Are you a Daniel Bryan fan? Are you frustrated at his absence from the ring? Do you scoff at alternative healing practices? Get ready to super hate this week’s episode of “Total Divas,” in which we learn how Bryan Danielson’s aversion to western medicine may be keeping Daniel Bryan off the active roster.
But first, a biology lesson with the Bella twins.
Out to lunch in San Diego, Nikki complains about the smell of some seals gathered on a nearby beach, comparing them to a component of the female reproductive system and then making a very off-color fish joke. Brie shakes her head and rolls her eyes, both at the joke and because “Seals are not fishes.”
Then she pauses. “Are they?”
They seriously have to Google this.
Later in the episode, Nikki and Brie will argue over the pronunciation of “ligaments.”
Then they will argue over whether surgery is a “band-aid” (Brie) or a cure-all (Nikki), which is glossing over the actual possibility that we have been missing out on Daniel Bryan ring time because Bryan Danielson, devoted granola cruncher, doesn’t believe in possibly unnecessary surgery, which he says is “unnatural.” (And he’s not “a genetic freak” like John Cena, as Nikki points out.)
Possibly unnecessary surgery in Bryan Danielson’s world, by the way, includes surgery that corrects things like nerve pains that shoot down the arm into the hand, making it impossible to hold objects such as, say, a fork laden with salad.
But first: Eva Marie.
Jonathan, Eva’s husband to whom she is also engaged, I guess, because they are planning a wedding, has heard about a violent home invasion near their house. Eva Marie suggests they move. Jonathan suggests they get a gun. Each thinks the other is a more terrible idea, but only one idea affords the E! Network the opportunity to film a redheaded hottie holding an automatic weapon, so guess which one becomes a storyline?
Eva agrees to “be a good little wifey” by going to the firing range.
“You bodyslam girls for a living. You can shoot a gun,” Jonathan says.
Eva shoots an AR-15 and an MP5, because these are, of course, the guns one would want to keep under one’s pillow in case of a home invasion. She is not sold on the guns. Later, Jonathan tells Eva Marie he wants to get the new Glock. She says no.
“I really don’t get why you hate America,” Jonathan says. She suggests he get a Super Soaker instead and put Windex in it. He can start with the windows. This is literally the cleverest thing Eva Marie has ever said on this show, and it almost makes up for all the many ways in which she is unbearable.
When Eva returns from her next road trip (“What city were you in?” Jonathan asks. “I don’t know,” she answers), however, she learns that Jonathan has gone out and procured the handgun in question “for home defense.” She goes back to work and seeks counsel from a rogues’ gallery of “Divas” regulars, including Trinity/Naomi, Jimmy Uso, Natalya, and Titus O’Neil, who is batting a thousand in “Total Divas” appearances. After asking Eva Marie if she is dressed for a photo shoot — and then, when she tries to show off her half-outfit, tells her: “All right. You can sit down” — Titus points out that Nattie not wanting to have a gun in the house isn’t at all the same as Eva not wanting to have a gun in the house.
“If you got a gun, stuff going down,” he tells Nattie.
Later, over dinner, Eva confronts Jonathan about making a big decision without her, but since this storyline needs to get wrapped up before the end of the episode, it turns out his heart was in the right place, and then Eva suggests they trade in the gun for a dog. Or maybe she’ll just go out and get one herself without asking him. ZING.
Meanwhile, we learn that former Funkadactyl Cameron/Ariane has a 15-year-old brother named Quentin who has been getting into trouble, and Ariane’s mom has reached out for help with some tough love.
Ariane and her boyfriend Vinny find Quentin on a random street corner, and Ariane notices one of his friends trying to hide something mysterious in a plastic bag. It’s unclear what it is until she smashes it on the ground, and the fact that it’s in a glass bottle implies it’s either grain alcohol or high-end spring water. From the amount of trouble Quentin appears to be in, I’m guessing the former.
Back at Ariane’s apartment, there’s a family meeting that affords Ariane the opportunity to both use and (incorrectly) explain the phrase “birds of a feather flock together,” after which she does what any self-respecting reality TV star would do and tracks down some former gang members with tattooed faces to scare Quentin straight. (Seriously, the most tattooed guy is actually named “Tattoo.” His teeth are sharpened into fangs.)
“You live in California, kid. Gang bangin’s real out here,” Tattoo warns.
“You’re going to jail or you’re going to die,” another one, Chico, says.
It’s only later, over family dinner at an Argentinian bistro, that Quentin delivers his made-for-TV apology and acknowledges that his family is only hard on him because they love him. Uncle Joey and Uncle Jesse would be so proud.
Back to the Braniels, who are still coming to terms with the full extent of Bryan Danielson’s injury, caused by Daniel Bryan and his high-flying ways, and Daniel Bryan’s extended absence from the ring, possibly caused by Bryan Danielson and his recalcitrance in the face of western medical advice.
“Bryan doesn’t want to see a medical doctor because he doesn’t want to hear more bad news,” Brie explains after driving him to an acupuncture appointment.
And for good reason. At Money in the Bank, Daniel B. Danielson gets checked out by the WWE physician, who thinks it’s either cubital tunnel or ulnar neuritis. Guess what? This means surgery. A “real quick, real easy surgery,” the doc says, with quick recovery. Although it should be done sooner rather than later.
At dinner, Mama Bella (who recalls that when she first met Bryan, he was the most “clean-cut guy on the roster”), piles on, claiming that if Steve Jobs hadn’t tried holistic healing instead of conventional treatment, he’d still be alive, which Bryan doesn’t buy.
Back at Money in the Bank, the Bella twins watch backstage as Bryan Danielson transforms into Daniel Bryan (although dressed like Bryan Danielson) to deliver the bad news about his continuing poor condition. Brie points out, sadly, that Daniel Bryan’s name has been taken off the championship titles suspended over the ring. The E! Network for some reason does not show what happened later that night when Nikki’s boyfriend John Cena capturing those same titles in a ladder match. Which seems like epically poor planning on the part of the Bunim-Murray production team. You know what I’d rather have than an extended package about a former Funkadactyl trying to make her polo-shirt-wearing punk of a brother call home after school? Tense footage of one sister trying to pretend to be happy for the other sister after the other sister’s boyfriend captures the title the one sister’s husband has just had to vacate. That’s entertainment.
Interestingly, it is the Doctor of Thuganomics himself who has perhaps the most concise, pithy take on the state of Daniel Bryan/Danielson’s health.
“What’s even wrong with him anymore?” John asks Nikki early in the episode. “He’s become a medical enigma.”
Nikki explains that “supposably” Bryan’s acupuncturist is going to help him recover.
“That’s weird,” John says. “If you had a broken arm and you refused to put it in a cast and you wanted to rub leaves on it … that’s, like, stupid.”
The doctor has spoken, yo.