In the (sort of) season finale of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City,” yet another high-priced party teeters on the edge of disaster because of a profanity-filled verbal altercation involving Jen Shah — but Jen doesn’t start it. Heather Gay does, at her own party.
But there’s a lot of set-up before we get to that point, in an extra-long, 90-minute episode. And this ending isn’t actually the end, because there’s still a THREE-PART REUNION coming at us over the next three weeks. Really. THREE parts.
Here are the latest highlights:
No communication with Jen
Neither Heather nor Whitney Rose has spoken with Jen since the big blowup in Las Vegas. However, Heather has not rescinded Jen’s invitation to the grand reopening party at her business, Beauty Lab + Laser.
“If it was me,” Whitney says in a confessional, “I would call Jen and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to kindly uninvite you because I need it to go smooth. … Is Heather, like, addicted, to toxicity or is she intentionally trying to sabotage her grand opening?”
“We’ll just see how it goes,” Heather says.
Lisa meets Jen
Lisa Barlow is the only one of the other Housewives who reaches out to Jen post-Vegas — they meet for drinks at Lake Effect in Salt Lake City. And Lisa says her “heart broke” over the major confrontations involving Jen vs. Everybody Else. (Except Mary Cosby, who wasn’t there.)
Jen says that her words have been “twisted and turned out of context.” And Lisa says she understands that Jen when goes over the top, “It’s just like just something funny and big to say.”
“I mean, I know I go hard,” Jen says, “but I am the way I am because of my culture, because of what I’ve gone through, where I came from, how I was raised. … I’m that way because I’ve had to be. Living in Utah with all white people … I had to, like, fight and be defensive and always be prepared to fight.”
Lisa gives Jen some great advice: “Just remember — you don’t have to say everything you think.” They appear to be on pretty good terms when they part.
Meredith is still mad
Meredith Marks and her husband, Seth, are all lovey-dovey, and she says in a confessional that they are “in a great place right now.” But she’s still really ticked off at Jen for gossiping about their past marital problems and says, “I think I’m going to have to disengage” with her.
“If you’re my friend,” Meredith says, “I don’t know why you’d go digging into my marriage.”
To be clear, Jen saw Meredith with another man during one of her separations from Seth. She hinted around that Meredith had been seeing other men. Not nice to talk that way about a friend, but it was true. And Whitney picked that ball up and ran with it.
Whitney and her father
Whitney volunteers to be a model for her father, Steve — who’s fighting to overcome his addiction to painkillers — as he auditions to be an instructor at a hair school. “This is his first step back into his career as a sober, functioning man,” she says.
“Despite how hard it’s been having my dad being an addict — him disappearing and all the fights — it actually makes me so grateful that I followed my gut. I never gave up on him. I hope it’s not too good to be true.”
Meredith and Heather are mad at Jen
The two get together at the new Beauty Lab + Laser location, and start talking about Jen.
Meredith says she has “compassion” for Jen “because it makes me sad to see somebody who must be suffering so much in their own space that they’re behaving this way.” But in a confessional, she says it will be “very difficult” to have a relationship with Jen because she “hurt my family.”
Heather isn’t ready to cut Jen off, but “I definitely need a clear apology for any way that she’s diminished our relationship, but also for what she just did in Vegas.”
As is often the case with Heather, it all goes back to her divorce. “The way Jen’s been treating me reminds me of how I felt for many, many years in my marriage. … And I don’t want to do what I did when I was married, which was just put up and shut up,” she says.
Lisa bonds with her boys
Lisa has found a way to spend time with her husband and her two sons — they work together on the boys’ grooming line for men, Fresh Wolf. For each item sold, they donate a product to a foster child — but it’s also a for-profit venture.
Jack, 15, wants to put his profits toward a Range Rover Defender, which starts at just over $46,000. But Henry wants a McClaren. He doesn’t specify which one, but a midrange 720s will run you more than $300,000.
“I love that,” Lisa says, “you’ll be the first 9-year-old with the McLaren.”
And later, in a confessional, she adds, “Listen, I might not be great at making hot dogs. But one thing I am good at is inspiring my children to build things. … I’ve created mini moguls, and I’m not sad about it.”
After being pretty much absent for the past few episodes, Mary returns in a segment at her church — “a place where love should always flow.”
The producers cut straight from that statement to Mary being not just demanding of the church choir, but arguably rude.
“Being a first lady [of the church], you lead by example,” she says — clearly oblivious to the way she’s acted on camera.
Salsa dancing with Coach Shah
After being asked “at least 100 times,” Sharrieff Shah arranges a salsa dancing evening — complete with instructions — with Jen.
Jen apologizes for her recent behavior and thanks Sharrieff for setting up their date. “He is definitely putting in more effort — more effort than he ever has before,” Jen says.
Jen also reveals a major secret from Sharrieff’s past. “Sharrieff likes to dance,” she says. “What he doesn’t tell everyone is Sharrieff was in a dance group when he was in junior high.”
The party begins and the ex arrives
Heather is pleased with the party set-up. “Everything looks amazing,” she says. “And I just feel like, wow, Mormons really know how to pull off a party.”
Among the guests is Heather’s ex-husband, Billy, who is full of compliments on the party and the business. “It’s not normal to invite your ex-husband to your big grand opening,” Heather says. “Welcome to the weirdness of Salt Lake City, where nothing really happens unless your ex gives it his stamp of approval.” And he does.
“I feel like I am closing the door on the kind of like, an open wound of divorce,” she says. “And I’m opening a new door into, like, an identity that’s separate from him.”
