The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City recap: I’m sorry, Valter
Last week, when it came to selecting a Queen of Delusion, a Jester of Drama, an Ace of Asinine from the RHOSLC cast, the deck was stacked against Ms. Jen Shah. She arrived at a casual 1920s party wearing a full gown, already 10 tequila-sodas deep, and proceeded to yell at a woman who had done absolutely nothing to her, and when that failed, she screamed about a woman who had done something to her, but whom she had previously said was forgiven, and announced to the whole party that said woman was a "grandpa f---er."
But this week, the RHOSLC tables have rightly returned to showcasing the fruitiest loop of this group. When it comes to the most b-a-n-a-n-a-s of the bunch, the battiest of the broads, I only have eyes for one Mary Cosby. And Mary Cosby… only has eyes.
Oh no, that was the end of that statement. Mary Crosby is almost entirely eyes. When Mary is backed into a corner of her own lies and delusion, she is absolutely incapable of completing a sentence with her mouth, but those eyes — those eyes speak the full sentences that Mary's mouth simply cannot. They tell the story of someone who has spent most of her life convincing herself that when everyone says she's wrong, she's actually the most right. And so, she'll never admit that she's wrong because she genuinely believes that she never has been.
Even though more points of interest have occurred on The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City in its last five episodes than my entire adult life combined, I have not quickly forgotten how this feud started all those weeks ago. And it's not because Jen is jealous of Mary. It's because Mary said Jen smelled like hospital while her aunt's legs were being amputated; then she denied saying it, called a third party over to confirm what happened, and when that third party said that Mary most definitely said Jen smelled like hospital, Mary told the third party that no one asked her, then told Jen that she sure did say she smelled like a hospital, and told the camera later that it's not her fault Jen's aunt's lifestyle choices led to her having her legs amputated, she should have just drank more water…
What I'm saying is that Mary Cosby's presence on our screens is both a wretched curse and an undeserved blessing — let's find out if she's taking us to heaven or hell in this episode.
We start in media res at Mary's "Met Gala inspired" luncheon, a.k.a. hell. The Louis Vuitton Air Pods have been gifted, the betta fish have gone still in the centerpieces, and Jen has offered an apology to Meredith for screaming at her. Unfortunately, that makes it all the more notable that Jen has not offered an apology to Mary, who she screamed out was a "grandpa f---er" on that very same night, which Mary continually quotes as Jen calling her a "grandpa m'fer," adding another, even more alarming familial extension to the accusation.
When everyone arrived, Mary told each woman to share something personal that the others might not know. In the last episode, Jen spoke about her challenging upbringing as a person of color in Utah, which has led her to put an emphasis on loyalty and friendship: "I know I have a hard exterior, and I will eff you up and down, sideways, backwards, but I just want you to know I do that because I care so much." Meredith says that's helpful in understanding why Jen lost control at the 1920s party. But Mary says that Jen's words can come across as "deadly." "
For some reason, this leads Jen to say, "I will say what all y'all are thinking, but don't want to say — I'll say it." Mary wants to make sure Jen knows that she does not speak for her, a sentiment she expresses by saying: "I don't agree with me thinking you say what I would say… I'm just saying." As a reminder, this woman is a pastor — an orator by trade!
Mary is clearly trying to lead Jen toward realizing that she was wrong to scream that Mary f---ed her grandpa at a party, so she bugs her eyes halfway out of their sockets, smirks, "I don't think anybody at the table would say the thing you've said, sweetheart," and winks.
Jen does not respond well to the wink. "I'm telling you, the reason I'm saying those things is because we were brought up very f---ing differently!" Jen yells. Mary does not respond well to being cursed at, yelling the final nail in the coffin of this Met Gala inspired luncheon: "Don't get ghetto!"
Mary just starts saying, "Bye, Jen; have a good day, Jen; excuse yourself from my table, Jen." So, Jen does. She gets up and leaves. Well, first, she stands up and hisses, "Hey Mary, open your motherf---ing eyes at me one more fucking time." Then she leaves.
