During part two of The Real Housewives of New Jersey season 5 reunion, the tone becomes more somber. The cast members weigh in on the Giudices’ legal troubles. Joe Gorga and Teresa continue to work through family issues. An old wound is opened for Caroline. And things end on a sour note for two of the ladies.

RHONJ: Teresa Giudice Talks About the End of Season 5 and How She’s Changed >>>

Clearing the Air in Arizona

Even though this loud, obnoxious and often immature group were like a school of fish out of water, Melissa’s birthday weekend in Arizona left a lasting impact on several cast members. For Rose, it was life changing. For so many years, she thought she wasn’t good enough, but once she was able to say it out loud, Rosie was able to put those negative self doubts behind her. She also started working out with Joe Giudice and quit smoking. Her sister Kathy says their time at the spa opened Rosie’s eyes to the fact that she is important.

Bros Before Teresa

A viewer questions why it is easier for Joe Gorga to forgive his brother-in-law than his sister. He responds that he feels his sister is more of an instigator than Joe. He says that, occasionally, Joe Giudice will jump in, but overall, he’d rather move on and be together. This is a dramatic turnaround from Joe Gorga’s previous stance that Joe Giudice was the source of all the discord between himself and his parents. Since season 3, there has been deep-seated animosity — on Joe Gorga’s end, at least — towards his brother-in-law.¬†

Denial and Disbelief

Joe Giudice comes to the defense of his wife. He tells Joe Gorga that for him to think Teresa is really behind all the gossip is ridiculous. He says she might be present physically when things are said, but it isn’t like her to try and dig dirt up. He says neither of them have the time to devote to developing revenge schemes and it just doesn’t make sense. He says that Melissa and Joe look like a couple of jackasses.

Joe Gorga isn’t about to let that comment slip by. He argues that they look like people who are defending themselves constantly. Joe, who obviously didn’t hear his brother-in-law just spend five minutes saying that his wife has better things to do than talk behind his back, says he’s going to address the situation so his sister can understand that she’s done something wrong.

While Teresa did admit in the season finale that she soaked up other people’s criticism of Melissa like a flower blossoms in the sun, she was not the source of any of the malicious rumors. Again, she makes it clear that she shouldn’t be faulted for other people’s accusations against her brother and/or his wife. Kathy raises the question that if you spread the poison, aren’t you as guilty as those who spewed it in the first place?

Teresa says it’s just human nature that she would linger around to listen about things others had to say about Melissa. Melissa points out that if Teresa hadn’t been out with Jan and Kim D. and Penny that night, it wouldn’t have been on national TV. Teresa questions why they’re filming together. She says that’s what drove a wedge between previous housewife Dina and her family. Teresa also says that she was hurt and felt that the Gorgas came on the show to take her down. Apparently, the christening throwdown occurred a mere four hours into the filming of the third season.

No Fun in Dyfunctional

Joe explains that for the two years prior to the christening, Teresa had axed him out of her life. He felt that her lovey dovey behavior at the christening was strictly for the benefit of the cameras, and he lost his mind over her being so fake. Joe hints that maybe he got on the show to get close to his sister. Some deep sibling rivalry is revealed when Joe Gorga states that his parents won’t film with him and Melissa unless Teresa is present. He also says someone told them that by agreeing to join the cast, he and his wife had done something wrong. Teresa denies saying any such thing. She tells her brother to confront their parents directly if he has issues with them, and it isn’t fair how he always puts her in the middle.


Andy brings up the revelation that Albert was emotionally abused. Caroline clarifies some of the details surrounding her husband’s upbringing. She says when he was good, he was wonderful, and when he was bad, he was extreme. He never laid a hand on his kids, but punishments could still be very severe. She says some people could construe that as abuse, but Caroline says the love was just as big. Even though the subject of Albert’s father’s death was approached, clarified and dismissed during the season 1 reunion, speculation regarding the patriarch’s passing is brought up once again.

Caroline says she gets very offended when people suggest the Manzo family has any ties to the mob. She says Albert has worked tirelessly at The Brownstone since his teens earning a good, decent living. Andy pushes her for any details regarding the cause of her father-in-law’s death. Caroline says to this day, they don’t know, nor do they want to know. She says it is suspect, the facts are the facts. She goes on to say it would probably be the worst moment of her life if she found out there was any truth behind the allegations.

Andy says that for someone so forthright, Caroline has been cagey about spousal cheating and Albert’s father. Caroline says she’s gotten close to a lot of things. As far as adultery goes, she asks Andy if he’d like her to make up someone. She says there’s nobody for her to talk about. She says in regards to her father-in-law, she simply doesn’t want to go back to that time.

Drama Off Camera

Even though the Giudices’ legal troubles were discussed in great detail on a special edition of Watch What Happens Live¬†after the season finale, it is a hot topic at the reunion as well. Andy focuses on what the rest of the cast think about the couple’s current situation. Melissa gets called out for saying she hopes her brother-in-law goes to jail while in Lake George. Obviously, now she says she regrets it. She also says that that comments were said long before the laundry list of more recent charges brought against Teresa and Joe. Jacqueline, who expressed a similar sentiment during last season’s reunion, says she feels for him as a husband, a man and a father.

When Andy asks Joe Gorga what went through his head when he first heard the news about the indictments, he says he doesn’t really want to touch on the subject, and he hopes everything works out. Kathy says their situation is heartbreaking, and she wants their pain to go away.

Melissa says that if Teresa asked them to take care of her girls, they would. This is a moot point, since on WWHL, Joe already made it clear that his children would be cared for by a member of his family.

The reunion concludes with each woman answering the question, if they could have done something different in any of the five seasons — Kathy and Melissa weren’t cast members for the first two — what would it be?

Jacqueline answers that she would have been more quiet during the last reunion. Caroline, who believes she came off badly last season, says she would have slept through season 4. Kathy says she would have tried to reach out to Teresa more before they started filming so her cousin would know she wasn’t trying to hurt her in any way. Teresa wishes she had been more open and reached out to Jacqueline more. Melissa is initially stumped, but eventually says she would have filmed more scenes with Teresa and the kids because those were some of her favorite moments.

One Last Go-Round

After a relatively somber hour, in the final three minutes, Teresa can’t help but stir the pot. She tells Caroline that she was hurt that she called her superficial (while in Arizona). Caroline says they need to get over it and move forward. Teresa continues and says that not only did she feel Caroline was attacking her, but that Kathy and Melissa jumped on the bandwagon. The only person she gives a free pass to is Jacqueline. Teresa says that Jacqueline proved to her during this reunion that she’s ready to move forward.

Caroline is incredulous at the fact that all the months of hard work to attain some peace and harmony have been wiped out because she pointed out a blatant lie that Teresa wrote in her blog just to hurt her and Albert.

Just to make sure everyone is up to speed, Teresa stated in her blog that Caroline and Albert fought the entire time the cast were in Arizona and that Caroline was miserable. Caroline denied this, and Teresa admitted, either purposefully or inadvertently, that she was striking back at Caroline for her criticism of some of Teresa’s behavior at the spa.

Caroline’s temper gets the better of her. She can’t conceive of the fact that Teresa is wiping under the rug everything Caroline did for Teresa and her family over one moment in time. Melissa comes to Caroline’s defense, and Teresa says when one starts, another will chime in. She takes any criticism of her behavior very personally. Melissa says she thinks the only way to have a successful relationship with Teresa is to keep your mouth shut.

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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.