Hey everybody. As the cast of Southern Charm ventures out to the snow-capped mountains this episode, let’s start things out by talking about chilly, chili, and the impossibility of understanding one another.

Lately, I’ve been teaching English to a lot of students who are new to America. I consider this an actual honor because these families chose to share this country with me and picked me to share my convoluted, bastard tongue with them. It feels important. It feels very American.

One peculiar problem I’ve noticed as of late is that across the board, students continue to relate the word “chilly” to warmth and fire. I realized that they were thinking of the word “chili” and the spice and heat associated with the food they had enjoyed. This makes sense. “Chilly” and “chill” are abstract concepts as it relates to low temperatures. Chili on the other hand. Well, you know about chili.

Anyway, what I’m getting at and hoping to illustrate is that it’s incredibly easy for two people to arrive at completely opposite perspectives on something that seemed so self-evident. And in terms of Southern Charm, even if you’re at the same destination, you’re always coming from separate places.

We open things up with Shep standing in an untamed stretch of coastal land. He is alone, save for some tires, an abandoned motorboat, and the secrets of the last man who crossed him. Cameran arrives, and we soon learn that Shep has purchased this 3.5-acre property for $900,000. He does not mention if the tires were included.

Cameran says she would never buy this land. As she cautiously avoids the encroaching high tide, Cameran asks about flood. If you want to know what the floodplain is for Charleston, grab a map of the area and then see how quickly you can refold it while taking a shower. The ocean is coming to reclaim what it once possessed. People are actually growing massive tracts of seaweed to serve as a potential dietary staple for humanity after all other options become unsustainable. Shep isn’t merely rearranging furniture on the Titanic. He’s reserving another night’s passage.
Next we join Naomie and her boyfriend, Metul, for lunch. They are identically dressed, which we’ll all say is fine. Why not? It’s unlikely that anyone is trying to Single White Female anyone in this situation.

Metul starts lunch out by telling Naomie that she can’t have a cookie. He then points at all the desserts and says the word “Diabetes” over and over again because he is so fun.
Things quickly devolve as Naomie recaps the events of last week’s episode and reveals that she and Craig had a great time talking. Nonplussed that Naomie was having some sweet hangs with her ex, Metul eventually says something so on the nose, that I’m just going to quote him directly: “I just don’t understand people that gossip that much or, like, feed off of drama.”

So Metul clearly doesn’t know that he’s on this show, right? Like, can he not see the cameras? You know how babies never know to look at cameras, and then they learn? Maybe Metul never learned and just doesn’t notice that they’re there. Dr. Spock (the pediatrician, not the Vulcan) has probably written about this phenomenon at length.
Speaking of early life development, Craig and his roommate receive a visit from an old college friend named Jerry. Jerry and the roommate immediately begin making fun of Craig’s sewing. Isn’t it cool how all of Craig’s closest friends mock him endlessly about the one harmless thing he enjoys?

To make matters worse, Craig retrieves one of the first pillows he created while going through his breakup with Naomie. It is light pink with the name Penelope embroidered on it. There’s a tiny pocket that Craig explains is for a child’s first lost tooth. Jerry asks who Penelope is. That was the name, Craig says, of the little girl he and Naomie will never have.  This is the reality TV equivalent of that Hemingway baby shoes short story. This mess is bleak.

Conducting what seems to be his own intervention, Craig then reveals that he has over one hundred unfulfilled pillow orders, all selling for $74 a piece. He just hasn’t made them. Probably because he’s too busy crafting artifacts from a non-existent child.

Jerry offers to use his business connections to facilitate the production of Craig’s pillows, but, I don’t know, maybe ask him if he’s OK. This is a great example of that whole men loving to solve problems, but they are the straightforward problems, like pillow manufacturing, but they completely overlook the root of everything that is wrong. You can make all of Craig’s pillows, but maybe dig into why he crafted a tooth holder for his unrealized dream daughter.
Moving on to a pair who are willing to have those awkward conversations, maybe to a fault, we find Whitney and Kathryn meeting for a very uncomfortable lunch. Not like they had to eat in a drum, but the social component was less than appealing.

Kathryn asks why Whitney is denying that they went full coit (there it is, T-shirts and stickers still available, proceeds go to charity). Like Peter in the Bible, Whitney denies Kathryn three times. Adding insult, Whitney tells Kathryn that he’s “flattered” that she would spread such a rumor. Awesome. Can’t wait for everyone to go on a ski vacation together.

Speaking of which, it’s finally time for the cast to descend into their snow-covered take on Heart of Darkness as they venture to Colorado. Arriving in Denver at an airport steeped in conspiracy theories, things break down at baggage claim as Craig berates Whitney for a few slight complaints. In response, Chelsea accuses Craig of being drunk, and he vows to never speak to her again. They haven’t even left the airport yet.
This dispute spills out into the bus they chartered. After a bus fight (one of the three worst kinds of fight, right behind funeral and dog) everyone is prepped for a silent ride into the mountains.

After spending hundreds of dollars at a dispensary, our weary band of travelers arrives at the two — yes, two — houses they have rented for the week. A few of the guys who aren’t exhausted from the day go to dinner, while Kathryn and Madison, Austen’s newly ex-girlfriend, enjoy the hot tub.

Upon returning from dinner, Austen and Craig join the hot tub party and someone pulls out a sort of water gun that attaches to Champagne bottles because we are children — wealthy children. Austen clearly gets all hot and bothered after tending to Madison who has had Champagne fired directly into her eyes. They exit the hot tub and retreat to the vacation house, but nothing happens. Austen’s watch may read boner o’clock, but Madison is on Mountain Time.

They step off to bed separately. And so begins this high-altitude game of will-they-won’t-they-and-who-cares-if-they-do.

See you next week. And as they say in Colorado: “Our airports are tributes to the Freemasons, and we’ve weaponized Champagne.”

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