‘Real Housewives of Atlanta’ recap season 12, episode 14: NeNe apology tour

Originally posted Monday, February 17, 2020 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The long and complicated relationship between NeNe Leakes and Cynthia Bailey hit rock bottom this season. They were once besties. But situations that seemed relatively minor turned into cataclysms.

Cynthia in public called NeNe “toxic.” NeNe called Cynthia “weak” and “desperate.”

The two met in this epiosde for another attempt at rapprochement, this time at Cynthia’s Wine Cellar.

This is one of the longest single one-on-one scenes that “Real Housewives of Atlanta” has ever aired but there’s good reason. This is arguably the deepest, most meaningful friendship in the show’s 12-season history. (Remember Cynthia’s friend contract? The show re-played that wackadoodle season 2 moment.)

Cynthia first explained why she called NeNe “toxic.” When NeNe is a great friend, she can truly be there. But when she’s not, she could become shut off and is willing to “throw people away.”

She even said “toxic my have been a little strong.” But Ultimately, Cynthia, who is by far the more mature one, said she didn’t want to go back and forth over what they specifically said to each other, that they could both agree they were hurtful. (In other words, Cynthia wasn’t seeking NeNe’s explanation or apology for saying she was “weak” and “desperate.”)

But NeNe has a difficult time being humble and meeting in the middle. Her ego is far more fragile than Cynthia’s. 

She could have said, “You’re right. Where can we go from here?” 

Instead, she said: “I think you said a whole lot more than I said.”

Cynthia says, “It might have been like 50/50.”

NeNe says Cynthia said a whole lot more before NeNe went public. 

That may be true, but if NeNe truly cared to reconcile, she’d just let it go and move on. But forgiveness is not one of her strong suits. 

She then accuses Cynthia of doing “stuff” (unspecified) in which she places the blame on NeNe when it was actually Cynthia. 

The two former friends hit a roadblock. Rapprochement? It isn’t happening. So NeNe walks out.

“Typical NeNe. She always walks out when things get too real or when she’s being confronted with the truth,” Cynthia says. “I always have to chase after her like I’m Forrest Gump or somebody.”

Bingo. 

So of course, Cynthia chases after her outside like she’s Forrest Gump. “You don’t understand how you made me feel,” NeNe says, crying.

Cynthia: “I know that I hurt you... I am sorry.”

NeNe hates that Cynthia made her look like a bad person. (Cynthia was calling her out for her behavior but I can’t imagine Cynthia would ever say she is a bad person.)

“I’m not trying to be a bad friend,” NeNe says.

NeNe breaks down and Cynthia hugs her.

“NeNe is struggling to have any accountability or own any of this” Cynthia said. “I have to take the high road because if I don’t take the high road, we won’t get onto any road to any kind of closure.”

After Cynthia sincerely apologizes for hurting her, NeNe - defenses finally down - apologizes for going after Cynthia. “I don’t want to hurt you,” NeNe says. “That’s real.” 

Cynthia says she was shocked when NeNe turned against her, that her “ride or die” didn’t want to ride anymore. “Life is too short,” she says, referencing Gregg’s cancer scare. 

“I’m always going to have love for her and wish her well,” Cynthia adds, whether they are friends or not. 

Will they be best friends again? Not likely. But NeNe really seems to want something

***

In other story lines, Cynthia and Kenya Moore made up over Kenya placing Cynthia in the Tonya Sams mess last week. 

“I was mad. I shouldn’t have brought you into it. I did throw you under the bus,” Kenya said. “I felt blindsided and should have known about this.” 

That was that. 

Then we have NeNe’s “jungle”-themed party.

Cynthia shows up first with Eva Marcille, who is eight months pregnant and starts having contractions. 

Kandi Burruss calls Eva’s doctor - “Married to Medicine” star Dr. Jackie Walters, who tells her to go to Northside Hospital. Eva resists because it’s too early, but the ladies insist. Cynthia drives her.

Tanya, Kenya and Kandi remain, awaiting NeNe. NeNe is late to her own party, set to start at 3 p.m. At 3:07 p.m., Kenya leaves. NeNe arrives at 4:22 p.m., an hour and 22 minutes late. Yes, an hour and 22 minutes late - to her own party! 

But then a bunch of other ladies Kandi barely recognizes or not recognizes at all show up. (The whole thing seemed a bit staged but that happens on this show.)

NeNe explains she does these “leopard” brunches with entrepreneurial women but this is the first time she invited the “Housewives.” 

Porsha Williams shows up two hours late and there is some tension but not arguments. 

No real issues are discussed. 

NeNe does talk a lot about “sisterhood.” Kandi is skeptical: “This is the fakest sisterhood I’ve ever seen in my life.”

TRAILER: Cynthia insists Mike and she have counseling because “we don’t know how to argue.” Marc Daly defends NeNe over his own wife Kenya because he’s that guy. And there’s an argument between Kenya and Porsha. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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