Real Housewives of Toronto episode eight recap: Barcelona, baby
On this week’s episode of Real Housewives of Toronto, the women embark for Spain to help Ann’s husband, Stephen Mullholand, sell body fat–sculpting equipment to fellow plastic surgeons.
We begin with Roxy, who’s sipping rosé in a bubble bath while her assistant, Elise, helps her pack for the trip to Barcelona. That is, she parades designer garments in front of Roxy, who responds by shouting things like “Big everything!” and “Go glam!” and “Who doesn’t love a Dior slingback?” Poor, millennial Elise. Those shoes cost more than she makes in a month. Considering she’s paid to follow Roxy around and constantly compliment her, she works hard for it.
Roxy, Grego and Jana arrive in Barcelona and meet Ann at an unremarkable Hilton. They pop a bottle of champagne as Ann reveals that Kara will not be joining them on the trip. Roxy can barely contain her grin. Kara said her doctor advised her not to travel because of her rib injury from earlier in the summer, but when the women peruse her Instagram over lunch, it looks like she is having fun in the sun back in Toronto. Of course, it wasn’t really her rib. Apparently, Kara told her lash extensionist (who then blabbed to Roxy) that Grego, Jana and Joan are not her “type of women,” and she “didn’t want to be seen going to Barcelona with them.” Ouch.
Roxy rolls out these tidbits of information with glee, and it works. Grego, who hadn’t been too concerned with Kara’s gossip up until this point, is fuming. Roxy then declares that she is “done with the negativity” and that they shouldn’t talk about Kara for the rest of the trip. Then…er…what are you guys going to talk about?
Ann takes the women to a flamenco dancing class, which is a chance for Grego to get back into the dance studio for the first time since retiring from her ballet career at the L’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec when she was 18. The class is fun for Grego, who can definitely dance, but painful for the rest of the women, who can’t wait to get out of there and have a glass of Spanish wine.
Joan arrives the next morning, and she and Ann hang out in Park Güell. Joan weepily details her nightmarish journey—including a bomb threat and an evacuation of the Frankfurt airport—before Ann shares the reason why Kara isn’t on the trip: “She doesn’t want to hang out with you.” That’s confusing for Joan, because last week Kara told her that everything was fine. Joan says, “I wish she would have taken the opportunity to say, I’m mad because…”
I can’t believe the season’s main drama is a grudge over a couple of women getting sort of drunk a dinner party in Muskoka. At least Joan’s anger burns hard; she sounds like she’s ready to confront Kara once they get back from this trip.
Next up is the worst scene in Housewives history. We are forced to watch Dr. Mulholland give a PowerPoint presentation about CynoSure, a laser fat removal machine, in a hotel boardroom. Seriously, they filmed six minutes of this, including him telling a room full of people that Joan has a muffin top (she doesn’t), as well as him attaching four machines to Roxy’s stomach, rather than the one or two machines he sticks on everyone else.
You know that Internet meme, “I wish I had the confidence of a mediocre white man”? Dr. Mulholland is that man. Somehow, this random plastic surgeon has managed to make an entire television series about six women all about him: the season premiere took place at his procedure party, the Face Hickey of 2002 was what caused the initial rift between Roxy and Kara, and now we are halfway across the world watching him body-shame the cast to sell these machines. If I were a Housewife, I would go on strike. Instead, we get clips of the women praising the technology. All of them except for Roxy, who executes the perfect form of resistance: brushing her hair on stage, while the lasers are still on her stomach and Mulholland is blabbing to the crowd.
The rest of the Barcelona trip is uneventful. The women sightsee from the top of a double-decker tourist bus, which everyone knows is the most basic thing you can do when you travel. And…that’s it. Literally nothing happens. The problem with this season is that they cast too many women who were friends before the show (Joan, Grego and Jana), and since they are all sane and nice, the other cast members (minus Kara) get along with them and want to be their friends. The result is no conflict. I don’t need screaming and table flipping, but there has to be some plot line to this vacation. Kara, where are you? Shouldn’t you be contractually obligated to be here? Stop letting Dr. Mulholland steal your star!
When we check in with Kara, she’s with her husband for an anniversary dinner at L’Unità, where they shower each other in expensive gifts. Yawn. Surprise, surprise, she’s also obsessing over the AMBI Gala. She meets with the gala’s publicist to come up with a plan to sell more $25,000 tables and regales us with a Stalin quote: “The death of one man is a tragedy; the death of a nation is a statistic.” In AMBI Gala Speak, this means Kara wants the PR woman to schedule one-on-one meetings with her friends who are considering buying tables so they can feel a personal touch. In Normal Speak, that is a bonkers way to talk about charitable donations.
Once the other women return home, Kara and Ann get lunch, where we learn Ann is the only Housewife who bought a ticket. Joan says she decided not to attend because not only is it the most expensive gala table she has ever heard of, but also Kara has been sending her piles of emails pressuring her into buying one. Joan says she probably would have sprung for one if Kara hadn’t been talking about her behind her back. Yet, after all that, the cruellest word Corporate Wife Joan can come up with to describe Kara is “confusing.”
Finally, AMBI Gala night is upon us. Kara is wearing a funky dress by Canadian designer Mark Fast (wait—what happened to Mikael D?), and Ann wears a puffy, pink princess dress, in which she tries to hide her dog as she’s getting into the SUV limo.
In the limo, Kara complains that if she had done something wrong, Joan should have come to her before the AMBI Gala and told her why she wasn’t buying a table. “I’m not sure what happened,” she says. “I hope this has nothing to do with any rumour mill.” Of course, Joan did confront Kara about the rumours, and Kara lied and tried to sweep it under the carpet.
Speaking of carpets, the episode ends with Ann and Kara walking the AMBI Gala red carpet with B-list celebs like Mike Tyson and Pamela Anderson. Ann says it makes her feel like royalty. Kara says her father always told her to “walk the red carpet like you’re receiving an Olympic metal. Don’t rush it. Take your moment.”
I wish I had the confidence of a skinny rich woman in a mediocre dress.