'The Real Housewives of Orange County' Recap: Gretchen Finds Herself Out in the Cold
'The Real Housewives of Orange County' Recap: Gretchen Finds Herself Out in the Cold
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Jennifer Lind-Westbrook
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
On this week's episode of The Real Housewives of Orange County, Lydia decides to throw a themed party. Alexis makes amends with another housewife. Slade makes an off-the-cuff remark that offends Lydia. Brooks' is back in the picture, albeit temporarily. And Lauri continues to viciously slander Vicki.

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Salsa and Sorrow

Lydia decides to throw a Salsa dancing party. She feels like it will be a good way to pay the other ladies back for all the fun events they've invited her to. I'm wondering if she means Tamra's dinner party that ended with Alexis balling in the back of a limo. Lydia could be thinking of the wine-tasting trip when Tamra called Vicki a b****. Perhaps she's thinking of the recent trip to Mexico where she, Tamra and Vicki ditched Gretchen and Heather, and where Vicki and Gretchen were constantly at each other's throats. If I were Lydia, I wouldn't feel any social obligation to any of the women.

Trouble starts almost immediately when she calls Heather, who tells her that she doesn't want to be around Alexis. Heather phrases it more congenially, but the bottom line is an ultimatum: her or Alexis but not both. Lydia, emboldened by her recent mind-boggling success at getting Tamra and Alexis to make amends (sort of), tells Heather she thinks that the two women should meet. Lydia is convinced that they can resolve their differences enough to be able to both attend her party. Heather recognizes that Lydia is a good person and wants to play peacemaker, but that she doesn't fully understand the history and dynamics among the other women in the group. Heather agrees to give it one last go-round for Lydia's sake. Lydia promises that if it doesn't work, she'll back off for good.

"Jesus Jugs" vs. "Fancy Pants"

Alexis and Heather meet for coffee. Heather explains to Alexis that she was going to forgo Lydia's Salsa party if Alexis was in attendance. Primarily because she didn't want to risk a scene and ruin the event. Heather says that in spite of her attempts to "elegantly extract" herself, Lydia really wants her to come. Heather tells Alexis she doesn't want to have these problems with her. Alexis responds that she's not the type to start something, and Heather says she just wants to make sure things don't get contentious like they did at Tamra's party. Alexis says she came to the party as a way of extending the proverbial olive branch to the women, which in her defense is true.

The two start to go back and forth about who started talking badly about whom first, and all of a sudden we're back at the dinner table on that fateful night in Costa Rica. Heather says she did not yell at Alexis, speak derogatorily about her or call her names. She does own that Alexis might not have liked what she had to say. Alexis says it wasn't the message, it was the delivery. She thinks Heather is condescending. Alexis thought she was going to get an apology, but what Heather gives her is a lecture on accountability. In the end, both women agree to at least be civil to one another, but they seem skeptical.

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Buckle Up, It's Going to Be a Bumpy Night

The night of Lydia's party arrives, and everyone shows up in their best blend of Orange County meets Dancing With the Stars attire. Vicki and Alexis go together because Jim is supposedly stuck in San Diego on business, and Vicki's relationship with Brooks remains confusing and undefined. Unbeknownst to Vicki, Heather's husband Terry is still in contact with Brooks. He calls him the night of the party and invites Brooks.

Even though Lydia and Gretchen had some tense moments in Mexico, it appeared as if things had ended on a positive note between them. But Lydia, whose picture should be under the word 'forgive' in the dictionary, isn't Gretchen's biggest fan. She claims to have seen glimmers of a person she really likes, but she's also seen huge moments of someone she doesn't want to know at all.

Vicki and Alexis arrive, and Alexis and Heather greet each not only cordially but warmly. Alexis thinks it's nice to walk into the party and not have any weird animosity going on between herself and Heather. She regrets that things can't be that way with Gretchen. Alexis is doubtful that the friendship could ever be what it was before.

Lauri and George arrive, and their attendance at this shindig makes me wonder why Bravo didn't just rehire her as a cast member. Vicki acknowledges that the two have not seen or spoken in years, and there might be some bad blood. Oh, Vicki. If you could only catch a whiff of Lauri's campaign to destroy your reputation. Another interesting tidbit is that Tamra is the one who called Lydia and asked if she could bring Lauri as her guest. The plot thickens.

Slade manages to get on the hostess' bad sign when she overhears him whispering to Gretchen that Lydia needs to eat a cheeseburger. Lydia confronts him about his comment, saying she would prefer he say something to her face. Slade tries to defend himself by saying that he did admit what he had said when Lydia asked him. Slade does genuinely seem to be making an attempt to be playful with Lydia, which begs the question, why is she getting so defensive? Is this transference because she's not crazy about Gretchen, or does she possibly have an eating disorder? As usual, something perfectly innocent gets blown completely out of proportion. 

Brooks shows up, much to Vicki's surprise and Tamra's displeasure. Gretchen takes Brooks' presence as proof that Vicki has been seeing him the whole time and lying about it to get sympathy and attention. Tamra decides that even though Brooks is not her favorite person, she's going to try and be more tolerant and bite her tongue if need be. She must mean in dealing with him face to face because it takes her a hot minute to start bad mouthing him with Lauri. They talk about how Brooks has been whooping it up with strippers and/or porn stars. Lauri tells Tamra that Brooks is seeing a friend of her daughter's who gets paid to do questionable activities. My question to Lauri is, why isn't she more concerned about why her daughter chooses to hang around someone with such questionable morals?

Slade tries to smooth things over with Lydia, but the situation just escalates. She tells Slade to make the joke directly to her next time because she can take it. Then she brings up the fact that not every woman can handle his kind of humor, namely Vicki. Lydia basically tells Slade it's his fault that Vicki had a nose job. Gretchen warns Lydia that she is talking out of her a**.

Gretchen's night goes from bad to worse when she finds out that Tamra has invited all of the girls, including Alexis, to go shopping for her wedding dress. Gretchen confronts Tamra, telling her that she's surprised Tamra would invite Alexis to run such a personal errand. Gretchen reminds Tamra that Alexis has been talking about her for the past nine months. Gretchen calls serious foul. She says if Alexis goes, she won't. The episode started with an ultimatum, and it ends with one.

The Real Housewives of Orange County airs Mondays at 9pm on Bravo.

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(Image courtesy of Bravo)