With a dramatic arrest and cult allegations on the horizon, there is plenty of explosive drama to come in the rest of this season of The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself after watching the first genuine clunker of the season. Sadly, this episode is boring front to back, and I sense that the problem stems from how rarely the Housewives are interacting as a group. Whether it’s because of the pandemic, Mary being trapped in her closet or something else entirely, there has only been one event in five episodes that every single cast member attended together. (Angie’s fundraiser, which was, no surprise, a highlight.) Plus, in this episode, the Housewives are generally on their best behavior, resolving conflicts instead of starting them. (Good for them, bad for us.) Again, there are glorious messes to look forward to in the near future, but until then, we have this week’s slog to get through.

After melting down at Angie’s party, a presumably hungover Lisa is down bad. She feels hurt that Angie sided with Whitney over her, and she calls the entire night “a waste of a Gucci outfit.” John gently suggests to Lisa that she and Whitney should try to make up. It turns out, though, that John has an ulterior motive—he likes hanging out with Justin and doesn’t want his wife’s rivalries to get in the way. 

Over in Daybreak, we learn that Whitney’s home office includes a large glamour shot of herself next to a sign defining “mamba mentality.” (You would hope she and Lisa could at least bond over interior decorating choices.) Whitney is taking a break from her boss-babe lifestyle to hang out with Mary, who arrives clad in her most extra snakeskin boots. “Apparently she leaves her closet,” Whitney quips. Mary brings cookies, and Whitney suggests that Mary could teach her daughter Bobbi to bake. Moments ago, we saw frightening footage of Mary attempting to make these cookies, so I’m guessing this wouldn’t go well. Mary then explains that she’s tired because a member of her congregation’s daughter was ejected from the sunroof in a car accident. Bobbi asks, “Is she still alive?” and Mary replies “no,” briefly pauses, says “I’m so happy to be here,” does a little dance and says “wear your seatbelt.” Horrifying! After giving Whitney’s children lasting emotional scars, the pair talk about Whitney and Lisa’s recent drama. As Whitney explains the situation, Mary says that Whitney must, on some level, want Lisa’s friendship or else she would not be so invested in this rivalry. I am shocked to say Mary…makes a certain amount of sense? When Mary becomes the most logical person in the room, that should be a massive red flag for everyone involved.

In other news, Heather’s daughter Ashley got into her dream school, UC Santa Barbara. “It’s like she’s been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches her whole life, and she’s going to go to the Chuck-A-Rama buffet,” Heather says. I’m not sure what to make of this metaphor, but I’m happy for both of them anyway. 

Now, for our first of two (probably short-lived) makeups. After tentatively making peace with Meredith while grown men ran around screaming “TROUT!” Jen has finally convinced Brooks to meet with her privately for lunch. Meredith comes too, and though she leaves Brooks and Jen to talk on their own, her seat at the bar is definitely close enough to eavesdrop. Jen still doesn’t seem to quite know what she is apologizing for, but what her apology lacks in coherence it makes up for in sincerity. Brooks is near tears discussing the public speculation about his sexuality, and suggests that he was bullied as a child with the terms others are now using to talk about him on Twitter. Jen says she has gotten her social media team in line and adds, for good measure, “I’m sorry if you saw my gigi.” When Meredith sees the two hug, she returns to the table and, at least for now, she seems genuinely ready to forgive Jen. As a final word, Jen says, “I was deflecting [from] my vagina,” and now I’m adding a throw pillow that says “I’m sorry for what I said when I was deflecting from my vagina” to my Christmas list.

For some reason, we are subjected to a guys’ night with the Real Husbands (minus Duy and Robert Sr., who would rather slowly lose his mind alone in Florida than have any involvement in Season 2.) If I cared about any of these men, this would be a fascinating window into how straight men socialize, but unfortunately I don’t. After Sharrieff says “let’s keep those sweet ladies out of our mouths” (?) they go around the table and confirm they are all still married (??) The others express jealousy over Justin’s stripper-pole-in-the-house, we’re-not-actually-swingers-wink-wink sex life with Whitney, but he says things are not as rosy (sorry) as they may seem. Then, to my great horror, Seth says, “My deal with Meredith is I can sex with her any time I want as long as I don’t wake her up.” Everyone laughs and nobody seems the least bit bothered by this rape joke. Jail! The husbands then make a vague commitment to helping their wives find peace, love and harmony or something, but this scene does not convince me that any one of these men can be trusted.

