There were no major blow-ups in the latest episode of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” but there were major developments and/or revelations for five of the six women.
In the ongoing saga of Meredith Marks’ separation from her husband, Seth:
• Meredith eats at Toscano with Heather Gay and Jen Shah, and they press her for information. She’s vague about whether she’s seeing (or has seen) anyone else, and makes vague references to how she and her husband have to work things out and learn to communicate with each other.
“When the [expletive] hits the fan between Seth and I, and I start to think about us not being together, that’s when you start to realize how fortunate you are to be together,” Meredith says — and the thought of him not being in her life is “a pivotal point” for her.
“I do know we genuinely do love each other,” she says, “and I think that counts for a lot.”
Jen isn’t buying it, she says, because she “knows Meredith isn’t telling me everything.”
• As Jen and Whitney Rose talk about Meredith and Seth, Jen offers this opinion: “If you’re not getting it from home, you’re going to go somewhere else.”
Whitney says she doesn’t know what Jen is talking about. “Maybe you don’t know, but some people might know,” Jen says, adding, “You have to ask Meredith.”
But in a confessional later, Jen says, “People know and Meredith knows and I think Seth knows.” A producer asks — know what?
Jen says that, several months earlier, she was in New York with Meredith and she met a man who said Meredith is “the love of my life. I’m going to marry her.’ Which left her “so confused.”
“The guy says, ‘I’ll make sure Meredith gets upstairs,’” Jen says, adding, “Clearly, there was something going on.”
Heather comes clean
On a trip to Heather’s Beauty Lab + Laser for a facial and “tons of Botox,” Whitney says she’s “starting to believe” her father is serious about battling his drug addiction this time. And both Whitney and Heather talk about how hard it can be to live in a state dominated by the LDS Church.
“If you’re an addict and you’re religious here, like, it’s not that you have a disease,” Whitney says. “You’re a sinner.”
Heather agrees. “We look at it as an absolute choice … and this is the consequence of your bad choices. And that’s how my family felt after my divorce.”
In a confessional, Heather adds: “In my experience, if you get divorced in the Mormon Church and you’re a man, it’s much easier.” Her ex-husband can remarry and “still have full church status,” but she feels she’s been marked as unworthy. And she doesn’t want to remarry and try to blend a family for fear that it might not work out and cause her daughters further trauma.
“I just want to put my head down and not screw their lives up any more than we already have,” Heather says. “And then I’ll just, like, implode. That’s my plan.”
Whitney says that “one of the things” she “hates so badly” about living in Utah is, “there’s a thumb over you that you’re not good enough. You will never be good enough because of what you are born into and the fact that you’re a woman.”
Heather agrees that she’s “absolutely under the Mormon culture thumb — a hundred percent,” and that she’s been trying to “straddle the fence” between being in or out of the church.
But, with Whitney’s encouragement, she makes a big decision. She tells her three teenage daughters about her “double life” and her desire to break with the LDS Church.
“I want to date and I want to go out and I want to drink and I want to do all these things,” she tells them. “And there’s so much shame and so much fear.”
“There shouldn’t be, though,” says 16-year-old Ashley, “Because we, like, support you. It hurts me to see what you’ve had to go through.” All three girls offer their support.
“I have been wrestling with this for so long, and I should have just come out to them in the beginning. … It feels like a huge weight is off my chest,” Heather says, adding, “I can now be the mom that I really want to be. And not be the mom that the church wants me to be.”
Whitney is worried
Whitney’s optimism about her father’s future takes a hit when he says his therapist feels he’s ready to get an apartment and go back to work. Whitney is not pleased — he’s been in sober living for 21 days, and the program is designed to last 90 days.
“It’s a “huge red flag for me,” she says. “I’m really worried that if my dad leaves the program now, he’s not going to recover.”
Jen deals with depression
Jen says that the death of her father a year earlier, combined with her husband, Sharrieff, “being gone all the time” for his job as an assistant football coach for the University of Utah, left her “very depressed,” and she “had to go on medication for anxiety and depression.”
“Sharrieff was, like, ‘No, you don’t need medication. You pray, and you just get your mind right.’ … “Well, guess what, that didn’t really work for me.”
She admits she was “lashing out at everybody” and that it “almost cost me my marriage.” Sharrieff “was done with me acting out,” and told her he was leaving. “That was, like, my rock bottom.” But, she adds, she was “scared” to go on medication, fearing it was “a sign of weakness.”
