One marriage seems to be back on track and there are rising tensions in another in the latest episode of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”
Seth Marks returns to Utah for the first time in about a month, and Meredith tells him that he has to apologize to their petulant 21-year-old son, Brooks, for missing the Sundance-adjacent fashion show.
It’s not a great start, because it’s arguably an unreasonable request. Seth wasn’t there because Meredith wanted space and told him to return to his job in Ohio.
But things take a sudden turn. Seth apologizes for being more focused on his career than on his marriage. He says the “last few weeks have been brutal”; he promises to work on their marriage; and he adds, “I cannot stand being without you.”
And, somewhat surprisingly, Meredith goes right along with him. She says the separation has given her “space to figure out what I needed and I realized that I missed you. … It gave me a taste of what life would be without you. And I don’t want that.”
Later, in a confessional, Meredith says it’s “an incredible relief to know that Seth still really does love me and want to be with me. … I can’t imagine my life without him. … I know it’s not just going to be smooth sailing, but this is step one.”
However, Meredith doesn’t share this information with her fellow Housewives, so there’s continued speculation (behind her back) about whether she’s involved with another man.
John and the workaholic
Lisa and John Barlow meet for dinner at HSL, and continue their argument from last week — John wants to devote less time to work and more time to his family; Lisa thinks she can do it all and doesn’t want to cut back on business.
“I don’t want to take anything more on,” John says.
“OK, but we’re not going to give up anything,” Lisa replies. “If there’s another killer opportunity, if it fits in our portfolio, I don’t want to give that up either.”
She insists her focus is also on her sons, and she tears up when she talks about the guilt she feels about not spending more time with them.
John says they “need to start working on not working.” He rather reasonably suggests that Lisa needs to stop answering texts and emails at 11 p.m. — which Lisa isn’t happy about.
“So what if I’m on my phone all the time?” she says later in a confessional. “I’m getting things done and still engaging. I can, like, listen to everyone talk and, like, sing Britney Spears in my head and still hear what you guys are saying.”
And then an off-camera producer asks her a question, which she totally misses because she’s focused on her phone.
Taking care of dad
Whitney Rose and her husband, Justin, go to mediation with her father after she receives an “SOS text message from him” that he’s “freaking out” because he’s going to be given a roommate in sober living.
(Her father, Steve, is battling addiction to painkillers.)
Whitney interprets this to mean her father is “still not 100% accountable and responsible. … I think that it’s an easy excuse for him to leave the program. He’s thinking that he’s on vacation in Hawaii at the Four Seasons, but in reality, he’s in sober living. He’s not entitled to have his own room. He’s not entitled to have his pillows fluffed every night.”
And she’s even more put out when Steve says he wants to move into an apartment of his own and open a salon — with money from her and Justin. Whitney tells her father it has been a “huge burden to expect that we’re going to give you money” and it “makes me resent you.”
Steve acknowledges what she says, adding, “You guys really saved my life.” He agrees to stay in sober living, and Whitney says she’s “really proud” of him.
• Lisa says there are “so many perks” that come with owning VIDA Tequila. “We know every single restaurant, bar, club owner in the state. So let’s just say it’s easy for me to get a reservation anywhere.”
• On a snowmobiling outing (booked through Lofty Peak Adventures) three couples — Jen and Sharrieff Shah, Lisa and John, Meredith and Seth — ride together. Heather Gay is a “single rider.”
“I have no problem being single,” Heather says. “To me, snowmobiling is just like sex. It’s much more fulfilling if you just do it alone.”
• Sharrieff says, “The thing that drew me to my wife from the very beginning, it was how sweet she was.”
“Do you know your wife?” Whitney asks later in a confessional.
“Love is truly blind,” says Heather.
• “I think [Sharrieff}’s the yin to Jen’s yang,” Lisa says. “I feel like they balance each other well. Like, he’s just smooth and she’s just — wow.”
Jen and Sharrieff’s first date
Lisa asks Sharrieff and Jen how they met, and Sharrieff says it was when they were in college. “It was fantastic. I’ve never in my life — in my life — seen anybody as pretty,” he says.
She agreed to go out with him, but insisted on bringing her cousins along. So when they went dancing, “I’m there with 41 of her entourage and members of her family” who were watching. “So I’m dancing real slow and scared.”
