Iyanla checks in with Jennifer after the “incredible anger work” of the day before. Iyanla tells Jen she has a highly sophisticated defense mechanism, that she has figured out a way to shut down and drop out in stressful situations. She observes that Jen’s anger is “wired up with humiliation” which was what triggered her to be able to talk about it, if not to physically release it. They laugh at the glimpse they have had of Jen’s inner “heinous bitch”. Another day, they will work on forgiving people and moving through the humiliation.
Maureen’s crying on the phone with her daughter Cara. Cara has also been thinking of Joe & Linda, her dead siblings, as a result of the far. They agree nobody in the family has properly grieved their loss.
The women meet in the loft. (I don’t know how many more times I can stand Iyanla’s “Hi ladies, how ya livin’!” Is that a California thing?) She hands out hand mirrors and tells the women to introduce themselves to themselves. She wants them to learn healthy self- talk. She has the women repeat a phrase of forgiveness or desire and each woman has to supply the last word. Maureen has no trouble looking in the mirror but can’t think of anything she likes about herself right now. Iyanla lets her off easy, saying it will take more time to be in touch with, and express, those feelings. Sommer, wearing a cute new outfit, tells her reflection she does not like her confidence. She clarifies that it’s LACK of confidence that she does not like. Then she can’t look at herself, even when Iyanla begs her, “Look at her and ask her – she needs you right now.” Iyanla orders her to make the choice to look in the mirror, and Sommer can’t do it, even to tell herself she’s ok. Iyanla asks what her hope for the future is, and Sommer says “My hope is one day I can look in the freakin’ mirror.” After moving on to Josie, who forgives her reflection for all the mean things she’s said to it, Iyanla dismisses the women and their mirrors, saying “talk to yourselves – just don’t tell anyone I told you to do it!”
Rhonda talks to Maureen about the value of the items that were lost in the fire. Maureen ticks off an impressive list of her collections: Erte’s, Tiffanies, and other important art, along with 5K worth of crystal vases. Rhonda tells her there is a reason why she collected things and for how she feels about losing them – and for Maureen, it’s hard to feel at all.
Jennifer accompanies Sommer to the gym. Marcus asks Jen how she’s doing and she answers him with her mouth full. Marcus notices Sommer has a lot of energy and she tells him she doesn’t at the house, only around him. After a while she does get lightheaded and he suspects it’s because she’s not exercising outside the gym, and still eating badly. They go over her food diary (I would be so tempted to fib in the diary, but she’s honest, bless her!) He marks her naughties with a highlighter and tells her he is going to be watching closely from now on.
Towanda has written a gardening chapter in her biography. She tells Iyanla that as a child, she did help “Mommy” grow vegetables. They talk about getting over the pain of divorce and what it is Towanda’s really angry about. Iyanla asks why forgiveness is so hard, and Towanda repeats it’s because of the pain – but this time she adds the thing she has finally realized is holding her back: judgement.
Maureen, with Rhonda, acknowledges that her collections were substitutions for her losses and children. (yeah but she has such good taste! I wouldn’t begrudge her.) Maureen, sobs that the things she would miss most, and hasn’t found yet, are two Kleenex tissues she had been saving. Right after each one died, she wiped their noses as a last nurturing gesture. (By this time I am weeping too!) Rhonda narrates that Maureen has begun the grieving process – but we’ve already been told 10 times that Mo is always able to cry when she thinks of Joe and Linda.
Iyanla tells Towanda they will now confront the next big chapter – infertility. (Ha! Did I not predict this! I am high-fiving myself!) Even though tests have shown neither she nor Andre has a problem, she has still not conceived.Towanda has been artificially inseminated, and it didn’t work. Those who have been paying attention know exactly what’s coming here – Iyanla tells Towanda her unhappiness has created a “seed of doubt” and ruined her CREATE-ivity. Towanda agrees wholeheartedly. (Apparently the fact that they have been married less than a year has nothing to do with it?) Towanda has come to the realization that she can’t have her father because of her stepmother, and can’t have a baby because of who knows what. Iyanla has her forgive herself for all the things she doubted she could have and for judgements against her father. Then they trace Towanda’s silhouette onto a large mirror. Towanda’s assignment will be to fill in the outline with a garden of positive things.
