This week is the first of a three-part reunion for The Real Housewives of Orange County season 8. The first ladies of Bravo gather together to reminisce and rehash the highs and lows (mostly lows) of an eventful eighth season. Gretchen fights off accusations from both Tamra and Vicki. Lydia shows this kitten has claws when she tangles with Heather. And ex-housewife Lauri shows up to confront Vicki.

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Hope for Vicki and Don?

All of the women are present and accounted for, so all that’s left to do is for everyone to come out swinging. First piece of business on the docket: Vicki’s divorce from Don is no yet finalized. She claims they are at a standstill, even though all of the financial issues have been settled. She says there is no urgency on either end, and once she does make it official, she’ll probably be forced to pay spousal support. Now host Andy Cohen’s befuddled expression clears and everything makes sense. Tamra in convinced the couple will reconcile.

What Happens in Mexico Doesn’t Stay in Mexico

The focus shifts to the deterioration of Tamra and Gretchen’s friendship over the course of the season. Tamra admits that she currently does not trust Gretchen as a friend due to some inconsistencies and lies. She admits she misses the relationship they had, but things aren’t good between them right now. Gretchen wrote on her blog that it was obvious Vicki was determined to drive a wedge between herself and Tamra. Andy inquires when this became obvious to Gretchen. She cites the trip to Mexico as the catalyst, stating that Vicki basically admitted her intent to create animosity between Gretchen and Tamra during that getaway.

The specific incident of Vicki encouraging Tamra and Lydia to ditch Gretchen and Heather the first night is brought up. Vicki denies any sinister plans and states that Vicki made it clear where she planned on going. Lydia comes to Vicki’s defense, saying the perceived slight couldn’t have been premeditated because it was so spur of the moment.

But All the Other Housewives are Doing It

Tamra defends herself against a viewer’s comment that accuses her of being two-faced because she’s scared of both of them. Tamra accuses Gretchen of starting the rumor that Tamra is two-faced. Tamra insists that it’s normal for the women to complain or talk about each other after a fight. The two go back and forth over who talks more crap. Gretchen swears that she doesn’t say anything behind any of the women’s backs that she hasn’t or wouldn’t say to their face. Tamra is dubious about this proclamation.

Infidelity Flashback

Now that Gretchen and Tamra are no longer close, accusations regarding Gretchen’s fidelity to her fiance, Jeff, are once again called into question. Vicki and Tamra have been like dogs fighting over a bone with this story since season 4. Heather and Lydia, both of whom are trying desperately to play catch-up, question Alexis about this mystery man. Supposedly, the timing of these events coincided with when Gretchen and Alexis were good friends.

Alexis says she witnessed some cozy behavior — no kissing — between Gretchen and this other man on one particular occasion. Gretchen asks Alexis why she’s changing her story now when she originally swore she never saw Gretchen behave inappropriately with another man. The conversation gets mired down in semantics, but Gretchen’s story is, and always has been, she’s flirtatious, but she never cheated on ex-fiance Jeff while he was dying from cancer.

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No Love Lost

Andy says that Gretchen stated on her Bravo blog it was sad that Vicki gets so much enjoyment out of hurting her, and she can only hope that one day Vicki will stop hating her and they can move forward. Vicki denies hating Gretchen. She claims to want the best for her. She does admit they aren’t friends, but that doesn’t stop her from wishing Gretchen success in building her business empire, which she emphasizes with air quotes. Gretchen says Vicki is always demeaning her and throwing out backhanded compliments.

Vicki, full of love and light, says she wants everyone to be successful. Tamra calls Vicki out and says Vicki doesn’t give a crap about Gretchen and certainly doesn’t wish her well in any capacity. Vicki justifies her behavior by stating that Gretchen doesn’t have any love or respect for Vicki. Gretchen says that isn’t true, and that at the start of every season she goes in revved up to like Vicki.

Vicki feels the crux of their issues is that Gretchen doesn’t own the truth. This is a feeling most of the ladies seemed to have this season. You have to start to believe Gretchen isn’t as squeaky clean as she claims to be. Again, the accusations of Gretchen cheating on Jeff arise, and a bunch of squealing amongst Tamra, Vicki and Gretchen makes them difficult to understand. Gretchen is adamant that she won’t admit to something she didn’t do.

Sugar and Spice But Not So Nice

Gretchen’s ass gets a chance to cool when attention turns to rookie housewife Lydia. A viewer says that Lydia calls herself the friendship whisperer, but seeing how much she stirs the pot she should be called the spoon. Lydia says she’s not a fan of the BS, and she likes to “think out loud and talk.” She offers up the example of the tiff that Tamra and Vicki had when the group went wine tasting. During the last exchange Lydia witnessed between the two, Tamra had called Vicki a b**ch. So she questioned Vicki at dinner if she and Tamra were good. Lydia claims the question was sincere, and she was just being authentic.

Heather and Lydia go back and forth regarding the spread in Lydia and her husband’s magazine. Heather took umbrage that the couple found it so amusing that Heather and Terry requested their home be featured on the cover. It turns out, Lydia doesn’t consider Heather noteworthy enough, but she did feature Beverly Hills housewife Lisa Vanderpump.

It also turns out Lydia is holding a grudge against Heather for something that “fancy pants” Dubrow wrote about the newbie housewife on one of her blogs. Die-hard fans might know the details of this spat, but I am clueless. Heather says she apologized, but Lydia’s season-long “Forgive and Forget” campaign only seems to apply while the cameras are on.

Gone But Refusing to be Forgotten

Ex-housewife Lauri joins the group because she was very present during this season. Lauri and Vicki offer up their accounts of the infamous letter from George’s ex-mother-in-law that wound up in the wrong hands. While Vicki claims she handled the situation the best way she knew how, Lauri accuses her of purposely trying to sabotage her marriage. Vicki says she never set out to maliciously hurt Lauri, but anyone watching this season knows the same can’t be said of Lauri. She had a hard-on for Vicki from her first appearance until Whistler.

Vicki dismisses Lauri like a school child and tells her to stay out of her life. Lauri says she has, but Vicki accuses her of barging back in “like a bull in a china shop.” She continues that Lauri is jealous of the other housewives’ fame. Lauri retaliates that Vicki is, and always has been, envious of Lauri’s relationship with her husband, George. Vicki reveals she heard Lauri has cheated on George. She also questions if Lauri is so miserable in her own life that she has nothing better to do than interfere in Vicki’s.

The reunion is pretty juicy and entertaining so far, and I can only imagine things will get better.

Part two of The Real Housewives of Orange County reunion airs next Monday at 8pm on Bravo.

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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.