On the season 8 finale of The Real Housewives of Orange County,Vicki’s son-in-law reveals his violent and disrespectful side during her party, Vicki tells her daughter she’s officially dating Brooks — again. Tamra and Heather both try to clear the air with Gretchen to unsatisfying results. And Slade is verbally attacked by Lydia.

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Proceed with Caution

The theme of Vicki’s party might be a winter wonderland, but Gretchen’s ears must be burning by the time she finds the ladies huddled together. Either she or Slade is on the outs with all of the other women. Everyone air-kisses and it looks like they’re going to, at least for the first few minutes, try and fake it until they make it.

Everybody mixes and mingles, even baby Troy. Slade and Gretchen talk to Briana’s husband, Ryan, who’s home from military training for the weekend. He tells them things are not great between Briana and Vicki, even though Vicki acts as if everything is perfect. He also informs them that Brooks is not allowed on the property at all if he, Briana and the baby are there. Gretchen questions why this is Ryan and Briana’s choice and not Vicki’s, and he explains that was the arrangement that was made when they moved in.

He tells them his primary concern is the way Vicki glorifies and idolizes Brooks. He warns Gretchen and Slade not to be swayed by Vicki’s opinion of Brooks. Ryan wants all of Vicki’s friends to know that Brooks is not who he says he is. Gretchen remarks how all the ladies have heard unsavory stories about Brooks, but given Vicki’s alleged infidelities, she doesn’t see what difference any of it makes. As far as she’s concerned, “birds of a feather flock together.”

That Horse is Officially Dead

The first run-in of the evening occurs between Heather and Gretchen. Heather asks Gretchen why she hasn’t spoken to her, and Gretchen admits she’s upset because of Heather’s role in the whole Malibu Country miscommunication/white lie, or whatever it was. Heather thinks Gretchen’s upset because she thinks Heather threw her under the bus with the other ladies. She’s hit the nail on the head. Gretchen also feels like Heather sullied her good name in the television entertainment industry. Heather says she would never do anything to jeopardize Gretchen’s acting aspirations. Gretchen tells Heather she doesn’t want to work in television, she’s focused on her fashion and beauty stuff, and she’s not in competition with Heather. She thinks Heather feels threatened if anyone encroaches on her territory as the actress of the group. Gretchen also feels that the reality of the situation is that none of the women are in-demand actresses.

Heather dismisses all the Malibu Country nonsense. She states the real issue is that she has supported Gretchen in all of her endeavors, but the one time she asked for some reciprocity, Gretchen failed. Heather brings up Gretchen and Slade’s tardiness to the Hot In Cleveland taping as well as their distracted and rude behavior throughout the evening. Heather says that if she didn’t have that animosity about the Hot In Cleveland situation she might have been more likely to sweep the Malibu Country miscommunication under the rug.

Slade argues that whenever Heather was on set, he and Gretchen were engaged. Gretchen apologizes and says she never intended to embarrass Heather or hurt her feelings. Heather feels Gretchen isn’t really sorry for her actions. Then they engage in a battle of semantics that leaves neither feeling satisfied.

Harshing the Buzz

The next entanglement occurs between Lydia’s flaky mother and Vicki’s no-nonsense son-in-law. Lydia’s mother puts her feet on the furniture, and Ryan is less than polite about asking her to remove them. The situation quickly escalates with Ryan throwing his weight around, cursing at the poor woman and threatening to throw her out. Lydia’s mother speaks to Vicki about the interaction, and Ryan immediately becomes confrontational. Lydia’s mom insinuates Ryan is intoxicated, while Briana brushes the whole thing off on the fact that the couch is new. Lydia tries to comfort her mother, and when Vicki puts her arm around her, Ryan demands that Vicki remove it and stick by her family.

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Post-Traumatic Ass Disorder

Lydia decides to make a hasty exit because nobody is safe from Ryan’s anger. He even directs it at sweet Lydia. As the news of a scuffle reaches the other ladies, they come to Lydia’s aid. Vicki’s brother, Billy, tells Ryan that it’s Vicki’s house, so she should deal with the behavior that goes on inside it. Ryan tells Billy he doesn’t care what he thinks and has to be restrained and then led away by Briana.

