Hey everybody. Usually, when I try to decide on a theme for these recaps, I randomly decide on a topic I feel like discussing and clumsily try to reshape that week’s episode to fit. This is because most episodes of Southern Charm fail to conform to any unified idea. They are all just a series of random glances into the lives of the cast, all leading up to a party that collects everyone in the same place so they can yell at each other. Up to this point, I thought I knew better than whatever the show was trying to say. But not this week. This week the show was as clear as it has ever been — because this week is about giving up.
Ya see, throughout this season, I’ve viewed each episode through the advanced screeners sent to reviewers by the nice people at Bravo and NBC Universal. But last night, as time began to run out on writing my recap, I opened my laptop and realized my viewing window had expired. This forced me to go back to the old ways.
Since I don’t have cable, in the past I’ve used a friends online account to stream episodes of Southern Charm through a TV at another friend’s house across the state. This elaborate network of favors and technology got me through the first season and it saved me this week, but it also places me at the mercy of Bravo’s late-night schedule. This means that I got to see what plays on television right before the 11:31 p.m. replay of Southern Charm. This is what I saw.
That’s it guys. We’ve reached the mountaintop. No need to keep pushing. With that image in mind, let’s dive into this week’s episode of Southern Charm, with a strong reminder that maybe we could all just go to sleep — just lie down in our beds and watch Netflix until the heat death of the universe.
We start out this week as everyone gathers to celebrate the first birthday of Thomas and Kathryn’s son. Everyone is gearing up for the party. Naomie is putting a nice clear coat on Craig’s toenails. She snaps at him a bit after he criticizes the job she is doing, which brings me to this: There is nothing wrong with a man painting his toenails. But maybe learn to do it yourself? I believe this is one of the main points that Thoreau tried to argue for during his time at Walden Pond, wondering if he should go with matte or shimmer finish.
Anyway, Landon calls Thomas to say she can’t make it to the party, which sounds like a great decision. While en route to the birthday celebration, Patricia asks Cameran if they can expect anything other than a petting zoo, her question dripping with disdain. Petting zoos make no sense to Patricia. For her, animals are either for eating or wearing. There is no need to comfort the meat.
Kathryn arrives at the party, and she and Thomas suffer through a bit of strained small talk, while Thomas crushes a LaCroix like some sparkling water He-Man. Somewhere at LaCroix headquarters, a marketing exec begins pitching a commercial idea where a shirtless Thomas Ravenel dismounts a horse after a heated polo match and a young child offers him an ice-cold LaCroix. Thomas downs the can, looks at the wide-eyed young boy, and says, “Hey kid, catch” before whipping the empty can back into the kid’s face and calling security.
“LaCroix. It’s French. For Something” flashes across the screen as the sounds of a small child being beaten play in the background.
Skipping ahead to something that actually happened, Landon joins Jennifer(?) on a rooftop bar to catch up. I know I have seen this woman before many times, but I’m still going to qualify her name with a question mark because she feels like some half-remembered dream. She has all the familiarity of an aunt you only see at funerals. Someone could tell me that this is her first appearance on the show, and I would be afraid to correct them.
Before fading away, the shared hallucination that is Jennifer(?) shares a glass of champagne with Landon before telling her to enter into a relationship with Thomas. She couches this advice in the tired cliché that you “regret the things you don’t do.” That doesn’t really make a lot of sense because while you may regret the missed opportunities in your life, you will live with your mistakes. These mistakes will go on to burp LaCroix in your face on a daily basis and ask you to shave their back before every polo match.
Meanwhile, we find Thomas paying a visit to Patricia. Patricia continues her efforts to push Thomas and Landon together, and Thomas confesses that the two recently went to dinner together. Thomas says there was a time when he could see Landon as a future “Mrs. Thomas Ravenel” because when you marry Thomas, your identity is subsumed completely. Patricia then recounts the time when men “really knew how to court women,” and would call on young damsels and bring flowers. Yep, women used to have it much better back in the days when men were welcome to randomly appear and demand that they leave the safety of their homes.
Following this, we meet up with Cameran as she visits her therapist. She asks Cameran what has been going on in her life lately, and Cameran responds with the phrase that every mental health professions fears: “A psychic told me...”
It turns out that Cameran, a fan of the mystic arts, has taken the psychic’s comments about her having a child to heart. Also, she followed her husband out to the dock one day, and he was apparently just staring at the water, looking sad, and saying he wished he had a child with which to enjoy the view. After all her struggles against deciding to be a parent, Cameran finally gives in. She says she is going to have a baby. I mean, her husband needs a dock buddy. That complete stranger who claimed to predict the future said it was going to happen. Why not just resign yourself to becoming a parent?
