Well, that was awfully…peaceful! The poor International Peace Gardens will never be the same after the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City rolled through. But really, would we have it any other way? This season is officially firing on all cylinders, delivering one iconic episode after the next. And good news: this week’s was no exception.
Now that the dust has settled a bit from the cast trip to Vail, it’s time to get some forgotten storylines back on track. So we’re starting off with a girls night at Meredith Marks‘ house. Meredith is sick of engaging in all this gossip about her friends, so she’s keeping the guest list small. Only Lisa Barlow and Jennie Nguyen are invited. The entire evening, though, is basically just one big excuse to reintroduce the whole sister wife conversation between Jennie and her husband. Meredith asks if they’ve broached the subject lately and Jennie says the answer is no. I don’t know, maybe because there have been other major events happening like an arrest, cult allegations and Jennie’s weird fixation on Meredith hiring a private investigator? But still, it’s a decent excuse for the brunettes to give Jennie a sexy makeover.
Two days later, Lisa‘s finally ready to meet Jen Shah for a face to face. She explains via confessional that she was simply processing everything and wasn’t in the best space to talk to Jen. Which, I can’t say I blame her. But once she actually sits down with Jen, she insists on pinning the silence on the drama that happened long before Jen’s arrest at the Fresh Wolf photo shoot. This makes…significantly less sense. Girl, you’re totally allowed to say you just didn’t know how to respond or weren’t ready to talk in the wake of your pal being arrested by Homeland Security for allegedly defrauding hundreds of elderly people!
Jen‘s still angry at Lisa for going silent. Out of everyone in the group, she’d
manipulated Lisa’s loyalty the most expected Lisa to be her ride or die. And even Jen thinks her pal’s excuse is weak. Like, hello! Something major and earth-shattering has happened since she was screaming at you about bringing up Koa Johnson on camera! In the immortal words of a different Lisa: let’s talk about your arrest. Jen tearfully explains that she just needs her friends to support her right now. But when Lisa asks the logical follow-up of how, exactly, she needs support, Jen comes up empty. Just blindly and obediently believe she’s innocent, OK?!
Meanwhile, Heather Gay‘s brother is visiting all the way from Europe with news that, inspired by her, he’s decided to leave the Mormon Church. I’ve seen a lot of fans complaining on social media that Heather’s personal storyline this season is boring. Or that it shouldn’t be taking up so much camera time. But in reality, her break from Mormonism couldn’t be more central to life in Utah. And as someone who’s been through the same process, watching Heather and her various family members navigate leaving hits right at my heart like nothing else ever has on Bravo. So feel free to keep the criticism to yourselves because what Heather is sharing with the world matters a whole lot to a lot of people who’ve never seen their stories reflected in mainstream culture before.
Back in Park City, the Shahs are celebrating the final day of Ramadan, which is another thing we’ve rarely seen on Bravo before. (On Married to Medicine, yes; for Housewives it’s a first.) But I have to say it feels a little icky to see Jen employ the Muslim month of fasting as a form of damage control on her tarnished reputation. In a post-prayer chat with Coach Shah, Jen chafes at the idea that they might need to downsize in order to pay for what are sure to be her astronomical legal fees. Shouldn’t your freedom be worth giving up the (rented) Shah Chalet 2.0?
In a scene none of us expected, Lisa invites Whitney Rose to Homestead Crater for some paddleboard yoga. Their feud may go round after round, but these two are bound and determined to keep it moving forward this season. (And for the record, Homestead Crater is one of the coolest natural wonders in all of Utah. And fun fact: it’s where James Franco filmed part of 128 Hours.) After falling in the water multiple times, Whitney confesses to Lisa that she reached out to Cameron Williams for all the dirt on Mary Cosby. And what she found out wasn’t great. She’s reticent to reveal anything on camera out of concern for her family’s safety. Apparently, the allegations are that dark. She uses the word predators to describe Mary and Robert Cosby, Sr., and that’s a descriptor not even Lisa has heard from Cameron.
Finally, it’s time for all the ‘Wives to get together for Jennie‘s luncheon. The newbie wants to expose her new frenemies to her Vietnamese culture. Which means serving them pho at the International Peace Gardens inside Jordan Park. The ladies are all dressed up, the vibe is supposed to be harmonious. And then Meredith spots Jen approaching, flanked by Heather and a suddenly forgiving Whitney in the distance. What is going on, she wants to know. Didn’t Jennie get the (very strongly-worded) memo that she didn’t want to be around Jen ever again? But while her looks could kill, Meredith’s boundary must not be that strict, because she doesn’t bother leaving. In fact, she air kisses with Jen and even stands next to her. On camera!
As everyone sits down to eat, Mary can’t help but make more racist comments — this time about Jennie‘s “slanted eyes” and the “yellow tones” of her skin. And that’s before the drama even kicks off. (Don’t worry, while Jennie didn’t say anything in the moment, Mary’s racism will be addressed next week.) By the second or third course, Whitney can’t stand all the fakery at the table and calls it out. And suddenly, the spotlight is back on Jen and her arrest. (You have to admit, the “Vail, not jail” line was pretty funny.)
Jen insists she was completely oblivious to anything that was about to happen when she fled the scene at Beauty Lab. But is anyone really buying that? However, when the topic shifts to how much gossiping…and texting…and calling of lawyers the rest of the women were doing in the wake of Jen’s arrest, the conversation turns ugly. You’re almost left feeling bad for Jen as the rest of the women scream around her, competing over who said the absolute worst thing about her behind her back.
But if you ask Mary, it wasn’t her. She tells Jen point blank that she didn’t say a single word about her. And now you really have to laugh. Because everyone was there when Mary ripped Jen apart in front of the cameras in Vail. She claimed she “never saw anything good” in her. She compared her to “thugs” and Mexican drug runners. Mary even told Lisa that Jen was getting what she deserved for talking badly about her church. But apparently Mary Land is a place where you can live in utter delusion and try to sweet talk your sworn enemy into a warm embrace.
Jennie loses it on Mary for her blatant lies, while Mary is busy attacking Lisa for chiming in. The peace summit has turned into utter chaos, and Meredith has had enough. Abruptly rising, she lambasts her cast mates and even, weirdly, defends Jen in the moment. If they’re her friends like they all claim to be, then they should be supporting her, not tearing her down with her sitting at the table. Meredith then storms away with Mary, and eventually Jen, following behind.
Lisa is hot on her bestie’s tail though, begging her to stay. The tension that’s been simmering between the BFFs threatens to boil over into a full-blown argument. You know it’s coming eventually. Lisa even admits via confessional that it feels these days like Meredith is backing up everyone but her. But for now, Lisa simply begs Meredith to stay for the sake of their friendship. And it works.
However, Mary has inexplicably pulled Jen aside to comfort her crying nemesis. That definitely wasn’t on my bingo card for this week. But we’re treated to the delightfully bonkers exchange where Mary tells Jen, to her face, “I pray to God you’re guilty.” Oops. She meant innocent. She totally meant innocent, she promises. Talk about a Freudian slip. Eventually, everyone makes it back to the table, where Heather‘s been eating her pho and enjoying a front row seat to the madness. All Jen can say through tears is that she swears she’s innocent of the crimes she’s been charged with. Can the women just believe her already?
TELL US – DID LISA DO THE RIGHT THING IN WAITING TO MEET WITH JEN? WHAT SECRETS DO YOU THINK WHITNEY HAS ON MARY? WERE YOU SURPRISED MEREDITH STAYED AT THE PHO LUNCH ONCE JEN ARRIVED? WHO SAID THE WORST THING ABOUT JEN IN VAIL?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]