The giddy makeover scene is a staple of any good romantic comedy. But add Mistresses‘ Karen Kim (currently working on her Masters degree in “Gurrrrl, Please!”), some medical-grade marijuana and a married couple that puts the “eek!” in freaky and you’ll find yourself clutching a pillow like that doll from The Conjuring just rang your doorbell.
Indeed, by the end of this week’s episode, “Into the Woods,” I was hollering at my screen as if Karen was running up a flight of stairs instead of out the door — with a masked intruder at her heels.
OK, OK, so maybe Hot Beaded Doc and Fragile Flower in Bloom don’t mean any harm to Our Lady of Fascinating Disasters, but this situation (TV-MA… may be unsuitable for children under 17) can’t end well, can it? As my mother always says about three-ways, “There’s always one half of the couple who wants it more than the other, and that’s where the trouble begins.” (Yes, my mom actually said that — she is to real talk what that nasty bartender wench at Wunderbar is to sabotage.)
Not only do we have Karen engaging in a ménage-a-GAH! this week, but we’ve also got April getting her groove back (not a reference to that lumberjack fantasy sequence — though that didn’t hurt); Calista pulling a Cher-in-Moonstruck (though with less romantic results); and Joss beginning to overanalyze every one of Harry’s moves (except for his horizontal mambo). So with that said, let’s recap what happened with each of our main ladies — while posing key questions about their decisions and behaviors.
APRIL | Our put-upon mom gets called to the principal’s office — where she finds Olivia Pope’s duplicitous boyfriend (Brian White) is playing the role of concerned principal. Lucy, still reeling from the news her presumed-dead father was alive for years — but now for-real, for-real dead at the hands of drug dealers — is at risk of losing her scholarship due to plummeting grades. So, Principal Blair (without mentioning he’ll be showing off his glistening torso while chopping firewood in a forest clearing) suggests the school’s upcoming character-building camping expedition as a way to restore some trust. Lucy proves to be a total “headphones, makeup, attitude” nightmare — which leads April to lament the collapse of their friendship. “I don’t think Lucy needs you to be a friend right now,” offers Blair, who’s not only hot as a glassblower’s oven, but damned astute, too. You see, he’s a single parent, too (his wife passed away five years ago) and sometimes kids need to know mom or dad is in total control, he offers. And thus, after Lucy disappears with a pal to smoke cigs in a protected part of the woods — felony alert! — April finally shows her daughter the world-class backbone she’s shown to every liar, cheater and Florida swamp-dweller who’s crossed her path for the last two seasons. Bring back the cute little moppet of Season 1 — and send her eyeliner back to the Walgreens from whence it came! (While you’re the drug store, April, stock up on some prophylactics, ’cause damn you need to “paint a new canvas” with the new hunk in your orbit!)
CALISTA | Calista is thisclose to mirroring the all-too-sad reality of the Affleck-Garner marriage and calling it quits on her 10th anniversary, but Luca is all, “Baby I’m a changed man. Remember how good it used to be? Can I take you to dinner?” Joss’ initial response to her new pal’s softening heart is the correct one — “He cheated on you with Twiggy!” — but Calista can still remember how Luca stole a care and hocked it to provide seed money for their eventual fashion empire. And thus, she finds herself decked out in an electrifying blue dress and eyeing her man the way Tim Gunn eyes a perfect hem. That is until Luca gives her a necklace — followed by a slide show introducing Calista to his proposed line of jewelry (“Accessories by Luca”) to be sold under the Calista Raines brand. There’s no putting a positive spin on the guy’s actions — it’d be like having your heart surgeon ask you to buy something from her kid’s grade-school candle fundraiser right before you go under the knife — and Calista tosses a drink in his rat-fink face. Back at home, though, he’s not taking a hint from the way Calista has put everything he owns in a box to the left (so to speak) and he pushes her against a wall, refuses to let their relationship end. She slaps him, then she pulls him in for a kiss, and before you know it they’re basking in the warm afterglow of pillow talk. “I’d like to start over,” he says. “I thought we just did,” she coos back, completely forgetting this is the man who drove her to an all-day stakeout in an SUV just a few weeks prior. This Calista is a lot of fun, methinks, but self-preservation may not be her strong suit.
