After that barn burning scene of Jen’s arrest that opened the premiere, it’s hard to not feel like everything that’s followed is just a warmup for the fireworks to come. There have still been plenty of fun moments, but this episode in particular, even though we see what will likely be the first of Jen vs. Meredith fights, struggles to stand out when we all know where this season is headed. I guess you could say that at this point, this season feels like it’s…on ice. (I’ll see myself out.) 

For the first time this season, we see Heather back in action at Beauty Lab & Laser. I normally refuse to be invested in any plots about these women’s businesses that don’t result in a conspiracy to commit wire fraud, but I am fascinated/concerned with Heather’s glamorous life as a beauty boss. Does she really lean into the “I’m your friend, not your boss” vibes by tightly grabbing her employees’ shoulders to say hello? Yes she does. Does her office décor include a giant pair of lips that are jet black on the top and rainbow on the bottom? Of course. Has she figured out how to monetize the insecurity we all feel staring at ourselves in a Zoom window? Well, just like her pioneer ancestors, Heather is blazing a new trail…straight to the bank. Also, today’s episode is brought to you by the letters P, R and F, which stand for platelet-rich fibrin, which you can apparently get injected under your tired, sagging eyes right now at Beauty Lab and Laser. The more I learn about the many Beauty Lab procedures, the more I develop insecurities about my face that would not have even occurred to me before. Thanks, Heather!

Jen needs a little break from (allegedly!) defrauding the elderly, and because she has burned all other bridges, that means she is hanging out with Lisa (and one of her other friends, Kari) for the third episode in a row. They try ski-biking, and Jen hopes that she can finally be better than Lisa at a winter sport. (I also live in Utah and suck at skiing, so I felt solidarity with Jen at this moment.) Jen almost immediately crashes her bike, so that plan didn’t exactly pan out, but they do finish the day by chanting “123 SNOGO bitches,” so I’d call the trip at least a moderate success? Jen and Lisa grab cocoa and Jen tells Lisa she is planning an adventure for the entire group—“it’s time for us to get together and get out of our comfort zone,” she says. Lisa repeatedly says “K” with increasing alarm as Jen shares that everyone will need to bring snow gear and to share their weight, height, eye color and hair color. “I’m not stealing your identity,” Jen promises, but I’m sure the federal authorities will be the judge of that! 

The reason Jen needs everyone’s social security number and mother’s maiden name is because she wants to take the whole gang ice fishing. Even Lisa realizes this is a bad idea, but Jen wants everyone to be friends again and it seems like nothing will stop her.

For yet another episode, we get a lot of footage of individual cast members at home with family. (Maybe this is a product of filming during a pandemic?) Mary drags her son Robert Jr. out of the house for lunch at Tulie Bakery. It honestly feels uncomfortable to watch any scene with Robert Jr. because he so clearly has no interest in being on camera, but to be fair, any teenager would probably hate going to lunch with Mary. She makes him—loudly—bless their grilled cheese sandwiches and then suggests that he join the army. Robert Jr. barely says a full sentence, but Mary insists they “have an amazing bond” and “can talk about anything.” What are some of the topics they talk about, you might ask? Well, apparently Mary has told him to “wear a jimmy” because “you don’t want that thing coming home purple.” While this advice likely gave Robert Jr. irreparable emotional scars, Mary does deserve credit for giving him a more useful sex education than most Utah public schools.  

At Jennie’s house, budding mad scientist Karlyn leads the family in a Saturday science experiment. Honestly, I’m impressed that in the middle of the pandemic Jennie organizes any family activity that isn’t “turn on Netflix and make sure nobody dies.” As the kids clean up, Duy compulsively ruins this nice family moment by, once again, asking Jennie to have more children. Last episode, we learned that Jennie is opposed to the idea and this time we get more information—apparently, Jennie has had three C-sections (!), nine miscarriages (!!) and has been told by her doctor that having any more children could be dangerous (!!!) No matter the reasoning, Duy should defer to Jennie on this topic since Jennie would, you know, be the one actually having the kids, but knowing the context of Jennie’s health problems, Duy looks even more like an ass.

In a more wholesome family moment, Heather talks with her girls about religion. We see photos of her daughter Ashley on trek (a detail that will make perfect sense to Utahns and will probably confuse everyone else) and learn that Heather will completely support her daughters no matter how they feel about church. It’s sweet! In a less wholesome family moment, Brooks and Mary—who apparently have bonded over their mutual hatred of Jen Shah—talk and Mary chaotically convinces Meredith to go ice fishing and air out her grievances with Jen. Mary also announces, “I have to poot” in the middle of a conversation, which I won’t comment on.

