Finally, we got all our favorite ice queens together on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City! Well, almost. And it only took three episodes. But just like Meredith Marks on her mile-long march to confront Jen Shah, we have a lot of ground to cover before we get to engage in this week’s ice fishing escapades. So let’s start where all the best drama goes down in the 801: Beauty Lab + Laser.
Heather Gay‘s business has just continued to grow and grow since last year’s finale. So much so that she’s considering expanding to another new location. (As we all know, that’s one of the advantages the Housewives platform gives the ladies we love oh so very much.) Heather’s business day is interrupted, however, by a FacetTime from Whitney Rose, who’s anxious for an update on her cousin’s tête-à-tête with Jen. Giving her the run-down, Heather concludes that she and Jen are back to being besties. Like I said last week, that was awfully fast…And now it’s a question of where Whitney stands with Jen.
Meanwhile, Jen‘s busy ski-biking with Lisa Barlow and their friend Keri at Woodward Park City. Because in Utah, we simply invent new winter sports once you’ve tried them all. Jen may have made amends with Heather, but she still claims not to understand why Meredith is so angry with her. Despite the tension — or maybe in an attempt to smooth things over — she’s planned a little outing to get all the ladies together. She just needs their full name, date of birth, height, weight, social security number, credit card number, and copy of a government-issued photo ID. But don’t worry, it’s totally not fraudulent at all. She’s not stealing everyone’s identities, pinky promise. It turns out, you just need, like, a lot of information to go ice fishing, ok?
However, Lisa‘s much more concerned about being in the same vicinity as Heather and Whitney. It’ll be the first time she’s seen the Bad Weather cousins since the reunion, and she’s not exactly looking forward to it. Though Jen‘s various feuds have taken center stage, Lisa’s still hurt by how she feels Whitney and Heather unfairly maligned her character last year on national TV. She finds Heather to be manipulative, while Whitney’s always just looking for a problem with her. And according to Salt Lake’s resident tequila queen, things won’t change until they stop looking for the worst in her.
Over at Jennie Nguyen‘s house, the newbie is serving up her personal storyline for the season. So far, Jennie seems to have a totally wonderful family. Her kids are adorable. Youngest child Karlyn is poised to be a total scene-stealer. She comes to the franchise with a fascinating and totally unique backstory. I mean, what other first-year Housewife has “been captured by Thai pirates” on the bingo card of their life? Now that all that’s been established, it’s time to dig a little deeper. As the kids clean up from their weekly Saturday science project, Duy Nguyen sits his wife down to discuss family planning. As in, he wants to have more children. Judging by her reaction, Jennie doesn’t seem particularly prepared to discuss this on camera. Via confessional, she shares that she’s actually been through nine miscarriages. So Duy is asking a lot, and he should know it.
Heather also has her hands full with big changes at home. Her oldest daughter Ashley is on the verge of graduating from high school, so it’s time to have a real chat about college and her future. Heather asks if her daughter plans on going to church in college. Ashley informs her mom that she has no intention of going back, at least not to the Mormon Church. This leads to a heartfelt discussion between Heather and all of her daughters. All three girls seem to be in very different places regarding the religion they’ve left behind. And Heather is supportive of every single one of them, even telling her youngest that she’ll take her back to church just to support her.
(I have to admit, as someone who, too, grew up “militantly Mormon,” this scene brought me to tears. It can be hard to understand if you don’t come from a high-demand religion like Mormonism, but, like Heather says, very few teens and young adults get the kind of support and freedom she’s is determined to give her kids in making their own choices about their spirituality. She never got the chance to exercise some of those choices until after she’d gotten divorced and taken the long, painful road to leaving the church. Bravo, Heather. The way you’re raising these girls is incredible.)
That night — or some night soon after — Meredith hosts a small get-together at her house to show off the latest fashions she’s buying for her store in Park City. (Surprise! They’re all by Christian Cowan, who designed her tux-inspired reunion dress last season.) The only ‘Wife she’s invited is Mary Cosby, who can’t even come up with a single nice thing to say about Mer’s personal style in her confessional. It seems Mary and Brooks Marks have inexplicably become pals since last season, finding a bond in their mutual disdain for Jen. Meredith says she’s skipping the ice fishing despite Jen’s invitation, but Mary urges that it’s the perfect opportunity to go and confront her nemesis over how she’s treated Brooks on social media. (Mary’s “pooting” diatribe, on the other hand, is frankly better left undiscussed.)
The day of the ice fishing expedition finally arrives, and all of the ladies are nervous as they head to Echo Reservoir. Well, except for Jennie, who seems to already know everyone despite us being robbed of any on-screen introductions besides with Jen. As the ‘Wives trickle onto the ice, the hostess informs them that Mary, in classic Mary fashion, flat-out refused her invitation. The pastor is simply not into sitting around on a frozen lake trying to catch fish. And Meredith apparently isn’t coming, either. Whitney, however, brought a life jacket along just in case Jen threatens to drown her again. And Lisa breaks the tension with Whitney and Heather by going in for a hug.
And all of a sudden, off in the distance, a lone figure appears. It’s Meredith! She’s changed her mind and decided to confront Jen after all. In person and in front of the whole group. Just as soon as she treks across this gigantic field of snow. Lisa takes her bestie’s surprise appearance as a good sign, but Meredith isn’t here to have a good time. She’s ready to engage. Almost immediately, she takes Jen to task for the homophobic micro-aggressions she’s been blasting across social media regarding Brooks‘ sexuality. Aghast, Jen clutches her invisible pearls and denies every saying a single thing about Meredith’s son. In fact, she completely denies all of her Twitter activity, blaming it on the employee who runs her social media. Which, if you’ll remember, directly contradicts what she said last week to Lisa and Jennie.
The blatant denial sends Meredith into a furious rage. Like, for a second, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Jen get punched right in the face. Yet, the queen of disengaging chooses the high road and storms away from the conversation with Lisa chasing after her. Meredith will simply not put up with all of Jen’s “projecting, deflecting, and lying” any longer. The typically cool and composed designer is shaking in anger to the point that her sunglasses literally fly off her head and into the snow faster than Lisa’s husband’s Rolex.
Surprisingly, Jennie steps up and intervenes. The newbie goes off, trying a dose of tough love to get the two arch-enemies to wipe the slate clean. But sorry, Jennie, that’s not going to work in this situation. Girl, did you even watch last season? Across the lake, Whitney and Heather coax Jen into cautiously approaching Meredith for a do-over. But that was also very much the wrong move. Because, naturally, Jen turns everything around and asks Meredith to think about how Brooks has hurt her kids by disparaging her vagina on national TV. I’m sorry, didn’t Meredith just scream that she was done with the projecting and deflecting? Nice try, Jen. As Meredith storms away for a second time, she points out via confessional that Jen is simply incapable of being anything other than a total narcissist. And really, is she wrong?
TELL US – DO YOU THINK THERE’S HOPE FOR LISA’S FRIENDSHIPS WITH WHITNEY AND HEATHER? SHOULD DUY BE PRESSURING JENNIE TO HAVE MORE KIDS? ARE YOU SURPRISED MEREDITH SHOWED UP TO CONFRONT JEN? WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON: MEREDITH’S OR JEN’S?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]