Git ‘er done!
All six cast members converged on a sound stage in New York—not Dallas, for some reason—where Wendy Williams was playing ringmaster. (Brayden, James’ scene-stealing cohort whose primary role was to gasp in shock at the cast’s antics, was shamefully not invited to participate.) Wendy’s hosted two contentious A-List: New York reunions, so she knows exactly what buttons to push with this crew. And she is having none of their tomfoolery. Right from the jump she advises the group—with a wary eye on James and Phillip—that if they’re gonna fling their drinks to aim them at the camera crew because she is working a brand-new wig. A girl must have her priorities!
Each castmate receives his own personalized clip package summarizing ten episodes of quips, catfights, crying jags and assorted moments of bad and/or embarrassing behavior. Taylor the Terrible, the most polarizing and gossiped-about, is saved for last. He sits through the first 45 minutes with a glacially cool expression on his face and says virtually nothing, even as Wendy cues up a segment devoted specifically to his poisonous love triangle with Cowboy Levi and Chase of the Swooping Hair. This has been one of Taylor’s tactics all season: to set off on a gleeful path of destruction and then snootily take the high road when confronted for his bad behavior.
Wendy dubs Taylor “our favorite gay Republican” and notes that the love triangle with Chase and Levi had “no clear victor.” Girl, did you watch the same program as everyone else? Taylor won. Period. His clip package is filled with casual racism, snide put-downs of his friends and bits of his utterly brilliant emotional manipulation of everyone around him. Chase dubs him a “borderline sociopath.” No one disagrees with that sentiment, particularly when the topic of his alleged real-world attacks is raised.
Wendy is initially sympathetic. She gives Taylor room to explain that although he advocates for civil equality for the gay community, he is aligned politically with the GOP in other areas. He says he doesn’t want to be defined by this one issue and Wendy doesn’t press him. She does ask him if he thinks he’s self-loathing, which he flatly denies because he agrees with liberals on social issues related to gays. He also says that conservatives like Ann Coulter are not bigots simply because they don’t share the same views on marriage equality. (No they’re bigots for a million other reasons.)
Wendy notes that he has suffered for openly stating his controversial views. From this point, the group dogpiles on Taylor—and not in the fun way. It turns out that everyone, even Ashley, suspects Taylor staged both incidents when he was attacked—a rock thrown through his living-room window,and a mugging when he surprised a man keying his car outside a nightclub—for media attention. They hound him so insistently that Taylor calls for a smoke break and walks off the set in true Real Housewives fashion.
Except that he doesn’t smoke; it was a ruse to escape filming.
Wendy watches in amazement as a distressed Ashley, ever the meddling do-gooder, jumps up and follows Taylor out onto the streets of Manhattan. She totters after him in her high heels, yelling his name. The ALD producers send a camera crew and a couple of scrambling PAs after them. Could this be…unplanned?
He complains about feeling badgered. Ashley says he has to advocate for himself if these attacks really happened as he claims. This logic apparently gets through to Taylor, who appears to realize that running away would likely raise more suspicion. When he and Ashley take their seats again, the hour is nearly up. He meekly states that the others don’t know what it feels like to be attacked for their beliefs and therefore they should not judge him; cue yet another shot of Chase rolling his eyes.
All of that drama was packed into the final 15 minutes, which was preceded by some fairly tame business peppered with a few moments of hilarity. During the regular season, the show’s producers concocted a storyline for James, with a conclusion suggesting he had given up his partying ways to move to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career with a newly found maturity and sense of purpose. (Can The A List: WeHo be far off?)
Flash forward a few months: James notes that he is auditioning, that he still loves Dallas and that his drinking is under control.
No one believes him.
The situation between Ashley and James is still tense. And although Wendy agrees that Ashley is too caught up in her friend’s drama, she flatly calls out James for being self-centered and unappreciative of Ashley’s efforts to steer him away from a life of drunken iniquity.
James also casually reveals that he and Levi hooked up over the summer.
Everyone is taken aback by the news. Levi flatly denies it, saying they got schnockered one night and that James slept over, but nothing happened. Chase is shocked; Taylor is agog. Wendy keeps prodding and in the span of about a minute, Levi changes his tune and owns up to letting James fuck him.
That’s our Levi, conflict-avoidant to a fault.
*James says he wants more of Levi’s cock despite the ongoing tension in their relationship
*Chase reveals he and Levi slept together that very morning and that he plans to keep going back even though Levi has betrayed him and lied to him
*Even Taylor wants another taste of what Levi’s packing despite having abused and manipulated him and his friends in order to exact revenge on Levi for cheating on him and breaking his heart.
What does Levi have—and can we bottle it? Wendy can do little but express her amazement and move on to the next clip package.
*Wendy celebrates Ashley’s ditzy obliviousness and asks her to explain why she gets along with gay men. “I like colors,” she says. We gays like colors, too. Bless you, Princess Ashley.
*Chase yelps, “Don’t call me a whore, you bitch!” to Phillip at one point.
*To deflect attention from his own questionable behavior, Taylor cruelly references a suicide attempt by Chase when he was younger and facing rejection by his conservative family;
*Levi clearly doesn’t appreciate Wendy making fun of his stuttering laugh
*Ashley obviously still resents James describing her as “a human ankle bracelet” monitoring his every movement.
There’s plenty more, of course. “We are prayin’ for peace, girl,” vows Wendy at the start of the hour—but I’m praying for second season of horndoggery, ostentatious displays of praise for Jeebus, flung drinks and cowboy puns from our Lone Star homos.