Heather, as usual, is maintaining a level head. Last week, it was just keeping her eye on the prize — chicken drumstick lollipops — while placating Jen, and this week, it's getting Jen and Mary to get over themselves and talk to each other so they can all move on. Or as Heather puts it in her testimonial: "Yes, Mary said that Jen smelled like hospital, and Jen called Mary a grandpa f---er… At this point, the score is settled."
Heather retrieves Jen from outside, marches her back in before the nutcracker/Beefeater valets can retrieve her car, and tells the table that they need to get through this as respectfully as possible. "Why are you telling me?" Mary rasps, eyes halfway to Park City.
But whatever Heather has said to Jen outside, she returns much calmer than she left, telling Mary that she wouldn't be there if she didn't care, which the whole table backs her up on. In fact, the whole table seems to agree that Jen opened up just like Mary asked her to do, but Mary was then dismissive about Jen's vulnerability.
Mary says she "didn't know [she] wasn't allowed" to interject with her own thoughts. The editors helpfully flashback to Mary instructing everyone not to interrupt and to talk one at a time. Heather offers that it seems a little hypocritical to interject her opinion when she'd told them not to.
"Don't call me hypocritical, don't do that!" Mary snaps. "I don't care what you seem because you seem hypocritical too, Heather, and I can be nasty right now." Wow! Mary says that Heather has "very many faces," once again employing the "throw every accusation and defense possible at the wall and see what sticks" strategy we saw her deploy with the hospital smell incident.
And finally, Mary delivers her pièce de resistance of deflection: When Heather asks how she's two-faced, Mary suddenly exclaims, "I don't want to do this around Valter; he's very upset right now!" The camera swivels around to the restaurant owner, Valter, who does indeed look alarmed, but no more alarmed than someone who permanently looks like a 17th-century composer tends to look. Whitney tries to get them back on track by saying that the timing of Mary's comments were unfortunate, at which point, Mary sputters out, "You don't even… you're 30, you don't even…"
Cut to Whitney in her testimonial: "I am 30. And you're all old as f---, and you're acting like you're 10!"
But the subject matter is about to get a lot more nuanced because Mary has now called Jen ghetto and said she doesn't want to be around "hoodlums." Jen points out in her testimonial that, historically, those are derogatory terms used to make people "feel less-than." Jen says she's realizing she doesn't know who Mary is, and she wants to get to the bottom of it. So, at the luncheon table, she asks Mary about a comment she made a few months ago, where she said that if she sees Black people in front of a 7-Eleven, she goes to a different 7-Eleven.
That's a startling and upsetting statement — a statement you might expect Mary to refute, given all the other things she's been refuting today…
But when asked why she would say something like that, Mary exclaims, "Because to this day, I mean it! All Black people —" And I will never forgive Jen for interrupting Mary and not letting her finish that sentence. For now, Mary explains her extremely suspect comments thusly: "Convenience stores, hospitals — I just have a fear of them! My mind just automatically goes violent when it comes to convenience stores!"
Hey, Mary — and stay with me here — it's almost as if, when your mind automatically does something that is offensive and harmful to others, you could work toward making your mind not do that thing, rather than deciding that this is just some immovable quirk of yours. Also, pray tell, what specific part of convenience stores are you associating with violence?
Once Jen leaves the luncheon early again, and Mary reclaims the Air Pods she left behind, the story moves on to what else is happening around Salt Lake City. Whitney is taking her dad to a sober living facility where he's choosing to continue his journey toward sobriety, and oof — I'm really rooting for him. Lisa is throwing a birthday party for her youngest son that gives off very "I'm not a regular Mormon mom, I'm a cool Mormon mom" vibes. Heather is having her oldest daughter's boyfriend over for breakfast, giving off very "I'm not actually a Mormon mom at all anymore" vibes. And Meredith is picking up her husband Seth from the airport, giving off the worst vibes possible.
