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Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City Recap: World War Zion

Incredible. This week’s Real Housewives of Salt Lake City was simply world-class. In my expert opinion as someone who’s been religiously watching every franchise from the very beginning, I would say it’s probably one of the best episodes in the modern Housewives era. And I know that a hot take in the immediate aftermath of the episode. But it’s something I’ve been thinking since I watched the screener a few days ago. Housewives just doesn’t get better than this.

We were given everything in this episode. Meltdowns. Screaming matches. Pointing fingers. Hypocrisy. Accusations. Comic relief courtesy of the one Housewife under federal indictment. Shifting dynamics and questioned loyalty. One Housewife getting a front-row seat to another’s (alleged) cult. And it all ending in one cast member hooking two of her frenemies up to electrode machines in some sort of sick revenge torture fantasy over them questioning the validity of her father’s memorial. I mean…does that about cover everything? If you’re somehow mad or didn’t feel emotionally fulfilled by this episode, I truly don’t know what to tell you. But let’s start at the beginning…

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Which is right in the middle of Lisa Barlow‘s epic hot mic moment. And while she’s privately tearing apart her bestie for allegedly sleeping with half of New York, Meredith Marks is throwing a tantrum in her own room. And naturally, the only person she’ll let in to witness it is Mary Cosby. However, her overarching point is a simple question: why would she even lie about her dad’s memorial in the first place? And if she did have something to do with Jen Shah‘s arrest, don’t you think she’d want to be there and it all go down firsthand? Which…valid point.

Meanwhile, Jennie Nguyen interrupts Lisa, revealing that she’s actually going off to a masked producer, who scurries into the bathroom to hide from the cameras. Lisa’s feeling entirely unsupported and left out in the cold, and turns her wrath on the other ‘Wives. Doesn’t matter if it’s Jennie or Jen or Heather Gay, everyone is now directly in her line of fire. Though as she’s falling to pieces, Lisa still manages to toss off instantly classic one-liners. Like, for example, “Guess what? I am f–king richer than all of you. I don’t need to f–king be here!” Heather puts it best for all of us baby gorgeous fans: “I love an unhinged Lisa Barlow.”

At this point, Whitney Rose tries to take credit for sticking up for Lisa after she left. But the real issue here is Lisa’s crumbling friendship with Meredith, who’s being frankly a terrible friend. Instead, Meredith would rather stick by Mary, who’s off mumbling in a corner about how Heather has the “snobbiness of a true Mormon.” Jen‘s not wrong in her estimation that Lisa’s loyalty to Meredith has been taken for granted and the alliance between Mary and Meredith is just, in her own words, “weird a– bulls–t.”

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Meanwhile, Whitney approaches Meredith down in the kitchen. Supposedly to make amends but the conversation really just kickstarts round two of the World War Zion. (Or is it three? Four? I’ve lost track of how many feuds are boiling over amid all this chaos.) Instead, Meredith throws out an analogy — a device that has historically been used in all the wrong ways on Housewives. How would Whitney feel if Meredith said she didn’t believe she hadn’t talked to her father since last season? Whitney sees that as the lowest of blows. Apparently lower than even her questioning Meredith’s dad’s memorial, which is…saying something. Though the Wild Rose Beauty founder can’t help but throw the whole P.I. situation in Meredith’s face, sarcastically asking if she should’ve hired one to find the date of the memorial. Oof. How Meredith didn’t rip Whitney’s head off, I’ll never know.

While Whitney retreats to report (and slightly over-exaggerate) the confrontation to the other ‘Wives, Mary is right by Meredith‘s side, seeming to revel in her fighting with the other women. You can practically see Mary’s wheels turning as she whisper manipulations and validations into her new bestie’s ear. It’s creepy, and it works. Because Meredith marches upstairs and demands to know who, exactly, has been gossiping about her father’s death. Whitney’s response as she struts out of the bathroom is “everyone.” But Meredith wants names. She gets her own name, Lisa and kinda sorta Jennie out of her mouth before Lisa barges out of nowhere to put a stop to the conversation. Lisa denies every speculating over the date of the memorial, and a screaming match between the now-estranged BFFs of 10 years ensues.