JOSS | Speaking of afterglow, Joss and Harry pick up the morning after their “Less Talk, More (Bedroom) Action” Summer 2015 Consummation Extravaganza! Everything’s rosy, everything’s jake, until she asks him where he’d say they are. “Happy,” he shoots back — activating all of Joss’ internal alarms that she lost her sister forever just to casually date her sister’s ex-husband. Karen and April talk her off the ledge — and Joss is reassured when a house-hunting Harry implies maybe they should be shopping together — but when he backs away from her dream home, those old doubts creep back in. The seas begin to calm when Harry shoots Joss a text — “Hey, we should talk” — but the Kraken suddenly rises up from the surf (that’d be Niko the
Bartender Terrible) and she deletes Joss’ reply, “I’m so sorry. Can I come over?” And as we all know, there’s nothing worse than a conciliatory text left hanging. Methinks there’s a long, sleepless, spiraling night ahead for our star-crossed lovers. Somewhere, in Italy, Savi is rubbing her hands together and purring like a satisfied kitty. (In other news, Lucy’s “Uncle Mark” gets a job as a bartender at Wunderbar and seems poised to become Harry’s new BFF — albeit a BFF who, to our great concern, did not reveal that he’s an alcoholic in recovery.)
KAREN | Karen gets an unexpected visit from her new pal Vivian, who’s all frantic because she figured out her hot hubby cancelled his appointments a few days back and never informed her of his whereabouts. Ohhhhh… says the look on Karen’s face, and then she confesses Alec was at her bedside, helping her recover from the marrow donation that might save Vivian’s life. It seems like a perfectly logical explanation — especially, since as Karen tells her pals later, it was “perfectly chaste!” — but Vivian flees the scene, practically in tears. This is the kind of messy drama that might make a logical person take a step back, review whether or not this friendship is worth maintaining, but Karen (after close-talker Alec wipes lint off her jacket and tells her she looks good) drives right over to Vivian’s — without so much as a “Lady, I’m coming over” text! There, Vivian reveals her illness has put the kibosh on hers and Alec’s sex life — “I’m a porcelain thing he’s afraid to break!” — but little does she know Karen spent half of Season 2 living out (what I imagine is) the central plotline of Emmanuelle 7. And so Karen helps Vivian purchase a hot dress, sexy lingerie, new makeup, which they try on over some heavy-duty marijuana. Soon, Karen is holding Vivian’s face in her hands, tousling her hair, confessing she’s had affairs with two married men (though conveniently leaving out she also did the nasty with one of those men’s sons, who then died at the hands of his mentally imbalanced mother).
“You’re afraid you’re attracted to my husband. You’re pushing us together so you don’t pull us apart,” says Vivian, but she’s not mad — she’s (yowza) seriously turned on by the scenario. (You see where this is going, yes?) When Alec finally comes home, he doesn’t see the surge of sexy — he just wants to know if Vivian’s taken her meds. And so Vivian — dying to be seen as something other than a patient — plants one on Karen, and after a little jolt of surprise, Karen closes her eyes and kisses back. Alex looks shocked — but not exactly unhappy — and promptly tastes Karen’s lip gloss on his wife’s mouth. Karen smiles and heads for the exit, but Vivian grabs her arm. “Don’t go,” she sighs softly, as Karen forgets the church hat in her closet and begins to remember the call-girl wigs she’s got in her attic — and Mistresses being Mistresses, I think we can assume she won’t be humming “One is the loneliest number” in the morning. Yes, it’s another terrible life decision from Dr. Kim — but if I wanted to see women making huge emotional strides, I’d watch Iyanla videos on YouTube, K?
What did you think of this week’s Mistresses? Are you concerned about Karen? Enraged or delighted by Niko? And what to make of that principal taking off his shirt during a student trip? Sound off with your opinions in the comments!