At what point does reality television become inhumane? The season-two premiere of The Kardashians really tests those boundaries, continuing the eternal series of unfortunate events that has faced Khloé year after year. We pick up right where the first season left off, following the bombshell that Tristan is having a baby with another woman. But if you keep up with the family off the air (I dare you to try not to), you already know it’s been revealed that Khloé and Tristan had been expecting a second child themselves at the time.
After an ominous cold open about finally addressing the elephant in the room and bracing for the troll storm to come (plus a brand-new red intro), the episode gets right to work ironing out what this timeline looked like.
We flash back to the scene from season one in which Kim finds out about the scandal and calls Khloé from her gym, but this time some footage has been added. On that call, Kim told Khloé it’s a sign she shouldn’t have another baby with Tristan, forcing Khloé to reveal (off speakerphone) that, just days prior, they successfully implanted an embryo in their surrogate. “I’m filming right now!” Kim interjects the second Khloé starts to say she has a problem — and though we don’t hear the following conversation, we see Kim’s horrified reaction.
It’s a strange phenomenon to watch unfold, having this piece of good news make a terrible situation that much worse. As Khloé says, the circumstances cast a dark shadow over what should be a joyous event. And while the immediate family knows, it’s still a secret publicly at this point in an effort to guard Khloé from the firestorm of hate and ridicule that will (and did) come her way. That’s likely why she’s so transparent about the timeline: The embryo had been implanted days before Thanksgiving, and Khloé found out about Tristan’s situation the first week of December. It’s not something she would have done if she knew about his other baby on the way: “I’m a lunatic but not, like, that fucking deranged.”
Khloé and Kylie, whose birthing cycles continue to be synced, are talking this all through when Khloé mentions that her nursery remains empty because no one in her house knows the secret. Kylie offers to order and store baby furniture in the meanwhile to keep it hidden from whom I’m assuming is Khloé’s staff — and it’s very much giving “illegal hamster in a college dorm” vibes.
Meanwhile, Kris, Kim, Kylie, and Kendall gather for a talk about how they can rally around Khloé during this time. Kourtney apparently has the day off and asked Kendall to cover her shift. But Kendall brings up a great point: In knowing he had another baby on the way and encouraging Khloé to implant the embryo when they did, Tristan was essentially trying to trap her before the scandal broke.
Next up in the Khloé-wellness-check parade is Malika, and the conversation they have supports the point Kendall was making: Khloé says Tristan was actively urging her to implant the embryo before a certain date, fully aware of when his other child would arrive. We’ve seen a lot of scumbags in the history of reality television, but Tristan Thompson continues to take the cake.
We get a tiny inkling of a much-needed respite when Kris and Khloé pay a visit to the condo in Beverly Hills that Kris forgot she owned. “This is our gift-wrapping station,” Kris says of an entire condo. Unlike the produce-filled refrigerator in her home, Kris’s gift-wrapping condo’s fridge is filled with dozens of bottles of emergency Champagne and Ziploc bags full of frozen beans, which the two wisely decide to throw out. Now this is where my ears perk up and my eyes narrow: I want to see Kris Jenner throw out a garbage bag.
Now if you happen to be like me and throw out your own garbage, you’re familiar with the drawstring garbage bag. That’s exactly the product Kris is working with herself — but rather than pull out and tie the handy drawstrings, Kris simply ignores them and ties the whole top of the bag together. This implies that the last time Kris threw out her own garbage predated the popularization of the drawstring garbage bag. But it doesn’t end there: Rather than actually throw the bag away, Kris opens the front door and whispers to an unseen figure to do it for her. And we wondered why Kendall couldn’t chop a cucumber last season!
Anyway, back to serious matters. Kris is crying to Khloé about missing out on the joy of having a baby yet again because of these circumstances; lest we forget, Tristan cheated on Khloé days before True’s birth, putting a damper on that one as well. Khloé is always sitting cross-armed, stoically listening while someone else cries about her pain, and this conversation is no exception. But despite Khloé’s wishes, Kris convinces her to let them throw a little baby shower to bring in at least an ounce of celebration to what should be a celebratory occasion.
Speaking of celebrations, in walks their cousin and the neighbor of the gift-wrapping station, Cici, looking like an absolute supermodel. She’s in glam with a new hair color and a high-fashion outfit — really showing out for the Hulu cameras. Khloé tells her the news, and her genuine elation is the first time this baby announcement actually feels like a baby announcement.
In an attempt to get Khloé in a nesting headspace, she and Kris go baby shopping, and let me just say: I have been in this damn baby store watching these women shop for their hoards of newborns more than I’ve ever shopped for myself. And I’ll keep watching it.
Since the baby will be a Leo, Kris naturally decides to throw a lion-themed baby shower — which mostly involves the few women who don’t mind messing up their hair wearing lion-ear headbands. Among the first to don the ears? The legend of all legends, Grandma MJ herself. (Just imagine how much better MJ: The Musical would be if it were about Mary Jo).
The baby shower also marks Kourtney and Travis’s first appearance of the season, the former of whom immediately makes up for lost time by saying, “Like, babies in the Bible are always considered such a blessing.” Kourt, I don’t think that’s just a Bible thing; I think that’s typically how most people feel.
After a tearful, cry-faced toast from Kim, the party goes around the table to suggest T names for the baby boy, some of which include: Ten, Tiger, Tide, Triton, Tio, and Tupac. But we’ll have to wait for an official name because apparently the Kardashians no longer name their children — or at least they’re just not telling us what the names are. But if a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Wait … Tree would be a pretty good name, actually.
Next thing we know, Khloé’s surrogate is giving birth to Baby Tree, and Kim is on the scene in producer mode recording it all with her cell phone. You, like me, might be thrown by this episode’s perplexing timing since we know this baby was born in early August and the scandal broke in December. Apparently, rather than the linear timeline we’re used to with reality television, this season is throwing all the Khloé baby stuff into this one episode to get it out of the way. It’s essentially a stand-alone episode like when Girls would randomly just focus on Allison Williams for a week.
And like Girls, this last scene is a joy to watch. Khloé’s son is born with a wildly full head of hair, and the two of them FaceTime the whole family to make introductions. Now, Khloé says, she can put the trauma of Tristan’s scandal behind her and start the healing process — a sentiment that helps explain why this all was in one episode rather than being dragged out for another ten weeks. But, speak of the devil, Tristan appears because she decided she’d invite him to the hospital. “Why not?” she says, and though I know it’s a rhetorical question, this entire episode answers it. Nonetheless, Khloé is on the high road!
The episode thankfully ends with a moment of joy as Khloé takes her nameless baby boy home — and, God willing, it’s just one of many more joy-filled moments to come because poor Khloé has been put through the ringer, and I for one am sick of it.