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Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City Recap: “We’re Looking For Jen Shah”

The moment we’ve been waiting all season for has arrived. Yes, the arrest of Jen Shah is upon us on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. Well, just about. In classic Bravo fashion, we only saw the beginning of the moment in this supersized episode, and were left on a cliffhanger like no other. But boy, oh boy, did it pay off. However, before we head off to Vail, we have plenty of other intersecting storylines to handle right here in Salt Lake City. Shall we?

First, Mary Cosby‘s donning a sensible scarf to invite all the ‘Wives to an Italian cooking class. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Mary in the last season and a half, it’s that the woman loves her Italian food. Just ask Valter. The only cast mate she’s not inviting is Jennie Nguyen. After their bad blood during tubing, Mary’s not the biggest fan of the newbie, so she’s getting iced out. Whitney Rose would also be on the invite list…if only Mary could get ahold of her. She tries FaceTiming multiple times, but it goes straight to ignore every time.

Meanwhile, Meredith Marks invites Jennie over to her house in Park City an at-home mani/pedi. Apparently that’s the level of luxury we’ve reached after just a year and a half of celebrity? While she’s being excluded from Mary‘s event, Jennie is invited on the upcoming girls’ trip to Vail. Which Meredith thinks will be the perfect opportunity for the newcomer to settle her differences with the preacher. Never mind that she herself happens to be avoiding Jen. To the point that she had Heather Gay extend the invitation for a trip she planned. Even though they ostensibly made up, Meredith’s keeping her distance from her old pal.

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The day of Mary‘s cooking class arrives and the ‘Wives descend on the Park City Culinary Institute. Per the host’s instructions, everyone arrives in their interpretation of “Italian streetwear.” For Jen, that means showing up on the back of a wannabe Vespa driven by her trusty co-conspirator assistant Stuart Smith while draped in the Italian flag. Casual. However, it turns out Whitney got a very different brief on her invitation. As punishment for not picking up the phone, Mary changed the dress code on her friend’s invitation to “Mafia Girls Fashion.” Which Whitney only figures out by comparing invites with Heather on the drive over. Good thing she opted for chic rather than anything remotely similar to the skimpy Party City get-ups Mary put on her special invitation as reference photos.

Of course, Mary is less than pleased to see Whitney show up in anything other than a Scarface-turned-stripper costume. And immediately berates her for not falling for the joke. Mary was just trying to be funny, OK? So next time she gives you instructions, you’d better comply, even if they’re meant to humiliate you in front of all your friends. The cooking class also happens to be the first time Jen‘s seeing Lisa Barlow since she was left off the guest list for the Fresh Wolf event. So needless to say, there’s some tension in the air along with the smell of bolognese. (At the same time, Jennie‘s at home hosting a competing cooking class with her kids.)

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After a very Mormon prayer offered by Heather, the women sit down to enjoy the pasta they just made. But the clashes start almost immediately. And they’re coming from every direction. First, Mary‘s still not done taking Whitney to task for ignoring her calls, despite the latter’s excuse that she was driving carpool at the time. And you can’t exactly answer a FaceTime while driving on the freeway with other people’s kids in the back. But just as quickly the conversation shift’s to Lisa‘s Fresh Wolf event. And Jen wants to know why she was left out. Lisa insists her boys were in charge of putting together the guest list, bu that’s not a good enough answer for the ladies. After all, why was Whitney invited then?

Lisa claims she was offering an olive branch to Whitney with the invite. But that opens up a whole other can of worms. Because Jen brings up the fact that Lisa was telling her just the other day not to trust Whitney after seeing that Whitney’s team sent her skincare products to Jen’s former reunion dress designer Koa Johnson. You know, the one she’s screaming at and verbally abusing in those audio leaks that went viral? So now both Lisa and Whitney have some explaining to do…

Whitney denies buddying up to Koa, and claims he reached out to her team about a collaboration. But she shut it down the second she heard about it. Still, she kept things all business and can’t help if Koa inferred in his Story that she’d gifted the product. Lisa also denies planting any kind of seed against Whitney in Jen‘s head. She was merely asking about the situation because it looked strange to her. To shut it down, she apologizes to Jen for hurting her feelings. Mary then forces everyone to cheers and the drama is over, right?

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Wrong. Very, very wrong. Because Mary and Whitney are about to go at it for another round. And honestly, does anyone know what they’re actually fighting about? The argument starts with an innocuous comment from Jen. But when Whitney jumps in to point said comment out to Mary, all hell breaks loose. Verbally speaking, anyway. What starts as a fight over a “beautiful moment” being offered by Jen quickly devolves into Mary calling Whitney “little girl” and telling her to leave the event.

Whitney storms away from the table in tears, only to be chased down by Meredith, who’s trying to act as some sort of intermediary in all the chaos. As Whitney calms down, the conversation between the two turns to Mary’s wrath. And Meredith’s got some questions. Without giving everything away, she brings up the ominous warning Cameron Williams gave her about Mary in last week’s episode. Which Whitney backs up with her own stories of people warning her about Mary. “People” being Mary’s own cousin, who happens to be close friends with Whitney.

It turns out, Mary‘s cousin cautioned Whitney in no uncertain terms to never make the preacher angry. And she’s definitely angry — via confessional, Whitney reads off a barrage of abuse she’s taken from Mary via text. It’s just plain ugly, attacking Whitney’s looks, age, and everything else. Whitney thinks everyone in Mary’s congregation is terrified of her because they think she “holds the power of God.” More than that, they practically think she is God. Unwittingly, this just gave credence to the cult leader rumors that have started circling. And when Whitney and Meredith finally return to the table, Mary lets her pal know that she doesn’t even think they’re friends. Ouch. The gloves are officially off between these two.

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Four days later, it’s time to leave for Vail. Meredith left early to attend a memorial for her dad in Aspen. So it’s up to Heather to rally the girls and act as interim hostess. Waiting for the women in the Beauty Lab parking lot, Heather learns via a FaceTime of Mary‘s ceiling that she’s arranged her own private transportation. Which is maybe for the best since she’s now on the outs with both Whitney and Jennie. The rest of the women trickle into the bus one by one as production is setting up for the drive, and we all know what’s coming…

But we’re gifted with so much more than we saw in the first few minutes of the premiere! Suddenly, Jen gets The Call™ and, glancing at the cameras, asks Whitney to turn off her mic. Exiting the party bus, she runs straight into Heather coming back from the bathroom, and invents the lie that Coach Shah is at hospital with internal bleeding. She has to go. Like, right now. The other ‘Wives offer to cancel the trip and stay with her, but she waves them off, insisting that if everything’s fine, she’ll hop on a plane and meet them in Vail.

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Jen flees the scene in her aunt’s truck, and exactly 12 minutes later, the Beauty Lab parking lot is swarming with law enforcement. And not just any cops: Homeland Security and the NYPD. (I have to say, it was such an amazing shot watching the women making small talk as we could see the police approach through the window with the ‘Wives completely unaware that their world — and the show — are about to get flipped upside down.) At first, the ladies think Jen must be pranking them. What’s going on? But after Heather gets out to ask questions, it becomes starkly clear that whatever’s happening is no laughing matter.

Not knowing what else to do, Lisa reaches for her phone to call Stu. But when  asks if she should call Jen and warn her that the cops are after her, Lisa has the forethought to say no. That’s not a good idea. Because this is not about Sharrieff. It’s not about some made-up medical emergency. This is something much more serious, and it all has to do with Jen. The episode ends with Heather famously asking, “What if she’s on the run?” And we’ll have to wait until next week to see the arrest and its shocking aftermath…


[Photo Credit: Bravo]