As promised, the The Real Housewives of New Jersey Season 13 Reunion special started with a lot of boiling anger.
For parts of this season, Teresa Giudice and Melissa Gorga at least went through the motions of polite loathing.
At the Reunion, they were glaring daggers at each other. If they’d had them on hand, they might have been throwing them.
Then, Teresa came out and said it — accusing Melissa of being behind her incarceration.
A while before Teresa leveled this stunning and fairly serious accusation, they were on another contentious topic.
(We say “fairly serious” because even in the unlikely event that Melissa and Joe Gorga called up authorities to report Teresa and her ex-husband for fraud … not everyone would see them as the bad guys)
This time, Tre and Melissa were clashing about younger family.
After Teresa defended accusing Melissa’s daughter of not supporting her own children, Melissa was unhappy.
At that point, Teresa claimed that she wasn’t the one who’d dragged the nieces into it.
She said that Melissa had done so.
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
Melissa emphasized that she loves her nieces and, even if they seem to dislike her pretty openly, she never spoke ill of them.
So Teresa brought up Melissa’s podcast, Melissa Gorga On Display, where the Gorgas discussed how they had once been there for their nieces when Teresa could not be.
The Reunion then played a short burst of audio, discussing “putting food on the table” for Teresa’s kids when she was unable to.
Teresa objected to this.
So Melissa then explained what they meant.
“Putting food on the table” is not always a literal statement.
She highlighted ways that she and her husband had helped their four nieces, including Joe taking Gia to college.
Melissa reminded Teresa that, at the time, they were cool.
Gesturing with her Reunion Talons, Teresa claimed that she was the one who “made it” cool when she got out of prison.
This spawned another heated debate.
They argued over how often Joe visited Teresa in prison, whether Teresa herself caused this.
The thing is that the whole prison visitation thing isn’t interesting to anyone but them.
In fact, as the conflict between the two of them went on, some of their castmates were openly bored.
We saw Dolores Catania wish that she were somewhere else. Danielle Cabral quietly confided in her that she was having fantasies about Shake Shack.
Yes, there was a time when they both had each other’s back.
Now, they don’t.
There are many interesting, engaging parts of their feud. But this part isn’t it. It’s not even entertaining, and the words that they were yelling at each other stopped being interesting.
We swear that it was tangentially related, but Jennifer Aydin had a watch party for the Season 13 premiere.
Laura, the ex-bestie of Margaret Josephs, attended.
Jennifer was not subtle about having invited Laura purely to be shady about it.
And Margaret, as always, was very direct about expressing her feelings.
(Seriously, what would this show be without Margaret?)
When things moved back to Teresa and Melissa, Teresa accused Melissa of only being interesting in the capacity of their feud.
When Melissa hit back with the same accusation, Teresa began to list things that she had done.
She listed having a child on the show. She listed getting married on the show.
And Teresa also listed having gone to prison. Which … was an odd boast.
Teresa’s list invited some deeply sarcastic clapping from Melissa.
She was highlighting that Teresa seemed to be bragging about her erstwhile incarceration.
But speaking of her time behind bars. …
Eager to continue to rehash the past, Teresa doubles down.
Remember, the Reunion is supposed to focus on Season 13.
But in Teresa’s mind, this is just part of a war that she’s been waging for a very long time.
Meanwhile, poor Andy was just miserable.
The editors really had a lot of fun with this one, showing a lot of off-topic whispered lines and zooming in on Andy’s weary expressions.
We’ve seen more formal Reunions. This was not one — not in the editing booth, anyway.
Then, Teresa began claiming that she knows that Teresa and Joe allegedly did behind her back.
Her source? Her old enemy, Jacqueline Laurita.
That absurdity stirred Andy out of his would-be slumber.
He found it as ridiculous as the rest of us that Teresa would trust Jacqueline … at all.
(Remember, there was a time when Teresa and Melissa were getting along very well. At that time, Jacqueline was their foe)
As Teresa began to hurl accusations, Melissa and Margaret noted that this was just like when Teresa accused Carolina Manzo of putting her behind bars.
But Teresa said that she would now like to retract that allegation.
Instead, she has a new suspect.
Teresa claimed that Melissa was the one who put her behind bars. And she’s apparently taking Jacqueline’s word on that.
While Rachel Fuda gasped, Margaret simply showed her exasperation.
We’ll see more of this mess at the Reunion Part 2.
For now, we’re left with the emotional aftermath of that accusation. A lot of fans remain divided between Team Melissa and Team Teresa.