The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City recap: Grandmother knows best
Week after week, The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City is simply giving the people what they want. Nay, giving the people what they need. And this week, they're giving it to us twice, with a special early viewing watch party of episode 3 on Twitter.
A college-aged Housewives spawn doing full David Rose cosplay in his very own testimonials? Check. An evangelical church service led by a woman who we recently heard mock a woman for having her legs amputated? Check! Not one, but two instances of dramatically blending a beverage? Double-check. Mary casually saying, “The reality is that I married my grandmother’s second husband who was my step-grandfather”? Check-o-was-his-name-o. And Jen saying that her friends don’t have to choose sides between her and Mary, and in the next breath demanding, “Bitch — vote.” Oh yeah, that’s a check for sure.
As I watched Mary explain in no uncertain terms that she married her grandmother’s second husband because her grandmother arranged the marriage before she died, I truly felt lucky to have been given a gift like RHOSLC in these trying times. Judging by the occasional flashbacks to scenes filmed many months ago, Bravo filmed enough RHOSLC footage to make sure they had something before sending it out to the masses. But I really don’t care if that means we only get this one gorgeous season, and then the fire flames out. Because, RHOSLC — <holds up cue card> — to me, you are perfect.
The third episode kicks off with Heather planning a baby shower for her five employees between the ages of 21 and 28 who are pregnant at the same time. This is kicking up some complicated feelings for Heather who says that in the Mormon community, you’re raised to understand that as a woman, your life’s most important work is to foster a perfect family. And Heather believed that when she married her husband not because he was her soulmate, but because he was a seemingly perfect Mormon, she was doing the right thing. So, when her husband decided to end their marriage 11 years in, that felt like the ultimate failure to her.
It looks like Jen is about to show a whole new side of herself next week, but the side of Jen that is a fiercely loyal friend who won’t tolerate anyone she loves talking down to themselves — I just love that side. Jen looks Heather in the eye and tells her that if she stayed with her husband when it wasn’t right, she’d be teaching her daughters that’s what they should do someday too: “You’re empowering them by taking these hard steps so that they don’t have to.”
And speaking of complicated relationships…
Mary! Has there ever been a more immediately fascinating Housewife than Mary? I mean, set aside for one single moment that she married her step-grandfather…she also seems to have more money than God, there’s some information on the internet that suggests she got said money because she touts an extra special connection to said God, and she constantly seems to be draped in, like, eight layers of towels, only to look a little closer and discover those towels are somehow designer clothes. Mary is an alarming feast for the eyes and ears, and this week, she is giving us our fill.
Mary and Meredith go out to dinner where they discuss the challenges of being married to one man for over 20 years. Mary says that after their son was born, she and Robert Sr.’s relationship became more like a partnership than a marriage. “Like a friendship,” Meredith suggests. “Partnership,” Mary insists, further noting that her marriage was “arranged” so they “have to” make it work.
I’ve read the phrase “alarm bells went off in my head” before, but I’d never actually experienced the sensation until listening to Mary talk about marrying her grandmother’s widow when she was 22 years old, and then ending every sentence with what a great decision it ultimately was, and how her grandmother had a great eye for choosing her husband (directly from a very exclusive pool of men that she herself had already married). Mary finally tells us in her testimonial the thing that we’ve been bugging our eyes at over for months: “Before my grandmother passed, she made it very clear that she wanted me to be the one who took her place and inherited everything. That came with homes, the church, and… marrying her husband.”
Later, we get to actually see Mary and Robert Sr. at home together, and on the surface, none of it is as weird as what we know lies underneath. They have kind of a Karen and Ray Huger energy, which is to say that their relationship mostly seems to revolve around one of them preparing beverages for the other. Robert Sr. passes Mary approximately 100 different drinks while she rambles about how they have to send Robert Jr. to boarding school. Robert Jr. comes in and explains why he doesn’t want to go away to a boarding school, to which Mary listens, pauses, and then says, “So, it’s clear you’re going to a different school, right?” Robert Jr. nods.
Meredith and her son Brooks have the opposite relationship: Brooks tells Meredith what to do while he blends up almonds, and she nods. You see, a few nights ago, Jen stopped by Meredith’s house because her husband was away, and she knew Meredith’s husband would be away too. Jen is clearly the kind of person who needs to be surrounded by other people at all times, and that is especially clear because she employs a staff of at least eight people whom she refers to as “family,” and she also seems to employ a number of her actual family members…
If I don’t find out why Jen has so much money soon, I am going to freak out.
Anyway, Jen’s aunt/driver walks her up to Meredith’s door in her six-inch heels, and once inside, Jen spends a little time with Meredith, Meredith’s daughter who’s home from college, and Brooks, who tells us that he moved home to support his mom and work on his fashion line. Of course!
Jen has a pretty flamboyant personality, but I honestly didn’t think she did anything particularly heinous during this visit. She tells Meredith that she wants to have a sleepover after the 1920s party Whitney is hosting that weekend, and when she mentions that they’ll do “high kicks,” Meredith’s daughter asks what she means. Jen says she’d show her, but she might end up flashing them. They’re all still confused, so Jen does the high kicks while sitting on the couch.
Jen is inexplicably saying “Grindr, Grindr, Grindr,” while she’s kicking her legs, and perhaps if we had an explanation for why she was saying that, we’d understand why Brooks is so uncomfortable with this encounter. But we don’t. We just know that — in what feels like an unprecedented solo child-of-a-Housewife testimonial — Brooks is deadpanning, “I’m feeling really uncomfortable. Her vagina is, like, in my face.” Later, Brooks tells his mom in no uncertain terms that she is not to have a slumber party with this woman, and he will not tolerate that kind of behavior in his home. Listen, I respect how hard Brooks is going for it, and that he straight up left college the moment he heard his mom was going to be on Housewives…
But I also can’t help but think of the wise words of one Linnethia “NeNe” Leakes in moments like these: “You need to stay out of women’s business.”
Jen is not happy when Meredith texts her to bail on the slumber party, but her annoyance is very clearly rooted in something deeper. When Jen hears from Whitney that Meredith attended Mary’s church service alongside Whitney and her father, she is furious. Given that Jen said she accepted Mary’s apology at her party, and given that everyone saw them go skiing together and getting along perfectly fine, Whitney and Heather are confused to hear Jen exclaim, “Clean slate, dirty slate, I don’t give a f--- — you’re irrelevant!” about Mary.
Jen has very clearly just… decided to be mad again. And that is very clearly something that Jen just…does sometimes. But she’s only mad at Meredith for attending Mary’s church, not Whitney who she understands went for her dad. Jen says that Meredith is always trying to be Switzerland, and she’s not suggesting that Meredith needs to choose a side, but…
“If you really like Mary, and you really like me, don’t you think there’s a conflict of interest? Bitch—vote.”
Damnit Jen, where was that “Bitch, vote” gif when we needed it two months ago!
It’s unclear why Jen has chosen Meredith specifically as her friend who needs to shun Mary in order to prove her loyalty—but when Jen waltzes into the 1920s party and spots Meredith having the nerve to speak to Mary, it’s clear things are about to go off the rails quicker than you can say “Switzerland.” I truly cannot wait.