"Can you talk about Dennis?" a show producer was heard asking Bethenny during one of the first confessionals of the night. Her eyes filled up with tears almost immediately as she clenched her jaw and pursed her lips. Once she gathered herself, she explained, "Dennis passed away three weeks ago in his apartment. Tyler, his daughter, called me hysterically crying and she said, 'My dad died this morning.' And I started screaming into the phone."
Cameras then followed Bethenny to a Skinnygirl jeans promo shoot, where she seemed calm, cool and collected -- her usual self. At one point, though, Bethenny excused herself to the bathroom to catch her breath. "This has nothing to do with him," she was heard whispering to herself. "I don't want to cry."
During a later scene, a few of Bethenny's friends came over to her Hamptons home to eat and keep her company. She teared up as she told them that her 8-year-old daughter, Bryn, asked her if Dennis still had a phone. Bethenny said she had texted Dennis a letter right after he passed away and that Bryn wanted to do the same.
Bethenny's message read: "I love you, Dennis. You're the most loving, beautiful man in the whole world, and I'm sorry you had so much pain. Now you can really sleep."
Bryn's message read: "Hi, Dennis. How are you doing today? We miss you. I and Biggie and Smalls miss you, too. From, Bryn."
Bethenny said the day after Bryn sent the message, she asked her mom, "Do you think Dennis got my text?" She broke down and sobbed into her friends arms.
"I've never in my life experienced this moment, this feeling, this hysteria," she told the camera. "Someone told me that he fell the day before on a boat. And then did he take something because he was in pain? But it doesn't matter. He's dead."
Bethenny started to spiral. "Let me figure out what happened. Let me put the pieces of the puzzle together," she said. "Somebody tell me how bad they feel, his daughter, his son, he was doing this last week, he wrote me 50 texts, he wanted to marry me, I have a ring on my finger. He's dead! It doesn't matter! He's gone. There's nothing to say."
She composed herself and added, "Time is healing the wounds a little more than I thought. It's going faster. And then I feel guilty. Like, how can you be having fun when Dennis is dead? But I'm trying to do what he would want me to do."
During last year's reunion, Bethenny was finally coming around to the idea of getting married again. In fact, she told Andy Cohen, "I love him. It's kind of what Tinsley said about Scott, actually. She loves him and he's great and he's smart, but she wants to see if she could have an everyday life."
"Everyone wants us to define what it is," she said at the time. "It's not definable. We love each other. I'm okay with it being totally grey."
We also caught up with Luann de Lesseps, who missed out on last year's reunion because she had relapsed. After an intervention by Bethenny and some other close friends -- including new "RHONY" friend Barbara Kavovit -- she went back to rehab. FYI: Barbara is the same person who whispered to Carole Radziwill two seasons ago that Lu would "rather go through with [her wedding to Tom D'Agostino] and get divorced than call it off."
"You saved me, I'll tell ya," Lu told Barbara. "I needed to go back. This whole thing with the kids really was upsetting. It was too overwhelming, and I didn't have the tools that I needed from the first time around, so I'm glad I went back. But when shit hit the fan for me -- and it literally did -- you came to my rescue with Bethenny, and I will never forget it."
Lu explained that the relapse was sparked by her kids' and ex-husband's lawsuit against her (alleging that she was supposed to set up a trust fund for the kids when she sold the original house), but her cast mates all seemed to think she was never really sober.
"I needed a change in my life, and I fell in love with Upstate, I fell in love with a house, but I couldn't get a bank loan enough to buy a house in Upstate," Lu told the camera. "So I wanted to sell my property in the Hamptons, but the children didn't like that very much. They stopped me with their father by putting a hold on it legally. That really was upsetting to me, and so that kind of threw me off the rails and I had a relapse and I had to go back to rehab."
"Going back to rehab a second time, I was not proud of myself," she said. "I failed. It't not easy to keep that promise to yourself and live a sober life, but I take it day by day. It's a struggle."
Lu has since mended her relationship with her kids. She cried as she said how "great" it felt that they were seeing her sober. When the first episode was filmed, Lu said she was 53 days sober and that she was attending AA meetings daily.
"I can't slip again," she said sobbing. "I won't."
Sonja Morgan moved out of her townhouse and into a cute apartment. She got a new assistant and now loves her pup, Marley. Ramona Singer renovated her apartment and hired a hot man to teach her how to swim because she's still traumatized from last year's Cartagena boat ride from hell. Tinsley Mortimer and boyfriend Scott are still going strong. He even bought her a Bentley -- even though she hasn't driven a car in five years. And Dorinda Medley's still at odds with Luann after the whole Jovani debacle. She vented to Ramona, who also thought Lu was on a weird "high horse."
"In a year-and-a-half, these are her erratic decisions," Dorinda said. "Married, divorced, arrested, assaulted a police officer, went to rehab, came out of rehab, was still drinking the whole time and went back into rehab."
Cheers to the return of the most absurd women on the East Coast!
"The Real Housewives of New York" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. on Bravo.