Well, this was a fun one, and much more “typical” Tabs. Some emotional stuff, but it didn’t dominate the ep. I want to remind you that Bravo doesn’t have the ep on their site yet, just a couple of clips and some stills. So there are fewer images from the show than I’d ideally like to include.
Let’s get to it! We open at Beyond Hair Salon in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which is described as a suburb of Philadelphia. I think they mean Cherry Hill, but really all of southern NJ is a suburb of Philly. As is the entire rest of the Eastern Seaboard, for that matter. Because Philly = center of the freakin universe. At least to those of us born/raised there. Fact: my ancestors came over with William Penn (yep, the guy in the statue atop City Hall):
So we’ve been around for a while. Pretty cool, huh? However, I’m still waiting for my statue atop anything. A building. A pedestal. A side table. . . . I’d settle for a Fusilli PennyDreadful.
But it’s a million to one chance I’ll ever get one.
Beyond is not quite the salon its owner, Aisha thinks it is. When Aisha gets the call from Tabs, Tabs asks her what her vision is. Aisha replies upscale, multi-cultural, known internationally, a “brand”. What is that “brand”? People get 3 shampoos. The stylists are “hair doctors”. Tabs comments acerbically that all stylists are – or should be – that. She asks Aisha if the staff live up to the “brand”. Aisha says they’re “maniacs” who don’t follow policy, that they are lazy complainers, and out of control. So you’re BFFs then.
Aisha says she’s 90K in debt, and it’s week by week – one week, staff get paid; one week, bills get paid. She then says that her mother died in October. I’m not sure when this was taped, but I got the impression it had only been a few months. Tabs asks Aisha if she’s prepared to be present, and Aisha says yes.
This bodes well.
Undercover. And here is our first view of the lovely, charming and totally lovable Valerie, the receptionist, doing what she does best: loudly yakking all day on her cell, and ignoring customers. As well as scaring small children. Or is that just me?
Heaven MUST be missing an angel.
We see Monica yelling across the salon. We see stylists bitching in front of clients. Speaking of, we see stylists so overbooked that clients wait 2 hours. Or more.
And we see Val’s competitor in gentility and grace, Nikeyra. She fills shampoo bottles with water. She burns a client’s neck with a flatiron. So employee of the month then. Aisha says she can’t be the “police” and it’s a big salon. First, it’s not that big. Second, yes you are the police because you are the boss. And I think not burning clients is either priority #1 or pretty damn close. At least, it should be.
Totally not concerned about keeping that paycheck.
Tabs is irritated (quelle surprise!) and asks for Aisha’s keys. Aisha gives her every key she has, which makes Tabs ask if she’s supposed to take care of her kids and husband too.
No Tabs, this gal will handle that task quite nicely.
And we’re at the Takeover. The first thing Tabs does is ask Valerie if she’s chewing gum. Val responds with “not no more”. Tabs corrects her grammar and then tells Val no more flip-flops. Val, predictably, argues. Bad move. Bad. Move.
Inspection. The salon is pretty messy and dirty. There’s an odd blue curtain that sections off the so-called VIP area, which is a bench and a camera tripod. That’s the sister bench, I guess, to the one tiny bench in reception. Monica shares that everything is low-budget. Nikeyra’s name comes up and she reveals that she’s been on suspension for 2 weeks. Her whole attitude is “I don’t give a f—”. That’ll get you far with Tabs. She so loves people who don’t care!
Ask yourself: “Do I feel lucky today?”
I was going to caption that with “kicking a-s and taking names”, but then I got to thinking why is that the phrase? When, in the course of an a-s kicking, does anyone actually “take a name”? If you’re so fed up you’re kicking someone’s a-s, don’t you already know their name?
OK, I just Googled it. It’s a Navy Shore Patrol term. So they actually do “take names”. I stand (or sail) corrected.
And BTW, this educational component of the Recap is completely free of charge.
Back to the salon. Inspection finished, Tabs steps outside and shares she doesn’t believe Beyond will ever be a high-end multi-cultural salon. Bursting with optimism, that’s our Tabs.
Commercial. We return to the staff meeting. This is where, as I mentioned in the Minicap, we get Val whinging because closed-toe shoes hurt. Stupid b-tch, don’t you understand people wear closed-toe shoes in salons for safety reasons? In case something like scissors or a curling iron or chemicals drops on their feet? Tabs reminds Val that rules are rules.
The staff discuss Aisha, says she has 2 personalities, and that she’s a b-tch. I think that came from Val (she said it earlier, at any rate). Pot, kettle, have you met? The staff feel the salon isn’t high-end, it’s bougie/ghetto – boughetto. Deanna, the manager, talks about what she’s supposed to do and can’t because Aisha won’t give her any authority. Tabs says they all need to up their game.
