Credit: Michael Rosenthal/Bravo © 2012 NBC Universal, Inc.

We kind of hoped we’d open Season 7, Episode 16 of Real Housewives of Orange County in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle, with the ladies covered in mud and wielding weapons, Battle Royale style. Alas, we’re still in the OC. Heather and Terry Dubrow meet up with Tamra Barney and Eddie Judge at a refined restaurant to plot and plan eat dinner. Oh well, it’s time to revisit Tam and Alexis Bellino’s conversation from the previous episode.

“[S]he started out with, ‘You’re nice to my face, but you talk behind my back,’” Tamra told her dining companions. That’s not true. As Heather points out, “I think you talk in front of her.” Then the blonde housewife admits she told Alexis that Dr. Terry called her fake. While the Dubrows appreciate their friend’s comedic timing, Heather swallows her displeasure and gives Tamra a minor scolding about when to keep her mouth shut. The conversation leads to a pact between Tamra and Heather, who decide to stage a “phony” intervention for Alexis in Costa Rica. “We’re gonna have sunshine, we’re gonna have beautiful water, we’re gonna have drinks, we’re gonna have… disaster,” predicts Tamra. Well, this just sounds like a fabulous idea.

Alexis is preparing to pack for the two-day trip, though everyone else is staying for five. “I don’t have a full-time nanny, and I don’t have the help that I need” to do that, says Alexis. Luckily, her friend Shannon is there to give advice, like maybe Alexis needs an extra round of spray tan before heading on vacation. Gretchen, Heather, Vicki, and Tamra are all going, and the guest list makes her nervous. “I really don’t like to be around people that don’t like me,” says Alexis, concerned about spending time with Tamra so soon after their disastrous lunch.

Heather is looking forward to her first trip with the girls, and she has complete faith in Terry’s parenting abilities, so she thinks everything will go smoothly while she’s gone. “Don’t you do anything cute while I’m gone,” she tells baby Collette, which, with those chubby cheeks, is an impossible request.

While Heather seemed to have a good mix of adventure wear and sparkly heels, Gretchen needs a book to tell her how to pack for Costa Rica. Slade looks it up on his phone: light cotton, quick-dry pants, worn-out items of clothing... Gretchen doesn’t have any of these, and as Slade continues to read, she stresses out. They snipe at each other, and it’s clear there’s still tension after their therapy session. “You can figure it out,” Slade says as he leaves her in the middle of piles of jungle-inappropriate outfits.

Alexis shows up at 4 a.m. to the airport. Is she on a no-fly list? The airport guy takes her passport. When Heather arrives, she’s not pleased to be alone with Alexis — there’s a bit of awkwardness post Terry’s “phony” comment.

Eleven hours later, they arrive in Costa Rica. The logistics of the trip are very confusing, because they had to stop in Florida — clear across the country — to pick up Vicki. We’re all for carpooling (airpooling?), but that seems counterproductive. Though they’ve arrived in the middle of the night, there are drinks and apps by the pool. For roughly ten seconds, everyone seems to get along. Alexis even deigns to “cheers” Tamra. When the ladies notice Vicki is missing, they figure she’s talking to Brooks. Gretchen recalls how mean V could be when they used to talk to their boyfriends during girls’ nights. “I just think it’s a bunch of bull honkey, to tell you the truth, says Gretch. 

Credit: Michael Rosenthal/Bravo © 2012 NBC Universal, Inc.

As the ladies prepare for the next day’s zip-lining adventure, we learn there are rules in the jungle. “Don’t look like you’re going to the prom,” advises Vicki. Then she tells them all not to flirt. “No chitty chitty bang bang,” agrees Tamra. We also get a glimpse at a frenetic Vicki, who whines about Briana and Ryan eloping a little more. Heather advises her to let it go. There’s also a sneak peek of “Housewives vs. Alexis” when the ladies learn she’s going home early to take care of her kids. Because Heather has one more child than Alexis, she thinks the blonde could’ve had her husband, Jim, take care of them as Terry is doing. Also, Heather still can’t get over Alexis’s fake wedding ring, but we’re pretty sure elaborate jewelry wasn’t on Slade’s packing list.

The next morning at the breakfast buffet, Tamra continues to find fault with Alexis. This time, it’s her safari hat. “Is Alexis a zoo keeper? What is she wearing?” Tamra asks, though to the camera, and not to Alexis’s face. Well, at least it’s a start. The women remember that they’ll need water, bug spray, and sunscreen when venturing into the jungle. Just kidding. All they care about is a flask for alcohol.

We find out the reason for the flask when their tour guide packs them into a Land Rover. “It’s definitely easier to deal with everyone with a bit of alcohol” says Tam. There’s a lot of shrieking during the car ride — including when they drive by an ox. While all the ladies (except Heather, naturally) are a little hyper, Vicki seems way more “woohoo” than usual. “Vicki needs to lay off the jungle juice,” says Heather. The insurance agent tries to get them all to play an alphabet game. “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing my anus,” Vicki says, and everyone gasps. First of all, we hope so, but it’s part of the game, which no one sees up for playing. Everyone says say the word “vagina” about 30 times instead.

