The exclamation “Oh no she ditn’t!” may have had its heyday somewhere between the end of Seinfeld and the beginning of the Kardashian sisters’ horrifying trek from the primordial ooze and into the public consciousness, but I’ll be damned if I didn’t shout it three separate times during this week’s installment of Mistresses.
The first utterance signified a state of surprise, the second a moment of unbridled delight. The final instance, though, tapped into the phrase’s root meaning as I grappled with a zinger (from Penelope Ann Miller’s wily Elizabeth Grey) so audaciously bitchy that my ears leapt several feet off the sides of my head and shot spouts of steam — cartoon-style.
So let’s not delay another moment — and instead jump right into the central story arcs and key questions raised during “Ultimatum.”
SAVI | Savi makes another visit to her doctor, but decides to postpone listening to the fetal heartbeat till an appointment that Harry can attend. Little does she know but her heartbroken hubby’s schedule was actually wide open — it’s just that he’s got some reservations (and not at Savannah’s Kitchen), as he reveals to Karen during a chance run-in. Turns out that punching Dom in the face didn’t solve everything, and Harry’s wondering how his marriage can survive if the baby isn’t his. “Take it day by day; you may be surprised what you’re capable of,” Karen suggests.
But you know who’s surprising me? Hot Dom, who tells Savi he’s not about to sign over his parental rights if the baby turns out to be his. Granted, his one-time sex partner continues to be completely dismissive of his feelings, but it’s not like he can sit there and argue that he was ever hoping for procreation or fatherhood as a side effect of what they did on top of that desk once upon a time. (If he keeps this up, he’s gonna get downgraded to Handsome Dom — I’m not even joking.)
Anyhow, things take a turn for the Heavy (upper-case in this case) when Savi comes home and Harry’s all, “We need to talk.” Hat tip to Alyssa Milano for a masterful reaction shot, as Savi braces for the worst, trembling and welling up with tears, and pleading, “No, no, no.” Turns out, though, her hubby’s about to go and make things so complicated — apologies for the Avril Lavigne reference, it just seemed to fit — by dropping this bombshell: He’s been able to visualize their marriage surviving Savi’s one-time-only infidelity — except in the event that the bun in her oven isn’t one of his recipes, if you catch my drift. “If the baby isn’t mine, you have a choice to make,” Harry reiterates. “Me or the baby.” And that ultimatum is Rated W…for Whoa, Dude!
Savi gives it some thought, and later on — probably after listening to Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach” on repeat, lobs back a definitive answer: “I’m keeping this baby.” And not only that, she knows it without any paternity-test results. “Please fight for us,” she begs, but the dashing Australian chef’s just been through too much. “I’m sorry love,” he says, sadly. “I’ve just got no fight left.” Is it any wonder the next day that when an ominous envelope from the ominously named Genzide laboratory lands on her desk, Savi doesn’t open it, but rather slips it into a drawer, locks it and lets fate leave her a voicemail message. Like Harry noted, given the trouble with his swimmers, “the odds aren’t exactly in their favor.”
Key questions: How come Karen didn’t call Savi the minute she was done talking to Harry? (I know, I know, that’d be betraying Harry’s trust, but it’s not like he doesn’t know where her loyalties lie.) Was Harry’s ultimatum too stern? And do either he or Savi truly believe their relationship could survive him pressuring her into having an abortion?
JOSS | Joss and Alex, on a shopping spree to liven up the latter’s depressing bachelorette pad, bump into Alex’s ex Sally and her new girlfriend Story. (Yes, we can pause momentarily while you process that doozy of a name.) Later, Alex freaks out while Facebook stalking Sally and realizing she’s been cropped out of every photo. But Joss is all, “you need closure” and — her definition of “needing closure” being very different from the one in the dictionary — promptly hops on Alex’s lap for some makeout time.
Eventually, though, the blurred lines get to be too much for Alex — who decides that her romantic feelings for Joss make it impossible for them to be friends, especially friends with benefits. It’s a decision that sends Joss into a spiral — and to Savi’s office for a little sisterly wisdom. “Is she sick?” asks Savi, alarmed, when Joss mentions there’s a problem with her gal pal. “Man are you dark,” Joss retorts, because Joss is awesome and hilarious. But when Savi brushes her off — she’s getting enough stares from her coworkers after the punch heard ’round the office party — Joss winds up getting advice from none other than bossman Olivier. “You may be frequently inappropriate and overly confident, but you are not a quitter,” he tells her. And so Joss lays out an awesome brunch for Alex (not a euphemism), declares how important their relationship is to her, and says she wants to take off the emergency brake and try out a romantic relationship.
Key questions: Why does Olivier’s continued interest in Alex keep coming up every week? We’re not about to journey to the center of a three-way, are we? And knowing Joss’ general lack of success with long-term committments, wouldn’t it have made more sense for her to prepare a friendship brunch than one with lovey-dovey implications?
KAREN | Oh, Karen. Girlfriend is a hotter mess than a carton of eggs smashed into an open fireplace, so I’m gonna keep this brief, OK? When Sam shows up for an appointment with Karen’s officemate Jacob, she’s all, “Sam, call me ASAP.” And since boundaries are to Sam like articles about the dangers of Diet Coke are to me — we both ignore ‘em — he doesn’t actually use his phone and call Karen back, but instead shows up in front of her (HGTV dream) house. At night. Looking a little, er, intense. “Are you scared of me?” he asks, as Karen backs away. And Karen reminds him that, like, duh, he broke into her freakin’ office. That prompts an even crazier move from Sam. “I think I’m in love with you!” he blurts, before zooming away in his car.