Assessment time! Tabs gives feedback to Aisha about a consultation, and that’s rejected. So Aisha’s willing to learn and grow. Lovely! Tabs asks Monica what the “brand” involves and Monica says it’s a way of blowdrying. Tabs asks an assistant to blowdry; she does a good job. Meanwhile, Val is still bitching about those shoes, and Tabs, who is wearing what look like 5″ heels, tells her to suck it up. Val shares that Tabs is wearing “ho-ass shoes” and she, Val, won’t do that. Oh that’s right, you’re so super klassy.
And guys, she’s not taken!
Val attempts to show the assistants how to flatiron, and is rebuffed. Meanwhile, Val is on another personal call. Tabs takes her phone and says no phones on the salon floor. Meanwhile, while Monica did a great job, Aisha is “texturizing” her client’s hair in a way that can only be described as random and amateurish. Tabs tries to ask questions and guide Aisha, but again Aisha has attitude.
Tabs sums up to the staff that “wow work” puts a place on the map. PS – so does Google Earth.
Commercial. We return to Tabs and Aisha talking about the staff meeting. After some discussion, Aisha says the convo has to “marinate” with her. Tabs says show up tomorrow at 9 if you want to save the salon. The next day, Tabs has brought in 5 clients, who talk about why they don’t come to the salon anymore. These are precisely the kind of “high-end multi-cultural” clients Aisha wants to attract. It’s at this point, hearing the women, that Aisha really understands how badly she’s running (or not running) the salon.
Also kicking a-s. Politely.
Next we go to Tabs, Aisha and the staff. Tabs says she’s organized an event for women undergoing cancer treatment at a cancer support charity. From the Bravo site, it looks like Beyond did these womens’ hair and such. What we see in the show is the end bit, where people write positive things on balloons and then pop them with a pin to release the positive energy. Aisha seems changed by not only meeting cancer survivors but other daughters who lost parents to cancer.
No snark here. This is a wonderful moment.
Back at the salon, Tabs says Aisha needs to meet her staff’s needs and lead by example. Aisha says she’s ready to make a difference.
Finally the blue curtains come down. Tabs warns everyone has to bring their “A Plus” game on reopening or face consequences.
Commercial. We’re back at the revamped salon, which looks really nice. Monica declares it’s now “bougie”. The former “VIP” area is now a nice processing area for color and such. Val is still – still – bitching about those damned shoes. She shares that all the rules will change back tomorrow. Tabs tells Aisha to empower Deanna to manage. She gives Deanna an assignment, to come up with a community event for the team. Here’s my suggestion:
What? This IS a community event!
Oh, and how is Nikeyra doing? Is she stocking items? Helping the stylists? That’s just crazy talk! She is, as you would expect, asking for her birthday off. Why now? Because the salon was closed for a couple of days, and before that she was on suspension. I kid you not. This is her actual reason.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment of the episode.
Nikeyra shares she doesn’t care if she gets fired. Spoiler alert . . . dreams do come true.
Val changes her shoes at the front of the salon. Tabs tells her to go to the back. Aisha is helping and supervising. Monica says Aisha’s gone from Cruella to Glenda.
You go! Also, love the flower!
Deanna came up with a curl-a-thon, and shares that she thinks Aisha wants to change.
And now we get Val ignoring a walk-in client, then telling her, without checking with any stylist, that the client cannot get service. Tabs is up there and asks if Val did a walkaround. No honey, that would require walking IN THOSE HIDEOUS FLATS THAT ARE TORTURING POOR DELICATE VAL! Really, Tabs, you ask too much sometimes. Val mumbles something about Deanna, who just happens to walk up. Tabs introduces the client to Deanna, and all of a sudden Val now says Danielle can help the client. Everyone but Val now knows this is the end for her.
Meanwhile, Nikeyra is telling another assistant to clean a shampoo bowl with a dirty towel. Tabs corrects her and gets laughter in return. She warns there needs to be an attitude change.
Final recommendations. Tabs believes this is a whole new Aisha who does actually have a brand now with individualized service. She mentions clients rebooked, which says a lot. She recommends Nikeyra be put on probation, that Deanna needs to be empowered more.
Commercial. We’re back – wait, this is that little teaser. And it’s Val BITCHING ABOUT SHOES AGAIN. Jaysus H Christmas! STFU!
More commercials (hate you, Bravo).
Fewer commercials, please, Andy. Also, how’s about a Tabatha Takes Over where she takes over Twitch from RHOBH? That would be epic.
You can’t take me over! I’m an icon!
Shut up. And don’t give me any excuses about dingos or dinosaurs or how your wakeup call didn’t go off.
And finally we’re back. In a group meeting, Aisha tells people to respect Deanna, tells Val if she doesn’t follow the rules she’s fired, and tells Nikeyra she’s continuing on probation.
6 weeks later we have a calm, lovely salon with people who are happy. Shock! Horror! Both Val and Nikeyra are gone. Aisha shares she grew up a lot. Monica says the salon is now “Upsc” – still doesn’t have the “ale” but it’s getting there. Love her!
So a happy ending here and some satisfying sarcasm and tough
love from Tabs. Next time looks like another doozy, a southern salon chock full of – well, “personalities” I guess is the most tactful word . . . See you all then!
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