Perhaps no episode in this fifth season of Southern Charm was more appropriately named than this one, called “Game Changer.” While the Hilton Head trip shifted the loyalties of the core group into the Kathryn camp and made them question Thomas’ decision-making, tonight we saw a major move in Patricia’s mind and words as she finally says the words aloud: “gold digger.” And even Thomas seems more comfortable in Kathryn’s company than he does with his Season 5 girlfriend, Ashley Jacobs, as he starts dropping hints that he wants to disentangle and move on.
In real time, fans of Southern Charm know that Patricia Altschul has not only cut all ties with Jacobs, but she no longer has a relationship with Thomas either. Altschul’s son, Whitney (an executive producer on the show), has also ended his friendship with Ravenel, and anyone who follows social media knows that Thomas and company continue to come for a friend of Patricia’s, Luzanne, who hasn’t done anything to anyone and yet is being stalked by the pair. But tonight in the “Game Changer,” we see the last ties disappearing, and ironically, Kathryn is vindicated, and Patricia realizes she made a mistake four years ago siding with Thomas.
Tonight’s episode opened with Shep attempting to make meatballs, and Craig, the one-armed man, back to the sewing machine, or at least trying. Cameran checks in on Shep, but of all friends to drop in to help with meatballs, Cam is not the right girl. But she does point out that Shep has some plumber butt, and that as she sees his tush. She reports that “crack is whack.”
They continue “following the directions” and end up with raw meatballs.
We then travel into town where Patricia is awaiting Thomas’ arrival for a chat, and Michael is getting ready with a medicinal cocktail. She explains that she has made her list for her Winter Wonderland Ball, and the men will wear tails. Thomas talks about giving up polo, but Patricia changes the topic to Thomas’ girlfriend, Jacobs, who came to her last week for advice.
Thomas says there is an imbalance, as he thinks that he gives more and gets less. He said he asks why Ashley says she loves him so much, and she says he is a good provider. Patricia pipes up.
“Which translates into you’ve got money.”
Thomas says he realizes he’s become a sugar daddy.
“Well, no job, no interests, no friends. Hanging out in an apartment that Thomas pays for. The word that comes to mind is ‘gold digger.'”
Thomas wonders if this is what he really wants.
“You are going to need to make a commitment or cut her loose.”
Ravenel’s face says he knows that Patricia is right.
Next, we see Shep on the pier, and Kathryn is approaching, waving. He bought Kathryn’s kids cute T-shirts from Folly Beach, and he bought lunch: corndogs. They get into a conversation about Kathryn going silent. Shep wants to know if Kathryn is going to Thomas’ final ride (spoiler alert, it’s not his last ride).
Kathryn explains her reluctance to going back to Brookland Plantation. After she had Kensie, she moved out there and lived in the basement with the baby alone for a year. Edisto Island is over an hour outside of Charleston and Kathryn explains that she was really alone. Shep offers to be the person she should look for if she gets anxious.
Thomas and Ashley are headed out to his plantation, and the drive is very awkward. Thomas seems to have accepted that Patricia is right and that his girlfriend isn’t around for the right reasons. They sit down in the horse barn to hash things out. Jacobs is talking about how nice the plantation would be for a party, and perhaps a wedding. Ravenel changes the subject and asks for his vest, irking her. Thomas explains that right now, he’s just a sugar daddy, and she doesn’t deny it.
“Maybe we should just call it quits.”
As things are getting set up for the party, back in Charleston, Danni and Kathryn are getting ready and Kathryn is understandably anxious. Shep, Craig, and Austen are the first to arrive and Thomas greets them kitted up in his polo gear. Chelsea and Naomie arrive, and Shep tells Chelsea he will be taking Kathryn to Patricia’s Winter Ball, as she has finally broken through, and Mrs. Altschul is thawing, which is the changing of the game.
Shep makes the mistake of going out on the patio to watch the match, and Jacobs makes her move.
“Thomas and I have to pump the break a little bit. Lately, I have not been happy. I feel alone and isolated.”
Shep is looking around for help, but nobody is coming to his rescue as Ashley keeps talking. Shep raises his hand to stop the talking.
She interrupts him to ask if he would be willing to date her.
“Would you date me if I break up with Thomas?”
In his voiceover, Shep says he thinks Ashley is a sociopath, and he wants to move on so that she stops hitting on him at her boyfriend’s house.
“I’m not a good safe bet.”
She explains she is looking for a reason to stay in South Carolina.
Kathryn and Danni arrive, and Kathryn confronts the ghosts of past relationships and says hello to Thomas. The match ends soon after and J.D. has to tell Ashley to clap with everyone else.
Naomie seems to be wearing her eating pants. The spread of oyster, stone crab claws, and gumbo and biscuits looks awesome. Thomas tells J.D. he looks like “Dubya,” but it’s a bit closer to a character from Dukes of Hazard.
Craig sits down and tells Thomas that Ashley made him uncomfortable at Austen’s beer tasting when she spoke to him in a way that was close to her Shep conversation.
“She said if only you were a few years older, I’d be dating you instead.”
Thomas’ face says everything. He looks done. He looks over toward the house and she is holding court playing lady of the manor.
Next, Kathryn thanks Thomas for the invite and they sit down to talk, and as the conversation winds down, Ravenel quotes Hamlet with a speech from Polonius.
Kathryn says goodbye, and Thomas returns to the house to confront Ashley and let her know this isn’t working for him, but she still has hope.