Last week’s Keeping Up With the Kardashians season 17 premiere ended on a slightly frustrating note. The final act of the episode revolves around the first birthday party of True Thompson, baby daughter of Khloé Kardashian and accused cheater Tristan Thompson. Tristan arrives at the bash and quickly confronts Kanye West over the use of his song in a KUWTK trailer. It is a shockingly petty move, especially at one’s daughter’s very first birthday celebration.
Yet, Koko doesn’t storm out of the party upset with Tristan, as “Birthdays and Bad News, Part 1” reveals. Instead, older sister Kim Kardashian West ends up being the target for her ire — all because Kim is the messenger of the irritating Tristan news. It’s the kind of misguided drama that will drive you up a wall.
Mercifully, Sunday night’s followup episode, “Birthdays and Bad News, Part 2” explains Khloé’s reaction isn’t as cut and dry as it originally seems. No matter how annoyed Khloé became with Kim, all of her real hurt came from her grief over her failed relationship with Tristan.
The new mom admits as much in a confessional during “Part 2.” After bringing up the party's emotional ending with BFF Malika Haqq, Khloé explains, “I didn’t ever expect that I was gonna be celebrating [True’s] first birthday with Tristan being a guest at her party. I thought this was gonna be a party that mommy and daddy threw for True together.”
The stunning realization of how far off Khloé’s dreams and reality for this special day ended up being drove her to tears. It didn’t help that a mini Thompson-Kardashian family war broke out as Khloé came to this conclusion. And, on top of that, she was painfully aware of the fact that partygoers were carefully monitoring her behavior as the event commemorated her and Tristan’s first public appearance following the latter’s much-reported cheating scandal.
That’s enough emotional pressure to make anyone sob, including self-described non-cryer Khloé. As she says, “It’s very awkward and uncomfortable … And it’s sad.”
At least Khloé’s loved ones are on her side. During last week’s fall 2019 premiere, the Kardashian sisters questioned whether Koko should even allow Tristan to go to True’s party (expert co-parenter Kris Jenner insisted True’s father be there). In this episode, Malika shares an empathetic simile, telling her best friend, “Hello. It’s like there was a massive earthquake and you still haven’t stopped having aftershocks.”
While Khloé claims she doesn’t know where to go from this painful place, it’s clear that she really does. Later in the episode, while playing with Khloé and both Haqq sisters, Khadijah included, True asks for her dad. Without even questioning it, Khloé whips out her iPhone to FaceTime Tristan. It’s proof that Khloé is really trying to ensure Tristan and their daughter create positive memories together rather than painful ones — no matter how she feels.
Although, of course, anxiety-inducing moments continue to spring up during this delicate period. Aftershocks, as Malika would say. Seconds after Khloé dials Tristan at True’s request, the baby wanders away uninterested in the video chat. “Every time I do this, then you leave and it’s embarrassing me!” she complains to an oblivious True. There is a panicky laugh in Khloé’s voice.
This farce has obviously happened before, and Khloé is tired of looking like the one in her home who is desperate to see Tristan’s face on the other end of the line. In a sad situation, this is the closest Koko’s Tristan-related KUWTK storyline veers toward comedy in 2019.
We can only expect this tense relationship to improve, at least if Khloé gets her way. “Right now it’s really challenging and tough for me. I know I’m going to get to that place,” she swears in a confessional. “It’s gonna be a journey and it’s gonna be, I think, a hard journey. There’s gonna be highs and lows. But I know I’m going to figure this out.”
Imagine how many fewer tears we’ll see at True’s second birthday.