Real Housewives of Toronto episode two recap: the return of the Face Hickey
We’re back with the second episode of Real Housewives of Toronto, and the infamous Face Hickey of 2002 still lingers. (If you’re thinking, “Huh?,” see our recap of the first episode.) In this instalment, RHOT matriarch Kara Alloway—who is reportedly real-life friends with Beverly Hills Housewife Kyle Richards and New York Housewife Bethenny Frankel—tries to put out the fire she started by blabbing about a dermatological mishap she endured under the purview of Ann’s plastic surgeon husband 15 years ago. The procedure left Kara with a Face Hickey a week before Toronto Fashion Week—and a grudge against Ann’s husband, Dr. Mulholland. The incident was old news, at least until her friend and fellow Housewife Roxy started spreading the story as soon as cameras were rolling.
Roxy starts the episode by recounting the full tale of the Face Hickey directly to Ann over lunch, telling her it was Kara who first mentioned it, so it’s not Roxy’s fault for alluding to it at last week’s procedure party. Roxy seems to be hitching herself to the Face Hickey story not only for the gossip, but also because it gives her the chance to remind the audience that she has not had any plastic surgery. Well, not yet, anyway.
Ann takes the hickey news tactfully, reminding us that her husband can’t give his side of the story because of doctor-patient confidentiality. It’s just the type of litigious weaselling that makes Ann a good “Corporate Wife,” a term, meaning loyal and discreet, that Kara adds to our lexicon later in the episode.
The lunch is also a chance for Roxy to invite Ann to her tequila party at Los Colibris later that week. Ann accepts the invitation on the condition she can drink chardonnay instead of tequila. Fine.
Next up, Roxy and Grego visit Joan at her King City estate, a gorgeous mansion with an indoor pool and tennis courts. “[The pool] is so good for the kids and their friends,” Joan raves. Well, duh. This pool serves as a reminder of the never-ending joys of being a wealthy person. Even her children’s friends get to bask in the warmth of an indoor pool I didn’t even know I was missing. Of course, the pool is for when the kids aren’t enjoying the waterfront of Joan’s Muskoka cottage, of which we are promised a glimpse next week at her annual dock party.
So far, even though Joan seems pretty bland, her kindness and loyalty to her friends make her hard to hate. She could look more modern if she lost the long, bold-print dresses, but I know that if I were a rich lady, I would wear nothing but silk caftans, so again, she gets a pass. (P.S. Joan, may I please come to your Muskoka dock party?)
Joan and Grego agree to attend Roxy’s tequila-infused party, too, and then join in a brief Kara-bashing session. Roxy says she and Kara have been friends for two years, but I sense their whole “friendship” is a house of cards set up by producers only to collapse under the gust of a Face Hickey–inducing microdermabrasion machine. Joan and Grego announce they are part of a friendship trifecta that includes Joga Jana, but tell Roxy there might be room for a fourth.
Speaking of Jana, we find her dropping in on a certification course for up-and-coming Joga trainers in an Artscape Youngplace Studio on Shaw Street. It’s fun to see a bunch of young West End women look up to her. She is cool and successful—especially because she is not afraid to admit her success begot sacrifice, including a recent divorce—which is refreshing in the women-can-have-it-all universe we inhabit. I’m rooting for her and her amazing Joga biceps.
The Face Hickey resurfaces yet again when Kara invites Roxy to go on a “dog walk,” which turns out to be code for “a walk where you can yell at your friend without anyone else around.” Kara tells Roxy she is going to “speak the truth in love,” and then lays into her for bringing up the Hickey to Ann at the procedure party. “As a Corporate Wife, it’s important to show discretion,” she adds, then suggests Roxy’s gossip was a mistake tied to her youth and negligible experience in the Corporate Wife department. Roxy gets defensive and a screaming match ensues.
Roxy thinks it’s Kara’s fault for “creating a problem for herself” by bringing up the Face Hickey in the first place, and is pissed that Kara is blaming the rumour on her. Personally, I’m pretty sure Roxy knew she was planting the seeds of drama when she brought up Ann and Kara’s past at the party last week—and then blabbed about it even more with Ann over lunch. Roxy lands a zinger—“there were a lot more bitches in that dog park than I expected”—before the women (and their dogs) parade off in different directions.
I get that Kara is trying to backtrack on her dumb story, but the phrase Corporate Wife gives me the heebie-jeebies even more than Housewife (which is obviously used ironically in the name of this show, people!). But Kara is using the phrase earnestly. Exactly how much discretion is a Corporate Wife supposed to have? Shall we ask Mrs. Bernie Madoff?
Kara invites Ann for out coffee and flexes her best Corporate Wife muscles by telling Ann her face-stabbing procedure party was “brilliant marketing” for her husband’s practice. She also apologizes for reiterating the Face Hickey story, and Ann accepts. “She totally gets what being a Corporate Wife is about,” Kara tells us. Tequila, please.
Next up is my favourite scene of the episode: Grego getting ready for Roxy’s party with her chic French-Canadian friend Karin. They elegantly switch between French and English while discussing the virtues of various cocktail dresses. Their double-cheek kiss goodbye makes me long for a Real Housewives of Montreal. Especially once, yet again, the other women pile in a horrible SUV limo to head to King Street West for the party.
The party at Los Colibris begins with an introduction to Roxy. Not the woman, but the drink: a glass of sangria. Roxy tells us that having your name on the menu is a perk you get when your friend owns the restaurant. The women in attendance—everyone but the uninvited Kara—sit down at the most awkwardly set table I have ever seen: three women side-by-side on the long side, one woman on each end and the camera crew on the opposite side. It’s very The Last Supper. I don’t know why this is necessary—every other reality show seems to be able to film people sitting across from one another without a problem.
During dinner, Ann and Jana share stories of their divorces. They’re sad and moving, and the other women are supportive. It’s moments like this that make Real Housewives more than one per cent voyeurism: real women struggling with impossible standards and crummy men, just like millions of other women. It’s nice to see a cast that (mostly) supports each other (so far).
But also, it’s the freezing cold month of March and all I truly care about is being transported to Joan’s Muskoka dock party, where the ladies are headed next week. Bring on the private plane, Roxy sangria and Joan-length silk dresses. I will see you there.