Skipping ahead to someone else who is ready to give up, Landon gets a call from her business partner, who says she’s been up since 2 a.m. It turns out they still haven’t settled upon a new name for ROAM, their travel website, after it was revealed that at least one other business in the world has decided to call itself Roam. Landon tells her business partner that she’s been up for days as well. It’s probably been hours since she drank any champagne on a rooftop, but Landon has a short list of replacement names for the business. Possible replacement names include Starbound, Gallivant, and Hitchhiker, because there is no better branding idea than to name your business after the preferred method of travel for escaped mental patients in the 1960s. Helpful articles on the website can include “Top 10 Ways to Not Leave Your Hook Hand on a Young Lover’s Car” and “Take this Quiz to Learn If You Are the Zodiac Killer.”
Seriously though, if they don’t nail down a brand for this website soon, the only available domain names left will be www.ingrownhairfacts.net and ru.wenis.gov.
Anyway, Landon decides to ignore the cries for help from her business partner because Thomas arrives unannounced with a rose. The two go on a short walk, after which Landon finally gives in and agrees to pursue a relationship with Thomas. Like a weary triceratops struggling in vain as it sinks into a tar pit, Landon stops fighting against her better sense. This is the romantic equivalent of drinking a beer in the shower. You haven’t completely given up on solving all your problems, but you have acknowledged that you won’t be fixing anything today.
Leaving behind these two love birds, we join Naomie as Craig drives her toward a surprise. While the two chat about the inevitability of death, their cat Gizmo roams around the interior of the vehicle. They hit up the drive-thru at McDonald’s and receive all of the ketchup packets, before ultimately arriving at the surprise Craig promised — his new rental house.
Proud of his new property that Cameran sold him, Craig immediately lets his cat rub itself against every surface in the home, ensuring that future renters always wonder why their eyes won’t stop itching.
Later that evening, Shep continues the theme of men showing up on women’s doorsteps as he arrives at Chelsea’s. Saying he was just “in the neighborhood,” Shep helps himself to a beer and some wine and the entire contents of Chelsea’s refrigerator. Asked about her relationship with Austen, Chelsea says they are just keeping things casual, which stokes a fire under Shep.
The following morning, Cameran arrives at the beach house Shep is supposed to buy, but he never arrives. Quick question: Does Cameran only sell homes to her friends? I mean, it would make sense. They buy a lot of homes.
Anyway, Cameran enters detective mode to track down Shep. She calls Chelsea, who informs her that Shep left her house last night after a few glasses of wine and took an Uber downtown to meet his cousins. If ever there were a shorthand for making a series of bad decisions, it is “He took an Uber downtown to meet his cousins.”
Hey, what ever happened to Kirk Cameron? He sure was great on Growing Pains.”
“Oh, he took an Uber downtown to meet his cousins, if you know what I mean.”
We soon find Cameran arriving at Shep’s home. After a series of unanswered knocks, she pushes open the door. As I wrote during the preview for this season, Shep’s kitchen counter looks like the contents of a shark’s stomach. There are beer cans and ashtrays and probably a license plate or two scattered around.
For some reason, as I watch Cameran slowly creep through Shep’s darkened apartment, I imagine that when Shep gets drunk he places elaborate networks of Home Alone-style booby traps around his home. Like, Cameran has to dodge paint cans as she climbs the stairs to check on her friend.
Cameran finally reaches Shep’s bedroom door. You know how if someone calls and wakes you up, you’ll pretend you weren’t sleeping. They can tell from the sound of your voice that they woke you up, but you insist that they are wrong. Shep goes in the opposite direction as Cameran enters his room and adopts the posture of someone who has just been born.
Freshly ripped from the Matrix, Shep asks Cameran how she made her way into his apartment. The door was unlocked, Cameran tells him, concerned about his lifestyle choices and the state of his home.
As the two talk, a stray coyote wanders across the bottom of the frame, chewing on a rotten jack-o’-lantern. Two raccoons can be seen fighting over the remains of a rotisserie chicken suspended from the ceiling fan. The camera pulls back and it is revealed that Shep’s apartment is an elaborate, thriving ecosystem of garbage animals subsisting on discarded wedding cakes and off-brand energy drinks. Outside the home, a buzzard perches atop Shep’s mailbox, awaiting the inevitable.