Happy new year! Let’s start 2022 off with the age old question sung at stroke of midnight every January 1. Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? When it comes to our beloved Housewives the answer is never. I don’t know about you, but Bravo remained a bright light for this recapper in a pretty terrible year last year. Sure, 2021 was the worst. But at least we were entertained? And in the case of the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, a two week break for the holidays was simply too long. Am I the only one who had the chaos from the pho dinner bouncing around in my mind through Christmas and New Year’s?
For our first new episode of 2022, we pick up in the aftermath, with Jennie Nguyen dropping by Duy Nguyen‘s office for a debrief over The Cheesecake Factory. However, Jennie’s only got one thing on her mind, and it’s not her friends’ questions about Jen Shah‘s arrest. It’s Mary Cosby‘s blatantly racist comments about Jennie’s “slanted eyes” and the “yellow tones” of her skin. Mary was attempting to couch the remarks in a compliment, but they’ didn’t sit right with Jennie. However, she didn’t take the chance to call it out or put her frenemy in her place amid all the fighting that soon overtook the afternoon.
At the same time, Mary‘s meeting up with Meredith Marks for lunch at Veneto. Because you know how much Mary loves her Italian food. And even in this conversation, she can’t help herself from doing a racist Asian accent to imitate Jennie‘s voice. Yikes. Not a good look. Not at all. She also offers up some convoluted theory that Lisa Barlow should be “check[ing]” the newbie more often since she introduced her to the group. But instead, she think Jennie’s just turned into a miniature Lisa. And speaking of the Vida Tequila queen, Mary’s curious to know where Meredith stands with her BFF these days. But sadly, Meredith doesn’t know. She’ll always be annoyed at Lisa’s friendship with Jen. Though in my mind, her insistence on constantly defending Mary is just as confusing.
While Lisa plays the cool mom while getting Jack Barlow ready for his first prom, Heather Gay stops by Whitney Rose‘s house to help stuff gift bags for the Wild Rose Beauty launch that’s happening in just a few days. More like re-launch, I should say. Not only has Whitney run through her and Justin Rose‘s entire savings for this brand do-over, it totals more than $300,000. That’s a lot of money to bank on a fledgling skincare line… The Bad Weather cousins are also starting to get suspicious of what exactly was happening the day of Jen‘s arrest. Particularly the fact that Mary bailed at the last second to take her own transportation to Vail.
Combine that with the fact that Meredith also wasn’t on the bus, and the cousins are wondering if the two might have known something major was about to go down. More specifically if Meredith might have warned Mary at the last second, leaving the rest of them to experience the cold rush of the Feds storming the Beauty Lab parking lot. Sure, it’s just a theory. For now. But it could explain a lot of things happening within the group. Like Meredith and Mary’s somewhat blind allegiance to each other. And also the cracks forming in Lisa and Meredith’s friendship. (And let’s not forget, Lisa herself said on the bus that she thought Meredith might have known something…)
Over at the Shah Chalet, Jen‘s transparent attempts at damage control continue. This time she’s putting together hygiene kits with her mother for the National Tongan American Society. While doing the kitchen table charity work, she laments to her mom about the legal team she’s recruited for her defense. And also the $2 million retainer they’re requiring. Seems like Coach Shah‘s idea to downsize will be inevitable, if only to keep the lawyers paid. Jen’s mom has also offered to liquidate her retirement fun and donate nearly a million dollars of her own to her daughter’s defense. Which on one had is really sweet. But on the other feels like yet another example of Jen (allegedly) taking advantage of the elderly? I said what I said.
The night of Whitney‘s party arrives before we know it, and everyone’s been instructed to wear either neutrals or blush tones. As she chooses her outfit, Lisa admits she’s a bit nervous to see Meredith at the soiree. Her bestie’s energy has changed in the wake of Jen‘s arrest. They’re bickering more than they ever have before and just can’t seem to get on the same page. Meanwhile, Jennie arrives at The Ivy with a Saks Fifth Avenue bag in tow containing the Louboutin booties Mary (re-)gifted her in Vail. Because she’s bound and determined to return them. At the party.
The other ‘Wives and various hangers-on trickle in soon enough. Mary and Meredith arrive together — the former loudly complaining about the apparent lack of coat check and the latter decked out in giant plumes of lavender feathers stapled onto a blazer. Angie Harrington and other assorted faces we’ve seen throughout the season are mingling. Jen shows up in a burnished strawberry blonde wig. And Whitney arrives fashionably late to her own party, decked out in a bright red dress that was also, apparently, featured on Season 2 of Emily in Paris. Almost immediately after snapping a group photo, though, Jennie rounds all the ladies up for a private roundtable in a back room.
Jennie‘s ready to confront Mary and she wants witnesses. Returning the shoes, Jennie insists she found out from Lisa that they were meant for Jen in the first place. Oops. And not only that, Mary even left the receipt in the box. Double oops. In her confessional, Mary actually admits she bought the shoes for the Season 1 reunion, but ended up not liking them. Though, she argues that they were never worn and as such aren’t technically a re-gift. Jennie also takes her frenemy to task for the aforementioned racist comments. And Mary’s response? “Really? I love slanted eyes.”
That’s right. This woman DOUBLES. DOWN. It’s disgusting. And almost as bad is Meredith, who waffles about whether or not the statement was offensive while in the next breath admitting she’d never say it. (Whitney couldn’t have been more right in her confessional: if it had been anyone other than Mary, you know Meredith would’ve held her accountable. I mean, just imagine for a second if those words had slipped out of Jen‘s mouth…) And yet, Mary feigns total naïveté to the discriminatory impact of her words. In fact, she barely bothers squeaking out an apology.
Considering she’s hardly taking a modicum of accountability, Whitney rightly refuses to let the issue go. And now feels like a good time for Lisa to bring up Mary‘s comments in Vail comparing Jen to a “thug” in the Mexican cartels. An accusation which Mary flat-out denies saying, despite the on-camera proof. As Lisa would say, roll footage! However, Meredith‘s more interested in moving the goalposts of the conversation to subjects beyond the mere prejudicial. Like how terrible everyone was to Jen at the pho luncheon. (I’m sorry, but is this just to get the heat off Mary?) Lisa jumps in to get clear on who Meredith is aiming these passive accusations at, and once again things start getting ugly.
Lisa calls out Mary for lying, which prompts Mary to get up and flee from the conversation. And of course, Meredith goes running after her. Just like in the International Peace Gardens. Shockingly, Heather then turns to Lisa and urges her not to let Mary get between her relationship with her best friend. Look: it’s happening in front of our eyes. But when Lisa (calmly) tries to pull Meredith aside, she gets accused of attacking and yelling at the latter, who then storms off. Shifting gears, Lisa tries to talk some sense into Mary, but that gets pretty much nowhere.
As Whitney attempts to make a toast to the assembled partygoers, the pair go tit for tat by the step and repeat. Mary accuses Lisa of being two-faced and judgmental. Lisa insists Mary used those words in Vail. Because she did. (In her confessional, Mary not so much doubles down again as draws yet another parallel between Jen and the cartels. Something about helicopters and the FBI. Let’s just say it’s certainly not a retraction.) As much as she can deny, deflect and point fingers, it seems very clear that Mary is the problem in this situation.
TELL US – DO YOU THINK MEREDITH AND MARY ARE IN AN ALLIANCE? DOES MARY REALLY NOT REMEMBER ANY OF THE DEROGATORY COMMENTS SHE’S MADE? DO YOU THINK MARY IS RACIST?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]