Kendra on Top Season 3 Episode 1 premiered last night on WE tv, and given the intense tabloid scrutiny of her marriage, we basically knew the plot going in.
That didn’t make it any less fascinating to watch play out, however.
Somewhat uniquely, even nowadays, the background leading up to Kendra on Top Season 3 Episode 1 was vital to the experience as the installment itself.
The scandalous fling Kendra Wilkinson’s husband Hank Baskett enjoyed with Ava London felt to many like a grab at ratings, a la Lifetime’s True Tori.
This feeling was only bolstered when the teaser trailer for the new season came out, playing up the scandal and looking almost hilariously scripted.
So what’s the verdict on the actual season premiere? You’ll have to watch Kendra on Top online to draw your own conclusion, but here’s our take:
We begin with Jessica Hall, Kendra’s Playboy model best friend, arriving at Wilkinson’s house to console her. Boy, did she need a friend right then.
One of the most striking scenes of the night happens right away as Kendra is shown bawling and collapsing, literally, into the arms of Jessica.
Did they stage that? Possibly, to get Jessica in there and because it’s powerful. But to fake that kind of raw pain and emotion seems hard to believe.
Hall asks if she ever suspected anything, and Wilkinson admits she’s never been the type to keep tabs on Hank Baskett. Why would she need to?
We then flash back to five weeks before she was blindsided with the Ava London bombshell, with the duo preparing for baby girl Alijah’s arrival.
She jokes about Hank not being over her after six years and two kids. His reply? “Babe, we could be together 20 years and I still wouldn’t be over you.”
Wow. From the looks of this, the lovebirds were filming a fairly generic Kendra on Top season and then the scandal to end all scandals happened.
Ava Sabrina London is the model who says she had a fling with Hank Baskett. Do you believe her?
Detractors will say all of this scripted, but if you’re talking about her confessionals and interviews, of course it is. But it really looks like he cheated.
If this were all fabricated, Wilkinson is a much better actor than we ever thought. You can hear the pain in her voice as she wonders if she was at fault.
“Was he not attracted to me because I was pregnant? What did I do wrong?” she asked at one point, having been knocked up while Hank cheated.
Then there’s the wedding ring situation. As teased in previews, Wilkinson tells Jessica Hall that she flushed them down the toilet, but we don’t see it.
Producers say they learned about this after it happened, that only Kendra and Hank were present for it and that he begged her not to, but alas.
Long story short, we see a picture of family in full-on crisis mode.
Celebrity or not, you have to feel for Kendra, given how she clearly loves her husband and because this was no ordinary fling she found out about.
To reiterate: Hank was sneaking around with a transsexual model, who has gone public about their mutual hand job session, then tried to pay her off.
How do you even react to that? When you have a four-year-old and a newborn baby no less? Kendra didn’t have the answer, and it’s hard to watch.
At the end of the episode, she spills a bottle of breastmilk and struggles to pump more, agitated, stressed and even scared as the phone starts ringing.
Whatever editing and scripting went into this, Kendra on Top is letting us in on the aftermath of a cheating scandal and a marriage on the ropes.
In that sense, this reality show is often as real as it gets.
There was a time when Kendra and Hank looked to be a very happy couple. This photo was snapped in 2012.
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Kendra on Top Season 3 Episode 1 Recap: Cheating Hank and the Baskett Case