On this week’s episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Teresa’s father is hospitalized, deepening the rift between herself and her brother. Kim D. continues to make trouble for Melissa. Jacqueline tries a new type of therapy on her son. And Gia’s birthday party turns into another face-off between Melissa and Teresa.

RHONJ: Caroline Manzo Talks About Her Confrontation with Teresa Giudice >>>

Joe G. Remains MIA

Teresa is planning a birthday party for Gia, who is turning 12 years old. After meeting with Caroline, Teresa feels cautiously optimistic that her older brother is still buried inside somewhere. I would liken her line of thinking to believing Joe G. is possessed: around but being controlled by a demon of some kind. One guess who Teresa believes the demon is. Even though it isn’t the least bit true, Teresa says she would love for people to prove her wrong.

A New Bed for Nicholas

Joe G., who seems to be spending a great deal of time at Laurita’s, carries a new hyperbaric chamber bed for Nicholas upstairs. During her seemingly non-stop research, Jacqueline read that this contraption could be helpful to her son. She says not every treatment works, but she at least needs to try. The chamber is a bit scary looking. It resembles a tanning bed and looks like it would freak a lot of grown people out much less a toddler with autism. Chris explains that Nicholas goes into the chamber with someone else, presumably Jacqueline, for one hour a couple of times a day. Joe G. says that as a father, what Chris and Jacqueline are going through breaks his heart. He also claims that it makes him realize what he’s going through with his sister is nonsense. Maybe they should climb into the chamber together.

It Always Comes Back to Teresa

Once Nicholas is safely tucked away in his high-tech bed for a nap, Caroline sits down with Jacqueline and tells her about her meeting with Jacqueline. Caroline tells her sister-in-law that Teresa clearly expects an apology from her. Jacqueline responds by laughing. She says that Teresa owes her an apology, but it doesn’t matter because Jacqueline doesn’t even want it. Caroline says she has to talk to Joe, and Jacqueline admits that it is sad the siblings can’t communicate with each other without a mediator.

Caroline tells Joe that she tried to reason with Teresa, but there were some points that she could not get through to her. Teresa was steadfast regarding her negative feelings toward both her cousin Kathy and Jacqueline. Caroline tells Joe that when it comes to him, Teresa wants to make peace. Caroline smudges the truth by not telling him that Teresa said if he came to her and apologized all would be forgiven. She thinks she has a better chance getting Joe to reconcile with his sister if she withholds this information. I’m not sure what the point is in not being truthful. Teresa has made her terms for reuniting with her brother clear, and she’s unlikely to bend.

Chris suggests that Joe G. talk to his ailing father and tell him that he’s trying to make amends with his sister. Caroline says that if something happens to their father, Joe will want to be able to take comfort in the fact that he did everything in his power to stop feuding with Teresa. Caroline tells Joe G. she doesn’t want him to have regrets.

A Family Divided

In both the Gorga and Giudice households, two families try to deal with a family crisis. Teresa’s father is in the hospital again with pneumonia. Teresa says when her dad gets sick, she drops everything to be by his side. She asks her mother Antonia if she called her brother, and Antonia says that she did but that Joe G. was very ill himself. Teresa’s husband Joe hits her with a cold, hard dose of reality by warning her that at some point, her father won’t be able to recover. Not very comforting but true. Teresa tells him not to say that and begins to cry. His response is, “That’s life.”

Their father’s health is weighing heavily on Joe G., and Melissa decides that since it is unsafe for Joe to go near his father, she’ll take her daughter and go visit him without her husband. Joe G. tells Melissa that when his father is in the hospital and the whole family can’t go see him together, it pisses him off. He says he’s upset by the circumstances but doesn’t think his sister cares. He mentions talking to Caroline, and once again, Melissa says she thinks Caroline’s private chats with her husband are inappropriate. Melissa views Caroline’s good intentions as intrusive. She tells Joe G. that she just wants them all to be able to occupy the same room and be civil. It’s sad how far her expectations have fallen.

Melissa tells her husband that she received an invite to Gia’s birthday party. Joe says he doesn’t want to be there and isn’t going. Melissa asks what she’s supposed to say to Teresa when she wants to know where her brother is. Joe G. tells Melissa to say he’s sick. Melissa points out that Gia is his niece, but Joe G. says he’s not ready to be around Teresa or Joe. Joe G. says he wants to hurt his sister because he’s hurting.

