Reunions serve a few primary purposes in the Housewives universe. First is to revisit the season’s drama. Obviously. Another reason is to provide an opportunity for the Housewives to state their cases and bring their receipts. Which only a couple of the women have really done over the last two hours. And third, the reunion is meant to move the story forward and set the stage for the next season. And that, right there, is where it feels like this reunion has fallen flat. The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City have spent so much time ganging up on one person that we’re now in the final hour with so much ground to cover.
To kick off Part 3, the ‘Wives are joined by their husbands. All of whom are on the stage in person besides Seth Marks, who’s stuck in Mississippi because of the coronavirus pandemic. And to get started, Andy Cohen circles back to get the husbands’ opinions on a few things he’s already covered with the women. Both Seth and John Barlow hope that Meredith Marks and Lisa Barlow can make amends. Seth breaks the tension with a crack that he actually slept with the other half of New York. Duy Nguyen justifies his desire for a sister wife before admitting he’s in therapy. For a brief moment, it’s all fun, games and polygamy on the reunion stage.
What Did Coach Shah Know?
However, it’s back to serious topics when Andy finally gets a chance to question Sharieff Shah about his knowledge related to Jen Shah‘s alleged crimes. Finally! We’re having conversations that should’ve occurred during the season. A viewer brings up the parallel that Coach Shah should’ve spent the season getting just as much heat as Erika Jayne was dealt on RHOBH. And I could not agree more. Interestingly, Coach claims he never gave a second thought to where Jen’s money was coming from. Jen tries to argue that viewers downplay how much Sharrieff himself makes, saying that coaching for a Division 1 college football isn’t exactly Little League. And it’s not.
But here’s the thing. University of Utah is a state school. And Sharrieff‘s salary is a matter of public record. In 2020, he made a reported $553,215.17. Which, sure, isn’t nothing. But it’s also not enough to bankroll a $60,000 birthday party Jen threw for Meredith in the series premiere or the rest of her lavish lifestyle. (Andy even rolls footage on Jen’s casting tape at one point, where she claims to spend $50,000 a month.) Coach insists he also was, in fact, in the hospital with internal bleeding the day his wife was arrested. And didn’t find out until he got a call from Homeland Security that she wouldn’t be making it to his bedside. In fact, he says he never talked to Jen the day of her arrest at all.
Another rumor both Jen and Sharrieff shoot down is that there’s been any kind of infidelity in their marriage. The latter also says that, while he can’t discuss it now because of the indictment, he does understand what Jen does for work…even if the only way she can explain it is by repeating the words “data monetization” over and over. One person whom Jen’s sure doesn’t understand her business, on the other hand, is Whitney Rose. And she confronts the younger ‘Wife for all the assumptions she made on the drive to Vail. (Whitney, however, wasn’t wrong about how lead generation works. And it remains a major industry in Utah.) This is also the perfect time for Andy to bring up the FTC lawsuit against Justin Rose‘s (now-former) employer, which has been accused of being a multi-level marketing pyramid scheme — another type of business that runs rampant in Utah.
Pledge of Twisted Allegiance
That’s all for the husbands. And during the break to reset the stage, Andy witnesses a minor miracle: Lisa crosses over the ice fishing hole that separates the couches to hug Heather Gay and Whitney. Thankfully, the host prods the ladies on the moment so we don’t miss the brief olive branch between frenemies. (That was, of course, initiated by Lisa…but I’ll say no more.) Heather claims that underneath all the barbs, she feels a sense of loyalty to Lisa. Because Baby Gorgeous is the entire reason she’s a Housewife. Well, plus a co-sign from Meredith. But if Lisa hadn’t recommended her to Bravo, she never would’ve been on the show.
Yes, it’s a weird sense of loyalty, given that Heather has taken every single opportunity on the couches to take shots at Lisa. And she says that’s because Lisa didn’t come into the reunion with her tail between her legs like she expected her to. The animosity has been unfortunate to say the least, especially considering that these two ended the season finally on good terms. Here’s hoping they can spend more of Season 3 as allies rather than enemies. As for the broken bond between Lisa and Meredith? That’s going to take more work…
Guilty or Not Guilty?
Finally, we get to what should’ve been the focus of the entire reunion. And season, really. Jen‘s arrest. Finally. Finally, finally, finally. Like I said, how this hasn’t been brought up during every single part of the reunion a la Erika, I will never understand. Because there’s a lot to talk about. Jen makes a play at garnering sympathy by talking about the doorbell footage showing her family being escorted out of the Shah Chalet by Homeland Security. Which, valid. That must’ve been terrifying for her young son. She says significantly less about the fact that Stuart Smith has changed his plea to guilty with all signs pointing to him testifying against her.
Jen once again goes tit for tat with Whitney over speculative comments the latter made on Watch What Happens Live about her possibly having a sugar daddy. And goes for the jugular when Andy plays footage back of Lisa calling all six of her lawyers. Though Lisa claims she was merely trying to figure out what was on the docket that day. Jen also admits she couldn’t bring herself to watch her cast mates’ dinner in Vail, what with all the rumors and accusations about her flying across the table.
Andy also addresses a few other Shah-mazing hot topics. There’s the bizarre story of Jen and the mystery Uber. (She claims Murilo Bueno was picking her up and that’s why she got out a half mile from her house.) Being red-flagged at Louis Vuitton. (Jen denies this, but Meredith says she heard it from an actual employee.) And another clue to back up Meredith’s suspicion that Jen was the one sending her family threatening texts. (The reference to encrypted messaging services in the indictment kind of gave it away.) However, when it comes down to it, none of the ‘Wives are willing to say whether they think Jen’s actually guilty. (Anyone else particularly disturbed that Heather doesn’t care if Jen defrauded hundreds of elderly people?)
With that, it’s time to bring this epic season to a close. Jen insists she’s innocent and puts herself on a pedestal as the defender of the wrongly accused. Her trial has now been pushed back — once again — to July. But she’s positive that she’ll be on the reunion couch come Season 3. In fact, she’s so confident that she doesn’t even know how many years she’s facing in federal prison. (It’s 50, in case anyone wants to tell her.)
Heather‘s biggest takeaway from the season is that all of the ‘Wives are human and deserve redemption — even Lisa, probably. Jennie Nguyen‘s conclusions don’t really matter, seeing as it’s the first time she’s said something during the entire episode and the last we’ll ever hear from her again.. Whitney believes in herself more than ever and will continue taking a stand against injustice and confusion. Meredith doesn’t want to let things fester anymore. She’s done disengaging. Lisa has tearfully learned that none of the other ‘Wives really see her for who she is And Jen thinks she’s stronger than ever. So cheers to Season 2 of RHOSLC, fire-roasted friendship churros included! Thanks so much, Saints, for following along and reading these recaps each week. It’s been a wild, wild ride. Can’t wait for next season!
TELL US – HOW MUCH DO YOU THINK SHARRIEFF KNEW ABOUT JEN’S BUSINESS PRACTICES? WILL HEATHER AND LISA BE FRIENDS NEXT SEASON? DO YOU BELIEVE JEN IS GUILTY? WILL SHE MAKE IT TO THE SEASON 3 REUNION?
[Photo Credit: Bravo]