Diego and Jorge are the zip-line guides. For some reason, Jorge decides to braid Alexis’s hair, which makes her say “oh!” a lot. “If Jimmy the Chin-Chin could see her now,” says Tamra. Gretchen and Heather seem nervous, but Alexis says she’s fine with it. “If Alexis can do it, I can do it” Heather declares.

After Vicki “woohoos” her way across the zip-line, Alexis starts freaking out. “Push her off,” says Vicki from the opposite platform. She finally goes, with a little prodding from the guides. Gretchen thinks her friend is pulling a bit of damsel in distress act for dramatic effect.

Maybe there’s something about swaying from the tops of trees — or just the contents of their flask — but Vicki starts to act strangely. First, she mentions her high school boyfriend, Bob Tomato, and says she married her first husband instead because he possessed the rare combination of nice car and good butt. She’s talking fast, singing “Ring Around the Rosie,” and hopping from topic to topic; unfortunately, she still won’t give up on the picnic game. “Apples, bananas, and a gun. I’m gonna shoot myself if we keep playing this game,” says an unamused Gretchen. Everyone begs Vicki to be calmer and quieter. Then the jungle juice hits the fan when Tamra calls her a hypocrite for her saying “anus.” Apparently it’s fine for Vicki to say the word as part of the sacred “Picnic Game,” but it’s not okay for Tam and Gretch to say it any other time. Tamra then dictionaries Vicki on the meaning of the word hypocrite. There’s a lot of the usual shrill exchange of words, and Tamra thinks Vicki needs to be medicated. 

Credit: Michael Rosenthal/Bravo © 2012 NBC Universal, Inc.

It seems like the battle lines are drawn as the ladies dress for dinner. Gretchen visits Alexis, who says there’s an “underlying tension” between her and Heather because of the “phony” comment. Meanwhile, Tamra and Heather strategize about what to say to Alexis, and the brunette says she’ll defend Terry. “And if not, we’ll kill the b***h,” says Tamra. “Oh, dear,” frets Heather and the viewers.
 
Dinner is really awkward, and even Heather’s appreciation for the restaurant’s punny name — Claro Que Seafood — can’t save the conversation. Luckily, Vicki hasn’t arrived, so they can all gossip about her bizarre behavior. When she does sit, Vicki jumps right back into her babbling. “Let’s sing the Mary Poppins song,” she suggests. Despite everyone’s raised eyebrows, Vicki seems content. Basically, she tells everyone that she’s finally happy and doesn’t care if people like it or not. She’s in her happy place.

Meanwhile, Gretchen is still visibly bummed about her fight with Slade, but she has to keep her mouth shut so her friends don’t bash him. Speaking of Slade, he and the rest of the men are going out to dinner back in the OC. Alexis says she doesn’t know if Jim was invited, but she says he wouldn’t go anyway because of what Terry said about her. Mixing her metaphor with a sucky Christmas gift swap, Alexis says there’s a white elephant in the room.

Though both would have preferred to talk about it when they were alone, Alexis and Heather discuss Terry’s “phony” comment. “He is a harmless guy, and I’m sorry you had to hear about it that way,” says Heather but points out that Alexis went after him at Tamra’s Bunco party.

The conversation quickly expands to include everyone at the table. “You tend to look very materialistic,” Tamra says. “When you have it, you don’t need to talk about it,” Heather instructs, then admits she saw Alexis and Jim long before meeting them. According to Heather, Alexis, Jim, and their son were at Nordstrom, having a conversation about shoes. In Heather’s opinion, Jim was loud and proud about getting the most expensive shoes.  

“I don’t think God likes lying,” says Tamra to the camera, before implying that Alexis might go to hell for some of the things she says. Yikes. Gretchen tells Alexis some things she does are very pretentious and sometimes come across as demeaning. At first, Vicki says she wants nothing to do with the conversation, then she quickly jumps in to say that she probably has more money than Alexis and offers some unsolicited financial advice. Instead of spending money on multiple cars, Alexis and Jim should be putting it in the bank. Alexis tells her firing squad that it’s no one’s business what she does with her money and says Tamra, who came into a jungle with a Louis Vuitton handbag, is one to talk.

“Be a true person,” Tamra fires back, which makes Alexis to cry. “You don’t need to be so mean and hateful,” Alexis responds as she wipes away tears with a napkin.

This episode was heavy on the mean girl tactics and outlandish Vicki antics and light on the monkeys. We really could’ve used more monkeys.

Next week, Alexis is upset that Gretchen didn’t have her back, the ladies scream at some monkeys, and Vicki says she would go back to Donn.

 

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