Now, we get to the real meat of the episode. For the first time this season, all of the Housewives gather together again—well, most of the Housewives, because Mary does whatever the hell she wants and decides to stay home and reflect on her cursed interior decorating choices. Jen arrives first (with Stu Chainz) and asks if they’re on a lake, which feels like an early indication of how successful this fishing trip will be. As Jen tries to figure out exactly where she is, Whitney and Heather and Lisa and Jennie drive up in separate cars. Whitney, who Jen threatened to drown last season, came prepared with a life jacket. (“I’m hoping I can just break the ice,” Whitney says, very proud of her little pun.) Whitney also feels worried about seeing Lisa, who she compares to a relative she is forced to see because they’re family—but in this case, she’s forced to see Lisa because she’s cashing checks from Bravo. While Heather has tentatively made up with Jen, she is also apprehensive about seeing Lisa, who she hasn’t spoken with since they fought at the Season 1 reunion. The feud between Lisa, Whitney and Heather is honestly super boring and it seems to come up only when one of them feels especially petty or hungry for screen time. Lisa doesn’t seem to be thinking about it much at all, because she is preoccupied with the thankless (but self-appointed) job of mediating between Meredith and Jen. 

When Whitney and Heather arrive at the lake, Jen warns the fishing instructor that “the next two ladies are a bit rowdy.” Whitney and Heather, always on-brand, immediately start screaming, and Heather starts eyeing the guide from yards away. “We’re not responsible for sexual harassment,” Jen says. Yikes! Whitney really goes for the bit and wears the life jacket over her coat and weirdly…it does diffuse the tension. (“I’m Zen Jen now. I’m not trying to drown anybody!” Jen says in a confessional.) Even after Lisa and Jennie join the group, everyone is on good behavior. Heather shows off her outdoorswoman skills by explaining the difference between perch and trout, Jen brought trophies for categories including “best dressed” and Lisa, my suburban queen, explains that “she is not comfortable around fish” before plugging fish tacos at Del Taco.

But, of course, the relative harmony can’t last forever. Without telling anyone, Meredith does show up, and in a rare moment of vulnerability, Jen looks genuinely freaked out. The other ladies know what’s coming, and they go in their respective corners to hype up Meredith and Jen. (Heather, a genuinely amazing girlfriend, touches up Jen’s lipstick and says, “Always fight in full makeup. That’s what my mom always taught me.”) The two pull up camp chairs to talk as the others awkwardly pretend to look busy. Meredith quickly gets to the point: she wants Jen to stop commenting on Brooks’ sexuality. Jen says she doesn’t know what Meredith is talking about, and when Meredith brings up specific examples, Jen claims that they must be from a member of her team who runs her social media. Meredith doesn’t buy this excuse, and when Jen continues to deny, Meredith storms off. “I can’t listen to the projecting, deflecting and lying anymore!” she yells to Lisa as her sunglasses fly off in a fit of passion. The other cast members sit and uncomfortably sip their cocoa until Jennie decides to intervene. (Whatever you need to do to get screen time, girl!) Everyone coaxes Jen and Meredith back together, sensing that with Lisa as mediator, this may be their last chance to broker peace. Meredith continues to go off on Jen about her family, and Jen finally replies, “How do you think my kids feel?” Meredith pauses and quietly asks, “What did I do to your children Jen?” It’s a good point, and one Jen has no real response to. Meredith storms away, presumably for the final time, and observes “I don’t think Jen is capable of seeing beyond herself.” We end on a cliffhanger, though somehow I don’t think that either Jen or Meredith will be making up anytime soon.

Random observations:

  • Fashion watch: Jen wears a tiara baseball hat to the lake, while Whitney worries that her ice fishing outfit looks like Dora the Explorer. (She looked nothing like Dora the Explorer.) 
  • When FaceTiming Meredith, Seth pauses to ask “Are those your real eyes? I’ve never looked at your eyes before.” What is this man doing?! 
  • When talking about her feud with Lisa, Whitney says, “I think she might be obsessed with me. Like I think she might be attracted to me.” While, as far as we know, all of the SLC Housewives identify as straight, here is my completely subjective ranking of how likely each Housewife is to make out with another Housewife: 
    1. Whitney
    2. Jen
    3. Heather
    4. Lisa
    5. Jennie
    6. Meredith
    7. Mary

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