IT’S time for the annual mid-season Real Housewives holiday episode, giving these women a fresh and exciting new backdrop upon which to throw drinks at each other.
The ladies are heading to glamorous Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — a trip that clearly cannot come quick enough for Lydia’s dog Figaro as she says her goodbyes:
“The weather is phenomenal! It’s 31 degrees and I am SHINING,” says Jackie as the Housewives pull up to their OTT Mexican cliffside villa. Jax, you’re an unusually heavy sweater too? Relatable queen!
Taking in the view from the villa’s balcony, Lydia decides to give the group a little geography lesson. Lydia, of course, being the person who famously once informed viewers that the Louvre was in London.
“Now, we are in SOUTH AMERICA,” she tells the other women, as if addressing a kindergarten class.
“No, we are in Mexico,” Janet explains patiently.
“Well, OK … it’s the south of America,” Lydia shrugs.
“Pretty spectacular, hey? You can’t even see where the ocean finishes,” says Gina, admiring the view.
Lydia sees an opportunity to continue her geography lesson.
“Well, ’cos it goes around. The world’s round, so if you go over, you tip over,” she says.
At this stage, we’re just relieved Lydia Schiavello is not, in fact, a flat earther. Thank heavens for small mercies.
Bless Newcastle girl Jackie who, gazing out from the master suite of this Mexican palace to the exotic view below, has one thing to say about her surroundings: “Ah, reminds me of Newy.”
The next morning, a few of the ladies congregate around the pool to sunbathe and enjoy a breakfast cocktail (pro tip: if you order one with a glacé cherry you’re basically #cleaneating). At their service is an on-site staff member named Diego.
“Diego is the organiser, for if we want to be driven somewhere, or if we want a boiled egg,” Lydia explains.
These, one must assume, are Lydia Schiavello’s dual primary care needs.
Lydia asks Diego if he has any fruit he could bring her — specifically, watermelons. Do you have big watermelons, she asks him? Do you have two big, juicy watermelons?
Diego giggles uncomfortably at this Benny Hill-level banter.
As they await their breakfast liquor, the first rumblings of a fight start between Sally and Gina. With Venus yet to join the holiday, Sally takes the opportunity to lay into the fellow new girl on the block, saying she needs to get a sense of humour. Gina seems utterly unimpressed while Sally holds court:
Venus, Gina counters, is fine — Gamble’s the bad egg. As Gina sees it, she’s a nasty, unhinged gold-digger.
“What, she didn’t marry that man because he’s got money? F**k off, as if,” Gina scoffs, dismissing Gamble and husband Rick’s entire relationship in one sentence.
Sally’s uncomfortable. “The blows seem to be getting lower and lower … I’m really not liking where it’s going,” she confesses to camera.
OH JUST YOU WAIT DOLL.
That night, the group all head to a restaurant for dinner, and no sooner have they sat down than everyone’s fighting — Jackie and Janet against Lydia and Gina, for the most part. At one point, Gina’s so confused by the back-and-forth bickering she says she can’t really remember what they’re arguing about.
“Hang on. You’re a lawyer, you’re meant to remember this sort of stuff, aren’t you?” asks Sally.
Gina turns to Sally, and delivers this bizarrely brutal non-sequiter:
“Well, you’re a woman, are you meant to be feminine?”
It appears that, according to Gina’s perfumed, hairsprayed worldview, Sally’s short hair marks her as unforgivably ‘masculine’. What was that Sally said about the blows getting lower and lower?
Gamble tries to enter the fray — but Gina bars her from the conversation.
“I have a point!” Gamble wails.
“It doesn’t matter,” says Gina, waving her off dismissively.
Gamble stares directly into the camera, as if willing the crew to drop a Xanax into Gina’s drink so she can actually get a word in.
Having finally arrived from Australia, Venus joins the table right in the middle of the fracas, but she’s upstaged by the guy at the bar just staring at this whole tequila-fuelled Housewives group fight with quiet awe:
Jackie’s had enough of the fighting. With a closing “f**k you” to both Lydia and Gina, she excuses herself from the table: “I’ve got to go to the toilet and … release all this negativity.” Mexican food, amirite???
Janet rushes after her friend, and suddenly the two of them are fighting, and all that earlier tequila-drinking in the hot Mexican sun seems to have caught up with them, because Janet’s straight-up climbing through the restaurant shrubbery yelling about how she’d do anything to prove her friendship to Jackie. It’s messy … but also makes for very entertaining dinner theatre.
“What do you want? Do you want blood?” Janet screams, as they stalk each other around the restaurant. Very little else they’re saying makes any sense — they appear to have reached a level of public intoxication most of us non-Housewife civilians can only aspire to.
