Attention, friends! It is I, Drunk Marlo Hampton. This is an announcement. Queen for an Episode: Atlanta is hereby postponed indefinitely, in favour of a new format: Catching Up, a.k.a. whatever random observations I can pull out of my ass, chucked together like a big tossed salad (Porsha approved this vegan analogy).
Atlanta has, after all, become a franchise where fully half the credited cast will be M.I.A. from week to week (Kandi, NeNe and Shereé all flew way under the radar this week, and have been the worst culprits in general). Meanwhile, the supporting cast seems to grow by the episode, with Marlo, Kim, Eva and Shamea all in play at any given time. The formats of these recaps, just between you and I, mostly exist to lubricate the process of writing. They give my observations a structure. But that structure has become too rigid, and has the opposite effect. It makes writing these recaps hard, and I should not be putting in more work than the people who make the show. So enjoy this impressionistic drizzling of my thoughts, presented in vaguely chronological order. Or not! Maybe they won’t be. I’m a wildcard, guys, I do what I want.
Episode 12, like so many others this season, was primarily a Cynthia episode, though that didn’t become apparent to me until I tallied up the storylines after the fact; Cynthia has a unique way of seeming like supporting cast even when she’s all anyone is talking about. I don’t know that I have much more to say about this story — Will is so plainly an opportunist that I won’t even waste my e-breath explaining it to you, and production’s continued deployment of Peter Thomas genuinely bewilders me. I will say for Cynthia that she has literally the show’s only coherent story arc at this point, so hey, small victories.
Speaking of small victories, the sitdown between Porsha and Mama Joyce felt like a win for both of them, though I’m not entirely sure why or how. Now I love me some Mama Joyce. I don’t know when this happened. She’s one of the more loathsome and frightening characters in the RHOA universe. But at some point when she was paying petty criminals to plant murder evidence on Todd Tucker and then dropping a dime on him at the payphones, I dunno, she grew on me. She’s been sidelined for most of the season since Kandi’s taken a step back from the action, so I was excited to see her here, and even moreso to see her paired up with Porsha, an equally petty and cantankerous individual.
Mama Joyce, like all deities, moves in mysterious ways, and I don’t know that I quite grasp her role here even after multiple rewatches. Part of the trouble with calculating Joyce’s motives is that she’s very firmly embedded in the Kandi Factory, but also by far the member of that crew most likely to go rogue, so it can be tough to tell whether she’s acting as an extension of Kandi or furthering her own agenda. It’s hard to imagine why Kandi would sanction this sitdown between her mother and her worst enemy, unless it was a bone to producers to avoid filming the scene herself (or she secretly hoped that Mama Joyce would pull a dagger out from under her wig and just finish the job).
But even as the conversation got a bit prickly, it almost seemed to end in… approval? That may be too strong a word, but we’ve seen Mama Joyce heated, and this wasn’t it. If I didn’t know better, I’d almost guess this was meant to set up a Porsha/Joyce alliance. Maybe Mama J caught wind that Kenya‘s peach is about to expire and is laying her groundwork for season 11 (brb working on my “Give Mama Joyce a Peach” change.org petition).
Speaking of whom, Kenya’s descent into postmodern absurdity continued this week as she arrived for her pregnancy test results on a wing and a prayer, only to find the tests came back — gasp! — INCONCLUSIVE! Guess you’ll have to tune in next week, guys! And seriously, God help me because I am putty in this woman’s hands: it is driving me nuts wondering if she’s pregnant. And I know, I know this is all another one of her ploys and there’s no way it’s actually true, and come the reunion we will find out that there never was a “Kenya Moore” and she’s an actress named Rochelle Jackson who’s been undertaking a deep method piece since the 1993 Miss USA pageant. I know. And yet, here I am, wondering. Checkmate, Miss Jackson, checkmate. #kyliewho
It seems odd that I have so little to say about Porsha’s vegan dinner, which took up half the episode, but it mostly functioned as an excellent showcase for Drunk Marlo whom I’m happy to let speak for herself (Marlo has been one of the MVPs of season ten, by the way, every episode a delight). Instead, I’ll zoom ahead to the episode-ending drama: the women finding out en route to the airport that both Kim and Kenya were bailing on the girls’ trip to Barcelona (very weird choice to end the episode here, by the way, but hey welcome to S10).
That Kim is bolting should be no surprise; it was perfectly obvious as she mushmouthed her 85th circular excuse about how she would have a stroke on the plane if Kroy was not present (not an exaggeration; this was literally her excuse). Kim’s greatest liability as a Housewife, and the thing I suspect keeps her out of serious contention for Kenya’s forfeited peach, is her refusal to play ball the second conditions are even mildly unfavourable for her. She left the show back in season five over cast trip logistics, and she’d probably do it again. Kenya, meanwhile, is on strike, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her airtime slowly drop off in the weeks to come. I think we are, sadly, in the dying days of Kenya Moore.
Alas, while this is all very sad, and both Kim and Kenya would be sterling additions to any cast trip, we must soldier on. Marlo will be in España, mangling Cardi B lyrics, and that will have to be enough.