The first season of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City is almost over. I’ve learned so much in a short time, including the etiquette of what not to say at your friend’s husband’s Top Golf birthday party and why it’s rude to tell your friend that she smells “like hospital.” These invaluable life lessons will be on hiatus soon, but until then, we have this season’s penultimate episode. The show starts right where we left off last week with an increasingly hellish “girls’ weekend” in Las Vegas. It may be the most straightforward episode yet, but the plot goes in some appealingly weird directions in 40 minutes.

After the group split up for the afternoon, the Housewives are getting ready to enjoy their first night together. Jen—who has, in a total diva move, brought several members of the Shah Squad with her—is keeping her makeup team busy. Heather and Whitney meet up, and Heather is eager to dish about Whitney’s afternoon with Meredith and Lisa. Whitney is excited both by the sports car she drove and the fact that all three women reconciled after Top Golfgate. Heather then shares the bad news: when she and Jen went shopping together last episode, Jen said that she is still angry at Whitney about the party. Heather warns Whitney about Jen’s grudge, and both are confused because they thought this issue was resolved. 

Meredith and Lisa, who of course came together, arrive first at the private dining room for dinner. Enjoying a martini called “the porn star,” they both agree that the car racing afternoon went well. Lisa says she and Whitney have “a clean slate, 100%” and both expect the rest of the weekend to be drama-free. Then Jen, who has different plans, arrives in her newly bought Versace outfit. While Meredith and Lisa are happy to share Whitney’s apologies, Jen isn’t buying it. Even though she believes Whitney’s apology was sincere, she wants more accountability, and she especially wants to know if either Whitney or Meredith and Lisa are lying. (In the multi-episode saga of this fight, there has been surprisingly little information about who actually said what about Jen.) When Meredith and Lisa explain that they have forgiven Whitney and the bad blood is squashed, Jen gets defensive, starts yelling and accuses both of them of choosing Whitney and Mary’s side over hers. Meredith is not having this and she walks out, saying, in her signature drawl, “I’m not engaging in this. This is nonsense. No one tells me who to be friends with.” As we all learned a few weeks ago, if there’s anything Meredith is NOT going to do, it’s engage.

As Lisa tries to de-escalate, Whitney and Heather come in at the absolute wrong (or, for us, perfect) time. Jen is in the middle of staging her own dramatic exit, and when Heather asks what’s wrong, Jen pushes her and hits her hand away. The gesture is much less effective when Jen immediately comes back to get her purse, but this does give her the opportunity to hurl more expletives at Whitney. Heather tries to defend her cousin; Lisa, for whatever reason, wants Jen to stay and Whitney mostly seems shellshocked. An emotional Jen then leaves with her bodyguard, because for some reason Jen has a bodyguard. After trying to mediate, Lisa talks it over with Whitney and Heather. At risk of overexplaining the obvious, Lisa says that Jen isn’t over the birthday party blowup—or the problems it caused in her marriage. Whitney doesn’t know what else she can do to mend the situation after apologizing: “Am I supposed to send a flash mob or a singing telegram?” Whitney then recounts Jen’s own backbiting. Jen allegedly showed photos of Meredith’s secret boyfriend to Heather, and she also tried to stoke tensions between Whitney and Lisa. All three women are shaken and increasingly upset with Jen—Lisa says “I’m not okay with the master manipulation tactics.” 

Back in her room, Jen drunk calls Sharieff and tearfully complains that nobody is sticking up for her. Considering the couple’s earlier fights about Jen’s drinking and temper, this can’t end well for either of them. The other four women convene in Whitney’s suite. Meredith and Whitney hug like they just survived a bombing and then they discuss Jen’s increasingly aggressive behavior. During their shopping spree, Jen told Heather, “I would drown [Whitney] in the lake behind her house if she wasn’t your friend.” So there’s that. Whitney doubles down on her initial claim from several weeks ago: she tells Meredith that Jen “was trying to drop bombs in my lap to get me to say bad things about you and your marriage.” Fed up with the constant speculation, Meredith finally explains the situation. Apparently, she and Seth have been separated for longer than anyone knew, and she did see other people during their time apart. This is news to everyone, including Lisa. She is visibly hurt that her best friend never shared this part of her life with her, but Meredith is protective of her privacy to the end. (Well, as protective as you can be while a camera crew films your worst moments to share on national television.) All four women agree on one thing: Jen is out of line. “It always comes down to loyalty from the one person who’s least loyal,” Lisa observes, but Heather is still adamant on keeping the friendship, even when Jen is being toxic.

The tension has gone down slightly the next morning, but everyone still has the Jen blowup on their minds. Naturally, Lisa decides to video call Mary and explain the situation. Even though Mary isn’t on the trip, she’s staying busy in Utah! Before Lisa calls, she asks Charlinda to put a bin by her bed so she can step up into it (?) and is fascinated by the way her phone rings (??) As Lisa informs Mary about their disastrous night, Mary can barely contain her schadenfreude. She is not even a little surprised that Jen ruined the trip, especially after she warned every other Housewife about Jen from the beginning. “If you choose not to listen, whatever happens to you you deserve it,” Mary says in a confessional, though she restrains herself on the phone call. While feeling relieved that she opted out of the trip, Mary once again cautions Lisa: “How do you understand crazy?” she asks. 