Vicki catches up with Lydia, her husband Doug, Judy, Alexis and Tamra. Lydia is in tears, and Vicki assures her that it’s just stuff and it doesn’t mean anything to her. Well, we know that part isn’t completely true, but Vicki certainly wouldn’t react to feet on her couch in such a belligerent and aggressive way. Especially towards the 64-year-old mother of a friend. Tamra suggests that Vicki speak to Ryan, and Vicki says she’s already tried. Vicki is concerned about losing Lydia’s friendship and appeals to her to stay. She promises Judy that she will remove Ryan from the party, and she shouldn’t worry.

Family Feud

Billy and Tamra tell Vicki it’s time to put her foot down. It’s not often I feel sorry for Vicki, but finding out she has a psychopath for a son-in-law makes me pity her. You can blame it on post-traumatic stress or alcohol, but the bottom line is Briana married a violent man, and Vicki has made big sacrifices to appease him. She attributes his behavior to his stress level, but that still is no excuse. It’s so strange to see such a strong-willed woman cower at the thought of confronting a member of her own family.

For some unknown reason, Vicki decides this is the best time to tell her daughter that she’s going to openly be dating Brooks. Maybe she thought Briana would be more understanding¬† or sympathetic after how Ryan behaved. Briana says her mother is free to see Brooks, but she won’t be living there if she does. Briana has finally come to the realization that her mother has to learn any hard truths about Brooks in her own way and in her own time.

Liar, Liar

The next drama to unfold is between Gretchen and Tamra. Tamra says she feels like they are in a really weird place, and she doesn’t like it. She says she tried to reach out to Gretchen, and she didn’t have time for her. Tamra tells Gretchen, as her friend, she needs her to be honest. Gretchen says she feels she has been and that she thinks Tamra hasn’t been straightforward with her about her rekindled friendships with Alexis and Vicki. Tamra doesn’t understand why her relationships with the other women concern Gretchen so much, nor does she think it is even any of her business. Gretchen feels she’s kept Tamra’s two-faced, trash talking behavior a secret and is getting crapped on for her trouble.

Tamra brings up how she felt manipulated by Gretchen when she threw the Malibu Country offer in her face. Gretchen says that the way Heather conveyed the information about this alleged role Gretchen did or did not turn down has been misconstrued. Gretchen thinks Tamra is making decisions based on what someone else is whispering in her ear and not on the facts. She says this has been the demise of their relationship from day one. Gretchen hopes they can be more open with each other in the future. Tamra doesn’t trust Gretchen anymore, yet decides it’s time for them to move forward. This is just another situation not fully resolved and only temporarily squashed with a hug.

It All Ends with a Big Bang

After an exhaustive 47 minutes, we reach the point where Vicki confronts Slade about his slew of insults regarding her appearance. She tells him when he makes fun of any woman’s looks, it’s disrespectful. Vicki says she’s striving to be the best she can be. Then she gives Slade a bottle of her bacon-flavored vodka and cites him as the inspiration because he said she resembled Miss Piggy.

Slade responds that Vicki has made as many accusations and insults about him as he has about her. She justifies her behavior by saying she doesn’t comment on his looks. Slade responds that she prefers to attack his character instead.

The ladies have Vicki’s back on this one. The most vocal is Lydia. She says she’s never done anything to him, and he spoke negatively about her being so thin. Both Gretchen and Slade insist that what he said to Lydia wasn’t an insult. Truthfully, Lydia’s anger is not a proportionate response to the glib comment Slade made. Basically, Slade is forced to deal with the repercussions of his actions. He does have a tendency to fight dirty, and he’s being called out on it.

Since this is the season finale, viewers get some updates on each cast member’s life at the end of the episode:

Vicki has broken up and reconciled with Brooks multiple times.

Ryan is in Afghanistan, and Briana and Troy are moving into an apartment.

Heather is focusing her attention on designing the new Dubrow mansion.

Alexis is pursuing an acting career.

Eddie and Tamra finally opened CUT Fitness.

Lydia remains close to her mother but doesn’t allow her to smoke pot in her house.

Slade lost his job at the radio station when it was sold to a Christian broadcaster.

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(Image courtesy of Bravo)

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.