Is Mary, um, naive?
Mary arrives at the party and she’s confused about why the drinks are labeled “Thirsty AF” and the napkins are printed with “Messy AF.”
“What does ‘AF’ stand for?” she asks. “After the fact?”
Later, Mary is equally befuddled by the oxygen bar. But, to be fair, who isn’t befuddled by an oxygen bar?
Meredith arrives wearing sort of a silver net face-covering mask that’s hard to describe.
“This is my glam fashion forward form of protection to ward off some of the nastiness that I have a feeling is coming my way tonight,” she says.
Heather compares it to something the Marquis de Sade would wear and jokes that Meredith is a “recent burn victim.” Whitney expresses delight to her face and mocks her behind her back. Mary tells her she looks “awesome,” and says behind her back, “Don’t wear that again.”
“This is high fashion people in Utah just don’t understand,” Meredith says. She appears to be serious.
Is Meredith mad at Lisa?
Meredith is clearly not happy when she learns her “best friend,” Lisa, has spoken with Jen.
“Lisa and I have been friends for nearly 10 years,” Meredith says in a confessional. “I know she loves my family. So it just would surprise me that she would seek someone out who she also knows was really trying to harm my family. That’s not something that a friend does.”
Lisa says she’s “not committing to a relationship” with Jen, and Meredith says, “You’re welcome to be friends with whoever you want to be” — and, despite further statements to that effect, the implication is that if Lisa is friends with Jen, it will affect her relationship with Meredith.
Later, Meredith looks decidedly unhappy when Lisa is chatting amiably with Jen.
“I’ve been a consummate loyal friend to Meredith, but I also care about Jen’s feelings and I don’t want Jen to feel hurt,” Lisa says.
Whitney and Mary gossip about Jen
They talk a bit about the events in Las Vegas, and Whitney says, “When you are gone and you were no longer the person in line of fire, it became me.”
Ever charitable, Mary serves up a big helping of I-told-you-so. “This is not OK. The truth comes out,” Mary says.
Jen makes an entrance
“The truth is, I actually don’t know if she’s come here to support me or to sabotage me,” Heather says. “And that is the double-edged sword that is friendship with Jen Shah.”
Whitney chooses yet another party to have yet another inappropriately timed talk with Jen, telling her, “I don’t want toxic friends in my life.”
Jen says she’s sorry, and Whitney is surprised. “I’m actually shocked that Jenny’s staying calm and she’s apologizing to me.” But, in reality, Jen is mostly just annoyed by Whitney — as she admits in a confessional.
Jen approaches Meredith and apologizes for talking about her marriage. “I should have just not even entertained the discussion. And that’s what I’m sorry for,” Jen says. “And it is not anybody’s business. I agree with you. It is absolutely not.”
But Meredith is not in a forgiving mood. “The damage is done,” she says in a confessional. “IIs it going to be the same relationship? Certainly not for a while. Probably never.”
Jen is surprised by Meredith’s reaction. “Maybe this whole situation has made her a little cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs,” she says in a confessional. “I want nothing but the best for her. So I’ll be here for Meredith when she needs me.”
And now … the main event
Heather wants to talk to Jen about Las Vegas, and Meredith quickly retreats.
Jen tells Heather she’s proud of her; Heather tells Jen she’s “pissed” because, at the hypnotist’s house in Las Vegas, Jen raised her hand to indicate she didn’t trust Heather. She’s obsessed with that gesture.
Heather seems like a smart woman. But in this case, she’s being incredibly dumb. Heather raised her hand to indicate she didn’t trust Jen first. How can she possibly be surprised — or offended — when Jen returned the favor?
This is Heather’s party, but she’s getting incredibly confrontational, loud and profane with Jen.
“You know, I’ve done a lot of parties in my career,” Lisa says, “and I’ve never once had to call security on myself or the hostess. I think it might be time.” Instead, she tries (unsuccessfully) to get Heather and Jen to talk more quietly.
“You know that this is hard for me,” Heather says. “I’m the pathetic fool that worships you and does everything it takes to keep your friendship and you [expletive] all over it. I cannot move forward unless you own it.”
“What would you like me to do?” Jen asks. Heather spells out exactly the way she wants Jen to apologize, and yells that Jen needs to “own” every bad thing Heather says she’s done.
In the midst of the argument, Jen capitulates. “I’m wrong,” she says. “I apologize to you, Heather.” And she offers new apologies to Meredith, Lisa and Whitney. “I know I have things to change, and I’m going to work on that.”
There’s one more hurdle, however. Whitney and Lisa start issuing their own instructions on how Jen should apologize, interpreting Heather’s words.
“OK, I’ll own it. I don’t know what I’m owning, but I’ll own it because I’m trying to be your friend,” Jen says. “I don’t understand.”
Whitney, for once, pegs the situation perfectly: “There’s some twisted, morbid power struggle in between Heather and Jen, and it’s exhausting.”
“Have you been a good friend to me?” Heather asks.
“No,” Jen replies.
“Can you be a good friend to me going forward?” Heather asks.
“Yep,” Jen replies.
“OK, that’s all I need,” Heather says. And after a bit more back-and-forth, they’re back to being friends and fighting over lip gloss.
And they live happily ever after …
Ha! That’s a lie. The previews for the three-part reunion show even more fights among the women, seemingly to a level they’ve not yet reached. And, eventually, we’re going to get a second season of “RHOSLC.”
Part 1 of the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” reunion airs Wednesday on Bravo — 8 p.m. on Dish and DirecTV; 11 p.m. on Comcast.