Hey everybody. It’s time we finally address the lingering mystery of this season of Southern Charm. I’ve mentioned it once or twice before, but it’s high time we get to the bottom of this. What is the deal with Craig’s fingernail? He has had a single fingernail painted purple this entire season, and no one has mentioned it once. On this show where everyone scrutinizes every minor action of those around them, no one has asked about the nail.
Is it a subtle message to a specific viewer, like Carol Burnette tugging at her ear? Is he just trying to be fashionable? Or maybe he’s just trying to drive me insane. It’s just such a specific, yet new thing about this season that hasn’t been addressed.
So as we recap this season’s penultimate episode, I want you to reach out to Craig in any way you can and try to get an answer. Hell is not knowing.
We start things out this week with Chelsea and her dad. I don’t know much about Chelsea’s dad, but I bet if you buy him a round, he’ll tell you a great personal anecdote about the band Bad Company. The movie Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man is partially based on his life. What I’m saying is, he seems like the type of guy who would show you his missing toe and joke, “I didn’t lose it. I know where it is. It’s just not on my foot anymore.”
After Madison accused everyone of being riddled with chlamydia on the Colorado trip, Chelsea is having second thoughts about opening a salon with her. She tells her dad that even great friends can turn against each other after going into business together. Her dad replies by saying this has happened to him multiple times. He doesn’t go into any more detail than this. He just stares off into the horizon and says some awesome shit like, “If you can do it on your own, you need to do it on your own.”
Incredible, this man.
Jumping over to Kathryn’s apartment, we see the arrival of Danni. Also, we see that Kathryn’s walls are lined with giant portraits of herself. Not, like, herself and her children or anything like that. Just massive, black-and-white portraits of herself in a turtleneck like she’s Steve Jobs or Derek Zoolander. Anyway, Kathryn is in love with a musician in Nashville. It is what it is.
The important part of this scene is that Kathryn receives a group text from Eliza, informing her that the long-awaited fox hunt is finally afoot. Two points about this text: First, Eliza has sent out a group text with 11 people in it. This is an act of terrorism. The only time I want to be on an 11-person group message is if I’m organizing a football team made up of the Avengers.
Second, Patricia responded, “I’m in Poland … don’t know if I’m back by then … is Ashley coming??” Abuses of punctuation aside, you have to appreciate someone who isn’t aware enough to know when they’ll be back from Europe, but is certain that they don’t want to hunt foxes with Ashley.
Speaking of Ashley, she continues her goodwill tour of ambushing individuals on the show. This time, she surprises Eliza while she’s manning the front desk at her family’s hotel. Ashley is still looking for ways to infiltrate Kathryn’s social circle. Cut to: Ashley looking up a Bible verse about Peter being forgiven. Second only to the work of the late Portuguese writer and Nobel Prize-winner José Saramago, Eliza googling scripture on her phone to determine invites for her fox hunt is my favorite modern work of religious satire.
Jumping ahead, we join Shep and Cameran for dinner. The due diligence report on the cursed bog land on which Shep hopes to build a home has been completed. I’m predicting a real Poltergeist situation. Shep summarizes the report by saying, “It’s going to be challenging.”
That said, I would totally watch a show where Shep lives in a house for a few months as it slowly sinks into the marsh. They could call it This Mold House, where every room’s a mud room.
The conversation soon turns to Austen and Madison’s relationship and how Shep is done with the two of them. This ends with Shep revealing that last Valentine’s Day, Austen spelled out “Butt Stuff” in rose petals and Madison was game. I know what this sounds like, but I like to think Madison invited their friend “Peg” over the play, if you know what I mean. Maybe rode bareback on Pegasus, if you catch my drift. Scored four touchdowns in one game with Peggy Bundy. I think you get it.
Finally, the big day of the fox hunt has arrived. Preparations are underway at Eliza’s … sigh … family plantation. Donning her riding apparel, Eliza struggles with tying some manner of tie. Suddenly, in the distance, we hear a woman offer some assistance. Then we are treated to the best on-screen title in the history of Southern Charm: Nina, Eliza’s Aunt/Master of Hounds.
Oh, I see. Nina is the hound master. But wait. We then see Eliza’s other aunt, Melinda, who is also labeled Master of Hounds. Who here is mastering these hounds? If one hound master tells the hounds they can’t do something, can they go to the other hound master to get their way? What amount of hounds must one have before they consider naming a master of hounds? I have so many questions, and zero concern if I never receive any answers.
After naming her hand of the king, wait, I mean huntsman, Eliza is ready to ride off. Here is the thing: Are they really going to kill a fox? Is that still a thing that’s done in modern fox hunting? If so, that’s bad. If you do that, maybe next you can go bear baiting or see how many kittens she can throw into a river at once.
Thankfully, Eliza says today’s hunt will be a mock hunt. I don’t know if this implies that mounted gangs of drunken aristocrats still race around until they watch a pack of dogs rips a fox apart, but I’m happy this isn’t part of the social event she arranged.
To give you an idea of what is happening here, most of the cast is in a wagon full of alcohol being pulled by a pickup truck as they watch riders follow hounds trailing a fake fox scent. Craig, rightfully so, states that this is all dumb. If this were another show, this whole farce could be interpreted as some symbolic satirization of old money in the South. Instead it is so many layers of nothingness stacked on top of each other like a trifle made of pointlessness.
Eventually Kathryn arrives. Her hair is braided, so Ashley immediately begins sniggering to her friend and calling Kathryn “Pippi Longstocking.” Moments later, Ashley pulls Kathryn aside for a heart-to-heart. She apologizes for all the inappropriate things she said about Kathryn’s parenting. Ashley even goes as far as to say she was Kathryn’s biggest fan. Kathryn refuses to absolve Ashley, but does thank her for offering some sort of apology.
The two then rush back to their separate friend groups and immediately begin shit-talking the other person. Good job. We made some real breakthroughs here today. See you next week for the season finale. Love Best of Charleston? Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.
Featured Local Savings
Love Best of Charleston?
Help the Charleston City Paper keep Best of Charleston going every year with a donation. Or sign up to become a member of the Charleston City Paper club.