The Vail trip finally ends as tensions come to a head over rumors about Mary’s church.
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After a far-too-long hiatus (one single week), Real Housewives of Salt Lake City returned Sunday night with "A House Divided," an episode that achieved multiple Housewives milestones in just one hour. The first is a heretofore unseen level of friendship on display when Whitney Rose gives up the opportunity to fly private in order to support Heather Gay — or as Lisa Barlow says, she's willingly going to take off her shoes and walk through security just to prove a point.

The second milestone is a tonal shift that we've been building toward for a while on RHOSLC, and its predecessor, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills: it's the full ascent from a show about wealthy women friending and feuding with one another… to a show about investigating true crime.

We are dealing in Housewives who hire private investigators, round up first-person sources, and wonder how many of our friends are out here allegedly defrauding people. Now, the drama lies in watching who these women are willing to investigate and who they're not. Why does Meredith Marks hire a private investigator to dig up facts on Jen Shah, but refuses to even entertain suspicions of Mary Cosby? How can Lisa introduce a Mary detractor on camera to another Housewife, and then blame Whitney for bringing up the rumors about Mary?

Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
Credit: Bravo

And how — oh, how! — are we supposed to take any of this seriously when everyone is wearing tiny little Hansel-and-Gretel hats?

It was a shock to the system, after two weeks away from these women and one major holiday in between, to be returned into the exact conversation we last left them in. Mary has fled the fire pit in annoyance with Whitney. Conversation has turned to the rumors that continue to swirl about the manipulation and potential harm happening inside Mary's church. The rumors hit particularly close to home after Meredith met Lisa's friend Cameron, a former member of Mary's church. Cameron, who apparently mortgaged his house to give Mary $300,000, previously warned Meredith to be careful about getting too close to Mary.

Meredith is frustrated that they are talking about these rumors without having all the facts, after she had told them facts about Jen for months and no one listened to her. But I don't really remember Meredith saying a lot of facts about Jen's deceptions that went anywhere beyond "liking" mean tweets about Brooks.

Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
Credit: Bravo

I am surprised this is all happening over Mary, who doesn't seem to be a particularly good friend to any of these women — that is, until she starts going around the house, handing out Louis Vuitton purses and Chanel hats.

Lisa gets so frustrated with Meredith demanding facts that she announces she's going to bed — and then marches right upstairs to tell Mary everything that's going on by the fire. In some ways, this is a brave move by Lisa, because she directly asks Mary if her congregation thinks she's god. But when Mary says no, her congregation doesn't think she's god, Lisa casually offers up that Whitney is down there telling everyone that, as though Whitney was somehow leading this conversation about Mary and not actively falling asleep on Heather's shoulder the whole time. But Whitney is onto Lisa's game immediately because, later that night, she's woken up to the confusing cacophony of Mary, Lisa, and Heather's laughing voices in the room next to hers. The fact that we don't have footage of Whitney with a glass pressed up against the wall, listening to her two friends pal around with a woman who, just hours before, they had accused of being a religious con artist… is perhaps the biggest RHOSCL crime of all.

When Whitney confronts Heather about the weird display the next morning, Heather tells her it was even weirder to be involved in. As far as she knew, Lisa left the fire in a huff because Meredith wasn't being receptive enough to her suggestion that Mary may lead a cult. But the next thing Heather knew, she was being woken up from a dead sleep by Lisa and Mary together, because Mary wanted to give Heather a $5,000 purse as a gift. Mary delivered different gifts to Lisa, Meredith and Jennie, as well… And none for Whitney Weiners. Bye!

After getting that sorted out, Heather heads to lunch with her sister, who was basically excommunicated from their family 30 years ago for not getting married in the Mormon Temple. These lunches where Heather exorcises her former sins against family can sometimes feel a little derailing when they're wedged in between Homeland Security visits and screaming matches. But this episode is a good reminder of the character development these extra layers bring to RHOSLC. Like when Whitney — after hearing that Mary ended her slumber party gift parade with a declaration that she would be ignoring Whitney from now on — says, "I did not leave the Mormon Church and come this far to just revert back to locking arms with something I don't believe in. I will not follow Mary just because she's gonna get mad at me."

And with all that dynamic character development firmly in place, it's time for everyone to grab a can of Diet Coke and go absolutely off the rails. I'll be honest, it's hard to sum up what happens next.

Meredith arranges a sit-down with the women because she "want[s] there to be resolve here, and I don't want there to be bad-mouthing behind people's backs."

But Meredith's apology to Mary for engaging in rumors about her immediately devolves into Whitney pointing out that Lisa started all of this by introducing Cameron to Meredith… which devolves into Mary calling Whitney a "nobody" (something she also called Cameron, a former church member)… which devolves into Heather calling Mary horrible while sticking up for Whitney… which devolves into Whitney going around the room and asking everyone about the gift they received from Mary… which devolves into Mary crying that she didn't ask for her life or her inheritance… which devolves into Heather saying she won't be blindly loyal to Mary like she was to Jen… which somehow devolves into Mary saying Heather drinks wine all the time and has to get driven everywhere she goes….

Finally, Heather storms out of the conversation, yelling that no is saying what they really feel because they are all scared of Mary. Whitney follows her out, and they both sit on the steps of the empty rental house, trying to book a Delta flight while their friends all board a private jet together. No matter how it happened, this blowup means one thing to me: we're finally headed back home to Salt Lake City, baby!

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The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City
The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City (TV series)

A peek inside the unconventional lives of six successful women navigating an exclusive social circle in a city where religion, status and perfection are praised to the highest degree.

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