‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ Recap: ‘Fair Weather Friends’

The party-bus ride to hell is in the rearview mirror. Whitney and Heather have taken their principled flight home (in coach!) Mary has been compelled to post an Instagram apology with hashtags including #apologyaccepted, #reels and #latinos. The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City are officially home from their cursed girls’ trip in an episode that feels a bit like palate cleanse. After a constant barrage of explosive revelations, this episode pauses the revelations and tells us things we mostly already know. Lisa still hates Heather and Whitney! Karlyn is still cute! Mary’s house is still a Dadaist nightmare! In the middle of the shaky return-to-normal, though, is a front-row seat to the event we all knew would come: The Jen Shah One-Woman Show.

It starts with Lisa at home debriefing with John, or, as he’s horrifyingly known in Lisa’s phone, JB HUSBAND BOSS. Lisa is rattled from the fight that ended the trip, which only solidified her opinion that Whitney and Heather are out to get her. “Whitney, she’s not a pot stirrer. She’s like a little whisk. Little Whiskney,” and JB HUSBAND BOSS seems legitimately amused. (It’s no “Whitney and Heather, bad weather,” but I’ll take it.) After calling the cousins “weak fucking little sheep,” Lisa gets a text from an unknown number. JB HUSBAND BOSS is FORBIDDEN by Lisa from getting a drink from the kitchen, because the text is from Jen. JB HUSBAND BOSS thinks that Lisa should meet up with Jen for some reason, but Lisa is keeping her distance, because she still feels manipulated after sticking her neck out for Jen before the arrest.

Jen, then, reaches out to her other remaining ally: Heather. Heather immediately drops everything to get lunch with Jen, who is trying to spin the arrest as best as she can. “This is what I asked God to show me,” she says. “Who are my real friends?” Well, your prayers are answered I guess! Obviously, none of the Housewives, let alone Housewife recappers, have all of the evidence to definitely say whether Jen is guilty or innocent. However, the case clearly doesn’t look good for Jen, and some of her statements seem brazenly dishonest. At lunch with Heather, she’s sticking to her story about some mystery person calling from Sharrieff’s phone to say he had a medical emergency. Heather must know that this story is suspicious, but she doesn’t push further. Why? As she is wont to do, Heather compares the situation to her divorce. “All I wanted was for someone to show up, hold my hand, say they loved me and not ask me too many questions,” she says, which Jen is, of course, perfectly fine with. 

Both Jen’s conversation with Heather and a later one with Sharrieff show that she is experiencing real pain. Of course she is scared of not seeing her family. It’s painful to see her children, who Jen emphasizes are Black kids in a mostly white community, walk out of the house with their hands up with white police officers. But there is so much bullshit on display that even Bravo can’t help but build a case for federal prosecutors. Just as Jen tries to minimize her and Stuart’s relationship, the show flashes back to a clip of Jen feeding him a banana and saying, “while you make me money I feed you.” Heather may be sticking by Jen—and telling her directly what the others think about her—but Lisa is wise to steer clear.

Whitney’s been a lot of fun to watch this season, but now I’m worried that she has girlbossed too close to the sun. She has tried to dedicate screen time to her beauty business, which recently rebranded from Iris & Beau to Wild Rose Beauty, and this episode makes it clear that this company is no casual side hustle. Over Chipotle takeout, Whitney accuses Justin of viewing Iris & Beau I mean Wild Rose Beauty as just a hobby. Before you feel too bad for Whitney, though, Justin reminds her that he has invested hundreds of thousands into her newly rebranded business. Whitney has, by her own admission, not been all that careful with the family’s sweet, sweet MLM bread—now she has a $1 million line of credit, and Justin will have to cosign on the deposit if she can’t get a loan. (I don’t actually understand what this means, which is one of many reasons why I should not start my own skin care line.) Even more concerning: Whitney asks, “What did you make us for dinner daddy?” as Justin gets out the Chipotle. Between this and JB HUSBAND BOSS, I think the FBI needs to come back.

Giving us our weekly reminder that rich people have very different hobbies, Lisa and Meredith head to the stables for some horseback riding. As usual, Meredith is mostly there to turn a look, though, unlike Lisa, she can actually get her horse to move. They then drink tea (still in the stable…full of horse shit…relaxing) and catch up on the latest drama. Somehow, even though Jen is fighting for her life in federal court and Mary may be a literal cult leader, Lisa is mostly preoccupied with Whitney and Heather being rude to her. Meredith, reclaiming her role as group therapist, says the group has a “dynamic that is very problematic” and that no one person (even Jen!) is totally to blame. Lisa refuses to match Meredith’s measured tone. She says, “someone has to have my fucking back,” and Meredith, who seems tired of defending Lisa, is insulted by the insinuation that she doesn’t defend her. Lisa THEN says that Whitney and Heather’s lies are as bad as Jen’s which is, a) absolutely bananas and b) the exact wrong thing to say to Meredith, who has viewed Jen as Public Enemy #1 since Twinkgate. And just like that, Lisa has finished the next stop on her burning bridges tour. 

For the sake of everyone’s health, there is no major group outing this week, but Heather and Jennie do show up at Whitney’s $20,000 photo shoot for Iris & Beau I mean Wild Rose Beauty. Jennie quickly observes that this was not necessarily 20 grand well spent—none of the glamour shots include any product and a big chunk of the merch advertises the old company name. Come on Whitney! We have more important business to attend to than Whitney’s probably failing business, though. Jennie talks about her plan to bring everyone together, including Jen, to hash out their problems over Vietnamese food. This is a bad idea, but it will probably be funny. Heather talks about her lunch with Jen and says, “I hope and pray she’s innocent.” This is a bad idea that just makes me feel sorry for Heather. Then, Whitney drops the episode’s only true bombshell—she had a three-hour conversation with Cameron, who had a public falling out with Mary and her church. “If Lisa knew 1/10 of what I knew and if 1/10 of that was true, Mary is bigger and badder than we ever realized,” Whitney says. Oh no. Whitney wants to directly talk with Lisa about what she’s learn. This is actually a good idea—even Jennie thinks so. Yes, part of the reason I like this idea is because it will cause a stupidly entertaining fight that will end with eight confusing puns and a slam poem from Lisa. But even the non-evil part of my brain thinks this makes sense. Meredith may still want to hear Mary’s side, but most reasonable people already know what will happen if Whitney brings it up: Mary will deny it, scream out a sermon word salad, say something racist and then apologize months later in a Live Laugh Love font. Lisa, though, should directly confront the allegations against Mary as she tries to play both sides. Next week, everyone gets together—including Jen—and apparently the tension simmering underneath Meredith and Lisa’s friendship finally erupts. 

Random observations:

  • Jen is upset that Lisa won’t talk to her because she “read something on the Internet.” That’s certainly one way to put it!
  • The real loser of this episode: Whitney’s daughter Bobbi, who has to watch her parents fight AND doesn’t get to finish her Chipotle. Sad!
  • In this episode, we meet the bravest woman in America. Her name is Alexia and she’s hired to organize Mary’s closet…and her bedroom which has become another closet since the real closet is impenetrable. She gently offers very good advice like “If you can’t see things that are behind or tucked away you’re probably not wearing it.” Her chance of success is almost zero, but I would watch a miniseries about her attempt.

Read more about The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.

Josh Petersen
Josh Petersenhttps://www.saltlakemagazine.com/
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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