Rhonda is waiting for Sommer outside and she has brought -yum!- 120 pounds of fat in a big glob. She says Sommer has just been going through the motions and slacking. The women watch from inside and Kim clicks about how disgusting it is. Maureen is nonchalant: “It’s just chicken fat.” (I wonder where she got it. I worked in a chicken plant in college and there’s like 4 ounces of fat that you could actually pull out of a dead bird.) Anyway, they talk about feelings Sommer’s been avoiding. When she was 6, a doctor said she needed to lose 20 pounds but her parents were afraid to make a big deal of it so they did nothing, hoping the problem would fix itself. As a result, she felt rejected, stupid and lonely. Gaining weight is one way to stay invisible. (Ironic, isn’t it? But I can tell you from experience, it’s true. One glance up&down, and you’re dismissed.) All this time, Sommer is shoveling the fat onto the picnic table. She doesn’t want to do anything beyond that and Rhonda taunts her for not wanting to change her destiny. “Damn you,” Sommer sighs, and gets some garbage bags.
Maureen meets with an insurance guy to sort out the fire losses and try to recover some money. She didn’t have anything specifically insured, but he says she can recover damages, especially since the fire was probably her neighbor’s fault. He gives her tips on how to prove she owned some of the stuff, and also how to go about replacing treasured family photos. He reminds her that others may have versions of some of the mementos, even if they’re not duplicates. He shows her his fireproof memory box. It has all his important papers and family treasures. It’s what he and his wife grabbed when they went through an earthquake. Maureen can’t picture herself starting over to fill up a whole box with photos and documents, but he assures her she will get through it.
Sommer finishes loading up a wheelbarrow with fat and Rhonda helps her carry it up the stairs and out to the trashcan. Rhonda narrates Sommer will have to confront her issues in order to heal the wounds. She warns Sommer she does not want to go through all of this only to have her return to her old ways. They wrestle with the sloppy mess and finally get it dumped in. (Now some poor city worker will to deal with a 120 pound trash can full of fat!) Rhonda tells Sommer she will be speaking to Dr. Stan and Iyanla about her, and that Sommer has to do everything they ask from now on.
Towanda is showing her mirror-painting to Iyanla. I am completely creeped out watching this. Towanda is bouncing up and down, grinning like a rictus, flipping her hair and talking baby talk. “Isn’t it preeeeetty?” Iyanla’s thrilled, she says Towanda has changed and so has her song. (I suspect Towanda has simply decided she’s homesick, and is pulling out the stops so they’ll graduate her.)
The women are going out to dinner minus Josie, who has decided she doesn’t want to spend money on food or a sitter. At Frankie’s, the ladies think the waiter Dino is hot, and Sommer, wearing her “Good girls do bad things” shirt, flirts with him. The others tease her for flirting and she goes along with it. The drinks flow and we hear Jen yell “You wanted to get laid!” Towanda and Kim totter away to give Sommer’s phone number to Dino. He indulges them as they do some kind of drunken “mrowwwwr” cat thing. He looks embarrassed, but the receipt comes back with a message on it: “bad boys do good things.” Sommer’s nervous but thrilled, and Towanda sings “you’d better call, you’d better call.”
Maureen calls her daughter and tells her she’s making lists of lost items and what each one meant to her. Cara has found pictures of the living room that might help with the inventory. Maureen’s doing some serious crying now, and this isn’t even about Joe & Linda, so I think the floodgates are open now.
Later in the hot tub, Towanda coaches Sommer on how to behave in case Dino calls. Sommer narrates she’s aware she’s changing as a woman. We hear Towanda say, “you have so much potential.”