And when he asked her if she wanted to go get something to eat, “she’s like, ‘Yeah, we do.’” So he paid for dinner. For everyone.
Jen says it was “like a test” to see if he would “accept my family.”
“Oh my God. If she would’ve told me that, I would’ve been good,” Sharrieff says.
Back at the Shah Chalet
When Sharrieff offers Seth water or juice, Seth says, “”I’m not a Mormon,” and asks for “adult beverages.”
That leads to a comparison of the restrictions Muslims follow as opposed to those followed by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Sharrieff says Muslims don’t drink alcohol, don’t eat pork. But caffeine is OK. Latter-day Saints proscribe “coffee, tea, alcohol, tobacco and drugs,” John says.
And both preach against sex outside of marriage. “Multiple wives?” Seth asks. “Still permissible,” Sharrieff replies.
“No, it’s not permissible,” Jen interjects. “It is,” Sharrieff says with a laugh.
“I think you’ve got enough right here with one wife,” Jen says. “One Jen Shah equals, like, 45 wives.”
Jen continues to explain/complain that Sharrieff’s job as an assistant football coach at the University of Utah keeps him away from home for long stretches and leaves her feeling lonely.
For the first time, we hear Sharrieff’s side of the story. He acknowledges that “recruiting is all year long. And I don’t care how long you do it for, your wife and your loved ones never get used to it.”
But, he says, Jen “probably” works longer hours than he does at her marketing businesses. “She says, ‘I’m so upset because you’re not here’. Honey, when I am here, you’re not here,” because her focus is often on her job.
Sharrieff says he would understand if Jen’s complaint was that he doesn’t focus enough on her when he’s home. “But to somehow place more weight on when I’m gone versus when you’re gone, that’s tough.”
Can Mormons own liquor companies?
Sharrieff asks the question a lot of people have been wondering about — does the LDS Church think it’s OK for Lisa and John to own liquor companies?
”I don’t ever look at our business as a religious wrong,” Lisa says, who owns VIDA Tequila and other liquor companies with her husband. Lisa goes on to explain, “I’m not a cultural Mormon. I think that makes a big difference. … I think that a lot of times people are so focused on the cultural side of being LDS and rules and they forget about what’s really important. The most important thing is my relationship with God. God does not care that I own a tequila company.”
Jen, who was raised a Latter-day Saint but has left the church, later disputes this in a confessional. “That is not the Mormon church or religion that I grew up with,” Jen says. “... It’s like the Lisa Barlow church.”
(And, BTW, Lisa is somewhat confused about the whole “cultural Mormon” thing. Cultural Mormons are generally more concerned with the social aspects and less concerned about following the “rules.” Although if, as we’ve been led to believe, Lisa attends church and believes much of the doctrine, she is not herself an altogether cultural Mormon.)
Heather the businesswoman
Heather Gay and her business partner, Dre, inspect renovation work at Beauty Lab + Laser
“My personal life — not so great. But at Beauty Lab, I’m killing it. We’re able to finally spread our wings and build a huge Beauty Lab for our customers,” Heather says.
“I’ve always wanted to have my own business and I always thought I would. But there wasn’t a need when I was just a wife and mother.”
She had “side gigs” when she was married, she says, but her husband wouldn’t be happy about having to come home early so she could go make $400 on a photography job. He would tell her, “It’s not worth it.’ Because we had limitless money.” And that left her feeling “squashed.”
“Having Beauty Lab + Laser be successful is like a full circle redemption for me,” Heather says. “It’s reminded me of who I was before I got married and the way I felt about myself — that I could accomplish anything, that I had a seat at the table, that I had something to contribute.”
Mary is mostly missing
For the second week in a row, Mary Cosby is barely seen. She’s in this episode for about 35 seconds, scolding her son for using her credit card to buy his girlfriend a Prada purse.
“Don’t do that, Robert,” Mary says. “I promise you that purse is going to outlive your relationship. Don’t buy nothing else expensive like that unless you know you’re going to marry her.”
Never fear — the previews for next week’s episode show that the Mary vs. Jen battle is about to resume.
Episode 9 debuts Wednesday on Bravo — 8 p.m. on Dish and DirecTV; 11 p.m. on Comcast.