The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City recap: Worst. Trip. Ever.
Last week, we were blessed with baby's first group trip, but this week we got a Housewives rite of passage even more vital to any franchise: baby's first hypnotist.
The baby in question is, of course, freshman franchise The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City, and the Housewives hypnotist in question is Kimberly: a hypnotist so successful that she has a mansion in Las Vegas, and apparently can pay whatever price tag comes with making a headful of extensions out of Connie Britton's famous strawberry locks. But if Kimberly is the key to figuring out how to deal with Jen, then she is worth the price of entry, but as Meredith notes: she's gonna need a bigger crystal for this crew. (Spoiler alert: Kimberly is, unfortunately, not the key.)
More than most, I think, I have held onto hope for Jen. I have had faith that she could find balance between her aptitude for going nuclear on her friends, and her potential to have goofy, extravagant fun with them. I have been a loyal recapper to Jen…
And in return, Jen has betrayed me. Because if Jen can't figure out a way to keep from detonating every single conversation her castmates attempt to have with her, then her position in the RHOSLC cast is simply untenable. I know a lot of fans think that Jen is acting this way because she wants to be viewed as an iconic Housewife, but there seems to be a certain element of control missing from Jen's 0-to-100 escalations that is… unnerving to watch. I can't even imagine what it's like to watch in person, and further, what it's like to live.
This episode picks back up on the same day that the women have arrived in Vegas: y'know the one where Jen berated Heather for being friends with Whitney on her apology shopping trip, and now, two hours later, she's doing the same thing all over again to Lisa and Meredith, but with a lot more screaming and animosity this time. If I send two emails in an evening, I feel exhausted, I can't imagine how I'd feel if I unhinged my jaw and ate my friends like a python twice in one night.
For the first time since arriving in Vegas, all of the women are supposed to be gathering for dinner. Meredith and Lisa arrive at the private dining room first and remark on how good they feel about the way things went over with Whitney at the racetrack. Jen arrives next in the neon botanical Lycra suit that she nearly plummeted to her death in earlier that day, and asks how their excursion was. Lisa happily reports to Jen that they had a great conversation with Whitney where she apologized, acknowledged her weaknesses, and said she would work on them.
This is… to Lisa and Meredith's surprise, not received well by Jen. She tells them that Whitney also sincerely apologized to her, but she still doesn't feel like she's being accountable for what happened at Sharrieff's party, and she doesn't understand why they would be so quick to forgive Whitney when it was them she threw under the bus.
"Because she apologized," Lisa says. Which, honestly, is a wildly simple thing to say in the Housewives universe, but it's nowhere near as wild as Jen's reaction to it. She doesn't understand how they could be okay with Whitney lying about them, and Meredith shrugs that she didn't lie, she repeated what was told to her, which she admits was the wrong thing to do. And now, 10 seconds after sitting down with them, Jen is fuming: "I don't even give a s--- you guys, she threw you under the bus, you guys are my friends, I f---ing stood up for both of you!"
Meredith says that people are entitled to apologize and change their behavior — again, a completely new addition to the Housewives lexicon — but Jen is not trying to hear that. She insists she's accepted Whitney's apology, but she's still furious with Whitney for "lying," which isn't something that Whitney did. Even in her drunken stupor at the party, Whitney clearly stated that Mary told her Lisa and Meredith both said they were scared of her, so if anyone is lying, it's Mary. But Jen can't lash out at Mary anymore because some Bravo overlord has permanently trapped her in her closet, so instead, she's lashing out at everyone else around her…
And Meredith has had enough. Before Lisa can even try to get things back on track, Jen is screaming, "So you guys wanna be on Mary's side, be on Whitney's f---ing side, that's fine, I don't give a f---, I'm gonna be on what's right and what's wrong!" And that's when Meredith grabs her purse, says she's not engaging in this, and bids her farewell as Jen screams after her, "Don't you do that to me, MEREDITH!"
They should start a new Housewives crossover show that's just Meredith Marks and Denise Richards leaving dinner tables. As Jen screams about Meredith walking away from her, she then gets up to walk away from Lisa, and that's when Heather and Whitney have the nerve to… arrive at dinner. Jen storms past them, hissing at Heather, "Talk to your friend," and then slapping at her when Heather tries to ask what's going on. Jen then catches a glimpse of Whitney looking stunned, gets right in her face, and spits, "You know what, when you wanna f---ing talk, then talk to me, Whitney!"
"What did I do?" Whitney begs to know.
"Whitney, SHUT THE F--- UP!" Jen — who recently invited Whitney to talk to her — responds.
Listen, I thought that Whitney's accountability over the havoc she sewed was a little lackluster at that backwoods spa, but she clearly stated that she was sorry for choosing the wrong place and the wrong time, and Jen verbally accepted that apology. But now Jen has simply decided that she still wants to be mad at Whitney, so she's moving on to saying that Whitney lied to her, and that's the thing Whitney needs to be accountable for. She did the exact same thing with Mary in the first few episodes: publicly forgave her, privately decided she was still mad, and then demanded that everyone else jump on board, and when they didn't, started screaming about loyalty.
As Jen is screaming in Whitney's face, Heather comes over to say it's not necessary, so Jen starts screaming in Heather's face: "Oh it's not NECESSARY… don't COME AT ME, Heather!" It truly looks like she's about to physically harm Heather, who is stoic in the face of Jen's rage. She storms from the room once more, and Lisa follows after her, begging her to listen. Instead of listening, Jen continues on her incoherent tirade, screaming: "You think that she is gonna be loyal to you!? Okay, go talk to her." Lisa calmly informs Jen that she's right there, talking to Jen, and has been for the entire evening, so shouldn't that show her that Lisa is loyal to her?
