Part two of Bravo's Real Housewives of New Jersey special Teresa Checks In focused largely on how the reality star's loved ones were faring in her absence—and the way the family dynamics have changed since she left. Joe Giudice was clearly struggling a bit to care for the girls sans driver's license, but fortunately Teresa's brother and sister-in-law were more than happy to help out.
For the most part, Teresa seemed to be managing remarkably well behind bars, though that hardly meant she hadn't had her share of frightening encounters.
Let's take a look at some of the highlights from the Oct. 18 episode.
1. Joe Giudice and Joe Gorga have started to bond.
It seemed that rough waters have brought the Joes closer. Teresa's husband and Joe Gorga have mended fences enough to even hit the gym together. Speaking of his brother-in-law, Joe Giudice shrugged, "He's all right. He likes to talk a little smack on TV, but that's all right." Hey, it's an improvement over words they've exchanged in the past. We'll take it.
2. Teresa is still icing out Melissa Gorga, even from behind prison bars.
In stark contrast to the men, however, Teresa and Melissa have not grown closer. "I've reached out to Teresa. I've written her a bunch of letters. I have not heard back," Melissa revealed to the camera. "Joe gets emails from her. He asked her put me on the email chain, but I think her email chain was full so she wasn't able to put me on, but it's fine. I just let her know I'm praying for her."
In fact, Melissa hadn't heard Teresa's voice in so long that when she finally did (over speakerphone during the special), she couldn't help but cry—and Teresa wasn't even (directly) talking to her. It sounded like this relationship might not have a chance to move forward until Teresa's back home.
3. Gabriella is running the household (according to Melissa).
Though Teresa isn't talking to Melissa much, Melissa is spending tons of time with Teresa's daughters. According to Melissa, neither Teresa nor Joe is running the house: 10-year-old Gabriella is. Citing the fact that she's spotted the young girl straightening chairs and tidying up around the house, Melissa reasoned, "You can see her trying to do things as Teresa would."
4. Joe and Teresa send each other dirty emails.
During his workout with Joe Gorga, Teresa's husband opened up about how he and the Skinny Italian author (who happens to be Joe Gorga's sister) keep their relationship hot while they're apart. Apparently they aren't into phone sex, but they do send each other dirty emails. A lot of dirty emails.
5. Teresa has taken up yoga and meditation.
Pretty much everyone agreed that Teresa looks better and younger now that she's locked up than she did when she was home (which seems like maybe an indication that her home life could use some retooling). One change credited with the positive shift in Teresa's appearance is the fact that she has taken up yoga. "She is trying to emerge more balanced," their family attorney explained. "She is still a firecracker and has her fuse, but now her fuse is a little longer." (Does this mean no more table flipping?!)
6. Photographers took to airplanes to try to get shots of her on the prison yard.
"I was in my room and everybody keeps warning me to not go outside," Teresa revealed during one of her many calls to her better half. "There was a plane outside trying to take my picture because I was going to the gym at the same time every day and then they told me to change my routine so I did." She added that this incident is what motivated her to release the picture of her with her family from prison, essentially to get ahead of the press.
7. Teresa got shaken down.
Scarier still for Teresa was when her room was stormed by prison officials after Gia tweeted from her mother's account (at her mother's request, just to be clear). Apparently this action caused someone to think Teresa had an illegal phone stashed away.
"I got shaken down—like our room got shaken down," she said to Joe. "I guess they were looking for a cell phone or something." She also implied that she was strip searched, but didn't go into details beyond being forced to bend over and cough.
8. Though Teresa is close with her parents, her father refuses to visit her.
"Joe [Gorga], Joe [Giudice], tell your sister, tell your wife, I will see her when she comes home," Giacinto Gorga said when the subject of visiting came up during a family dinner. "I won't go there." Everyone immediately replied, "We know!" (Something tells us that's not the first time he's mentioned that fact.)
9. Joe is slowly but surely preparing for prison.
As Teresa's prison term approaches its final months, Joe's is creeping up. The father of four took a small step to prepare for his time behind bars… by having dinner with a man who had been incarcerated for gambling. The former convict's best advice? "First thing you do [in prison], is buy your toiletries." Joe thought this was funny, but we bet it's probably pretty wise.
10. Joe might get deported.
Even after Joe's three-year sentence ends, however, the family's troubles may not be over. A discussion with their lawyer revealed that the possibility of a deportation proceeding for the house contractor was still on the table. "They could try to deport me," Joe admitted. "I don't know if they will win." Asked if his wife would join him in Italy if he had to leave the U.S., he declared, "Yes, of course she would."
He added, "I'd find something to do. I've got plenty of family there." As for how they would cope with such upheaval, he quipped that they'd simply "suck it up and move forward."
Tell Us: Do you think Joe will face deportation when his prison sentence ends?