In a series well known for playing up the drama, it was anybody's guess how the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills would handle the show's return after last month's shocking suicide.
You could almost say it felt like two entirely different episodes aired last night. The first concentrated on the recent, terrible tragedy with a heartfelt roundtable, then somewhat abruptly return to the light, always-enjoyable drama of a brand-new season.
To open, the entire cast gathers at Adrienne Maloof's for an emotional reunion sans Taylor to reflect on Russell's unexpected death. "We all think that we know somebody and then this sort of thing happens," Adrienne muses. "I don't think any of us saw any sign of this."
Taylor had filed for divorce just days before Russell hanged himself, which led many to express their concern over feelings of guilt she may now carry. "It was his choice," Kyle stresses. "There are plenty of men that you know, their wives leave them and they don't kill themselves. She cannot feel responsible for that. Nobody can."
Although slow to break into the difficult conversation, most would soon come out of their apparent shock to discuss what could have possessed Russell to take his own life. Usually one to keep to himself, Kyle's husband Mauricio jumps in, giving a much-needed perspective from the husbands. "Personally I've gone through a lot of different emotions," he starts. "I've gone from feeling really sad to watching Taylor and all of their daughter's struggles and what she's been going through. At times I've felt very angry, wanting to think it's a very selfish act."
As the show returns to a world before Russell's suicide, the rocky element of Taylor's troubled marriage is touched upon during a scene at Adrienne's lavish dinner party. Russell is a no-show that night, and Taylor confides with the group that they're exploring therapy to fix the issues they're dealing with. Lisa's husband Ken makes an off-hand yet dismissive comment regarding marriage counseling which immediately sends Taylor to the bathroom in near tears.
Despite a heavy start, the drama soon returns to the light entertainment we're used to as a surprising rivalry begins to brew between little Giggy and Adrienne's new pooch, Jackpot.
Catch an all-new episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills next Monday on Bravo.