Jen storms upstairs to her room and Lisa goes back to Whitney and Heather who are both stunned into silence. Quite generously, Lisa says that she knows Jen's behavior was outrageous, but it seems that there have been some ramifications from Whitney's actions that Jen still needs resolution on.
But that tune quickly changes when Whitney points out how absurd it is that Jen is demanding loyalty from Lisa and Meredith, when she's been dropping hints about Meredith dating outside of her marriage for months. Lisa, who was surprisingly nonplussed by Jen's erratic physical behavior earlier, is now livid. "For her to talk about Meredith is wrong because she just sat there and said how loyal she is to both of us," Lisa says. And then, she tells Whitney that if Jen has said anything about her, she better tell her right now.
Whitney audibly gulps. And then she tells Lisa that the night before, Jen called her and said that Lisa had been running her mouth about Whitney and was probably going to come at her hard in Vegas.
We don't see how these three get upstairs to meet up with Meredith again, but I have to assume it was by Lisa marching Whitney and Heather up by their ears, and hissing, "Tell her what you told me." And Lisa deserves to be angry — they all do! Jen has been screaming at them about what a loyal friend she is for upwards of eight weeks, and now that they've finally broken away to compare notes, they can see that the only person Jen is loyal to is herself.
Upstairs, Whitney tells Meredith that Jen has been "trying to drop bombs in my lap to get me to say bad things about your marriage," and Meredith cuts her right off, saying it's time to address this. She very straightforwardly states that she and Seth have been separated on and off for a very long time, so at points, they've seen other people. Lisa looks like she's about to cry, and says in her testimonial that this is the first time she's hearing this, and she suddenly feels like she's sitting in a room with her best friend, but she doesn't know anything about her life.
But you know what's a great way to learn new things about your old friends? A surprise hypnotist!
The next morning, Whitney takes Lisa and Meredith to a woman named Kimberly's house, who claims to be a hypnotist. Heather is meeting them there later because she has to go pick up her things from Jen's room since Jen texted her this morning to say she was headed to the airport. But when Heather arrives at Jen's room, Jen is very much still there, and surrounded by up to 10 employees. Heather notes that Jen is acting giggly and charming, "nothing like the crazed monster I saw last night, spitting and furious."
I note two other things: 1. That Jen mentions a number of times how thankful she is for the Shah Squad, pointing out how loyal they are to her, and failing to observe that these are people who are paid to look beyond her antics, and 2. Jen seems to be tiptoeing into the conversation with Heather, trying to gauge how her actions were received the night before, much like an addict who went on a bender might. It doesn't take her long to discover that everyone is upset with her, and she starts ranting again about how she can't move forward until she knows who lied to her. Jen wants to know why everyone can't just apologize to her, or if they f---ed up, just admit that they f---ed up.
In a moment I'd love to replay over and over, Heather picks her jaw up off the floor to respond: "Yeah that's not the situation we're in right now — the person who f---ed up is you."
But that is not the outlook Jen arrives at Kimberly's mansion with. Oh, that's right — Heather brings Jen to the hypnotism unannounced! So, after Whitney, Lisa, and Meredith have been hypnotized to believe they're holding baseballs, they look up only to discover the woman who screamed at them and made them miss dinner the night before. Jen stays eerily calm until Kimberly takes everyone to a large couch, instructs them to get comfortable, and then says, "So either I'm feeling a lot of damage within each pod of self, or I'm feeling a bit of damage within the group." Kimberly! I did not realize you were also a psychic!
Jen starts rehashing everything she's been rehashing all episode, insisting that she's the victim of disloyal friends, while everyone asks her to name when they've been disloyal, so then she changes the subject to insisting that she's been lied to. But then she gets caught in a lie over saying that Lisa and Meredith are also only friends with Whitney because she's Heather's friend. And then even more so when Meredith monotones: "It's contradictory to me to have someone preach loyalty when I'm told by every single person that you're making negative innuendos about my marriage."
Hilariously, Jen looks over to Kimberly, as though she might have some crystal that will get her out of this situation.
Jen claims that she would never do anything to interfere with anyone's marriage, and Whitney and Heather both say in unison: "False. She said it." So, Jen is then coached through a "no conditions" apology by Kimberly, but I think the apology actually should have some conditions because Jen still never admits to what she was saying about Meredith. But they have to move on to Kimberly's very fun "trust" game wherein she goes around the room to each woman and asks if the other women trust her. Everyone trusts Meredith; everyone trusts Lisa; everyone trusts Whitney; no one trusts Jen; so, Jen vindictively says she doesn't trust Heather.
The editors roll a montage of every party where Heather has chased after Jen while Jen screams at her to f--- off, and Lisa tells Jen that the way she treated Heather the night before was beyond uncomfortable. Jen responds that her reaction is always going to be biggest with people she loves, and they should know that by now, so she thinks it was justified. Unfortunately, saying that your hurtful reaction to the people you love is justified precisely because you love them so much is… an extremely dangerous justification…
And it's how we leave things with Kimberly, who gets us absolutely nowhere, but who does have a couch so deep that Meredith and Jen are physically incapable of leaving abruptly or getting in anyone's face, respectively. So, I guess we could call that growth. See you back here next week to see how we can possibly move on, and I think, to see Mary in the cold light of anywhere-but-her-closet.