A Poor Excuse and Verbal Abuse

Kathy meets Melissa at the gym for a workout. Afterwards, Melissa tells Kathy about her husband and Teresa’s father’s latest health scare. She tells Kathy they don’t want to go near the hospital since they’re both sick. She claims to have a sore throat. Kathy isn’t buying Melissa’s excuse. Kathy thinks someone who was truly sick couldn’t go through a vigorous workout class and look fantastic afterwards.

Jacqueline shows up late with her own set of excuses about why she skipped the chance to exercise. The three spot a woman, Linda, who Jacqueline believes is one of Teresa’s “foot soldiers.” Sure enough, Teresa gets a call from the woman telling her that Kathy, Jacqueline and Melissa are all at the gym together. Linda calls Jacqueline a fat ass.

Teresa is having coffee with Kim D., and Kim says she’s surprised that Kathy could even fit through the door. Teresa calls it “her” gym and points out that it is at least 45 minutes away from Jacqueline’s house. She questions her old BFF’s motives.

Teresa is also angry that Melissa hasn’t been to see her dad in the hospital. She accuses Melissa of never having real love or affection for her in-laws. The fact that Melissa makes getting to the gym a priority over going to the hospital does lend credibility to some of her sister-in-law’s accusations about her character.

From the Mouths of Babes

In preparation for Gia’s birthday bash, Teresa takes all her daughters to get their hair done. Teresa asks Gia if she has heard from her uncle and if he’s planning to come to the party. Gia confirms that Joe G. won’t be there. Teresa aggravates Gia when she asks her if she’s upset that her godfather/uncle won’t be at her party. Gia tells her hairstylist that she hates when her mom asks her about her uncle and aunt. Gia says they don’t talk to them anymore, so it doesn’t matter. Teresa knows that her brother must be feeling better by now and is confident he’s not coming to the party because he doesn’t want to face her or Joe.

The Calm Before the Storm

At the Gorga house, Melissa is readying herself and her children to walk into the lion’s den without the support of her husband. Joe claims to still be ill, but it’s just as likely he’s using it as an excuse to duck out of an event he should attend. Joe G. tells Melissa not to take any s**t. He tells her if Kim D.’s there to spit in her face. Melissa says Kim D. doesn’t have kids, so she doesn’t see why she would be there. Joe tells Kim D. she would show up because she’s Teresa’s sidekick. Melissa says she has no idea what kind of reception she’s going to receive.

It’s My Daughter’s Party and We’ll Fight if I Want To

Gia’s party is a lavish affair, so apparently the family is flush again. Kim D. and Linda are there. Kim asks about Teresa’s father, and she’s happy to report that he’s being released from the hospital soon. She also tells them it took four days for Melissa to get around to visiting her father-in-law.

Kim D. is on a mission. When Melissa says they had to rush Joe G. to the hospital a few nights earlier, she asks if it is the same hospital where his father was. Melissa says yes, and Kim asks if Melissa got to see her father-in-law. Melissa says she did. Kim pulls Melissa to the side and tells Melissa that she and Teresa thought it was strange that Melissa, Jacqueline and Kathy were at the gym the same time Teresa usually goes. She also makes a comment about Melissa visiting her husband’s father in the hospital.

Melissa is growing increasingly irritated. She feels that when she chooses to see her father-in-law at the hospital, it’s nobody’s business outside herself and her husband. Melissa says it’s disgusting that people would say she refused to or didn’t want to go visit her father-in-law. She tells Kim G. that he’s the only father she has left since her own died. Teresa overhears Melissa telling Kim D. that she went to see him the day after he was admitted. Teresa says that’s impossible because she and her mother were there the whole time and they never saw her. Teresa confronts Melissa about her statement. Teresa thinks her sister-in-law is lying to protect her image. She wouldn’t care if Melissa was lying about anything else. Yeah, right. But because this fib is about her father, that makes it a big deal. Teresa tells Melissa she owes her parents respect.

Melissa decides it is time for her to leave. Teresa asks why she’s not staying for cake. Really? Melissa says she doesn’t want her daughter to see any of this, that it’s gross. Teresa says they are in an adult room just as Gia enters. Gia said she doesn’t want to be around them if they are going to be fighting. All of a sudden, Teresa proclaims it’s her daughter’s party and she doesn’t want any drama. As Gia blows out her candles, Melissa grabs her kids and makes a hasty retreat.

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

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Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.