Southern Charm ended with a bit of a whimper. And by whimper, I’m referring to Thomas Ravenel and his shocking tears of vulnerability.
The whole season turned out to be a half-baked Shakespearean comedy with sexual intrigue, buffoonery, and that green-eyed monster — envy. Plus we got a big monologue about the Glass Menagerie and it all ended with the happy birth of a baby girl.
Through the course of this comedy we watched T-Rav transform from a deluded dolt and political pariah into a man capable of genuine love and emotion and perhaps even a viable candidate. Color me shocked. Of course, this is probably the most boring Shakespearean play we’ve ever seen, but the character of Thomas Ravenel came out a winner in the end. And you probably don’t believe me if you didn’t watch the show.
In the beginning, he was a buffoonish playboy, deluded by his own awesomeness. His chorus of friends spent most of their time trying to get him to see himself for what he truly is, a 50-year-old man in need of stability, honesty, and an age-appropriate wife. Enter Kathryn Dennis, a fire-haired vixen looking to entrap him in her web of lies — and what? Steal his money? Her motives remain unclear as she jumps into bed with three different men in the course of three weeks. While she admits to boinking Shep, she’s much less eager to ’fess up to getting boned by Whitney because, well, he’s Whitney. A cover-up ensues as T-Rav rends his garments, gnashes his teeth, and runs to the church to get some perspective on his star-crossed love affair.
It’s all about keeping your head in moments of passion, the man of God tells him, and T-Rav wrestles with his emotions as he admits that an impossible 29-year age difference isn’t something he has ever had to deal with. And he knows in ten years, he’ll be 60 and she’ll be 30. That’s a big yawning gap and there might not be enough Viagra in the world to fill it. The preacher says as much: “You don’t want to grow old and have this young woman you can’t stay up — keep up — with.” (Thomas’ response: “Oh I keep up pretty good.”)
Still conflicted, T-Rav waits on Kathryn to get ready for Whitney’s Fourth of July party and is taken aback that she has no problem going to Whitney’s house. Indeed, as Whitney and Thomas discussed up at Shep’s cabin, today’s young women are liberated from the shame once heaped upon them for acting on sexual appetites. “Women these days are like us,” says T-Rav. “They’re like men.”
And to his credit, Thomas refuses to judge Kathryn based on outmoded forms of social propriety, which is some seriously progressive shit for a Ravenel man born and raised in a place ruled by ancient mores. Instead, he is more concerned with questions of character. He’s disappointed that she’s blatantly lied to his face. He understands mistakes. He understands moments of weakness. But he demands honesty. And I have to admit, I fell in love with him a little bit myself when he proved to be loving and caring even in moments of pain and anger. What the hell is happening here!? (Credit goes to Bravo for some expert editing and storytelling.)
He also keeps his sense of humor after dropping a Bobsey twins reference on young Kathryn. That’s a 60s reference he tells her, and she asks, “Were you born in the 60s? What year?”
“Never mind,” he laughs and walks away.
In his confessional, T-Rav shows just how clear his perspective on this age matter is: “I’m really torn. I have this bond. We’ve been through a lot in a short period of time. She’s made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes. Perhaps I’m too old to take that ride with her.”
It’s hard to throw shade at that, people.
Later at the party, Whitney thinks breaking up with Kathryn is a no-brainer and is surprised that T-Rav is still with her. “It’s an easy out,” Whitney tells Thomas.
But it’s not so easy for Thomas. You see, he truly loves this girl. Sure, it’s been barely a month since they first hooked up, but this is Shakespearean stuff here. Romeo and Juliet fell in love at first sight, for crying out loud. True love strikes hard, and when it does, the people hit by it have a hard time believing that what they feel is wrong. The fact that Thomas can actually take a moment to analyze the situation, despite his feelings, proves he’s not as dumb and reckless as we have been led to believe.
The party ends with fireworks, but the explosive conclusion still awaits us. Thomas must speak with Kathryn in person. He breaks it down for her in a gut-wrenching dialogue:
T-Rav: “I just want to tell you that I love you. I respect you and I’ll do anything for you. And I just think that no matter how much you love somebody, no matter how much chemistry, sometimes it’s not enough. We’re in different times. Different places. I’m 29 years older.”
Kathryn: “You’re just afraid.”
T-Rav: “This can’t last. I’m an old man.”
Kathryn: “It doesn’t matter. I told you that never mattered. We’re in love. How is it not meant to be that way?”
T-Rav: “I don’t trust the situation. It’s not natural. I was in fantasyland and I wanted it to last forever. But I can’t live in a fantasy world anymore. I’m sorry.”
Kathryn gathers her stuff up and gets in her car to leave. He chases after her, hugs her, and cries, “I love you.”
She says, “I wish you the best. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”
He walks back to the house audibly sobbing. I mean, this is heartbreaking. This is as bad as Romeo drinking the poison when he mistakenly believes Juliet to be dead.
Fade to black and then “9 months later” appears on the sceen. Kathryn and T-Rav are snuggling their newborn baby daughter, and it’s quite possibly the perfect ending to Southern Charm. The star-crossed lovers have beat all odds, overcome disapproving friends, and made a happy family. In the last scene, T-Rav coos to his baby: “I love my baby girl. Yes I do.” And suddenly, all feels right in the world.