Real Housewives Recap: ‘Roaring Emotions’

It’s Wednesday night, which means it’s time to hear the not-quite-MoTab music cues, pour a glass of wine (or, in Lisa’s case, diet soda on the rocks) and tune in to more misadventures of Utah’s most infamous sextet. The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City is back. 

The episode begins right where the third left off, as the Housewives are gathered for Witney’s 1920s party at Prohibition. Jen has stormed into the event, already drunk, and quickly asks to speak with Meredith alone. This can’t end well. Last week, Jen was upset when Meredith cancelled their plans for a “sleepover” and was doubly offended to learn that Meredith and Mary are spending time together. (Remember, those two have been feuding since Mary said Jen “smelled like hospital,” a phrase which has been living in my head rent free since the premier.) Jen confronts Meredith and things quickly fly off the rails—soon, Meredith leaves the conversation and Jen is in tears.

Jen’s loyalty tests quickly begin to feel a little tiresome—it’s never really clear why any of this is Meredith’s fault. Still, Jen seems truly hurt, so Lisa, who is only buzzed on Diet Coke, goes to comfort her. (Savvy marketing queen that she is, Lisa finds time to plug her tequila company—Vida Tequila, for those keeping track.) In her rage, Jen hurls the most memorable dig of the night: “You’re gonna go with Mary, who f**ked her grandfather?” In a rare moment of consensus, all of the other Housewives agree this comment is out of line, even though it’s, you know, technically true. Still, the meltdown is not a good look for Jen. She’s all but kicked out of the party, exiting with the grace and composure of a sophomore sorority girl leaving her fifth Halloween party of the night.

Most of the episode’s middle deals with the direct aftermath of the Prohibition party. Brooks, who is always here for some good gossip, asks about the night before. Meredith and Lisa take a fun detour to Park City’s Gallery MAR, where Lisa inexplicably tries to touch every single art piece. The visit takes a serious turn when Meredith tells Lisa that she is separated from her husband, Seth. Cue the mascara-ruining tears. We learn that Mary’s son Robert Jr. bought his girlfriend a chinchilla (sure!) and Mary announces her plan for a gathering with just the six Housewives. Then, Jen goes to Heather’s house to discuss the party again while Heather makes a green bean casserole (you can take the girl out of Mormonism, etc.) which somehow involves Pam and a baking sheet. Most notably, Jen accidentally-on-purpose spills the green beans about Meredith’s marriage problems, which Heather wasn’t supposed to know about. 

Honestly, after the no-holds-barred craziness of the first three episodes, all of these scenes feel a little perfunctory. The Jen vs. Meredith subplot is fairly boring—it doesn’t have the operatic absurdity of the hospital fight—and this episode doesn’t have the series’ trademark focus on religion or as many weird local details that only Utahans will understand. Tonight’s unexpected MVP is Heather. She had a tendency to fade into the background of earlier episodes, but now her self-deprecating humor is really starting to click. Just a few of her iconic moments tonight: she watches Jen and Meredith fight from afar waiting for her lollipop chicken drumstick, refers to herself as a “flapper with cankles,” and admits that Jen “scares the s**t” out of her. This was a good night for Heather!

The episode starts to pick up again during Mary’s party at Valter’s Osteria, a Salt Lake favorite (and Salt Lake magazine Dining Award winner). Audiences get to see Mary’s first attempt at party planning and, well, this truly unhinged celebration makes Meredith’s birthday look restrained. Here is a non-comprehensive list of what constitutes an intimate, Met Gala-themed luncheon to Mary: Beefeaters in what appear to be paper mâché hats, beta fish as table decor and notebooks that say “boss lady.” The whole affair is deeply strange, unintentionally campy and totally memorable—we would expect nothing less from Pastor Crosby. 

After Mary finishes a melodramatic prayer, the women go around the table and share their insecurities. Jen talks about her father, a poor Tongan immigrant who died recently, and explains that her tough exterior comes from a need to prove herself. This heartfelt admission is enough to move some of the women, and Meredith tries to bury the hatchet. Mary, however, is not buying it. Tensions are about to boil over, but then the episode ends with a “to be continued” disclaimer. This can’t end well.

Random observations:

  • What is up with Meredith’s wig in some of the confessionals?
  • Say what you will about Mary, but she has already mastered the art of reality TV facial reactions.
  • Tonight’s most, ahem, memorable fashion moments include a Chanel fanny pack, bell-bottoms that are somehow supposed to fit a 1920s theme and a very confusing Mary ensemble that I’m not even sure how to explain.
  • Mary claims that people in Utah don’t dress up? She must not be in town every April and October, when every restaurant is full of General Conference-goers. (Is that our own Met Gala?)

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Josh Petersen
Josh Petersen
Josh Petersen is the former Digital Editor of Salt Lake magazine, where he covered local art, food, culture and, most importantly, the Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. He previously worked at Utah Style & Design and is a graduate of the University of Utah.

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