Back in Las Vegas, Whitney has a new surprise for the rest of the cast. Whitney’s track record with surprises is mixed at best, but Lisa and Meredith are committed to their newly strengthened friendship and follow Whitney’s lead as event planner. Heather is late because, another surprise, she’s talking to Jen. The others thought Jen had left early, but at least one member of her large traveling entourage convinced her to stay. Though Heather still wants to maintain her friendship with Jen, she is not happy after last night, and she even calls Jen “a crazed monster” in a confessional. Jen is much calmer, but she still feels hurt and wants to know the truth behind the gossip and backbiting. She isn’t taking responsibility for the night before, including pushing Heather, and Heather offers some tough love. “There’s no reason to defend it or debate it with me,” she says: Jen’s temper gets in the way of explaining her emotions or learning the truth of swirling allegations.

Without Heather or Jen, Whitney, Lisa and Meredith arrive at a mysterious mansion in the suburbs. They are greeted by a housekeeper and Kimberly Friedmutter, a hypnotist. Whitney is a fan of her book Subconscious Power, which, considering Whitney’s ties to an MLM, checks out. (Scams and wishful thinking die hard.) Side note: if anybody EVER interrupts my vacation and surprises me with a trip to a hypnotherapist, no bitch will leave with their chakras aligned. Lisa and Meredith are kinder than me, and they are gracious despite the fear in their eyes. Whitney wants the women to find their “inner voice,” and I want to find Kimberly’s interior designer, who really leans into an aesthetic best described as Intro to World Religions meets fever dream greenhouse. (Who am I kidding? These decorations are all Kimberly.) Kimberly leads the women in meditation and then says “trance state is the bomb,” which leaves my psyche as far from a trance state as humanly possible. The three have barely had a chance to close their eyes when the doorbell rings. In walks Heather with—surprise!—Jen. Even Meredith’s third eye is shooting daggers. “The energy just completely shifted in here,” Meredith says. “I think Kimberly needs a much bigger crystal.” With all of the women present, Kimberly leads a group meditation exercise where the women imagine holding different kinds of balls. (In her confessional, Whitney does not miss the single entendre.) Jen cannot even pretend to take this seriously, which I honestly respect. 

When the group moves to the therapy couch, Kimberly observes “a lot of damage” either individually or in the group. (You don’t need to be a bestselling celebrity hypnotist to notice this.) Kimberly encourages the group to share their feelings. No one is backing down from their opinions, and soon everyone is talking in circles. Jen rambles about loyalty for the umpteenth time, and Meredith finally confronts Jen about the “negative innuendos about my marriage.” Jen may have the biggest temper tantrums and Mary’s passive-aggression is inspired in its insanity, but Meredith’s quiet rage might be the scariest of all. Jen doesn’t exactly admit to the accusation, but we’ve already seen her gossip about Meredith on camera anyway and she apologizes.

Kimberly pivots to a new game: “trust or not trust.” Taking cues from the meanest girl at a middle school slumber party, she asks each Housewife to raise their hands if they don’t trust another member of the group. She may be a dubious psychologist, but I am totally on board with Kimberly as a reality show plot engine. Every other woman raises their hand when Jen is mentioned. Mostly in retaliation, Jen says she doesn’t trust Heather. Heather, who truly has been a reliable friend to Jen, is angry. (Cue the montage of Heather following and comforting Jen after every party meltdown.) Even Heather has her limits—she calls Jen “a really shitty friend.” Though she has been unanimously called out, Jen still defends her reactions as “completely justified.” The episode ends in this tense stalemate. Next week is the finale, and the cast will finally leave Las Vegas and hopefully wrap up some of this season’s increasingly tangled plot lines. If it’s even close to as weird as this episode, I’ll be satisfied.

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Random observations:

  • Remember last episode when Meredith said, “I don’t have it in me for any more drama?” LOL. 
  • Where do all of the members of the Shah Squad stay? Are they contractually required to join her on every single weekend trip? I need the tell-all memoir from Stu Chainz immediately. 
  • Speaking of Shah Squad, there has been almost no footage of Jen’s work life besides planning big parties for friends and family. Lisa and Heather’s businesses are big parts of the story, and we’ve seen glimpses into Meredith and Mary’s jobs. When does Jen’s team have time for actual marketing? 
  • This interview about Brooks Marks’ favorite products includes….water and Purell hand sanitizer? Sure. 
  • I am still recovering from Kimberly cooing, “Just let those balls be” in the meditation exercise.
  • I would watch an entire miniseries of Kimberly coaching Jen on apologies. This first attempt was painful to watch.