It’s time for The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, and Lisa Barlow is planning a charity event! Well, more like her son, Jack Barlow, is. It’s for the Barlows’ line of mens’ grooming products, which Lisa and her husband helped their boys start last season. You know, as a way of passing down the entrepreneurial spirit. Some Mormon moms pass down generations of pioneer stories and family history; Lisa gives her kids LLCs. But it’s all for a good cause: to raise money for Utah Foster Care
Meanwhile, Heather Gay and Whitney Rose meet Mary Cosby for a sensible rainy day Italian lunch at La Trattoria di Francesco in Sugar House. Naturally, the trio have to rehash the bizarre limo squabble between Mary and Lisa en route to last week’s snow tubing expedition. (Which Mary isn’t shy about telling Whitney she hated, by the way.) Mary explains that being questioned by Lisa about the veracity of carbonation hardening your ovaries actually hit a deep nerve for her. And it wasn’t about being Black; it had to do with her mother. For the uninitiated, Mary hasn’t spoken to her mom in about 25 years — since her grandmother essentially gave her their church on the condition she marry her step-grandfather Robert Cosby Sr.
Apparently this didn’t sit well with Mary‘s mother, who felt she should be next in line to run Faith Temple Pentecostal Church. (Not to mention reap the rewards of all the various business entities attached to Mary’s grandmother’s pious empire.) However, Mary insisted God had chosen her to lead her grandmother’s flock, and it led to a bitter family feud. Coincidentally, there are shades of this same story reflected in Mormon history, when various men were vying for control of the fledgling church following the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. (Long story short, Brigham Young was ultimately chosen as the next prophet and led the Mormons to Utah, without which we wouldn’t have this show.)
Mary is teary and emotional as she recounts this family trauma back to Heather and Whitney. Her mother has no interest in making up. And it even divided her siblings, with one brother going with her mom and the rest following her. She doesn’t explicitly mention this, but Mary’s mom also runs a separate, competing church in Utah that largely caters to the same Pentecostal minority within the Salt Lake Valley. But what’s most interesting here is the underlying message beneath Mary’s emotion: do not question what she says. Taken with the cult accusations swirling around her congregation, there could potentially be some sinister undertones to that prescription of ultimate authority…
Back to Fresh Wolf! (Spoiler: there will be a lot of Fresh Wolf product placement this week.) To prep for the charity event, Lisa‘s organized a photoshoot for her boys to model their products and packaging. And it’s the perfect excuse for Jen Shah to crash the shoot with a pair of wolf pelts, complete with the heads. Pulling her pal aside, Lisa brings up something we’ve all been waiting for: the infamous Jen Shah audio leaks. Honestly, I was frankly giddy to see this addressed on camera. In case you forgot, audio clips leaked of Jen verbally abusing and physically threatening Koa Johnson — the designer of her Season 1 reunion gown — when construction of the dress fell behind schedule. The recording went viral after being posted on social media, and interestingly, Johnson’s name is bleeped out on screen.
In Jen‘s mind, the secret recording is a major betrayal of her trust. But Lisa claims she’s simply bringing it up because she noticed Whitney had sent the designer a gift set of her new skincare products…after the audio had gone viral. Hmm…that would be suspect timing. But the entire conversation sends Jen flying into a rage. She clearly wasn’t planning to talk about this on camera. Particularly since it directly contradicts the narrative she’s been pushing all season that she’s changed from Season 1. But knowing what’s coming down the pipeline, I’d say some leaked audio files are the least of Jen’s problems these days.
Down in Daybreak, Whitney‘s none the wiser. Instead, she’s dressed up in neon to go rollerblading with her brother around the same man-made lake where she renewed her vows in the series premiere. Now, Whitney explains she and her brother have been doing “Bladers Club” since they were kids. Which is cute and probably true. But this kind of quirky evergreen scene is only something you do for the cameras, right? And really, it’s an excuse for the Housewife to ask after the well-being of her dad. He’s in regular communication with her brother, but she hasn’t spoken to him in six months. (Apparently there was some sort of blow-up involving a DoorDash driver and a possible relapse.) Understandably, it’s painful for Whitney, but I hope she’s holding boundaries and doing what’s best for her in that relationship at this point.
Meanwhile, Heather and her daughter Ashley Gay meet up with Meredith Marks and her daughter Chloe Marks for a girls lunch. The two teens want to swap advice about college life, and Meredith’s interested in hearing stories about the famous Good Time Girl of BYU. Heather laughs it off, denying she was ever really any kind of party animal in college. Instead, she was serving as a travel companion to a little person and winning karaoke contests in Mexico. Changing gears, Meredith totally casually brings up the idea of a girls trip. As it turns out, she’s already rented a giant house in Vail, Colorado. And now she needs friends to fill it.
Heather is all in, but now the question is who else to invite. Meredith is trepidatious about extending an invitation to Jen, in particular. Even after making up and getting the apology she was after, Mer’s still wary about her frenemy. Though ultimately, she agrees that all the ‘Wives should be on the guest list…as long as Heather’s the one reaching out to Jen. But get ready, because we’re going to Vail! (Well, as we know, only some of us will make it…)
It’s time for the Fresh Wolf event. And curiously, out of the entire group, only Meredith is invited. Lisa claims her boys were in charge of the ultra-exclusive guest list. And Whitney was technically invited, though she’s home sick. But not even Jennie Nguyen, who’s practically M.I.A. from this entire episode and whose son is ostensibly best buds with Jack, isn’t in attendance. Over at Heather‘s house playing games with sex toys, Jen isn’t exactly thrilled to learn she was left out. But she’s more than a little excited at the prospect of going to Vail. Which is hilarious because, well, you know.
At the party, though, something is definitely brewing. As Lisa‘s talking to Meredith, she’s approached by her friend Cameron Williams, a board member of Utah Foster Care, who’s saying goodbye. Lisa explains that Cameron is actually how she first met Mary. And this is where things take a turn. Lisa is pulled away by the event photographer to take some pictures. So Meredith is left making small talk with Cameron. And seeing that Mary is the only thing they’ve established as common ground, she asks about his connection to her pal. But Cameron almost immediately clams up. He’ll only say that he used to attend Mary’s church…and goes as far as to warn Meredith to be careful.
Meredith has no idea how to take this cryptic warning. Especially from someone she’s just met. And when Lisa returns, Meredith’s visibly shaken by the conversation. Lisa explains that she always keeps her friendships with Mary and Cameron separate, hinting that she knows the latter experienced very real trauma during his time in Faith Temple Pentecostal. But she won’t say what, as it’s not the time or place.
As someone from Utah, I will say this: Cameron was a very well-known and well-respected person in the state. Not only was he on the board of Utah Foster Care, he was also head of diversity at a major tech company in the Silicon Slopes and served as the chair of the Utah County Black Chamber of Commerce. This doesn’t seem like someone who would stir up drama and risk his reputation in the community for fifteen minutes of fame in front of Bravo’s cameras. And sadly, Cameron has since passed away, so we’ll never hear more of his side than what he shares in these episodes. But don’t you worry, there’s definitely more to this story and it’s coming…
TELL US – WHY DO YOU THINK MARY DOESN’T LIKE BEING QUESTIONED? WAS JEN BLINDSIDED BY THE AUDIO LEAKS BEING BROUGHT UP ON CAMERA? WHAT DID YOU THINK OF CAMERON’S WARNING TO MEREDITH ABOUT MARY?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]