Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Bravo/Getty
It was only a week ago that Real Housewives of New York Season 14 had its first major public reckoning, after Jenna Lyons’ wanton mistreatment by her fellow cast members. Twitter (or X, or whatever the hell it’s called right now—they need to settle on something for Bravo fans alone) has never been more lit up in the rebooted show’s first eight weeks than it was last Sunday, with fans speaking up to defend Lyons in droves. Who could’ve imagined that the season’s ninth episode would somehow take things up a notch, with just about everyone getting into someone else’s bloodthirsty crosshairs?
Episode 9 is a rollercoaster from start to finish, and not one Housewife escapes unscathed. It’s not that much actually happens, but rather that everyone is peeling back the artifice surrounding their personalities before twisting that mutual vulnerability into a reason to fight. It would be exhausting if it weren’t so damn exhilarating. This episode may be chock full of uncertainties, but you can’t say that one of them is this franchise’s cast. They’ve proven once and for all that they’ve got the grit that it takes to hack it as Housewives. There’s nothing left for the rest of us to do but sit back, watch, and put a pillow on the floor—we’ll need something soft to catch our jaws if they’re dropping this often.
The episode begins with all of the women gathering in the foyer of their massive Anguilla villa, ready to head out to dinner. Jenna’s anxiety is palpable; we may have had a week to process her getting picked apart by her castmates, but she’s had mere minutes. It was just an hour or so ago that Jenna was grilled for claiming that she wanted to arrive on the trip early to tan, which would alleviate some of the anxiety she feels about her varied skin tone, a result of her genetic disorder. Getting a first-class plane ticket, instead of flying coach with the rest of the women, was merely a happy bonus. (Again, look me in the eyes and tell me that you’d fly coach if you had Jenna Lyons’ money.) As a result of her nervousness, Jenna is overly complimentary of her social-etiquette prosecutors, but it does little to keep them off her back.