Karen Valby
April 09, 2010 AT 02:51 PM EDT

Image Credit: BravoWe met up last night on the Brooklyn Bridge — Bethenny in layers of black technical fabric, Ramona of course in velour — for a lovely morning walk and some supportive chit chat between friends. Bethenny started recklessly unloading about the wretched phone call with Jill, without realizing that six words in her confidante had sprouted fangs. Ramona jerked her head twice in response before letting the epithets fly. What? She was just being honest! “I think you are a press monger… I just think you’re very self-serving.” (But my 75,000 tweetle lee deeters now know of your blasted HSN line!, cried Bethenny.) “At least I have friends. Who are your friends?… You have nobody in your life… Right now you have Jason but you’ll probably mess that up too.” Bethenny’s face started doing that full-gale quiver thing that we’ve all become sadly familiar with, the pre-cry quake that melts anyone with a soul, but not our Ramona! “Next time I won’t tell you how I feel,” she said by way of apology. In Brooklyn, both ladies looked like they wanted to jump into Simon’s arms  so he could shush their frazzled nerves and pat their hair while singing them badly botched French nursery rhymes.

The tension was broken for a brief la-la-la sequence with Kelly. She had a story to report on the latest fashion trends. Her mission — What is Trendy? Like, do you see her jaunty little black knit hat? That’s totally trendy. But you wouldn’t know that if she hadn’t told you that. And she wouldn’t know that unless she had taken it to the streets for some hardcore investigative reporting. “Hi-yah!” she whined pleasantly to anyone she passed. “Puh-leeeeeeeeze,” she whined miserably to all those wise New Yorkers who told her they were late catching a bus or a cab or a train or a cold. Eventually she muscled a few young men into talking as she ticked off her questions from her Hello Kitty-wearing-Louis-Vuitton clipboard. Are you a foxy athlete? Are you wearing underwear? How do I turn on my camera? (Two kids, and you’ve never pulled out your digital before? I don’t care if Gilles invented the fricking camera and you keep him locked inside your Trojan horse in case Sea ever does anything cute and you need it caught on film. My 21-month-old has taken a very artsy portfolio of the dog’s ears. Please tell me Kelly that you do in fact know how to press on.)

Cut to an impossibly contrived sleepover with LuAnn and Jill. Now I believe that LuAnn sleeps in satin or silk each evening. But Jill dear. You’ve already told us that you normally rock sweats with Bobby. So why are you in that ridiculous Danielle Steele-off-the-shoulder number? The two sat ramrod straight in bed, just girl-talking, you know, and trying to recreate some of the cozy intimacy of Jill and Bethenny from bedrooms past. Ginger farted. LuAnn spoke French. Jill bitched about the fact that Kelly dared let bygones be bygones with Bethenny. Snooze.

Back in Brooklyn (represent!), Bethenny met Alex to further prepare for Brooklyn Fashion Weekend. Within seconds of meeting Alex’s kind and pooling eyes, Bethenny broke down and admitted that she was a mess. Her father, whose actual crimes we don’t know but who I have painted as some cold and boorish monster in my head, is dying and she must somehow say goodbye to a man she hasn’t spoken to in years. These are the moments when Alex really shines. Unlike any other Housewife I can think of, Alex has the ability to actually listen and to make a conversation not about her. “You’re telling me you’re not sad and you’re crying,” she softly chided Bethenny. Alex encouraged Bethenny and gracefully put her back together. Well done, Alex! She later brought that same sense of decency and calm to the table with Jill, who had made the trek out to Brooklyn to try and prove that she was a nice woman and doesn’t bear ill will toward the mini-Van Kempens  after all. Alex — who I must say strikes me as disturbingly pale and thin and in need of a good night’s sleep and a cheeseburger — urged Jill to reach out to Bethenny. Without promptly vomiting up the nitty gritty of Bethenny’s sorrow, she told the red-headed woman — who kept bleating out the importance of relationships, relationships are all we have — to tend some to this broken relationship and a young woman in need. Jill twitched back in response, blathering about how money didn’t give you happiness. It’s like she’s written down six taglines to explain this rift between her and Bethenny and she just repeats them over and over to herself like they’re her mantras.

Oh Ramona, who are you kidding? I like you dear because I believe you know not what you do. You are a dummy who is convinced of your own good intentions. I believe that she convinced herself that she arranged the Bethenny/Jill confrontation at her apartment in the name of saving a friendship. I also believe her heart sung at the possibility of drama and bloodletting in her princess-style bedroom and that when the Bravo producers hugged her for making the scene happen  she clung tight to their sharp breasts and basked in the sense that she was the best little Housewife in the world. Bethenny arrived, looking wary and vulnerable. (And still reeling evidently from her father’s refusal to see her in L.A. Oof, this woman was an open wound walking into Ramona’s.) LuAnn tried to make it all about her, and fumed when she was banished to the foyer. Jill seemed genuinely stunned and kept yapping about an ambush. To her credit — and after Ramona told her at the front door to stay calm and not act like a cat — Bethenny was quiet and restrained, sadly telling Jill that she wasn’t there to win or prove her case or attack anyone. She just wanted to sit down with her friend and talk face to face.

Would that Jill rose to the occasion! (And how revealing it was when she bemoaned the fact that she wasn’t packing her list of grievances that she’d made up to prove that she indeed was the wronged woman and Bethenny ought to burn.) It was a terrible conversation, with Bethenny crying and asserting her genuine love for Jill and her regret that everything had gotten so messed up. Jill wouldn’t let go of her anger though, and apparently does not like anyone daring to suggest she herself assume some responsibility. Every time it seemed like perhaps Jill’s cold heart was thawing just a tad, LuAnn inevitably swooped in bearing tea and crumpets. Or LuAnn would bellow from the hall, like Simon from the O.C. sensing that Tamra and Vicki might be sharing a moment, that their car was ready and it was time for Jill to go. (So weird!) The conversation ended with Jill declaring that she can’t have toxicity in her life. Bethenny was shuffled out of the apartment, left to cry one assumes alone in the elevator. Jill wondered if it was weird that she herself wasn’t crying, and then promptly broke down in tears. “Maybe I’m wrong,” she said. “Maybe I’ve been too hard on her? Maybe I’m wrong?” Before she could sit with the uncomfortable possibility LuAnn shushed her and the two turned on Ramona.

“Who brought her here?” demanded Jill. “Ramona!” cried Luann. “No, no, no,” denied Ramona, backing into the hallway, grabbing for a knife that she’d stashed under her Marilyn Monroe gown.

What did you all think? Do you want Alex to be your therapist for a day? Do you worry about her thinning hair and wan complexion? When Bethenny cries, do you cry? Is LuAnn conniving or simply doing her best to be a good friend to Jill? Was Kelly’s dress too short or just right?

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