So, Bravo must have thought they'd have yet another humdinger of a season finale this year. The setting was perfect (the pool by the Beverly Hilton, which is a lot smaller than it looked on the show). The ladies were all in attendance, most of them with a grudge and tears at the ready. The problem was that everyone's anger was aimed at Lisa (and to a lesser extent her husband Ken) Vanderpump. Guess what? Yeah, didn't work out quite as planned.

Call it good breeding, but this little housewife has always been quick with a witty barb, but slow to get into the muck with her co-stars. The result was a show so restrained, it had to slap some build-up to next week's reunion at the end, just to prove that the women will throw down eventually, given enough booze and a long day under hot lights.

So what went wrong? Well, it depends how you define wrong. One of the things I've always liked about Lisa is that she's seemed capable of holding it together, sometimes taking a step back to roll her eyes at the whininess and overly dramatic shrieking of the other women. When the others finally decided it was time to gang up on her (Yolanda shrieks about how Lisa thinks she's so far above the rest, treating them like her "offing servants"), that didn't change. Lisa stuck to her guns. Okay, there were some tears last week, probably a strategic move to sway Carlton (when in doubt, get the witch on your side). But when the Mean Girls came around, jabbing their fingers in Lisa's face, she kept her voice down and, when it got to be too much, took her toys and went home.

It didn't hurt that none of the complaints being rubbed in her face were new. Kyle needed Lisa to confess to something, anything, if only to prove she's not as perfect as she seems to think she is. It's normal to make mistakes! This sounds like what police say to suspects to coerce them into signing false confessions, but it didn't work. Lisa swears up and down she didn't ask Brandi to take a tabloid magazine about Mauricio's alleged cheating. When Kyle's hounding didn't work, Brandi and Yolanda all took a stab. Whether or not Lisa did it, one thing's pretty clear -- she isn't going to cop to it, ever, even just to make Kyle feel better.

That isn't all, of course. Brandi wanted Lisa to promise she'd make that "whore" Scheana stay locked in a dungeon, washing dishes, whenever Brandi wanted to stop by for a sandwich. Her presence was an insult! A slap in the face! A horrible reminder of her failed marriage! I'm not sure if after all this time Brandi shouldn't just let it go, but at least this gave Brandi to have a break-up conversation with Lisa. I half expected her to say, "Let's see other people, then talk to lawyers." Brandi says she hopes to repair the relationship, but I don't know why. I'm not sure Brandi understands that Lisa has a scorched earth policy to friends who let her down -- even though she's been friendly to Kyle, I would never call them besties. I hope Brandi feels Kyle and Yolanda are suitable replacements for the best friend she dumped.

Yolanda was intent on getting into the mix for no particular reason other than she loves a good fight, and she can't stand anyone walking away from her until she's bludgeoned them to a properly hamburger-like consistency. She and Ken did get into it, with Yolanda insulting him for defending his wife (huh?) and Ken calling her stupid. Ken also didn't take an apology from Kim particularly well, which only made her angrier. Still, he managed to kiss and make up with Mauricio, who's the only one who really matters to him anyway -- after all, he did kind of dismiss the whole tabloid argument as "silly women talk." 

Finally, despite extended prodding, Ken and Lisa left the party, leaving this season's big finale without much of a big ending. Sure, we see all the women getting their lip gloss applied in the make-up room before the reunion stars, and then a montage of screaming and crying, but it was an odd ending to the season.

I have to wonder if Lisa will want to come back next season, though the gig will only drive business to her new bar, Pump (hey, get your gay marriage officiated by Lisa!). If she does, I suspect the producers will try to steer the other housewives away from ganging up on her in the future. While it had to happen sooner or later, we all learned that it doesn't result in the histrionics we expect from this franchise. While we may root for Lisa, the end result is the rest of the cast looks like they're tilting at windmills, screaming into a void. It's the sound of one hand clapping, and I'm pretty sure if there's any applause to be had at the end of this season, whether or not you think she's lying, you've got to give the woman credit for not giving into the glorified verbal mud wrestling the show usually demands. 

Do you think that everyone ganging up on Lisa was fair? Do you think Ken was rude to Yolanda and Kim? Do you think the reunion will be worth watching?