Back at the table, Gina and Gamble are locked in an argument, with Gamble trying to get her voice heard, and Gina repeatedly telling her to shut up. From across the table, Sally interjects with a line that will instantly change the course of her Real Housewives destiny:
“Oh, stop being such a bully.”
Well. WELL. Gina’s head swings around, her black shark eyes resting on Sally as she considers whether or not she should rip out here heart out here and now, wrap it in a tortilla and eat it as a display of dominance to the other women.
Several agonising seconds of silence pass.
“Who are you?” she asks Sally, witheringly. S.A.V.A.G.E.
In a spectacular bit of editing, we see then Gina in a to-camera interview asking “Who is this woman, coming at me with her pointy finger and her f**king camel teeth?” …Then we’re right back at the table, where Gina’s sternly warning Sally to “not call me a bully, EVER.” Got that, folks? She’s not a bully, and if you say she is one she’ll call you a camel-toothed man.
Rising from the table, Gina delivers a parting threat using a very real currency among cast members on this show: Instagram popularity.
“You just lost a lot of followers, Sally,” she says, dramatically throwing down her napkin.
As the dinner comes to a close and we let that hilariously piss-weak threat marinate, let’s give a special shout out to Venus, who may have turned up late to this Mexican holiday but at least teamed with the theme:
Everyone’s pretty seedy the next monring, but there’s also a mystery afoot. Janet’s been bundled off to hospital. Various Housewives heard screams last night; some even saw blood. Is there a murderer in their midst? Was it Jackie Gillies in the conservatory with the candlestick?
No. Janet — old as the hills and at least three-fifths tequila by the end of last night — had a drunken late-night fall in her bedroom, leaving her with a gruesome gash across her expensive face.
Home from the hospital, Janet rests up in bed with bestie Jackie playing nursemaid.
“She looks bloody terrible,” Jackie tuts. Her bedside manner leaves a bit to be desired but reader, she … she is not lying.
Janet — who it transpires was going door to door around the villa after midnight last night with a bottle of tequila still looking for a party — has a simple explanation for a fall she can’t remember that cut her face to the bone.
“I think my bed was too low … wasn’t used to it.”
Yep, that must’ve been it.
Jackie suggests there’s a silver lining to be found: “Thank god you were drunk enough from the tequila to not feel that pain.” We’re not sure of the logic given the horrific injury was plainly alcohol induced, but whatever gets these ladies safely to their next bender.
“I am NEVER. DRINKING. AGAIN,” says Janet, possibly the funniest line yet uttered on this show.
Finally this episode, Jackie takes the group to a party thrown by one of she and husband Ben’s Mexican business associates (god this sounds so much more suss when written down). It’s more tequila, tequila, tequila – and yes, Janet is back on the booze, haters back off.
As this is a business event of sorts, Jackie explains that it’s important none of the ladies embarrass her. Perhaps Janet didn’t get the memo, because she sidles up to a group of younger partygoers, locking them into intense D&M chats with her new bung-eyed zombie stare:
Sally takes Gina aside for a chat, in an attempt to clear the air after their earlier confrontation. She’s not about to back down, instead quite reasonably explaining that she’ll always call out bullying if she sees it, and she thought Gina was steamrollering Gamble in that situation.
“Not your place though, doll,” Gina sniffs (how does she manage to make “doll” sound so icily threatening?).
“Gamble doesn’t NEED anyone. SHE doesn’t think I’m a bully.”
Gina insists she didn’t threaten Sally about losing followers, while at the same time giving her own 100,000-strong Instagram following carte blanche to harass her rival.
“I have fierce and loyal followers. You think they’re going to sit there while she has a crack at me? I don’t think so. She’s been warned. I don’t control them,” she shrugs.
Gina’s really not happy about this bully tag.
“Whoever the f**k you think you are, I’m not interested. You’ve told me with that one word [bully] that you don’t like me, so bad luck, I don’t like you either. See ya, thanks.”
With that, she storms off, leaving Sally to stand alone smiling half-heartedly while wondering what powerful Gina Liano fury she’s just unleashed.
Jackie approaches Sally to find out what happened, only for Gina to catch them both on her way back. “YEHHH WOTEVER,” she spits as she pushes past.
OH MY GOD IT’S ON.
Next week: A big ol’ Mexican boat party, more Gina / Sally flare-ups — and an explosive dinner walk out. Yessssss.
The Real Housewives of Melbourne screens 8:30pm Wednesdays on Foxtel’s Arena Channel. Check news.com.au right after each episode airs for our full recap — and chat all things #RHOMelbourne with camel-toothed recapper Nick Bond on Twitter at @bondnickbond.