The next day, Jacob shares with Karen that Sam cancelled on their therapy session — while wondering aloud if there’s anything Karen might not be telling him. But Karen plays it dumb, and Jacob offers that since Karen treated Sam’s late dad and knows Sam’s mom, it “might be worth a call” to Mrs. Grey — just so someone’s looking out for the kid.
Because boundaries and professionalism are to Karen as warnings about the dangers of too much iPad time are to children, she drops by Elizabeth’s for a visit and tells her that in her professional opinion, Sam might be in real psychological trouble. Elizabeth’s eyes gleam with delight at “professional opinion,” and she wonders if Karen’s been treating her son. No, says Karen, who then admits that in the course of their conversations, “Sam’s become infatuated with me.” And that’s when we get my favorite bon mot from the entire summer TV season thus far: “Maybe you should tell him you were screwing his father: That should break the spell.” Oh. F***ing. Snap. Karen’s eyes widen, and Elizabeth presses on, her voice almost a whisper. “You’re not gonna try to deny it, are you? Because that would be embarassing.” Oh, and if that wasn’t enough of a whopper for you, Karen looks up to see SAM HAS JUST WALKED INTO THE ROOM. And from the look on his face, he heard everything.
Key questions: Why does Karen continue to dig herself into a deeper and deeper chasm with the Greys? Doesn’t she remember Savi’s “lethal doses of morphine” warnings? And is it fair to say that as far as letting your husband’s mistress know that you know about their affair, that was game, set and match for Elizabeth?
APRIL | The episode picks up where we left off — with April in shock at her presumed dead hubby Paul showing up at her door. And much to my screaming delight, what does April do? SHE TAKES A CALL WHEN HER CELLPHONE RINGS. (What better way to be a great mom than with a “Sorry, I know you’re just back from the dead, but this could be about my daughter…”) Yep, turns out Lucy got sick on the way home via carpool, and she’ll be home in a jiffy. April shoos away Paul, then goes to meet him later at the Tangerine Hotel, where she delivers a crisp slap after he dares to grab her arm. When Paul starts stammering that he doesn’t know where to start explaining himself, April hits the roof and blurts out this hilarious one-liner: “You faked your own death — start there!”
So Paul rambles that he’d lost his job and he’d married the homecoming queen and he didn’t feel good enough for April and he’d always been waiting for the other shoe to drop and he had the affair with Miranda and it was dumb and she got pregnant and blah blah blah. And that’s where he got the plan to fake his death and at least leave April with some money. “So you left two women to mourn you and raise your children?” April asks. Um, not quite. Paul drops anothe doozy in April’s lap: He’s been living with Miranda and little Scotty for the last three years, so only one woman was mourning him. It’s just that Miranda kept tabs on April’s bank account, got greedy when times got rough, and decided it was time to get her share.
Cue emergency meeting of our four main ladies. (Don’t you love the way Savi, Karen and Joss drop everything and rush to their friend’s aid?) And while Karen asks a couple of very odd questions — “Does [Paul] look the same?” “When you saw him, did you cry?” — Joss uproariously projects an even crazier scenario that perhaps Paul enticed Miranda to get the $100,000 from April, with plans to kill her once the scam was done. “Cahoots happens!” she shrugs, in yet another example of why Mistresses is my favorite network show this summer. (Let’s all try to make “Cahoots happen” by the end of the month, yes?) Nevertheless, the question looms: Was Paul lying about living with Miranda? Could she be in the dark too? Are they in cahoots scheming April? Or did Miranda go rogue/greedy to try to get the money without Paul’s foreknowledge (as he claims)?
So April stages a little scam of her own: She invites Miranda to her shop to get her money, and right as she hands over the check, Paul strolls in. “What are you doing here?” Miranda asks, mildly perplexed. “Yeah, see, I was way more shocked that that,” offers April, who promptly snatches check from her rival’s hand with such force that the paper makes a satisfying popping sound as it’s relinquished. YES ON TOP OF YES!
Paul and Miranda begin to bicker, and when Paul huffs that April worked (outside the home) and raised their child so Miranda ought to be able to generate some income, too, April decides it’s time to shut some s*** down. “Don’t include me in this sick-ass conversation!” she roars. “Y’all can go back to the Florida swamp you crawled out of: You both deserve each other.”
“You’re still dead,” she hisses at Paul, before turning to Miranda, “and you can go to hell!”
Key questions: Who would win in a battle of bitchy barbs between April and Elizabeth? Do you think the worst is over, or is Miranda going to reveal the whole faked death so April has to forefit the insurance money and lose her store? And what can Dashing Richard do next week to help distract April from these nuclear-level shenanigans?
OK, for the EIGHTH straight week, I’ve passed the 1,000-word count on an article about FREAKIN’ MISTRESSES! Let me turn it over to you: What’d you think of the show this week? What key questions do you have? Sound off in the comments! And follow me on Twitter for all my recaps, commentary and exclusive clips!Follow @MichaelSlezakTV