Jennie, the only new cast member this season, has the difficult task of ingratiating herself with every other Housewives not named Lisa Barlow. Her lunch with Whitney has some awkward first-date-energy—these two aren’t quite close enough yet to have the natural rapport of friends (or people playing friends on reality TV). Jennie and Whitney are in opposite life trajectories—just as Whitney is trying to grow her skin care brand, Jennie sold most of her medical clinics to spend more time at home, and while Jennie fights with Duy about having more kids, Whitney, who mutually agreed that Justin should get a vasectomy, now second-guesses if she would like more kids. The topic of conversation, inevitably, turns to Lisa. Jennie knows about Whitney’s problems with Lisa, but she’s not one to play games about who is friends with whom. (Ahem.) However, she does defend Lisa’s good qualities, but, after hearing about Lisa’s “good side” from many friends, Whitney compares “Good Lisa” to Bigfoot, because she’s never seen her.

Because we’re in Salt Lake City, Bravo is obligated to include winter sports adventures at least three times per season. Meredith and Heather head to Solitude, and Heather gives this handy explanation about their respective techniques: “Meredith has better form but I have more balls.” After some time on the slopes, Heather discusses her parenting anxieties over Irish coffees. As Ashley prepares to leave for school, Heather worries that she has not talked enough about sex with her. While Meredith was the cool liberal mom more likely to give her kid a condom than a Capri Sun, Heather said that her family rules were “straight As and abstinence.” Though she still worries that talking frankly about sex would give Ashley a “permission slip,” now she wants to openly communicate with Ashley in a way her own parents never did. “A year ago I would have been horrified if she was considering having sex before she got married, and now I am horrified at the thought of her not,” Heather says, and though this is quite the turnaround, I understand her sentiment.

Unsurprisingly, the episode ends with a meeting between Lisa and Whitney. Over gin and pie at Alpine Distilling—“you can’t spell new beginnings without G-I-N,” Lisa explains—the two try to hash out their differences. The problem is, Lisa and Whitney just don’t have much chemistry, even as enemies. Lisa says she feels misinterpreted by Whitney, Whitney says she feels Lisa is irritating, and I am dreaming of better days when one Housewife told another that she “smelled like hospital.” Their real problem is simple—because Whitney and Lisa don’t have an actual relationship, they are left to assume the worst about each other. “You’ve never allowed me to get you,” Whitney says, and Lisa agrees: “I’ll give you that.” We then get a poor man’s astrology lesson: Lisa says she wants to “free fly and be fun” as a Sag, and Libra Whitney says she feels the same way. I have deleted and redownloaded Co-Star too many times to truly grasp what any of this means, but I’ll trust that this is some sort of good omen.  It doesn’t take much for these two to agree to reset and try to become actual friends because, at the end of the day, there wasn’t much to their feud to begin with. We end with Whitney and Lisa feeling hopeful about the future, at least until a federal-indictment-sized hole tears through the group. 

Random observations:

  • I would watch a full Food Network show of Mary talking to herself while trying to make baked goods. 
  • “I don’t want to go through the baby fat ever again. I worked really hard to have this body right now. I don’t want to go backwards,” Jennie says, which is valid! She looks great in her black bodysuit.
  • Here are some of Heather’s formative childhood discussions about sex: At a friends’ house, she watched Taps but a towel over the screen during the sex scene and saw a pop-up book with chickens having sex. No wonder she is messed up!
  • It feels uncomfortable seeing service workers in masks while the cast never wears them. I’m assuming each Housewife was tested regularly, but it is still an in-your-face reminder of who does and doesn’t have the choice to put themselves at risk.

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