Her family staged an intervention, and her son, Sharrieff Jr., “told me … ‘You need to take the medication, and I don’t think any less of you and I love you.’”
That helped her accept the need for the medication, because she was “ashamed … I want to be Wonder Woman and super mom to them. I don’t want them to think that they have to take care of me.”
Things got a bit tense at the Barlow house when the family spent an evening writing down their goals — and Lisa’s were almost exclusively related to her business interests.
When a producer asks her husband, John, what percentage of his time with Lisa is work-related, he hesitates. “I’m trying to think the best way to answer that. It’s probably 90%,” he says, chuckling a bit. “I’d love for her to slow down. I think it will happen. It just might be 40 years from now.”
And later, John says, “I think we need to figure out a way for us to, like, spend time just being together. And not on our phones.”
Lisa is already engrossed in her phone, sending business texts. ”I enjoy working,” Lisa says. “And, right now, like, my five-year goal is to have a billion-dollar brand. And I don’t see why that’s not attainable. … Warren Buffet didn’t stop buying and building companies, why should I? I don’t think it’s a problem, do you?”
“Kind of,” John says.
“That irritates me so much,” Lisa says, “You know what? I don’t want someone telling me I need to say no. I know when I need to say no.”
They both look irritated.
For the first time in weeks, there’s no fighting between Mary Cosby and Jen. But the animosity remains. Mary isn’t happy when she sees Jen at the Sundance-adjacent fashion show.
“I just want to enjoy the fashion,” Mary says. “I don’t care where she sits. She can sit on my lap.”
It seems more than a bit contrived, however, when Mary sits right next to Jen. And when Mary tells Jen she looks “pretty,” Jen does not reply, staring at her with a blank — perhaps annoyed — face.
Simmering feud, part 2?
For weeks, we’ve been wondering if Jen and Brooks Marks — Meredith’s 21-year-old son — would come into open conflict over the women’s relationship. But if it happens, maybe Meredith won’t have anything to do with it.
When Seth and five models walk the runway wearing his designs, Jen comments that they are “all the same. … I mean, does one tracksuit make a collection? I don’t know.”
(Brooks appears to be wearing a tracksuit that’s different from the five that follow him down the runway — although those five do appear to be the same.)
Jen does say that she’s been “rockin’” one of Brooks’ tracksuits “for months. … Hopefully, he makes a second one soon and then I can wear that one.”
Father and son
Brooks Facetimes his father, Seth, and lays on some additional guilt because Seth had to work in Ohio and couldn’t be at the fashion show. “I am your child asking you to come be a father in my life and you won’t. I feel a little bit hurt,” Brooks says.
“I’m getting anxiety from this conversation,” Seth says.
• Meredith makes it clear that she has no intention of moving back east to be with Seth. “I really don’t want to live in Ohio. Nothing against Ohio, I just don’t want to live there.”
• Jen goes to Whitney’s house to work out on Whitney’s infamous stripper pole. Whitney offers this helpful advice — she wears latex because “helps you stick to the pole.” And the two Housewives have a fairly frank talk about sex, after Whitney asks Jen how she deals with Sharrieff being away so much.
• Mary makes it clear what she thinks of fashion and shopping in Utah. An offscreen producer asks her to compare shopping in Salt Lake City to other places she’s been. “The pits,” she says, and then acts as if she’s shocked that she said it. “Am I ‘posed to say that?”
• Whitney is a model in the fashion show, and jokes that there are a couple of things holding her back from modeling full time: “If I could only give up cheeseburgers and add 6 inches to my legs, I think I could have a career in this.”
• Brooks named his fashion line after himself. “Honestly, off the top of my head, I can’t think of a better name for a fashion label than Brooks Marks,” he says, adding, “The double K’s is just killer.”
• What happened with Curtis, the guy Heather went home with in last week’s episode? “It was a very short-lived love affair,” she says, because Curtis lives in Atlanta and L.A.
• Lisa’s 15-year-old son, Jack, says his goals include getting his driver license, getting “shredded” and becoming a “lady slayer.” Henry, who’s 8, wants to meet Post Malone, get his first kiss when he’s 15, and become the father of triplets. “That’s a long, long-term goal,” his father says.
The Utah Crisis Line, at 1-800-273-TALK, provides compassionate support for anyone in need of mental health or emotional wellbeing services. There is no cost and interpreters are available.
Episode 8 debuts Wednesday on Bravo — 8 p.m. on Dish and DirecTV; 11 p.m. on Comcast.