'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' Recap: Melissa is Accused of Having a Dark Past
'The Real Housewives of New Jersey' Recap: Melissa is Accused of Having a Dark Past
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
On this week's episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Jacqueline returns from California to an unexpected surprise. Caroline's daughter Lauren realizes she's in no rush to walk down the aisle. Joe plans a trip. Teresa launches her hair care line. And Melissa confronts the women accusing her of adultery.

Friendly Fire

Teresa heads over to Melissa's for a playdate, but it feels more like one long infomercial. Out of the clear blue sky, Teresa has moved on from Fabellini to a hair care line called Milania. I can't imagine that many women outside of Jersey are interested in products developed by a woman who hails from a state where the female residents' hair, as a whole, is a standing joke.

Melissa shows Teresa the mock-up cover for her book, and while Teresa thinks Melissa looks beautiful, she wonders why her brother isn't included in the pic. She thinks this is a pretty glaring omission given the book is about how to have the perfect marriage.

The infidelity rumors continue to circulate, and Melissa finds it contrived that Life & Style magazine comes out with an issue with her on the cover claiming she cheated on Joe around the same time her book is being published. Yes, it does seem coincidental. Almost like someone is doing it to boost book sales. The same way that certain housewives happen to be launching products left and right during the filming of their reality TV show.

Teresa advises her to just ignore it and don't feed into the BS. Melissa still questions whether Teresa has had even the slightest hand in these rumors because she doesn't trust people once she's been burned. Melissa says she doesn't want to come right out and accuse anyone, but Teresa wonders if Melissa is trying to imply that Teresa's involved. Teresa wants them to move forward, but they can't without trust. She also denies planting anything in the magazine.

Mommy Dearest

At the Laurita house, Chris and the boys are anxious for Jacqueline's return. Chris says one of the hardest parts of his wife being gone was Nicholas asking for her constantly. CJ and Chris greet the leaner, meaner Jacqueline in the driveway, but the most touching reunion is between Jacqueline and Nicholas. She admits there's a part of her that wondered whether her son would even notice she was gone, so it's incredibly gratifying that he greets her with a huge smile, a kiss and a hug.

The Bickering Bickersons

Rich and Kathy make a trip to the grocery store, and viewers learn she's made two appearances on The Shopping Network selling her cannoli kits. Rich and Kathy are still in a power struggle over who's really in control of her fledgling business. Kathy is aching to break free from her traditional role as housewife and mother. She needs her husband to see her in a different light.

Little Miss Independent

There's trouble in paradise between longtime lovebirds Vito and Lauren. While Lauren thinks her parents have a good marriage, she says what works for them would not work for her. She fears her future with Vito could consist solely of sitting on the couch and eating -- Vito's two favorite activities. The last thing Lauren wants is to get fat and bored.

The two go out for dinner, and Vito mentions that a friend of his recently became engaged. Lauren questions whether he brought her out to pop the question. He doesn't offer a response. Lauren tells him that when they first started dating, she couldn't wait to get engaged. Three years later, she's got her own business, and her love life is not her top priority. Apparently, Vito is looking for some bigger commitment, and when it looks like marriage is off the table, he asks Lauren if she wants to move in together. She doesn't think his parents would approve. Vito realizes that Lauren has no interest in changing the status quo.

It's Melissa's Birthday, and She'll Do What Joe Wants To

Joe meets up with Chris and Richie at a cigar bar. He asks their advice on what he should get for Melissa for her upcoming birthday. Chris suggests a spa vacation in Arizona. Joe thinks it would be a great idea to invite the whole gang, his sister and Joe included. When he springs the idea on Melissa, she has her doubts, but at a group dinner he extends the invitation anyway. Everyone, including Caroline, accepts the invite. Joe pats himself on his back for being such a genius. He says vacations are a bonding experience, and everybody gets along. Those words are guaranteed to come back and bite him in the ass.

Face Off

Teresa calls Melissa and invites her to the launch party of her hair care line. She warns her sister-in-law that Jan and Penny, two of the women who have openly disparaged Melissa's reputation, will also be in attendance since they are salon owners. Teresa tells Melissa this would be a great opportunity for her to confront the women about why they are spreading lies about her. Teresa doesn't believe they can truly move forward until she clears her name when it comes to these rumors. Teresa is following Dr. V's advice about presenting a united front in an attempt to get these women to stop.

What Does Any of This Have to Do with Hair?

Melissa doesn't get a chance to confront her frenemy, Jan, because the woman gets in her face almost immediately. She tells Melissa she heard she had a lot to say after Kim D., Penny and Jan got together and gabbed about the sanctity of Melissa's marriage to Teresa. Melissa replies that she heard Jan was saying Melissa was a terrible friend to her, and that she was meeting up with her ex.

Jan sticks to her story and insists to Melissa's face that she knows it's true. Jan says she's done lying for Melissa. Teresa, who promised to have Melissa's back, just stands silently watching the exchange. Teresa justifies bailing on her sister-in-law by stating that Jan and Melissa have a history together, and they need to hash things out. She figures she only needs to get involved if her name is brought up. Jan walks away, and Melissa declares the friendship finished.

No sooner does Jan saunter off that Melissa is forced to deal with Kim D.'s evil friend Penny. When Melissa confronts her about her behavior, Penny doesn't bother to deny anything. She steps up to the plate, ready to start swinging. Teresa makes sure to clarify that she and Penny are merely acquaintances and not friends. Penny claims she wasn't looking to hurt Melissa, but that she was confronted "about a situation," she answered a question and that's how she became involved.

Melissa doesn't understand Penny's motivation and is convinced somebody is "pulling her leash." Melissa can't get answers from Penny about who was asking questions about her, and she's irritated that Teresa keeps interrupting and diverting the conversation. Melissa thinks Teresa's only concern is clearing her name. 

Next week, we are all reminded why these people shouldn't go on vacation together.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays at 8pm on Bravo.

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(Image courtesy of Bravo)