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Welcome back, Sister Wives. I’d like to say I’ve missed Kody Brown and crew, and maybe I have…but not two hours worth. Not at all. However, I am grateful for that extra sixty minutes of Kody’s hair, Meri’s whining, and Robyn’s sobbin’, but geez, TLC, couldn’t you give us something to look forward to throughout the season? The super-sized season premiere begins with the family recapping Maddie’s serious relationship with Caleb, the family’s trip to Alaska, while Meri stays silent. She is too busy wondering how she’s going to spin this catfish story. Meri admits to having feelings for the man she thought she was speaking to online and over the phone who ended up being a woman who had targeted her on social media. She reveals how difficult it was to share the news with Kody and her sister wives, and the other women weigh in on Meri’s behavior during this time. 

Sporting a new haircut, Kody complains that Maddie is always moody when she’s apart from Caleb. The wives joke that he should be used to female emotions by now. Returning from a trip to visit Montana to visit Caleb, while scouting jobs and apartments, the family is gathered for a big dinner. With the wave of her hand, Maddie announces her engagement and Truely loses her cool. The date has been set, and corny Kody starts jonesing for a road trip with Caleb to search for venues in Wyoming. Janelle is concerned that they are less than a year out with minimal planning. 

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Hey guys! Don’t forget about Robyn! And Solomon! She’s having a baby and Solomon is going to need to learn to share his bedroom when her new baby girl arrives. I’m not quite sure why it matters since Solomon sleeps with Robyn every night. Apparently, the children sleeping with their mothers (when Kody is away) is the norm for the first decade (at least) of their lives. Robyn is sad about the idea that Solomon may actually start sleeping in his own room. Christine is over the moon about Robyn’s upcoming arrival. She gets to enjoy the child when she wants, but with none of the real work. It’s the perfect set-up. 

Having found a place to live in Montana, Maddie is moving, and Caleb is coming to load up the U-Haul. Kody is over the top and super cheesy when it comes to Caleb. He’s desperate for Caleb’s attention and approval. Even the tween family members find it incredibly awkward. Caleb is the consummate gentleman, pretending he doesn’t find it creepy in the least. Instead, he’s flattered. Even more cringe-worthy is Christine’s lust for Caleb. The two plan to crash the newly engaged couple’s dinner where Maddie plans to introduce her fiance to her BFF. Robyn is gifting Maddie with her furniture because that means she’ll be able to get new furniture. Meri is cursing herself for not figuring out what a brilliant plan this is. Maddie, do you want Meri’s wet bar? When a leg breaks off the sofa they are moving, Kody stops everything to fix it. Caleb doesn’t understand why it can’t wait until they unload on Montana, but this is Kody’s plan to spend as much time with his daughter as he can…and such quality time at that!

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That evening, Christine, Kody, and Janelle have fulfilled their promise to crash Maddie’s dinner with her best friend and future husband. It’s clear that Janelle is only in attendance to serve as a buffer between the young people and Christine and Kody. Kody serves a moderator between Dezi and Caleb, but he’s upset to learn that Dezi knew about Maddie’s crush on Caleb long before he did. Christine agrees. Why were they kept in the dark? On a scale of one to mortified, this dinner is off the charts. Even with creepster parents/future in-laws, Maddie and Caleb delight in sharing their engagement story. The pair is absolutely adorable, and Caleb chivalrously wins over the best friend. 

Robyn and Kody are taking Solomon with them to their upcoming ultrasound. They head to the midwife’s home in hopes of hearing that the baby is no longer in the breech position. Thankfully, the baby has turned, and Robyn preps for a home birth while the midwife schools Solomon about the ultrasound…or rather the TV that looks in on baby sister. The following day, Maddie can’t get out of the cul-de-sac compound fast enough. Janelle, Kody, and Christine are accompanying the pair. Christine is prepping for tears, but Janelle feels like she’s closer to her daughter now more than ever. From what I can tell, it’s Christine’s infatuation with Caleb that makes her a shoo-in for this road trip. I kid, she feels like Maddie is one of her own. Maddie makes the rounds to say good-bye to her siblings and other mothers. The group then heads off on their sixteen hour road trip to Montana. When they say their good-byes, Christine erupts into a puddle of tears, but Janelle and Maddie are all smiles about the next step in their adventure. 

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Enough with the love birds! Let’s get down the nitty gritty with Meri and her catfish fiasco! She feels incredibly guilty for allowing this toxicity to infiltrate her family. The wives and Kody are meeting with their family therapist Nancy to discuss and process the situation. Meri shares how difficult it was to tell her sister wives about her online affair. Robyn was the first person Meri confided in, and it confirmed Robyn’s concerns about Meri’s behavior over that past several months. Robyn felt relief that Meri wasn’t leaving the family, but she felt terribly that Meri had to go through so much on her own. Meri admits at that point she was unclear as to how or if she would tell the rest of the family. She knew she needed to confide in Kody, and he shares that he knew something was going on but wasn’t sure why Meri was crying all the time. She eventually told Kody and her sister wives.

In the therapy session, Meri relays her story. Christine seems sympathetic, but Kody just looks peeved, especially when Meri admits to caring for this fake online person. Kody feels like he deserves a good bit of blame for allowing his relationship with Meri to gain so much distance and lose so much trust. Janelle is naive, so she’s having a hard time wrapping her head around the entire situation. Christine can’t believe how evil this catfisher is, and Meri admits that she started doubting the catfisher’s story and became the victim of verbal abuse. Christine and Robyn lend their total support, but Janelle and Kody questions how Meri could have fallen for such a blatant liar. As Meri sobs, Kody and her sister wives feel terribly for her feelings of helplessness. 

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Meri explains that the catfisher tried to convince her that she was mistreated by her family and it made her question her beliefs. He/she totally fed on Meri’s insecurities, but she believes the plan backfired as it made her pray more and brought her closer to God. The entire experience has made the family realize they weren’t as strong or unified as they thought. This is much bigger than a mission statement, that’s for sure! Janelle feels horribly that Meri felt so lonely in their midst, and Robyn hopes that Meri knows they are always there for her. Nancy the therapist pegs Meri as the most susceptible to this type of online predator because she is the most isolated.

Kody questions what he’s done wrong. He thinks that Meri didn’t necessarily want to leave the family, but she wanted to be done with him. Meri doesn’t dispute his assertion. She seemed so angry at him so he kept her distance. Meri bawls that shew as incredibly angry at him. The cracks in her relationship with Kody left her vulnerable to this situation. When a producer asks Christine if there is truth to this, Christine is adamant that speaking on Meri and Kody’s private relationship would be a total violation of sister wives code. Kody wonders how Meri will ever be able to trust anyone again after this experience. Now, Meri’s vulnerability has morphed into rage. She’s livid that not only did she fall for the ploy, but that she invited it into her family and caused such upheaval. As Kody embraces his first wife, I daresay this may have actually brought the crew closer together, and hey, she’s still got that wet bar!  

TELL US – WHAT DID YOU THINK OF LAST NIGHT’S TWO HOUR PREMIERE? WILL THE FAMILY BE STRONGER AFTER MERI’S CATFISH SITUATION? 

[Photo Credit: TLC]

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