But where’s Mary in all this? Still down in the kitchen avoiding all the conflict entirely. However, when she’s confronted by a visibly angry Whitney, she pulls a play out of the Meredith Marks handbook and disengages. Well, not before throwing out a few departing jabs. It’s clear that Mary basically hates everyone in this group besides Meredith. She’s loyal to no one except Meredith. And apparently, this trip was her way of giving the other ‘Wives one last chance. But Mary’s not interested in any of this anymore. Which adds up when you consider that she didn’t bother showing up for the reunion. And yet, Meredith still insists on defending Mary, who’s been such a good friend to her. And that’s how the night ends. With Lisa more let down than ever.

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The next morning, the trip is officially over. And thank god for that. I don’t think Zion could handle one more day of Housewives drama, to be honest. Lines have clearly been drawn and loyalties have changed. You know that’s true when Heather‘s the one checking on Lisa in the morning. Lisa’s still devastated. It’s clear that Meredith doesn’t care all that much about their friendship. And the other women still didn’t get any of the answers they wanted. (Though Jen‘s assertion in her confessional that she answered all the questions the women had about her arrest is straight up laughable.) Mary and Meredith’s bizarre alliance is still the most confusing piece of the puzzle here. Though Meredith insists on riding back to Utah in the sprinter van. Just to prove a point. But Mary declines, opting to ride in an SUV, possibly with production.

Back in Salt Lake City, things return to a delicate normal. Lisa‘s busting out the raclette grill. Heather‘s celebrating her daughter committing to UC Santa Barbara. And Jen‘s prepping with her lawyer, confronting the (now-realized) possibility that Stuart Smith could turn and testify against her. Oh, another thing Jen’s doing? Visiting Mary‘s church. Yes, you read that correctly. She’s going directly into the belly of the beast. Per Mary’s invitation, in fact. And I’ll say this: nothing a bewildered Jen witnesses inside that chapel does anything to dispel the idea that Mary’s congregation worships her. Among the words the assembled believers use to describe Mary as she’s being fanned by an assistant? “The perfect friend.” “A perfect teacher.” “The master of positivity.” “The perfect dresser.” (That one got actual applause.) “A beauty that’s beyond divine.” Oh, and “the facsimile of God.” Facsimile meaning “an exact copy.” In case the people literally kneeling at her feet don’t give it away, it sure looks like Mary’s being worshipped to me…

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Meanwhile, Meredith‘s putting together a hybrid reiki ceremony slash workout to cleanse herself from the toxicity of the girls’ trip. And she’s invited Whitney and Heather to join her. So that’s…weird. Especially considering they left Zion on such awful terms. Whitney thinks it’s her friend’s way of apologizing while covering her tracks. But Meredith has something much more conniving in mind. When the Bad Weather cousins arrive at Meredith’s house in Park City, she hooks them up to a live current of electricity via electrodes. It’s ostensibly a muscle stimulation machine that mimics a workout. But with Meredith lording over Whitney and Heather, it feels a bit more like a medieval torture method.

With her frenemies strapped down, Meredith starts with an apology. She hates how everything in Zion blew up, OK? Though when an uncomfortable Whitney asks her to turn the electric current down a notch, the camera literally shows Meredith hitting a button that does absolutely nothing. Heather argues that she and Whitney were merely trying to “clear the way” for Meredith to answer all the other ladies’ gossiping. Which doesn’t really add up considering she and particularly Whitney have been leading the charge the whole time. But that still hasn’t become clear to any of the other women yet…

And Meredith wants to set the record straight. Her father’s memorial was the day before Jen got arrested. Which was the day she originally told Heather. And now the cousins seize the opportunity to point the finger at Lisa for causing all the confusion. Because Lisa was the one who called Meredith from the sprinter van and thought she was interrupting her dad’s memorial. But Meredith’s explanation that she wasn’t even in Aspen that day doesn’t really make sense. Why was she whispering when she answered Lisa’s call? And why didn’t she clarify when Lisa told her to “go be with [her] family”? All of these questions will hopefully come to a head in two weeks on the season finale! (Blame the Super Bowl, people.)


[Photo Credit: Bravo]