The last we saw of Meredith and Seth, they were terrorizing a young waitress with their passive aggression while on an alleged date. Now Seth has returned from work in Ohio, telling Meredith the moment he gets in her car that this is the first time she's ever picked him up from the airport. Seth clearly wants this marriage to work a lot more than Meredith does, and yet he's the one who can't stop needling. It's pretty sad to watch! And also fascinating in its sheer normalcy. In her testimonial, Meredith says she's optimistic that this visit will go better than the last one, which was "tense and volatile."
And I kid you not, two minutes into this drive, things have gone absolutely off the rails. Seth starts pestering Meredith about moving to Ohio, to which she says absolutely not. "So, where you live is more important than who you live with?" Seth asks. Meredith says no, she'd like to live with him, but she's not uprooting their lives once again for his job, and also, her job is in Utah. "I would move anywhere for you," Seth whines while actively demanding that she move somewhere else to be with him. It's very manipulative! And triggering for Meredith, who says that their constant relocating over the years is a big issue of resentment for her in their marriage.
The next time we see them, Seth is getting ready to go back to Ohio, and Meredith is saying a little space might be good. "You don't want me here?" Seth asks sadly. And I really do feel bad for these two — but they also feel super, super doomed, and the Housewives franchises aren't exactly known for bolstering rocky marriages. I wouldn't exactly say I'm rooting for Seth and Meredith, but I'm definitely rooting for getting to the bottom of exactly what is going on in their marriage.
Finally, it's time to take one more trip to Maryville, where the sky is green, the grass is blue, and everyone is wrong except the ironclad last will and testament of Queen Mary's grandmother. Heather arrives at dinner with a very generous attitude toward someone who just said she had "very many faces." But Heather seems to be almost dangerously empathetic; she wants Mary to know that they can remain friends independent of what's going on with Jen. And Mary — well, Mary wants the waitress to know that she needs still water because "carbonation hurts your ovaries."
Restaurant staff truly are not safe in Salt Lake City.
Since the luncheon, Mary has come up with an explanation for why Jen is so angry with her: "She is triggered by what I have, and I feel like she's not used to it because of my color." Heather needs a little more clarity, so Mary explains further: "My color, my style, my meeee."
Now, it is an unfortunately common occurrence for non-Black women to try to undermine Black women. But Jen's feud with Mary doesn't seem to be fueled by Jen's jealousy of Mary's position in the group like Mary is convinced it is. No, I'm pretty sure Jen's anger is fueled by Mary saying Jen smelled like hospital, never really apologizing for it, and then repeatedly looking down on Mary for the way she talks and behaves.
Heather also isn't following Mary's reasoning, so she offers up that Mary seemed upset when Jen attacked her marriage, so maybe they could talk about that. Mary starts right in: "So my grandmother, in her will, she wanted me to take her place… literally. She wanted me to marry her second husband, which was my step-grandfather." If only Jen had screamed that across the bar, maybe we wouldn't be in this mess. In this telling of her marriage origin story, though, Mary offers up a little more nuance than we've heard before: "I did marry him, but I didn't want to, Heather. That's weird to me. But my grandmother wanted it, and so I obeyed her because I trusted every word."
It's both a relief to hear Mary actually express some past misgivings about her current situation and concerning to think about how young she was when she was instructed to marry her step-grandfather by the woman she most trusted as a spiritual leader. Mary tells Heather that she saw how far her grandmother had led their church and knew she must be right about this too. "And look at my life," Mary says, gesturing to herself. "You think I'm this high-fashioned Louis Vuitton, and maybe I am because I chose right."
So, if I'm following this correctly… Mary is saying that her grandmother was right about instructing her to marry her step-grandfather… because Mary is rich now… from being the pastor of a church. Anytime Mary talks about her wealth or gifts $7,000 worth of headphones at a random luncheon or layers seven sets of Chanel motorcycle gloves on top of each other for one outfit, I have to wonder what her congregation thinks. But as always, it only matters what Mary thinks, and she tells Heather that she has clarity on Jen now: "I'm done. I'm so done."
Not according to your contract, sweetheart. See you back here next week for — drumroll, please — Sundaaaaance!