenna said of her mother’s tenderness. “She was in pain because she couldn’t connect.” Jenna has such natural star qualities that when she opens up, you can’t take your eyes off her and you really feel what she’s feeling. Brynn had the same reaction, only amplified because she herself had struggled with her parents’ lack of love as a young child.
“A friend’s parents hugged me and I just collapsed,” Brynn said of her co-star. “When you feel the love you didn’t get, it’s almost overwhelming. It’s like, ‘I’ve missed this my whole life, and then you get kind of angry and sad.'” I appreciate when Housewives can use each other’s foray into the spotlight to heal parts of each other, because these moments are affirming , that this franchise is not just a trashy reality show, but also a moving, therapeutic chronicle of the lives of real women. In this regard, two things can be true at the same time.
This sweet, special moment is exactly what made Ubah’s parts of this reunion so jarring. At times it seemed as if she was misled about what to do at a reunion and how to approach various topics. In last week’s episode, she pounced on Jenna at the drop of a hat – not just once, but twice. First, she randomly accused Jenna of being a fake before adding that Sai, Jessel and Erin didn’t want Jenna on the show, a comment that wouldn’t be addressed until tonight. In the end, it was a meaningless remark as it was simply a misunderstanding based on the trio’s fear that a very public person like Jenna would fit in with the rest of the group. But it was enough to make Ubah seem unpredictable and rude, which I think was absolutely not her intention.
Although she had a hard time finding her footing during their first reunion, it was Ubah who managed to give this two-parter the final spark of real drama. As Andy talked about their trip to Anguilla and Erin’s famous middle-aged mother’s “prank,” he ended up delving into the muck of an actual argument instead of just skimming the surface of those arguments. We found out that Erin had been taking Ubah’s phone for hours, not 45 minutes like she originally claimed in her confessional. This makes Ubah’s frustration and concern even more understandable than it already was, and Erin appropriately apologizes.
But Andy is also curious about the footage of Ubah coming to Jenna’s apartment and is upset when she wasn’t told before she arrived that there would be cameras filming that day. I understand both Ubah and Jenna’s points here; I don’t really think it’s a surprise that there are cameras around when you’re on a reality show and see your co-stars, but I would still be aware of it. When Jenna tries to explain how she discussed this in her confessional by saying, “I got a taste of Ubah Hot when she came over,” Ubah again contradicts her.
Ubah believes Jenna implied she was angry, while Ubah simply meant to say she was assertive. When she tries to sort this out on the couch, Brynn tries to tell her that she’s not being assertive, but rather combative. Ubah responds with another, not-so-kind comment: “Amore, maybe you don’t know how to be loved or how to stand up for yourself.” At this point, Brynn interrupts her: “Watch what you say. I am not afraid of you. They take people to the hospital, I take people to the funeral home. I’m half black and half Irish, you don’t want to mess with me.”
Ubah clearly tells Brynn to keep her mouth shut, and the entire group tries to work out the details. What it boils down to is that Ubah doesn’t appreciate being portrayed as a person with hidden “sides,” and Jenna apologizes for the misunderstanding. There seems to be a slight language barrier when it comes to how Ubah processes the events of the season, which briefly brings her to tears. It’s a completely understandable reality to have a multilingual performer who doesn’t know all the phrases and idioms of the English language, and I wish some of the viewers had more understanding of Ubah in that regard before they start tweeting about her, though her comments to Jenna in last week’s episode were actually strange and unwarranted.
But it was a bizarre reunion, so in the end it worked out. All of the season’s drama – at least the few things that were brought up, like Sai refuting Jessel’s stories about her upbringing, or Sai and Erin implying that Jessel’s husband cheated on them – is wrapped up with a bow, and we can continue with that next season. I suspect that this quiet, fairly simple reunion is just the result of a season that Bravo wasn’t entirely sure would resonate with viewers. But I think it’s safe to say the audience had a lot of fun; Next time let’s let these ladies steer their own ship instead of having too many clip packages doing it for them.